Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 DECEMBER 2019

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 DECEMBER 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: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

1) The parliamentary standing committees are often described as ‘mini Parliament’, where the members are able to work outside of the party whip. Discuss their significance, challenges faced and measures needed for effective operations. (250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday pulled up members for skipping meetings of the standing committees. He said that only 18 members attended all the 41 meetings of the eight panels since their reconstitution in September last. The reprimand comes in the backdrop of Opposition parties’ constant criticism that the government bypasses all parliamentary scrutiny by not routing key legislations via the standing committees.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss importance of parliamentary standing committees, their key functions, roles and responsibilities and justify their significance.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Define what are parliamentary committees.

Body:

Discuss in detail the following points:

What are Parliamentary standing committees? Their purposes?

Explain why is it in news.

Discuss the role and significance of parliamentary standing committees.

Conclusion:

Conclude with their importance.

Introduction:

In the Indian Parliament, a Standing committee is a committee consisting of Members of Parliament. It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. Both houses of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha have similar Committee structures with a few exceptions. Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

Body:

Significance of Parliamentary Standing Committees:

  • Parliament is the embodiment of the people’s will. Committees are an instrument of Parliament for its own effective functioning.
  • Committees are platforms for threadbare discussion on a proposed law.
  • The smaller cohort of lawmakers, assembled on the basis of the proportional strength of individual parties and interests and expertise of individual lawmakers, could have more open, intensive and better-informed discussions.
  • Committee meetings are ‘closed door’ and members are not bound by party whips, which allows them the latitude for a more meaningful exchange of views as against discussions in full and open Houses where grandstanding and party positions invariably take precedence.
  • Members of Parliament may have great acumen but they would require the assistance of experts in dealing with such situations. It is through committees that such expertise is drawn into law-making.
  • Executive accountability to the legislature is enforced through questions in Parliament also, which are answered by ministers. However, department standing committees go one step further and hear from senior officials of the government in a closed setting, allowing for more detailed discussions.
  • This mechanism also enables parliamentarians to understand the executive processes closely.

Role of committees:

  • Support Parliament’s work.
  • Examine ministerial budgets, consider Demands for Grants, analyse legislation and scrutinise the government’s working.
  • Examine Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.
  • Consideration of Annual Reports.
  • Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

Challenges faced:

  • Persistent absenteeism from meetings of department-related standing committees should cost MPs their spot on these parliamentary panels was a strong view that emerged during a meeting of chairpersons of the committees with Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu recently.
  • Eleven of the 22 Bills introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament have been passed, which makes it a highly productive session after many years.
  • But these Bills have been passed without scrutiny by parliamentary standing committees, their purpose being to enable detailed consideration of a piece of legislation.
  • After the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha, parliamentary standing committees have not been constituted as consultations among parties are still under way.
  • Partly as a result of this, the Bills were passed without committee scrutiny. They were discussed in Parliament over durations ranging between two and five hours.

Measures needed:

  • Parliamentary committees don’t have dedicated subject-wise research support available. The knowledge gap is partially bridged by expert testimony from government and other stakeholders.
  • Their work could be made more effective if the committees had full-time, sector-specific research staff.
  • The national commission to review the working of the Constitution has recommended that in order to strengthen the committee system, research support should be made available to them.
  • Currently, the rules of Parliament don’t require every bill to be referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. While this allows the government greater flexibility and the ability to speed up legislative business, it comes at the cost of ineffective scrutiny by the highest law-making body.
  • Mandatory scrutiny of all bills by parliamentary committees would ensure better planning of legislative business.

Conclusion:

Thus, the PSC act as check and balance which must be constituted at the earliest.


Topic: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.

2) Discuss the various constitutional safeguards for protection of women and schemes introduced by the government to empower women?

The Hindu

Indian Polity by Lakshmikant.

Why this question:

The question is based on various dangers faced by women and in the backdrop of heinous crimes perpetuated against women.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to list out the constitutional provisions related to empowerment of women, the various schemes launched for women’s empowerment. Thereafter we need to discuss the impact of such measures and what more needs to be done.

Directive word:

Discuss – In your discussion, you need to answer the key demand of the question

Structure of the answer

Introduction

Discuss the status quo of women and why they are considered as vulnerable section.

Body:

Explain the constitutional safeguards for women such as Art. 15(3), Art. 23, Art. 39: Guarantees equal pay to women for equal work. In the case of Randhir Singh vs Union of India, SC held that the concept of equal pay for equal work is indeed a constitutional goal and is capable of being enforced through constitutional remedies under Art. 32, art 40, art 42, art 44 etc

Discuss some of the welfare schemes for safety of women, literacy and employment of women, pregnancy support etc.

Discuss that the schemes have evolved over the years from treating women as passive recipients of state generosity to active participants of the development process.

Conclusion:

Discuss the impact of these schemes and what more needs to be done.

Introduction:

Women make up half of India’s population. Over the years we have seen women grow in public life- working in offices, representing in international sports, in bureaucracy, politics, international organisations and much more. This change is positive and is happening at a pace faster than ever before.

Body:

Constitutional safeguards: The Constitution of India guaranteed justice-social, economic and political, liberty of thought, and equality to all citizens. Constitution provided for equality of women and called State to take measures to neutralize the socio-economic, educational and political disadvantage faced by women

  • Article 14: It guarantees equality before law and equal protection of law with in the territory of India.
  • Article 15: It prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. According to article 15(3), State can make special provisions for the benefit women and children.
  • Article 16: Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matter relating to employment. No citizen can be denied employment on grounds of religion, race, cast, sex, decent, place of birth residence or any of them.
  • Article 39(a) provides for an adequate means of livelihood for all citizen.
  • Article 39 (b) has provisions for equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
  • Article 39 (c) has provisions for securing the health and strength of workers, men and women, and not to abuse the tender age of children.
  • Article 42: It guarantees just and humane condition of work and maternity relief. Article 42 is in accordance with Article 23 and 25 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Article 325 and 326: They guarantee political equality, equal right to participate in political activity and right to vote, respectively.
  • Article 243 (D): It provides for the political reservation to women in every panchayat election. It has extended this reservation to elected office as well.

Women Empowerment Schemes:

  • Financial empowerment:
    • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana was launched in 2015, under which small affordable deposits are made in the bank accounts of girls, with the benefit of higher rate of interest.
    • Support to Training and Employment Program (STEP) is aimed at adding new skills to women.
    • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, has within two years brought in 16.34 crore women under the banking system.
  • Encouraging Entrepreneurship:
    • Under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, the government has provided credit to small entrepreneurs without collateral. 75% of these loans have been given to women, with 9.81 crore women entrepreneurs already benefitting from them under the scheme.
    • Over 47 lakh SHGs have been promoted under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
    • Skill development is another key aspect for raising the potential of our female workforce. Half of the certificates awarded under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana have been given to women candidates.
    • To reach the yet unreached women across the country, ministry has recently launched the Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme. Under this 3 lakh student volunteers are fanning out across the country to directly reach women at village level with government schemes and services for their empowerment.
    • The government seeks to bring women to the forefront of India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing access to loans, markets and training.
    • The MSME Development Organisations (MSME-DO), the various State Small Industries Development Corporations (SSIDCs), the nationalised banks and even NGOs are conducting various programs including Entrepreneurship Development Programs (EDPs) to cater to the needs of potential women entrepreneurs.
    • SIDBI has been implementing two schemes for women entrepreneurs namely, Mahila Udyam Nidhi and Mahila Vikas Nidhi.
    • A few government efforts at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation are:
      • Start-up India.
      • Stand-up India.
      • Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP).
      • Trade related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD).
      • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
      • Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED).
      • Mudra Yojana for women.
      • NITI Aayog launched Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP).
    • Empowering Motherhood:
      • The paid maternity leave for working women to 26 weeks empowers them as they need not fear loss of salary or job due to childbirth.
      • In order to extend protection to the unorganised sector as well, pregnant and lactating mothers are provided cash incentives under the PM Matru Vandana Yojana.
    • Women health:
      • To empower women and protect their health, the PM Ujjawala scheme has been introduced, which provides free LPG cylinders to women from BPL families to replace unclean cooking fuels.
    • Women safety:
      • 33% reservation for women in the police force is also being implemented.
      • The Nirbhaya Fund is also being used to roll-out comprehensive plans to make 8 major cities in the country safer for women and also improve our forensic analysis abilities in cases of sexual assault.
    • National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) scheme 2016-17 is a combined strategy for inter-sectoral convergence of programs for women, with the use of multiple communication tools in advocacy campaigns.
    • Women’s helpline came into existence to reach out to women in distress.
    • Women’s SHGs have mobilised and facilitated women in availing facilities for development, be it information, financial or material resources or services.
    • In all such women-centric programs, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) forms an inseparable part.
    • The issue of women’s empowerment caught the entire nation’s imagination with the launch of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ program at Panipat in Haryana in 2015, one of the worst affected districts in the state, with the abysmally low Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB).
    • The program has already begun showing positive gains. Reason for its success is the success of public communication strategy which is based on innovative local level interventions.

Other schemes are:

  • One Stop Centre Scheme
  • UJJAWALA: A Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation
  • Working Women Hostel
  • Swadhar Greh (A Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances)
  • Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
  • Nari Shakti puraskar
  • Mahila E-Haat
  • Mahila Shakti Kendras (MSK)

Success of the schemes:

  • India has been successful in achieving gender parity in school education. Even in technical and professional education the representation is significantly increasing.
  • The literacy rate of women has risen from a mere 9% in 1951 to 65% in 2011.
  • In the workplace today, every fourth worker in India is a woman. With their increasing participation in a variety of fields, women’s bargaining power in both private and public life is
  • Elected women representatives now make up about 46% of our panchayat members. With this the landscape of our country is changing from ground up.
  • Institutional births have risen to an all-time high of 79% in 2014-15. The maternal mortality rate has dropped by half in the decade between 2001-03 and 2011-13.
  • The number of women with a bank account has also increased.

Criticism:

  • Women still face serious dangers to their life and liberty in our country. We hear of horrific incidents of violence every day.
  • Women still contribute a disproportionate amount of unpaid work in their homes and on farms.
  • They are often not given an equal say in household or work decisions.
  • The conventional ‘one size fits all’ empowerment programmes fail to address problems of the most marginalised women.
  • Women’s multiple identities of class, caste, ethnicity, gender and other forms of hierarchy and differences including social locations in households as daughters, daughter-in-law, mothers, mother-in-law, wives and widows tend to push women to the margins and make them more vulnerable to discrimination in terms of access to basic human rights, opportunities and resources.
  • To challenge the dominant beliefs of the society in terms of hierarchy, patriarchy and power politics requires empowerment policies and programmes that seek to and understand how the convergence of multiple identities with gender manifests to impede women’s empowerment
  • Banking Correspondents (BCs):
    • The strategy has not given fruitful results due to lack of adequate branding of BCs because of low incentive and compensation structure and preference for brick and mortar branch by the rural economy.
  • Stereotyping of women continues:
    • New stories of violence or sexual harassment against women do appear on newspapers, but often with a bias in reporting.
  • Women as serious decision makers or as hard core professionals are mostly being overlooked.
  • Their success stories only find place, when they have been able to break the glass ceiling and or have reached the pinnacle of success.

Way forward:

  • Strengthening economic citizenship of women involves meeting her personal aspirations, while she contributes to household’s income and is a caregiver.
  • Pursuit of inclusive growth involves the role of the state as a regulator while providing public goods and services alongside liberal socio-cultural norms within the household/ community.
  • Fiscal policies like lower taxes did not improve female employment as the gains from it perhaps did not offset the costs involved.
  • With stagnant and low share of formal sector employment, the announcement in the Budget 2018, that contribution by new women recruits to EPFO be reduced from 12% to 8% to increase the take home pay may neither incentivize participation nor retention rates.
  • MGNREGA increased FWPR, reduced gender gaps in wages in other markets with positive implications on poverty, child and own nutritional status and empowerment.
  • Collection of time use data would inform how women spend their time in social production but will also give insights about how men in many families share household work.
  • Caregiving and breadwinning are equally important for improved well-being of the individuals in a nation.

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

3) With successive cuts in the policy rates, the RBI has been sending a signal to the rest of the banking system that the lending rates should come down. However, the monetary policy transmission has been inefficient in India. Discuss. Suggest measures to tackle the issue.

The Hindu

The Hindu

Why this question:

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to keep the interest rate unchanged at 5.15% in the fifth bimonthly policy review, citing inflation concerns despite economic growth continuing to slow down. All the six members of the MPC voted in favour of keeping the interest rate unchanged.

Key demand of the question:

One must assess the reasons for poor transmission of the monetary policies, the implications of not doing so by the banks and the other measures needed

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Briefly narrate the background of the issue. between February and August, the RBI cut repo rate from 6.5% to 5.4%. But, the interest rate charged by banks on fresh loans fell just 27% of the amount by which the repo rate came down.

Body:

The answer should cover the following:

Discuss first the role of RBI’s Monetary Policy.

Monetary Policy Process and Goals of Monetary policy.

Current issues facing RBI policies.

What needs to be done to address these issues and challenges?

Discuss the role of government policies is also of prime importance in handling such issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

The monetary policy refers to a regulatory policy whereby the central bank maintains its control over the supply of money to achieve the general economic goals. Since February 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has aggressively cut the repo rate. By cutting the repo rate, the RBI has been sending a signal to the rest of the banking system that the lending rates should come down.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to keep the interest rate unchanged at 5.15% in the fifth bimonthly policy review (Dec 2019), citing inflation concerns despite economic growth continuing to slow down.

Body:

Monetary policy scenario in India:

  • In India, the process of monetary policy transmission is inefficient.
  • For example, between February and December, the RBI cut repo rate from 6.5% to 5.15%.
  • But, the interest rate charged by banks on fresh loans fell just 27% of the amount by which the repo rate came down.
  • Further, RBI has urged banks to link their lending rates to the repo rate

Reasons for policy rate cut:

  • Since February, India’s economic growth momentum has rapidly decelerated.
  • Projections of GDP growth rate have come down.
  • A lower interest rate regime is expected to help.
  • The main issue is that people are not consuming at a high enough rate.
  • At lower interest rates, people are expected to borrow and spend more, the more the money circulates in the economy, the greater would be the economic activity.
  • If banks reduce their lending rates, they would also have to reduce their deposit rates.
  • This, in turn, will incentivise people to save less and spend more.
  • If banks reduce the interest rates on loans, more businesses are likely to be enthused to borrow new loans for investment

Reasons for poor monetary policy transmission:

  • Repo rates have little impact on a bank’s overall cost of funds.
  • Reducing lending rates just because the repo rate has been cut is not feasible for banks.
  • This is because, for banks to be viable, there must be a clear difference between the lending rate (charged on loans) and the deposit rate (given on deposits).
  • The difference between the two has to be not only positive but also big enough for the bank to make profits.
  • Notably, to attract deposits, banks pay a high deposit rate.
  • Such deposits make up almost 80% of all banks’ funds from which they then lend to borrowers.
  • On the other hand, banks borrow a minuscule fraction from the RBI under the repo.
  • So even sharply reducing the repo rate does not change the overall cost of funds for the banks.
  • In effect, unless banks reduce their deposit rates, they will not be able to reduce their lending rates.
  • However, if a bank were to reduce its deposit rates, depositors would shift to a rival bank that pays better interest rates.
  • Otherwise, they would park more of their savings in small saving instruments (public provident fund, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, etc) that pay much higher interest rates.
  • Also, 65% of total deposits are “term” deposits (fixed for a certain duration) and take, on an average, up to 2 years to get repriced at fresh rates.
  • So, banks cannot always reduce deposit rates immediately as deposits take longer to get repriced.
  • Moreover, if banks are under pressure to reduce the interest rate they charge on new loans, they could possibly push up the interest rates on old loans that allow for such flexibility.

Measures needed:

  • Enabling effective monetary transmission would not only increase the credibility of the Central Bank but also help in strengthening the financial structure.
  • Impounding of bank money by RBI is too high with 4% cash reserve ratio carrying no return whatsoever.
  • To make transmission work, the least the RBI can do is to reduce CRR.
  • Timely transmission of policy rates could be considerably improved if the banking sector’s non-performing assets (NPAs) are resolved more quickly and efficiently.
  • If the government wants to reduce lending rates, it could focus on bringing down its own fiscal deficit and public sector borrowing.
  • At the current low levels of per capita income, the savers are far more risk-averse in India and unwilling to invest in higher-risk instruments other than bank deposits.
  • For a repo-linked regime to work, the whole banking system in India would have to shift to that.
  • In other words, along with banks’ lending rates, their deposit rates too must go up and down with the repo.

Topic: agriculture and issues and related constraints

4) The government, which aims to double farmers’ incomes, cannot possibly allow the passage of the seeds bill 2019 that strikes at the very roots of farmer survival. Examine.

The Hindu

Hindustan Times

Why this question:

There is a draft seeds bill awaiting Parliament, which seeks to replace the old Seed Act of 1966. A law regulating seed production and trade is needed to ensure that farmers are protected against spurious seeds, and that seed producers are obliged to put only seeds of good and reliable quality on the market.

Directive word

examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer

Introduction

One can start off with explaining about the Parliament’s plan to introduce the new Seeds bill 2019 and how the previous two versions had created a lot of heated debates.

Body

Highlight the objectives and provisions of the New seeds bill 2019

Discuss the rationale behind the new Seeds bill 2019.

Discuss the challenges posed by the bill.

  • the Seeds Bill insists on compulsory registration of seeds. However, the PPVFR Act was based on voluntary registration. As a result, many seeds may be registered under the Seeds Bill but may not under the PPVFR Act.
  • as per the PPVFR Act, all applications for registrations should contain the complete passport data of the parental lines from which the seed variety was derived, including contributions made by farmers. This allows for an easier identification of beneficiaries and simpler benefit-sharing processes. Seeds Bill, on the other hand, demands no such information while registering a new variety.
  • And so on.

Provide measures to tackle the challenges posed.

Conclusion

Give a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

The revised draft Seeds Bill 2019, which the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare placed in the public domain recently for suggestions and comments, seems to be a watered-down version of a draft prepared. The Bill is aimed at ensuring supply of modern, high quality, cutting edge seed technologies to the farmers which will help them in enhancing their productivity and profitability. The Bill amends the Seed Act 1966 and Seed Rules 1968. It is evident that the seed industry has been at the center of the significant advances made in agriculture in the last four decades and will continue to do in the years to come.

Body:

Background:

  •  After the ‘Green Revolution’, India was quick to introduce the Seed Act 1966 as the first act to govern matters of seed and seed quality.
  • It was modelled on the US legislation and aided by a later enactment of the Seed Rules 1968, which were also developed with the collaboration of the US.
  • The seed industry in India has been governed by several legislative & policy frameworks such as Seed Act (1966), Seed Rules (1968), Seed (Control) Order (1983), New Policy on Seed Development (1988), Plants, Fruits & Seeds (Regulation of Import into India) Order (1989), Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act (2001), and the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 including Seeds (1955), National Seed Policy (2002), and Seed Bill (2004).
  • The Seed Bill (2004) was proposed to replace the Seed Act (1966), however, owing to several shortcomings it was not passed. The 2019 draft version tries to overcome the drawbacks of the 2004 Bill.

Highlights of New seeds bill:

  • It is an important legislation to ensure the supply of modern, high quality, cutting edge seed technologies to the farmers which will help them in enhancing their productivity and profitability.
  • All varieties of seeds for sale have to be registered and are required to meet certain prescribed minimum standards. For instance, for transgenic varieties of seeds, registration is to be obtained under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. This can bring greater accountability to seed companies.
  • Exempt farmers from obtaining registration for varieties developed by them. However, if the farmer sells such seeds for a monetary consideration, then that sale needs to be registered. This is to protect the interests of other farmers who buy seeds from such a farmer.
  • Farmers are allowed to sow, exchange or sell their farm seeds and planting material without having to conform to the prescribed minimum limits of germination, physical purity and genetic purity (as required by registered seeds). However, farmers cannot sell any seed under a brand name.
  • In the proposed Bill, there is a differentiation between the seed producer, seed processor and seed dealer for the purpose of licensing. However, there is no recognition of National Level Integrated Seed Companies with R&D capabilities.
  • Currently, a large percentage of seed is sold under a self-certification programme called Truthfully Labelled (TL) seeds. The certification process has been kept voluntary.
  • The bill empowers the government to fix prices of selected varieties in case of ‘emergent’ situations such as seed.
  • The bill differentiates the agronomic performance of the seed, its physical quality and the supply of spurious seed, and consequently penalizes the offences and prescribes punishment.

Concerns or challenges posed:

  • The Seeds Bill insists on compulsory registration of seeds. However, the PPVFR Act was based on voluntary registration. As a result, many seeds may be registered under the Seeds Bill but may not be under the PPVFR Act.
  • If a seed variety could have been developed by a breeder, but derived from a traditional variety. In this case, the breeder will get exclusive marketing rights. But no gain will accrue to farmers as benefit-sharing is dealt with in the PPVFR Act, under which the seed is not registered.
  • private seed companies can re-register their seeds. They can do this for an infinite number of times after the validity period. Given this “ever-greening” provision, many seed varieties may never enter the open domain for free-use.
  • The provision for regulation of seed prices is vague in the bill. Farmers’ have also demanded an official body to regulate seed prices and royalties. In its absence, they feel, seed companies may be able to fix seed prices as they deem fit, leading to sharp rises in costs of cultivation.
  • According to the bill, the disputes on compensation have to be decided as per the Consumer Protection Act 1986. Consumer courts are hardly ideal and friendly institutions that farmers can approach.
  • According to the Seeds Bill, farmers become eligible for compensation if a plant variety fails to give expected results under “given conditions”. However, “given conditions” is almost impossible to define in agriculture.

Way forward:

  • Quality seeds are India’s lifeline. Farming, food and the livelihood of over 60 per cent of the Indian population depend on them.
  • A failed harvest has the potential to curtail our GDP and force millions of Indians into poverty and hunger until the next harvest. Overall, India depends on seeds to sustain life.
  • The present government has a chance to seed a unique and progressive Seed Bill or plagiarize from others.
  • We are sure our government will not let us down in their decision, and ensure their seed bill will give plentiful harvests for Indian farmers and industry.
  • Ultimately, the quality seed will be available to the farmers at competitive prices subject to a vibrant growth of the seed industry in an enabling environment.
  • Healthy seed industry will lead to enhanced quality seed availability at affordable prices to the farmers.

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

5) It is evident that our challenges related to the environment are interwoven with challenges from societal, technological and philosophical perspectives. Analyse.

Livemint

Why this question:

Mankind’s progress has had unintended consequences on the environment. These include climate change, extreme weather events and the reduced availability of potable water.

Key demand of the question:

One has to find the reasons for reduced availability of potable water due to human actions, climate change and extreme weather events.

Directive:

Analyse – When 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start off with how Unintended consequences of human progress over the past decades have begun to adversely impact the environment we live in, which provides the basic conditions for life on earth to exist.

Body:

Present the various environmental challenges that is posed to us today like lack of potable water etc.

Discuss how we can get an understanding to our current environmental challenges can only come from studying them in the context of technology, society and philosophy.

Provide solutions to tackle the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

During last decade, environmental issues have been receiving increasing attention in all spheres of life, including greater coverage in the media. There is also a growing awareness of the need and importance of involving people actively in the protection of environment and management of the natural resources of their locality. Unintended consequences of human progress over the past decades have begun to adversely impact the environment we live in, which provides the basic conditions for life on earth to exist.

Body:

Environmental challenges faced today:

  • The layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere, which protects us from harmful radiation, is being depleted due to our excessive use of aerosol chemicals.
  • Predictions made back in the 1980s about climate change are starting to come true. Extreme weather events around the world appear to be more common than before.
  • Cities like Chennai and Mumbai get flooded during the monsoon, and yet run out of water later in the year.
  • One of the most critical crises that we face today is access to potable water.
  • There are three kinds of access problems. The first one is where there are no systems in place for the regular supply of water; for example, in urban slums.
  • The second is where there is a regular system in place, but a section of society faces challenges due to the seasonal unavailability of water. This situation is becoming common in cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and is giving rise to widespread distress.
  • The third kind of situation has often been observed in rural areas where people depend on natural sources of drinking water that are fast becoming inaccessible because of pollution and environmental changes.

Environmental challenges are interwoven:

  • An understanding of our current environmental challenges can only come from studying them in the context of both technology and society.
  • Technology is one of the key attributes of today’s human society, one that makes our era entirely different from thousands of years of human presence on earth.
  • On one hand, our tech-centred orientation is one of the primary causes of our alienation from nature; on the other, technology can help us cope with the environmental stresses being faced by human society.
  • From a different point of view, technology is one of the major factors inducing environmental pollution.
  • To accommodate technological progress, humans have always sacrificed the environment, which eventually led to complex issues like climate change and wide-scale biodiversity loss.

Global environmental crisis and its relationship with technology:

  • First, how technology can help society manage environmental issues.
  • Second, how society can act to manage the externalities of technology within environmentally acceptable standards.
  • And third, how technology can aid in evaluating the current environmental condition and its impact on society.

Environmental issues in the context of society:

  • we recognize that environmental migration is one of the key issues that future generations will need to cope with.
  • The United Nations forecasts that there could be up to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050, mostly from coastal areas.
  • We must think through current land-use changes, diversification of livelihoods at a community level, building resilience, and policies for environmental migrants.
  • An added layer of complexity, given our political boundaries, is how humanity should respond to environmental migrants.

Measures needed:

  • We must redefine the needs of an individual, and understand the reasons behind increasingly consumeristic lifestyles across the globe. Humans do not harm the environment intentionally.
  • Environmental disturbance is a by-product or negative externality of human actions that arise due to our needs and aspirations—in other words, the unintended consequences of human progress.
  • Exploring the nature of our progress and the consumption landscape could be one way to address the latter.
  • The cycle of production and consumption does not happen in a void. It is a way to respond to individual needs and desires.

Conclusion:

The strategies to ensure sustainable development has at least four important elements, such as ecologically harmonious, efficient and conserve resources including energy, and must aim at local self-reliance and offer equity with social justice. While for the achievements of the first three elements, considerable inputs from the science, technology, economics, and sociology would be needed while equity is a political question calling for the sensitivity and commitments of the political masters and policy makers in letter and spirit.


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

6) “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”. Examine with respect to successful implementation of Government schemes.

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of attitude and its importance in daily life of individuals.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the relevance of attitudes of various stakeholders in successful implementation of Government schemes.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

What do you understand by attitude?

Body:

Discuss how an individual with positive attitude sees even failure as possibility of having something better.

Having a positive attitude makes one confident about herself and this in long term not only helps an individual but to all those who are associated with her

Explain first that there are various stakeholders involved in implementation of Govt schemes.

Lawmakers/Parliament

Implementers/Bureaucracy

Public at large.

Private entities.

Other stakeholders like NGOs, SHGs etc.

Discuss from each stakeholders’ perspective as to how the right attitude will lead to success of any public program.

Take instances of Swatch Bharat and so on

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of having the right attitude in life.

Introduction:    

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

Body:

Behaviour change communication and its key to changing attitudes and behaviours:

  • It is an interactive process of any intervention with individuals, communities and/or societies to develop communication strategies to promote positive behaviours which are appropriate to their settings and there by solve world’s most pressing health problems.
  • This in turn provides a supportive environment which will enable people to initiate, sustain and maintain positive and desirable behaviour outcomes.
  • It employs a systematic process beginning with formative research and behaviour analysis, followed by communication planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Audiences are carefully segmented, messages and materials are pre-tested, and mass media (which include radio, television, billboards, print material, internet), interpersonal channels (such as client-provider interaction, group presentations) and community mobilisation are used to achieve defined behavioural objectives.
  • Strategic use of behaviour change communication (BCC) applies targeted messages and tailored approaches to promote healthy behaviours and reduced risk taking.
  • SBCC is the comprehensive process in which one passes through the stages:
  • Unaware > Aware > Concerned > Knowledgeable > Motivated to change > Practicing trial behavior change > Sustained behavior change
  • Research consistently shows evidence-based communication programs can increase knowledge, shift attitudes and cultural norms and produce changes in a wide variety of behaviours.

Attitude and Government schemes:

Role in improving human health:

  • Behaviour change communication (BCC) encompasses health communication, social and community mobilization, and it evolved from information, education and communication (IEC) strategies.
  • With components ranging from interpersonal communication between a community health worker and her client to multi-level mass media campaigns, evidence-based and theory-driven BCC interventions are an integral part of all types of health promotion and disease prevention
  • BCC is an effective tool for dealing with many community and group related problems.
  • BCC has been adapted as an effective strategy for community mobilization, health and environment education and various public outreach programs.

Malaria control:

Behaviour change communication is used in malaria control to encourage families to hang and use their nets regularly, care for them and repair them when they’re torn, or to create demand for replacing nets on a continuous basis or as part of distribution campaigns. To inform communities of the optimal timing of malaria control interventions. To explain changing diagnostic concerns (e.g. increasing false negatives as parasite density and multiplicity of infections fall) and treatment guidelines.

HIV/AIDS:

Behaviour Change Communication is a process of working with individuals, communities and societies to develop communication strategies to promote positive behaviours in HIV and AIDS prevention and to provide a supportive environment which will enable people to initiate and sustain positive behaviours. To reach populations who remain at risk as transmission dynamics change (e.g. mobile populations). To facilitate identification of people with asymptomatic infections and their compliance with treatment.

Conclusion:

Individuals who have a positive attitude will pay attention to the good, rather than bad in people, situations, events, etc. They will not consider a mistake or failure as a hurdle, but as an opportunity. People with a negative attitude ignore the good, and pay attention to the bad in people, situations, events, etc. Also, they are likely to complain about changes, rather than adapting to the changing environment. Attitude may change with different situations and experiences in life. So, attitudes are learned and acquired.


Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world

7) Equality is the essence of an ethical society. Discuss Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions of moral philosophy stating your view.

The Hindu

Why this question:

Despite 72 years of independence, the conditions of Dalits still remain deplorable. There is an urgent need to address the inequalities faced. The views of Ambedkar in this regard acts as a guiding light.

Key demand of the question

One must discuss the importance of equality in society. Further discuss the views and contributions of Dr. Ambedkar to achieve the same.

Directive word

Discuss – This 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

Briefly discuss about the issues faced today by the Dalits; STs etc.

Body

       Discuss the views and contributions of Ambedkar in various realms.

A pragmatist to the core, Ambedkar believed that in the absence of economic and social justice political independence would not bring about their social solidarity or, national integration.

He advocated the abolition of privileges on the basis of caste or status and vigorously fought for the liberty and dignity of the individual. It the same time, he was equally force-full in his advocacy of the unity of the nation.

Ambedkar sought to achieve these objectives through the constitution of India.

Conclusion

Conclude with what more needs to be done to achieve Ambedkar’s dreams of an egalitarian society.

Introduction:

Equality is a pre-requisite for an ethical society. Though it is difficult and undesirable to achieve absolute equality. But equality of opportunity to everyone ensures fairness and justice. It gives a chance to everyone to live a decent and respectable life. Ambedkar’s political legacy reminds us of his aim to build a democratic and inclusive India with economic growth, equality and social justice.

Body:

There are reports of practices of untouchability in rural parts, caste-based discrimination in public institutions and heinous forms of atrocities against Dalits, honour killing by dominant caste, Khap Panchayat. Many young couples who prefer inter caste marriage are being ostracized and in many cases being killed by dominant caste Panchayats. The policy and criminal justice administration has failed to ensure justice to the victims of atrocities. There should be exemplary punishment for the persons who believe in caste system by treating them as anti-nationals because they are against equality and human dignity.

Dr. Ambedkar is a champion for the cause of equality. His moral philosophy argues-

  • Annihilation of caste: He argues that caste system is irrational and has divided our society. He argues that only a complete annihilation of caste can help to unite our society.
  • Liberty and Equality: He argues that liberty and equality cannot be separated from each other. They must go hand in hand. If liberty prevails over equality, then it would cause rule of a few elites but if equality would reign over liberty then it would kill individual initiative.
  • Religious Scriptures: Ambedkar argues for the logical interpretation of religious scriptures. Discard scriptures that promote discrimination.
  • Dysfunctional Society: Ambedkar argues that a society where occupations were divided on caste was a dysfunctional one. This is not working on its ultimate efficiency and is holding the nation back.
  • Boycotted Temple Entry Movements: Ambedkar boycotted temple entry movements. He argued that these movements can at most achieve cosmetic changes.

Conclusion:

Ambedkar was not only a social reformer but also a visionary leader. He not only showed how caste discrimination was unethical but also showed how it was holding the progress of our nation back. The social and economic equality vision of Ambedkar continues to inspire Indian nationalism and in building India on principles of democracy, liberty, equality, fraternity and dignity of human being.