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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 January 2021


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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues;

1.  Discuss the multiple reasons for discontent that was simmering among the Sepoys that started the Great Revolt 1857. Was the revolt of 1857 just a Sepoy mutiny? (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the military causes of the Revolt of 1857 which caused discontent among the Sepoys and to analyze as to whether the revolt of 1857 was just a Sepoy mutiny.

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:

Begin by writing about the start of Mutiny among Sepoys that started the great revolt of 1857 in brief.

Body:

In the first part of the body mention he various that led to discontent among the sepoys. Low wages, Racial Discrimination, Overseas Travel, Homogeneity among Sepoys from Awadh, Religious belief of Sepoys, Threat of displacement by new recruits, sympathies of Sepoys with peasants and immediate cause of the issue of greased cartridges etc.

In the next part, mention how some British histories and contemporary officials have termed the revolt of 1857 as just a Sepoy Mutiny. Argue that it was more than just a mutiny. Provide substantiated arguments in favor of revolt being a popular uprising.

Conclusion:

Comment on the overall nature of the revolt in prevalence of multiple divergent views to conclude the answer.

Introduction:

The revolt of 1857 was the conscious beginning of the Independence struggle against the colonial tyranny of the British. This war of Independence marked the end of rule by the British East India Company. Post this, India was directly ruled by the British government through representatives.

Body:

Causes of Revolt:

Political Cause

  1. British policy of expansion:The political causes of the revolt were the British policy of expansion through the Doctrine of Lapse and direct annexation.
  2. A large number of Indian rulers and chiefs were dislodged, thus arousing fear in the minds of other ruling families who apprehended a similar fate.
  3. Rani Lakshmi Bai’sadopted son was not permitted to sit on the throne of Jhansi.
  4. Satara, Nagpur and Jhansi were annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse.
  5. Jaitpur, Sambalpur and Udaipur were also annexed.
  6. The annexation of Awadh by Lord Dalhousie on the pretext of maladministration left thousands of nobles, officials, retainers and soldiers jobless. This measure converted Awadh, a loyal state, into a hotbed of discontent and intrigue.

Social and Religious Cause

  1. The rapidlyspreading Western Civilisation in India was alarming concerns all over the country.
  2. An act in 1850 changed the Hindu law of inheritance enabling a Hindu who had converted into Christianity to inherit his ancestral properties.
  3. The people were convinced that the Government was planning to convert Indians to Christianity.
  4. The abolition of practices like sati and female infanticide,and the legislation legalizing widow remarriage, were believed as threats to the established social structure.
  5. Introducing western methods of educationwas directly challenging the orthodoxy for Hindus as well as Muslims
  6. Even the introduction of the railways and telegraph was viewed with suspicion.

Economic Cause

  1. In rural areas, peasants and zamindars were infuriated by theheavy taxes on land and the stringent methods of revenue collection followed by the Company.
  2. Many among these groups were unable to meet the heavy revenue demands and repay their loans to money lenders, eventually losing the lands that they had held for generations.
  3. Large numbers of sepoys belonged to the peasantry classand had family ties in villages, so the grievances of the peasants also affected them.
  4. After the Industrial Revolution in England, there was an influx of British manufactured goodsinto India, which ruined industries, particularly the textile industry of India.
  5. Indian handicraft industries had to compete with cheap machine- made goods from Britain.

Military Causes

  1. The Revolt of 1857 began as asepoy mutiny
  2. Indian sepoys formed more than 87% of the British troops in India but were considered inferior to British soldiers.
  3. An Indian sepoy was paid less than a European sepoy of the same rank.
  4. They were required to serve in areas far away from their homes.
  5. In 1856 Lord Canning issued the General Services Enlistment Act which required that the sepoys must be ready to serve even in British land across the sea.

Immediate Cause

  1. The Revolt of 1857 eventually broke out over theincident of greased cartridges.
  2. A rumour spread that the cartridges of the new Enfield rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs.
  3. Before loading these rifles the sepoys had to bite off the paper on the cartridges.
  4. Both Hindu and Muslim sepoys refused to use them.
  5. Lord Canning tried to make amends for the error and the offending cartridges were withdrawn but the damage had already been done. There was unrest in several places.
  6. In March 1857, Mangal Pandey,a sepoy in Barrackpore, had refused to use the cartridge and attacked his senior officers.

Significance of Revolt

  1. The revolt of 1857 played an important role in bringing the Indian people together and imparting to them the consciousness of belonging to one country.
  2. During the entire revolt, there was complete cooperation between Hindus and Muslims at all levels—people, soldiers, leaders.
  3. Rebels and sepoys, both Hindu and Muslim, respected each other’s sentiments.
  4. Immediate banning of cow slaughter was ordered once the revolt was successful in a particular area.

Nature of Revolt:

Views differ on the nature of the 1857 revolt.

  1. It was a mere ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ to some British historians—”a wholly unpatriotic and selfish Sepoy Mutiny with no native leadership and no -popular support”, said Sir John Seeley.
  2. Dr K. Datta considers the revolt of 1857 to have been “in the main a military outbreak, which was taken advantage of by certain discontented princes and landlords, whose interests had been affected by the new political leader”
  3. It was at the beginning of the twentieth century that the 1857 revolt came to be interpreted as a “planned war of national independence”, by V.D. Savarkar.
  4. Dr R.C. Majumdar, however, considers it as neither the first, nor national, nor a war of independence as large parts of the country remained unaffected and many sections of the people took no part in the upsurge.
  5. According to Marxist historians, the 1857 revolt was “the struggle of the soldier-peasant democratic combine against foreign as well as feudal bondage”.

Conclusion:

The Revolt of 1857 was the first sign that the Indians wanted to end British rule and were ready to stand united for this cause. Even though they failed to achieve their objective they succeeded in sowing the seeds of nationalism among the Indians.

 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues;

2. The administrative and legal system introduced by the British was shaped by various ideas and ideologies but at the same time it centered on protecting the British interests. Critically Analyze. (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ideas that influenced the introduction of administrative reforms in India and to analyze the actual behind introduction of reforms.

Directive:

Critically analyze – 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. 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, mention various administrative reforms introduced by the colonial government.

Body:

In the first part, mention in detail, various factors and forces that influenced introduction of reforms in India. Utilitarian Perspective, the racial superiority, need to build a rational and modern society, to impart human justice and proper government structures etc.

In the next part, analyze the rationale behind introduction of reforms. Though the British on a moral high horse claimed that reforms were aimed at modernizing India but they were also guided by the motive of protecting their own interests in India. Substantiate the points with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by passing a balanced judgment regarding the motive behind introduction of reforms in India.

Introduction:

 In 1764 after the Battle of Buxar the British became supreme power in Bengal. When the British took control of Bengal, they tried to establish administration according to their requirements. However after 1857 British Administrative policies were modified but it never lost sight of its main objects which were −Company’s profits, to enhance the profitability of its Indian possessions to Britain and to maintain and strengthen the British hold over India.

Administrative measures British adopted initially to rule India:

  1. From 1765 to 1772, in the period of the Dual Government, Indian officials were allowed to function as before but under the over-all control of the British Governor and British officials. In 1772, the Company ended the Dual Government and undertook to administer Bengal directly through its own servants.
  2. Continuous wars and mismanagement by the company officials made British parliament to pass Regulating Act of 1773.
  1. Regulating Act, 1773: The government, headed by a Governor General in Bengal and four Councillors, having the supervisory authority over the presidencies of Bombay and Madras. The Act recognized the right of Parliament to regulate the civil, military and revenue affairs of the company’s territories in India
  2. Pitt’s India Act, 1784 gave the British Government supreme control over the Company’s affairs and its administration in India. It established Board of Control. The Board of Control was to guide and control the work of the Court of Directors and the Government of India.
  3. Charter Act of 1813 Government and the revenues of India continued to be in the hands of the Company. The Company also continued to appoint its officials in India.
  4. Charter Act of 1833 Government of India was reconstituted on a new model which gave it in all India character. This Act re-designated the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India. The Governor-General was given exclusive legislative powers for the whole of British India. It attempted to introduce a system of open competitions for the selection of civil servants.

Initial Administrative approach changed later on 

  1. From 1853 onwards changes begun in administrative policies, but major changes seen after 1857 revolt.
  2. Charter Act of 1853 separated, for the first time, the legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council. It introduced, for the first time, local representation in the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. It introduced an open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants. The covenanted civil service was thus thrown open to the Indians also.
  1. Government of India Act of 1858 abolished the East India Company, and transferred the powers of government, territories and revenues to the British Crown. It ended the system of double government by abolishing the Board of Control and Court of Directors. It created a new office, Secretary of State for India, vested with complete authority and control over Indian administration.
  2. In pursuance of this policy of association, three acts were enacted by the British Parliament in 1861, 1892 and 1909.
  3. Act of 1861 made a beginning of representative institutions by associating Indians with the law-making process.
  4. Act of 1892 It increased the functions of legislative councils and gave them the power of discussing the budget5 and addressing questions to the executive.
  5. Act of 1909 provided (for the first time) for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He was appointed as the law member
  6. Government of India Act of 1919 relaxed the central control over the provinces by demarcating and separating the central and provincial subjects. The central and provincial legislatures were authorized to make laws on their respective list of subjects. It introduced, for the first time, bicameralism and direct elections in the country. It provided for the establishment of a public service commission. It separated, for the first time, provincial budgets from the Central budget and authorized the provincial legislatures to enact their budgets.
  7. Government of India Act of 1935 introduced ‘provincial autonomy’. The provinces were allowed to act as autonomous units of administration in their defined spheres. It provided for the establishment of not only a Federal Public Service Commission but also a Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission.

Factors that led to such change in the approach:

  1. 1857 Revolt against British Policies.
  2. English Education and interaction between the Indian and the western cultures helped Indians to know the world affairs, this raised aspirations of the people which forced British to change in Administrative process.
  3. Establishment of Indian National Congress in 1885 forced British to Include Indians in Administration.

Conclusion

The Revolt of 1857 gave a severe jolt to the British administration in India and made its reorganization inevitable. Some of the British administrative policies were highly effective which are even today reflecting in Indian Government administration.

 

Topic:  Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3. The time has come to insist that the work women perform for the family should be valued equally with men’s work during the continuance of marriage. Do you think that women should be paid ‘salary’ for the domestic household work they perform? Debate. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Veteran actor Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam party who recently promised salaries for housewives as a part of the party’s election manifesto, has revived the debate on the recognition of domestic work as work.

Key Demand of the question:

To debate as to whether household work performed by women on a daily basis must be paid for by their counterparts.

Directive:

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by mention the various nature of household services provided by women on a daily basis and how it is unpaid and not included in national income.

Body:

Write a few stats related to unpaid nature of household work and the number of women who engage in it without any recognition on a daily basis from the article.

Argue for case of women to be paid for domestic household work. Mention legal cases, facts figures and the historical perspectives that are given in the article to substantiate your arguments.

In the next part, argue for the downside of what happens, if we recognize the women household work as ‘salary’ in pure employee-employer relationship.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced way forward.

Introduction:

A report published by the International Labour Organization in 2018 shows that, globally, women perform 76.2% of total hours of unpaid care work, more than three times as much as men. In Asia and the Pacific, this figure rises to 80%.

Origins of the demand

  1. The demand for ‘wages for housework’ arose in the context of struggle and consciousness-raising associated with the Second Wave of the women’s movement in North America and Europe.
  2. Alongside other demands for social and political equality, women’s rights campaigners made visible and also politicised women’s everyday experience of housework and child care in the ‘private’ realm of the household.
  3. In doing this, they challenged the assumption that a ‘natural’ affinity for housework was rooted in the essential nature of women who were performing a ‘labour of love’.
  4. For leading women’s rights activists of the 1960s and 1970s, it was important to bust the myth that women’s work at home was a personal service with no links to capitalist production.
  5. In a concrete sense, this meant linking the exploitation of the worker in the factory to women’s work at home.
  6. From the nine-month period of gestation in the womb, women’s daily chores of cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing clothes, preparing lunch boxes and so on produced the labour power that was daily consumed in the shop-floor or the assembly line and had to be reproduced afresh every day.
  7. By providing free services in the home, women made possible the survival of working-class households at subsistence-level wages, with obvious benefits for industry and capital.
  8. Despite the links between the ‘housewife’ and the factory worker, the unwaged status of the former accounted for crucial differences between them.
  9. Housework, on the other hand, had come to define the very nature of a woman. This disallowed women from seeing it as ‘real work’ or as a social contract.
  10. More fundamentally, the very demand for a wage was a repudiation of housework as an expression of women’s nature.

Arguments: The value of unpaid housework:

  1. Our society has silently decided that household chores belong to the domain of women’s responsibilities and activities.
  2. It has also determined that this work shall carry no economic value. But why should that be the case?
  3. Why should the enormous household chores and farm labour done by women not be acknowledged in India’s socio-economic policy framework?
  4. The government is perpetrating gender bias by not measuring women’s role in making up the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
  5. India’s census clubs those doing domestic chores together with beggars and students into the non-working population.
  6. Census 2011 estimated the number of non-working population at 728.9 million.
  7. The authoritative definition says these are the people who had not undertaken work of any nature in the reference time period.
  8. Of these, 165.6 million persons’ main work was “discharge of household responsibilities”.
  9. They are mostly women—96.5 per cent or 159.9 million. Only 3.45 million men’s main work is homemaking.
  10. There is a clear and present need to not only recognise this work but also redistribute it.
  11. Household duties should be shared among the members of a family. A study in Uttarakhand, published in 2011 in Mountain Research and Development Journal titled “Women’s Contribution to Household Food and Economic Security: A Study in the Garhwal Himalayas, India”, drives home this point.
  12. Women in the mountainous region reported they “did not do any work”. However, when their activities were analysed, it was noticed that while the men in the region worked for nine hours a day on an average, the women were toiling for 16 hours.

Other side views: An unresolved issue:

  1. There was disagreement among the women ideologues of the Second Wave on what payment of a wage would actually mean for women.
  2. The sociologist, Ann Oakley, who studied the history of housework in her path-breaking books published in the 1970s, was among those who believed that ‘wages for housework’ would only imprison women further within the household, increase their social isolation and dissuade men from sharing housework.
  3. Others too argued that the goal of the women’s movement must be, to not ask for wages, but to free women from the daily drudgery of routine domestic chores and enable them to participate fully in all spheres of social life, including paid employment outside the household.
  4. The debate around monetary remuneration for housework remained unresolved within the women’s movement, even as the tools to measure the value that women’s unpaid work adds to national economies have grown more sophisticated.
  5. However, the underlying issue, which is the disproportionate share of women’s responsibility for the work that sustains human life and reproduces labour power, remains as pressing as ever.

Struggle for legislation:

In this context, it is worth mentioning that an important campaign on the question of household labour has been taking place in India.

This is the ongoing struggle for national legislation for domestic workers. These are predominantly women who perform ‘women’s work’ but in other people’s homes.

They are, therefore, uniquely positioned to make this work visible and demand that its conditions be regulated, minimum wages guaranteed, and the workers’ status and rights protected.

However, the demand that the state recognise housework is significant and its radical core must not be missed, as the historical experience of the women’s movement shows us.

Conclusion:

The question of how to measure and account for the value of housework has been seriously addressed by women domestic workers and their trade unions in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere.

Their demands include an hourly minimum wage, a weekly day-off, an annual bonus and the protection of their bodily autonomy in the workspace.

This is an agenda that all parties, and not just the MNM, could incorporate in their election manifestos, should they take seriously the mandate of ‘recognizing and monetizing’ housework.

If domestic workers emerge as a strong force that succeeds in asserting the dignity of housework and making it a visible and valued form of labour, this can only be a good thing for all women performing housework in the long run.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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.

4. Many States have not been able to provide quality supply, especially to rural and small electricity consumers. The enactment of consumer-centric rules brings the rights of consumers to the fore. In this regard, critically analyze the newly promulgated “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020” (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindupib.gov.in

Why the question:

Union Government for the first time lays down Rights to the Electricity Consumers through “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020”

Key Demand of the question:

To analyze “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020” and see if these new rules are adequate to solve the woes of electric consumers in India.

Directive:

Critically analyze – 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. 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:

Begin by writing about the aims and objectives of “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020”

Body:

In the first part, briefly mention the consumer side issues of electricity sector in India. Distribution Companies monopolies, Lack of Choice, no quality supply, rural-urban disparity, no focus on small electricity consumers and lack of grievance redressal etc.

In the light of the above mention the “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020” and how they try and address the above issues. Analyze the pros. t new electricity connections, refunds and other services are given in a time bound manner, willful disregard to consumer rights will result in levying penalties, Call Centre for Consumer Services, Reliability of supply and Grievance redressal mechanism etc.

Analyze the shortcomings of the rules – lack of accountability, doubts on the efficacy of automatic compensation payments, overburdened DISCOMS, dilution of progressive mechanisms and detrimental to investments in rooftop solar units etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Recently, the government has notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020, which would allow consumers in India to access a continuous supply of reliable electricity. Electricity is a Concurrent List or List-III (Seventh Schedule) subject and the central government has the authority and the power to make laws on it.

Body:

These rules serve to “empower” consumers with rights that would allow them to access continuous supply of quality, reliable electricity.

  • The following areas are covered under the rules:
    • Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees;
    • Release of new connection and modification in existing connection;
    • Metering arrangement;
    • Billing and payment;
    • Disconnection and reconnection;
    • Reliability of supply;
    • Consumer as ‘prosumer’;
    • Standards of performance of licensee;
    • Compensation mechanism;
    • Call Centre for consumer services;
    • Grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Key Provisions:
    • States will have to implement these rules and DISCOMs will be held more accountable for issues like delays in providing and renewing connections of electricity.
    • They are also obligated to provide round-the-clock electricity to consumers, as per the Ministry of Power.
    • To ensure compliance, the government will apply penalties that will be credited to the consumer’s account.
    • There are certain exceptions to these rules, especially where use for agricultural purposes is concerned.
  • Challenge and Issues to Consumer empowered:
    • Poor quality supply: Many States have not been able to provide quality supply, especially to rural and small electricity consumers.
    • Minimum standards: The Rules lay an emphasis on national minimum standards for the performance parameters of electricity distribution companies (DISCOMs) without urban-rural distinction.
    • Automatically compensation to consumer account: reiterate the need for automatically compensating consumers, especially for new connections for BPL, metering and billing.
    • Lack of accountability: it is on account and implement the accounting is a lack of accountability systems to enforce them.
    • Hours of supply: Guarantee and provision of round the clock supply which might be missing in State regulations.
    • Discrimination between rural and urban supply: according to government reports, rural areas received about 20 hours of supply, urban have 24 hours.
    • Electricity meter-related complaints: The Rules say that faulty meters should be tested within 30 days of receipt of a complaint vary from state to state.
    • Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum: The Rules say forum constituted to remedy complaints against DISCOMs as per existing laws and regulations should be headed by a senior officer of the company. But its vary from state to state.
    • The Rules are not forward looking: the government’s intent to promote rooftop solar systems. They guarantee net metering for a solar rooftop unit less than 10 kW, rule vary from state to state because of it inter petition.
  • Indian energy demand and capability:
    • Due to large population growth and economic development in India, this could make the country responsible for about 11% of total global energy consumption in 2040.
    • The country today has about 35 GW of installed solar generation capacity, and 38 GW of wind power, according to government data. India has set targets of 100 GW of power from solar projects, and 60 GW from wind power, by March 2022.
    • India’s residential electricity consumption is expected to at least double by 2030. As households buy more electric appliances to satisfy their domestic needs.
    • The thermal power remains the mainstay; India’s energy-mix is tilting in favor of RE (Renewable Energy) whose share in total power generation has increased from 3.7 per cent in 2008-09 to 9.2 per cent in 2018-19. 
  • Solutions:
    • We need to improve the availability and affordability of energy-efficient appliances. For instance, despite a voluntary labelling scheme since 2009, less than 5% of ceiling fans produced in India are star-rated. While the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) plans to bring ceiling fans under mandatory labeling from 2022.
    • The States most have been able to provide quality supply with law, especially to rural and small electricity consumers.
    • A useful way to protect consumers would be to nudge SERCs to assess the SoP reports of DISCOMs and revise their regulations more frequently
    • The Forum of Regulators — a central collective of SERCs — could come up with updated model SoP regulations.
    • The Central Electricity Authority of India could be directed to collect supply quality data from DISCOMs, publicly host them on online portals and prepare analysis reports.
    • The central government could disburse funds for financial assistance programmers based on audited SoP reports.
    • The center state most focused one-time effort, electrification drives could provide connections across the country. But ensuring round the clock supply will require continuous efforts.
    • State most insure accountability on quality data from DISCOMs account.
    • Use of online access to various services such as application submission, monitoring status of application, payment of bills, status of complaints raised, etc., to consumers through its website, web portal, mobile app and its various designated offices area-wise.
    • The distribution licensee shall provide all services such as application submission, payment of bills, etc., to senior citizens at their door-steps.
  • Way forward:
    • DISCOM shall arrange for due publicity through media, TV, newspaper, website and by display to bring awareness of consumer rights, SOP, Compensation mechanism, grievance Redressal, measures for energy efficiency and other schemes of DISCOM.
    • The cost-effective solar panels, storage technologies, and the realization of RE capacity target of 227 GW by 2022 could potentially drive spot price of electricity down further.
    • These rules are also an important step towards furthering the ease of doing business across the country. Implementation of these Rules shall ensure that new electricity connections, refunds and other services are given in a time bound manner.
    • The details of scheduled power outages shall be informed to the consumers. In case of unplanned outage or fault, immediate intimation shall be given to the consumers through SMS or by any other electronic mode along with estimated time for restoration.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

5. While the Indian agriculture is gradually becoming more hazardous due to climate change-driven factors, the farmers’ risk-bearing capacity is waning owing to steady shrinkage in the size of land holdings. A truly farmer-friendly Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) would, therefore, be a boon for them. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: Business – Standard 

Why the question:

The government’s flagship scheme for crop insurance, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), is yet to overcome hiccups despite having completed five years of existence and undergone a thorough revamp in February 2020.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reforms needed in PMFBY in order to bolster it to solve farmers’ issues resulting of uncertain climate and decreasing land holdings.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by writing about the aims of PMFBY and the recent changes that were brought in to it February 2020.

Body:

In the first part, write in detail the features of PMFBY incorporating the recent changes that were brought in the scheme.

In the next part, highlight the inadequacies of PMFBY which have not benefitted the farmers. Comprehensive coverage of risks, states’ inability to meet their obligations, insurance companies’ ability to make timely payments, Generation of yield-loss data, reporting of the losses and withdrawal of insurance companies etc.

Suggest steps to make PMFBY more farmer friendly which will help the scheme holistically cover the farmers in case of calamity related crop losses.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

India’s agricultural sector, which contributed 16 percent of the country’s GDP in 2017, supports the livelihoods of 43.9 percent of the population. Employment in this sector has decreased by 10 percentage points within a decade, from 53.1 percent in 2008 to 43.9 percent in 2018. The sector is facing manifold problems such as crop failures, non-remunerative prices for crops, and poor returns on yield. Agrarian distress is so severe, that it is pushing many farmers to despair; about 39 percent of the cases of farmer suicides in 2015 were attributed to bankruptcy and indebtedness

Body:

  • PM Fasal Bima Yojana (PMBFY):
    • Launched in April, 2016, after rolling back the earlier insurance schemes viz. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), Weather-based Crop Insurance scheme and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
    • Premium: It envisages a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5% for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5%.
    • Objectives:
      • Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events.
      • Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
      • Encouraging farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
      • Ensuring flow of credit to the agriculture sector which contributes to food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness of agriculture sector besides protecting farmers from production risks.
    • Cabinet Approves Changes in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to address the existing challenges in implementation.
    • Changes approved:
      • Allocation of business to Insurance Companies to be done for three years.
      • Central Subsidy under PMFBY/RWBCIS to be limited for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.
      • Districts having 50% or more irrigated area will be considered as irrigated area/district.
      • Flexibility to States/UTs to implement the Scheme with option to select any or many of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localized calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses.
      • For estimation of crop losses/admissible claims, two-Step Process to be adopted based on defined Deviation matrix” using specific triggers like weather indicators, satellite indicators, etc. for each area along with normal ranges and deviation ranges.
      • Enrolment under the Scheme to be made voluntary for all farmers.
      • Central Share in Premium Subsidy to be increased to 90% for North Eastern States from the existing sharing pattern of 50:50.
    • Benefits:
      • With these changes it is expected that farmers would be able to manage risk in agriculture production in a better way and will succeed in Stabilizing the farm income.
      • Further, it will increase coverage in north eastern region enabling farmers of NER to manage their agricultural risk in a better way.
      • These changes will also enable quick and accurate yield estimation leading to faster claims settlement.
    • Why the Programme needs an urgent fix:
      • Making the insurance business sustainable with actuarial premium rates is not going to help raise farmers’ incomes.
      • Insufficient reach and the issue of penetration.
      • Data constraints: With just around 45% of the claims made by farmers over the last three crop seasons data for the last rabi season is not available paid by the insurance companies
      • State governments:
        • The reason for the very low payout of claims is that few state governments are paying their share of the premiums on time and till they do, the central government doesn’t pay its share either. Till they get the premium, insurance companies simply sit on the claims.
        • Most states failed to provide smart phones to revenue staff to capture and upload data of crop cutting, which continues to come with enormous delay.
      • There is hardly any use of modern technology in assessing crop damages.
      • Gaps in assessment of crop loss:
        • The sample size in each village was not large enough to capture the scale and diversity of crop losses.
        • In many cases, district or block level agricultural department officials do not conduct such sampling on ground and complete the formalities only on paper.
        • There is lack of trained outsourced agencies, scope of corruption during implementation and the non-utilization of technologies like smart phones and drones to improve reliability of such sampling
        • Less number of notified crops than can avail insurance
      • Inadequate and delayed claim payment:
        • Insurance companies, in many cases, did not investigate losses due to a localized calamity and, therefore, did not pay claims.
        • Only 32 per cent of the reported claims were paid out by insurance companies, even when in many states the governments had paid their part of premium.
      • High actuarial premium rates: Insurance companies charged high actuarial premium rates
      • Massive profits for insurance companies
        • If states delay notifications, or payment of premiums, or crop cutting data, companies cannot pay compensation to the farmers in time.
        • There have been farmers protests in various states against compulsory coverage of loanee farmers under this scheme. Farmer activists fear that this scheme might end up benefitting insurance companies more than the farmers.
      • Coverage only for loanee farmers:
        • PMFBY remains a scheme for loanee farmers who take loans from banks are mandatorily required to take insurance. Like previous crop insurance schemes, PMFBY fails to cover sharecropper and tenant farmers
      • Poor capacity to deliver:
        • There has been no concerted effort by the state government and insurance companies to build awareness of farmers on PMFBY.
        • Insurance companies have failed to set-up infrastructure for proper Implementation of PMFBY.
        • There is still no direct linkage between insurance companies and farmers.
        • Insured farmers receive no insurance policy document or receipt.
        • Delayed notification by state governments
      • PMBY is not beneficial for farmers in vulnerable regions as factors like low indemnity levels, low threshold yields, low sum insured and default on loans make it a poor scheme to safeguard against extreme weather events.
      • However, merely increasing the budget allocation for PMFBY scheme might not help the farmers.
      • CAG report:
        • Private companies are not properly monitored and premium subsidy is released to them simply on the basis of affidavits provided by these companies without checking actual situation on the ground.
      • Way forward:
        • There is an urgent need to link the insurance database with Core Banking Solution (CBS) so that when premium is deducted from a farmer’s bank account, the bank sends him a message informing about the premium, sum insured and name of insurance company.
        • There is a need for a total insurance package like seed insurance through replanting guarantee Programme, crop cycle insurance, prepaid insurance card etc
        • Insurance unit has to be brought down to individual farm level
        • Use of drone and low-orbit satellites in place of traditional crop-cutting experiments could also lower payouts
        • Making claims payment fast and transparent
          • There should be strict compliance of timelines with regard to the process of claim settlement to provide adequate and timely compensation to farmers.
        • Danger of discouraging mixed cropping and crop diversification
          • A limited number of crops are notified by states under PMFBY. This can act as an impediment to crop diversification.
          • PMFBY will have to make insurance relevant to farmers by including more and more crops under notification and by allowing insurance for mixed cropping.
        • Improve scheme monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism
          • Toll-free number should serve as a one-stop solution for crop insurance. Farmers should be able to avail of a single window that is accountable to them for all aspects of the scheme.
        • Coverage of losses expanded:
          • Coverage of tenant and sharecropper farmers should increase
        • Awareness: Farmers must be informed before deducting crop insurance premium. They must be given a proper insurance policy document, with all relevant details.
        • Capacity building:
        • Panchayati Raj Institutions and farmers need to be involved at different stages of implementation.
        • Robust assessment of crop loss should be done through capacity building of state governments, involvement of PRIs and farmers in loss assessment, auditing and multi-level checking to ensure credibility of data and testing incorporating technology such as remote sensing, drones and online transmission of data.
        • Faster and appropriate claim settlement through technology:
        • To improve the efficacy of the PMFBY, technology use must be intensified. With options such as detailed weather data, remote sensing, modelling and big data analytics, the exercise of monitoring crop growth and productivity can be not only more accurate and efficient but also resource saving.
        • Hybrid indices, which integrate all relevant technologies into a single indicator, are good ways to determine crop losses. Their deployment can assist in multi-stage loss assessment and thus provide farmers with immediate relief for sowing failure, prevented sowing and mid-season adversity apart from final crop loss assessment.
        • The whole process of monitoring can be made accessible and transparent to farmers, policy-makers and insuring agencies alike through an online portal. Immediate claims settlements can be made once this is linked to the process of direct benefit transfers.

Conclusion

An effective crop insurance system is crucial in cushioning income losses for farmers, financing inputs for agricultural production, and increasing access to agricultural credit to boost agricultural productivity. The government must tackle these fundamental flaws and iron out the policy wrinkles in a scheme that was meant to mobilize financial resources for the agriculturally distressed.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

6. Conflict, arguments, and change are natural parts of our lives, as well as the lives of every agency, organization, and nation. How does emotional intelligence help in conflict resolution? (150 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To write the role of emotional intelligence in resolving conflicts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining conflict resolution in the light of the above given statement.

Body:

In brief mention about the conflicts and arguments that happen on daily basis and their nature. Give examples.

Next, mention how emotional intelligence plays in the process of conflict resolution process. Wrtie about self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management and their role in the resolution process. Substantiate with examples

Conclusion:

Write about importance of conflict resolution in an empathetic and a productive manner using EI.

Introduction:

Conflict resolution can be defined as the informal or formal process that two or more parties use to find a peaceful solution to their dispute.

Body:

  • Need of Conflict resolution:
    • Self-serving fairness interpretations: Rather than deciding what’s fair from a position of neutrality, we interpret what would be most fair to us, then justify this preference on the bases of fairness.
      • For example, department heads are likely to each think they deserve the lion’s share of the annual budget. Disagreements about what’s fairlead to clashes.
    • Overconfidence: We tend to be overconfident in our judgments, a tendency that leads us to unrealistic expectations. Disputants are likely to be overconfident about their odds of winning a lawsuit,
      • For example, an error that can lead them to shun a negotiated settlement that would save them time and money.
    • Escalation of commitment: Whether negotiators are dealing with a labor strike, a merger, or an argument with a colleague, they are likely to irrationally escalate their commitment to their chosen course of action, long after it has proven useful.
      • We desperately try to recoup our past investments in a dispute (such as money spent on legal fees), failing to recognize that such “sunk costs” should play no role in our decisions about the future.
    • Conflict avoidance: Because negative emotions cause us discomfort and distress, we may try to tamp them down, hoping that our feelings will dissipate with time.
      • In fact, conflict tends to become more entrenched, and parties have a greater need for conflict resolution when they avoid dealing with their strong emotions.
    • Emotional intelligence help in conflict resolution:
      • The four key components of emotional intelligence are:
        • Self-awareness: being aware of your reactions and tendencies
        • Self-management: staying on top of, and managing your reactions
        • Social awareness: being able to perceive what others are feeling and thinking and picking up on the emotions of others
        • Relationship management: using your awareness of your emotions and those of others to manage interactions; this includes communicating clearly and handling conflict.
        • Stress tolerance: To stay focused, stress should be managed and it involves own reactions to stress or the reactions of others to the stress. Employees with high EQs are more likely to listen, reflect, and respond to constructive criticism
        • Impulse control: Independent people evaluate the alternatives and initiate the work by taking appropriate action by executing the right options. People who manage their impulses avoid being distracted and losing control of the situation. Emotionally intelligent employees are more likely to keep their cool under pressure
        • Optimism: Optimistic people have a target that they’re aiming toward. These people are confident in their ability to carry out the required actions and meet the target by looking for successful solutions to problems.
        • Negotiation: For being able to empathize and be creative in finding win-win solutions will consistently pay off to all the stakeholders involved.

Conclusion:

Governance in modern times is becoming increasing complex with affective components of behaviour having a major role to play. Intelligence quotient alone can’t solve majority of problems an administrator faces, use of emotional intelligence is a must for better public service delivery as well as redressal.

 

Topic:  Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. Civil servants must not just lead by the example of their power but by the power of their example. Elaborate. (150 words).

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

A civil servant must not use their power to lead subordinates and people but become an example which itself is a power to lead them.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by describing by what you understand the above give statement in the question.

Body:

In the body, mention how civil servants are a repository wit vast power that the system bestows up on them. The civil servants use it to lead their subordinates and the people and govern them. But mention the drawbacks of such thing with examples.

Next, mention how leading by example is not just power in itself but a motivation for other to follow. It will supplement your efforts in governance and build credibility. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Summarize the importance of the above statement.

Introduction:

A civil servant must not use their power to lead subordinates and people but become an example which itself is a power to lead them.

Body:

  • Civil servants are a repository wit vast power that the system bestows up on them
    • Basis of Government: There can be no government without administrative machinery.
    • Implementing Laws & Policies: Civil services are responsible for implementing laws and executing policies framed by the government.
    • Policy Formulation: The civil service is chiefly responsible for policy formulation as well. The civil service officers advise ministers in this regard and also provides them with facts and ideas.
    • Stabilizing Force: Amidst political instability, the civil service offers stability and permanence. While governments and ministers can come and go, the civil services are a permanent fixture giving the administrative set up a sense of stability and continuity.
    • Instruments of Social Change & Economic Development: Successful policy implementation will lead to positive changes in the lives of ordinary people. It is only when the promised goods and services reach the intended beneficiaries, a government can call any scheme successful. The task of actualizing schemes and policies fall with the officers of the civil services.
    • Welfare Services: The services offer a variety of welfare schemes such as providing social security, the welfare of weaker and vulnerable sections of society, old-age pensions, poverty alleviation, etc.
    • Developmental Functions: The services perform a variety of developmental functions like promoting modern techniques in agriculture, promoting the industry, trade, banking functions, bridging the digital divide, etc.
    • Administrative Adjudication: The civil services also perform quasi-judicial services by settling disputes between the State and the citizens, in the form of tribunals, etc.
  • Draw Backs:
    • Inefficiency and misalignment with strategic national goals
      • For Example, IAS is hamstrung by political interference, outdated personnel procedures, and a mixed record on policy implementation
    • Institutionalized corruption
      • For Example, A paper prepared in 2012 by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions states that corruption is prevalent at all levels in civil services and it is institutionalized.
    • Misappropriation of funds
      • For Example, ₹1 lakh crore (US$14 billion) losses through corruption, waste and fraud occurred from the government’s National Rural Health Mission healthcare Programme, several of arrested high-level public servants died under mysterious circumstances including one in prison
    • Criminalization
      • For Example, In 2011, over a period of preceding three years more than 450 charge sheets for criminal cases of corruption were filed and a total of 943 corruption cases were at different stages of investigation by CBI against civil servants
    • Leading by example is not just power in itself but a motivation for other to follow
    • Leading by example helps other people see what lies ahead and act swiftly to counter any challenges along the way.
    • If a group is led by a person with poor leadership skills, the group will experience frequent conflicts as each person wants to do things their way.
    • One of the responsibilities of a leader is to inspire other people to do the best that they can do for the benefit of the organization.
    • To achieve this, the leader must show them the way by getting involved in the process – leading by example.
      • For example, a CEO may discourage unnecessary spending among employees to improve the business revenues. However, if the CEO changes his office furniture frequently, the employees will not take him seriously, and they will continue with the spending. But if the CEO stops unnecessary expenditure in his own office and works toward maximizing revenues, the employees will often follow suit.
    • Importance of Leading by Example
      • Organizational cohesiveness
      • It will supplement your efforts in governance and build credibility.
      • Respect and trust
        • A leader who leads by example positions himself as a credible person who deserves to be respected and trusted by the seniors and juniors.
      • Trendsetters
        • The actions of a leader serve as an unspoken standard of what is appropriate for the organization and what is not.

Conclusion:

Civil servants have been trained to deal with upcoming challenges arising out of globalization. They will have to shift their orientation from being controllers to facilitators and from being providers to enablers. They need to prepare themselves with the essential skills and capabilities to tackle these new challenges. They need to be proficient in new technologies and new styles of functioning for the growth of nation.


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