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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 June 2022

 

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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Prehistoric art of India is very important because it gives us insight into the development of the human mind and ways. Elaborate (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of pre-historic rock art.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the pre-historic period as a phase of human history.

Body:

First, mention the major sites where re historic rock art is found in India making the most easily available cultural data. Draw a map of sites for better presentation.

Next, write about significance of pre historic rock art and insights it gives us in to pre-history. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on the need to preserve ancient rock art.

Introduction

The distant past when there was no paper or language or the written word, and hence no books or written documents, is called prehistory, or, as we often say, prehistoric times. Paintings and drawings were the oldest art forms practiced by human beings to express themselves using the cave wall as their canvas. The prehistoric art help us to understand about early human beings, their lifestyle, their food habits, their daily activities and, above all, they help us understand their mind—the way they thought.

Body

Prehistoric rock-cut architecture: Vital sources of Ancient History

  • The Barabar caves located in the Jehanabad district in the state of Bihar, are the oldest surviving caves in India showcasing rock-cut architecture. Many pre-historic paintings show that they were mostly hunter gatherers.
    • It throws light on the kind of tools used by prehistoric people and evolution from Palaeolithic to Chalcolithic era.
  • Lomas Rishi caves They were constructed during Mauryan empire for Ajivika monks for their dwelling during rainy season. They consist of chaityas and viharas that mainly followed Hinayana style of architecture.
  • Ajanta caves were constructed as a shelter for Hinayana monks.
    • They are famous for their mural paintings that has developed into a separate painting school.
    • They illustrate Jataka tales and put light on way of life during the period.
  • Chaityas and Viharas: Other early cave temples were used by Buddhist and Jain monks as places of worship and residence found in western India.
    • Eg: Karla Caves.
  • Jainism and cave architecture: These can be dated between 6th century AD to 12th century AD
    • Caves are found at different places like Ellora, Elephanta, Badami etc. There are variations in the architectural elements according to the religions.
    • Sittanavasal caves are also examples of Jain caves.

Significance of prehistoric paintings in India

  • The way people lived in those times is difficult to surmise. It was only until scholars began to discover the places where prehistoric people lived.
  • Excavation at these places brought to light old tools, pottery, habitats, bones of ancient human beings and animals, and drawings on cave walls.
  • By piecing together the information deduced from these objects and the cave drawings, scholars have constructed fairly accurate knowledge about what happened and how people lived in prehistoric times.
  • These prehistoric paintings help us to understand about early human beings, their lifestyle, their food habits, their daily activities and, above all, they help us understand their mind—the way they thought.
  • Prehistoric period remains are a great witness to the evolution of human civilization, through the numerous rock weapons, tools, ceramics and bones.
  • More than anything else, the rock paintings are the greatest wealth the primitive human beings of this period left behind.

Importance of Megaliths

  • Megaliths are a vital element of landscape and for historical reasons they are a sui generis monument, commemorating prehistorical cultures.
  • Burial practices: Megaliths were constructed either as burial sites or commemorative (non-sepulchral) memorials. This helps identify various communities and contact between them by comparing burial practices.
  • Socio-religious beliefs: Goods of daily use have been found in megaliths used as graves. This reflects the belief of megalith people in life after death and belief in existence of soul.
  • Economic life: Goods related to hunting are found more as compared to agriculture. This signifies the fact that megalith people were hunter gatherers and did not practice advanced agriculture. Evidences of seeds of rice, wheat, millet, Barley, Pea etc. have been found in Megaliths.
  • Polity: Fact that megalith construction required efforts of a group of people points towards an organized polity. Also these were not built for commoners. They signify the emergence of a ruling class.
  • Technology: The range of iron artifacts recovered indicate that the megalithic people practiced a wide range of occupations and included carpenters, cobblers, bamboo craftsmen, lapidaries engaged in gemstone work, blacksmiths, coppersmiths and goldsmiths, proof of complex social organization.
  • Megaliths find mention in Sangam literature and Buddhist work Manimeklai.
  • At the same time, along with the remaining elements of the natural and cultural environment, they create a unique image of place identity, attracting large numbers of tourists.

Conclusion

Prehistoric art is a lens through which Archeologists have been able to predict the evolution of human kind with more accuracy. Various tools, objects and paintings tell us the type of social background of the people. It helps in verifying the social Darwinism as well as the growth trajectory of our ancestors. It is very important to preserve these sites, that have immense information stored through means of various art forms.

 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. Pala art is in a naturalistic style with a great attention to the ornamental detail and certain elegant virtuosity. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on Indiaccrtindia.gov.in

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various features of Pala school of art.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about the origins of Pala school of art.

Body:

First, write about the detailed features of Pala school of art – Pala style was transmitted chiefly by means of bronze sculptures and palm-leaf paintings, celebrating the Buddha and other divinities.

Next, write about development of naturalistic style among Pala style and attention to detail. Elaborate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The Pala dynasty ruled from 8th century to 12th century CE in the regions comprising Bihar and Bengal. The development of art which had been in a full-fledged manner during the Mauryas and Guptas was further carried out by Palas. Distinctive achievements of Palas are seen in the arts of architecture, sculpture, terracotta, painting and wall painting.

Body

Characteristics of Pala art:

  • Architecture:
    • Various mahaviharas,Stupas ,chaityas,temples and forts were constructed. Most of the architecture was religious with the first two hundred years dominated by Buddhist art and the last two hundred years by Hindu art.
    • Among the various mahaviharas, Nalanda, vikramashila, somapura, Traikutaka, Devikota, Pandita, Jagaddala vihara are notable. Planned residential buildings for monks were made.
    • Somapura Mahavihara, a World Heritage Site, was built by Dharmapala
    • large number of manuscripts on palm-leaf relating to the Buddhist themes were written and illustrated with the images of Buddhist deities at these centreswhich also had workshops for the casting of bronze images.
    • Somapura mahavihara at Paharpur ,a creation of Dharmapala is one of the largest Buddhist vihara in Indian sub continent ,its architectural plan had influenced the architecture of countries like Myanmar and Indonesia.
  • Temples:
    • The temples are known to express the local vanga style.
    • The ninth century siddheshvara mahadeva temple in Baraker shows a tall curving shikara crowned by a large amalaka and is an example of the early pala style.
    • The rock cave temple at Kahalgaon (9thcentury)shows the gabled vault roof characteristic of the South Indian architecture.
  • Terracotta:
    • Artistic and beautiful forms of terracotta were developed during the pala period. This art was developed for the purpose of decoration. Under this form of art such statues are made on walls which depict scenes from the religious and general life styles.
    • The terracotta plaques recovered from paharpur amply demonstrate the excellence of the art in the pala period.
  • Painting:
    • The earliest examples of miniature painting in India exist in the form of illustrations to the religious texts on Buddhism executed under the Palas of the eastern India .
    • There are two forms of painting manuscripts and wall painting
    • Manuscripts were written on palm leaves .In these paintings scenes of life of Buddha and several god and goddess of Mahayana sects are depicted.
    • The impact of tantricism on these paintings are easily visible.
    • Red,blue,black and white colours are used a primary colours
    • Pala painting is characterized by sinuous line, delicate and nervous lines ,sensuous elegance, linear and decorative accent and subdued tones of colour.
    • It is naturalistic style which resembles the ideal forms of contemporary bronze and stone sculpture and reflects some feeling of classical art of Ajanta with sensuous bias of art of Eastern India.
    • Wall painting has been found in Saradh and Sarai sthal in Nalanda district. At the bottom of the platform made of granite stone flowers of geometric shapes, images of animals and humans are found.
  • Pala sculpture:
    • The Gupta tradition of sculptural art attained a new height under the patronage of Pala rulers.
    • The art incorporated lot of local characteristics in Bengal under the Palas and it continued right up to the end of 12th
    • The sculptures of stones and bronze were constructed in largenumbers mostly in monastic sites of nalanda,Bodh Gaya etc
    • Most of the sculptures drew their inspiration from Buddhism. Apart from Buddha sculptures of gods and goddess of Hindu Dharmalike surya, Vishnu, Ganesh etc were constructed.
    • The finest sculptures include a female bust ,two standing Avalokiteshwara images from Nalanda
    • Buddhist sculptures is characterized by a prominent and elaborately carved black slab and lotus seat frequently supported by lions.
    • Generally only frontal parts of the body have been shown in the sculptures. The front as highly detailed and decorated.
    • Due to influence of tantrism the sculptures of god were given different touches like that of female ,animal etc.
    • Bronze casting was an important feature of pala sculptures.
    • Also present examples of artistic beauty carved out of stone sculptures. These are made of black basalt stones .
    • The pala style is marked by slim and graceful figures, elaborate jewellery and conventional decoration
    • The main features of pala sculptures is their free flowing movement. Almost all figures are of similar sizes and were carved out of grayish or white spotted sandstone.

Conclusion

The Pala art came to a sudden end after the destruction of the Buddhist monasteries at the hands of Muslim invaders in the first half of the 13th century. Some of the monks and artists escaped and fled to Nepal, which helped in reinforcing the existing art traditions there. Ramapala was the last strong Pala ruler. After his death, a rebellion broke out in Kamarupa during his son Kumarapala’s reign. So due to rebellions art was not focussed much.

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3. Urban areas are increasingly shaping water security as they grapple with the sustainable availability of water and navigate the barriers and options involved in protecting people and ecosystems against water-borne stresses and water-related hazards. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi: Global cities, fast-paced and exciting, symbolic of the rise of the new Asian century. These cities are the three biggest in the world, engines of economic growth, producing billions in economic activity for their residents and the world. But they have a problem: There is not enough fresh water available per person for their daily needs.

Key Demand of the question:

To write water security in Urban areas, issues related to it and ways to ensure it.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by citing statistic related to water stress in Urban areas.

 Body:

First, write the various issues associated with water scarcity in urban areas and its impact. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the possible solutions to ensure water security in urban areas to overcome the above-mentioned issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index(CWMI) said that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history. Taps in Shimla went dry in summer of 2018, posing an unprecedented water crisis in the hill town. According to a forecast by the Asian Development Bank, India will have a water deficit of 50% by 2030.

The three biggest cities in the world – Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi – engines of economic growth, producing billions in economic activity for their residents and the world. However, they have a problem: There is not enough fresh water available per person for their daily needs..

Body

Urban Water crisis

  • Many large cities are prone to water issues. Population and economic growth have led to environmental degradation.
  • Existing water supplies simply can’t keep up with the growing needs.
  • The issue is exacerbated by climate change where extreme weather events such as drought and floods are becoming more common.
  • Water security — having enough water to meet all living, irrigation and industry needs as well as a healthy surplus to adapt to major disasters — is steeply in decline.
  • For example, over-exploitation in Bangkok, Thailand, has severely reduced groundwater levels, causing land to subside.
  • Water sources around the city are also polluted due to the direct discharge of domestic sewage into drains and canals.
  • Similarly, Bangkok’s inadequate drainage capacity and its location in the Chao Phraya River floodplains make it susceptible to flooding.
  • Despite water being a prominent component of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations warns we are off-track on most targets relevant to water, food, and agriculture.
  • Freshwater availability is half that of the global average in Asia.
  • Water efficiency is also among the lowest in the world and a low water productivity means crop yields are low despite the relatively large amount of water supplied in agriculture production.
  • Climate experts have predicted that there will be fewer rainy days in the future but in those days it would rain more.

Causative factors for water crisis:

  • A combination of population explosion, unplanned growth of the city and its expansion to some traditional catchment areas (a region from which rainfall flows into a river, lake, or reservoir) have led to a reduction in the natural flow of water, and large-scale deforestation.
  • Climate change, leading to much lower precipitation during the winter months. As a result, the natural flow and recharge of water in the region has fallen sharply
  • Failure of State governments to check unplanned development and exploitation of water resources. There is no attempt at the central or state levels to manage water quantity and quality
  • The vegetation pattern has changed, tree cover is shrinking and unscientific dumping of debris in water streams is rampant.
  • The debris blocks the natural course of water bodies.
  • Increasing number of tube wells resulting in depletion of groundwater.
  • Changes in farming patterns lead to consumption of more water for irrigation and also change the soil profile because of the use of fertilizers
  • The states ranked lowest like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand – are home to almost half of India’s population along with the majority of its agricultural produce.
  • There is also a lack of interest in maintaining India’s traditional water harvesting structures.

Measures needed:

  • Structural measures:
    • Putting in place an efficient piped supply system (without leakage of pipes) has to be top on the agenda.
    • Ancient India had well-managed wells and canal systems. Indigenous water harvesting systems need to be revived and protected at the local level. Examples: Karez, Bawli, Vav etc
    • Digging of rainwater harvesting pits must be made mandatory for all types of buildings, both in urban and rural areas.
    • Treating the Greywater and reusing it needs to be adopted by countries like Israel (upto 85%). It could be used to recharge depleted aquifers and use on crops.
    • Initiatives such as community water storage and decentralized treatment facilities, including elevated water towers or reservoirs and water ATMs, based on a realistic understanding of the costs involved, can help support the city’s water distribution.
    • Technologies capable of converting non-drinkable water into fresh, consumable water, offering a potential solution to the impending water crisis are needed. Example: Desalination technologies in Coastal areas, Water-sterilization in polluted water areas.
  • Non-structural measures:
    • The World Bank’s Water Scarce Cities Initiative seeks to promote an integrated approach, aims at managing water resources and service delivery in water-scarce cities as the basis for building climate change resilience.
    • Groundwater extraction patterns need to be better understood through robust data collection
    • Decentralisation of irrigation commands, offering higher financial flows to well-performing States through a National Irrigation Management Fund.
    • Public awareness campaigns, tax incentives for water conservation and the use of technology interfaces can also go a long way in addressing the water problem. Example, measures such as water credits can be introduced with tax benefits as incentives for efficient use and recycling of water.
    • A collaborative approach like the adoption of a public-private partnership model for water projects can help. Example, in Netherlands, water companies are incorporated as private companies, with the local and national governments being majority shareholders.
    • Sustained measures should be taken to prevent pollution of water bodies and contamination of groundwater.
    • Ensuring proper treatment of domestic and industrial waste water is also essential.

Conclusion

Primarily water is not valued in India. “People think it is free”. In order to meet the future urban water challenges, there needs to be a shift in the way we manage urban water systems. An Integrated Urban Water Management approach must be adopted which involves managing freshwater, wastewater, and storm water, using an urban area as the unit of management.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4. The Indo-Pacific construct has significantly enhanced the strategic salience of ASEAN. India’s Indo-Pacific strategy works in tandem with its Act East Policy. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express ,Insights on India

Why the question:

The recent India-Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi appeared on the geopolitical scene almost against the trend of events, with the high-profile focus on Europe at one end and on the Quad at the other. Yet, it was one of the most welcome events.

Key Demand of the question:

To understand the role of strategic partnership with ASEAN and its mutual benefits for both sides and its role in India’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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: 

Begin by mentioning the historic engagement of India-ASEAN relationship.

Body:

First, write about India’s of strategic partnership with ASEAN – bring out the importance of geographical proximity of the ASEAN countries and its strategic, security and economic implications to India. Also mention about the sociocultural dynamics, mobilisation of group level funds and promotion of domestic infrastructure projects based on few examples.

Next, write about the linkages between India’s Indo-Pacific strategy and Act East Policy.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating that a good relation with ASEAN nations is crucial for India, in order for India to look beyond its neighbours, in its global diplomatic journey.

Introduction

Under the AEP, the India-Japan strategic partnership has been lifted to an entirely new level, underscoring the importance of Indo- Pacific cooperation. India believes in an Indo-Pacific that is free, open and inclusive, and one that is founded upon a cooperative and collaborative rules-based order. ASEAN’s centrality remains the abiding contemporary characteristic of the Indo-Pacific at the regional level.

India has placed the Indo-Pacific at the heart of its engagement with the countries of south, southeast and east Asia to counter China.

Body

India’s of strategic partnership with ASEAN

  • India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of her foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy. India and ASEAN already have 25 years of Dialogue Partnership, 15 years of Summit Level interaction and 5 years of Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.
  • Economic Cooperation: ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner.India’s trade with ASEAN stands at approx. 10.6% of India’s overall trade.
    • India’s export to ASEAN stands at 11.28% of our total exports. The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been completed.
    • ASEAN India-Business Council (AIBC) was set up in 2003 to bring key private sector players from India and the ASEAN countries on a single platform.
  • Socio-Cultural Cooperation: Programmes to boost People-to-People Interaction with ASEAN, such as inviting ASEAN students to India, Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentarians, etc.
  • Delhi Declaration: To identify Cooperation in the Maritime Domain as the key area of cooperation under the ASEAN-India strategic partnership.
  • Delhi Dialogue: Annual Track 1.5 event for discussing politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India.
  • ASEAN-India Centre (AIC): To undertake policy research, advocacy and networking activities with organizations and think-tanks in India and ASEAN.

Linkages between India’s Indo-Pacific strategy and Act East Policy

  • Political Security Cooperation: India places ASEAN at the centre of its Indo-Pacific vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region.
  • Act East consequently represents the securitization of India’s eastward engagement, reflects a wider scope that encompasses the Indo-Pacific region, and heralds a greater urgency.
    • It is meant to preserve a favourable balance of power by ensuring a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
  • The Indo-Pacific region is also highly heterogeneous in terms of economic size and level of development.
    • There are significant differences in security establishments and resources.
    • More than tariff barriers, the non-tariff measures (NTMs) act as a major impediment to trade in this region.
    • Strengthening of India’s relationship with ASEAN also implies strengthening of the foundation of Indo-Pacific.
  • Indo-pacific was inherently a construct to counter Chinese aggression in the region, aided by USA and other nations. Without ASEAN, it will fall short of its objectives as many ASEAN nations have disputes with China regarding South China sea and disputed islands.
  • A greater cooperation with ASEAN under Act East and Indo-pacific can lead to rebalancing of relations in Asia.

Challenges remain

  • The Quad does not inspire confidence because of its long history of differences and the slow development of its security orientation.
  • Perhaps that was also one of the reasons for the creation of AUKUS, a kind of supplementary arrangement to inspire more confidence and message the US intent of relying on a plethora of relationships that it enjoys.
  • Asean is unable to understand the nature of the relationship between India and China which brings close economic cooperation between the two giants and yet a massive trust deficit.
    • Sino-Indian relations remain a bugbear for Asean.
    • Except for the Singapore think tanks which find a fair presence of Indian intelligentsia, the other Asean nations do not have the benefit of listening to and constantly appreciating the Indian standpoint on the relationship between India and China.
  • Asean is not convinced by India’s exit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) after eight long years of negotiation.
    • India was always convinced that its interests were not served because it would get swamped by Chinese exports and upset the already tenuous trade deficit.

Conclusion

ASEAN centrality would be a major driving force for speeding up cooperation within the Indo-Pacific. India will continue to play a key role in stabilising and fostering co-operation in the region. The Indo-Pacific would not only strengthen economic relations, but would, also enhance regional capacities while dealing with the region’s complex security challenges.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

5. With the emergence of technology-enabled gig work platforms, gig economy will be a major building block in inclusively achieving the $5 trillion economy goal, bridging the income and unemployment gap. Critically Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The government’s policy think tank Niti Aayog has recommended that measures should be taken to provide for social security, including paid leave, occupational disease and work accident insurance, support during irregularity of work and pension plans, for the gig workforce in the country, which is expected to grow to 2.35 crore by 2029-30.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the role and limitations of gig economy in achieving 5 trillion dollars economy.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving the advent of gig work in the recent past and statistic related to it.

Body:

First, write how technology has resulted in furtherance of gig work and pandemic also played a part in it.

Next, write about the various benefits associated with gig work and its role in achieving 5 trillion-dollar economy – upgrading or augmenting skills, equipping modern tools for better efficiency, people at gig jobs can earn more, some becoming even micro-entrepreneurs.

Next, write about the various limitations and drawbacks associated with gig works.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to overcome the above drawbacks.

Introduction

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.

According to a study by the government’s policy think tank Niti Aayog, the gig workforce in the country, which is expected to grow to 2.35 crore by 2029-30.According to the study released by Niti Aayog, the number of workers engaged in the gig economy is estimated to be 77 lakh in 2020-21.

Body

The potential of India in becoming the capital of gig-workers of the world:

  • Industry bodies have been conducting several studies on this parallel economy and just before the advent of the pandemic had predicted India’s gig economy to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 per cent to touch $455 billion in the next three years.
  • India at present has around 15 million freelance workers engaged in projects in sectors like IT, HR, and designing. In comparison, there are almost 53 million independent workers in the US.
  • The present Covid-19 scenario would push more of the conventional workforces towards the gig economy in India.
  • India’s workforce is adding almost four million people every year, this would have a big impact on the gig economy in the near future.
  • Even in India, firms are shrinking in size, giving rise to a large number of start-ups specialized in taking up non-core activities on contractual basis.
  • The recent Periodic Labour Force Survey from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation shows unemployment rate at a 45-year high, at 6.1%; the highest levels of joblessness is among urban youth.
  • Other reports show that over the past two years’ domestic consumption has reduced, industrial growth has flatlined, private investments are lower, and market volatility has hit drivers of employment.
  • And so, not surprisingly, many, including undergraduates and diploma holders, now look at the gig economy as a stop-gap solution until the market turns.
  • Human resources firm Team Lease estimates that 13 lakh Indians joined the gig economy in the last half of 2018-19, registering a 30% growth compared to the first half of the fiscal year.
  • Better Place, a digital platform that does background verification and skill development in the informal sector, estimates that of the 21 lakh jobs that will be created in the metros in 2019-20, 14 lakhs will be in the gig economy.
  • Food and e-commerce delivery will account for 8 lakh positions and drivers will account for nearly 6 lakh positions, says the report, based on 11 lakh profiles in over 1,000 companies.
  • Delhi, Bengaluru and other metros are expected to be the biggest drivers of this sector. And two-thirds of this workforce will be under the age of 40.

Key Challenges

  • This workforce has limited employment rights like minimum wages, health benefits, sick leaves or even retirement benefits to fall back on.
  • Also, the payment is assured only on the completion of the project giving a sense of financial insecurity.
  • The lack of any kind of protection was also deterring several talented workers against participating in the economy
  • The Central government recently passed the social security code which could cover gig worker as well.
  • One of the key proposals includes the creation of a social security fund which is around 1 per cent of the aggregators’ annual turnover.
  • This fund would be used primarily for the welfare of the unorganized and the gig workforce

Way Forward

  • The government needs to come out with some more regulations to protect the workforce of the gig economy.
  • Also, at present, there is no mechanism to address the issue of redress of disputes.
  • It could also mean countries coming together to set up a platform to extend their labour protection to the workforce who are working part-time in their country.
  • Companies employing the workforce on a temporary basis should also be made responsible to contribute to their insurance and social obligation other than just their tax commitment.
  • Constant upskilling and reskilling is required for such talents to stay industry relevant and market ready.
  • The government needs to come out with some more regulations to protect the workforce of the gig economy.
  • Countries must come together to set up a platform to extend their labour protection to the workforce who are working part-time in their country.
  • Companies employing the workforce on a temporary basis should also be made responsible to contribute to their insurance and social obligation other than just their tax commitment.
  • Basic labour protection like minimum wages, paid leave provisions and maternity benefits should be available to gig workers as well.
  • The government needs to come out with a comprehensive legislation to empower and motivate many to take this path.

Conclusion

The scope of the gig economy in a country like India is enormous. The government needs to come out with a comprehensive legislation to empower and motivate many to take this path. The gig economy and its workforce cannot be overlooked when we talk about the future of employment.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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.

6. What is objectivity? Discuss its importance in public service as well as in private life. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Conceptual Tuesdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of objectivity in public service and priave life.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining objectivity.

Body:

Write about how Objectivity helps in taking decisions based upon established facts and figures, helps avoid personal opinion and bias and arrive at fair decision.

Cite suitable examples to substantiate your points in public service and private life.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by stressing on its significance.

Introduction

Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject‘s individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, and opinions (mind-independent).

Body

Importance of Objectivity:

  • Critical thinking: By thinking both pros and cons and then taking a decision.
  • Right to review decisions: within judicial / administrative procedure, there should be mechanism for appellate board e.g. in taxation, land acquisition etc.
  • Right to be heard: often officers don’t hear the complaint or opinion of people properly and just do the things that are in their mind. Hence new schemes should have ‘social audit / public hearing’ components.
  • Information management: if you don’t have hardcore information /statistics, you can’t take objective decisions. E.g. sustainable development goals (SDG) have 17 goals and 169 targets. Previously in Millennium development goals (MDG), we had 18 indicators, yet we lacked proper statistical databases to compare performance. Lack of data, prevents us from finding the faults and fixing them.
  • Transparency:g. right to information act. Bureaucrat will think twice before taking subjective/discretionary decisions, fearing that he’ll have to answer it if someone files an RTI

Relevance of Objectivity in Public Services:

  • Being non-partisan
    • Objectivity will help civil servants to be non-partisan, impartial and more service oriented.
    • For example District collector in making appointments needs to give priority to merit rather than other factors like the caste or background of the caste.
  • Critical thinking and taking rational decisions
    • By thinking both pros and cons and then taking a decision.
    • It also contributes in rational merit based decision makings in day to day work of them. Team work, solving emergency issues like riotous situation.
    • within judicial / administrative procedure, there should be mechanism for appellate board g. in taxation, land acquisition etc.
    • It also plays a big role in reducing menace of corruption from the system.
  • Right to be heard:
    • often officers don’t hear the complaint or opinion of people properly and just do the things that are in their mind. Hence new schemes should have ‘social audit / public hearing’ components.
  • Information management:
    • if you don’t have hardcore information /statistics, you can’t take objective decisions.
    • g. sustainable development goals (SDG) have 17 goals and 169 targets. Previously in Millennium development goals (MDG), we had 18 indicators, yet we lacked proper statistical databases to compare performance. Lack of data, prevents us from finding the faults and fixing them.
  • Transparency:
    • Being objective ensures that work of civil servant becomes fair, transparent and visionary above all narrow considerations of kinship, nepotism, favouritism.
    • g. right to information act. Bureaucrat will think twice before taking subjective/discretionary decisions, fearing that he’ll have to answer it if someone files an RTI

Relevance in Private life

  • Objectivity is necessary to get an accurate explanation of how things work in the world.
    • g.: In a country like India, where black magic, superstition is still prevalent, objectivity becomes very imperative in bursting the myths.
  • It helps to tackle prejudices and stereotypes.
    • g.: The disabled and crippled are seen as a curse, while being unaware of the scientific reasons behind it.
    • The women are always held responsible for birth of a girl child while the actual fact remains that it is the man and his genes which is responsible for sex of the child.
  • Objectivity helps to tackle fake news menace which is growing at rampant rate.
  • Objectivity helps to overcome the ethical dilemmas, value judgement & complexities of social phenomena.

Conclusion

In public life objectivity as a value must strive for in all interaction but at many times being objective become difficult. Fairness as a value closest to objectivity can be practiced which progressively leads to objectivity.

 

Topic:  accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

7. Government organisations suffer from opacity and inherent lack of information. What are ways to ensure transparency and accountability in government organisations?  (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Conceptual Tuesdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about ways to build and maintain a culture of accountability in government organisations

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining transparency and accountability.

Body:

First. Write about how it transparency and accountability are not prioritised in government offices.

Next, with relevant examples elaborate on how an culture of accountability can be instilled – citizen charters, RTI, Reward & Recognition, Autonomy & Trust, Feedback & Coaching, communication etc.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer writing about the link between accountability and efficiency.

Introduction

The idea of good governance is as old as Indian civilization. ‘Raj Dharma’ was the supreme code of conduct or the rule of law that governed all the actions of the ruler. This description of good governance is found in ancient Indian scriptures such as the Mahabharata, Shukracharyas’s Nitisar, Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, Valmiki’s Ramayana and especially in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Two main aspects of good governance are transparency and accountability.

Body

Transparency involves the release of information and requires an open attitude about actions and decisions, indicated by the degree to which the principal (on whose behalf the agent is supposed to act) can monitor and evaluate the actions of the agent (who does the action)

Transparency, in governance context, is honesty and openness. Transparency is about information. It is about the ability of the receiver to have full access to the information he wants, not just the information the sender is willing to provide.

Accountability exists in a relationship between two parties where one has expectations of the other, and the other is obliged to provide information about how they have met these expectations or face the consequences of failing to do so.  There are two components of accountability: Answerability & Enforcement.

Ways to ensure transparency and accountability

  • The Right to Information Act, 2005: This establishes the legal right for a citizen to access the information that they want. Right to Information law not only require governments to provide information upon request, but also impose a duty on public bodies to actively disclose, disseminate and publish, as widely as possible, the information of general public interest even before it has been requested (as per section 4(1)(b) of the Act).
  • Thus, RTI is a tool through which citizens can examine, audit, review and assess the government works and decisions to ensure that these are consistent with the principles of public interest, integrity and justice.
    • Under the Right to Information Act, public servants can also be questioned on their conduct Polity & Governance – II 134 and, thus, it makes them accountable.
    • Right to information therefore promotes openness, transparency and accountability in administration by making the government more open to public scrutiny.
  • Citizen’s Charter Act: Under the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressed of their Grievances Act, 2011 every public authority is required to publish a Citizens Charter specifies the category of goods supplied and services rendered by it, the time frame within which such goods shall be supplied or services be rendered; to establish information and facilitation centre for efficient and effective delivery of services and redressal of grievances.
  • Social Audit: Social audits refer to a legally mandated process where potential and existing beneficiaries evaluate the implementation of a programme by comparing official records with ground realities. These audits were first made statutory in the 2005 Rural Employment Act. The objectives of social audits include providing accurate identification of requirements; prioritization of developmental activities as per requirements; proper utilization of funds; the conformity of the developmental activity with the stated goals and; quality of service.
    • The involvement of people in developmental activities through social audit ensures that money is spent where it is actually needed along with reduction of wastages and corruption.
    • It promotes integrity and a sense of community among people and leads to improved standard of governance.
  • Ombudsman: Also called the Lokpal and the Lokayukta, it is an anti-corruption authority constituted at the national and state levels respectively. It investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances. The public can directly approach the Lokayukta with complaints of corruption, nepotism or any other form of maladministration against any government official.
    • A Lokayukta inquiries into allegations of corruption, misuse of authority and wrong doings of public functionaries, including the Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs.
  • e-Governance: The National e-Governance Plan aims at electronic delivery of all public services to citizens through common service delivery outlets. It ensures greater efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man.

Conclusion

Governments today operate in a very complex environment with stakeholders consisting of different interest groups, competing demands on limited resources and complex legal requirements, therefore a more resilient accountability and transparency mechanism is required that encourages responsible governance.


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