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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 July 2023

 

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


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. While the Green Revolution succeeded in alleviating immediate food shortages and boosting agricultural productivity, its social impact was limited due to uneven distribution of benefits and increased dependency. 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-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the pros and cons of green revolution in India.

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 giving context of introduction of HYV in India in the face of acute food crisis leading to the green revolution.

Body:

In the first part, write about the pros and cons of the green revolution. The HYV technology increased agricultural output manifold, increase in yield of crops, fast adoption, modern equipment, self-sufficiency etc. Cons like disparities, ecological impact, use of chemical fertiliser etc.

Next part, write about the constraints that limited the spread of HYV – irrigation, lack of farmer’s knowledge, unsatisfactory land tenure system etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The green revolution in India  in 1960’s and 70’s refers to a period when Indian Agriculture was converted into an industrial system due to the adoption of modern methods and technology such as the use of HYV seeds, tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers. The Economic Survey 2015-16 claimed Indian agriculture to be “a victim of its own success—especially the green revolution”, by becoming cereal-centric, regionally biased and input-intensive (land, water and fertilizers).

Norman-e-Borlaug is considered as the father of Green Revolution in World while M.S. Swaminathan is considered as the father of Green Revolution in India.

Body

 

Pros of Green Revolution

  • Increase in Agricultural Production and productivity: The production and productivity of wheat, rice, maize and bajra has substantially increased.
  • Less Dependence on Imports: After the green revolution, India was finally on its way to self-sufficiency. There was now enough production for the population and to build a stock in case of emergencies. In fact, India was able to start exporting its agricultural produce.
  • A Benefit to the Farmers: The Green Revolution has increased the income of farmers and landless labourers. It enabled them to shift to commercial farming from only sustenance farming.
  • Dispersal of Rice and Wheat cultivation to non-traditional areas: Green Revolution spread the Rice cultivation to the semi-arid areas of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, and the wheat cultivation has spread to the areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and some parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.

Cons of Green Revolution

  • Focus only on Food Grains: Although all food-grains including wheat, rice, jowar, bajra and maize have gained from the revolution, other crops such as coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds were left out of the ambit of the revolution.
    • Major commercial crops like cotton, jute, tea and sugarcane were also left almost untouched by the Green Revolution.
    • This ultimately led to the dangerous trend of Monocropping.
    • Also, neglect of oilseeds has now led to extreme dependency on nations like Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Limited Coverage of HYVP: High Yielding Variety Programme (HYVP) was restricted to only five crops: Wheat, Rice, Jowar, Bajra and Maize.
    • Therefore, non-food grains were excluded from the ambit of the new strategy.
  • Led to Regional Disparities: It led to growing disparities in economic development at inter and intra-regional levels. Only 40 percent of the total cropped area benefitted while the rest was left untouched by it.
    • The most benefitted areas are Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh in the north and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the south.
    • It has hardly touched the Eastern region, including Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa and arid and semi-arid areas of Western and Southern India.
    • Only those areas which were already better placed from an agricultural point of view benefitted from Green revolution leading to further aggravated regional disparities.
  • Rampant usage of Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides: The Green Revolution resulted in a large-scale use of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers for improved irrigation projects and crop varieties.
    • However, little or no efforts were made to educate the farmers, mostly illiterate, about the high risk associated with the intensive use of pesticides.
    • This caused more harm than good to crops and also becomes a cause for environment and soil pollution.
  • Water Consumption: The crops introduced during the green revolution were water-intensive crops.
    • Most of these crops being cereals, required almost 50% of dietary water footprint.
    • Canal systems were introduced, and irrigation pumps also sucked out the groundwater to supply the water-intensive crops, such as sugarcane and rice, thus depleting the groundwater levels.
    • For instance, Punjab is a major wheat- and rice-cultivating area, and hence it is one of the highest water depleted regions in India.
  • Impacts on Soil and Crop Production: Repeated crop cycle in order to ensure increased crop production depleted the soil’s nutrients.
    • To meet the needs of new kinds of seeds, farmers increased fertilizer usage.
    • The pH level of the soil increased due to the usage of these alkaline chemicals.
    • Toxic chemicals in the soil destroyed beneficial pathogens, which further led to the decline in the yield.
  • Unemployment: Except in Punjab, and to some extent in Haryana, farm mechanization under the Green Revolution created widespread unemployment among agricultural labourers in the rural areas.
    • The worst affected were the poor and the landless labourers.
  • Health Hazards: The large-scale use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as Phosphamidon, Methomyl, Phorate, Triazophos and Monocrotophos resulted in resulted in a number of critical health illnesses including cancer, renal failure, stillborn babies and birth defects.

 

Conclusion

The Green Revolution, which undeniably ended the country’s “ship-to-mouth” existence and transformed it into an exporter of rice and wheat. In spite of the negative impact, the success of green revolution cannot be dwarfed. The spill over effect of green revolution led to the growth of farm mechanization industries to provide tractors, Fertilizer and pesticide, Agro-based industries etc.

However, it has also led to lopsided growth in agriculture, causing regional and other disparities. Now coupled with frequent droughtsIndian agriculture is under distress. Thus, there is a need for a second green revolution.  The second green revolution must be an Evergreen Revolution, which incorporates technology in harmony with ecology.

Value addition

Ushering second green revolution through sustainable methods

  • Micro-irrigation System: It enables optimal synergies of 3 components of Green Revolution-improved seed, water and fertilizer.
  • Organic Farming: Can restore degraded land and improve health benefits.
  • Precision Farming: It is concerned with using fewer resources and reducing the production cost, by analysing the variation in various aspects of field and environment like- weather, Soil, vegetation, water etc.
  • Green Agriculture: A system of agriculture based upon, integrated pest management, integrated nutrient management and it does not eliminate the use of minimum quantities of fertilizer and chemical pesticides.

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2. The LPG reforms of 1991 played a significant role in transforming the Indian economy and fostering economic growth. While they achieved some of their intended objectives, there were also adverse consequences, including economic disparities, environmental concerns, and challenges for certain sectors of society. Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on IndiaInsights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about achievements and limitations of LPG reforms in India.

Directive word: 

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

Body:

First, in detail write about the LPG and their major achievements – increase economic growth, attract foreign investment, and improve competitiveness. Cite statistic and examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the shortcomings of LPG reforms – increased inequality, dependency on foreign capital, limited benefits to agriculture, and environmental degradation etc. Cite statistic and examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion on LPG reforms.

Introduction

The liberalization, privatization and globalization regime launched in 1991 completed its 30 years in 2021. The 1991 was a landmark moment in India’s post-independence history that changed the nature of the economy in fundamental ways.

A severe balance of payments problem triggered an acute economic crisis in 1991. In response, India’s economic establishment launched a multipronged reforms agenda to repair India’s macroeconomic balance sheet and ignite growth.

Body

India’s Post-1990 Economic Strategy

  • It dismantled the vast network of controls and permits that dominated the economic system.
  • It redefined the role of the state as a facilitator of economic transactions and as a neutral regulator rather than the primary provider of goods and services.
  • It led to moving away from a regime of import substitution and to integrate fully with the global trading system.

Positive effects of LPG Reforms

  • By the first decade of the 21st century, India began to be seen as one of the fastest growing emerging markets.
  • India’s annual average growth rate from 1990 – 2010 has been 6.6 % which is
    almost double than pre reforms era. GDP growth rate surpassed 5% mark in early 1980’s.
  • The 1991 reforms unleashed the energies of Indian entrepreneurs, gave untold choice to consumers and changed the face of the Indian economy.
  • Far from poverty increasing, for the first time, there was a substantial reduction in it.
  • 1991 reforms boosted services sector provided opportunities for individuals to develop their skills.

LPG reforms and inclusiveness

  • During the reform period most Indian states experienced high average growth ratesin real unskilled informal wage and real unskilled agricultural wage. This explains the fall in poverty rates.
  • Declining urban poverty and increasing income inequality were associated with growth in manufacturing exports and imports.
  • Among manufacturing exports, during the 1990s, there was a phenomenal growth in exports of skill-intensive high-technology goods.
    • This change in the skill compositionof Indian manufacturing export basket offers a plausible explanation of the rise in income inequality during the 1990s.  
  • Three unskilled labour-intensivemanufacturing goodsclothing, textiles, and leather still account for around 40% of manufacturing exports.
    • Expectedly, their growth had a favourable impact on urban poverty through increase in the unskilled money wage.
  • Growth in aggregate output both in per capita net state domestic product (PCNSDP) and gross domestic product (GDP) is another source of lower urban poverty and higher income inequality.
  • Exports found to be causing GDP growth means that the growth impact of trade may be an important factor underlying the observed changes in poverty and inequality.
    • Growth in exports of high-technology goods seems to be one major source of such trade growth nexus.

Increasing inequalities post liberalisation

  • Post liberalisation, there was more focus on assuring investor confidencefor which the fiscal deficit ought to be well within limitsand the climate for investment to be conducive.
  • Socialist mind set thus far was to spontaneously change to pro-market.
  • This saw an illustration of Karl Marx’s “Primitive Capital accumulation” wherein there was displacement of poor from their places which made them inevitablylose the opportunity to grow out of their livelihood option that they inherited.
  • The job growth has seen only marginal increase of 0.2%in the period of great economic growth indicates this.
  • If we go byGini index pertaining to consumption theinequality is starker as compared with that we obtain pertaining to income, another fact that reinforces the above claim.
  • Thus, poverty has beenreduced in absolute terms butnot in equitable terms making inequality much deeper. India has to rein in over the income disparity to begin with.

Way Forward

  • For reducing inequality, some advocate measures such asredistribution of assets and wealthin favour of the poor via higher taxes for the rich.
  • However, these may not be pragmatic solutions. The tax/GDP ratio has to be raisedwith a wider tax base.
  • Fiscal instruments like public investment in physical andsocial infrastructurecan be used to reduce inequality.
    • The new generation wantsequality of opportunityrather than redistributive measures.
    • Everyone irrespective of caste, class and gender should have equal opportunities in education, health, employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Economic andemployment opportunities improve with education and skills.
  • The new generation wants better quality in schools and higher education.
  • Finally, economic reforms should focus more on efficient delivery systems of public services.
  • Many reckon that poor governance is the biggest constraint in achieving the aspirations of a new generation and reduction in poverty and inequality.
  • A major institutional challenge is the accountability of service providers, particularly the public sector.
  • Recent literature also focused on eradication of corruption for reduction in inequalities.
  • Issues like electoral reforms, crony capitalism, election funding and corruption should be part of thereform agenda to reduce inequalities.

Conclusion

The 1991 reforms helped the economy stave off a crisis and then bloom. It is time to outline a credible new reform agenda that will not just bring GDP back to pre-crisis levels, but also ensure growth rates higher than it had when it entered the pandemic.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

3. Traditional cultural norms and practices in some regions might perpetuate harmful attitudes and behaviors towards women, further reinforcing the issue. Hence, it requires sustained efforts, public awareness, and policy adjustments for creating safer spaces for women and combating crimes effectively. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The article discusses the prevalence of violence against women in India and emphasizes the urgent need to put an end to it.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reasons for unabated crimes against women and steps that are needed to tackle this chronic problem.

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 giving context and mention the NCRB data on increasing cases of rape in India

Body:

In the first part, mention the reasons for this chronic issue. Legal loopholes, social conditioning, culture of violence, Caste dynamics etc.

Write the steps that are the need of the hour. Effective implementation of Laws, investigating agency and prosecution more proficient, awareness, gender sensitisation etc. Debate about provision of death penalty for Rape.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Shocking video emerged this week of an attack in May when two Kuki women were paraded naked by Meitei men shortly after their village was razed, in the latest use of terror against women in the region.

Crime against women rose by 15.3 per cent in 2021 from the previous year, according to latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), with 4,28,278 cases registered last year following 3,71,503 cases in 2020.

These horrific, unrelated crimes point to a common denominator: India remains unsafe for women. The Delhi gang rape of 2012, which led to stricter laws, is now a distant memory, as horrific cases of sexual violence continue to shock the country.

Body

Crimes against Women: Statistics

  • The NCRB report also shows that the rate of crime against women (number of incidents per 1 lakh population) increased from 56.5 per cent in 2020 to 64.5 per cent in 2021.
  • A majority of these cases (31.8 per cent) fall in the category of “Cruelty by husband or his relatives’’, followed by “Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty” (20.8 per cent), kidnapping and abduction (17.6 per cent), and rape (7.4 per cent)..

Culture of crimes against women in India

  • Entrenched Patriarchy: India is a deeply patriarchal society. Popular culture equates masculinity with sexual aggression and encourages men and boys to bully and harass women, even rape them, to “tame” them and teach them a lesson.
  • Gender and caste violence: Raping Dalit women takes thismisogyny further. A Dalit woman is raped not just to punish and humiliate the woman but also her family and community. It is aimed at underscoring the powerlessness of Dalit men and the larger Dalit community to protect “their” women.
  • Justice system: It is a social fact that the criminal legal system often merely re-arranges a system of illegalities. For example, rape survivors are routinely pressurized to “compromise” illegally and turn hostile in trials, failing which they may be threatened or even killed.
  • Humiliation to victim:Victims, instead of getting justice, had to face several unnecessary humiliating questions.
  • Crime in home:Most crimes still happen within the confines of homes & victims are raped by people they know well like relatives/friends/etc, most of these cases don’t even make it to the statistics.
  • No preventive measures:In case of any crime committed against women, the discussion always goes towards punishment for the crime only, but never towards the prevention of crime.

Rethinking policies to make safer spaces for women

  • Law enforcement must swiftly bring the perpetrators to book and state governments must ascertainareas of high crime rates and double safety protocols in those areas.
  • Men and young boys must be brought into the conversation to dismantle patriarchy and power structures that destroy the lives of women.
  • Plugging Gaps in Justice Delivery: The most severe gaps in the justice delivery system are reporting a police complaint. Therefore, the focus of the criminal justice system needs to shift from sentencing and punishment to the stages of reporting, investigation, and victim-support mechanisms. In this context, the following measures must be ensured:
    • The victim reports a case without any fear.
    • Police to conduct a sound investigation.
    • Victim protection throughout the trial.
    • Making testification as easy and as quick as possible.
    • Allocation of resources and more robust implementation of the law than is currently evident.
  • Sensitisation At a Broader Level:Despite the ever-increasing ambit of the death sentence, there has been little effort to address prejudices in society.
    • Addressing the prejudicesin the society against sexual offences requires sensitisation of functionaries of the justice system & more importantly society.
  • Victim protection: Adequate protection must be given to the victim until the case is closed to ensure they are not threatened.

Conclusion

Crimes against women are on the rise in recent times. Safety of women is of utmost important to ensure that the society will prosper. The extent of violence against women in India is shameful, and shows little sign of abating. While, as a community, it is possible to pass laws to criminalise the violence, law alone will not ask men to respect the opposite gender. What needs to be ingrained in the society is this “stronger people don’t put others down; they lift them up”. The year 2012 brought a drastic change in the way the State and society began viewing the epidemic of sexual violence; nine years later, India still has a long way to go.

 

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

4. Analyse the significance of India-Australia collaborations in the fields of education and skill development, and its potential impact on the bilateral relationship between the two countries. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article highlights the growing focus on education and skill development collaborations between India and Australia, which can have implications for their bilateral relations.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the significance of India-Australia collaborations in education and skill development and assess its potential impact on the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

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: 

Start with brief background of the context of the question.

Body:

First, write about the various aspects of growing trade between India and Australia – recently introduced Update to Australia’s India Economic Strategy, space, critical minerals, strategic research and people-to-people links to boost cooperation with India, business engagement and an increased Australian presence in India etc.

Next, provide an overview of the current state of India-Australia collaborations in education and skill development, highlighting recent initiatives and joint ventures. Analyse the significance of such collaborations for India, including the potential benefits of gaining access to advanced educational infrastructure and expertise.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

India and Australia have several commonalities, which serve as a foundation for closer cooperation and multifaceted interaction, on lines similar to what India has developed with other Western countries. Both are strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies.

India and Australia discussed ongoing collaborations in the areas of education and skill development, and how these relations can be expanded and deepened further. The discussions were held between Union Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan and his Australian counterpart Brendan O’Connor

Body

Background: Indo-Australia relations

  • India and Australia enjoy excellent bilateral relations that have undergone transformational evolution in recent years, developing along a positive track, into a friendly partnership.
  • This is a special partnership characterised by shared values of pluralistic, parliamentary democracies, Commonwealth traditions, expanding economic engagement, long standing people-to-people ties and increasing high level interaction.
  • The India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership initiated during the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit held in June 2020 is the cornerstone of India-Australia multi-faceted bilateral relations.
  • Growing India-Australia economic and commercial relations contribute to the stability and strength of a rapidly diversifying and deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries

Significance of collaboration in education and skill development

  • Mutual recognition agreement: The signing of the agreement on ‘Mutual Recognition of Qualification’ signed between the two countries earlier this year is historic. Implementation is the next step so that two-way mobility of students and skilled persons between the two countries could be facilitated.
  • Exchange of ideas: Areas like agricultural technology, mining, water management, renewable energy and emerging technology like AI and robotics which could be explored extensively between the two nations.
  • Ease of mobility to students: Easing the visa procedures and cutting down on complexities will make higher education cost easier for Indian students wanting to go abroad.
  • Enhancing Workforce Skills: India, with its large and youthful population, has a growing demand for skilled workers across various sectors. Australia’s well-developed vocational education and training system can play a crucial role in addressing this demand by providing Indian students with practical skills and industry-specific knowledge. This collaboration can help India in its efforts to upskill its workforce and meet the requirements of a modern and competitive job market.

Impact on bilateral relationship

  • Economic Growth and Investment: A well-educated and skilled workforce is a crucial factor in attracting foreign investment. By enhancing the skills of the Indian workforce through Australian collaboration, India can become a more attractive destination for Australian businesses, leading to increased trade and investment between the two countries.
  • Diplomatic and Strategic Cooperation: Strengthening educational and skill development ties can act as a foundation for broader diplomatic and strategic cooperation between India and Australia. When countries work together in critical areas like education, they tend to develop mutual trust and a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives. This can pave the way for joint initiatives and collaborative efforts on regional and global challenges.
  • Research and Development Partnerships: Collaborative research projects between Indian and Australian institutions can lead to significant advancements in science, technology, and other areas of mutual interest. Such partnerships not only benefit the countries involved but also contribute to solving global challenges and promoting sustainable development.
  • Cultural and Soft Power Diplomacy: Educational collaborations showcase the culture, values, and achievements of both countries. This soft power diplomacy can help improve the perception of each other among the citizens of India and Australia, promoting a positive and friendly image, which in turn can strengthen the overall bilateral relationship.

 

Conclusion

Overall, India-Australia collaborations in education and skill development have the potential to create a virtuous cycle of benefits for both countries. By investing in human capital and fostering bilateral ties, they can strengthen their relationship, promote prosperity, and address shared global challenges more effectively. These collaborations signify a commitment to mutual growth and cooperation, paving the way for a deeper and more strategic partnership between India and Australia.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. In the context of Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023, discuss the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a potential social welfare policy and its implications for poverty reduction and economic development in India. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Under the Bill, all families of the state get guaranteed employment of 125 days every year, while the aged, disabled, widows, and single women get a minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month.

Key Demand of the question:

To discuss the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a social welfare policy and assess its potential implications for poverty reduction and economic development in India.

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 giving context and defining the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Body:

First, write about Universal Basic Income (UBI) and its key features. Discuss the rationale behind implementing UBI, including its potential to alleviate poverty and provide a safety net to citizens.

Next, write about the challenges of UBI implementation in India and potential implications of UBI on economic growth and development, including its impact on the labor market and government finances.

Conclusion:

Conclude by presenting a balanced view on the feasibility and desirability of implementing UBI in India.

Introduction

Universal basic income is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere. The payment is enough to cover the cost of living. The goal is to provide financial security.

The Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023 has been recently tabled by the Rajasthan government.  In order to provide individuals or households with a minimal additional guaranteed income in the form of a guaranteed wage/pension, the bill would establish entitlement-based social security.

Body

Features of the Bill

  • Minimum guaranteed income:
    • Each adult citizen of the state has been guaranteed a minimum income for 125 days a year.
    • This will be provided through two schemes,
      • In the urban areas through the Rajasthan government’s flagship Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana.
      • In the rural areasthrough the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
    • Guaranteed employment:
      • The minimum wages should be paid weekly or in any case not later than a fortnight to ensure the right to employment.
      • The Program Officers(BDO in rural and an Executive Officer of the local body in urban areas) shall ensure that the work site is within a radius of 5 Km of where the job card is registered.
      • The applicant is entitled to an unemployment allowanceif the program officer fails to offer work within 15 days of receiving the application.
    • Guaranteed social security pension: The government will provide eligible categories (aged, disabled, widows, and single women) witha minimum pension of Rs 1,000, which will be increased at the rate of 15% each year.

Rationale behind UBI:

  • The average Indian family’s monthly income in 1938 was Rs 25.
  • Today, the average Indian family’s monthly income is roughly Rs 50,000, a 2,000 times increase since 1938.
  • The poorest 10% of Indian families earn a mere Rs 5,000 a month.
  • 25 million Indian families earn just a tenth of what the average Indian family earns.
  • And, 50 million households earn just a fifth of the average Indian family.
  • While the Indian economy continues to grow, the much touted trickle down impact of economic development seems elusive to the poorer sections of our society.
  • There is a real risk of the bottom quarter of Indian families being left behind completely.
  • The plan to ensure a basic minimum standard of living for every Indian family that was envisaged by Nehru and Bose in 1938 is applicable even today.

The pros of UBI include:

  • Fights Poverty and vulnerability: Poverty and vulnerability will be reduced in one fell swoop. It increases equality among citizens as envisaged in our DPSP.
  • new social contract: A social contract that will empower citizens with the freedom of choice. UBI treats beneficiaries as agents and entrusts citizens with the responsibility of using welfare spending as they see best; this may not be the case with in-kind transfers. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen had also propounded that choice should be given to people, which will lead to development.
  • Better targeting of poor: As all individuals are targeted, exclusion error (poor being left out) is zero though inclusion error (rich gaining access to the scheme) is 60 percent.
    • Example: The India Human Development Survey found that in 2011-12 about half of the officially poor did not have the BPL card, while about one-third of the non-poor had it.
  • Fighting technological unemployment: With IR4.0 on the rise, there is an increase in the automation leading to loss of many white and blue collared jobs. UBI can act as a sort of security net for the millions of people who will be left jobless by the tech revolution.
  • Supporting unpaid care workers: Those with ill or differently abled relatives are often forced to quit their jobs and look after them full-time. UBI would allow care-workers to support themselves, encouraging care work and taking pressure off public services that provide care to the sick and elderly.
  • Expanding the middle class: The economic growth of high-income countries is making the rich richer, but having very little effect on the working classes. The research of economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty showed that “the bottom half of earners went from making 20 percent of overall income in 1979 to just 13 percent in 2014. The top 1 percent, on the other hand, have gone from making 11 percent to 20 percent. The pie has gotten vastly bigger, and the richest families have reaped bigger and bigger pieces from it.” UBI would help balance this inequality and expand the ever-shrinking middle class.
  • Insurance against shocks: This income floor will provide a safety net against health, income and other shocks.
  • Improvement in financial inclusion Payment: transfers will encourage greater usage of bank accounts, leading to higher profits for banking correspondents (BC) and an endogenous improvement in financial inclusion. Credit – increased income will release the constraints on access to credit for those with low income levels.
  • Psychological benefits: A guaranteed income will reduce the pressures of finding a basic living on a daily basis.
  • Ending abuse: Those who suffer domestic abuse, mainly women, become trapped in violent situations because they don’t have the means to leave them. UBI would make leaving an abusive partner easy, and would unleash the potential of countless people trapped by domestic violence.
  • Administrative efficiency: A UBI in place of a plethora of separate government schemes will reduce the administrative burden on the state.

The cons of UBI:

  • Conspicuous spending: Households, especially male members, may spend this additional income on wasteful activities.
  • Disincentive to work: A minimum guaranteed income might make people lazy and opt out of the labour market.
  • Gender disparity induced by cash Gender norms may regulate the sharing of UBI within a household – men are likely to exercise control over spending of the UBI. This may not always be the case with other in-kind transfer
  • Implementation: Given the current status of financial access among the poor, a UBI may put too much stress on the banking system.
  • Poor fiscal capacity: India doesn’t have the fiscal capacity to implement Universal Basic Income. Economic Survey calculations showed that a 75% universality rate with an annual Universal Basic Income of Rs 7,620 per year at 2016-17 prices will cost about 5% of the GDP. Economist Pranab Bardhan showed that inflation– indexed Universal Basic Income of Rs 10,000 at 2014-15 prices—about three-quarters of that year’s poverty line—will cost about 10% of the GDP.
  • Distort labour Market: Universal Basic Income can create distortions in the labour market. A steady, permanent and guaranteed income without any work is likely to affect labour mobility and participation. It can cause a rise in the wages too.
  • Political economy of universality: ideas for self-exclusion Opposition may arise from the provision of the transfer to rich individuals as it might seem to trump the idea of equity and state welfare for the poor.
  • Exposure to market risks (cash vs. food): Unlike food subsidies that are not subject to fluctuating market prices, a cash transfer’s purchasing power may severely be curtailed by market fluctuations.

Economic Survey 2016-17 views:

  • Universal Basic Income should replace the welfare scheme. The Economic survey wants UBI to replace and NOT supplement the existing social welfare, anti-poverty schemes like MGNREGA, PMJSY etc
  • Economic Survey has suggested replacing all current cash transfers with universal basic income.
  • Survey in a bold step ensured that universal basic income will not be distributive in nature. The burden to distribute the income will not be shared by the rich.
  • The Survey points out that the two prerequisites for a successful UBI are: functional JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile) system as it ensures that the cash transfer goes directly into the account of a beneficiary and Centre-State negotiations on cost sharing for the programme.

Conclusion:

UBI holds a lot of potential as a welfare scheme, however in its present form needs to be re-evaluated. There is a need for a 10-fold increase in resource mobilisation combined with increasing the tax base for funding. However, the alternatives to UBI can be explored like direct benefits transfers, conditional cash transfers and other income support schemes which also hold the potential to yield the above mentioned benefits

 

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

6. What are the implications of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 and the challenges in establishing a comprehensive research ecosystem in India? Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses the National Research Foundation Bill and its implications for the research ecosystem in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the implications of the National Research Foundation Bill and the challenges it may face in establishing a comprehensive research ecosystem.

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: 

Introduce the National Research Foundation Bill and its objectives.

Body:

First, write about the major proposals of the National Research Foundation Bill.

Next, write about the Implications of the National Research Foundation Bill – Streamlining research funding, Promoting multidisciplinary research and Focus on high-impact research etc.

Next, write about the challenges it faces – Coordination and integration, Budgetary constraints and Encouraging research culture etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Recently, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in Parliament. The bill will repeal the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body that was established in 2008 to promote basic research in Science and Engineering and to provide financial assistance to persons engaged in R&D.

 

Body

Background

Objective of National Research Foundation

  • To ensure that scientific research was conducted and funded equitably and greater participation from the private sector was forthcoming.
  • It will focus on creating a policy framework and putting in place regulatory processes that can encourage collaboration and increased spending by the industry on R&D.
  • The NRF aims to involve colleges and universities in scientific research, as currently, less than 1% of the nearly 40,000 higher learning institutions in India are engaged in research.
  • The NRF plans to build research capacities in universities by encouraging active researchers to take up NRF professorships, regardless of age, and collaborate with existing faculty.

 

Features of

  • Establishment of NRF: The bill, after approval in the Parliament, will establish NRF, an apex body to provide high-level strategic direction of scientific research in India as per recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), at a total estimated cost of Rs. 50,000 crores during five years (2023-28).
  • Subsumption of SERB: The bill will repeal the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) established by an act of Parliament in 2008 and subsume it into NRF which has an expanded mandate and covers activities over and above the activities of SERB.
  • Administration and Governance: The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be the administrative Department of NRF which will be governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines.
    • The Prime Minister will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents.
    • NRF’s functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

Implications of the bill

  • Promoting Research other than Natural Science: The NRF will fund and promote research not only in natural sciences but also in humanities, social sciences, and art.
    • This integration is crucial for fostering creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills.
    • Currently, research in these areas has limited funding sources. Establishing directorates for social sciences, Indian languages and knowledge systems, arts, and humanities is among the NRF’s goals.
  • National Priorities: It seeks to identify priority areas where science and technology interventions can contribute to national objectives such as clean energy, climate change, sustainable infrastructure, improved transportation, and accessible and affordable healthcare.
  • Enhanced Funding: It seeks to increase funding for scientific research in India, both from government and private sources.
    • Currently, India’s spending on research and development is below7 % of its GDP, when even countries like Egypt or Brazil spend more.
    • US, China, Israel, Japan, and South Korea spend anywhere between 2 to 5% of their respective GDPs on scientific research.
    • Insufficient funding has directly affected the quality and quantity of research output in India. The initial allocation of Rs 50,000 crore over five years for the NRF does not represent a substantial increase but is expected to grow as the NRF gains recognition and demonstrates progress.

Challenges with NRF

  • Financial crunch: 50% of the funding mechanism is dependent on private sector.
  • While the participation of the private industry in the NRF is an important and welcome step, it is unclear how the government will raise Rs 36,000 crore from the industry.
  • Autonomy: The top positions in the NRF board are reserved for members of the government, including the PM and the Ministers of Science, Technology and Education.
  • Time period: Although the NRF draft mentions that the peer-review process will be completed within 6 months, releasing funds may take time, pending financial clearance

Conclusion

The establishment of the NRF in India holds immense potential to revolutionize the scientific research landscape. By broadening research participation, including social sciences, focusing on national priorities, and increasing funding, the NRF can address critical challenges, enhance research output, and foster innovation.

With the NRF’s effective implementation, India’s scientific research ecosystem is poised for significant improvement, leading to transformative outcomes for the nation.

 

Topic: Case Study.

7. You are posted as SP of a district after clearing civil services in your first attempt at the young age of 23. The posted district has incidentally seen many cases of dowry related deaths and violence in the recent past. There are also allegations that police do not register complaints and that they try to arrive at a ‘compromise’ between the victims and the oppressors.

One evening, a female complainant meets you in the office. You recognise her as your childhood classmate in high school. She was one the brightest students and your competitor in studies who topped the school in 10th grade. But post school you both lost contact. She narrates that unfortunately, she was married immediately she turned 18 and her parents did not allow her to study much. Though, she was very much interested in getting a degree and pursuing civil services was her ambition too.

Post her wedding, she got busy with household work and taking care of her husband and in-laws. Though, her in-laws were conservative from the start but they did not demand any dowry either during marriage or after it. Juggling her responsibility, she managed to obtain a bachelors degree from IGNOU. During the pandemic induced lockdown, her husband’s business suffered immensely brought them on the verge of bankruptcy. This led the beginning of indirect and symbolic demands of dowry from her husband.

These demands got more aggressive and direct as time passed by. When she informed her parents they managed to send some money to ‘ease his suffering’ but that was not enough. This also led to a few incidents of domestic violence due to the frustration of the husband. When informed to her in laws, they told “it’s a common norm and every woman has to go through this”. Same was the opinion of her parents and told her to just let it go.

She confides in you that she is very much distressed and disturbed because of this and has no support whatsoever from family.

      1. Why is dowry so deeply entrenched in the Indian society?
      2. Suggest steps to tackle domestic violence in India.
      3. As the superintendent of police what action will you be taking?
      4. What will be your advice to your friend?

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Case Study Fridays’ in Mission-2024 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

You may begin by bringing out the gravity of the issue of domestic violence in India.

Body:

  1. Mention the causes behind never ending menace of dowry – greed, desperation, patriarchy, customary, acceptance etc
  2. Mention steps to holistically address the issue of rising domestic violence in India.
  3. In detail, mention the course of action you will take address the multiple issues in the case study.
  4. As a friend what will be your advice with respect to the issues she is facing and for her future.

Conclusion:

Stress on the need to end the menace dowry and domestic violence in India.

Introduction

Dowry, a cultural practice deeply rooted in many Indian communities, refers to the money, goods, or property given to a bridegroom’s family along with the bride. Dowry is a social evil in the society, that has caused unimaginable tortures and crimes towards women.  The evil has taken lives of women from all strata of society – be it poor, middle class or the rich. However, it is the poor who succumb and fall prey to it, more due to their lack of awareness and education.

Body

Reasons for dowry to be deeply entrenched in our society:

  • Patriarchal nature:
    • Sons are seen as assets.
    • There is a strong preference for male children, which has been blamed for years of female feticide.
    • This has left India with a very unbalanced sex ratio. There are 940 women for every 1,000 men according to 2011 census.
    • India has 37 million more men than women, making it hard for men to find suitable brides.
  • Societal attitude:
    • Instead of being regarded as a crime and a source of shame, dowry has become a matter of pride.
    • It is discussed over coffee at family gatherings.
    • Sons-in-law are often introduced with the price tag they come with.
    • Educated grooms tend to demand higher dowries. Education is reduced to just another factor that determines your market rate.
    • Today, dowries are seen as being directly linked to the brides’ estimation and treatment by her husband, forcing their families to ensure that a substantial amount of dowry is provided.
  • Greed:
    • Owing to expectations of material benefits from the bride’s family, dowry is demanded for, and at times, when the demands are not met, either the marriage is called off, or the bride is exploited leading to domestic violence.
  • Illiteracy:
    • With a literacy rate of 74.04% in the country, it is quite valid to consider it the primary cause for different social evils.
    • The communities that are not knowledgeable about the laws and legislation face several atrocities owing to dowry exchange practices.
  • Lack of Willingness to adhere to laws:
    • The primary reason behind the failure is lack of mass participation.
    • People pay no heed to such laws and make sure to exploit the dowry system to gain material benefits under the veil of a marriage proposal.

Measures to curb dowry:

  • Education & Sensitization:
    • Educate the younger generation of sons and daughters
    • Encourage them to have their own career
    • Teach them to be independent and responsible
    • Treat your daughters equally without any discrimination
    • Do not encourage the practice of giving or taking dowry
  • Mass Media Campaign:
    • Media holds the potential to remove dowry system from the mainstream Indian society.
    • By publishing related news and making the authorities aware of any reported case of dowry related crime, they can keep an effective check upon the prospects.
  • Laws on Dowry in India
    • The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961deals with dowry in India.
    • This Act prohibits the practice of giving or taking of dowry by either parties to a marriage. This law also punishes demanding and advertising dowry.
    • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
    • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was passed in order to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India.
    • The Domestic Violence Act encompasses all forms of physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse and forms a subset of the anti-dowry laws to the extent it is one of the reasons for domestic violence.
  • Role of voluntary organization:
    • They should make propaganda against the evils of dowry.
    • The workers of these organizations should help the victims of dowry harassment and get them justice.
    • These organizations should make aware of their address to the people through advertisement so that victims can appeal them for their help to get justice.
    • Women’s self-help groups should be systematically oriented about violence against women and the existence of local support systems.
    • By actively spreading awareness and displaying solidarity, women’s self-help groups can play a powerful role in building a more equal society.

Action taken as SP

  • As a police officer it is a matter of concern and violation of law. It would be my duty to arrest those demanding for dowry. But thinking from well-wisher point of view, i should also think of the well-being of female complainant “X” and her family.
  • But eventually it is clear that the family that is demanding more dowry and is threating the girl’s family should never be trusted with future of their daughter X.
  • At first, I would make sure her husband is called by another officer and warned about the consequences of Dowry harassment.
  • If it further continues, then I would convince the girls parents to go for strict action against the husband and his family.

Advice to friend

To take the legal route as it would ensure her safety and set an example for others who demand dowry and harass women.

Conclusion

Dowry has become an institutionalized and integral part of the Indian marriage. Social and economic realities do little to keep it in check. In such a situation, the need to revise the institutional framework concerning dowry and the need for more research on different forms of dowry and the reasons for its prevalence is the need of the hour.


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