SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 07, 2016
SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 07, 2016
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Critical changes to geographical features
1) Some farmers in India’s most drought prone regions have managed to fight drought, grow profitable crops and have managed to escape from debt trap. Discuss the techniques and methods adopted by these farmers to fight drought and how these can be applied in other parts of India that are reeling under drought. (200 Words)
Successful stories which can be implemented any water scarce area in India:
- In Maharashtra-Kadwanchi village in Jalna region:
- The village has seen a sharp decline in drought vulnerability since 1996, when the Kadwanchi watershed project was launched.
- The farmers did was conserve water and soil and dig farm ponds.
- Add to it the carefully thought out cropping pattern that suits the district with annual average rainfall of 730 mm.
- planted trees in a piece of forestland in the village to showcase how effective these methods are in fighting drought.
- These steps slowed the flow of running water, increased seepage and recharged groundwater.
- organic farming: no need for borewells and no sugarcane cultivation
- inter-cropping and crop rotation to keep farmland healthy. used cow dung to make manure for his farm and makes medicine for his crops using cow urine
2.Required drip irrigation for which farmers constructed farm ponds. These are small ponds dug by the farmers themselves by taking loans from banks. The ponds store rainwater and provide water throughout the year
3.Training by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) of Jalana, which also oversaw the implementation of the project. Grape farming phenomenally raised the income of the farmers
4.Multi-cropping—the traditional way to ensure crop security.
- No pesticides and fertilisers mixed with organic farming.
6.Prepare their own fertiliser
7.Recharging underground aquifers
8.Revive livestock and fisheries which provide an alternative source of income for the farmers.
- In 2003, Udaipur-based non-profit Sahyog Sansthan, decided to develop the common grazing land which led to assured two tonnes fodder every year.
- Renovated old wells, constructed irrigation channels, introduced soil and water conservation measures and rain water harvesting to help the village residents.
9.groundwater management programme called Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems taught farmers:
- to make feasible and informed decisions about which crops to grow depending on water availability.
- learnt to measure rainfall and groundwater level, based on which they now advance sowing to October, usually done in December, to save costs on irrigation.
10.Horticulture and tree plantation:
- Government has its focus with a national mission for farmers regarding horticulture.
11.With government support farmers started
- focus on irrigation
- provide quality seeds and increase soil health
- avoid post-harvest losses by building warehouses and cold chains
- add value through food processing
- have a single national market; provide crop insurance coverage
- add ancillary activities like poultry to farming.
Topic: Role of women; Art and culture; Salient features of Indian society
2) The access to religious institutions and the opportunities to perform rituals were regulated by one’s caste and class position. Did women also face discrimination in performing religious rituals and in gaining entry into religious spaces? How did women confront this discrimination in ancient India? Examine. (200 Words)
- Over the past three millennia in the subcontinent, they repeatedly demonstrate sectarian chauvinism, social exclusion and androcentric attitudes as well as patriarchal discrimination
- Historically there have been attempts to challenge the discriminations, attitudes and structures, and transform the traditions.
- Women’s spaces within religious traditions were neither a given, nor were they static; in early India, there were several contexts in which women sought spaces for themselves, had to face resistance, and, at times, succeeded in overcoming it.
- Vedic literature has many references to women in the context of religion and ritual, particularly the sacrifice, but there is not a single instance where the woman is seen as the primary performer. TheTaittiriya Brahmana (circa10th to 7th century BCE) states that a sacrifice is no sacrifice if the wife is not present.
- The earliest evidence of women seeking entry into religious life on a par with men is also a story of women’s agency, which we very rarely find in historical sources.
- Buddhism, itself a religion evolving out of the questioning of existing beliefs and practices, provides us with the first such instance, when women demanded to be a part of the monastic institution founded by Buddha..They were rejected thrice by him. the determined women shaved their heads and adopted the saffron robes of the monks. They followed the Buddha.
- Gender also intervened as a social demarcator, and women were compared to those at the end of the social ladder, thesudra It is this brahmanical tradition that poses the greatest complexity in the attitudes revealed towards women’s participation in ritual, be it in its Vedic postulation or its sectarian Puranic articulation.
- bhaktitraditions that we see women (and lower caste men) with agency, seeking to be a part of the community of bhaktas, attempting to break social taboos and creating spaces for themselves in a male-dominated domain.
- Tamil saints Karaikal Ammaiyar and Andal present two different paths to salvation for the womanbhakta.
- Other women saints in different times and different tongues expressed similar ideas that were radical in content
- Undeterred by social norms, they staked their claims to enter male religious bastions and, in their own ways, some of them succeeded.
- There appears to be not much of a transformation of the normative structures of society.
- There are numerous sources that indicate that some categories of women certainly had access to the temple. Royal women are prominent as donors and some are even portrayed in sculpture and bronze casts.
- The notions of ritual purity and pollution were invoked to camouflage the social exploitation and economic deprivation of the lower castes and those outside the pale of caste society
- The extension of the idea of pollution to women, whose menstruating bodies were seen as impure.
- Across time, religious traditions have sought to codify rules, control entry and regulate participation within the institutional and ritual domain.Obviously, these are archaic practices, originating in very different contexts from the present, and hence need to be discarded in keeping with the ethos of a liberal democracy as envisaged in the Indian Constitution.
- In modern India, there have been movements seeking entry of untouchables into temples, the famous Travancore Temple Entry of 1936 being one such successful movement.
- It is high time that a similar challenge that has been raised by some women’s groups Recently With regarding to Sabarimala temple or Shani Singnapur temple and in keeping with constitutional provisions for equality of women, their entry into religious places which currently keep them out becomes a reality.
- The law gave an impetus for the women’s cause by allowing them to enter the sanctum sanctorum in the Shani Singnapur case .
Topic: Effect of globalisation; Role of women
- Women’s lives around the world have been transformed by globalisation through the flexibilisation of workers, occupational segregation. The growing labour markets of the global economy are increasingly feminised
- Millions of educated women employed in “creative economies” like the technology sector in countries such as India and predominantly male professions signifies that they are at the frontline in the battle for gender equality, effect cultural transformation, and contribute to the diversifi cation of knowledge production.
- Urban women’s lives especially have been critically transformed by educational investments by their families and the state, and the expansion of employment opportunities in the private sector.
- Indian middle-class women is undergoing rapid transformation.
- They are poised between an old India ravaged with bureaucratic redundancies and a “new” India with its high growth rate and a place in the global economy;
- between an old middle class, which is steeped in upper caste membership and sanskritisation of the lower castes, and a “new” middle class, which has heterogeneous caste origins and is seen at the helm of a new India
- between mothers who did not work outside the home and daughters who will grow up with career-oriented mothers.
- economic liberalisation policies set the stage for women’s increasing presence in the public sphere, it would be a mistake to claim that liberalisation alone brought about changes in gender norms. If anything, economic liberalisation served as a catalyst to thrust women into the limelight in India
- opened up broader communication lines and attracted more companies as well as different organizations into India which provided opportunities for not only working men, but also women
- With new jobs for women, there are opportunities for higher pay, which raises self–confidence and brings about independence. This, in turn, can promote equality between the sexes, something that Indian women have been struggling with their entire lives.
- Globalization has the power to uproot the traditional treatment towards women to afford them an equal stance in society.
- process of globalisation has contributed to widening inequality within and among countries, coupled with economic and social collapse in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and countries in transition like in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and financial crises in Asia and Latin America.
- World Trade Organisation regulations the states have brought about a change in national policies so as to allow the free entry of foreign corporations, to give more incentives to big businesses rather than to small firms, and to lift import controls on agricultural products. This has resulted in further marginalisation of rural and indigenous women.
- Globalisation has also increased women’s unpaid work as social services are privatised.
- Already the roles of international institutions like the Inter-national Monetary Fund, World Bank during the East Asian crisis were highly criticised.
- Women do two thirds of the world’s work, receive ten percent of world’s income and own one percent of the means of production. This is the present picture of women workers in the era of globalization.
- Although the humiliation, harassment and exploitation of women have been commonplace throughout history, such treatment has become more widespread with globalization.
- Out of the total 397 million workers in India, 123.9 million are women and of these women 96% of female workers are in the unorganized sector.Accordingly, although more women are now seeking paid employment, a vast majority of them obtain only poorly paid, unskilled jobs in the informal sector, without any job security or social security.
- Additionally working women in India are more likely to be subjected to intense exploitation; they are exposed to more and more risks that cause health hazards and are forced to endure greater levels of physical and mental stress.
- It is not only in the unorganized sector or in small enterprises, but also in the modern sectors like the Information Technology and the automobile sectors where working women are forced to work for 12 hours while the local governments ignore this open flouting of the labor laws
- The uncertainties of obtaining work and the dire need to retain a position in the midst of intense competition cause mental tension, strained social relationships, psychological problems and chronic fatigue, all of which are difficult to prove as work-related.
- The advent of assembly line jobs and the increased use of machinery has resulted in a degradation of working conditions for women in India. For example, piece rated work, where assembly line workers are paid per piece produced, contributes significantly to the level of fatigue felt by the workers
- For example, several traditional industries where women work in large numbers like handloom and food processing have undergone changes in the forms of production with the introduction of machines, power looms etc, which have result in the loss of employment for large number of women.
- Hazards related to the attitude of society and family:
- Though more and more women seek paid employment, the stereotypical attitude towards women and their perceived role in the familial hierarchy has not undergone much change.
- Women continue to be perceived as weak, inferior, second-class citizens.
- For working women, this discrimination is extended to the workplace also.
- In addition, this perception that they alone are responsible for the domestic work, leads to a feeling of guilt when they are not able to look after the children or family members due to their official work, often resulting in emotional disorders.
- Sexual harrassment in the workplace:
- One of the evils of the modern society is the sexual harassment female workers endure from their male counterparts and other members of the society.
- Night work:
- In the era of globalization, the number of women working the night shift is increasing with call centers and export oriented companies located in the Export Processing Zone employing women in large numbers during the night shift, without providing proper protection or transport facilities to them.
- Trade liberalization policies have led to the decline of small-scale and subsistence farming in developing and less developed countries because western countries, sell heavily subsidized agricultural products to the developing or less developed countries.As a result, many female farmers who have been pushed of their land have sought employment in export processing zones, at lower wages than their male counterparts in their countries.
- Regarding Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs), many poor countries have been forced to undertake as conditions of borrowing money from organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
- In this regard, SAPs has had a negative effect on women mainly in developing countries, where the government’s borrowing money from SAPs have rescheduled their debt by reducing for example, publicly-funded health services, education and child care
- have contributed to maternal mortality and the introduction of school fees has made education unavailable to the poorer children, especially girls in developing countries.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Objective is realistic:
- NSSO data-the average monthly total income of agricultural households in the full sample increased in nominal terms by over three times from ₹2,115 in 2003 to ₹6,426 in 2013 . But what we are interested in is the change in real terms
- If anything is to be doubled by the year 2022-23, it will require annual growth of 10.4 per cent, and not 14.8 per cent, as reported in the media which according to Indian government is achievable
- It is important to point out that what is sought to be doubled is the income of farmers, not output or value added or the GDP of the agriculture sector.
- If technology, input prices, wages and labour use could result in per-unit cost savings, then farmers’ incomes would rise at a much higher rate than the rate of increase in output.
- Another very important source of an increase in farmers’ income is the relative increase in prices of farm products compared to non-agricultural commodities.A doubling of farmers’ income should not be viewed as the same as a doubling of farm output.
- All India, there is no evidence of doubling of real incomes. The average monthly income increased by a factor of 1.34 . Only in Odisha there is a doubling of income. Of particular concern is the fact that the average monthly income in real terms has declined in Bihar and in West Bengal
- growth in farm income after 2011–12 has plummeted to around 1%, and this is an important reason for the sudden rise in agrarian distress in recent years.
- The evidence from NSSO data does not seem to suggest that the doubling of aggregate credit flows had any sizeable impact at the household level in terms of a substantial increase in investments.
- Casual empiricism would suggest that increase in minimum support price and decentralised procurement would have contributed to increase in income of agricultural households.but this is not the case.
- Some commentators have produced calculations that agriculture will require an annual growth of 14.86 per cent per year for the next five years to double the income of farmers, and pointed out that this growth level hasn’t been achieved even for a single year in Indian agriculture.
- increasing input costs, such as seeds, fertilisers and irrigation
- irrelevance of minimum support price, which the government pays farmers when it buys their crops
- absence of market infrastructure, such as warehouses and cold storages
- the fact that 85% of farmers do not benefit from insurance.
- The five issues need to be handled:
- increasing agricultural productivity
- remunerative prices for farmers
- focus on land leasing and land titles
- risk adaptation and mitigation, and
- a geographical focus on the eastern region
- There are a sizeable proportion of households who undertake cultivation, livestock activities and also have individuals engaged in wage/salaried employment. The key takeaway is that in addition to cultivation there are other income sources that can contribute to doubling of income of agricultural households.
- it is important to understand the extent to which legalising and liberalising land leasing can improve “agricultural efficiency, equity, occupational diversification, and rapid rural transformation and thereby increase the income of agricultural households
- Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) attempted to incentivize agricultural planning and investment at the state and district level while decentralising and untying the fund flow.It has been argued that the RKVY did contribute to improving agricultural growth and needs to be concentrated further.
- National-level data reveals that shifting to high-value crops can more than quadruple income from the same piece of land.
- Better price realisation for farmers through competitive markets, value chains and improved linkage between field and fork.
- Improvement in the terms of trade for agriculture like strict implementation of NAM portal.
- Technology upgradation.
- Channel funds to the small and marginal landholders, and rework the mix of short-term and long-term credit in order to incentivise flow of long-term credit relative to short-term credit
- Measures like prior registration of farmers and monitoring actual procurement using an online procurement system could have a salutary effect.
- The idea behind formation of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) can increase the probability of farmers getting remunerative prices.
- State governments did undertake investments in irrigation. They have borrowed large sums of money under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) administered by NABARD specifically for irrigation projects. Till date, over 50% of projects funded under RIDF are for irrigation and 30% of the funds were for irrigation
- Focusing only on income from cultivation for facilitating doubling of income will prove to be inadequate. Policy measures aimed at increasing net income of households from animal farming will be the key driver of incomes in agricultural households.
- Need to improve our understanding of what constrains income growth from non-farm business at the household level.
- India has to learn from China which started off reforms with agriculture in 1978, and during 1978-84, agriculture GDP (gross domestic product) increased by more than 7% per year and farm incomes by more than 14% per year due to deregulation of prices, halving poverty in just six years
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education
5) Is public funded higher education in a developing country meant to produce thinking citizens or employable youth? Should taxes fund scholarship that has no impact, nor is market friendly, at least, in the short term? Discuss. (200 Words)
Public funded higher education in developing countries is meant for:
- The public funding given to institutions such as IIT’s ,IIM’s gives the students leverage to take risks in life by starting startups,generating employment.
- When they are employed it adds revenue to the economy and reduces the unemployment problem too.
- Any alternative for employment they can find out when thinking is developed in the students where they have attitude of deciding what is moral and what is not.
- Just employment without thinking will lead to stagnation . But just as higher education cannot be reduced to a market enterprise guided by corporate interests, it also cannot remain a rarefied realm of higher thinking unconcerned with employability and innovation.
- Protests in colleges and by the youth in general in demanding good governance,fighting against sectarian divides,using their values in fighting the evils in the country and the world show the increase in awareness which is instigated by the exposure they get through these institutions .
- India’s university students can be powerful agents for widening democratic participation. In reminding the political class of the founding values of the Indian republic, they have also situated the debates on public education
- Without employment just thinking doesn’t help .Further, a slew of low quality technical institutes churn out unemployable graduates aspiring to join the information technology (IT)-enabled services (ITES) sector, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the organised workforce in the private sector. This has grave consequences for other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing and public works, which benefit little from the surfeit of engineers in the country. The shrinking manufacturing sector fails to provide employment while inadequate public services deepen the problems of access and equity.
- The disconnect of many educated youth with India’s indigenous problems is then located, at least in part, in the uncritical reproduction of engineering education in the country.
- If a university is a site for building the values of citizenship and raising the stakes for participation in the country’s future, it has to nurture critical thinking, employable skills and creative entrepreneurship all at the same time.
Yes,scholarships are needed:
- Gives an opportunity for the access to education of socio economic backward people
- Giving scholarships to the students will ease the financial burden on the family.
- Gives students access to premium institutes like IIT’s,IIM’s instilling confidence in them
- Recognition of merit
No,Scholarships don’t help much:
- Strong societal divide developed because students of especially unreserved categories feel they are being deprived of the scholarship even when they have same merit of the socio economic backward classes leading to differences among students.
- Tonnes of scholarships do not change anything as students from premium institutes go abroad and settle there serving other countries.
- advent of information technology and related sectors have meant that technical education now has closer ties to the research and market imperatives of advanced industrialised nations than to India’s own developmental needs
- Waste of public funds that cannot be used for social sector spending
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- The New agreement will in theory allow the U.S. Army to access Indian military bases.Agreed to finalise a logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) in the coming months.
- In 2012, India also signed a Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) agreement with the U.S. aimed at co-producing advanced weapons systems.U.S wanted to make the Indian military interoperable with the American military and dependent on U.S. technology and supplies. The U.S. is likely to emerge as India’s top defence partner in a few years. It now holds the most number of annual military exercises with India.
- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which has over a hundred members, will have reason to question India’s credentials as a leader of the movement.
- signing these agreements would mean the end of the “strategic autonomy” that the Indian government has in foreign affairs and defence matters.
- Russia, with which the U.S. has a tense and adversarial relationship these days, will also not take kindly to these new developments in the Indian subcontinent.
- The U.S. has only signed LSA-type agreements with close allies like Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. It is commented that the terms of the LSA would see the stationing of American troops on Indian soil on a regular basis.
- The deal only reaffirmed the importance of maritime security and ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region, including the South China Sea
- The LSA will not allow US troops to operate from Indian bases without the consent of New Delhi. The possibility of India being ensnared into effecting regime changes in the war zones of the Middle East is out of the question.The signing of these agreements should be strictly made contingent on US assurance on transfer of technology..
- Government clarified that the LEMOA by saying that it was different from the LSAs the U.S. had signed with its other close military allies. India would have the right to refuse assistance to U.S. troops on a case-by-case basis
- Pakistan factor:
- The Americans have made it clear through their actions that they value Islamabad as a military ally.
- Handing over f16 to Pakistan ensures that
- Indias foreign policy doesntsupport it forming military alliances with any country.As a country dedicated to non alignment movement India and us being military alliances is only a farce .
- China factor –
- India hedges by deepening relations with the US and status quo middle powers such as Australia.
- Both sides feel that they have much to gain from each other than from the others. Even as India is irritated by the US-Pakistan ties, so is it by the China Pakistan relations.
- But India, China and the US know that they have to deal with each other and that it is the economic equations among themselves that are crucial, more even than the military calculations.
- Russia factor:
- India has one true strategic partner – Russia. That relationship is deep,PM recently called Russia is a pillar of strength and India’s most important defence partner.
- India may not be able to let itself be drawn into the US-led global military c
- It is for the simple reason that India is much too large a country to play second fiddle to the Americans
- The rejection by India of the offer of US to participate in joint patrols in the South China Sea also shows that they r not a military alliance
- bilateral relations between India and the US. Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which remains a concern with US pharma companies, has the potential to become a headache
General Studies – 3
Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country,
- It is caused by the ‘Magnaporthe oryzae’ fungus, the one which causes Rice Blast. The fungus is known to occur in 85 countries worldwide.
- Wheat Blast was first identified in 1985 in Brazil and has thereafter spread to Bolivia and Paraguay. It has become a dreaded agricultural disease for South America.
- It can cause more than 75 % yield loss in affected fields, rendering the region non-cultivable for wheat
- Bangladesh first detected the disease some months earlier and notified it in the first week of April
- Bangladesh has so far burnt down standing wheat crop in 15,000 hectares to control the disease.,
- It thrives in hot and humid climates.
Threats by wheat blast :
- First sighted in Brazil in 1985, blast is widespread in South American wheat fields, affecting as much as 3 million hectares in the early 1990s and seriouslylimiting the potential for wheat cropping on the region’s vast savannas.
- A wider outbreak could be devastating for South Asia, where 300 million malnourished people consume over 100 million tonnes of wheat each year.
- The pathogen can be spread by seed and also survives on crop residues. Currently, most varieties being planted are susceptible and fungicides have not been effective in controlling the disease.
- Fungus is so physiologically and genetically complex that, after more than three decades of research, it is still not understood how it interacts with wheat or which genes confer durable resistance.
- Strikes directly to shrivel and deform wheat grains, leaving farmers no time to act. Grows on numerous other plants and crops, so rotations can only partially control it. Fungicides provide only a partial defense, are often hard to obtain or use in blast areas, and must be applied before symptoms appear.
- Outbreaks are occasional and hard to predict, making it more difficult to make preparations or breed resistant varieties.
Situation in India:
India’s wheat crop faces potential danger from a disease lurking across its eastern border in Bangladesh, where it has led to the burning down of standing crop in 15,000 hectares.India already has Blast-resistant varieties and Its record shows that Indian wheat has not been impacted by any major epidemic in the past four decades.
Measures that are needed:
- Improve wheat varieties that carry genetic resistance to M. oryzae.
- Global monitoring of disease appearances, movement, and evolution, in coordination with local governments and research agencies, as well as predictive models.
- Advanced studies on potentially effective, safe, and affordable chemical control measures.
- Genetic and epidemiological research to strengthen knowledge of the fungus and its interactions with wheat and other host plants.
- The government has taken the development seriously and might consider directing eastern states of West Bengal and Assam to stop farmers from cultivating wheat in border areas, if Bangladesh fails to contain the disease.
- The government might even ban import of wheat from Bangladesh.
- Application of field pathogenomics :Application of this method to wheat blast should unmask the pathogen in Bangladesh and contribute to a response plan.
- In an emergency like this one, the community must come together to share data and compare notes. Only then, we will determine the true identity of the pathogen and put in place effective measures in a timely fashion.
General Studies – 4
Topic:Ethics in human actions; Dimension of ethics;
8) “Both Hinduism and Islam have theological strands that confront head-on the problem of violence. They do so, however, in very different ways and generate very different strictures on the legitimacy of violence.” Analyse. (200 Words)