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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 FEBRUARY 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 FEBRUARY 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


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

1) If Mahatma Gandhi had survived till 1950s, how different would have been the Constitution of India? Examine. (250 Words)

Livemint

 

Background:-

  • Gandhian Constitution for Aundh interested historians of what would have been the shape of the Indian constitution had Gandhi not been assassinated. In the formative years of 1950’s for India whose development was still at a very nascent stage Gandhian constitution could have further propelled the socio economic concepts further in Indian constitution.

 

Positives:-

  • According to Gandhi ,in a model state, power will not be concentrated in a few hands. Centralized power has always created great problems for society. So a more decentralized form of government would have been recommended in the original constitution itself rather than waiting till 73rd and 74th  constitutional amendment acts.
  • Gandhi wanted a system of government that was built from the village panchayat upwards. In Gandhi’s vision was that the prime minister of Aundh was a member of a village panchayat. Power trickled up, and not down. So the menaces which India is facing today like corruption, criminalization of politics might not have happened
  • Gandhi’s constitution for Aundh was his insistence that only literate citizens vote. This would have triggered compulsory education in India right from the start itself and there would have also been provisions for vocational education from then itself.
  • As the Indian state might have become less a master and more a servant of the Indian people the true essence of democracy would have been upheld. Also the hierarchies in the society might have become less steep.
  • As Gandhi would have focused on austerity measures for the leaders as well, the VIP culture and culture of power might have been so steep .Also the differences among different classes might have been less.
  • As he was a champion of women rights ,strong provisions for women participation and women empowerment would have been mentioned.
  • Trustee ship model would have been a reality in India at the time of independence itself.
  • As a strong supporter of cooperatives, he would have ensured provisions in the constitution for a cooperatives in the original constitution itself.
  • There would have been focus on secularism in the original constitution itself .

 

One concern is why Gandhi did not support universal adult franchise. Despite contribution of other leaders for the constitution Gandhian role would have definitely made it even more inclusive and even more democratic.


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure  

2) It is said that conducting simultaneous elections to assemblies and parliament will ensure consistency, continuity and governance, which are integral to democracy. Do you agree? What changes needs to be made to the constitution and related laws if the parliament decides to conduct such simultaneous elections? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu

 

Background:-

  • The current government time and again supported the idea of holding simultaneous elections to panchayats, urban local bodies, states and Parliament..

Merits:-

  • Governance and consistency:-
    • Parties and workers spending too much time and money in electioneering, can make use of the time for social work and to take people-oriented programmes to the grassroots.
    • To overcome the “policy paralysis and governance deficit” associated with imposition of the Model Code of Conduct at election time which leads to putting on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
    • Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
    • Law Commission in its 170threport {Reform of Electoral Laws (1999)} suggested holding simultaneous elections at all levels for stability in governance.
    • It is felt that crucial manpower is often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower would be made available for other important tasks.
  • For instance for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which was held along with 4 state assemblies saw the deployment of 1077 in situ companies and 1349 mobile companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • During frequent elections there is increase in “vices” such as communalism, casteism, corruption and crony capitalism.
  • Continuity:-
    • Will limit the disruption to normal public life associated with elections, such as increased traffic and noise pollution

The idea is good in principle but there are several practical difficulties as follows:

  • Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
    • There is a 77% chance that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and centre, when elections are held simultaneously.
  • Frequent elections bring the politicians back to the voters, create jobs and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
  • The issue of logistics and requirement of security personnel, election and administrative officials needs to be considered. There is a dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
  • Recently, the elections in West Bengal were held in 6 phases mainly due to the security concerns. If this is situation, holding simultaneous elections for all the states may need to be held in many phases stretching over many months.
  • Questions like these arise whether
    • India need to introduce fixed terms for the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies,
    • How would simultaneity be preserved if there was a vote of no confidence, or application of President’s Rule in a state, necessitating fresh elections at one level but not another.
  • Local and national issues will get mixed up distorting priorities.
  • The terms of different state governments are ending on separate dates and years.
  • To hold simultaneous elections, the Centre will have to make some states agree to curtail the terms of their houses while others to extend theirs. While extension may not be a problem, curtailment of Assembly terms may be a major issue.
  • Critics say amending the Constitution to effect simultaneous elections would fundamentally alter its democratic and federal character. India is a “Union of States”, states have their own directly elected governments, and fixing a term adversely affects this right.

Other observations:-

  • Evidence from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, the US and Europe supports the idea that elections that are held simultaneously produce greater alignment between national and regional election outcomes.
  • There is also evidence that simultaneous elections contribute over time to the nationalisation of party systems

Changes that are to be made in the constitution and other laws :-

  • Several constitutional amendments are required to see the plan through.
    • Now if the tenure of the state Assembly has to be made co-terminus with that of the Lok Sabha, then Constitutional amendments would be required.
      • For example, the point “unless sooner dissolved” can be amended to read that the term of the assemblies shall be co-terminus to that of the Lok Sabha. So the amendment can happen like this.
      • But now if the constitutional amendment is passed by both the Houses by two-third majority, even then this needs to be ratified by half of the states since states are affected by this amendment.
      • Article 83(2) provides for a term of five years for the House of People (Lok Sabha), from the date of its first sitting, unless dissolved earlier. Similar provisions under Article 172 (1) provides for a five-year tenure for state legislative Assemblies from the date of its first sitting.
    • The Election Commission has suggested that the term of Lok Sabha could commence and end on predetermined dates and, to avoid premature dissolution, no-confidence motions should be moved .
      • If the House is still dissolved, the President can run the government for the rest of the term or, if that period is long, fresh elections can be held for a House that would last only for the remaining length of time.
      • Assemblies can, as a one-time measure, be extended or curtailed to align their elections with the Lok Sabha cycle.
    • Further, in respect of premature dissolution of a State Legislative Assembly, Article 356 is also relevant.
    • The Representation of People Act 1951, which covers various modalities of conducting elections in the country, also needs to be amended.
      • The proviso to the Section 14(2) states: Provided that where a general election is held otherwise than on the dissolution of the existing House of the People, no such notification shall be issued at any time earlier than six months prior to the date on which the duration of the House would expire under the provisions of clause (2) of Article 83.
    • Legal amendments:-
      • There are several steps before legal amendments are made.
        • A study will have to be commissioned and undertaken. The draft will have to be passed by the Union cabinet.
        • Further, a Bill to amend the laws and rules will have to be passed in both houses of Parliament. This will have to be followed by the president’s approval.

No changes needed and how it would lead to misusing constitution:-

  • The mandatory term has to be completed first, very often what the state governments do is that they dissolve the assembly before the term ends and they conduct elections. It is the prerogative of the assembly to decide when to call an election. But in doing it for conduct of simultaneous elections, they would be misusing the Constitution
  • There is no need for amending the Constitution. If there is a consensus among the political parties to have a two-phase election, it can be done over a 10-15-year period.
    • In the interim the assembly elections coming in one year be conducted together. President has got the power to extend the period of assemblies by up to one year to bring about this uniformity. Similarly, preponing of elections can be done by the concerned chief ministers and political parties in the States.

 

  • Some experts argue that as the Article 83 (2) and Article 172 (1) of Constitution have the term “unless sooner dissolved” ,it provides for a situation of simultaneous polls and hence there is no need for any amendment.

Way forward:-

  • Standing committee recommended a cycle of elections, according to which elections to some legislative assemblies whose term end within six months to one year before or after the election date could be held during the midterm of Lok Sabha .For the rest of the states, elections could be held along with the general elections to Lok Sabha.
  • Cost can be brought under control by ensuring that the legal cap on expenditure of candidates is followed by all parties 

Conclusion:-

  • Before implementing it there is a need to weigh the pros and cons of concurrent elections in a rational way.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) In the recent union budget government announced a flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover over ten crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage up to five lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. Do you think it’s a move towards universal health coverage and quality public healthcare? Critically comment. (250 Words)

The Wire

 

Background:-

  • India is concerned with many health issues be it malnutrition, infant mortality, rising non communicable diseases, growing number of deaths due to cancer etc. The national health protection scheme is the step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.

Yes:-

  • Will bring healthcare system closer to the homes of people.
  • The new program would be a vast expansion of health coverage, allowing people to visit the country’s many private hospitals for needs as varied as cancer treatment and knee replacements. 
  • Under the scheme, 10 crore families will be provided Rs 5 lakh cover per family annually for treatment. The programme is being touted as the world’s largest health protection scheme.
  • It is indeed heartening that 40 per cent of India’s population will be covered under a insurance scheme. If the National Health Protection Scheme is properly implemented and monitored we would have taken an important step in creating a Swasth Bharat.
  • The amount of Rs 5 lakh per family is a massive and unexpected hike from the existing fund of Rs 1 lakh per family. This amount is 17 times bigger than the RSBY scheme and will cover 40% of India’s population.

No:-

  • Universal health insurance through private hospitals has not worked for the poor anywhere.Biggest beneficiaries are the private hospitals and insurance companies. There is no substitute for public health care. 
  • It does not do anything to improve access to healthcare or reduce out-of-pocket expenditure.
  • The government’s proposals do little to prevent poor health in the first place. India is plagued by increasing levels of water and air pollution, some of it worsened by pro-business policies. Malnutrition, poor sanitation and lack of proper housing also remain major problems.
  • Earlier programme failures cast new doubts:-
    • In its final iteration in 2016-2017, the RSBY also targeted 5.9 crore families, and managed to enroll 3.6 crore families. Thus the government’s announcement today of reaching ten crore families is also vastly ambitious.
    • NHPS announced earlier has in fact been lying dormant with the Union cabinet since November 2016. 
    • An insurance-based strategy does not effectively address this problem of out-of-pocket expenditure.
    • Most independent evaluations of the RSBY show that this scheme has neither managed to significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenditure nor has it increased access to healthcare for the poor. So regarding the latest schemes doubts prevail.
    • Only 1.2% of the hospitalisation cases of the rural population and 6.2% of the urban population received even part reimbursement.
    • There is evidence to show that despite efforts towards pushing for increased insurance coverage, neither have the poorest been reached out to nor has there been efficient financial protection.
    • RSBY did not affect the likelihood of inpatient out-of-pocket spending, the level of inpatient out of pocket spending or catastrophic inpatient spending.
    • Research from Chhattisgarh, which also has a state health insurance scheme along with the RSBY, shows that the accredited hospitals are highly concentrated in certain urban pockets, making it inaccessible for most of the rural poor.
  • In real terms and as a percentage of GDP, there is a decline in the health budget this year.
  • Universal health coverage by definition means universal coverage for all medical expenses. This health insurance scheme covers only a part of the population (ten crore households i.e. about 40% of population) for in-patient care alone.
  • It would take six more months to finalise the scheme and then perhaps a few more months to contract insurance agencies and providers. So it is uncertain if the scheme will be fully implemented this year
  • Catastrophic health expenditures remain at more or less the same levels, with and without government-funded insurance coverage in India at present.
  • The private hospitals that get empanelled would no doubt have a market advantage over the others. The increase in insurance cover to Rs 5 lakhs has addressed the corporate sector’s complaint of low reimbursement rates. This will help corporate consolidation of the market.

Way forward:-

  • Universal health coverage is widely practised in the world. So India needs to accept it too.
  • Also the public healthcare needs to be strengthened especially in rural areas.
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.

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

4) Proper implementation of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 1996 is crucial to ensure dignity and livelihood of poor and migrant labourers. Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu

 

Background:-

  • The Building and Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act (BOCW) 1996, is the central legislation concerning labour welfare in the construction sector.
  • Meant to regulate the employment and conditions of service of building and other construction workers and to provide for their safety, health and welfare.

Important provisions which need implementation ensure the welfare of workers:-

  • The law makes it compulsory that any construction activity with more than 10 workers must follow the guidelines set by it.
  • All the workers employed at these projects must be registered and must receive benefits provided by a welfare board and must receive a welfare fund.
  • Workers have to register with state welfare boards, for which forms must be filled up and identification documents must be provided – the overall cost of which is not supposed to exceed Rs 50.
  • Upon registration, the board gives an identity card to the worker with which he/she can avail benefits.
  • The welfare boards have been created to provide assistance to workers and act as a counsel.
  • The board is meant to fix hours of work and ensure that companies provide at least one day for rest during the week. For any overtime work or work on an off day, the worker is entitled to twice the normal wage rate.
  • Payment of regular wages, safe drinking water, suitable toilets connected to sewage systems, temporary living accommodation with separate cooking, bathing, washing and lavatory facilities, crèches, first-aid kits, canteens and safety guidelines are to be provided by employers.
  • The Labour Ministry in 2017 informed the court that the number of workers registered under the Act had increased from 2.15 crore to 2.8 crore. It said that the cess collected also went up from Rs. 25,477 crore to Rs. 37,482 crore.

Concerns with the implementation so far:-

  • The registration forms are extremely detailed and very lengthy, making it impossible for the mostly illiterate workers to fill out themselves. Hence, voluntary registration is very rare
  • Also, only workers between the age of 18 and 60 can be registered, leaving out those outside that age bracket.
  • The welfare boards have done very little work and practically do not perform at all and when they do have welfare funds, the benefits are not distributed
  • Facilities that employers are meant to ensure include a regularly maintained register for all workers, which is practised but these registers are kept secret.
  • Workers are not even ensured the basic facilities.
  • Inspectors are to ensure that all sites comply with legislation and workers are not being exploited. But this is rarely done.
  • Non-compliance with these standards are punishable in civil courts, however such legal action has rarely been taken
  • Because construction workers are spread out across the urban expanses, move frequently and come from different states, a traditional trade union movement has not been effective in trying to organise them.
    • Since their identification papers are from their own states, they fear losing their jobs and being thrown out if the union movement attracts the wrath of the police
  • Lack of financial control, despite being an earning member of the family, lack of knowledge and information about rights and about the city leaves the women burdened and vulnerable.
  • There is no reliable estimate of their numbers. Because they are migrants who remain hidden, they are ignored and they do not feel that they belong here

 

Conclusion:-

  • Instances like recent deaths of workers in mines of Jharkhand has made it necessary for effective implementation of the act and also in line with the directive principles enshrined in the Indian constitution.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

5) Despite improvements in awareness, services and treatments, cancer still kills more than 100,000 children every year worldwide. Examine the reasons. Also discuss why deaths due to cancer remain very high in India. (250 Words)

Livemint

Indian case:-

  • As per 2016 ICMR reports, India is likely to have over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease by 2020 with cancers of breast, lung and cervix topping the list.
  • Cancercases as well as mortality are increasing rapidly among Indian women, primarily because of low awareness and late detection.
    • India accounts for the third highest number of cancer cases among women after China and the US, growing annually at 4.5-5%, new data shows.
  • India topped the list for mortality for breast and cervical cancers and reported the second highest incidence for ovarian cancer globally.
  • Despite the established benefits of screening, coverage in India is low for women.
  • High out of pocket expenditure as the treatment is costly.
  • Public healthcare is inadequate so people go to private hospitals for treatment .
  • Lifestyle changes leading to obesity and overweight people who are more vulnerable to cancer.
  • Government support to healthcare is very less 
  • The country’s food bowl Punjab is paying the price for its productivity and a large number of cancer cases are due to excessive use of pesticides in the fields
  • Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to buildup of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanism to be less effective as a person grows older.
  • Use of tobacco in the form of smoking is quite prevalent in the Indian society

World scenario:-

  • Adults:-
    • Around 30% of cancer deaths are due to the few leading behavioral and dietary risks:
      • High body mass index
      • low fruit and vegetable intake
      • lack of physical activity
      • Tobacco use, alcohol use.
    • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of Global Lung Cancer Death. Cancer causing Viral Infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for upto 20% of cancer Deaths in low and middle-income countries
  • General:-
    • Due to variation in the availability and quality of cancer diagnosis and treatment services among developed and developing countries. 
    • Estimation of survival is limited by incomplete data and by legal or administrative obstacles to updating the cancer records with a patient’s date of death.
  • Children:-
    • Overall, in children less than 15 years of age, in the industrialized world, childhood cancer is listed as the 4th most common cause of death.
    • Leukaemia, brain cancers are predominant in children.
    • Different risk factors e.g., paediatric Burkitt lymphoma in sub-Saharan Africa is associated with Epstein–Barr virus infection in conjunction with malaria, whereas Burkitt lymphoma in industrialized countries is not associated with these infectious conditions or differences in risk among different ethnic or racial population subgroups.
    • Familial or genetic factors are thought to predispose the child to cancer.
    • An even smaller percentage of childhood cancer has an identified environmental link.
    • The majority of childhood cancers, however, remain poorly understood and causes are unknown.

Situation is improving:-

  • Malignancies in childhood are relative rare and prognosis has been improving in the last three decades as a result of more accurate diagnoses and improved treatment strategies. Adult malignancies occurring after 20 years of age are 20-30 times more common in general.
  • With awareness increasing worldwide there has been reduction of deaths in children due to cancer .also Indian initiatives like national health protection programme launched recently is a right step
  • Pollution control mechanisms need to be strengthened to avoid Lung cancer deaths etc.
  • Early defection, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, including Pain relief and Palliative Care, help increase cancer survival rates and reduce sufferings. 
  • World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases 2013-2020 that aims to reduce premature mortality from cancers by 25%.
  • Nevertheless, Healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, weight management along with avoidance from smoking and alcohol can definitely reduce the risk of the occurrence of the cancer globally. 

General Studies – 3


 

Topic:    Money-laundering and its prevention

6) The Central government has proposed changes to various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) through the Finance Bill. Examine these amendments and also evaluate the efficacy of previous measures in preventing money laundering. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Amendments to PMLA made through Finance bill are :-

  • Following amendments have been made in the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) through Finance Act 2018. The Amendments aim at further enhancing the effectiveness of the Act, widen its scope and take care of certain procedural difficulties faced by the Enforcement Directorate in prosecution of PMLA cases.
  • Amendment in definition of “proceeds of crime”:
    • The definition of “proceeds of crime” in PMLA was amended in 2015 to include “property equivalent held within the country” in case proceeds of crime is taken out or held “outside the country”. The present amendment shall allow to proceed against property equivalent to proceeds to crime held outside the country also.
  • Amendment in bail provisions:
    • Amendment proposed in Section 45(1) would make the applicability of bail conditions uniform to all the offences under PMLA, instead of only those offences under the schedule which are liable to imprisonment of more than 3 years. This will be a significant step forward in delinking the proceedings against scheduled offences and Money laundering  offences under PMLA.
    • Further limit of Rs .one crore shall allow court to apply bail provisions more leniently to less serious PMLA cases.
  • Corporate frauds included as Scheduled offence:
    • Section 447 of Companies Act is being included as scheduled offence under PMLA so that Registrar of Companies in suitable cases would be able to report such cases for action by Enforcement Directorate under the PMLA provisions. This provision shall strengthen the PMLA with respect to Corporate frauds.
  • Measures to enhance effectiveness of investigations
    • Section 5(1) of the Act provides that every order of provisional attachment passed by an officer of Enforcement Directorate shall cease to have effect after 180 days from the date of the provisional attachment order, unless confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority under PMLA within that period. The section is proposed to be amended to include the period of stay in this time limit of 180 days and also further period of not more than 30 days to take care of delays if any in communication of judicial orders.
    • Under the existing provision of Section 8(3), presently, the Directorate is required to file prosecution immediately after confirmation by Adjudicating Authority. Proposed amendment gives 90 days more for investigation to ED, before prosecution is filed.
    • New sub-section (2) of section 66 is being introduced to provide for clear guidelines to share the information relating to contraventions of other laws noticed during investigation by ED, with concerned authorities under the said Acts. This shall enable exchange of information among agencies and enhance effectiveness of efforts against black money.
  • Measures for restoration of property of persons adversely affected by PMLA investigation
    • Present provisions under Section 8(8) allow distribution of confiscated property to the rightful claimants, only after the trial is complete. Present amendment allows Special Court, if it thinks fit, to consider the claims of the claimants for the purposes of restoration of such properties even during trial also, in such manner as may be prescribed.
    • It will help provide quick relief in cases involving public money, including Ponzi scams.

Previous measures:-

  • The Government of India aligned its domestic anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws with international standards by enacting amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in 2012, and in 2016 initiated a National Risk Assessment for anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism to assess the country’s terrorist financing risk.
  • India is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and two FATF-style regional bodies — the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering.
  • India’s Financial Intelligence Unit-India is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
  • The government regulates the money services business (MSB) sector, requiring the collection of data for wire transfers and the filing of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) by non-profit organizations.
  • Foreign exchange management Act (FEMA) 1999 has been amended
  • Enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016.

Concerns:-

  • It has yet to implement the legislation effectively, especially with regard to criminal convictions
  • Law enforcement agencies in India open criminal investigations reactively and seldom initiate proactive analysis and long term investigations
  • While the Indian government has taken action against certain hawala financing activities, prosecutions have generally focused on non-financial businesses that conduct hawala transactions as a secondary activity.
  • The government has not taken adequate steps to ensure all relevant industries are complying with AML/CFT regulations.
  • The degree of training and expertise in financial investigations involving transnational crime or terrorism-affiliated groups varied widely among the federal, state, and local levels and depended on the financial resources and individual policies of various jurisdictions
  • According to experts US investigators have had limited success in coordinating the seizure of illicit proceeds with Indian counterparts
  • While the Indian government supervised, regulated, and monitored these entities to prevent misuse and terrorist financing, a large unregulated and unlicensed MSB sector remained vulnerable to exploitation by illicit actors.

Conclusion:-

  • The Indian government is serious about curbing money laundering so India has to focus on financial literacy education so that people are aware .

Topic: Agriculture

7) Critically examine how the recent union budget seeks to address farm crisis in the country. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Background:-

  • Agricultural and farm crisis has been a bone of contention in India as almost over the half of the population is still dependent on agriculture. The recent budget has taken many measures with respect to the crisis and rural distress.

Positives:-

  • Assurance of purchase of all crops for which MSP is declared is a positive step.
  • The Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund, with a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore, is to be set up for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the Gramin Agricultural Markets and Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs). This will enable farmers in remote locations who are devoid of any institutional mechanism to connect to markets.
  • Operation Green on the lines of  Operation Flood to tackle the volatility of tomato, onion and potato prices is a positive development.
  • The long-standing demand of income tax exemption for farmer producer organisations has been fulfilled.
  • A Rs 10,000 crore fund to finance the infrastructure requirements of fisheries, aquaculture and animal husbandry will generate rural employment and supplement farmer incomes.
  • The intent to mitigate the air pollution woes of Delhi-NCR by subsidising the machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue has now been addressed.
  • The focus on horticulture clusters and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, fertiliser, biogas and bio-CNG is also commendable.
  • National health protection schemewould also help the poor farmers het health benefits
  • Government proposed to raise the minimum support price (MSP) of all crops to 1.5 times that of the production cost.
  • GobarDhan‘ schemelaunched for galvanising organic bio agro resources , management and conversion of cattle waste to compost fertilizers, bio-gas and bio-CNG

Concerns:-

  • It should have simultaneously announced acceptance of the Ramesh Chand Committee’s recommendations on the calculation of MSP, which it has not.
  • Many of last year’s budget announcements  have not  been materialised due to lack of allocations.
  • Climate change worries have not been addressed
  • Agriculture R&D has been ignored.
  • There is no mention of the balanced use of fertilisers.
  • The demand for changing the Centre-state funding ratio from 60:40 to 90:10 for agriculture-related schemes has unfortunately been overlooked.
  • The subsidy allocated in Budget 2018 may provide a temporary solution to the crop burning issue, but it may do nothing to help address the larger water crisis.

Way forward:-

  • While this budget has stated a future linkage of MSP to input costs, it is critical that all underlying policy frameworks, procurement and input pricing, the structure and scope of MSP must focus on crop diversification.
  • Targeted programmes like those under the Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna for 96 irrigation-deprived districts, where less than 30 per cent of the land holdings get assured irrigation, is the way forward.
  • Implementing these will help the government in its commitment to achieve the goal of doubling farmer income by 2022.

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

Answer:-

With Gandhi, the notion of nonviolence attained a special status. He not only theorized on it, he adopted nonviolence as a philosophy and an ideal way of life. He made us understand that the philosophy of nonviolence is not a weapon of the weak; it is a weapon, which can be tried by all.

The statement highlights that when a act which is humiliating takes place, a person need to non cooperate with it and this is the principle of non violence action.

In the freedom struggle when Indigo planters were just given a token of money they resorted to non violent action of just rejecting it to uphold their dignity as the offered money was very meagre.

Similarly in the temple entry movement Gandhi did not cooperate with the enshrined tradition of not allowing Harijans inside temples and fought for their right.

So this approach is even relevant today:-

  • Even today many traditions and customs which hurt the equality, dignity, fraternity of the human being are present in India like caste discrimination, honour killings, banning women from entering sacred places .So non cooperation with these ideas is necessary and it is already visible.
  • Violence against the vulnerable sections ,rape etc are prevalent in India for which resistance through Gandhian means can bring change.
  • The founding fathers tried hard to make India a successful democracy but the political system is plagued by corruption, nepotism .The anti corruption movement that took place earlier followed the Gandhian approach as well.
  • His approach is relevant even in personal space like families where a person need not cooperate with the humiliation and need to fight back for their self respect.