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QUIZ – 2017: Insights Current Affairs Quiz,29 June 2018



QUIZ – 2017: Insights Current Affairs Quiz, 29 June 2018



QUIZ – 2017: Insights Current Affairs Quiz



 

 

The following quiz will have 5-10 MCQs. The questions are mainly framed from The Hindu and PIB news articles.

This quiz is intended to introduce you to concepts and certain important facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services preliminary exam 2018. It is not a test of your knowledge. If you score less, please do not mind. Read again sources provided and try to remember better.

Please try to enjoy questions, discuss the concepts and facts they try to test from you and suggest improvements.

Hope you enjoy this quiz. If you like it, then please share it. Thank you.

INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS QUIZ 2017

The following Quiz is based on the Hindu, PIB and other news sources. It is a current events based quiz. Solving these questions will help retain both concepts and facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services exam.

To view Solutions, follow these instructions:

  1. Click on – ‘Start Quiz’ button

  2. Solve Questions

  3. Click on ‘Quiz Summary’ button

  4. Click on ‘Finish Quiz’ button

  5. Now click on ‘View Questions’ button – here you will see solutions and links.

 

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 June 2018


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 June 2018


 

Paper 1:

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

 

Sant Kabir

Context: June 28 marks Sant Kabir’s 500th death anniversary and is celebrated as Kabir Jayanti across the country.

 

About Kabir:

  • Sant Kabir Das was a very renowned saint, poet and social reformer of India who lived during the 15th century. His esteemed works and poems describe the greatness and oneness of the Supreme Being.
  • He did not believe in any religious discrimination and readily accepted all the religions. Sant Kabir Das propagated that there is the presence of same Supreme Being in all religions.
  • Sant Kabir Das was a highly acclaimed poet of his time. His writings significantly influenced the Bhakti movement. Some of his famous writings include ‘Sakhi Granth’, ‘Anurag Sagar’, ‘Bijak’ and ‘Kabir Granthawali’.
  • A religious community known as ‘Kabir Panth’ was founded by him and the members of this forum are referred as ‘Kabir Panthis’, implying the followers of Kabir Das. He was admired by individual of all faiths and his teachings are still alive and passed from generations.
  • Swami Ramananda influence: Kabir Das’ ideologies were greatly influenced by Vaishnava saint Swami Ramananda who accepted Kabir as his disciple.
  • The UP Tourism department has initiated to promote Maghar as a tourist destination where Hindus have built a temple in memory of Kabir, while Muslims have constructed a mausoleum in his memory.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Sant Kabir- beliefs, works and places associated.
  • For Mains: Teachings of Sant Kabir and their relevance today.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Global realty transparency index

 

Context: Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL) has released the Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2018.

 

About the index:

The 2018 Global Real Estate Transparency Index covers 100 markets and is based on 186 indicators.

These variables are divided into six areas –performance measurement, market fundamentals, governance of listed vehicles, regulatory & legal frameworks, transaction process and environmental sustainability.

The Index scores markets on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1.00 being the highest possible score). Depending on their overall performance, markets are assigned to one of five transparency tiers.

  • Highly Transparent.
  • Semi-Transparent.
  • Low Transparency.

 

Performance of various countries:

  • India has moved up just one spot from 36 in 2016 to 35 in 2018.
  • The UK, Australia, the US, France and Canada are the top five countries.
  • Sri Lanka is at the 66th position and Pakistan at 75th among south Asian countries. Venezuela is the least transparent market with 100th rank.
  • Among BRICS nations, both China and South Africa remained on the same rank 33rd and 21st position, respectively, while, Brazil slipped to 37th position and Russia remained at 38th rank.

 

Way ahead for India:

India is one of the 10 countries that have registered maximum improvement in transparency in real estate over the last two years. Since 2014, India has moved up by five spots from 40th in the global real estate transparency index.

  • However, India has moved up just one spot despite the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation And Development) Act or RERA. RERA was implemented in May 2016 to bring accountability and transparency into the sector. However, unlike a few states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, several states have been slow in its implementation.
  • India is thus yet to figure among the transparent markets, despite the regulatory changes and the possibility of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listing.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Global realty transparency index- features and rankings of various countries, RERA.
  • For Mains: RERA- performance, challenges its implementation.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

 

Context: In a blow to Pakistan, the Financial Action Task Force has placed it on the ‘grey list’ for failing to curb anti-terror financing. The decision was taken at the global financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) plenary session held recently in Paris.

 

Implications:

The placement on the ‘grey list’ could hurt Pakistan’s economy as well as its international standing.

 

Developments so far:

  • The process began in February 2018 when FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as ‘grey List’.
  • Pakistan was asked to prepare a plan to address international body’s concerns and get its approval or it could risk being moved to the black list.
  • It presented a 26-point plan of action to the FATF planery with the commitment to implement it over a period of 15 months to address the concerns of the global community.
  • The endorsement of the plan means that FATF formally placed Pakistan on the list. In case it had rejected the plan, Pakistan would have been on FATF’s Public Statement, also called as the black list.

 

Efforts by Pakistan:

  • On June 20, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan issued Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations 2018, in compliance with FATF recommendations.
  • On June 8, the National Security Committee (NSC) reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the FATF.
  • By January next year, Pakistan will publish updated lists of persons and entities proscribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities.

 

About FATF:

What is it?

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.  It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

 

Objectives:

The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

 

Functions:

The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.  In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Pakistan remained on the FATF grey list from 2012 to 2015.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: FATF, Grey list, G7.
  • For Mains: What is Grey list and Black list, how are countries in the list affected?

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

 

Context: A total of 20 countries, including India, announced contributions to the 2018 budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees. India has pledged USD 5 million. The contributions are to help bolster “severe funding crisis” following US’ cut in its annual aid to UNRWA.

 

Background:

UNRWA has been providing health, education, relief and social services, as well as emergency humanitarian assistance, to some 5.3 million Palestinian refugees across its five fields of operation — Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — for 65 years.

However, in January, the agency’s financial situation became catastrophic due to the sudden loss of USD 300 million in voluntary contributions. The Trump administration in January US said it would withhold USD 65 million of USD 125 million it had planned to send to UNRWA.

 

About UNRWA:

  • Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.
  • In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2020.
  • UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR.
  • Funding: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. UNRWA also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.
  • The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.

 

What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: UNRWA- functions, funding and significance.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

Topic: biotechnology.

 

Ban on Oxytocin

Context: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has restricted the manufacture of Oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only. Coupled with this, it has also banned the import of Oxytocin and its formulations. The order comes into effect from July 1.

 

Who can manufacture?

Only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL), a public sector company, will manufacture this drug for domestic use. It will supply the drug to registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector directly.

 

Why a ban on oxytocin?

  • The drug is misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with Oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers.
  • Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.

 

About Oxytocin:

  • Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behaviour, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.
  • Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
  • It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
  • The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • Carbetocin: The World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with a safe and effective alternative to the controversial drug oxytocin.
  • While Oxytocin, must be stored and transported at 2–8 degrees Celsius, and becomes less effective when exposed to heat, Carbetocin does not require refrigeration and retains its efficacy for at least three years even if it is stored at 30 degrees Celsius, and in 75% relative humidity.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

ISRO is planning to mine Moon

Context: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s second moon mission — the Rs 800 crore ‘Chandrayaan-2’ —will hunt for deposits of Helium-3 — a waste-free nuclear energy that could answer many of Earth’s energy problems.

 

Why Helium- 3?

  • The isotope of Helium, which is abundant on the moon, could theoretically meet global energy demands for three to five centuries.
  • This kind of energy is also expected to be worth trillions of dollars (one expert estimated Helium-3’s value at about five billion US dollars a ton).
  • There are approximately 1 million metric tons of Helium-3 embedded in the moon, although only about a quarter of that can realistically could brought to Earth.
  • Since the isotope is not radioactive, it could be used in fusion reactors for nuclear energy without dangerous nuclear by-products.

 

Concerns and challenges:

Even if ISRO finds helium-3 on the moon, there are obstacles that need to be addressed before it can be utilised. The space agency will have to figure out how it will mine and bring back the isotope to Earth. Building fusion power plants to convert this resource into energy is another issue that has to be looked at. Additionally, there is no international treaty on commercial entities allowed to keep what they have mined from space, said the report. Only the US and Luxembourg have passed legislations to this effect.

 

Way ahead:

He-3 fusion is untested technology. Considering prevailing commitments like the Paris Agreement, it would simply be foolish for India to attempt stewarding a nuclear fusion programme involving heavier isotopes when a prototype hydrogen fusion experiment (ITER) itself has sucked in over Rs 96,550 crore (about 9% of which India contributes) while another billion-dollar facility in the US has been struggling to kickstart fusion chain reactions for over four years now.

 

About Chandrayaan-2:

  • Chandrayaan-2 includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface. It is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. It consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration.
  • The Orbiter spacecraft when launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface — all three sending data and pictures to Earth.
  • It is planned to be launched as a composite stack into the earth parking orbit (EPO) of 170 X 18,500 km by GSLV-Mk II.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Helium- 3, Chandrayaan- 2.
  • For Mains: Mining on Moon- need, challenges and technological innovations needed.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:

 

Police medals for special operations:

Union Home Ministry has instituted ‘Home Minister’s Special Operation Medals’ to honour officers of state police, central paramilitary forces and other security organisations engaged in special operations.

  • The three medals are — Antarik Suraksha Medal, Asadharan Aashuchan Padak and Utkrisht & Ati-Utkrisht Seva Medal.
  • While the Home Minister’s Special Operation Medal and Asadharan Aashuchan Padak will be awarded on August 15, Antarik Suraksha Medal and Utkrisht & Ati-Utkrisht Seva Medal will be announced on Republic Day.

 

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Insights into Editorial: The tools for counting


Insights into Editorial: The tools for counting


Brief History of Caste Census:

As the 2011 Census approached, demands for inclusion of data on caste in Census reached a crescendo. P. Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister at the time, was opposed to collecting caste data and blocked it by claiming that it was logistically impossible for the Census, but the Government included the caste subsequently, through BPL Census, later renamed as Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC,2011). It resulted largely in unusable data.

Consequently, if we want information regarding the size and characteristics of various castes in India, we must continue to look to the Census of 1931.

 

Outcome of SECC Data:

It is hard to imagine that the 2021 Census will not face another slew of demands for collection of caste data. It also seems likely that once again there will be a situation of unprepared for a full caste census.

If we really want to collect data on caste in India and not let the discourse about Indian society be shaped by the political exigencies of colonial India, the time to plan is now.

 

An ongoing argument

Colonial Censuses, beginning with the first Census in 1871, included questions about caste and used these data to divide and conquer India by first privileging Brahmins as interpreters of Indian culture and then targeting them as the roots of caste-based oppression and inequality.

G.S. Ghurye, the early 20th century pioneer of Indian sociology, reacted sharply by identifying this passion for classification as the source of anti-Brahmin movements. Veena Das, doyenne of modern Indian anthropology, also notes that the colonial Censuses via the process of recording caste generated a conception of community as a homogeneous and classifiable community and thereby influenced the processes of political representation. Consequently, post-Independence Censuses have shied away from including questions about caste.

 

What is at stake?

Our political systems, civil society and courts continue to assume that broad caste-based social categories — Dalits, Adivasis, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and upper castes — defined largely using data from 1931 Census and a few special purpose surveys continue to shape economic conditions in 21st century India.

Without accurate data at a granular level for each of these categories consisting of thousands of jatis (castes) and upjatis (subcastes), we have no way of knowing whether this is correct.

 

Present day Indian Society:

Indian society has undergone a tremendous transformation since 1931. Land ownership that bolstered the power of upper castes has lost its hold. Land fragmentation and decades of agricultural stagnation have turned many upper caste landowners into marginal farmers barely eking out a subsistence.

While landlessness, once the bane of Dalit existence, has left the landless better poised to take advantage of rising rural wages, particularly construction wages. Consequently, while at a broad brushstroke the National Sample Survey (NSS) shows that mean consumption expenditure of forward castes is higher than that of Dalits, clusters of poverty persist among forward castes.

 

The present-day reality in our country:

Modern India is facing several challenges in spite of not giving credence to the caste census. Patels, Gujjars, Jats and Marathas is the recent example, where demands are coming for reservations. Karnataka politics centres around Lingayat and Vokkalika communities. Similar situation exists in several states, whether they are Yadavas, Kurmis, Kammas, Kapus, Reddys, Vanniyars etc. 

The challenge for modern India lies in figuring out whether caste-based political mobilisation and strong sentiments for or against reservations would disappear just because we choose not to collect statistics about caste.

 

Economic growth of the past century, combined with strong affirmation action undertaken by successive governments of the independent nation, may have changed relative fortunes of various groups.

According to NSS data, the bottom fourth of forward castes are poorer than the top half of Dalits. India Human Development Survey shows that 56% of Dalit children ages 8-11 cannot read but neither can 32% of forward caste and 47% of OBC children. Hence, it is time to collect data that reflects the current situation.

 

Way Forward:

However, we have nearly three years before the Census of 2021 and are fortunate to have data from the SECC and technologies rooted in machine learning at our disposal.

It would be possible to set up an expert group that uses the SECC data in conjunction with other data sources such as matrimonial advertisements and State-specific Scheduled Castes/OBC lists to make a comprehensive list of castes and condense them into meaningful categories via machine learning tools.

These categories could then be validated by domain experts from the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) institutions in various States to come up with a district specific list of castes that would cover more than 90% of individuals in any given district.

Interviewers could use this pre-coded list to allow respondents to self-classify with a small residual group’s responses being recorded verbatim and categorised later. This is very similar to the technique through which occupational and industrial classification systems are created.

 

Conclusion:

Collection of data on castes is inherently risky. Politicians have long realised the advantages and disadvantages of capitalising on the sense of relative deprivation among various groups.

However, once the SECC was conducted, the genie was out of the bottle. Demands are already rife for the release of these data. Conceding that these data are flawed and looking for better ways of collecting data on caste may be a way of calming the waters before the 2019 election.

It will take courage for a future government to collect data on caste and to use it to rationalise reservation policies. However, without better and more current data, our discourse on caste and affirmative action remains dominated by decisions made by the colonial administration.

 

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ETHICS – Insights 70 Days Plan: Day – 5

 

 

ETHICS – Insights 70 Days Plan

Day – 5

Read about 70 Days Ethics Plan Here

 

1. In your opinion, what it takes to be ethical both in private and public relationships? Also discuss the challenges one faces while trying to stay ethical in public life. (150 Words)

Reference (Selectively)

 

3. Define the following with suitable examples:

a) Public interest

b) Public service

c) Self interest vs Selfishness

d) Public Sector ethics

Reference (Selectively)

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QUIZ – 2017: Insights Current Affairs Quiz,28 June 2018



QUIZ – 2017: Insights Current Affairs Quiz, 28 June 2018



QUIZ – 2017: Insights Current Affairs Quiz



 

 

The following quiz will have 5-10 MCQs. The questions are mainly framed from The Hindu and PIB news articles.

This quiz is intended to introduce you to concepts and certain important facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services preliminary exam 2018. It is not a test of your knowledge. If you score less, please do not mind. Read again sources provided and try to remember better.

Please try to enjoy questions, discuss the concepts and facts they try to test from you and suggest improvements.

Hope you enjoy this quiz. If you like it, then please share it. Thank you.

INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS QUIZ 2017

The following Quiz is based on the Hindu, PIB and other news sources. It is a current events based quiz. Solving these questions will help retain both concepts and facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services exam.

To view Solutions, follow these instructions:

  1. Click on – ‘Start Quiz’ button

  2. Solve Questions

  3. Click on ‘Quiz Summary’ button

  4. Click on ‘Finish Quiz’ button

  5. Now click on ‘View Questions’ button – here you will see solutions and links.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 29 JUNE 2018

[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 29 JUNE 2018

Click on EACH question to post/upload you answers.

How to Follow Secure Initiative?

How to Self-evaluate your answer? 

LIST of TOPICS (Static)

REVISION TIMETABLE FOR PRELIMS – 2018 

Revision Tests


General Studies – 1


 

Topic – Part of static series under the heading “Article 32 as the soul of Constitution”

1) Examine why BR Ambedkar called Article 32 as the heart and soul of the constitution?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to answer the significance of article 32 and what makes it one of the most important provisions of the constitution.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what article 32 is

Body – Highlight the significance of article 32 which makes it one of the most significant provisions of the constitution. Mention that without article 32, fundamental rights lose their importance, it is a part of basic structure . Mention that it is only by granting the power to SC as the protector of the constitution we are securing the rights of the people. Discuss the impact of article 32 through some cases.

Conclusion – Mention that article 32 is the pillar on which part 3 of our constitution rests and thus it becomes the soul of the constitution.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2) Creation of a body like Higher education Commission of India (HECI) is a welcome move in the path of reforming higher education in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Economic times

The hindu

Pib

Why this question

The government has expressed its intention to bring in the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018, which will replace  UGC with HECI. It will bring substantial and much required reform in the higher education regulation of India. The issue is related to gs- 2 syllabus under the following heading –

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the salient provisions of the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 and How is HECI, the body proposed by the bill better than UGC.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about all the important and related aspects of the question – salient provisions of the given bill and discuss how they aim to reform the higher education in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 which seeks to repeal  UGC Act and provides for setting up of HECI has been placed in public domain for comments and suggestions.

Body-

  • Discuss the salient provisions of HECI bill and how the proposed body HECI will be better than UGC. e.g The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education with no powers of grant with HECI; regime of transparent public disclosure vs inspection system in UGC; more powers than UGC like power to shut down bogus and sub-standard academic institutions etc.
  • Mention the other provisions of the bill which will help reforming higher education in India. E.g  roadmap for mentoring of institutions found failing in maintaining the required academic standards, Code of Good Practices covering promotion of research, teaching and learning; making education affordable to all etc.

Conclusion- mention that this is a welcome step and should be complemented by reforming other bodies like AICTE, NCTE etc.


Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

3) Ujjwala scheme has brought about a transformational change for its intended beneficiaries. Critically examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Ujjwala scheme has completed two years and there have been contrasting reports on the measure of success of the scheme. From the point of view of mains, high focus government scheme like Ujjwala is quite important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to assess the pros and cons of the scheme and its implementation and examine whether it has indeed made a transformational impact on the lives of its intended beneficiaries.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the details of Ujjwala scheme.

Body – Highlight the potential positives of Ujjwala scheme , the vision at the time it was brought in – address the health woes, environment etc. For that to happen, consistent use of LPG cylinder is reqd, and merely an increase in number of initial users who might switch as soon as they have to bear the cost might not yield a lot of benefit. highlight how the government is providing financial support and ensuring continuity. Also examine how the scheme is not fully capable of delivering the benefits, and the issues due to which this is so.

Conclusion – Present a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.


General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian economy – issues

4) On 1st of July, GST will celebrate an year of existence. Critically analyze the performance of GST regime so far?(250 words)

Financial express

Financial express

 

Why this question

GST, the most significant tax reform in India, will complete a year in July. This provides an opportune moment to discuss the impact of the scheme and the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the impact of GST on various sectors, bring out the pros and cons and present our view on how effective GST has been, in terms of the perceived gains that the administrators thought would accrue with the implementation of GST.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain GST and the objectives of implementing it.

Body – Discuss the overall impact of GST on businesses, tax collection, cooperative federalism, mechanisms and provisions of GST which have impacted the tax administration etc. Discuss the pros and cons. Highlight how the situation can be improved.

Conclusion – Being out a fair and balanced conclusion on the impact of GST and what the way forward should be.


Topic– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

5) E-commerce has opened new vistas of opportunity for women entrepreneurs in India. Comment. Also, discuss how Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) launched by NITI Aayog aims to support women entrepreneurship.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

pib

Why this question

E-commerce is growing at a very fast rate in India and relying on new technologies and increasing social media penetration, it has increased opportunities for womwn entrepreneurship in India. The NITI Aayog has recently signed statement of intent (SoI) with several financial institutions & social organisations with an aim to increase the number of women entrepreneurs under the WEP. The issue is related to gs-3 syllabus under the following heading

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding on the rise of e-commerce and its effect on women entrepreneurship. It also wants us to write in detail about the aim and strategy of WEP launched by NITI Aayog.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and bring out how e-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs.

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the WEP.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that growing adoption of technology, increased social media penetration, growing education and growth of e-commerce has provided an enabling system for growth of  women entrepreneurship in India.

Body

  • Discuss how e-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs; minimum investment needed, no gender barriers, opening up new markets, marketing and market analysis through social media etc.
  • Discuss how WEP started and its aim (to substantially increase the number of women entrepreneurs who will create and empower a dynamic New India) and how it wants to achieve those aims( e.g .motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their enterprise, providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship, providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses, a dedicated and interactive website to act as a dedicated resource and knowledge base, operate within a broader framework of industry collaborations and partnerships, which cut across sectors in the economy etc.)

Conclusion- form a fair and a balance conclusion on the above issue.

 


General Studies – 4


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

6)The educational philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh still holds relevance for the present India. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The issue is related to gs-4 syllabus under the following heading

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the educational philosophy of India, highlight its salient facets and form an opinion on its relevance for the modern/ present India.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our knowledge of the education philosophy of Sri A. Ghosh and bring out how it is still relevant for India. You can also take the opposite stand and justify it through shedding light on his philosophy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that was a rare combination of a philosopher, a yogi and educationist, a political leader and a spiritualist.

Body

Discuss the salient facets of his philosophy on education (e.g the guiding principle of Sri Aurobindo’s education philosophy was the awakening of the individual as a spiritual being; Sri Aurobindo made a five-fold classification of human nature i.e. the physical, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual, corresponding to five aspects of education – physical education, vital education, mental education, psychic education and spiritual or supermental education; integrated curriculum; activity method, observation, self discovery, discussion method, learning by doing, learning by self experience during teaching learning process etc.

The Scandinavian education system closely resembles such system. Take help of the article attached to the question to frame your answer.

Conclusion– Mention that the philosophy of Sri A. Ghosh is relevant to the India which needs to seek overall development of a child in all the spheres, reasoning ability, moral independence etc.



NOTE: 
We are giving hints for each question. Please use your creativity and originality to come up with answers that are unique to you. But do so without deviating from core demand of each question. Ultimately you should use your reason and judgement to write your own answer. 

We suggest you to Compliment Secure with Insights Daily Current Affairs to comprehensively cover Mains GS Syllabus

 

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6)The educational philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh still holds relevance for the present India. Comment.(250 words)

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

6)The educational philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh still holds relevance for the present India. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The issue is related to gs-4 syllabus under the following heading

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the educational philosophy of India, highlight its salient facets and form an opinion on its relevance for the modern/ present India.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our knowledge of the education philosophy of Sri A. Ghosh and bring out how it is still relevant for India. You can also take the opposite stand and justify it through shedding light on his philosophy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that was a rare combination of a philosopher, a yogi and educationist, a political leader and a spiritualist.

Body

Discuss the salient facets of his philosophy on education (e.g the guiding principle of Sri Aurobindo’s education philosophy was the awakening of the individual as a spiritual being; Sri Aurobindo made a five-fold classification of human nature i.e. the physical, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual, corresponding to five aspects of education – physical education, vital education, mental education, psychic education and spiritual or supermental education; integrated curriculum; activity method, observation, self discovery, discussion method, learning by doing, learning by self experience during teaching learning process etc.

The Scandinavian education system closely resembles such system. Take help of the article attached to the question to frame your answer.

Conclusion– Mention that the philosophy of Sri A. Ghosh is relevant to the India which needs to seek overall development of a child in all the spheres, reasoning ability, moral independence etc.

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5) E-commerce has opened new vistas of opportunity for women entrepreneurs in India. Comment. Also, discuss how Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) launched by NITI Aayog aims to support women entrepreneurship.(250 words)

Topic– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

5) E-commerce has opened new vistas of opportunity for women entrepreneurs in India. Comment. Also, discuss how Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) launched by NITI Aayog aims to support women entrepreneurship.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

pib

Why this question

E-commerce is growing at a very fast rate in India and relying on new technologies and increasing social media penetration, it has increased opportunities for womwn entrepreneurship in India. The NITI Aayog has recently signed statement of intent (SoI) with several financial institutions & social organisations with an aim to increase the number of women entrepreneurs under the WEP. The issue is related to gs-3 syllabus under the following heading

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding on the rise of e-commerce and its effect on women entrepreneurship. It also wants us to write in detail about the aim and strategy of WEP launched by NITI Aayog.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and bring out how e-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs.

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the WEP.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that growing adoption of technology, increased social media penetration, growing education and growth of e-commerce has provided an enabling system for growth of  women entrepreneurship in India.

Body

  • Discuss how e-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs; minimum investment needed, no gender barriers, opening up new markets, marketing and market analysis through social media etc.
  • Discuss how WEP started and its aim (to substantially increase the number of women entrepreneurs who will create and empower a dynamic New India) and how it wants to achieve those aims( e.g .motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their enterprise, providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship, providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses, a dedicated and interactive website to act as a dedicated resource and knowledge base, operate within a broader framework of industry collaborations and partnerships, which cut across sectors in the economy etc.)

Conclusion- form a fair and a balance conclusion on the above issue.

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4) On 1st of July, GST will celebrate an year of existence. Critically analyze the performance of GST regime so far?(250 words)

Topic – Indian economy – issues

4) On 1st of July, GST will celebrate an year of existence. Critically analyze the performance of GST regime so far?(250 words)

Financial express

Financial express

 

Why this question

GST, the most significant tax reform in India, will complete a year in July. This provides an opportune moment to discuss the impact of the scheme and the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the impact of GST on various sectors, bring out the pros and cons and present our view on how effective GST has been, in terms of the perceived gains that the administrators thought would accrue with the implementation of GST.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain GST and the objectives of implementing it.

Body – Discuss the overall impact of GST on businesses, tax collection, cooperative federalism, mechanisms and provisions of GST which have impacted the tax administration etc. Discuss the pros and cons. Highlight how the situation can be improved.

Conclusion – Being out a fair and balanced conclusion on the impact of GST and what the way forward should be.

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3) Ujjwala scheme has brought about a transformational change for its intended beneficiaries. Critically examine.(250 words)

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

3) Ujjwala scheme has brought about a transformational change for its intended beneficiaries. Critically examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Ujjwala scheme has completed two years and there have been contrasting reports on the measure of success of the scheme. From the point of view of mains, high focus government scheme like Ujjwala is quite important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to assess the pros and cons of the scheme and its implementation and examine whether it has indeed made a transformational impact on the lives of its intended beneficiaries.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the details of Ujjwala scheme.

Body – Highlight the potential positives of Ujjwala scheme , the vision at the time it was brought in – address the health woes, environment etc. For that to happen, consistent use of LPG cylinder is reqd, and merely an increase in number of initial users who might switch as soon as they have to bear the cost might not yield a lot of benefit. highlight how the government is providing financial support and ensuring continuity. Also examine how the scheme is not fully capable of delivering the benefits, and the issues due to which this is so.

Conclusion – Present a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

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2) Creation of a body like Higher education Commission of India (HECI) is a welcome move in the path of reforming higher education in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Topic:Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2) Creation of a body like Higher education Commission of India (HECI) is a welcome move in the path of reforming higher education in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Economic times

The hindu

Pib

Why this question

The government has expressed its intention to bring in the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018, which will replace  UGC with HECI. It will bring substantial and much required reform in the higher education regulation of India. The issue is related to gs- 2 syllabus under the following heading –

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the salient provisions of the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 and How is HECI, the body proposed by the bill better than UGC.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about all the important and related aspects of the question – salient provisions of the given bill and discuss how they aim to reform the higher education in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 which seeks to repeal  UGC Act and provides for setting up of HECI has been placed in public domain for comments and suggestions.

Body-

  • Discuss the salient provisions of HECI bill and how the proposed body HECI will be better than UGC. e.g The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education with no powers of grant with HECI; regime of transparent public disclosure vs inspection system in UGC; more powers than UGC like power to shut down bogus and sub-standard academic institutions etc.
  • Mention the other provisions of the bill which will help reforming higher education in India. E.g  roadmap for mentoring of institutions found failing in maintaining the required academic standards, Code of Good Practices covering promotion of research, teaching and learning; making education affordable to all etc.

Conclusion- mention that this is a welcome step and should be complemented by reforming other bodies like AICTE, NCTE etc.

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1) Examine why BR Ambedkar called Article 32 as the heart and soul of the constitution?(250 words)

Topic – Part of static series under the heading “Article 32 as the soul of Constitution”

1) Examine why BR Ambedkar called Article 32 as the heart and soul of the constitution?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to answer the significance of article 32 and what makes it one of the most important provisions of the constitution.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what article 32 is

Body – Highlight the significance of article 32 which makes it one of the most significant provisions of the constitution. Mention that without article 32, fundamental rights lose their importance, it is a part of basic structure . Mention that it is only by granting the power to SC as the protector of the constitution we are securing the rights of the people. Discuss the impact of article 32 through some cases.

Conclusion – Mention that article 32 is the pillar on which part 3 of our constitution rests and thus it becomes the soul of the constitution.

 

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 JUNE 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 JUNE 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.


General Studies – 1


Topic – Part of static series under the heading “Article 32 as the soul of Constitution”

1) Examine why BR Ambedkar called Article 32 as the heart and soul of the constitution?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to answer the significance of article 32 and what makes it one of the most important provisions of the constitution.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what article 32 is

Body – Highlight the significance of article 32 which makes it one of the most significant provisions of the constitution. Mention that without article 32, fundamental rights lose their importance, it is a part of basic structure . Mention that it is only by granting the power to SC as the protector of the constitution we are securing the rights of the people. Discuss the impact of article 32 through some cases.

Conclusion – Mention that article 32 is the pillar on which part 3 of our constitution rests and thus it becomes the soul of the constitution.

 

Background:-

  • Article 32 provides the right to Constitutional remedies which means that a person has right to move to Supreme Court (and high courts also) for getting his fundamental rights protected. While Supreme Court has power to issue writs under article 32, High Courts have been given same powers under article 226.
  • Further, the power to issue writs can also be extended to any other courts (including local courts) by Parliament via making a law for local limits of jurisdiction of such courts.

Why Article 32 is the heart and soul of the constitution:-

  • Supreme Court has included it in basic structure doctrine. Further, it is made clear that right to move to Supreme Court cannot be suspended except otherwise provided by the Constitution. This implies that this right suspended during a national emergency under article 359
  • Article 32 makes the Supreme Court the defender and guarantor of the fundamental rights. Further, power to issue writs comes under original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This means that a person may approach SC directly for remedy rather than by way of appeal.
  • Article 32 can be invoked only to get a remedy related to fundamental rights. It is not there for any other constitutional or legal right for which different laws are available.
  • The law provides an assured remedy for enforcing the Fundamental Rights as the person can directly approach the Supreme Court without having to follow a lengthier process of moving lower courts.
  • Impact:-
    • Deciding the matter regarding the Supreme court’s power to remit or pardon, the judgment held the argument that when a pardon or remission can be given under Article 72 or 161 of the Constitution by the constitutional authority, this Court can exercise the similar power under Article 32 of the Constitution of India is absolutely based on an erroneous premise.
    • It further said that Article 32 of the Constitution can be only invoked when there is violation of any fundamental right or where the Court takes up certain grievance which falls in the realm of public interest litigation.
    • The impact of article 32 has been huge with landmark cases like Shreya Singhal v Union of India where supreme court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Meera Santosh Pal and Others v Union of India and Others where Supreme Court gave judgment on medical termination of pregnancy of a 24-week foetus etc.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2) Creation of a body like Higher education Commission of India (HECI) is a welcome move in the path of reforming higher education in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Economic times

The hindu

Pib

Why this question

The government has expressed its intention to bring in the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018, which will replace  UGC with HECI. It will bring substantial and much required reform in the higher education regulation of India. The issue is related to gs- 2 syllabus under the following heading –

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the salient provisions of the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 and How is HECI, the body proposed by the bill better than UGC.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about all the important and related aspects of the question – salient provisions of the given bill and discuss how they aim to reform the higher education in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 which seeks to repeal  UGC Act and provides for setting up of HECI has been placed in public domain for comments and suggestions.

Body-

  • Discuss the salient provisions of HECI bill and how the proposed body HECI will be better than UGC. e.g The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education with no powers of grant with HECI; regime of transparent public disclosure vs inspection system in UGC; more powers than UGC like power to shut down bogus and sub-standard academic institutions etc.
  • Mention the other provisions of the bill which will help reforming higher education in India. E.g  roadmap for mentoring of institutions found failing in maintaining the required academic standards, Code of Good Practices covering promotion of research, teaching and learning; making education affordable to all etc.

Conclusion- mention that this is a welcome step and should be complemented by reforming other bodies like AICTE, NCTE etc.

Background:-

  • Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 which seeks to repeal UGC Act and provides for setting up of Higher Education Commission of India has been prepared by the Ministry of HRD and placed in public domain for comments and suggestions recently.
  • Government recently announced a complete overhaul of the apex higher education regulator- University Grants Commission, repeal of the UGC Act, 1951 and a fresh legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)

Higher education commission of India:-

  • Focus of Higher Education Commission of India will be on improving academic standards and the quality of Higher Education.

Why it is a welcome move in reforming higher education:-

  • Better administration:-
    • Centre has embarkedon a process of reform of the regulatory agencies for better administration of the higher education sector. In fulfilment of the above,  draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of Government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide for more autonomy and facilitate holistic growth of the education system which provides greater opportunities to the Indian students at more affordable cost.
  • Less Government and more Governance:
    • Downsizing the scope of the Regulator. No more interference in the management issues of the educational institutions.
    • Key thrust areas of the HECI will be downsizing over governance of institutions, bring in disclosure based regulatory regime and powers of enforcement of regulations
  • Separation of grant functions:
    • The grant functions would be carried out by the HRD Ministry, and the HECI would focus only on academic matters.
  • End of Inspection Raj:
    • Regulation is done through transparent public disclosures, merit-based decision making on matters regarding standards and quality in higher education
  • Focus on academic quality:
    • HECI is tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology etc.
    • It will develop norms for setting standards for opening and closure of institutions, provide for greater flexibility and autonomy to institutions, lay standards for appointments to critical leadership positions at the institutional level irrespective of University started under any Law (including State Law)
    • The Commission shall have the power to grant authorization for starting of academic operations on the basis of their compliance with norms of academic quality.
  • Takes away funding powers from the proposed regulator and gives it powers to ensure academic quality and even close down bogus institutions.
  • Powers to enforce :
    • The Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and will have the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions. Non-compliance could result in fines or jail sentence.
    • The HECI will also be backed with penal powers to order closure of institutes that violate set norms, imposition of fines where necessary and provisions for imprisonment up to three years where necessary.
    • The Bill also provides for the penal provisions, which albeit graded in nature, will cover withdrawal of power to grant degrees/ diplomas or direction to cease academic operations and in cases of wilful non-compliance, may result in prosecution sanction as per the Criminal Procedure Code with a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 3 years.
  • HECI is tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology etc.
  • HECI will also set standards for opening and closure of institutes, provide greater flexibility and autonomy to institutes and lays standards for appointments to critical leadership positions at institutions across spectrums and even for those falling under state laws.
  • The UGC and its regulatory regime have been criticised by a number of committees and their reports for its restrictive and suffocating processes. Several committees including the Prof Yash Pal committee and the National Knowledge Commission have recommended a single education regulator to rid higher education of red tape and lethargy.
  • Other provisions in the bill are:
    • It will also have the powers to revoke authorization granting to a higher education institution where there is a case of wilful or continuous default in compliance with the norms / regulations.
    • It will also have the power to recommend closure of institutions which fail to adhere to minimum standards without affecting students interest.
    • The Commission will encourage higher education institutions to formulate a Code of Good Practices covering promotion of research, teaching and learning.
    • The Commission will also specify norms and processes for fixing of fee chargeable by higher education institutions and advice the Central Government or the State Governments, as the case may be, regarding steps to be taken for making education affordable to all
    • The Commission will monitor, through a national data base, all matters covering the development of emerging fields of knowledge and balanced growth of higher education institutions in all spheres and specially in promotion of academic quality in higher education.

Conclusion:-

  • India’s higher education needed reforms immediately and higher education commission is the step in the right direction.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

3) Ujjwala scheme has brought about a transformational change for its intended beneficiaries. Critically examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Ujjwala scheme has completed two years and there have been contrasting reports on the measure of success of the scheme. From the point of view of mains, high focus government scheme like Ujjwala is quite important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to assess the pros and cons of the scheme and its implementation and examine whether it has indeed made a transformational impact on the lives of its intended beneficiaries.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the details of Ujjwala scheme.

Body – Highlight the potential positives of Ujjwala scheme , the vision at the time it was brought in – address the health woes, environment etc. For that to happen, consistent use of LPG cylinder is reqd, and merely an increase in number of initial users who might switch as soon as they have to bear the cost might not yield a lot of benefit. highlight how the government is providing financial support and ensuring continuity. Also examine how the scheme is not fully capable of delivering the benefits, and the issues due to which this is so.

Conclusion – Present a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

Ujjwala scheme:-

  • The scheme aims to protect women and children from the smoke emitted from households using firewood for cooking purposes. 
  • Under the scheme, families below the poverty line are to be provided with LPG connections with a support of Rs. 1,600 per connection in the next three years.
  • The ambitious scheme also laid down a condition that the LPG connections will be issued in the name of the women of the households. The scheme promises to install five crore connections by the end of 2019.

Positives:-

  • Women benefitted:-
    • In just two years, India’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has provided some 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support them to switch to clean household energy use.
    • Major step to reduce indoor air pollution, drudgery faced by women, and one that promises to extend LPG access.
  • Increase in LPG penetration:-
    • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) completed two years of operation. During this time the number of LPG connections has crossed 4 crore, and LPG penetration in India has risen from 56% in 2014 to 80%.
    • One in five Ujjwala customers who enrolled in May 2016 is using seven cylinders annually, thus matching the national per capita consumption of 6.8 cylinders in 2017-18.
  • More time given to family:-
    • Benefits such as customers being able to devote more time towards children, the elderly and sick, along with reduced drudgery and gains in health are visible.
  • The programme has also witnessed the emergence of a peer learning platform: the Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat.
    • By sharing the vision of early adopters and ironing out service issues, the LPG Panchayats being held at village levels across India are helping more and more people appreciate the advantages of clean fuel.
  • Adoption of LPG has received a boost with supplies ramping up and service improving:-
    • In April 2014, there were 13,896 LPG distributors across India. This number is now 20,227. Another 3,750 distributorships will be commissioned in 2018-19.
    • Similarly, the loan deferment policy, which has allowed the recovery of loan amounts from Ujjwala customers, has been deferred for their next six refills starting April 1, 2018. This allows customers to avail of the subsidy during this period.
  • Fuel use reduced:-
    • According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.
    • About 75 crore Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking. A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.

Negatives:-

  • The cost for each LPG connection is between Rs 3,100-Rs 3,200. Initially, under this scheme, per family indemnity of Rs 1,600 was being offered and families were paying Rs 1,500 for an LPG stove and gas cylinder. 
  • Another hurdle in the successful implementation of the scheme is that a section of villagers doesn’t consider LPG as primary cooking fuel.
    • To make food in the villages, wood and dung extract is still considered cheap and effective. These are age-old practices and mindsets take a long to change.
  • Safety issues:-
    • Among the surveyed states, the perception of LPG being unsafe is 46 percent. In states like Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, 50 percent or more households mentioned safety as a barrier.
  • Low awareness:-
    • Low awareness with regard to advantages of LPG as a cooking fuel has been cited as a spanner towards the adoption of LPG. The report states that non-familiarity about operating an LPG stove is a concern expressed by 35 percent of the surveyed households.
  • Refill issues:-
    • It is not easy to get the LPG cylinder refilled especially in rural areas.

Way forward:-

  • Truly smokeless kitchens can be realized only if the government follows up with measures that go beyond connections to actual usage of LPG. This may require concerted efforts cutting across Ministries beyond petroleum and natural gas and including those of health, rural development and women and child welfare.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian economy – issues

4) On 1st of July, GST will celebrate an year of existence. Critically analyze the performance of GST regime so far?(250 words)

Financial express

Financial express

 

Why this question

GST, the most significant tax reform in India, will complete a year in July. This provides an opportune moment to discuss the impact of the scheme and the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the impact of GST on various sectors, bring out the pros and cons and present our view on how effective GST has been, in terms of the perceived gains that the administrators thought would accrue with the implementation of GST.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain GST and the objectives of implementing it.

Body – Discuss the overall impact of GST on businesses, tax collection, cooperative federalism, mechanisms and provisions of GST which have impacted the tax administration etc. Discuss the pros and cons. Highlight how the situation can be improved.

Conclusion – Being out a fair and balanced conclusion on the impact of GST and what the way forward should be.

Background :-

  • The Goods and Services Tax(GST) is a value-added tax levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption.

Performance of GST so far :-

  • Economic:-
    • States are yielding revenue growth of 11.9%, compared with the relevant pre-GST numbers.
    • Tax buoyancy(responsiveness of tax growth to nominal GDP growth) is 1.2, which is high by the historical standards for indirect taxes.
    • GST is boosting revenues of consuming states:-
      • There has been a desirable and equitable shift in revenues towards the consuming states, and this has happened without threatening the revenues of the producing states reflected in the small compensation requirement.
    • Political:-
      • Contribution of states for showcasing ‘cooperative federalism’ in its implementation.
      • All states and the Centre have worked very closely in ironing out various issues that have cropped up, and most of the decisions taken by the GST Council have been unanimous.
      • Close cooperation between the Centre and states in introducing anti-evasion measures, like the e-way bill, led to a turnaround in collections,
      • Since there was no evidence of a GST-induced inflation spiral, the legislation was used sparingly and price fixation was largely left to the forces of demand and supply, which worked very well in most businesses.
    • IT replaced the inspector:-
      • In the GST scheme, information technology has replaced the inspector. Everything from return to refund is done through online information technology.
    • Check posts gone, logistics benefit
      • The check post has become extinct after the arrival of the GST scheme and the movement of goods has become faster, which not only saves time but is also accruing benefits in the area of logistics. GST is probably the biggest tax reform in the world
    • Impact of GST on Manufacturers, Distributor, and Retailers :-
      • With GST in place, the compliance burden has eased and this sector will grow more strongly.
      • But due to GST business which was not under the tax bracket previously will now have to register. This will lead to lesser tax evasion.
    • E-commerce:-
      • The e-commerce sector in India has been growing by leaps and bounds. In many ways, GST will help the e-com sector’s continued growth.
    • Pharma:-
      • On the whole, GST is benefiting the pharma and healthcare industries. It will create a level playing field for generic drug makers, boost medical tourism and simplify the tax structure.
    • Telecommunications:-
      • In the telecom sector, prices will come down after GST. Manufacturers will save on costs through efficient management of inventory and by consolidating their warehouses.
      • Handset manufacturers will find it easier to sell their equipment as GST has negated the need to set up state-specific entities, and transfer stocks. The will also save up on logistics costs.
    • Real Estate:-
      • The sector will see substantial benefits from GST implementation, as it has brought to the industry much-required transparency and accountability.
    • Agriculture:-
      • One of the major issues faced by the agricultural sector is the transportation of agri-products across state lines all over India. GST will resolve the issue of transportation. 
    • FMCG :-
      • The FMCG sector is experiencing significant savings in logistics and distribution costs as the GST has eliminated the need for multiple sales depots. 
    • Freelancers :-
      • With GST, it will become much easier for freelancers to file their taxes as they can easily do it online. They are taxed as service providers, and the new tax structure has brought about coherence and accountability in this sector.

 Challenges ahead :-

  • In the Economic Survey, it was argued that confusion reigns in understanding GST performance because of focusing on one or more of the bewildering sub-categories of the GST (CGST, SGST, IGST, and the cess.)Having four tax rates and three rates of cesses should have been avoided.
  • There are very few states where there is a significant decline in the post-GST share compared to the pre-GST share.
  • There has been considerable concern with the new tax, both in its structure and operational details, including the ease of paying the tax and filing returns
  • Trade and industry have been grappling with the problem of payment, filing the returns and claiming input tax credit, and exporters have been facing liquidity crises.
  • It enormously complicates the technology platformto ensure input tax credit mechanism.
  • GST Network, is struggling to keep pace with the millions of invoicesand returns being filed electronically by businesses across the country.
  • For Exporters, because of delayed timelines for filing GST returns, no refunds can be expected before mid-November on input taxes paid in advance and the integrated GST levied on goods they imported.
  • 65,000 crore of working capital will get blocked, cramping their ability to ramp up capacity and raw material procurement in time for festive season orders from around the world.
  • Several revisions in deadlines, tax and cess rates, rules, clarifications and tweaks later, the GST regime is turning out to be neither simple nor friendly for taxpayers.
  • The frequent changes in various aspects of GST, coupled with unexpected surges in compliance loads, led to some difficulties for businesses in grappling with GST during the initial phases.
  • Reverse charge being made applicable on purchases from unregistered dealers by registered dealers:-
    • This provisions appears to emanate from the government’s desire to cover the entire value-chain in GST and not have any segments that are not covered.
    • Further, the language used in Section 9(3) and 9(4) indicates that the recipient of goods and services is not only required to pay the tax but would also be treated as if he is the person liable for paying the tax” and “all provisions of the CGST Act shall apply accordingly. This means that the recipient is required to ascertain the classification and rate applicable to the goods supplied as this is normally done by the supplier.
    • Another issue that comes up in the context of reverse charge is the ability of the recipient to take credit of the tax paid by him on behalf of the service provider

Way forward:-

  • The pending cases under the earlier tax regime need to be dealt with, and all pending assessments and audits under the old laws need to be completed.
  • Problems of transition to a major tax reform are unavoidable and most countries go through this
  • It appears desirable to move immediately towards three slabs with the final goal of reducing the slabs to two and to fix the threshold at Rs.50 lakh
  • Further simplifying the rate structure, widening the base to include currently exempted sectors, and streamlining procedures for filing and refunds. 
  • Improving the compliance pattern and making it easy for businesses to file returns is of paramount importance.
  • A modular structure of filing returns, where only relevant portions of the return are to be completed by various businesses, would encourage more businesses to comply with GST and file returns in time.
  • In addition, staggering the return filing dates for various categories of small and large taxpayers would be beneficial in balancing the load on the IT infrastructure.

Topic– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

5) E-commerce has opened new vistas of opportunity for women entrepreneurs in India. Comment. Also, discuss how Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) launched by NITI Aayog aims to support women entrepreneurship.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

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Why this question

E-commerce is growing at a very fast rate in India and relying on new technologies and increasing social media penetration, it has increased opportunities for womwn entrepreneurship in India. The NITI Aayog has recently signed statement of intent (SoI) with several financial institutions & social organisations with an aim to increase the number of women entrepreneurs under the WEP. The issue is related to gs-3 syllabus under the following heading

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding on the rise of e-commerce and its effect on women entrepreneurship. It also wants us to write in detail about the aim and strategy of WEP launched by NITI Aayog.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and bring out how e-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs.

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the WEP.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that growing adoption of technology, increased social media penetration, growing education and growth of e-commerce has provided an enabling system for growth of  women entrepreneurship in India.

Body

  • Discuss how e-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs; minimum investment needed, no gender barriers, opening up new markets, marketing and market analysis through social media etc.
  • Discuss how WEP started and its aim (to substantially increase the number of women entrepreneurs who will create and empower a dynamic New India) and how it wants to achieve those aims( e.g .motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their enterprise, providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship, providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses, a dedicated and interactive website to act as a dedicated resource and knowledge base, operate within a broader framework of industry collaborations and partnerships, which cut across sectors in the economy etc.)

Conclusion- form a fair and a balance conclusion on the above issue.

 

Background:-

  • The advent of new technologies and ease in communication is opening up new vistas for women in E-commerce market. Increased social media penetration, growing education and growth of e-commerce has provided an enabling system for growth of  women entrepreneurship in India.

How  E-commerce encouraged women entrepreneurship:-

  • It is helping them to maintain a balance between their career and responsibilities simultaneously.
    • The idea of “Minimum investment, Maximum profit” in E-commerce business is helping women entrepreneurs to start their businesses while working from the comfort of their homes. 
    • Many women entrepreneurs serving service sector also enjoy the flexibility to work from home specifically in the field of – content development, sales, recruitment, lead generation and travel packaging, among others that just require a strong internet connection, a laptop and a mobile phone.
    • In addition, industries like wedding planning, interior designing, digital marketing, etc are also helping women entrepreneurs to work according to their flexibility.
  • Seizing new opportunities through technology:-
    • The high penetration of internet and use of social media is also playing an influential role in driving their business by reducing barriers to work across the boundaries and creating flexibility around their schedule by introducing virtual workplaces and digital lifestyle.
    • With the growing use of social media, women entrepreneurs are finding it easier to identify new business opportunities and finding sales leads online for building a sustainable business. Several women are also taking complete advantage of Social media platforms to boost their sales numbers and build a strong customer base.
  • Moreover, it plays a critical role in removing gender biasness as the online medium places a layer of invisibility on the seller’s identity.
  • E-commerce revolution has also brought a great sense of financial independency along with creative satisfaction for women.

NITI Aayog initiative and how it supports women entrepreneurship:-

  • NITI Aayog launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), on the occasion of International Women’s Day
  • Objective
    • Build vibrant ecosystem for women across country to help realise their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses.
    • Power vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem through an enabling network of industry collaborations, partnerships, mentors and peer-to-peer connect.
    • Address bottlenecks faced by both aspiring and established women entrepreneurs by streamlining information across government and private sector schemes and initiatives with informative, interactive website as a dedicated resource and knowledge base.
  • Key Features
    • WEP aspires to substantially increase number of women entrepreneurs to create and empower dynamic new India by opening up avenues of growth and opportunity for women entrepreneurs. These aspirations of women entrepreneurs are manifested in three pillars on which WEP is built:
      • Ichha Shakti:Motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their enterprise.
      • Gyaan Shakti:Providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship.
      • Karma Shakti:Providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses.
    • The WEP platform will operate within broader framework of industry collaborations and partnerships, which cut across sectors in economy. It will provide unique services such as credit evaluation of women-led startups by CRISIL and potential equity investments through an Rs. 10 crore fund established by DICE Districts.

 


General Studies – 4


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

6)The educational philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh still holds relevance for the present India. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The issue is related to gs-4 syllabus under the following heading

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the educational philosophy of India, highlight its salient facets and form an opinion on its relevance for the modern/ present India.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our knowledge of the education philosophy of Sri A. Ghosh and bring out how it is still relevant for India. You can also take the opposite stand and justify it through shedding light on his philosophy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that was a rare combination of a philosopher, a yogi and educationist, a political leader and a spiritualist.

Body

Discuss the salient facets of his philosophy on education (e.g the guiding principle of Sri Aurobindo’s education philosophy was the awakening of the individual as a spiritual being; Sri Aurobindo made a five-fold classification of human nature i.e. the physical, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual, corresponding to five aspects of education – physical education, vital education, mental education, psychic education and spiritual or supermental education; integrated curriculum; activity method, observation, self discovery, discussion method, learning by doing, learning by self experience during teaching learning process etc.

The Scandinavian education system closely resembles such system. Take help of the article attached to the question to frame your answer.

Conclusion– Mention that the philosophy of Sri A. Ghosh is relevant to the India which needs to seek overall development of a child in all the spheres, reasoning ability, moral independence etc.

 

Shri Aurobindo emphasized that education should be in accordance with the needs of our real modern life. In other words, education should create dynamic citizen so that they are able to meet the needs of modern complex life.The guiding principles of Sri Aurobindo’s education philosophy was the awakening of the  individual as a spiritual being. It should be related to life truth and self mastery by the child. 

Sri Aurobindo made a five-fold classification of human nature i.e. the physical, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual, corresponding to five aspects of education – physical education, vital education, mental education, psychic education and spiritual or supermental education. 

Physical education includes control over physical functions, harmonious development of physical movements, over powering physical limitations and the awareness of body 
consciousness. Sri Aurobindo lays stress upon games and sports because he felt that these were essential for renewing energy. 
Vital education was the most important point in integral education
.Sri Aurobindo called the vital being of man – the life nature made up of desires, sensations, feelings, passions, reaction of the desire – soul in man and of all that play a possessive and other related instincts, anger, fear, speed etc. that belong to this field of nature. 

Mental education included cognition, ideas and intelligence. The unique contribution of Sri Aurobindo regarding mental education was that ideas should be continually organized around a central thought. 
Psychic education was the special contribution of Sri Aurobindo to education systems. The key to an integral personality was the discovery of man’s psychic nature. 
Spiritual and supramental education gives more importance to the growth of the spirit than intellectual, moral or even religious education. 

Development of Morality:

Shri Aurobindo has emphasized that without moral and emotional development mental development becomes harmful to human progress. For the moral development of child emotions, impressions or habits and nature are the three essential factors. Thus the ideals of a teacher should be so high that the child, by mere imitation, is able to reach higher and higher stages of development.

The educational theory of Sri Aurobindo aimed at the development of the latent powers of the  child, training of six senses, training of logical faculties, physical education, principle of freedom, moral and religious education and above all, training for the spiritualization of the individual.

Relevance of the modern system of education :-
Although Sri Aurobindo had given his theory in 1910 and 1937 respectively, yet his theory is relevant to the modern system of education. Sri Aurobindo’s theory is relevant in respect of all round development of the child, compulsory education at least upto the age of 6-14 years, life long and continuing education, vocational education, creativity, study of science and technology, literature etc.

Sri Aurobindo’s main contribution in future education that is to prepare for future life. Sri Aurobindo also gave preference to national integration, international integration, value education and non formal programs for rural and unorganized sectors.