SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 JULY 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 JULY 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 “Gandhian principles in DPSP”

1) Examine the relevance of Gandhian principles in DPSP at a time when his other teachings hardly figure in national consciousness? (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the Gandhian principles enshrined in DPSP and examine their relevance in the present context, also whether they are in tune with the overall nature of DPSPs and the objectives enshrined therein. Explain the reasons why Gandhian principles are relevant/irrelevant in present context and the impact that it’s implementation would have.

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 the overall objective of DPSP (creation of welfare state) and the nature of DPSP (directives for good governance). Highlight that DPSP contain a motley of ideology including Gandhian principles.

Body – Highlight which are the Gandhian principles in DPSP. Examine the causes why they are relevant (or not). For instance, talk about the necessity of democratic decentralization as envisaged by Gandhi through Local Governments for true empowerment of people. Similarly, talk about the importance of promoting cottage industries for self reliance in rural areas, link it to the functioning of SHGs. You can question the relevance of including certain provisions in DPSP such as preventing cow slaughter, abstinence etc.

Conclusion – Give your view on the relevance of Gandhian principles in DPSP and the impact they would have upon implementation in true sense.

Background:-

  • The Constitution of India aims to establish not only political democracy but also socio-economic justice to the people to establish a welfare state. With this purpose in mind, our Constitution lays down desirable principle and guidelines in Part IV known as the Directive Principle of State Policy.
  • The Constitution does not contain any classification of the Directive Principles. However, on the basis of their content and direction, they can be classified broadly into socialist, Gandhian and liberal-intellectual.

Gandhian principles in DPSP:-

  • Based on Gandhian ideology, these include
    • To organize village Panchayats and endow them with necessary powers and authority to enable them to function as units of self government. (Art 40)
      • Relevance:-
        • Gandhi knew that India lived in her villages and one of the key ideas that he advocated was to place the maximum emphasis on developing villages as self-sufficient republics.
        • He believed that unless villages are developed and made self sufficient, it will lead to mass migration, overcrowded cities and the vicious circle of poverty and under-development cannot be extinguished.
        • However in the present context with 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments governments have realized the importance of local governance.
        • With increase in urbanization and pollution becoming a hazard in cities slowly people are moving to villages.
      • To promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operation basis in rural areas. (Art 43)
        • Relevance:-
          • Full employment cannot be attained through the development of large scale industries. Most of the unemployed people live in rural areas. The cause of rural underemployment is the seasonal nature of agriculture.
          • The problem of unemployment can be tackled only by developing village and cottage industries.
        • To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control, and professional management of co-operative societies. (Art 43B)
          • Relevance:-
            • Cooperatives not only provide economic benefits but also empowers large number of women through SHGs
            • Help in social and economic upliftment.
            • They have the ability to solve current issues of farmer suicide by providing subsidiary incomes
          • To promote the educational and economic interests of SCs, STs and other weaker sections of the society and to protect them from social injustice and exploitation. (Art 46)
            • Relevance:-
              • Scheduled castes and tribes are still one of the discriminated sections in the society. Even though social status of these sections has increased but many still face social stigma.
              • Many measures have been taken by the government to empower them.
            • To prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health. (Art 47)
              • Relevance:-
                • Recently many states have enacted laws on prohibition. Alcohol consumption has adverse effects on families leading to domestic violence .
                • Also drug menace is rampant in many parts of India. So active measures to curb them are necessary.
              • To prohibit slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and drought cattle and to improve their breeds. (Art 48)
                • Relevance:-
                  • Even though this aspect has helped in providing additional incomes to the farmers by raising cattle, there have been many disturbances with respect to this aspect leading to opposition of Gandhian principle of non violence.

General Studies – 2


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

2) Discuss the effectiveness of price capping methods for pharmaceutical products as a tool to ensure affordable healthcare? Suggest alternatives as well. (250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article talks about the effectiveness of price capping methods, used often by NPPA of late in ensuring that cost of drugs and medical devices go down. The article gives points against their effectiveness and hence this topic needs to be discussed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss pros and cons using price capping methods. We can also provide an alternative.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight some of the recent incidents where price capping has been used – stents. Explain how this works.

Body – Thereafter assess the merits and demerits of price capping methods towards ensuring affordable healthcare. Highlight the practice of huge profit margins charged especially in the case of medical devices, the onus on the government to ensure access for the vulnerable section etc. In cons, talk about its impact on research and innovation, less than optimum results because of other cost components which have not been brought under control. Discuss the alternative of promoting generic medicines and domestic devices, the concept of Trade margin Rationalization etc and why or why not they would be achievement over status quo.

Conclusion – Summarize your answer and give a way forward.

 

 

Background:-

  • Lancet in its latest study emphasizes that India ranks 145th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare, behind its neighbours China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. 
  • In the year 2014-15, the Out of Pocket Expenditure on health by households was Rs 3,02,425 crores .Out of this, a whopping 37.9 percent of Current Health Expenditure was the Total Pharmaceutical Expenditure and included prescribed medicines, over the counter drugs and those provided during an inpatient, outpatient or emergency care.

How they help in affordable health care :-

  • Price control played a major role in enhancing savings on medicines, which constitute at least 40% of an household’s expenditure on health. Apart from price capping, the government also worked on opening AMRIT and Jan Aushadhi stores to make generic drugs available at a discounted price.
  • Government has also brought stents under price control, providing a major relief to patients suffering from heart disorders. 

Criticism:-

  • The recent price controls on coronary stents and knee implants have created a challenging environment for the medical devices industry. This move has not benefited the patents in any manner. In my opinion, the measure to price capping will result in making latest global innovation a distant dream for the larger community.
  • Due to information asymmetry and multiple mark-ups, price ceilings do not tackle the real reasons that contribute to high prices for medical treatment faced by consumers
    • The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Health Action International have shown that more than 50% of the end price of medicines is contributed by components other than the manufacturer’s selling price.
  • According to Advamed study price caps on stents have neither led to better accessibility of angioplasty procedures, nor affordability for patients incurring out-of-pocket expenses.
    • The study, instead, shows a decrease in the number of angioplasties performed in a month, and increase in out-of-pocket expenses made by patients undergoing angioplasty.
  • There are five key factors that determine the cost of a medical procedure out of which only cost is included other factors like doctor fees, room rents, drug charges, hospital charges are largely ignored.
  • High trade margins enjoyed by distributors, hospitals or retailers are the main reason for cost escalation of drugs and devices
  • If capping of prices is done through government-ordered arbitrary price fixing, it could only result in drug firms pulling out productsand, thereby, stocks will run dry.

Way forward:-

  • Successful licensing mechanisms, including medicine patent pool or tiered pricing models, which maximise public health benefits are reliable alternatives .
  • Trade margin rationalisation (TMR):
    • It is imperative to focus on TMR as it imposes a cap on the margins across the value chain, rather than capping price of devices.
    • Imposing TMR involves imposing a cap on upstream margins across the entire value chain, rather than imposing caps on prices of products downstream. This would certainly be a game-changer if implemented in the right way, and at the right time.
  • For the long term, the government can look at a strategy of building competency in health technology assessment (HTA), where a robust medical technology assessment programme is developed after taking into consideration evidence of safety, efficacy, patient-reported outcomes and cost-effectiveness.
  • Centralised drug procurement has been effectively used in states like Tamil Nadu to bring down costs. Rest of the states can emulate that.
  • well-functioning generics market is required to give the poor access to inexpensive drugs. 
  • Primary health centres must be well-staffed, public health improved and supply chains should be made functional. 
  • The state must first realise that primary healthcare and public health are the government’s responsibility and must be guaranteed to all. The private sector can, at best, supplement this effort.
  • Drug firms must be incentivised to innovate and invest in research and development. India needs to increase  GDP being spent by the government on healthcare.
  • Only way to decrease out-of-pocket expenses on health by the average Indian is to hold true to the promise of universal, affordable, and accessible healthcare in a welfare state.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Liberalization and its impacts

3) Rules based trading order is the best bet for India going forward, both domestically as well as from a foreign policy perspective. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Financial express

Reference

 

Why this question

The article talks about the involvement of India in the ongoing trade war which go against the grain of principles being espoused by WTO so far – free, fair and open trade and gradually bringing down protectionist measures. The article discusses the impact on India and thus is important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us examine the importance of free, fair and open trade for India by highlighting its pros and cons in light of the ongoing trade war between major economies of the world. The essence of the question lies in eliciting your opinion on the current situation and India’s response.

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 – Highlight the ongoing trade war and how India has responded.

Body – Discuss the pros and cons of India’s response. In pros, discuss points like the necessity of protecting India’s domestic industry such as the steel sector, controlling trade deficit, not being bullied by irreverent policies of USA and working on the idea of regional trading platforms like APEC, leveraging it’s huge market, focus on Make for India. In cons, highlight points like taking the high road and upholding the values of free trade which has benefitted India, the need for India to become more integrated in global supply chains for make in India to be a success, discuss the foreign policy implications of these measures etc.

Conclusion – Present a fair and balanced view and mention what in your opinion should be the next step for India.

Background :-

  • Global trade war is becoming a reality as major economies continue to impose tariffs on each other. India is the latest to join the the risk of tit-for-tat battle by slapping tariffs as high as 50% on a list of 30 goods imported from the U.S. The volatility in the world economic system suggests investors may be beginning to take threats of a trade war more seriously. 

Rules based trading system :-

  • The rules-based multilateral trade and financial system created at Bretton Woods in 1944 has been crumbling over the past decade. The WTO trading system to reduce trade barriers on a reciprocal, most-favored-nation basis has been replaced by a spreading network of bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements. 
  • The rules-based multilateral trading system has fuelled seven decades of unprecedented job creation and poverty alleviation.

Why rules based trading order is the best bet forward for India:-

  • This system has worked so well for so long because the WTO and its biggest champions, such as the U.S, India made three interrelated attributes integral to their trade policies. That is, its members:
    • Reduced uncertainty by creating predictable trade policies
    • Created an environment that facilitates decision-making particularly in the long term  by consumers and producers
    • Placed credible and legal directives that are clearly understood by allies and by those who are not.
    • Theory of comparative advantage explains why free trade works better for everyone.
    • India needs to protect India’s domestic industry such as the steel sector
    • For working on the idea of regional trading platforms like APEC India needs this policy
  • Trade barriers hurt nations:-
    • When a nation puts up trade barriers, it triggers retaliation from others. Then, every nation ends up poorer.
    • Earlier countries did exercise selective protectionism on select goods, especially where there were strong local interests that needed to be protected .However, there was a general consensus that protectionism was not a good thing and was an aberration in the general move towards open and free trade.
  • Impact on global trade will affect India as well:-
    • The approach by US in triggering tariff war could trigger a reduction in global trade. If the trade war carries on and escalates, India could be pretty badly affected over time.
    • Trade makes an enormous contribution to India’s gross domestic product over 40% in 2016, according to the World Bank.
  • Constraints in India due to tariff war:-
    • India has to import energy, including crude oil, gas and solar equipment.
    • India also has a negligible manufacturing base in electronic components, which means it has to import most of the parts that go into cellphones and computers even if they are assembled in Indian facilities. 
    • India is focusing on Make in India. But for its success India needs robust export growth.
    • Indian exports of gems and jewellery to the US, estimated at $10 billion in 2017-18, too could face serious hurdles if the latter levies retaliatory tariffs. Export of road transport vehicles and organic chemicals are also at the risk of being hit with high tariffs.
    • Trade war could also weaken rupee further and even hit the Indian economy hard, which has finally started on the road to recovery after several shocks due to policy reforms
  • Dependence on other countries:-
    • India also exports a lot of things, including services. About 16% of Indian goods exports go to the US and 57% of information technology revenues come from the US.
    • India’s service exports are not just about IT workers and doctors, though. There are the nurses, truck drivers, restaurant workers and oilmen who send back massive remittances, amounting to $69 billion last year. If global trade reduces, there will be layoffs in those industries as well.
    • India’s highest imports from US are very critical in nature like nuclear reactors, boilers, mineral fuels, aircrafts, space crafts, medical equipments etc. Any higher duty on these products will impact India’s key sectors. While the US or its companies could absorb the impact, India and Indian companies don’t have the kind of strength, which a developed country has to absorb the higher costs.

Conclusion:-

  • Countries need to recognise that the WTO can help keep markets open in the face of protectionist lobbying, at home and abroad. It is vital they make the intellectual case for rules-based trade.

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

4) Import of sand in India comes with its own benefits and limitations. Critically Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The issue is related to GS- 3 syllabus under the following heading

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep and express our knowledge and understanding of the issue in terms of need to import sand, issues involved therein.  Based on our discussion we have to form an opinion on the overall issue of allowing/regulating sand imports in India.

Directive word

Critically Comment- The question wants us to express our opinion on the issue. However the opinion has to be expressed after giving a proper context and discussion, which will substantiate our opinion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the sources of sand and their quality with respect to construction and mention the maiden year of riverbed sand imports in India- 2017 etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the need for sand imports . E.g high demand from construction activities ( present some statistics regarding production and anticipated demand here) , which will increase in future, harmful effects of sand mining on ecology and economy as well as society (association with crime), etc. mention that the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 regulates the minor minerals, such as building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand and construction sand.
  • Discuss the precautions that should be taken. E.g testing of quality before importing sand in India etc.

Conclusion– mention that india also needs to explore other alternatives like m-sand, Construction and Demolition waste (C&D waste), from the overburden of coal mines, which is the area above the coal seam that needs to be removed to carry out mining.  Etc.

Background:-

  • Sand, along with gravel, are already the most extracted minerals accounting for 69-85 per cent of the minerals mined every year, says the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its international trade has also witnessed a six-fold increase in the past two decades, as per the UN Comtrade database. 

Reasons why Import of sand in India is rampant:-

  • Legal :-
    • MMDR Act makes states responsible to have their own legislation to govern and regulate sand mining. But there is a lot of going back and forth in deciding the rules. Some 11 of the 14 states which were studied changed their concession rules in last three to four years.
    • The mining framework says there is an urgent need to implement the sustainable sand mining guidelines issued by MoEFCC in 2016.
      • The guidelines emphasise the creation of District Survey Reports (DSR) to estimate sand availability in the mining districts.
      • While most states have formulated DSR, according to official data, no state has carried out a replenishment study, a crucial piece of information when it comes to sustainable mining.
    • Only allow transportation through a system of e-permits to sand transporting vehicles along with installing GPS in them.
      • But implementation has been poor across states. Only five of the 14 states namely, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have the provision of online transport permits in their states.
    • Different processes:-
      • Moreover, each state has a different process of identifying sand mines, issuing environmental clearances, and operating and monitoring the mines.
      • In most states, barring Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, mining companies can apply for environmental clearance only after getting the mining lease. This increases the risk of non-compliance.
    • Pricing issues:-
      • Pricing mechanisms also differ from state to state. While Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have notified their sand prices, it remains volatile in the remaining states where the demand-supply gap determine the market price. 
    • The global construction aggregates which includes sand market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1 per cent between 2017 and 2025. It adds that within the aggregates market, sand will be most profitable due to the depletion of natural sources.

Limitations with imports and sand mining:-

  • If the imported sand is not of good quality, the government will have to answer in case an infrastructure collapses. Poor quality sand affects the quality of concrete and thereby the durability and load-carrying capacity of infrastructure.
  • The volume (of sand) being extracted is having a major impact on rivers, deltas and coastal and marine ecosystems, results in loss of land through river or coastal erosion, lowering of the water table and decreases in the amount of sediment supply.
    • The report adds that the global sand extraction in 2012 was higher than the yearly amount of sediments carried by all rivers in the world.
    • The ecological cost of this flourishing trade has triggered widespread protests, especially in the exporting countries.

Way forward:-

  • Imports alone will not be enough. India should also popularise alternatives such as C&D waste and m-sand to reduce the ecological cost of sand mining .
  • Going by the current trend, most countries will impose a ban on sand exports in the near future. This is the reason India should develop better regulations and find alternatives to sand.
    • India already amended the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, and then released the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines to restore and maintain ecology of river. This needs effective implementation.
    • The report says districts should be made responsible for mapping sand mining potential, along with the implementing and monitoring of the guidelines. The district survey reports are yet to be finalised in most states and the country still does not have credible data on sand mining. 
  • Centre is also exploring the idea of extracting sand from the overburden of coal mines, which is the area above the coal seam that needs to be removed to carry out mining. 

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

5)Capturing methane by efficiency improvements in the working of both sewage treatment plants and sanitary landfills has co-benefits in terms of both public health as well as mitigating climate change.  Discuss.(250 words)

epw

Why this question

Both the issues of improving public health as well as mitigating climate change are important for any country especially India. The issue is related to gs- 3 syllabus under the following heading

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about how improving the working of STPs and SLs will improve public health as well as help us in mitigating climate change.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all encompassing directive which mandates us to write at length about all the important and related aspects of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention the contribution of Methane to global warming and mention that  15% methane is generated, through sewage and solid waste disposal, which is also a public health concern .

Body– Discuss how improvements in the working of  STPs and UL

  • Will positively impact public health. E.g less infectious diseases, better sanitation and health- better growth and development etc.
  • Will help in mitigating climate change. E.g more capture of methane and hence less emissions, use of methane as a source of energy/or as an industrial input thus curbing use of fossil fuels etc.
  • Discuss the challenges involved in the exercise. E.g need to upgrade current STPs , garbage hills deviously called landfills which restrict capture etc.

Conclusion- form a brief, fair and concise conclusion on the issue.

 

Background:-

  • There is a high correlation between urbanisation and the emission of greenhouse gases. Landfills and sewers in cities generate 15% of methane emissions and also pose serious public health hazards. 

How improving efficiency of sewage treatment plants and sanitary landfills by capturing methane have benefits:-

  • Climate change:-
    • Methane is emitted during the handling and treatment of domestic and industrial waste water, through the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. Capturing this methane as an energy resource is imperative for mitigating climate change.
    • After its capture, methane can be used for cooking or for electricity generation, as the raw biogas after purification can yield pipeline quality biomethane.
    • As a major component of compressed natural gas (CNG), it can also be used as an eco-friendly fuel in vehicles. This can benefit many Indian cities that largely run their public transport fleet on CNG.
    • Methane mitigation measures are not only cost-effective, they also contribute to improvements in air quality.
    • Using the methane from waste to meet the energy requirements of the Sewage treatment plants would ensure that STPs would run round the clock. This would not only result in a huge saving in energy costs, but would also generate environmental benefits due to the reduced consumption of fossil fuels. 
    • A modest 20% reduction in the energy cost of running STPs and a 20% increased share of renewable green energy along with a reduction in GHG emissions can make cities drivers of climate change mitigation.
  • Health:-
    • The efficient disposal of sewage and municipal solid waste could lay the foundations for achieving not only the MDGs for sanitation but also for other health-related MDGs such as child and maternal mortality, less infectious diseases, better sanitation and health leading better growth and development etc.

Issues:-

  • Lack of sewerage pipelines to channelise the sewage or waste water to the STPs for treatment.
    • Where such sewer lines do exist, they are often clogged. The non-functioning network leads to the dual problems of sewage overflows and underutilised STPs.
  • Even in slum habitations where the residents have access to some on-site sanitation facilities, major issues of faecal sludge and septage management persist.
  • The inadequate number of STPs combined with poor connectivity and the poor operating conditions of existing plants and the inability to use an important resource like methane has an adverse impact both on the health of the local populace and the environment.
  • Many STPs built in the last three decades were never built with the intention of utilising this resource. Methane as a by-product was just flared off.
  • Some STPs continue to run not on biological processes, but on highly inefficient physio-chemical processes rendering the production of methane virtually impossible. Most sewers also contain a variety of toxic and non-biodegradable substances, making their treatment less effective and more costly.
  • STPs in megacities often receive storm water as sewage since storm water drains are not segregated rendering anaerobic digestion ineffective. The solution here is segregating storm water drainage from the sewerage system, especially in coastal cities.
  • Capturing landfill gas can significantly reduce methane emissions in large landfills, but not in smaller landfills as they are not regulated.
  • Problem in South and South East Asia is that there are either open dump sites or basic landfills, sometimes called managed dump sites. Sanitary landfills rarely exist and “garbage hills” are euphemistically called landfills.

Way forward:-

  • Redesigning and retrofitting of these STPs with bio-digesters can easily be done for methane recovery. Cost-effective technology for this is readily available even in low-income countries.
  • The separation and treatment of bio-degradable municipal waste by promoting recycling and composting needs to be encouraged as a part of better waste management practices.
  • Replacing open sewers with centralised sewers and treatment facilities not only increases the generation of methane, but also dramatically reduces the transmission of human disease.The investment in sewage infrastructure to improve the existing waste water treatment systems results in huge public health benefits.
  • The inertia in generating methane from STPs could be overcome if the process is encouraged and mandated by law.
  • Can be learnt to implement all over India:-
    • The bio-methanation programme in Tambaram followed the success of the municipality’s Namma Toilet Project, and was meant to end open defecation by putting up toilets in public places.

Conclusion :-

  • Upgrading the primary waste water and municipal waste treatment facilities will go a long way in not only slowing down the rate of climate change over the next several decades, but also in protecting the people and regions that are the most vulnerable to climate change.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6) ICT tools offer huge scope for rural development. Discuss. Also, discuss the recent related initiatives by GoI with regards to rural development.(250 words)

Yojana magazine (May Issue)

Why this question

Use of ICT tools for development is increasingly being adopted and stressed upon, given the many benefits it provides and increasing penetration of these technologies in rural areas. The issue is related to gs-3 syllabus under the following heading

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to discuss how ICT tools can help us in rural development. It also wants us to write in detail about the  recent initiatives of GoI in this direction.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all encompassing directive which mandates us to write at length about all the important and related aspects of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that ICT offers huge scope for rural development and increasing penetration of mobile phones and internet in rural areas makes it easier and more desirable etc.

Body

  • Discuss how ICT tools can help in rural development. E.g better service delivery, better information delivery, improving connectivity, education and health services, markets, governance etc.
  • Discuss the recent initiatives of GoI in this direction. SECURE (Software for Estimate Calculation Using Rural rates for Employment); Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES) – E-Panchayat; Plan Plus; Action Soft; PRIA Soft; National Panchayat Portal (NPP) etc.

Conclusion- Mention the impediment to use of ICT tools for rural development and need to overcome them. E.g Continuous Supply of Electricity,  Low level of Digital Literacy , Shortage of ICTs Personnel, etc.

 

 

Background :-

  • Information and Communication technologies (ICT) have a potential for economic growth and social empowerment. Direct or indirect application of ICT, in rural development sector has also been referred to as “Rural Informatics”. Rural economies can be benefited from ICT by focusing on social production, social consumption and social services in the rural areas.

ICT offers huge scope for rural development :-

  • Through ICT’s people in rural areas can connect with the local, regional and national economy and access markets, banking/financial services and employment opportunities.
  • ICTs also serve as a instrument of awareness creation and feedback giving rural people a voice in the nation’s socio-political life.
  • ICT can act as a channel of delivery of e-Government services including health and education.Thus bridging the digital divide also bridges the overall infrastructural gap and addresses other constraints faced by rural areas.
  • ICT has great potential to bring in the desired social transformations by enhancing access to people, services, information and other technologies.
  • ICT applications can enhance poor people’s opportunities by improving their access to markets, health, and education. Furthermore, ICT can empower the poor by expanding the use of government services, and reduce risks by widening access to micro finance. 
  • ICT initiatives in rural development emphasise adoption of a more systematic approach for integrating Traditional Knowledge Systems(TKS) and ICT inputs to ensure sustainability of rural e-governance.

Recent related initiatives with regards to rural development :-

  • SECURE (Software for Estimate Calculation Using Rural rates for Employment): ICT based solution for estimate preparation 
  • Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES) – E-Panchayat To transform functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) 
  • Plan Plus: Helps in preparation of participatory Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) 
  • Action Soft: Provides interface for Financial & Physical progress reporting of all works 
    carried out from approved plan 
  • PRIA Soft: Basically accounting software to capture receipts/exp. details thru voucher entries 
  • National Panchayat Portal (NPP): Provides dynamic web site for each local body 
  • Service Plus: Portal to provide electronic delivery of basic services to citizens 

Challenges of ICTs in Rural Development 

  • Continuous Supply of Electricity
  • Low level of Digital Literacy:-
    • Rural India faces a severe technology deficit. The role of technology in solving problems is barely acknowledged, and the actual availability of technology in rural areas is, at best, marginal.  
  • Shortage of ICTs Personnel 
  • Lack of Access of Telecommunications & Internet Services:-
    • Many farmers remain unaware of these advances. Insufficient connectivity in rural areas along with a lack of basic computer knowledge and literacy hinder development.
  • Unavailability of Web Content in Local Language
  • Unethical Use of ICTs
  • Geographical application of new technologies is still limited in rural areas.
  • Substantial investment is needed in physical infrastructure, power, broadband, transportation and education, particularly in rural regions and among the poorest populations in order to truly reap the benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Conclusion:-

  • The earlier initiatives like e-NAM, digital India ,DBT etc have had significant impact in the rural areas. So investing further in ICT in rural areas is necessary for good governance.