SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 JULY 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 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 “ Discretionary powers”

1) Discuss whether the governor enjoys more discretionary powers than the president?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the Discretionary powers of the president and the governor and examine the extent of both, whether they can be compared and whether one enjoys more discretion than the other.

Directive word

Discuss – 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 – Mention the role that constitution expects the governor and president to play – that of figureheads as highlighted by Dr BR Ambedkar.

Body – Mention the discretionary powers of the president and governor and highlight that while the president enjoys situational discretionary power, the discretionary power of the governor is mentioned in the constitution itself under article 163(2). Discuss whether governors Discretionary powers are at the discretion of the governor or the central government. Discuss SC judgment that governor is not an agent of the centre. In the final part of your answer, mention that several constitutional experts as well as court ruling have emphasized on the fact that discretionary powers should not be exercised in an arbitrary and whimsical manner, on which count governor is more guilty.

Conclusion – Highlight the role that governor and president are expected to play .

 

Background:-

  • The office of Governor is a British Indian transplant with a federalistic flavour. The role of office of Governor was confined to normal routine ceremonial functions earlier but now enjoys more powers.

Discretional powers of Governor more than president:-

  • Duality of the powers:-
    • Governors enjoy more discretion than President because of duality of functions they have to perform. He is given higher discretionary powers, for proper functioning of the Constitution.
    • He has prima facie discretion in deciding whether a proposed law by a State is violative of the Constitution. He also has greater discretion with regard to dissolution of Legislative Assembly when it does not function according to the Constitution.
  • Constitution provision itself:-
    • Discretionary powers of Governor in state are much more extensive in comparison to the President in centre in India. For example, Article 163 of the constitution says that there shall be a Council of Ministers in the states with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in exercise his functions, except those which are required to be done by the Governor on his/ her discretion.
    • The constitution further mentions that if any question arises whether a matter falls within the Governor’s discretion or not, decision of the Governor shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion. Moreover, what advice was tendered by the Governor to the Ministry cannot be inquired into a court.
  • Some discretionary powers are as follows:-
    • Governor can dissolve the legislative assembly if the chief minister advices him todo following a vote of no confidence. Now, it is up to the Governor what he/ she would like to do.
    • Governor, on his/ her discretion can recommend the president about the failure of the constitutional machinery in the state.
    • On his/ her discretion, the Governor can reserve a bill passed by the state legislature for president’s assent.
    • If there is no political party with a clear cut majority in the assembly, Governor on his/ her discretion can appoint anybody as chief minister.
    • Governor determines the amount payable by the Government of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to an autonomous Tribal District Council as royalty accruing from licenses for mineral exploration.
    • Governor can seek information from the chief minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.
    • Governor has discretion to refuse to sign to an ordinary bill passed by the state legislature.
    • Thus, though the Governor is made the constitutional head of a state like president of India, yet there is a thin line as the Constitution empowers the Governor to act without the advice of the Chief Minister and his council and can use discretion on certain matters.

Discretionary powers of governor and President which are similar :-

  • It is also observed that in cases where discretion is given to the post of Head of the State, both the President and the Governor exercise similar discretion. Instances can be found in exercise of clemency powers and dissolution of ministry by both the functionaries.
  • Also, since both are under an oath to protect the Constitution, discretionary power to reject advice of Council of Ministers which is violative of the Constitution rests with both.
  • Supreme court judgment :-
    • For the Supreme Court, an appeal to the scheme of the Constitution and the basic structure doctrine was sufficient to deny the Governor such discretion. The Supreme Court implicitly relied on it and  struck down the unilateral actions of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh in summoning an Assembly session and sending messages to the Assembly as unconstitutional.
    • SC judgment is that that governor is not an agent of the centre. The court ruling have emphasized on the fact that discretionary powers should not be exercised in an arbitrary and whimsical manner, on which count governor is more guilty.

General Studies – 2


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social sector services relating to
Education

2) The move to close down the present higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission (UGC), and usher in the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is a progressive move but fraught with challenges. Analyze. (250 words)

Financial express

Timesofindia

Why this question

The article is very good for understanding the reasons why HECI Bill has been brought in and the challenges therein. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the shortcomings of UGC which has led to several commentators welcoming HECI. Thereafter we need to highlight the challenges that are likely to be faced in the coming years as a result of the Bill and the way forward.

Directive word

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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – First highlight that why HECI Bill is in the news.

Body

  • Elaborate the main features of HECI Bill.
  • Examine why it was requires. Here you can mention reports such as Hari Gautam Committee etc to explain why reforming UGC was necessary. These committees had also suggested the creation of HECI
  • Explain what the function of HECI is going to be and how is it different from UGC.
  • Highlight the main challenges in future as pointed out in both articles

Conclusion – Mention that reforms in higher education sector is the need of the hour and discuss the way forward for smooth implementation and effective outcome.

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 ofHigher 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.
  • The Bill
    • Empowers the HECI to specify minimum eligibility conditions for appointments to administrative and leadership positions in HEIs
    • Gives direct voice to the representatives of the states through the Advisory Council.

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

  • Better administration:-
    • Centre has embarked on 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.
    • The UGC regime, ironically, was marked by both over-regulation that curbed the autonomy of top-notch institutions and under-regulation of academic quality that led to a mushrooming of sub-standard institutions, as also the gross abuse of its funding powers.
    • Vests the power to create new universities in the HECI via a set of transparent criteria and, thus, eliminates the need for legislation for this purpose.
    • Empowers the HECI to bestow affiliating power on both public and private universities provided they meet the specified norms
  • 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.
    • Empowers the HECI to confer degree giving power on both universities and colleges based on specified norms thereby paving the way for the emergence of high quality degree granting colleges.
    • Provides for a credit based system for the award of degrees thereby ending the current tyranny of forcing a student to repeat the entire year if she fails in even one subject
  • 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.

Criticism:-

  • The HECI will be bestowed with comprehensive and overriding powers, including ordering the closure of institutions, in all academic and related matters while the power lies with the MHRD.
  • While the proposed Bill seeks to empower the HECI with all academic functions, its role vis-à-vis professional bodies is unclear.
  • Whether depriving the HECI completely of funding functions will affect its efficacy and stature in discharging its onerous responsibility remains a major question.
  • There are questions about how effective the role of the HECI would be to regulate state institutions with less than inadequate central funding merits serious attention.
  • No clarity about members role:-
    • The secretary of the HECI will be an officer of the rank of joint secretary and above or a reputed academic and will serve as its member-secretary. Whether they have voting rights or not is not clear.
    • The secretary, higher education is envisaged to play many roles, serving as a member of the search-cum-selection committee of the chairperson and vice-chairperson, then processing their appointment as a key functionary of the government, and finally acting as a member of the HECI. Such multiplicity of roles may create difficulties and conflict of interest.
    • Also, the power of the government to remove the chairperson and members is rather overwhelming and should be constrained.
  • By withdrawing financial powers from the regulator and handing them over to the central government, and by giving the HECI unilateral and absolute powers to authorize , monitor, shut down, and recommend disinvestment from Higher Educational Institutions, the Draft Bill will expose higher education in the country to ideological manipulation, loss of much needed diversity as well as academic standards, fee hikes, and profiteering.
  • Similar to UGC:-
    • The new Act proposes that the chairperson of the HECI can be selected from among functionaries of Central and state governments. However, previously the chairman of the UGC was chosen from among persons who are not officers of the government or any state government in order to keep its independence. The new legislation even allows the chairperson to be an overseas citizen of India.
    • The UGC was empowered to set minimum standards whereas the HECI has been empowered to lay down standards. The critique says that this too hits at the idea of institutional autonomy as “the substantive struggle of universities with the UGC has been in the last few years, to ensure that its minimum regulations do not achieve the status of maximality.
  • Teachers are being pushed out of the new HECI. The representation of teachers has been ominously reduced to just two.
  • Critics:-
    • They are also concerned with Section 15.3(d) which could make funding for research, beholden to political priorities of parties in power, and subject to ideological manipulation.
    • Section 15.3(g) and 15.4(f) grants the HECI the power to order closure of institutions which fail to adhere to minimum standards without affecting the student’s interest or fail to get accreditation within the specified period.
    • The critique cautions against this power, as there are only a limited number of higher education institutions in India and arbitrary closure or threats can deprive students of the limited education that they can access
  • Increase the interference of government in academic matters:-
    • There is also the government shadow on HECI independence, in the form of an advisory council that will be chaired by the Union HRD minister and that will have the chiefs of the state higher education councils as members, as well as the top two HECI officials 
  • Lack of clarity on who gets the UGC’s grant-giving powers.

Way forward:-

  • Despite some apparent infirmities, the proposed Bill shows the resolve of the government to move forward in reforming the sector.
  • Major issues like making the universities the hub of scientific and technological research, restoring the value of education in social sciences and the humanities, ensuring that poor and meritorious students can afford to be educated in subjects of their choice, improving the quality of instruction to enhance the employability of the students, addressing the concerns of faculty shortage, etc. require a quantum jump in allocation of public resources to this sector.
  • There is a need for rapidly expanding public expenditure .
  • The HECI system must make sure that existing non-autonomous institutions, too, are allowed to set their curriculum as they advance towards autonomy. 
  • Though the Bill seems to implicitly open the door to foreign degree-granting institutions as long as they meet the specified norms, it will be best to make it explicit. This will eliminate the threat of legal challenges should a foreign institution wish to enter India.
  • The Bill must explicitly state that HECI will not write the curriculums of HEIs. Since it empowers the autonomous HEIs to write their own curriculums, other HEIs may be allowed to follow the curriculums of one or more of the latter.
  • The Bill must make explicit that the flexibility inherent in the credit system would allow institutions to align their systems to a three year bachelor’s degree as in the UK or a four year bachelor’s degree as in the US
  • There is need for a clear statement in the Bill that once an HEI has been cleared for operation, quality standards will be enforced through accreditation rather than micro-management. The Bill also needs to spell out some details of the accreditation process.
  • The HRD ministry will also need to follow up with two complementary reforms.
    • A separate body is required to assume the function of providing education grants to HEIs. The decision to deny the grant giving power to the HECI is a good one but transparency requires that the function be vested in another independent body and not in the HRD ministry, which is principally a policy making body.
    • The HRD ministry must also create a national research foundation. This foundation must be adequately funded and charged with the responsibility to make research a central feature of leading universities.

Topic– Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3) Critically examine whether gambling in sports should be allowed?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The recommendations of Law Commission have set the way for several pathbreaking legislations and this might be another one of such cases and thus needs to be analyzed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to critically examine the recommendations of Law commission on legalizing gambling in sports. We need to discuss the pros and cons of such a move and provide a fair and balanced view on it.

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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the status quo with respect to gambling in India, particularly in sports.

Body – Discuss the recommendations of Law Commission and highlight the reasons provided behind its recommendations. Discuss the ill effects of such a move, that legalizing it would only provide more opportunity to such people to indulge in newer channels of gambling, lead to risk of fixing, would impact the gullible etc.

Conclusion – mention your fair and balanced opinion and the way forward in your opinion.

Background:-

  • The Law Commission of India submitted a report to the government, saying that since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling and the only viable option left is to “regulate” gambling in sports.
  • Law commission recommended “cashless” gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.

Gambling needs to be legalised :-

  • Gambling has been prevalent in society since ancient times and has been accepted as a form of recreation on various social occasions.
  • Gambling is already happening in a massive way and is largely controlled by underworld syndicates
    • Legalising the activity will not only help curtail an important source of black money that is used by criminal syndicates, but also bring massive revenue to the state exchequer, which can be used for various constructive social schemes.
  • Revenue to the government:-
    • Government could earn tens of thousands of crores as tax revenue by legalising sports betting. Additionally, if online gambling and casinos are also permitted, the estimated tax revenue would be much higher.
  • International examples:-
    • In addition to revenue generation, a legal and regulated gambling sector will also help in creating large-scale employment opportunities.
  • Globally, wherever gambling is regulated, it has created a massive avenue for employment generation.
    • For instance, the regulated gambling industry in the U.S. employs over 2.5 lakh people, while over 1 lakh individuals are employed in this sector in the U.K.
  • Cricket:-
    • The United Kingdom and South Africa, both full members of the ICC, amended their legislation to regulate gambling following significant match-fixing scandals in cricket.Since they amended their legislation, neither country has been involved in any significant match-fixing scandals
  • It will ensure that people do not fall prey to the excesses of gambling as awareness campaigns will be  educate d  about the perils of excessive gambling.
  • Money generated can be used for public welfare activities. For that the revenue from gambling should be taxable under laws like Income Tax Act, the Goods and Services Tax Act

No:-

  • However some experts argue that  gambling is not morally correct in the Indian context. It is responsible for addiction, loss of livelihoods and bankruptcy.
  • India should not allow legalised gambling on its soil as such a move would leave the poor poorer and only vested interests want legalisation of gambling.

Way forward:-

  • Law commission recommendations:-
    • Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards so that the government could keep an eye on them
    • The commission recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling.’ Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups, 
    • Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment laws and policies should be amended to encourage investment in the casino/online gaming industry. This would propel tourism and employment.
  • India can allow responsible gambling, where the government should provide “proper controls and protections” for those who may be damaged by gambling. 
  • Minors, habitual gamblers and vulnerable sections should be excluded from having access to gaming facilities
  • Limits must be imposed on the amounts that can be wagered, based on a person’s financial capabilities.
  • With respect to cricket after legalizing gambling, India should also become a member of the International Association of Gambling Regulators(“IAGR”), in which numerous ICC members participate.
    • India would have the opportunity to discuss gambling regulations and policy issues with other ICC members, cooperate with them on rules and regulations about sports betting, and gain a central point of contact with other countries. 

Conclusion:-

  • Gambling is not an activity which needs to be looked down upon by the people. The people involved  can easily contribute to the economy without harming their own self and their families if they understand their limits.


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4) Critically analyze the performance of National Leprosy Eradication Programme of India.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

India accounts for around 60% of leprosy patients in the world NLEP has played a significant role in decreasing the prevalence of the disease in India but it has also underperformed on various fronts for different reasons. The issue is related to GS- 2 syllabus under the following heading –

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue of leprosy in India and write a detailed analysis of the NLEP- its achievements and failures and an overall review of the programme.

Directive word

Critically analyze- the question demands an exhaustive and in depth study of the NLED and bring out its achievements and failures. Then we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that India is home to around 60 percent of leprosy patients (don’t use the humiliative word leper). Also write about leprosy disease, its causative agent and main effects.

Body-

  1. Discuss the achievements of the programme and the salient aspects of the strategy it adopted. E.g decrease in prevalence from more than 5/ 10000 to 0.66/ 10000; elimination of the disease from 34 out of 36 states/UTs etc. also mention the strategy adopted by NLEP- post exposure prophylaxis and the revision in vaccine type; nikusth- web based reporting system for leprosy etc.
  2. Discuss the problems faced and inadequacies of the programme. E.g focus on eliminating leprosy as a public health problem rather than complete elimination; change of leprosy workers as multipurpose workers with the additional responsibility for HIV; inadequate monitoring and reporting system etc.

Conclusion– give your opinion on the issue and suggest the way forward- sustained and more vigorous efforts, multi-stakeholder approach, upgrading infrastructure, political and social priority etc.

National leprosy eradication programme:-

  • In India, the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) is the centrally sponsored health scheme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • While the NLEP strategies and plans are formulated centrally, the programme is implemented by states and union territories (UTs).
  • The programme is also supported by WHO, ILEP, and few other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Performance:-

  • India has succeeded in bringing the national prevalence down to elimination as a public health problem of less than 1/10,000 in December 2005 and even further down to 0.66/10,000 in 2016.
  • In addition to achieving the national elimination target by the end of 2005, India by the end of March 2011–2012 succeeded in achieving elimination at the state level in 34 states/UTs out of the total of 36 states/UTs.
  • By the end of March 2016, 551 districts out of the total 669 in districts, in India had a prevalence of <1/10,000 population which is the target of elimination as a public health problem.
  • To address the challenges NLEP advocated a three-pronged approach of
    • Leprosy case detection campaign (LCDC) in highly endemic districts
    • Focused leprosy awareness campaign using ASHA and multipurpose health workers in Hot Spots where new cases with Grade 2 Disability (G2D) are detected
    • Area-specific plans for case detection in hard to reach areas.
    • By the end of year 2016 a total of 163 highly endemic districts, which reported a prevalence rate >1/10,000 population in any of the last 3 years across 20 states/UTs, were identified for conducting case detection campaigns by NLEP.
  • The special emphasis on women, children, and those with disabilities is expected to flush out more hidden cases. In addition to continuing to administer MDT to patients, new preventive approaches are being considered to break the chain of transmission and reach zero disease status.
  • NLEP has introduced the Mycobacterium Indicus Prani(MiP) vaccine in a project mode in India from the year 2016. MIP vaccine has been shown to have both immunotherapeutic and immune-prophylactic effects in multibacillary leprosy patients and their contacts in both hospital and population-based trials
  • Nikusth, a web-based reporting system for leprosy
    • For the ease of reporting and data management of registered leprosy cases, NLEP has launched Nikusth, a web-based reporting system in India
    • In addition, Nikushth will be helpful in keeping track of all the activities being implemented under the NLEP. NLEP is also planning to develop online training software for leprosy workers

Criticism:-

  • The fact remains that India continues to account for 60% of new cases reported globally each year and is among the 22 global priority countries that contribute 95% of world numbers of leprosy warranting a sustained effort to bring the numbers down.
  • NLEP annual reports of the last 4 years have consistently observed that the four states/UTs (Orissa, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Lakshadweep) which achieved elimination earlier in 2011–2012, have shown a prevalence of >1 per 10,000 population, which is a matter of concern for the programme.
  • In addition, although the average national child leprosy rate is approximately 9%, the proportion of child cases was more than 10% of new cases detected in eleven states/UTs of India, with 6 of them (Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Dadra & Nagar haveli, Bihar, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh) showing very high rates ranging from 14% to 23%.
  • Lack of efficient reporting:-
    • Major cause of hidden cases is low voluntary reporting in the community due to a lack of awareness as well as the continuing fear, stigma, and discrimination against leprosy. 
  • No focus on elimination:-
    • Leprosy eradication from community appears to have been equated with the reaching of the WHO-defined target of elimination as a public health problem (prevalence of <1 per 10,000 population), which India reached by the end of 2005.
    • In addition, the use of term “elimination” also leads to confusion among general public and to many even in the medical profession.
  • Misplacement of priorities :-
    • To assist public health initiatives for HIV/AIDS in 1990’s leprosy health workers were made multipurpose workers with additional responsibilities of HIV and tuberculosis control.
  • Lack of funding :-
    • Over the next decade, there was reallocation of resources and a gradual decline in funding for leprosy-related programmes.
  • Lack of monitoring:-
    • A study done in Odisha on the effects of integration of leprosy in to primary health care, highlighted the need for effective monitoring and evaluation of the integration process.
    • It concluded that inadequate monitoring could lead to a reduction in early diagnosis, a delay in initiation of MDT, and an increase in disability rates, which in turn could reverse some of the programme’s achievements.
  • Unfortunately, the WHO elimination target has no epidemiological or scientific basis or even significance to support the gradual decline or disappearance of the remaining cases of leprosy once it was achieved.
    • Doing away with skin smear services, rapid merging of leprosy services into the general medical health services, efforts towards further reducing the duration of therapy, and reduced attention to research and funding of leprosy programme in general, are some of the direct results of such false interpretation.

Way forward:-

  • Basic investigations such as skin smear services need to be reintroduced in the leprosy programme of India, as this bacteriological test is often found as useful as advanced PCR techniques.
    • It may be learnt that re-introduction of bacteriological diagnosis indeed has changed the diagnostic landscape of tuberculosis, facilitating better case detection and control. 
  • There is need for wider awareness about the signs and symptoms of leprosy and reactions among general health care staff as well as in the community to promote self-reporting, as well as early diagnosis and proper management of the disease and its complications in an integrated setting
  • There is a need to expand the repertoire of drugs to treat Clinical and laboratory studies suggest the emergence of secondary drug resistance in treated/relapsed patients to dapsone, and rifampicin.
  • It is also important to recognize that leprosy can be associated with other comorbidities such as tuberculosis, HIV, and diabetes which could affect clinical manifestations and complications hence, therapeutic management strategies need to be tailored to such situations.
  • Overall lack of a comprehensive approach towards battling the disease, which requires collaboration between different ministries and sometimes between countries.

 

Conclusion:-

  • As suggested in the WHO strategy document for year 2016–2020, it is only by including and assigning an active role to this vast pool of dermatologists in the leprosy programme, who are well equipped to manage leprosy, that India can truly aspire to eradicate leprosy.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

5) Critically examine the impact of recently announced MSP which is in line with the long standing Swaminathan Committee recommendations?(250 words)

Financial express

Indian express

Why this question

The article discusses the impact of increased MSP on farmers welfare and inflation. This has been a longstanding recommendation and now we need to examine whether it would help our grief stricken farmers improve their situation.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze whether increasing MSP would address farmers situation and the resultant impact it might have on inflation, when it is already under pressure due to rising crude prices.

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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that there has always been a demand for even higher MSP, thinking it would obviate the farmers grievances, now that it has happened we need to analyze how effective it will be.

Body

  • Mention the step taken by the government. Highlight that Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices estimated that costs (calculated on an A2 + FL basis) have risen in a range of 0 to 8%, with a mean increase of 5%, which means that there isn’t such a high corresponding increase in costs.
  • Examine the impact that it will have on inflation
  • Analyze whether increasing MSP would help alleviate farmers grievances. Mention the shortcomings of MSP such as poor penetration in several parts of the country, effective only for a specific set of crops etc. Also highlight that the farmers do indeed need price support as cost for their produce is getting affected both during surplus and deficit production.
  • Discuss an alternative such as Price deficiency payment as suggested by NITI Ayog.

Conclusion – Mention your view on the step taken and the way forward.

 

Background:-

  • The Union Cabinet cleared 2018-19 kharif Minimum Support Prices (MSP), with increases in line with the earlier Budget commitment to set MSPs at 1.5 times the cost of production. It decided to keep MSPs at least 50 per cent above the sum of cost of production (A2) and imputed wages for the time spent by the farmer and his/her family (FL) in crop production.
  • The new MSPs announced by the government for kharif crops meet the spirit the Swaminathan Committee recommendation of 50 per cent net return over Cost C2.

Impact of recently announced MSP:-

  • Inflation:-
    • Hike will prima facie likely have significant food inflation effects, reversing the trend of food inflation having fallen steadily from 11.8% in FY13 to 1.8% in FY18. 
  • Imposition of MSP beyond some point is market distortingas it severs the link between prices and demand-supply. This can also be inflationary and out of sync with the physical market dynamics.
    • Support price does not come with a commitment to buy whatever farmers offer. Actual procurement will be limited by the fiscal room available, especially at a time when a significantly higher fiscal deficit could lead to further pressure on the rupee.
  • RBI has highlighted the announcement of higher MSPs as being one of the major risk factors this year for inflation. This is significant as the government has spoken of providing a mark-up of 50% on cost for all products when deciding on the MSPs for FY19.
  • Farmers have got negative returns in several crops prompting many economists to question the usefulness of MSP’s.
  • Input costs:-
    • The cost of cultivation varies across states while MSP’s are based on a weighted all India average so farmers don’t get guaranteed profits.
    • MSP’s have failed to keep pace with input costs.
  • Only a selected few states such as Punjab, MP, Haryana etc have well developed procurement infrastructure
  • Government procurement at MSP is benefiting the large traders than farmers.
    • More than three fourths of farming households don’t produce any marketable surplus and hence cannot really benefit from price support.
  • There is no provision in the budget to increase the ambit of farmerswho are covered by MSP and that is a problem in addition to how the MSP is calculated
  • Farmers also argue that MSP is only announced for 25 crops, while for other crops they have to deal with market volatility. There is no MSP for fruits and vegetables. 
  • Only a fraction of the farmers actually have access to MSP.
    • MSP often does not reach farmersas the government does not procure on time and the farmer has to make distress sales at rates lower than the MSP.
  • In the recent budget ,government has decided to keep MSP for all the unannounced crops of kharif at least at one and half times of their production cost .There is no clarity on how the implementation takes place.
    • There are concerns whether all states would agree with that cost
    • Also as MSP and Inflation highly co-related and any increase in MSP will eventually resulted into price hike of many agricultural products.
  • India’s price support programme is also promoting cultivation of water intensive crops like paddy and sugarcane even in water deficit regions such as Punjab ,Haryana and Maharashtra
  • Farmers keep producing the same varieties as cropping pattern is hardly changed in some regions.
  • Higher MSP’s over incentivize production leading to supply glut.
  • Hikes in MSP’s also adversely affect exports by making Indian farm goods uncompetitive especially when international market prices are lower.

Why MSP increase will help?

  • This hike in MSPs was required, given the current adverse conditions of prices and operating conditions of the farm sector, and is a key component of the prime minister’s goal of doubling farm incomes by 2022
  • Incentivise production of a specific food crop which is in short supply.
  • Protects farmers from any sharp fall in the market price of a commodity.
  • Ensures that the country’s agricultural output responds to the changing needs of its consumers.
    • Ex: The government hiked the MSP of pulses to expand sowing of pulses.
  • Higher farm profits will encourage farmers to spend more on inputs, technology etc
  • Protect farmers from the unwarranted fluctuation in prices, provoked by the international level price variations.

Way forward:-

  • NITI Aayog has recommended reforms in the APMC Act and tenancy laws and tweaks to the eNAM (electronic National Agriculture Market).
    • It has also suggested ‘Price Deficiency Payment’ system to address the gaps in Minimum Support Price (MSP) based procurement of crops. Under Price Deficiency Payment, farmers are proposed to be compensated for the difference between the government-announced MSPs for select crops and their actual market prices. For crops such as rice and wheat where it is effective now, MSP announcements will continue. For other targeted crops, price deficiency payments will be made.
    • The key benefit from the price deficiency payment is that it will reduce the need for the government to actually procure food crops, transport and store them and then dispose of them under PDS.
    • The difference between the support and market prices can instead simply be paid in cash to the farmer.
    • Price deficiency payment can also keep India’s bill on food subsidies under check, believes Niti Aayog
  • Government needs to allow agro trading companies to buy more in the Indian market, especially given the limitations of the Food Corporation of India.
  • Procurement system of the government needs to be streamlined.
    • There need to be reforms in APMC acts to ensure farmer selling directly to farmers
  • India should now explore alternate models to boost farmer’s income and stop relying on MSP’s alone.
  • A non inflationary way to resolve the agricultural crisis is to raise farm productivity through increased investment in irrigation and post harvest infrastructure
  • Based on Telangana experience it is time to consider a transparent ,crop neutral and easier to implement income support programme.
    • The state government gives a payment of Rs.10000 per hectare of cultivable land to all farmers irrespective of the crops they raise.
  • The monitoring at every phase for the efficiency of the process and accountability of the people involved in its implementation.
  • The ambitious projects like e-NAM, doubling farmer’s income by 2022, price stabilisation fund, implementation of Swaminathan and Shanta Kumar committee is required.
  • Best way to double the real incomes of Indian farmers would be to halve their numbers through job creation in other parts of the economy.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic:Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

6) Discuss the difference between professional and personal ethics. How can one resolve the dichotomy between the two.(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question

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

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the difference between professional and personal ethics and also suggest how to resolve the case of dichotomy between the two in real life.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question- difference between the two concepts and how to resolve the conflict between the two.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– define personal and professional ethics in 2-3 lines.

Body

  1. Discuss the differences between the two in detail. E.g personal vs professional life; more general vs more specific; more amenable to frequent change vs less amenable to frequent change;role of rules and regulations etc.
  2. Discuss how there can be a conflict between the two and give an example. Then discuss how to resolve situations which involve conflict between the two. Take the help of the article attached to the question and other relevant sources to frame your answer.

Conclusion– based on your discussion form a fair and balanced opinion on the issue.

 

Answer:-

Personal ethics refers to the ethics that a person identifies with in respect to people and situations that they deal with in everyday life. Professional ethics refers to the ethics that a person must adhere to in respect of their interactions and business dealings in their professional life.

Differences:-

Personal Ethics is generally considered as the basic principles and values that govern interactions among individuals. It can also be used to describe a particular person’s own, idiosyncratic principles or habits Sound personal ethics are typically those that positively impact the experience of others when used to govern an individual’s social or business related behavior, and at the very least, such ethics should not have a negative impact on others.

Professional ethics encompass the personal, organizational and corporate standards of behavior expected of professionals. Professionals, and those working in acknowledged professions, exercise specialist knowledge and skill. How the use of this knowledge should be governed when providing a service to the public can be considered a moral issue and is termed professional ethics.

Codes of professional ethics are often established by professional organizations to help guide members in performing their job functions according to sound and consistent ethical principles.

Professional ethics and personal ethics have two distinct applications as one is involved in one’s own personal life and affects merely their perception. Personal ethics is probably more general, and is simply practicing becoming an excellent human being with respect to people and situations in everyday life . Professional ethics is probably more specific, and is practicing becoming an excellent human being with respect people and situations in work life (co-workers, customers, suppliers, the company).

Professional ethics play a unique role in that a person is held to a certain standard when in the workplace and must abide by a specific set of ethics that is required by all employees of the company. So they are less amenable to frequent change unlike personal ethics.

Dichotomy:-

Personal and professional ethics may clash and cause a moral conflict. For example: A police officer may personally believe that a law that he is required to enforce is wrong. However, under the Code of Conduct for Police, he is required to obey all lawful and reasonable instructions to enforce that law unless there is good and sufficient cause to do otherwise.

It is very obvious that every individual are born different and hence they carry their own beliefs, thoughts, behavior, codes, etc. No matter how vast the gap is in their beliefs and values, they are to behave and perform their duties as per the coded professional ethics. This perhaps turns out into conflicts in organisations.

Sometimes the tasks employees are asked to do at work may not be illegal, but they can impose a conflict with what we think is the right thing to do in our personal life. The majority of professionals solve this by choosing to separate their professional lives from their personal lives.

How to resolve:-

It is revealed that the person strong and firm in Personal ethics are more likely to follow Professional Ethics, leaving all conflict aside. Although your personal life is distinctly different from your professional life, your ethics roll over from one to another and if you have good ethical values in one area you will have them in the other.

Professional ethics requires diversity in the workplace, but some individual’s personal ethics might make him uncomfortable with disabled individuals or minority groups. In this situation, adapting or changing personal ethics is a necessity.

There is a need to focus on duties and responsibilities. In the professional world, an individual’s focus is on the duties and responsibilities he/she must follow  rather than personal opinions.

Without ethics, man has no future. This is to say, mankind without them cannot be itself. Ethics determine choices and actions and suggest difficult priorities.