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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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 – 2

Topic:Development of social sector services including health

1) It is said that National Health Policy takes a road less travelled and envisions a huge strategic role for the private sector. Examine how and discuss its merits?(250 words)


Why this question

The article gives an in-depth analysis of the role of private sector envisioned  in NHP 2017 alongwith debating its merit, highlights challenges therein and discusses a future strategy. NHP is quite important from mains point of view and to prepare health related topics of GS2 and GS3. This article gives a good overview of NHP.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the role of private sector in healthcare envisioned by NHP, why such a shift in provisioning of healthcare is sought to be undertaken (will form part of the merits). Thereafter we need to focus on what challenges are there. Towards the end our answer should focus on discussing how synergies of private and public healthcare be tapped so as to deliver optimum results.

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 – Mention that despite sustained focus of successive governments in improving health outcomes, the results have not forthcoming which led to a paradigm shift in NHP 2017, with greater role expected of private sector.


  • Discuss what role is envisaged of the private sector as per NHP. Discuss the concept of strategic purchasing.
  • Discuss in detail why such a shift took place. You will find the reasons mentioned in the shared link under the heading “political economy of the NHP”. The reasons being increased demand of secondary and tertiary healthcare, lack of capacity of public sector to fulfill such demands in light of fiscal constraints etc
  • Highlight the advantages of such a strategy if it works well
  • Discuss the challenges therein – information asymmetry, lack of penetration of private healthcare in vulnerable areas etc

Conclusion – Highlight how the synergy of the two can be leveraged to achieve better health outcomes.



  • The National Health Policy, 2017 seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive integrated way to move towards wellness.  It aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost.
  • NHP reckons four major contextual changes that perhaps motivated the overall policy approach:-
    • (i) increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and certain infectious diseases
    • (ii) robust growth of healthcare industry
    • (iii) high incidence of catastrophic healthcare spending by households
    • (iv) an enhanced growth-enabled fiscal capacity of India.

Strategic role of private sector :-

  • NHP,2017 advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals.  It envisages private sector collaboration for strategic purchasing, capacity building, skill development programmes, awareness generation, developing sustainable networks for community to strengthen mental health services, and disaster management.
  • The policy also advocates financial and non-incentives for encouraging the private sector participation.
  • Strategic purchasing:-
    • The NHP embraces the internationally recommended tool of strategic purchasing to promote cooperation between the public and private sectors for healthcare development in India.
    • NHP, 2017 is singularly optimistic about the engagement of the private sector on a commercial basis (contracting, strategic purchasing) as well as on non-profit or pro bono basis.
  • NHP identifies clinical establishments, professional and technical education, food safety, medical technologies, medical products, clinical trials, research and implementation of health legislations as important areas for regulation.


  • Private sector hospitals are now preferred:-
    • With changing quality benchmarks, and for other obvious reasons, private sector hospitals are now increasingly preferred by individuals for healthcare services. The NHP, therefore, approaches healthcare from an industry perspective and aims to accommodate concerns of health sector investments, efficiency and growth.
  • Contracting of health services from the private sector may be inevitable in the short term, given that about 70% of all outpatient care and 60% of inpatient treatments are provided by it.
  • Revenue- and resource-sharing models between district hospitals and private sector can be a reasonable alternative but will necessitate management reforms in the public sector. Given the successful implementation of the NRHM, the central government can be optimistic about the implementation of such reforms for public sector strengthening across states.
  • People have preferred private clinics because of better service delivery, accessibility and sanitation. People themselves are opting for private healthcare.
  • There is also increased demand for secondary and tertiary healthcare which can be fulfilled by private sector alone.
  • Lack of capacity of public sector to fulfill such demands in light of fiscal constraints etc.


  • The core idea of strategic purchasing from the private sector is relevant, but can be incompatible with the existence of a robust public sector, particularly when reforms for enhancing the competitiveness of the public sector are undermined.
  • Past failures of the private sector to align with national objectives remain a prominent concern and it seems unlikely that the private sector can overcome the persistent public sector problems of human resource shortages in underserved areas.
  • The private sector may also undermine the components of disease prevention and health promotion.
  • Equity gains with greater private sector engagement are now highly dependent on access to pro-poor health financing mechanisms. This is a major weakness of the Indian health system and the NHP could have provided effective guidance and a road map for increasing public expenditure to 2.5% of GDP and its utilisation. 
  • There is lack of penetration of private healthcare in vulnerable areas
  • Out pocket expenditure would only increase if focus is on private healthcare.

Way forward:-

  • NHP essentially needs to invoke the axiom of efficiency to promote genuine competition between public and private sectors.
  • Both private and public sectors should be allowed to compete for human resources as well as capital investments.
  • Competition may also be facilitated to allow inter-sectoral cooperation, such that services presently unavailable in one sector can be accessed via others. This is also a form of strategic purchasing, but more bidirectional in nature. 
  • Strategic purchasing can be of greater relevance if it is accompanied by technical and policy deliberations to promote competition and a bidirectional relationship.

Topic-Part of static series under the heading – “Resolutions and motions-comparison”

2) Parliament discusses matters of public importance by passing motions and resolutions inside the House. How are they different from each other?(250 words)


Key demand of the question

The question is pretty straightforward in its demand. The focus is on understanding the difference between motions and resolutions along with examples (for extra marks)

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that parliamentary proceedings make use of several devices to discuss matters of public importance such as motions and resolutions.

Body – explain what motions are, highlight that it is mentioned in Rule 184 of Lok Sabha. Mention that there are various types of motions and resolutions form part of substantive motions. Explain what resolutions are. Explain the difference between the two – all resolutions can be voted upon. Give examples.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the importance of the two devices.



  • Motions and resolutions are procedural devices to raise a discussion in the House on a matter of general public interest.  With few exceptions, the process of debate in the House is initiated by a member or Minister by making a motion.


  • In its widest sense, the term ‘motion’ means any proposal submitted to the House for eliciting its decision. 
  • It is a formal proposal made to the House by a member requesting the House to do something, order something to be done or express an opinion with regard to some matter.
  • Any matter to be decided by the House must be brought in front of the House in the form of a motion and once the motion is adopted by the House, it becomes the decision or opinion of the House as a whole.
  • Motions therefore are the basis of parliamentary proceedings.
  • A motion can be moved only with the approval of the presiding officer – Speaker in Lok Sabha, Chairman in Rajya Sabha.
  • Motions and resolutions can be moved by private members as well as Ministers.  When they are moved by the former, they are called private members’ motions or resolutions.  
  • There are 3 kinds of motions – substantive, substitute and subsidiary motions:-
    • Substantive motion is a self contained independent proposal submitted for the approval of the House and drafted in such a way as to be capable of expressing a decision of the House. Other examples of substantive motions are motion of no confidence, motions for election or removal of Speaker, Deputy Speaker etc.
    • Substitute motions are motions moved in substitution of the original motion and proposing an alternative to it. This motion can be moved by another member before the commencement of discussion on the original motion. While the subject of both the motions is same, they differ on the matter of decision. 
    • Subsidiary motions are motions which depends upon or relates to another motion or follows upon some proceedings in the House. By itself it has no meaning and is not capable of stating the decision of the House without reference to the original motion or proceedings of the House. 


  • Resolution are used to express opinion of the house or Resolutions come under ‘substantive motions’ The resolution passed by parliament come under ‘government resolutions’.
  • It is a self-contained independent proposal submitted for the approval of the House and drafted in such away as to be capable of expressing a decision of the House.  A resolution may be in the form 
    • of declaration of opinion or 
    • of a recommendation or 
    • so as to record either approval or disapproval by the House of an act or policy of Government or 
    • convey a message or 
    • commend, urge or request an action or 
    • call attention to a matter or situation for consideration by government or 
    • in such other form as the Speaker may consider appropriate.
  • For instance in case of a natural disaster like the floods that occurred in different states of India, the house can pass a resolution recommending the immediate measures to be taken by the Government for relief and rehabilitation of the victims


  • By a motion, the House discusses a matter, by a resolution the House declares its own opinion. 
  • All resolutions should be voted upon.This factor differentiates them from motions which are otherwise similar to resolutions. All resolutions should be voted upon where as not all motions are voted.
  • The difference between a motion and resolution is more of procedure than content, i.e., the content of a resolution and a motion can be the same but the manner in which it is adopted and the decision on the content will differ.
  • All resolutions come under the category of substantive motions but all motions are not resolutions.

Topic– Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

3) A recent Brookings study claims that India no longer houses the largest number of poor. The credit goes to the efforts of  successive governments in rolling out poverty alleviation schemes. Discuss the evolution of poverty alleviation schemes in India?(250 words)


Why this question

The findings of the Brookings report is a good opportunity to discuss how the poverty alleviation programmes have evolved in their design and implementation over time. The article discusses the evolution of schemes and highlights that over time incremental improvements have indeed been made. Poverty is an important topic from mains perspective and hence this topic is important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to chart a journey of how the poverty alleviation programmes have evolved over time in their design, focus , implementation etc.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your answer should explain what steps were taken in distinct phases, their rationale and discuss the impact.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give details of the Brookings report and the status of poverty in India.


  • Explain that since independence there has been sustained focus on eliminating poverty. In recent years, India is a party to SDG under which one of the target is ending poverty and hence several steps are being taken
  • Explain the various phases
    • Phase 1 : agriculture as the prime moving force in 1st and 2nd plan and agricultural revolution thereafter
    • Phase 2: 3rd FYP onwards, explicit commitment to ending poverty. Food for work, Rural Landless employment guarantee programme
    • Phase 3 – NREGA, National Food Security Act,
    • Others including those affecting food and nutrition, infrastructure creation, pensions etc
    • Examine the impact of these schemes too
  • Mention that most poverty alleviation programmes implemented are based on the perspective of the Five Year Plans were based on expanding self employment programmes and wage employment programmes. Mention that attempts have also been made to target farm sector specifically by providing them with infrastructure, insurance etc to improve their financial conditions

Conclusion – Highlight the common threat that binds them and the way forward to put ourselves in “No Extreme poverty” grouping.



  • The complex nature of poverty in India may be related with the vulnerability, natural adversities, shocks and uncertainties coupled with inequality and unemployment. It is resulting in uninsured risks  of its citizen.
  • Relevant policies and programmes for poverty eradication are the ways to tackle the problem of poverty. The equity through redistribution, development and support has been the thrust 
    areas in making policies and programmes. 
  • Rural poverty and backwardness of Indian villages has been the two connotations of the same reality. Thus, bulk of the efforts made by the Indian government through rural development directly or indirectly come under poverty eradication interventions.
  • Poverty eradication strategies thus comprise of a wide range of programmes of  rural development, poverty alleviation and income and employment generation.
  • The efforts made by the government has led to India not being at the top with the largest poor population.

Evolution of poverty alleviation programmes:-

  • Economic growth with a focus on employment generating sectors has been a key element of the strategy for poverty reduction along with emphasis laid on provision of basic minimum 
    services like health, education, water supply, sanitation, etc. This strategy has been combined with a third element of directly targeting the poor through anti poverty programmes
  • Rural development has traditionally been associated with agriculture, thus employment generation coupled with development of agriculture was focused in the1960s.
    • The Community development Programme (CDP) was introduced in 1952 with securing total development of the material resources of the rural areas, to raise the level of the rural poor through number of associated programmes and to develop local leadership and self-governing institutions as its objective.
    • PMKSY has been launched to irrigate cultivated land for better production. 
    • Soil Health Card, use of latest technology, accurate prediction of monsoon all are directly or indirectly link to increase agricultural productivity.
  • During the Fourth Five Year Plan period (1969-74), approach to planning was modified and special attention was paid to alleviation of poverty, especially rural poverty and to strengthen rural infrastructure.
    • Broad objectives of the programmes targeting such sections of population and backward/undeveloped areas aimed at creation of infrastructure, productive assets and development of skills. 
    • Thus, the weaker section oriented, area specific and agro-based programmes like Intensive Agricultural Areas Development Programme (IAADP) 1969-70, Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) 1971-72, Hill Area Development Programme (HADP) 1973-74, Command Area Development Programme (CADP) 1974-75, Tribal Area Development Programme (TADP) and Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) 1976-77 were introduced.
    • The IRDP, which aimed at a set of allied schemes, at assisting households below the poverty line with loans and subsidies for asset creation, training and infusion of technology. The IRDP was extended on a nationwide scale in 1980.
  • Wage employment programmes were given importance in the  late 1970s, 1980s and in the 1990s.
    • Wage Employment Programmes (WEPs) were introduced to generate employment quickly 
      and directly on one hand, and on the other, to create productive assets to pace the process of development and also to reduce poverty. 
    • Self employment-
      • Central government led wage employment scheme e.g. SGRY- did incorporate the idea of democratic decentralization and participation of the village poor in planning
    • The main early antecedents of SGRY were: the Food for Work (FFW) programme, begun in 1977; the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), initiated in 1980; and the Rural Landless  Guarantee Scheme (RLGS), started in 1983.
      • Food for Work Programme (renamed the National Rural Employment Programme) of 1977 attempted creating additional employment in rural areas using surplus food grains available as buffer stock as wages. That failed because of inadequate stocks, delayed payments and overcrowding at fair price shops.
      • The Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) followed in 1983, to improve the scheme through guaranteed employment to at least one member of every landless household for up to 100 days a year.
    • The Million Wells Scheme of 1988–89 attempted to provide open irrigation wells free of cost to poor, small and marginal farmers belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and freed bonded labour.
    • In April 1989, NREP and RLGS were amalgamated into the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY), and even the nominal work guarantee attached to the RLEGP was omitted. The emphasis was on creating community assets, notably roads and buildings.
    • In April 1999, the JRY was modified as the Jawahar Gram Samriddhi Yojna (JGSY). The Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS), launched in 1993, was targeted on ‘backward’ blocks located in drought-prone, desert, tribal and hill areas.
    • Existing schemes like MGNREGA became more efficient using technology (access to data), identity (Aadhaar) and financial inclusion (Jan Dhan Scheme).
  • Food security programmes that intend to meet the very  basic need of access to food like PDS. 
    • Government has launched Mid Day Meal scheme to feed children. 
    • Annapurna scheme provides food to helpless senior citizens.
    • National food security act 2013 aims to provide food grains at subsidized rate. 
  • Social security programmes (like National Social Assistance Programme or National Family Benefit Scheme) that are meant to provide security and support for those who are at the bottom of the BPL facing destitution and desertion.
  • Thus, above programmes by successive governments helped to reduce poverty in India


  • India is still far from achieving SDG 1.
  • Despite rapid growth and development, an unacceptably high proportion of our population continues to suffer from severe and multidimensional deprivation. 
  • While a large number of poverty alleviation programmes have been initiated, they function in silos. There is no systematic attempt to identify people who are in poverty, determine their needs, address them and enable them to move above the poverty line.
  • The resources allocated to anti-poverty programmes are inadequate and there is a tacit understanding that targets will be curtailed according to fund availability. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (mgnrega) does not provide the guaranteed 100 days of work in many states. 
  • There is no method to ensure that programmes reach everybody they are meant for
  • Lack of proper implementation and right targeting
  • There has been a lot of overlapping of schemes.
  • Every year a huge number is added to the population pool of the country. This renders the scheme ineffective.

Way forward:-

  • To address poverty effectively, people who formulate alleviation programmes need to understand and address chronic poverty and the dynamics of poverty.
  • Casual agricultural labour is the largest group that is stuck in poverty, as per data from the socioeconomic caste census. These are the “working poor”, for whom the State has not been able to secure the right to an adequate means of livelihood. This must be addressed.
  • There is a geographical dimension to poverty i.e.., concentration of poverty in certain parts of the country. So there should be renewed focus on the poorest districts: to universalise access in these areas and applying indicators that assess performance-based improvement of the most vulnerable.
  • Poverty has persisted among certain marginalised groups, especially among the Scheduled Tribes. Hence, the inclusion of tribal girls or women in programmes in the poorest blocks and villages should be used as an indicator of performance.

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

4) Critically examine the potential of HECI Bill in improving the status of higher education in India?(250 words)

The hindu

The hindu


Why this question

The article talks about how the changes brought about by HECI Bill hardly resolves the issues faced by the higher education institutes in the country. Critical analysis of the bill this becomes necessary.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first elaborate on the provisions of the bill likely to have an impact on the status of higher education institutes in the country. Thereafter we have to assess the pros and cons of the changes and present our view.

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 – Give details of the bill along with its aim.


  • Discuss the provisions of the bill in detail that would impact the higher education institutes – impact on autonomy, finance, regulatory architecture etc
  • Discuss the positives that the proposed move will have – failure of UGC, poor status of Indian universities, lack of uniform standards, infrastructure etc. Discuss how the Bill hopes to improve situation – “less government and more government”; “separation of grant function”; “End of inspection Raj”; “Focus of academic quality”; and “Powers to Enforce”
  • Discuss the cons of such a move as highlighted in the article

Conclusion – Based on arguments made above, give a fair and balanced conclusion and the way forward.


  • 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.
  • 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
    • They are of the opinion that setting up of the new regulator is of no use as it will increase the interference of government in academic matters.

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 .


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

General Studies – 3

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

5) In order to create meaningful employment for its youth, India needs to integrate its youth skilling programs with the needs of the industry 4.0. Comment.(250 words)

Yojana Magazine, June 2018 issue.

Why this question

India has a huge demographic dividend and it is essential to skill those youth for gainful employment and contribute to India’s success story to development. However, skilling is not an easy issue and skilling for gainful employment has its own challenges. So it is important to discuss all those avenues which could lead to gainful employment for India’s skilled youth.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deep into the youth skilling programs and schemes of India and come out with reasons as to why/ why not these programs need to be linked with the needs of fourth industrial revolution.

Directive word

Comment- Here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and present our opinion. Our opinion has to be based on a proper discussion of why/ why not India needs to integrate its youth skilling programs with the needs of the industry 4.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about India’s demographic dividend, what it means, for how long the demographic dividend will be there and why it needs to be capitalized.


  1. Discuss the present skilling programmes in India ( e.g PMKVY; DAY-NULM; DGI-MES; NSDC etc.). Discuss the limitations of the current skilling programs vis a vis employability of the youth skilled under the present programmes. E.g low level of skills training; lack of high end skilling programmes; lack of future oriented jobs; more stress on certification rather than employability etc.
  2. Discuss why there is a need for India to integrate these skilling programmes with the needs of industry 4.0. E.g growth of digitization, AI, Machine learning, IoT, business analytics; industry 4 will be more efficient, more preferable and likely to displace the current industrial processes and technologies; Industry 4 is more compatible with the demands of the society and the needs of the governance; task based employment will be in more demand than job based  employment etc.

Conclusion– discuss briefly the initiatives of the govt. in this regard and what more needs to be done.


  • Skilling youth in new tasks and jobs is an emerging strategy for realising the full potential of India’s young workforce.
  • India has significant disparity in demographic profile of youth population. There is a higher median age in the range of 29-31 years in southern states. States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar have a low median age of 20-22 years amounting to a rising working age population. Thus, the paradigms of skilling youth require different approaches for access and relevance. 
  • Industry 4.0 is characterised by increasing digitisation, connected machines, amalgamation of emerging technologies, business analytics and cyber-physical systems. This leads to productive enhancement and resource optimisation. In this regime, low-skilled jobs will be eliminated, but an increase in capacity will create new jobs requiring higher levels of skills.

Some of the notable schemes for skill development and entrepreneurship of Government of India are :-
1. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 
2. Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) 
3. Director General of Training – Modular Employable Skills (DGT-MES) 
4. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana 
5. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) 
6. National Skill Development Agency 
7. Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) 
8. Atal Innovation Mission 
9. Startup India 

Issues with skill development programmes in India:-

  • Lack of coordination:-
    • Government was preoccupied with financing and implementation lost track. The Employment Exchanges, NCVT SCVT etc. were not utilized properly for training and information dissemination.
  • Involvement of Industry and employers in the skill training structures (such as ITIs) is almost nothing. They could not be brought forward to proactively participate in the skill development. They were not brought forward because this would entail larger autonomy to institutions.
  • India has a fragmented vocational education system, managed by multiplicity of bodies under the NCVT, DGET and the SCVTs. Lack of coordination among them has resulted in ineffectiveness of any top down approach to skill development. The quality of vocational institutes is also low.
    • Funding of vocational education in India is restricted largely to government, where little attention was paid to quality. Once an institution begins to receive funding, subsequent funds are assured regardless of the institution’s performance. 
    • A large number of students with vocational education need to look for placement in private organizations or for self employment. The condition of private industrial employments and self employment are inferior in India in comparison to other countries. Subsequently, only a smaller fraction of students (~5%) opt for vocational education.
  • Problem in Mobilization
    • Student mobilization to get trained has been a major concern due to the traditional mindset, low willingness to migrate, low salaries at entry level.
  • Issues in Employers Buy-In
    • The employer does not distinguish whether an employee has picked up skills on the job or he has acquired them through formal training,
  • Problems in Scalability
    • Scaling up aspirations to current jobs as well as getting the right kind of training partners and effective stakeholder management are important.
  • Mismatch between youth aspirations and jobs
    • Finding students to fill the classrooms and getting people to accept new kind of jobs have been difficult.
  • Ensuring Minimum Wages
    • At present, wages are linked with categorization of ‘skilled’, ‘semi-ski lied’ or ‘unskilled’, but these have to be aligned with skill levels defined as per National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and recognition of higher level of skills in terms of minimum wages is noted.
  • There is more stress on certification rather than employability

Why there is a need for India to integrate these skilling programmes with the needs of industry 4.0:-

  • With fast emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution in India, emerging skills in domains like, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality,Robotics, Big Data Analytics and 3D Printing will be in much demand
  • The future jobs will be ‘task based’. These tasks will focus on acquiring new skills on critical thinking, design thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and cognitive learning. 
  • New employment opportunities, also known as gig economy will emerge like online developers, coders, multimedia professionals, online sales and marketing professionals, systems thinking, and multilingual and multi-modal capabilities. 
  • Integration of Industry 4.0 with Initiatives like ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Standup India’ and ‘Digital India’ are mechanisms that will create new opportunities. 
  • Government of India is supporting programmes such as Digital India’s budget doubled to Rs 3,073 crores in 2018-19 and there are plans to set up Centers of Excellence for research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analytics and IOT. 
  • Government of India has come out with a new draft for telecom policy – National Digital Communications Policy 2018 with the aim to create a roadmap for emerging technologies. It has also laid out plans to attract $100 billion investment and create four million jobs by 2022. The policy aims at increasing India’s contributions to global value chains by creation of innovation-led startups in the digital communications sector. The policy also features training one million for building new age skills, expand IOT ecosystem to five billion connected devices and accelerate shift to Industry 4.0. 

What more needs to be done?

  • Nurturing Innovation Climate:- 
    • Strategic linkages between Academia-Industry-Government can boost innovations and R&D in institution. 
  • There is optimism for the prospect of skills and job creation and combination of apt policies, choice of right skills, development of human capital and academia-industry linkages can translate the potential of youth into real outcomes. 
  • In line with futuristic skill demands and industry 4.0, the skills agenda has to be revisited as global manufacturing will see structural shifts. 
  • The government has to inculcate STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the course curricula, at least basics through the school systems with emphasis on creativity plus critical and systems thinking. 
  • With just about 2% of the country’s labour force having formal skill certification, government and industry must create pull factors to attract workers to get vocational training. For this, there is a need to create the macro and micro policies to encourage workers.
  • The government should include a minimum percentage of certified skilled work forces in the tendering process of every manpower intensive project and increase the minimum percentage every year.
  • At a local level, the industry can enforce it by ensuring that ancillary service providers like drivers, housekeeping and security staff have skill certification.
  • Minimum wages need to be re-looked and aligned to the levels defined in the National Skills Qualification Framework.


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

Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

6) Tax reforms are essential for improving the ease of doing business, and attracting foreign investment. Discuss the steps taken by India in this regard. (250 words)

Yojana Magazine, June 2018 issue

Why this question

India has made significant strides in improving the ease of doing business index. There have been various tax reforms with the introduction of GST being the most important among them. It is essential to discuss all those tax reforms comprehensively in order to get a better picture of India’s economy.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about all the tax reforms introduced in India recently, which have in turn improved our ease of doing business and led to more foreign investment. The key here is to discuss all the tax reforms in this direction.

Directive word-

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question so as to give a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few lines along with some statistic, which show improved ease of doing business and increased foreign investment in India.


Discuss in points about all those tax reforms introduced recently by the government.

e.g Direct taxes- TIN, OLTAS, e-TCS, e-TDS; e-sahyog, Sevottam etc. Discuss each tax reform briefly.

Indirect taxes- GST; reduction in customs duties etc. Discus each tax reform briefly.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


  • Any evolving economy needs massive investments from both within the country and overseas. But such investments will not come that easily unless it has a taxation system that is just, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory and motivating to enthuse investors to put their monies into productive purposes.
  • This has been realised world over and most developed economies took to a very progressive taxation system, particularly the US and Australia.

Steps taken by India:-

  • Indian tax system has come a long way from the narrow based, complicated and confiscatory system to the one that is far more efficient.
  • Direct Tax Reforms
    • Tax Information Network (TIN):
      • On behalf of the income tax department, the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) established Tax Information Network
      • This is the source of the countrywide tax related data.The basic idea was to modernise collection, processing, monitoring and accounting of direct taxes using information technology.
      • TIN has three subsystems:
        • Electronic Return Acceptance and Consolidation System (ERACS).
        • Online Tax Accounting System (OLTAS).
        • e-TDS (Tax deduction at source) and e-TCS (tax collected at source).
      • eSahyog: Paperless Assessments:
        • To simplify the tax payment, the CBDT came up with a proposal for paperless income tax assessment over emails
        • This would save the taxpayer to pay a visit to IT office particularly in case of small amounts.
        • Pilot projects in this direction have been launched in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.
      • Sevottam: Efficient Grievance Redressal
        • To bring new life to the grievance redressal system, the sevottam platform connects all income tax offices in the country.
        • The idea is to address the queries and grievances in real time.
      • PAN camps:
        • To increase coverage of the PAN, the government has been conducting PAN camps across India.
      • Indirect Tax Reforms
        • Goods and Services Tax:
          • Most taxation experts opine that the GST and Direct Taxes Code (DTC) is the biggest tax reforms the government has ever undertaken and it promises to make the taxation system easier to comply with, for both domestic and overseas investors.
          • Tax experts claim that DTC and GST will go a long way to make the taxation system simpler, increase tax payer base and increase the tax buoyancy which will have a long term effect in reducing the fiscal deficit of the country.
          • For foreigner investors simpler tax laws with easy arbitration would make it an attractive destination to put their monies in India.
          • The ultimate benefit is for India in terms of higher GDP growth and higher disposable incomes among the population.
          • It added more indirect taxpayers, made tax evasion difficult, brought tax transparency to consumers and reduced the tax rates on many mass-use goods and services. However, it unexpectedly led to a disruption in economic activity in the months before the rollout as businesses cut down production as they adjusted to the new system. 
          • Businesses also found it hard to file GST returns on time as the technology platform of GST Network, or GSTN, could not cope with the last minute surge in filings, forcing several deadline extensions.
        • Reduction in customs duties 


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

7) There is a need to employ a multi pronged approach in order to decrease the rural-urban divide in India. Discuss the steps taken by the GoI in this regard.(250 words)

Yojana magazine, June 2018 issue

Why this question

Rising inequality is a critical issue in India and there has been a significant increase in the rural-urban divide. Inequality has many implications for a society and it is essential to know about all the initiatives taken by the govt. to tackle the issue.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deep into the question and write at length about all the initiatives of the government directed at decreasing the rural-urban divide.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question so as to give a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about the increasing rural-urban divide in India.


  1. Discuss the negative effects of the growing urban-rural divide. E.g income and regional inequality; emigration from rural areas; immigration to urban areas resulting in increased stress on urban infrastructure, increased homelessness, increased feminization of agriculture etc. Discuss why there is a need for a multi-pronged approach in dealing with the problem.
  2. Discuss in points the initiatives taken by GoI to tackle the issue of increasing rural-urban divide in the country. E.g NFSM, RKVY, PMFBY, NAM, PMKSY, PMJDY, DAY-NRLM, MGNREGS, RGSA, Antyodya mission etc.

Discuss each initiative briefly and bring out how it impacts the rural-urban divide.

Conclusion– Sum up your discussion in a few lines to form a fair and a balanced conclusion. Suggest some more reforms that need to be taken in this direction.


Rural urban divide in India :-

  • Causes:-
    • Dependence of Rural population on Agriculture
    • Lack of Rural Livelihood and Employment opportunities
    • Differential Impact of India’s Growth and Development.
    • Urban Bias in Social Sectors such as Health and Education
    • Poor Rural Infrastructure
    • Emphasis on Smart Cities and neglect of Rural areas
    • Dominance of Social Institutions in Rural areas
    • Improper Implementation of Rural Development schemes, Leakages and Corruption have drifted rural and urban areas apart.

Consequences of Rural-Urban Divide

  • India vs Bharat
    • The rural-urban divide has led to the generation of two polar opposites– India and Bharat. Many economists and intellectuals argue that while India is urban and progressive; Bharat is rural, underdeveloped and backward.
  • Rural to Urban Migration
    • The rural areas characterised by lower wages, a small size of landholdings, lack of opportunities, and amenities have been a push factor of migration from rural areas to urban areas.
    • Although, migration is helpful in raising incomes and equalizing social status. But, uncontrolled migration of rural population to urban areas has led to rising of slums, congestion in cities, the problem of traffic and increase in crime rates.
  • Poverty and Hunger Reduction is slower in Rural areas
    • With the achievement of self-sufficiency in food grains and implementation of Food Security Act, Right to Education Act, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and other significant poverty alleviation schemes, poverty is reducing.
    • But, the rate of poverty reduction in urban areas is higher than rural areas. Also, today, nearly 26% of rural India is poor, compared to a meagre 13% in urban areas. (Tendulkar Report on Poverty Estimates)
  • Rural Distress, Alienation and Protests
    • The growing inequalities between the rural and urban areas, rural poverty and exploitation have led to peasant struggles throughout India latest being Madhya Pradesh farmers’ protest in 2017.
    • Left-wing extremism particularly the Maoist insurgency is also a manifestation of a huge rural-urban divide as the Maoists see urban people as invaders mining their resources.
    • Increased feminization of agriculture etc.

Steps taken:-

  • PURA:-
    • In 2003, the government started a scheme to check rural-urban migration by providing jobs and urban amenities in rural areas.
    • The Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) is aimed at economic connectivity through integrating physical connectivity, electronic connectivity, and knowledge connectivity. However, out of 13 projects, 9 couldn’t even take off. Making it a voluntary private sector programme was probably one reason
  • Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission:-
    • To strengthen infrastructure in rural areas. This is a Public Private Partnership model while also using funds from various schemes. The aim was to focus on 300 rural clusters, so that their development would trigger overall development in the region.
    • The ground reality is far from satisfactory. The target for setting up 300 rurban clusters in five years is overambitious.
    • Funding for Rurban might face problems as it converges various ongoing schemes when there is already a competing demand for rural development programmes.
    • For Rurban, the Centre provides just the Critical Gap Funding.
    • The mission is yet to take off in the way it was imagined. Thus, there is an urgent need to ensure implementation.
  • Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana scheme:-
    • It is being implemented from 2015 where a Member of Parliament has to choose villages in his constituency to be transformed as ‘model villages’ with all social, welfare and infrastructure facilities.
  • National Nutrition Mission: 
    • Aim is to try to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition problem, anaemia problem and low birth weight problem in these groups. This has to be reduced by at least 2-3% per annum. 
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY): 
    • Seeks to provide the States and Territories of India with the autonomy to draw up plans for increased public investment in Agriculture by incorporating information on local requirements, geographical/climatic conditions, available natural resources/ technology and cropping patterns in their districts 
    • This will significantly increase the productivity of Agriculture and its allied sectors and eventually maximize the returns of farmers in agriculture and its allied sectors 
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
    • Aims at supporting sustainable production in agriculture sector by following ways: 
    • Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events 
    • Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming
    • Encouraging farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices 
    • Ensuring flow of credit to the agriculture sector which contributes to food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness of agriculture sector besides protecting farmers from production risks 
  • e-NAM 
    • An online trading platform for agricultural commodities in India 
    • The market facilitate farmers, traders and buyers with online trading in commodities
    • Will help in better price discovery and provide facilities for smooth marketing of 
      their produce. 
    • To achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level.
    • Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation 
    • Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water
    • Enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies 
      (More crop per drop) 
    • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal waste water for peri-urban agriculture 
    • Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system 
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) 
    • Promotion of commercial organic production through certified organic farming. 
    • The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improve the health 
      of consumer. 
    • It will raise farmer’s income and create potential market for traders.
    • It will motivate the farmers for natural resource mobilization for input production. 
  • Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan 
    • To strengthen the Panchayati Raj system across the country and address critical gaps that  constrains its success 
    • Enhance capacities and effectiveness of Panchayats and the Gram Sabhas
    • Enable democratic decision-making and accountability in Panchayats and promote 
      people’s participation 
    • Strengthen the institutional structure for knowledge creation and capacity building of Panchayats 
    • Promote devolution of powers and responsibilities to Panchayats according to the spirit of the Constitution and PESA Act 
    • Strengthen Gram Sabhas to function effectively as the basic forum of peoples participation, transparency and accountability within the Panchayat system
    • Create and strengthen democratic local self-government in areas where Panchayats 
      do not exist
    • Strengthen the constitutionally mandated framework on which Panchayats are 
  • Mission Antyodaya 
    • Seeks to converge government interventions with Gram Panchayats as the basic unit for planning by following a saturation approach by pooling resources – human and financial – to ensure sustainable livelihoods 
    • It is a State – led initiative for rural transformation to make a real difference based on  measurable outcomes to the lives of 1,00,00,000 households in 5,000 rural clusters or 50,000 Gram Panchayats in 1,000 days. 
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS)
    • Provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage
    • Improving the purchasing power of the rural people, primarily semi or un-skilled work to people living below poverty line in rural India 
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan 
    • Aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, smaller towns, and rural areas 
    • Eliminate open defecation Establish an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet 
    • The mission will also contribute to India reaching Sustainable Development Goal 
      Number 6 (SDG 6) 
  • Jan Dhan Yojana
    • A bank account in every household (normal savings bank account)
    • Access to banking & credit facilities (basic banking)
    • Manage to stay away from moneylenders & financial crisis caused by emergent needs 
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Housing for All 2022 Scheme) 
    • Aims at providing affordable housing to the urban poor 
    • The mission of this initiative is to provide housing for all by the year 2022. 
    • Under this scheme, affordable houses will be built in selected cities and towns using eco-friendly construction methods for the benefit of the urban poor population in India. 
  • Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana
    • The Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce.

Way forward:-

  • Focus on smart villages:-
    • The top priority should be the creation of opportunities for youths in villages, thereby discouraging migration to cities. There is a need to create an eco-system that makes youth interested in working from their villages. BPOs/KPOs can operate from villages and young people can be encouraged to take up IT jobs there. Many jobs require computer skills instead of degrees. The digitisation of post offices, rural banks, and IT-enabled services provide excellent opportunities.
  • Farming should be made a remunerative occupation, with guidance and mentoring to small farmers on how to get the best yield and market at remunerative prices. It’s important to train them to develop a secondary source of income.
  • The benefits of schemes such as crop insurance, soil health card, and neem pesticides must reach the grassroots. Proper implementation is key. A helpdesk set up in every village and manned by trained individuals to handle farmers’ queries and provide solutions would be most useful.
  • Projects supported by Digital India and Skill India should be integrated through a unified agency to reach villages. For instance, Skill India can empower youths to start their own small businesses after training as masons, mechanics, electricians, and drivers or to run repair shops, poultry and dairy farms, kirana stores, tea-shops, dhabas and so on.
  • India’s crafts thrive in villages, especially as cooperative ventures. Pottery, metal craft, weaving, jewellery making, wood craft, shell craft, cane craft, embroidery, ivory craft, glass craft and paper craft could be sources of income. The arts and crafts ecosystem of villages is impossible to recreate in cities. A great deal of export potential is hidden here. Senior/elderly artisans can be employed as ‘trainers’.
  • Villages traditionally preserve large number of water bodies like ponds, wells, bawadis, canals etc. Training villagers in water harvesting methods, rejuvenating ponds/wells to improve water storage and sharing these good practices systematically with others, would help mitigate hardships.