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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 NOVEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 NOVEMBER 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: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

1) India’s premier investigative agency- CBI, cannot be governed by British-era law. Do you agree. Comment.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

CBI has of late been in news for the controversy surrounding the removal of its director. In this context it is important to discuss the law governing the premier investigation agency and the need to reform the same.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion as to whether the law governing the CBI needs to be revised or not. We have to form our opinion based on a proper discussion and presentation of valid arguments and facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the  CBI and the law governing it. E.g The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) owes its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE), which was established by the colonial government in 1941 through an executive order to deal with corruption involving war-time purchases and supplies. In 1946, the then government enacted the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to give the organisation a statutory cover etc.

Body-

Discuss why the CBI cannot be governed by the anachronistic act. E.g The Act of 1946, which continues to govern the CBI, is a very small piece of legislation, comprising six sections. It permits the agency to investigate only those offences which are notified by the central government. The organisation cannot exercise its powers and jurisdiction in any area in a state without the consent of the government of that state. Without the state government’s invitation, the only way the CBI can work there is when the Supreme Court or some high court asks it to do so. The Act vests the superintendence of the CBI in the central government, though, now it vests partly in the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), too; India is no longer the country of 1946 and CBI is no longer what the Delhi Special Police Establishment was in those days. The size of the organisation has expanded, the pattern and incidence of crime which it is required to investigate have altered, its charter of functions has enlarged considerably, the political environment in which it is functioning has been transformed, citizens’ expectations from this agency have grown, and the norms and standards of police investigation work all over the world have seen a sea change etc.

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

 Background:-

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)is India’s premier investigating agency that handles all high-profile cases. Its job is to ensure a fair and an impartial probe.
  • CBI was established on the recommendation of Santhanam committeeto prevent corruption. It is the main investigating agency of central government

Law governing CBI in India :-

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) owes its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE), which was established by the colonial government in 1941 through an executive order to deal with corruption involving war-time purchases and supplies.
  • In 1946, the then government enacted the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to give the organisation a statutory cover.
  • The Act of 1946, which continues to govern the CBI, is a piece of legislation, comprising six sections.
    • It permits the agency to investigate only those offences which are notified by the central government.
    • The organisation cannot exercise its powers and jurisdiction in any area in a state without the consent of the government of that state.
    • Without the state government’s invitation, the only way the CBI can work there is when the Supreme Court or some high court asks it to do so.
    • The Act vests the superintendence of the CBI in the central government, though, now it vests partly in the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) too. This amendment in the provision about the superintendence over the agency, including the one about the procedure for appointment of its director, was introduced by the CVC Act, 2003.

Why CBI cannot be governed with the British law :-

  • Real problem for the CBI lies in its charter of duties:-
    • These are not protected by legislation. Instead, its functions are based merely on a government resolution that draws its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which makes the CBI the premier investigative arm of the Union government.
  • The size of the organisation has expanded. Also the pattern and incidence of crime which it is required to investigate have altered.
  • Its charter of functions has enlarged considerably, the political environment in which it is functioning has been transformed.
  • Citizens expectations from this agency have grown, and the norms and standards of police investigation work all over the world have seen a sea change.
  • However myriad of responsibilities over categories like Corruption & fraud , economic crimes , special crimes including terrorist attacks has overburdened it and reduced its efficienc

What institutional reforms are needed ?

  • P singh committeehas recommended the enactment of comprehensive central legislation for self sufficient statutory charter of duties and functions.
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2007) also suggested that a new law should be enacted to govern the working of the CBI.
  • Parliamentary standing committee (2007)recommended that a separate act should be promulgated in tune with requirement with time to ensure credibility and impartiality
    • The 19th and 24th reports of the parliamentary standing committees (2007 and 2008) recommended that the need of the hour is to strengthen the CBI in terms of legal mandate, infrastructure and resources.
  • Elements needed in the new legislation:-
    • The new legislation must define the word superintendence, and establish institutional and other arrangements to insulate the organisation from undesirable and illegitimate external control, pressures and influences.
    • It must ensure that the central government’s control over the agency is so exercised as to ensure that its performance is in strict accordance with the law.
    • The Act must make it a statutory responsibility of the government to establish an efficient and impartial system of investigation.
    • It should set objectives, define performance standards and establish monitoring instrument, prescribe procedures for appointment and removal of officers
    • It should delineate the CBI’s powers as well as functions, outline the philosophy and practices expected of the agency, and, prescribe mechanisms to ensure their accountability. 
    • new CBI Actshould be promulgated that ensures the autonomy of CBI while at the same time improving the quality of supervision. The new Act must specify criminal culpability for government interference.
  • It is high time that the CBI is vested with the required legal mandate and is given pan-India jurisdiction. It must have inherent powers to investigate corruption cases against officers of All India Services irrespective of the assignments they are holding or the state they are serving in.
  • Besides appointing the head of the CBI through a collegium, as recommended by the Lokpal Act, the government must ensure financial autonomy for the outfit. Some experts have even suggested that the CBI should be given statutory status through legislation equivalent to that provided to the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) and the Election Commission (EC).
    • It is also possible to consider granting the CBIand other federal investigation agencies the kind of autonomy that the Comptroller and Auditor General enjoys as he is only accountable to Parliament.
  • One of the demands that has been before Supreme Court, and in line with international best practices, is for the CBI to develop its own dedicated cadre of officers who are not bothered about deputation and abrupt transfers.
  • more efficient parliamentary oversightover the federal criminal and intelligence agencies could be a way forward to ensure better accountability, despite concerns regarding political misuse of the oversight.

Conclusion :-

  • CBI is an agency of Central Government that has wide range of investigating areas and powers.It was formed with a goal to check corruption and other crimes in the nation and so it shall maintain a clean image of itself. Any agency shall have a system of checks and balances and so, intervention of Government, CVC, Courts, etc shall be done if needed.

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

2) Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is the most ambitious health sector scheme since Independence. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

pib

Why this question

PM-JAY is one of the most important schemes of the government of India, launched recently. The scheme aims to revitalise the health sector in India but has also several limitations. In this context it is important to analyze the strengths and limitations of the scheme in detail.

Directive word

Critically analyze-  here we 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the PM-JAY scheme and bring out its strengths/ potential as well as the criticism faced by it. Based on our discussion we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  PMJAY- e.g year of launch and its salient provisions.

Body-

  1. Discuss the strengths of the scheme. E.g  If implemented well, PM-JAY could dramatically change the picture of the health sector and directly benefit more than 50 crore poor people; Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY) will provide a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization; PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service; PMJAY will help reduce catastrophic expenditure for hospitalizations, which impoverishes people and will help mitigate the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes; Entitled families will be able to use the quality health services they need without facing financial hardships; When fully implemented, PMJAY will become the world’s largest fully government-financed health protection scheme. It is a visionary step towards advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) etc.
  2. Discuss the limitations faced by it. E.g One, PM-JAY focuses on secondary and tertiary care, taking away the attention from primary care and public health-related investments. Two, in a supply-deficit environment, raising demand will not help. Three, the current package prices are too low to encourage private-sector hospitals to fully participate in the scheme. Four, hospital insurance addresses only a small amount of out-of-pocket expenditures. Finally, there is scepticism that either the required budget will not be available or provided at the expense of other critical needs etc.

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

Background :-

  • India takes a giant leap towards providing accessible and affordable healthcare to the common man with the launch of Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY):-

  • Under the vision of Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY) shall be implemented so that each and every citizen receives his due share of health care.
  • With Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana, the government is taking healthcare protection to a new aspirational level. This is the “world’s largest government funded healthcare program” targeting more than 50 crore beneficiaries.
  • The objectives of the Yojana are to reduce out of pocket hospitalisation expenses, fulfil unmet needs and improve access of identified families to quality inpatient care and day care surgeries.

Benefits under the scheme:-

  • Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY) will provide a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • Over 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiarieswill be eligible for these benefits.
  • PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to servicesfor the beneficiary at the point of service.
  • PMJAY will help reduce catastrophic expenditure for hospitalizations,which impoverishes people and will help mitigate the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes.
  • Entitled families will be able to use the quality health services they need without facing financial hardships.
  • When fully implemented, PMJAY will become the world’s largest fully government-financed health protection scheme. It is a visionary step towards advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  • Since its launch on September2018, it has already benefitted close to 2,00,000 people.
  • More than 80 per cent of hospital beds are in the private sector, yet the poorest 40 per cent can’t afford quality private healthcare. PM-JAY will increase access to both public as well as private sector services.
  • With significantly greater paying power due to PM-JAY, and government incentives for the private sector and PPP operations, the private sector’s supply of quality services is bound to expand.
  • PM-JAY will certainly have a significant impact on reducing the out-of-pocket spending incurred on the catastrophic health expenses by the poorest 40 per cent of the population.

Concerns:-

  • PM-JAY focuses on secondary and tertiary care, taking away the attention from primary care and public health-related investments.
  • In a supply-deficit environment, raising demand will not help.
  • The current package prices are too low to encourage private-sector hospitals to fully participate in the scheme.
  • Hospital insurance addresses only a small amount of out-of-pocket expenditures.
  • There is scepticism that either the required budget will not be available or provided at the expense of other critical needs.
  • Health budget:-
    • The health budget has neither increased nor is there any policy to strengthen the public/private sector in deficit areas.
    • While the NHPS provides portability, one must not forget that it will take time for hospitals to be established in deficit areas. This in turn could cause patients to gravitate toward the southern States that have a comparatively better health infrastructure than the rest of India.
  • Infrastructure constraints:-
    • There are doubts on the capacity of this infrastructure to take on the additional load of such insured patients from other States, growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for multi-sectoral planning and ‘health in all policies’ approach,where initiative of different departments and Ministries is developed and planned coordination, accountability  assigned and progress monitored jointly. It has to be coordinated at the level of Prime Minister or the Chief Minister’s office, as the case may be.
  • PPP in India needs a nuanced approach and systematic mechanisms, includinglegislation and regulatory aspects. The process requires wider stakeholder engagement and deliberations and oversight from top leadership.
  • There is a need to reform and re-design institutions to broader health system goals to contribute achieve sustainable development goals.
  • Policy proposals, such as setting up of Indian Medical Service, establishing public health cadre as well as mid-level healthcare providers and exploring lateral entry of technical experts in academic and health policy institutions, including in the health Ministry (up to the levels Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary levels) should be deliberated and given due priority.
  • A competitive price must be charged for services provided at public facilities as well. The government should invest in public facilities only in hard to reach regions where private providers may not emerge.
  • The government must introduce up to one-year long training courses for practitioners engaged in treating routine illnesses. This would be in line with the National Health Policy 2002, which envisages a role for paramedics along the lines of nurse practitioners in the United States.
  • There is urgent need for accelerating the growth of MBBS graduates to replace unqualified “doctors” who operate in both urban and rural areas. 
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.
  • In a federal polity with multiple political parties sharing governance, an all-India alignment around the NHPS requires a high level of cooperative federalism, both to make the scheme viable and to ensure portability of coverage as people cross State borders.
  • State governments, which will administer it through their own agency, will have to purchase care from a variety of players, including in the private sector, at predetermined rates. Reaching a consensus on treatment costs through a transparent consultative process is vital for a smooth and steady rollout.
  • A large-scale Information Technology network for cashless treatment should be set up and validated. State governments need to  upgrade the health administrative systems. The NHPM has a problem with the distribution of hospitals, the capacity of human resources, and the finances available for cost-sharing.

Conclusion :-

  • Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY) is a paradigm shift from sectorial, segmented and fragmented approach of service delivery through various national and State schemes to a bigger, more comprehensive and better converged and need based service delivery of secondary and tertiary care.

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

3) Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana has managed to increase formalization in existing companies. Examine.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

Government schemes are important for mains. There can either be a direct question on schemes or information about schemes can help in preparing filler material for answers. The article highlights the role played by PMRPY in increasing formalization in economy, which is a major gain and hence needs to be prepared.

Key demand of the question

Here, the first demand of the answer is to bring out the problem being faced currently – that of informalization of workforce and the issues faced along with it. Thereafter, we need to explain PMRPY and how it helps in tackling the issue of informalization of workforce. Next, we have to explain the impact of PMRPY and suggestions as to how to make it more effective.

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 – Highlight the findings of Arjun Sengupta committee which highlighted the level of informalization of workforce in Indian economy.

Body

  • Discuss the problems faced as a result of informalization of workforce
  • Explain about PMRPY and how it helps in tackling the problem of informalization of economy – by dealing with the burden of EPFO and ESI for companies and the advantages that it has had including preventing tax evasion.
  • Thereafter, discuss the positive impact of this scheme and suggest ways of improvement

Conclusion – Highlight that creation of formal jobs is one of the biggest challenge and the scheme does well in addressing some of the issues.

Background:-

  • The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) in its report on Social Security for Unorganised Workers had recommended a legislationfor the social security for unorganised workers.
  • Countries across the world, including India, need to move towards formalisation of labour and generation of at least 600 million new quality jobs in the next 15 years to fulfil Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations by 2030.

Informalisation of jobs in India:-

  • Studies show that employees tend to be significantly more productive in the formal employment when compared to the informal employment. Also, the quantum of value added by a person in a formal job is almost double that of a person in an informal job. 
  • Informal workers also work under worse working conditions with little job security, no perks or protections and with low wages. The protections guaranteed to workers under different legislations are not complied with by the informal sector, and they also escape the purview of the authorities.
  • A large informal sector also impacts the government in terms of revenue foregone because the units operating in the informal sector stay out of the government’s fiscal revenue net (This leads to low tax GDP ratio). Hence, the informal sector is detrimental to the interests of the working population, the government and in the long run, even to the employer.

Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana :-

  • In order to encourage formalisation of existing companies, as also to create new jobs in the formal sector, the government came up with the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahn Yojana (PMRPY).
  • Under this Government of India will now be paying the complete employer share of 12%. Earlier, only 8.33% of the employer shares were borne by the Government of India.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana(PMRPY) Plan Scheme has been designed to incentivise employers for generation of new employment, where Government of India will be paying the full employer’s contribution towards EPF & EPS both w.e.f April 2018 (earlier benefit was applicable for employer’s contribution towards EPS only) for the new employment.
  • All new employees enrolled on or after.2016 and under wage ceiling of Rs.15000 are eligible to avail the benefits of this scheme.
  • Benefits:-
    • This scheme has a dual benefit where on the one hand the employer is incentivised for increasing the employment base of workers in the establishment, and on the other hand, a large number of workers will find jobs in such establishments.
    • A direct benefit is that these workers will have access to social security benefits of the organized sector
    • Also, the burden on the part of employers has further reduced as he need not remit even 3.67% of employer share as per earlier norms.
    • Over one lakh units are covered by this scheme today and have around 85 lakh employees.
    • The scheme helped create more formal employment by lowering the monthly imposts on employees
    • While these jobs aren’t necessarily new ones since even existing firms may have used the PMRPY to shift workers to formal contracts, it is a very sensible and low-cost way to encourage formalisation.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and
irrigation systems storage”

4) India’s agricultural policy for the next decade should shift away from cereal (and quantity) centricity and be primarily focused on water effectiveness. Discuss. (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss how the focus areas for promoting agriculture need to shift away from enhancing quantity of particular food crops and focus on enhancing effectiveness of irrigation system to tackle the problem of water scarcity. We have to debate this hypothesis by bringing out points both for and against the current focus area and how focussing on water effectiveness is likely to improve the situation. We need to conclude with way forward.

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 – Explain how critical agricultural sector and its growth is for Indian economy.

Body

  • Explain that the current focus area of the agricultural policies, since the time of green revolution has been to increase productivity and quantity. The focus has remained on certain food grains which has now become a part of the problem.
  • Thereafter, debate the advantages and disadvantages of the current approach. In advantages one can talk about legislation like right to food which require increasing cereal production, MSP and economic requirement dictates the crop choices if farmers etc
  • Thereafter, explain why water scarcity is going to be a huge hindrance to agricultural growth. Bring out points like climate change, salinity, groundwater availability etc. Explain the way forward such as focussing on drip irrigation etc

Conclusion – Highlight the urgency of the situation and give an overview of what needs to be done.

Background:-

  • Agriculture accounts for 70% of all water withdrawals globally. Irrigated land is more than twice as productive as rain-fed cropland. 
  • India’s biggest problem is that of rampant water-waste in agriculture that consumes around 78% of India’s total freshwater resources.
  • Just rice and sugarcane consume more than 60% of the irrigation water in the country while occupying just around 24% of the total gross cropped area.

India’s current agricultural policy focus:-

  • In the past 60 years, India’s agriculture policy has focused mainly on rice and wheat and neglected millets.
    • Supply of subsidised rice and wheat through the public distribution system and state nutrition programmes have also played a big role in changing the dietary habits of people.
    • Millet and other crops which use less water were not promoted much due to low produce, weak markets, difficult processing methods and low consumer interest even though many urban health conscious individuals are now favouring them over the traditional paddy and wheat.
    • In times of climate change millets score over paddy as they require less water and can withstand extreme temperatures.
  • Indian policy has not been able to evolve from “farmer welfare” to “agricultural household sustainability”.
    • The lack of long-term policy planning combined with a welfare-oriented policy results in a periodic loan-waiver approach which perpetuates a poor credit culture in the agriculture sector and, consequently, a fragile state balance sheet. This is a vicious circle of waiver addiction and debt, both at the rural household and state level.
  • MSP and economic requirement dictates the crop choices of farmers.
  • Rural India:-
    • In rural India, zooming agricultural production over the years has mostly been fuelled by heavy use of groundwater because not enough investment was made for using surface and rainwater through canals and reservoirs.
  • Stressed Aquifers :-
    • Studies by NASA using satellite imagery show that the Indus basin, which includes the high food producing states of Punjab and Haryana, is one of the most stressed aquifers in the world.
    • If the current trends continue, by 2030 nearly 60% of Indian aquifers will be in a critical condition. This means that some 25% of the agricultural production will be at risk -a devastating scenario.
  • Subsidies:-
    • No crop diversification efforts will work so long as free electricity offsets the costs of pumping out groundwater
    • A survey by the Punjab agriculture department indicates that in the last eight years, more than 54 per cent of farmers have installed water guzzling submersibles, and more than 45 per cent have got their motors renewed to increase the power, or simply purchased higher capacity motors. 
  • Inefficient irrigation methods:-
    • Irrigation for agriculture alone accounts for over 80% of water use in India, more than any other sector. However, much of this water is applied inefficiently using flood irrigation, which remains the prevailing irrigation practice among farmers in India.
    • This results in considerable losses of water  around 60% of water applied  in the form of surface run off, percolation and bare soil evaporation that does not contribute to any increases in yield.
  • Paddy cultivation:-
    • Paddy cultivation is heavily water-intensive on average.

Why there is a need to change focus from cereal centricity to water effectiveness:-

  • Issues with the current policy:-
    • Competition for water resources is expected to increase in the future, with particular pressure on agriculture.
    • Research into best agricultural practises has declined due to acute shortage in funds for  infrastructure and operations, or broad access to state-of-the-art technologies that are needed to succeed in this respect.
    • There is also the problem of  negligible connection between research and extension /dissemination of the research inputs to the stakeholders (particularly the farmers), or between these services and the private sector, thereby creating a lack of dialogue between the major stakeholders.
  • Ability to improve water management in agriculture is constrained by perverse policies, major institutional performance, and financing limitations. 
    • The critical public and private institutions – including agricultural and water ministries, basin authorities, irrigation managers, water user and farmer organizations generally lack the authorizing environment and capacities to carry out their functions effectively.  
  • Excessive dependence on rain:-
    • Seven decades after independence, Indian agriculture remains hostage to the whims of the monsoon rain
    • The principal reason for this is that 73 million hectares out of a net sown area of 141 million hectares are unirrigated and rainfall dependent.
  • Inefficient and dilapidated canal irrigation systems have led to a spurt in groundwater development. India is the largest user of groundwater in the world with over 60 per cent of irrigated agriculture and 85 per cent of drinking water supplies dependent on aquifers. 
  • Input subsidies and commodity price policies favour crops like paddy that are water intensive.

What needs to be done ?

  • As there is high reliance of agriculture on water, India also needs to improve the management of irrigation and drainage system. Drip irrigation, piped conveyance, and better on-farm management of water are among the various ways  that this can be realised.
  • Modernizing ways of getting water from underground sources and other water bodies, irrigation and drainage is needed along with including the farmers in a participatory model where their inputs are taken all along the way.
  • Water effectiveness project will not only focus on bringing more areas under irrigation in a sustainable manner but also focus on sprinkler and drip irrigation.
    • In addition, the water effectiveness emphasis should insist on agricultural power being priced to the farmer. The only way to reduce gross misuse of ground water is to price the main input
    • A water effectiveness focus for agriculture policy will improve yield, change cropping patterns and reduce misery. It is the only way to mitigate the significant impact likely from climate change.
  • Lessons from states:-
    • States like Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have launched special programmes to promote these nutri cereals in the National Year of Millets. This needs to be done by other states.
    • Lessons can also be drawn from the work of Sankalpa Rural Development Society (SRDS) which has been training farmers of Karnataka on revival of defunct borewells.
    • Sharing of borewells by a group of farmers is another possibility which the WASSAN (Watershed Support Services and Activities Network) has already worked on successfully in Andhra Pradesh. Such instances, though on a small scale, offer hope as they are easier to replicate.
    • System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has caught imagination of several farmers especially in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh as a water-conserving method of paddy cultivation. The technique needs a bigger push from the Centre to make it a universal concept.
    • On policy level, attempts are being made in states like Maharashtra to secure water rights to users (including agricultural users), have tradable water rights and in the process privatise water.
  • Techniques needed:-
    • Options such as enhanced seeds, low-till, alternate wetting and drying, sustainable rice intensification, and others exist, but require matching improvements in water delivery systems to provide on-demand service, with the use of information technology like soil moisture sensors and satellite evapotranspiration measurement to improve efficiency and productivity of water in agriculture.
  • Policy changes needed:-
    • Constitutional amendment that makes agriculture and water use a part of the concurrent list in the Constitution (currently agriculture, dairy, meat and fisheries are state subjects) is necessary
    • This would provide a federal boost to states, with a primary emphasis laid on how to use water sources and resources effectively.
  • Groundwater focus:-
    • Misuse of groundwater can only be checked with a pricing of the elements that used to extract the water such as electricity, without giving state subsidies beyond a point.
    • To deal with this crisis, aquifer recharge and rainwater conservation through community ponds and recharge wells should be promoted with involvement of gram sabhas.

 

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “issues related to transport and marketing of agricultural produce”

5) A one nation, one market model is the reform required to deal with issues related to agricultural marketing. Discuss.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the issues with current regime in brief, discuss what kind of model is being talked about, mention about the advantages and disadvantages of one nation, one market model. Finally, we need to provide our view on unified markets and way forward.

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 that the aim is to double farmer’s income within a time frame, for which marketing of agricultural produce needs to be looked at and reformed.

Body

  • Discuss in brief the issues with APMC regime. Not more than 2-3 lines.
  • Thereafter explain what do we mean by one nation, one market. Talk about e-NAM and steps taken by the government to promote it.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a model.

Conclusion – give your view on whether it would turn out to be a panacea for agricultural sector and briefly mention way forward.

Background:-

  • Agriculture, which contributes 17 percent to the $2.3-trillion economy, has remained relatively untouched by reforms with growth rates averaging below three percent over as many decades.
  • Lack of technology, inefficient markets and small landholdings have worsened challenges.

Measures taken for a one nation one market for agricultural produce by government :-

  • Single national agriculture market (NAM) was launched in 2016 in the country, with a view to enable farmers to get a better price and for consumers to pay a lower price for agri-produce, a win-win situation at both ends of agri-value chains.
    • It was launched with the goal of formulating a unified national market for agricultural commodities by integrating Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees or APMCs across states in India.
    • e-NAM was to help farmers find the best possible price for their produce by expanding the market nationally and eliminating middlemen. 
    • The highlight of the scheme is the single point levy of market fees, i.e. on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer

Why there is a need to ensure creation of a one nation one market :-

  • National Commission on Agriculture (1976) as well as the NCF (2006) had categorically emphasised that higher output alone will not provide higher income to farmers unless it is well marketed.
    • Recent incidents of farmers reportedly dumping their bumper produce of tomatoes and onions and emptying cans of milk into drains is clear evidence of it. So had the markets been integrated, the surplus produce would have been transferred to deficit regions. 
  • The Dalwai Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income has pointed out that the share of farmers in consumer’s price is very low. It generally varies from 15 to 40 per cent.
    • The dominant role of middlemen among others is primarily responsible for farmers not realising a reasonable price for their produce, lowering farm income and profitability. 
  • The Committee of State Ministers, in charge of Agricultural Marketing to Promote Reforms (2013) has highlighted in its report that
    • Covered and open auction platforms exist only in two-thirds of the regulated markets
    • Cold storage units exist in less than one-tenth of the markets and grading facilities in less than one-third.
  • Measures taken by government failed:-
    • States role:-
      • Most of the reported transactions are intra-mandi. Inter-mandi and inter-state trading on the platform are minimal. What this means is that the states on e-NAM have not been able to provide farmers with better price discovery in other mandis of the same state or across states.
      • E-payment facility is not available in most mandis, and that there is no competitive bidding reported in these states.
      • States alone cannot revamp the agricultural marketing sector, primarily due to paucity of funds and technology.
    • Infrastructure:-
      • Even as the Centre works with States to persuade them, infrastructure such as reliable third-party certification for the produce in every mandi and robust computer systems, including uninterrupted web connectivity, need to be put in place.
    • Middlemen influence:-
      • The hold of the middleman, who often is also the financier of the farmer against a pledge of the produce is not completely broken.
    • The challenges posed by present day APMCs :-
      • Fragmentation of Stateinto multiple market areas, each administered by separate APM
      • Separate licensesfor each mandi are required for trading in different market areas within a state. This means that there is  limited first point of sale for the farmer.
      • Licensing barriers leading to conditions of monopoly
      • Opaque process for price discovery
      • An overwhelming majority of farmers still rely on the same broken system of markets under APMC, which is monopolistic and rent-seeking, with high commissions, especially for perishables.
      • APMCs play dual role of regulator and Market. Consequently, their role as regulator is undermined by vested interest in lucrative trade. Generally, member and chairman are nominated/elected out of the agents operating in that market.
      • Exporters, processors and retail chain operators cannot procure directly from the farmers as the produce is required to be channelised through regulated markets and licensed traders. There is, in the process, an enormous increase in the cost of marketing and farmers end up getting a low price for their produce.
    • NAM does not say anything about interstate taxes and levie
    • Dominance of cash:
      • Critical link was creating an electronic payment system that would allow the buyer credit the proceeds directly into the farmer’s bank account. But this has not taken off, and farmers continue to be paid in cash
      • Physical trading is still taking place even in mandis that are integrated with e-NAM.

Way forward :-

  • Following steps need to be taken in a concerted manner :-
    • Unyielding focus on agri-market reforms starting with basics of assaying, sorting, and grading facilities for primary produce as per nationally recognised and accepted standards
    • Creating suitable infrastructure at mandi-level (like godowns, cold storages, and driers) to maintain those standards
    • Bringing uniformity in commissions and fee structures that together do not go beyond, say 2%, of the value of produce
    • Evolving a national integrated dispute resolution mechanism to tackle cases where the quality of goods delivered varies from what is shown and bid for on the electronic platform. This would require significant investments, and changes in state APMC Acts. 
  • Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income under the chairmanship of Ashok Dalwai, in its draft report, justifies the recommendation saying marketing has no boundaries. This necessitates a pan-India operation to meet the demand across the country.
    • Besides, the committee has also recommended rolling out the model Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act 2017 which would facilitate single-point levy of taxes, promote direct interface between farmers and end-users, and give freedom to farmers to sell their produce to whomsoever and wherever they get better prices
  • Creation of accreditation agency to ensure quality assurance .
  • The Economic Survey suggests incremental steps as possible solutions for setting up a national market. 
    • State governments may be specifically persuaded to provide policy support for alternative or special markets in private sector. 
    • In view of the difficulties in attracting domestic capital for the setting-up marketing infrastructure, liberalization in FDI in retail could create possibilities for filling in the massive investment and infrastructure deficit in supply chain inefficiencies. 
  • Roping in the private sector for investments would create jobs and promote efficient agri-value chains.
  • Buying the produce from farmers below the MSP should be made illegal. The ‘model price’ that these markets offer should therefore be replaced with MSP.  

General Studies – 4


Topic– Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions

6) Evaluate whether in the current times, corporates and industrialist are pursuing their own interest over general welfare? What should be the role of government vis a vis capitalist class?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the lack of concern shown by the philosophy of capitalism towards human welfare and evaluates the role of government in doing a balancing act between the interest of industrial class and the interest of the people. The question is important in today’s scenario where income inequalities, environmental degradation etc are major issues which are hardly given the attention they deserve.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze the situation prevalent in society today and discuss whether the philosophy of capitalism and its inherent contradictions are responsible for the several issues with human welfare that we witness today. In the second part of the question, based on our opinion from the arguments made in the former section, we need to discuss the role of government in the present context.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the plethora of problem ranging from income inequality, environmental degradation etc that afflicts the world.

Body

  • In the beginning, lay down the facts which cause such a debate to arise. Present facts about the status quo such as the Oxfam studies related to inequality, the problems of crony capitalism etc. Highlight that the philosophy of capitalism is motivated by profits and there is an argument made that in pursuit of profits, everything goes. Highlight that according to several research the trust of citizens in corporates is declining rapidly.
  • Thereafter, discuss the contradictions in capitalism as highlighted by thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi who said that if we continue living the way we do, 9 Earth will be required.
  • Highlight the problem with views of scholars like Milton Friedman who stated that the role of business should be just business. Explain that other considerations should also be factored in.
  • Post that highlight the current role of government with respect to industrialists and businessmen and bring out how an ideal relationship should be

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Background :-

  • According to a global survey of citizens trust in institutions, it was reported that a continuing decline in citizens trust in capitalist corporations and democratic governments is visible. People suspect corporate power is swaying governments too much.

Corporates and industrialists work for their own interests only :-

  • Crony capitalism has become a day to day phenomenon with many industrialists being accused of misusing public funds in the recent times.
  • Experience from medical treatments in the corporate hospitals show that the enormous costs people have to cater to the treatments there. Due to growing out of pocket expenditure millions of Indians have been pushed to poverty.
  • Industrial growth has come at the cost of environmental degradation. Protests against Vedanta in Orissa are an example of this.
  • Capitalist enterprises are designed to produce profits for their investors by improving efficiency and extracting economic surpluses from their operations. Their investors are their masters.

Instances of capitalists working for general welfare :-

  • In India, there is a growing realization that business cannot succeed in isolation  and social progress is necessary for sustainable growth. An ideal Corporate social responsibility practice has both ethical and philosophical dimensions, particularly in India.
  • Education, health and environment are prominently tackled by CSR initiatives in India .Project Hariyali  and Project Nanhi Kali by Mahindra, Tata’s Act for Mahseer etc are some of the important initiatives by Indian companies.

Role of government vis a vis capitalist class:-

  • Dharma of institutions of democratic governance is to ensure fairness in society and equity among stakeholders. Indeed, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that competition among capitalist institutions is fair, and that large companies do not monopolize markets and leave room for small companies to grow. 
  • Government must ensure that the smaller companies are insulated from the adverse effects of the dominance of giants in the market. 
  • Nature and society must not be converted into money markets for the convenience of economists measurements, increasing GDP, and creating wealth for capitalists. Governments and business enterprises must work together to contribute to these qualities to win citizens trust.

Topic– ; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

7) Discuss some practical mechanisms for setting and institutionalising high standards of ethical conduct, integrity and good governance in public services. (250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to simply bring out in detail, as to what mechanisms can be put in place to ensure ethical behaviour and good governance in public services.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  need for improved governance and ethics and integrity in public services.

Body-

Discuss in detail about the mechanisms for setting and institutionalising high standards of ethical conduct, integrity and good governance in public services. E.g

  • Anticipating specific threats to ethics standards and integrity in the public sector.
  • effective laws which require civil servants to give reasons for their official decisions, (for example: a Freedom of Information law);
  • management approaches which encourage all public officials and civil servants to deal positively with corruption and unethical practice when they encounter it.
  • ‘whistleblower’ protection law to protect appropriate ‘public interest disclosures’ of wrongdoing by officials;
  • ethics audits to identify risks to the integrity of the most important processes (for example financial management, tendering, recruitment and promotion, dismissal

  and discipline);

  • new Human Resource Management strategies (which link, for example, ethical performance with entry and advancement, and ethical ‘under-performance’ with disciplinary processes), merit based promotion and recruitment, anti discrimination protections;
  • training and development in the content and rationale of Ethics Codes, the application of ethical management principles, the proper use of official power, and the requirements of professional responsibility, and
  • effective external and internal complaint and redress procedures etc.

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

Background :-

  • Integrity, ethical conduct in a public servant are sine qua non for a sustainable administration. The concept of public handling over the responsibilities to sustain the society to the state itself is enough to maintain such values. The public servants are the repositories of public conscience, they secure their livelihoods and control the macro and micro economy.
  • The governance of public serviceshas to be of a high standard. Good governance leads to good management, good performance, good investment of public money, good public behavior and good outcomes.

Practical mechanisms for setting and institutionalising high standards of ethical conduct in public services :-

  • Anticipating specific threats to ethics standards and integrity in the public sector:
    • Attention needs to be paid to systemic threats that could weaken adherence to core public sector ethics values, and commitment to good governance, and to preparing the necessary political and management responses.
  • Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servants, and strengthening mechanisms to support “professional ethics”:
    • New techniques need to be undertaken to institutionalise ethically competent decision making, disinterested advice to Government, and, ultimately, an ‘ethical culture’ which supports professional responsibility, self-discipline, and support for the rule of law.
  • Developing administrative practices and processes which promote ethical values and integrity:
    • New and proposed proethics laws require effective implementation through, for example, effective performance management techniques which support the entrenchment of the ethical values set out in Civil Service (and parastatal) Codes of Ethics.
  • Effective laws which require civil servants to give reasons for their official decisions
  • Management approaches which encourage all public officials and civil servants to deal positively with corruption and unethical practice when they encounter it.
  • ‘Whistleblower’ protection law to protect appropriate ‘public interest disclosures’ of wrongdoing by officials.
  • Ethics audits to identify risks to the integrity of the most important processes (for example financial management, tendering, recruitment and promotion, dismissal and discipline).
  • New Human Resource Management strategies merit based promotion and recruitment, antidiscrimination protections.
  • Training and development in the content and rationale of Ethics Codes, the application of ethical management principles, the proper use of official power, and the requirements of professional responsibility.
  • Effective external and internal complaint and redress procedures.