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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 FEBRUARY 2019


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.


Topic– Impact of British rule on India

1) The case of Bastar reaffirms the central role of British colonialism in producing tribal conflict in India. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Bastar is a notorious region of central India, inflicted with naxalism. It has also a long history of armed revolt against outside forces. In this context it is important to discuss the role of British colonialism on the region.

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 knowledge and understanding of the issue of tribal conflict in the Bastar region and adjoining areas. It wants us to express our opinion as to how British colonialism has been an important factor behind the same.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  Bastar region. E.g In February of 1910 the tribal population of the princely state of Bastar in eastern India rose in rebellion against a small British force stationed within the kingdom. This event, referred to as bhumkal (earthquake), established Bastar as a major battleground for tribal revolt during the colonial period.

Body-

  1. Discuss the historical role of British colonialism on the tribal conflicts in the region. E.g British rule brought a degree of disruption and suffering among the peasantry which was, it seems likely, more prolonged and widespread than had occurred in Mogul times; new colonial policies, such as the commandeering of forest lands and increased rural taxation, led to widespread discontent and rebellion among indigenous groups; Although the British did exert final authority over the native states, princes often had large amounts of internal discretion within their territories, and these kingdoms—at the very least—featured less of a colonial footprint; colonial officials took direct control over the forests, they displaced tribals from their land, and they heavily interfered in succession to the throne, which upset the native population etc.
  2. Discuss how the modern India has also failed to address the root causes of tribal discontent. E.g Despite the transition from colonial to independent status, forest resource management changed little:; exclusionary processes accelerated to consolidate state authority over forest resources etc.

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

Introduction:

The 150 years history of protests and rebellion in Bastar culminated in the Bhumkal rebellion of 1910 meaning the great people’s upsurge. This event established Bastar as a major battleground for tribal revolt during the colonial period. Almost exactly 100 years later, in April 2010, 76 members of the Indian Central Reserve Police Force were ambushed and massacred by Naxalite rebels, most of them adivasis, in the thick jungles of the Bastar region.

The puzzling fact about Bastar, however, is that unlike so many other regions of India beset by tribal conflict, it never came under the direct control of the British during the colonial period.

Body:

The historical role of British colonialism on the tribal conflicts in the region:

  • British rule brought a degree of disruption and suffering among the peasantry which was, it seems likely, more prolonged and widespread than had occurred in Mughal times.
  • Agrarian disturbances in many forms and on scales ranging from local riots to war-like campaigns spread over many districts were endemic throughout the first three quarters of British rule until the very end of the nineteenth century.
  • New colonial policies, such as the commandeering of forest lands and increased rural taxation, led to widespread discontent and rebellion among indigenous groups.
  • Resentment against moneylenders boiled over most readily into violence among tribal people.
  • The British approached the jungles with an overarching goal of bringing ‘primitive’ peoples under the control of a modern, centralized bureaucracy.
  • The official classification of tribal populations like the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871, which sought to control the movement of certain tribes with a history of criminal activity, which led to widespread social stigmatization.
  • Religious sentiment of tribals was disregarded, the tribals believe in nature worship which was considered primitive and crude.
  • Three specific policies were implemented in Bastar that engendered tribal revolt.
    • First, colonial officials took direct control over the forests.
    • Second, they displaced tribals from their land.
    • Third, they heavily interfered in succession to the throne, which upset the native population.
  • A 1905 proposal by the government to reserve two third of the forests and ban tribal activities in the reserved area led bitterness amongst them.
  • The situation grew worse with the famines of 1899–1900 and again in 1907–08.
  • Due to the excessive revenue demands of the colonial rule, several tribal villages were given on lease to thekedars who adopted extremely oppressive means to collect revenues from the tribals.
  • The monopoly on liquor brewing was also a cause for unrest. The tribals considered liquor as prasad of Gods, and the order banning liquor brewing amounted to interference in their religious affairs to them.

 

The modern India has also failed to address the root causes of tribal discontent:

  • After independence, the new Indian government did not reform a number of colonial-era policies, especially those dealing with forestry.
  • Tribal conflicts continued to occur throughout the country, especially in former areas of direct British rule like Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
  • The Naxalite movement became the main vehicle for tribal revolt in contemporary India.
  • Indian government continued—often in uncannily similar ways—most of the same colonial-era policies in the region that had initially led to tribal uprisings
  • Inhumane legislations like the Criminal Tribes Act are still persistent which goes against the Constitutional guarantee of Equality.
  • The Forest Rights Act which was enacted to undo the historical injustice meted out to Tribals is poorly implemented.
  • The recent SC judgement to evacuate the tribals from forests increases the mistrust against the state.
  • High levels of poverty, lack of socio-economic development, rising inequalities, lack of security of livelihoods have driven tribals of Bastar to take up violent means.

Conclusion:

The continuing violence in Bastar concurrently implicates the post-colonial government in failing to end the root causes of the bloodshed. The need of the hour is to give tribals their due autonomy in their socio-political-cultural affairs, implementation of recommendations of the Virginius Xaxa committee.


Topic– India’s Freedom Struggle- Significant Personalities.

2) Dadabhai Naoroji played an important role in India’s history and its freedom struggle. Discuss.(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 write in detail about the role played by one of the most prominent and celebrated freedom fighters of India- Dadabhai Naoroji. We have to write in detail about his social, economic and political achievements.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  Dadabhai Naoroji. E.g Dadabhai Naoroji was a legendary Indian political and social leader, academician, and intellectual. Famously called the ‘Grand Old Man of India,’

Body-

Discuss in points his social, economic and political achievements vis a vis his role towards India. E.g

  • He played an instrumental role in the formation of the Indian National Congress. He was a member of the Second International.
  • Naoroji also served as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom House of Commons as a Liberal Party member. He was the first Indian to become a British MP.
  • Naoroji was a prominent Indian nationalist and critic of the economic policy of the British Raj in India.
  • Through his book ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India,’ he put forward the ‘theory of drain of wealth,’ which highlighted the exploitation of Indian resources for the benefit of Britain.
  • He brought out the economic adversities faced by India before the English audience and this he made possible by presenting himself as an Imperial citizen.
  • He said that Indians were either subjects or slaves of the British, which depended on the extent of Britain’s wish to give the institutions already operated by them to India.
  • He was instrumental in the formation of the ‘London Indian Society’ in 1865. The objective of the society was to discuss Indian social, political and scholarly subjects.
  • He also helped in setting up the ‘East India Association’ in 1867 that aimed at conveying the Indian perspective to the Britain public etc.

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

Introduction:

Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) – one of the makers of modern India – known as the Grand Old Man of India, was a Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, and an early Indian political and social leader. He played an instrumental role in the formation of the Indian National Congress. He was a member of the Second International. Naoroji also served as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom House of Commons as a Liberal Party member. He was the first Indian to become a British MP.

Body:

He was associated with the innumerable societies and organisations through which he voiced grievances of the Indian people and proclaimed their aims, ideals, and aspirations to the world at large

  • Political achievements:
    • He was instrumental in the formation of the ‘London Indian Society’ in 1865, whose objective was to discuss Indian social, political and scholarly subjects.
    • He also helped in setting up the ‘East India Association’ in 1867 that aimed at conveying the Indian perspective to the Britain public. The association is counted among the precursors of the Indian National Congress that played an instrumental role in the Indian independence movement.
    • In 1874, Naoroji became the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja of Baroda State thus commencing his public life. After becoming the Prime Minister of Baroda in 1874, he also remained a member of the Legislative Council of Mumbai between 1885 and 1888.
    • Naoroji was also member of the Indian National Association, founded in 1876 by Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose.
    • The Indian National Congress, founded later on December 28, 1885, merged with Indian National Association and Naoroji was elected as the Congress President in 1886.
    • Thrice he was elected to the post of the President of the Indian National Congress, in 1886, 1893 and in 1906.
    • During his third term, he prevented a split between moderates and extremists in the party. The
    • Congress’ demand for swaraj (self-rule) was first expressed publicly by him in his presidential address in 1906.
  • Economic achievements:
    • Naoroji concentrated his work on drainage of wealth of India to Britain during the British Raj in India and systematically introduced the ‘Drain of Wealth theory’ to elucidate his perspective.
    • He resolved to form an approximate idea of the net national profit of India and the effect the country faced due to colonisation.
    • He made effort to prove that money was being drained out of India by Britain.
    • Six factors were elucidated by him that in his opinion were resulting in such external drainage.
      • The first of them was the fact that India was under the governance of a foreign government.
      • The second factor points out that, immigrants were not drawn by India that would have brought both labour and capital for the growth of the economy.
      • According to the next point, the expenses of civil administrations as well as occupational army of the British were borne by India.
      • The fourth point stresses that the empire-building costs, both within and outside the borders of India were also borne by India.
      • The fifth point mentioned that India was actually being exploited in the name of free trade as highly paid jobs were offered to foreign nationals.
      • The sixth factor very importantly mentioned that as the main income-earners were mostly foreign personnel, they would either leave India with the money or buy outside the nation, thus draining money out of the country in both cases.
    • He later published a book in 1901, titled ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’ where he estimated the loss of India’s revenue to Britain amounting to 200–300 million pounds, which were never returned.
    • As a liberal MP in the UK, he brought out the economic adversities faced by India before the English audience and this he made possible by presenting himself as an Imperial citizen.
    • The principal reason that led to the formation of the Royal Commission on Indian Expenditure in 1896 was the work on the Drain of Wealth theory by Naoroji, who also remained a member of the Commission.
  • Social achievements:
    • From his early childhood, he was sympathetic towards the social condition of the Indians. So for the betterment of his countrymen, he founded the Dnyan Prnasarak Mandali (Society for Promotion of Knowledge) to educate the women.
    • He was the first Indian to become a professor at the Elphinstone Institute, Mumbai, where he taught mathematics and natural philosophy.
    • He taught in the special classes which were held to encourage education for women.
    • In pursuit of restoring the sanctity of the Zoroastrian religion, Naoroji established the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path).
    • He joined hands with Parsi scholar and a reformer from Bombay Kharshedji Rustomji Cama to start the Anglo-Gujarati fortnightly publication, the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller). The paper promoted Parsi social reforms among Western Indian Parsis and voiced the grievances of the Parsis belonging to the poor and middle class.
    • He founded the religious, cultural and social organization for Zoroastrians, ‘The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe’ (ZTFE) along with Muncherjee Hormusji Cama.

Conclusion:

Dadabhai Naoroji was instrumental in the establishment of the Indian National Congress founded by A.O. Hume in 1885. Dadabhai Naoroji believed in non-violent and constitutional methods of protest, as was thus known as ‘Moderate’.


Topic– Globalization

3) Discuss how developments in Education have transformed the world. (250 words)

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Why this question

Education is a quintessential parameter to measure and attain human development. In this context it is important to discuss how increase in education and its development has impacted the world.

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 write in detail about the role and contribution of education in transforming the world, globally. We have to present the transformation in economy, health, income growth, globalisation etc.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  importance of education. E.g write some famous quotation on education relevant to the current discussion.

Body-

Discuss in points the transformation brought out by education, on a global level. E.g discuss about the

  • Education and its role in social transformation like in terms of higher age of marriage, child planning and better health parameters.
  • Education as a tool to loosen the grips of superstitions and traditional restrictive beliefs.
  • Education as a tool for political enlightenment.
  • Education as a tool for gainful employment.
  • Education and growth of globalization.
  • Education as a harbinger of modern democratic values.
  • Education and decrease in inequality and decreasing gap between developing and developed countries etc.

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

Introduction:

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela. The classic definition of education is”the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”. But education is much more than that. It is a process of continuous learning which can be acquired anywhere at any time and any age. It is the fundamental right of every citizen because it promotes empowerment and ensures development benefits.

Body:

Education has helped bring about the following transformation on a global level.

  • Education and social transformation:
    • Education has a history of fostering positive social change, by encouraging things like political participation, social equality, and environmental sustainability.
    • Through its collaborations, it promotes engagement with communities, industries, governments, and the media.
    • It helps to change many social beliefs in terms of higher age of marriage, child planning and better health parameters.
    • Education lights every stage of the journey to a better life, especially for the poor and the most vulnerable.
    • It spreads awareness against Blind faith and superstitions which bog down society. People misled by false beliefs do more harm than good to society.
    • Education helps us question, gives us an analytical mind and helps us reject superstitions. An educated mind asks for logic and scientific reasoning behind all actions.
    • It can be used for the upliftment of society since it helps elevate the social and economic conditions in the marginalized sections of society
    • Education helps lower crime rate. That’s because the educated can differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong. Research has shown that increasing the high school completion rate by just 1 percent for all men ages 20-60 would save the U.S. up to $1.4 billion per year in reduced costs from crime. This is true for other regions as well.
    • Many researches have proven that in countries where women are subjected to gender bias, education helped them stand up against marital violence, improved their decision making capabilities and helped them take charge of their own lives.
  • Education as a harbinger of modern democratic values:
    • It makes us better citizens by teaching us how to conduct ourselves through life by following rules and regulations and giving us a sense of conscience
    • It broadens the mind and provides alternative perspectives, and this can change our students’ outlook and their approach to the world.
    • Education and decrease in inequality and decreasing gap between developing and developed countries.
  • Education as a tool for political enlightenment:
    • Many people find themselves taken advantage of constantly because they do not know their rights, or understand why things work the way they do.
    • Education gives them the tools to recognize when they are being mistreated and stand up for themselves.
    • Helping someone become educated is helping them protect themselves and their friends from harm.
  • Education as a tool for gainful employment:
    • Education is the first step for people to gain the knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment and skills they need to make this world a better place.
    • Better education opens up a host of opportunities and this is especially relevant in the times we live in where technology and education ensure that opportunities are not bound by geography.
    • Education can stimulate economic growth less directly, by increasing innovation, productivity, and human capital.
  • Education and growth of globalization:
    • Digital education has helped achieve this. Education has given students from across borders opportunities to connect and communicate and work towards building a better future and a better world.
    • For example, a professor in India can help inspire a student in Afghanistan to study and travel the world, help herself and a whole generation after her, to lead a better life.
  • Education helps to save the planet:
    • Overall climate transformation and the consequences increased number of natural disasters and cut down the agricultural production.
    • This may turn 122 million people into poverty by 2035.
    • The establishment of green industries will depend on high-skilled, literate workers. Agriculture grants 1/3rd of all greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Therefore, schooling can provide future farmers with relevant knowledge about great challenges that can be adopted to reduce greenhouse effect from agriculture.

However, Education’s unique power to act as a catalyst for wider development goals can only be fully realized, however, if it is equitable. Quality of education is vital for economic and sustainable growth.

Conclusion:

To quote Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, “books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first”.

Therefore Education has the latent potential to initiate change, not only at the heart of a person, but in society, and in time the world. It is this deep-rooted nature of change that makes Education one of the most powerful weapons to impact the human race – to change the world.


Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Human Resources.

4) Despite their crucial role in welfare services, scheme workers continue to struggle for recognition of their rights. Examine.(250 words)

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Why this question

The article discusses the plights of the scheme workers in government schemes, the reasons behind their protests, and how government has responded to their protests. These workers play an important role in the implementation of government schemes and their demands and issues need greater examination and analysis.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the issues faced by the various scheme workers, explain that they perform a crucial role in successful implementation of government schemes and discuss what needs to be done in this regard. We also need to highlight the impact of the prolonged issues and the way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain who the scheme workers are –

anganwadi workers and cooks are among the “scheme workers” across the country who bring the central and state governments’ social welfare schemes to the people. In ­effect, they are the ambassadors and ­implementers of these schemes, many of which are flagship schemes of the respective governments.

Body

  • Explain about their issues
    • All across India, these scheme workers provide core services in basic areas like health, education, and nutrition. Termed as “volunteers,” they are poorly paid, carry a heavy workload, and are not eligible for any benefits that government employees get
    • Their ­unions point out that, despite their workload, they are also expected to carry out government surveys and data collection drives. However, not only are these workers not considered government employees, they are also paid “honorariums” that are disproportionate to the responsibilities they shoulder etc
  • Discuss the important role they play and the impact of such issues
    • Considering their job descriptions and scope, it is obvious that this female-dominated workforce performs a crucial role involving the welfare of marginalised sections.
    • They are the “face” and “hands” of social welfare schemes that cover pregnant women, children, the ill, and the malnourished. Etc
  • Discuss what needs to be done to alleviate their plight.

Conclusion – give a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

Scheme workers providing basic services through various government programmes form the backbone of the country’s social welfare system. The various Scheme workers ensure health, nutrition, well-being, education and all round development of every child and her parent to ensure better human development.

There is not enough attention paid to the conditions under which they work or the value that is attributed to their work.

Body:

The scheme workers are the true implementers of the various welfare schemes and public service delivery. They work at the grass-roots level, thus aware of needs of the citizens’ better, thereby acting as a primary feed-back collector.               

There are around 27 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers, predominantly women, under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a similar number under the MDMS, around 10 lakh accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and urban social health activists (USHAs), and around three lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs), all under the National Health Mission. There are many more lakhs under the National Child Labour Project, Small Savings Schemes, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Rural Livelihoods Mission, among others.

Considering their job descriptions and scope, it is obvious that this female-dominated workforce performs a crucial role involving the welfare of marginalised sections. They are the “face” and “hands” of social welfare schemes that cover pregnant women, children, the ill, and the malnourished.

The issues faced by such workers are:

  • Low salary:
    • Anganwadi workers provide a long list of services, ranging from teaching pre-schoolers to visiting homes of young children for nutrition and health counselling. Despite that, these workers get about Rs 5,000 a month, which is less than the minimum wages.
    • Despite the importance of the work, their positions are considered “honorary” and their emoluments kept out of all norms of minimum wages and pay grades.
  • Delay in funds allocation:
    • Salaries delayed: A study of six states by the Centre for Equity Studies in 2016 revealed that 35 per cent of the workers had not received their previous month’s salary.
    • Inadequate funds to run the program at ground-level: 50 per cent of the workers felt that the funds they received for running the day-to-day activities of the centre were inadequate.
    • Spending at Own Cost: 40 per cent reported spending their own money to keep the centre’s activities going.
  • Overburdened:
    • Low financial allocations to the education sector (about 3% of GDP) have meant that state governments cannot afford to hire teachers at the Pay Commission scales.
    • Over the years, they have hired fewer teachers, leading to huge vacancies and overburdening the hired teachers.
    • There are no fixed timings of work and this upsets their work-life balance.
    • The anganwadi, school teachers are saddled with a host of administrative work like election duties, census work etc.
  • Poor Infrastructure:
    • Infrastructure is a major concern. The lack of buildings or dilapidated buildings poses grave threats to workers as well as the children patients etc.
    • To add to this, basic facilities like electricity, drinking water, sanitation, internet connectivity is mostly absent.
    • Lack of adequate training facilities lead to poor-quality work, increased risk to the service- receivers.
  • Job Insecurity:
    • Most of them are hired as contractual employees or volunteers.
    • The RTE banned contract teachers; non-regular teachers were no longer referred to as contract or para teachers, but in fact continue to function as such.
    • Their contracts are “permanent”, but their terms are not that of a regular government employee.
    • The lack of safe work environment makes them vulnerable to sexual harassments.
    • The attempts to privatise and cut budgetary allocations to these schemes are also part of the state’s larger move to divest itself of its core responsibilities.

Impacts of such issues faced by the scheme workers result in

  • Rampant absenteeism.
  • Poor attention to core responsibilities.
  • Lack of commitment to work.
  • Corruption and bribery to satiate their needs.
  • Strikes, protest and unrest.
  • Poor Human Development Indicators like high IMR, MMR, wasting, stunting and underweight.
  • High levels of preventable diseases incidences like polio, TB etc.
  • Poor quality of education outcome as shown in ASER survey.

Way Forward:

  • Government spending on education and health must be increased to 6% and 4% respectively as recommended by many expert committees.
  • Timely allocation of funds must be done to reduce spending from frontline worker’ pockets.
  • Salaries must be uniform and fixed across the country based on pay commission recommendations. The salaries must be disbursed on fixed date of month.
  • Use of NSQF for Trainings and certifications must be mandated as per existing laws. Intermittent trainings must be provided for the frontline workers to keep themselves updated with new trends.
  • Measures like RTI, Social Audit, Citizens Charters can help keep a check on such delays as accountability of government increases.
  • Increase digital penetration to reduce administrative overhead and planning of activities to coincide with cultural calendar of the region.
  • Infrastructure can improved by collaborating with the NGO’s , using CSR funds of companies and philanthropists.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism to address the woes of the frontline workers.

Conclusion:

India’s ability to achieve its SDGs or to have a healthy skilled workforce that contributes towards economic progress or social and human development depends to a large extent on the performance of scheme workers. Thus, a closer look at their governance architectures is necessary.


Topic– Indian agriculture

5) Farm diversification, which is often described as a strategy for increasing farm income in India, faces huge challenges. Discuss. (250 words)

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Why this question

Farming is India is under huge environmental as well as economic threat and farm diversification if often proposed as a solution to increase incomes. In this context it is important to analyze the challenges involved in farm diversification in India.

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 write in detail about the prospects of farm diversification in India and the challenges faced in that direction.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  farm diversification. E.g mention how farm diversification aims to bring benefits to the farmers- environmental conservation, diversification of income, hedging risks, participating in valuable supply chains etc.

Body-

Discuss the challenges faced in farm diversification in India. E.g

  • Agricultural pricing policies have barely looked beyond the populism of the minimum support prices (MSP) in the grain sector.
  • The chances of realising the MSP, particularly at such high levels, are bleak unless backed by public procurement. And the government has already limited the procurement for the central pool to the extent of a state’s public distribution system (PDS) requirement under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
  • The non-grain sector, on the other hand, is plagued by market inefficiencies and associated price risks.
  • high returns in diversified agriculture are associated with high risks, and that 85% of the Indian farmers are bereft of any risk-hedging apparatus.
  • Given that, when they operate in the “high-value” sector they can control only about a fifth of the final price of the produce, while the remaining four-fifths of the price are influenced by players with higher risk-taking abilities and hence more bargaining power.
  • A blanket act covering livestock and agriculture.
  • Lack of access to farm and non-farm credit.
  • Lack of standards and quality checks in order to fetch a higher price in the international market etc.

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

 

Introduction:

Diversification of farms is often suggested as a means for rapid rural development in India. Small and marginal holdings account for about three-fourth of the total operational holdings in the country, operating over one-fourth of the total area. Majority of small and marginal farmers cultivate mainly low value, subsistence crops. In the absence of adequate farm and non-farm employment opportunities, they are also forced to live below poverty line.

Body:

Crop diversification is intended to give a wider choice in the production of a variety of crops in a given area so as to expand production related activities on various crops and also to lessen risk. Crop diversification in India is generally viewed as a shift from traditionally grown less remunerative crops to more remunerative crops. Often low volume high-value crops like spices also aid in crop diversification. Higher profitability and also the resilience/stability in production also induce crop diversification, for example sugar cane replacing rice and wheat. Crop substitution and shift are also taking place in the areas with distinct soil problems. For example, the growing of rice in high water table areas replacing oilseeds, pulses and cotton; promotion of soybean in place of sorghum in vertisols (medium and deep black soils) etc

The major problems and constraints in crop diversification are primarily due to the following reasons with varied degrees of influence:

  • Over 117 m/ha (63 percent) of the cropped area in the country is completely dependent on rainfall.
  • Sub-optimal and over-use of resources like land and water resources, causing a negative impact on the environment and sustainability of agriculture.
  • Inadequate supply of seeds and plants of improved cultivars.
  • Fragmentation of land holding less favouring modernization and mechanization of agriculture.
  • Lack of access to farm and non-farm credit.
  • Poor basic infrastructure like rural roads, power, transport, communications etc.
  • Inadequate post-harvest technologies and inadequate infrastructure for post-harvest handling of perishable horticultural produce.
  • Agricultural pricing policies have barely looked beyond the populism of the minimum support prices (MSP) in the grain sector
  • The non-grain sector, on the other hand, is plagued by market inefficiencies and associated price risks. The most recent example being the plight of the dairy farmers, particularly in Maharashtra, who had to suffer price crashes due to supply bottlenecks
  • The price competition among these large-scale players for domestic market share has pushed many small farmers out of business.
  • 85% of the Indian farmers are bereft of any risk-hedging apparatus
  • Very weak agro-based industry and a Weak research – extension – farmer linkages.
  • Inadequately trained human resources together with persistent and large scale illiteracy amongst farmers.
  • Host of diseases and pests affecting most crop plants.
  • Poor database for horticultural crops.
  • With the livestock and the fisheries sectors contributing almost 25% and 6% of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) respectively, there is a need for improving their outputs.

Considering the importance of crop diversification in the overall developmental strategy in Indian agriculture, the Government of India has taken several initiatives for agricultural development in general and crop diversification in particular. These initiatives are as follows:

  • Launching technology missions for the Integrated Development of Horticulture in the Northeastern Region: The programme will establish effective linkages between research, production, extension, post-harvest management, processing, marketing and exports and bring about a rapid development of agriculture in the region.
  • Implementing PMFBY: The scheme will cover food crops and oilseeds and annual commercial and horticulture crops.
  • Construction of Mega Food parks in hub and spoke model to strengthen the supply chain from farm to fork.
  • Creation of Watershed Development Fund: At the National level for the development of Rainfed lands.
  • Infrastructure Support for Horticultural Development with emphasis on Post-harvest Management.
  • Strengthening Agricultural Marketing: in the form e-NAM,GRAMs etc.
  • declarations of increased outlays for the Rashtriya Gokul Mission and setting up of a Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for cow welfare.

Way forward:

  • Innovative institutional mechanisms & structures:
    • Diversification should be augmented through institutional innovations like contract farming, producers’ companies, cooperatives and modern retail formats that engage a larger gamut of stakeholders.
    • In India, farmer producer organisations (FPOs) are witnessing impressive success stories and many small holder farmers have benefited from the model.
    • It is the FPO structure that has united small producers and given them the capacity to enhance their livelihoods through aggregation, development of market linkages and value-addition, thus helping them reap benefits of diversification.
    • The state of Karnataka has also initiated several programs that directly and indirectly support crop diversification in the state. Some of them include: (i) Launching of a program for promoting Farm Producers Organizations in horticulture sector (ii) Weather-based crop insurance for horticulture crops (iii) Promotion of protected cultivation of high value vegetables (iv) Establishment of IFAB (International Flower Auction Bangalore) for promotion of production of flower crops (v) Promotion of green house cultivation of vegetables etc have lead to diversification of farming.
    • SHGs can play a key role in introducing and implementing various activities such as: Livestock farming, Vermicomposting, Flour mill/stores, Introducing new crops.
  • Policy interventions:
    • This is the core requirement for building upon the strengths of diversified agriculture, which India has already attained to quite an extent.
    • Government support in identifying commodity-specific clusters, developing basic infrastructure and processing infrastructure, and encouraging entrepreneurial skills, shall go a long way in providing sustainable livelihood.
    • Goods and services tax (GST) application needs to be uniform, easy to administer and incentivise processing over fresh produce. Also, farmers may be nudged to shift to a less water-intensive crop so as to reduce dependence on rain.
  • Technology and innovations:
    • The scope of diversification should expand to the wider dimension of value addition – collaborative researches in technology are required to produce process-able grades of commodities.
    • Specific clusters need to be identified to produce such grades at a large scale. This shall not only have a far-reaching effect but also help the nation to curb imports of processed food.
    • Localisation is the key to achieving prolific results of diversification.
    • Product innovations that use local resources are best suited to adapt to any kind of agri practice and its value addition.
    • Innovative use of ICT in the Indian context, to communicate weather-based information, new technologies available, extension services and market price alerts, is key to determining risk mitigation.
  • Infrastructure development:
    • Inadequate and skewed distribution of infrastructure such as road, power, market, pre- & post-harvest handling, and irrigation, are all major impediments for diversification.
    • Access to basic infrastructure shall boost entrepreneurial capacities of farmers to take up non-conventional activities and enhance their income.
  • Skill development:
    • India has witnessed several initiatives in the past focusing on the agriculture domain.
    • However, with nearly stagnant agriculture growth, there is a clear need for a shift in the perspective of skill development, with a focus on sustainable rural livelihoods.
    • We need to look beyond the farm cycle and engage manpower in value-added activities like processing, trade dynamics and building efficient marketing channels.
    • This shall generate ‘on farm’ as well as ‘off farm’ livelihood options.
  • Sustainable risk management:
    • The inefficient subsidy structures on the input and output sides of the value chain have been curtailing growth, ineffectively reaching beneficiaries and promoting unsustainable farm practices, thus disincentivising diversification and adding to the twin deficits challenge.
    • These challenges need to be overcome through a prudent policy intervention. Further, the entire paradigm of risk management for farmers through warehouse receipt financing, crop and weather insurance as well as efficient price discovery/marketing infrastructure, needs to be brought into the mainstream, and the entire policy of price support needs to be done away with.

Conclusion:

Diversification has surely made its mark in select States, though value addition is still in its infancy. Further, many States are still outside the purview of mainstream diversification. The way forward to develop sustainable livelihood for the Indian farmer needs to be addressed through a collaborative approach between the Government and industry, for establishing a much larger and significantly more efficient supply chain for value-added produce, which in turn shall generate sustainable livelihood opportunities.


Topic– Security challenges and their management in border areas; Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

6) Discuss the issues being faced faced by IAF with respect to maintaining numerical adequacy?(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Why this question

The question expects us to discuss the problem of numbers being faced by Indian Air force and how they are trying to resolve the issue. The focus of the article is on explaining how the IAF is bolstering it’s numbers and examining the issues that it is facing.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the issues that the IAF is facing with respect to its numbers and how it is trying to resolve the issue. We need to discuss these issues, point out CAG’s observations and discuss the 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 about the recent Rafale controversy and how the IAF is lagging behind in maintaining its fleet.

Body

  • Discuss the issues faced by IAF with respect to acquisition of new aircrafts to maintain its fleet strength. The Indian Air Force’s problems with numbers is no secret, It has been plagued by poor decision-making, poor acquisition strategy and shoddy quality control and contract delivery.
  • Highlight how IAF plans to acquire a squadron plus (21 aircraft) of MiG-29s that were lying unassembled and moth-balled in a Russian facility and thereafter discuss the CAG report with respect to capital acquisition by IAF and the issues inherent in the process.
  • Discuss what needs to be done for the IAF to be prepared against any eventuality

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

Indian Airforce chief recently said that India has 31 squadrons (each squadron has 21 aircrafts) against sanctioned strength of 42. By providing the Rafale and S-400 aircraft, the government is strengthening the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers of aircraft. A US think tank remarked that the IAF’s likelihood of reaching its 2027 goal with a high proportion of advanced fighters is poor.

Body:

The Air Force has only itself to blame for this state of affairs. Its philosophy has been to go for the best, instead of the most economical solution. So now we are stuck with a situation that it may have priced itself out, in the reckoning of the government.

The issues being faced by IAF with respect to maintaining numerical adequacy are:

  • Even if the Air Force gets the sanctioned 42 squadrons, India’s strength would be “less than the combined strength of our two adversaries.
  • IAF fleet strength has been plagued by poor decision-making, poor acquisition strategy and shoddy quality control and contract delivery.
  • It is stymied by serious constraints on India’s defence budget, the meagre achievements of the country’s domestic development organisations and India’s inability to reconcile the need for self-sufficiency in defence production with the necessity of maintaining technological superiority over rivals
  • The IAF had also ordered 43 Tejas jet fighters with another 83 planned for the Mark 1A version. However, though there is a value in procuring them to encourage domestic R&D, these aircraft are simply not capable of combat flying. The present version of the Tejas is an excellent aircraft as a Lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT), but the IAF doesn’t set much store by this concept, unlike most advanced air forces.
  • For example it has yet to get 25 Su-30MKI that were to be delivered by 2017 by HAL. Upgrades, such as that of 47 Mirage 2000s have also been delayed. Likewise none of the 61 Jaguars which were to have been upgraded have yet joined service.
  • The LCA, is, of course, a story of its own marked by delays and performance problems. In addition, in the last 10 years, the Air Force has 90 combat aircraft have crashed.
  • C&AG’s Audit Report of2019 on ‘Capital Acquisition in Indian Air Force’ revealed the following findings:
    • Volume I consisting of seven chapters discusses the systematic issues in the acquisition process. It includes details of ten acquisition contracts.
    • Volume-II consists of audit findings relating to the acquisition of Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft through an Inter Government Agreement (IGA) with the Government of France. This includes examination of the pricing.
    • To acquire the right product at the right price, it is essential that the qualitative requirements (Air Staff Qualitative Requirements in the IAF-ASQRs) truly reflect the users functional need. This helps in generation of maximum possible competition and technical and price evaluation is done objectively.
    • Audit noted that IAF did not define the ASQRs properly. As a result none of the vendors could fully meet the ASQRs. ASQRs were changed repeatedly during the procurement process.
    • Audit noted that the vendor response to solicitation of offers was low, which restricted competition. Number of vendors who responded to the Request For Proposal (RFP) was far less than the number of vendors who were invited to bid.
    • Defence Ministry faced difficulties in realistically estimating the Benchmark price, making it difficult to establish the reasonability of price. This also caused delay in price evaluation and contract negotiations.
    • There were severe delays at various stages of the acquisition process. Against three years envisaged in Defence Procurement Process, four cases took more than three years and seven cases took more than five years to reach the contract conclusion stage.
    • Delays in acquisition were essentially due to a complex and multi-level approval process, where objections could be raised at any stage.

Way forward:

  • Ministry needs to revisit the entire process of acquisition, to weed out redundant activities and simplify the process.
  • The acquisition wing, headed by the DG (Acquisition) was envisaged as an integrated defence organization.
  • For procuring highly technical products use of the Best Value method or a quantitative assessment method may ensure better value for money.
  • Audit is of the view that the present ‘Lowest Price TechnicallyAcceptable (LPTA)’ method of bid evaluation wherein the contract is awarded to the lowest priced offer which is technically acceptable, needs reconsideration.
  • IAF should improve its process of formulation of ASQRs to ensure that they correctly reflect the users functional parameters.

Conclusion:

The Indian defence system needs to have a deep look at the projected requirements of 42 squadrons which arise out of the government’s political directive of taking on China and Pakistan simultaneously. The IAF’s desire for 42-45 squadrons by 2027 — some 750-800 aircraft — is compelling, if India is to preserve the airpower superiority it has enjoyed in southern Asia since 1971.