SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 MARCH 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 MARCH 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: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1) Polarization around religion and caste often drives voters’ choices in India. evaluate.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

Caste-based vote bank politics, rather than economic issues and social policy have determined India’s electoral choices. With Lok Sabha elections round the corner it is becomes necessary for us to analyse this point of view with respect to the context of Indian society angle.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss how identity and religious-ethnic conflicts, rather than economic issues and social policy, determine India’s electoral choices.

You must emphasize on lack correlation between developmental expenditure and support for a political party.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Briefly highlight the importance of voter’s choice in a democracy.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Highlight the present rise of religious divisions and the persistence of strong caste-based cleavages, while education, income and occupation are playing a diminishing role (controlling for caste) in determining voters’ choices.
  • What governs the choice of who to vote for in India? How has it changed over time?
  • Factors driving voter behaviour.
  • Vote Banks of Different Parties; discuss other religious and communal issues, such as cow slaughter, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, and triple talaq, that drive the polarization of the vote base.

Conclusion –

Conclude with what needs to be done and emphasize on overhaul of the Indian voting behaviour and vis-à-vis the political system.

Introduction:

Caste-based vote-bank politics, rather than economic issues and social policy have determined India’s electoral choices. Caste is a social phenomenon of Indian society. By participating in the modern political system, caste is now exposed to divisive influences and a new form of integration resulting from a new scheme of universalist-particularist relationships. Caste has gained an influential position in India politics.

Body:

Many claimed that the 2014 results showed that voters were now driven by an agenda of broad-based and inclusive development rather than caste and religion. A new study by Abhijit Banerjee, Amory Gethin, and Thomas Piketty, published by the Economic and Political Weekly, debunks these claims and shows how identity and religious-ethnic conflicts, rather than economic issues and social policy, determine India’s electoral choices.

  • Comparing data from national and state elections between 1962 and 2014 with electoral surveys and social spending data, the authors classify the support base and vote-bank for parties across the ideological spectrum.
  • They find that the BJP and other right-wing parties, such as the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal, have drawn their support from the Brahmins and other forward castes.
  • On the other hand, the Congress, centre-left and left parties have drawn their support from Muslims and lower caste Hindus.
  • These patterns have remained broadly constant over the past five decades, despite a spike in lower caste support for BJP in 2014.
  • The authors argue that economic policy had no impact on voters’ choice. The study finds no correlation between developmental expenditure and support for a political party.
  • The only social policy issue that drives voting behaviour is reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, the authors find.
  • Other religious and communal issues, such as cow slaughter, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, and triple talaq, drive the polarization of the vote base, the authors argue.
  • The formation role of caste associations are also playing as important role in influencing voting pattern. Even political parties are considering caste as a vote bank. This enabled the lower castes to be politically influential on the basis of numerical preponderance.
  • In selecting candidates for elections, political parties often giving consideration to the caste composition of constituencies. Sometimes several castes are using politics in their attempt to better their conditions or to achieve their goal.
  • Reservation policy is another aspect where we can see that caste system also influence Indian politics.
  • Post-Mandal politics has ushered a new era in Indian politics. Identity politics, which was earlier seen only in villages, is now visible in towns and metros too.
  • Caste based violence very often finds its way into politics. The traditional differences between the higher and lower castes have acquired a new vigour and have turned, at times, into a violent and fierce struggle for power in society.

Way forward:

  • Supreme Court’s ruling on Sec 123(3) of Representatives of Peoples Act 1951 where it prohibits any candidate, his agent, or any person consented by such candidate or his agent, from soliciting votes, or discouraging voters against voting for a rival candidate, on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, by declaring such conduct as a ‘corrupt practice’ should be implemented in letter and spirit.
  • Socio-Economic Development leading to removal of poverty is necessary to remove such polarizations.
  • Education of the people is another way of keeping elections secular.

Conclusion:

Caste still remains one of the important considerations of voting for Indian voters, and caste-based mobilisation remains an important consideration for political parties. The three organs of our Democracy supported by the media needs to act together to fill in the loopholes in law and make electoral process more secular.


Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues.

2) Gender wage disparity in India is among the worst in the world. discuss the reasons and suggest solutions to this problem.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Why this question:

The question is in the context of rising trends of Gender wage disparity in India. Indian women earn 20% less than men; wage gap rises with experience, this is a sorrow picture of Indian wage scenario.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the current gender wage gap scenario prevalent in India. One has to address the question by listing out the various associated causes and suggest suitable measures to overcome it.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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.

Keywords:

occupational segregation, racial bias, disability, access to education etc.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start by highlighting the alarming issue of Gender wage gap and how and why it disfavors the women.

Body

Discuss the following aspects –

  • What you understand by gender pay gap?
  • Factors leading to gender gap viz. – The primary industries in the state and the opportunities they create; Demographics such as race/ethnicity, age, and education level; Regional differences in attitudes and beliefs about work and gender; and Differences in the scope and strength of state pay discrimination laws and policies.
  • Facts and reports suggesting prevalence of it.
  • Suggest what needs to be done to overcome? – policy actions, government efforts, awareness, education for women, state led facilitation for equal pays etc.

Conclusion

Conclude with importance of gender equity.

Introduction:

India has been ranked at 108 in the annual Global Gender Gap Index, 2018 by the World Economic Forum. Global gender gap index is a part of this which measures gender equality across four pillars– they are economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment and health and survival. Women in India earn less than men even if they have the same educational qualifications, data from a recent government report also supports the finding. The Economic Survey 2017-18 revealed that women comprise only 24% of the Indian workforce.

Body:

Highlights of the Report:

  • The ‘Men and Women in 2017’ report released by the statistics and programme implementation ministry in May 2018 contains data on average daily wages and salaries for men and women aged 15-59 years, arranged by industry and type of work.
  • In urban areas, a woman with a graduate degree gets paid Rs 690.68 per day in the transport and storage sector while a man gets 30% more at Rs 902.45.
  • In agriculture, an illiterate woman worker in rural India receives Rs 88.2 per day while an illiterate man receives Rs 128.52, which is 45% more.
  • However, there are some sectors in which women get paid more than men, although by smaller margins.
  • In the construction sector in rural areas, for instance, women (irrespective of the level of education) are paid Rs 322 on average per day while men are paid Rs 279.15, which is Rs 43 or 13% less.
  • In urban areas, in the transport and storage sector, women are paid Rs 455 on average per day, irrespective of the level of education, while men are paid Rs 443 per day–Rs 12 or 2.7% less.
  • A graduate woman earns 5.8 times more than an illiterate woman in rural areas while graduate men earn 3.6 times more than illiterate men.
  • A graduate woman earns nearly four times more than an illiterate woman in urban areas, while graduate men earn nearly three times more than illiterate men.
  • Women in top management in India earn 18.8% less than men as per the Global Wage Report 2016-17 published by the International Labour Organization.

Reasons for the Gender Wage Disparity:

  • Patriarchal Mindset:
    • Preference for male employees over female employees
    • Preference for promoting male employees to higher positions
    • In rural areas, women are given lighter work deliberately in agriculture or other sectors thus making them eligible for low payments.
  • Lack of Transparency:
    • Due to lack of transparency in salaries in private sector, many women are unaware of salaries which they should actually get. In Government sector jobs, this disparity is much less because people working on same posts are entitled for same compensation.
  • Socio-Cultural Reasons:
    • Career breaks taken by women due to socio-cultural issues, marriage or pregnancy and parenthood duties.
    • Higher Education levels of women also allow them to pursue leisure and other non-work activities, all of which reduce female labour force participation.
    • Insufficient availability of the type of jobs that women say they would like to do, such as regular part-time jobs that provide steady income and allow women to reconcile household duties with work.
    • Concerns about safety and Harassment at work site, both explicit and implicit.
    • The cultural baggage about women working outside the home is so strong that in most traditional Indian families, quitting work is a necessary precondition to the wedding itself.
    • When increases in family incomes are there, due to the cultural factors, women leave the work to take care of the family and avoid the stigma of working outside.

Solutions:

  • Private companies and corporate sector must have salary audits.
  • Enforcement of Equal Wages Act should be done in letter and spirit.
  • Adequate intervention from Government to ensure equality of pay to both men and women for the same work. Strong labour market institutions and policies such as collective bargaining and minimum wages lowered the pay gap.
  • Digital fluency and a planned career strategy might help women to close the pay gap.
  • Non-farm job creation for women: there is a need to generate education-based jobs in rural areas in the industrial and services sectors
  • The state governments should make policies for the participation of rural women in permanent salaried jobs.
  • The governments should also generate awareness to espouse a positive attitude towards women among the public since it is one of the most important impediments in women’s participation in economic activities.
  • Local bodies, with aid from state governments, should open more crèches in towns and cities so that women with children can step out and work. The crèches will open employment opportunities for women.
  • Supply side reforms to improve infrastructure and address other constraints to job creation could enable more women to enter the labour force.
  • Higher social spending, including in education, can lead to higher female labour force participation by boosting female stocks of human capital.
  • Skilling the women:
    • Initiatives such as Skill India, Make in India, and new gender-based quotas from corporate boards to the police force can spur a positive change. But we need to invest in skill training and job support.
    • The private sector could also take active part in training women entrepreneurs. For example: Unilever’s Shakti program, which has trained more than 70,000 rural women in India as micro-entrepreneurs to sell personal-care products as a way of making its brands available in rural India
  • Equal pay: The principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value that is protected by Indian law must be put to actual practice. Improved wage-transparency and gender neutral job evaluation is required to achieve this end.
  • Assuring safe access to work: It is important to improve existing transport and communication networks and provide safe accommodation for women who travel to or has migrated for work.
  • A useful and easily implementable idea would be to give income tax benefits to women. It would be a bold and effective step to increasing India’s female workforce participation.
  • For political empowerment of women, their representation in Parliament and in decision making roles in public sphere is one of the key indicators of empowerment.
  • Gig Economy provides women flexible work options to pursue their career while not missing important milestones in their family lives.
  • Drawing more women into the labour force, supplemented by structural reforms that could help create more jobs would be a source of future growth for India. Only then would India be able to reap the benefits of “demographic dividend” from its large and youthful labour force.

Conclusion:

Unlocking the potential of women definitely requires an increase and shift in the composition of overall employment opportunities as well as questioning of societal strictures. As the country commends itself on world-leading economic growth and aspires towards a $20 trillion economy, it becomes necessary to take women along to make this goal a reality. Societal change will be the largest needle mover, but a constant push through the government, organizations and individuals is critical to bend societal norms for the better.


Topic– Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3) What do you understand by counter- urbanization? Discuss the factors responsible for counter-urbanization. (250 words)

Timesofindia

Reference

Why this question:

Counter urbanization is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It first took place as a reaction to inner-city deprivation and overcrowding. Off- late urbanization process in India is witnessing counter – urbanization in its life cycle. Thus the question is important from the point of view of GS paper I.

Key demands of the question:

The question expects us to discuss what is the phenomena of counter- urbanization and the factors responsible for it.

Directive word

DiscussThis 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.

Keywords:

quantitative deurbanization , ruralisation,  etc.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Briefly discuss the concept of urbanization vis-à-vis counter urbanization..

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • Discuss mainly that the  counter-urbanization is predominantly used to describe a process of quantitative deurbanization that qualitatively increases urbanism in physically rural areas.
  • Explain the causes associated like – growth in information technology, increase in car ownership over the last 40 years; more mobility, New business parks on the edge of cities, More people tend to move when they retire etc.
  • Impact of such a phenomena, weigh the pros and cons associated.
  • Quote case studies from India.

Conclusion

Conclude as although counter urbanization is not without negative effects, a move towards counter urbanization, if not to degrading to rural lifestyles and environments, might be a great boon to overall rural development.

Introduction:

Within the urbanization process, sometimes, and very rarely, there is a sizeable movement of human occupation away from the core of urban habitation towards the peri-urban and rural settlements. This process and phenomenon is termed as counter urbanization or deurbanization and is a rare phenomenon in modern civilization all over the world. It is both a demographic and social process, but has to a lesser extent also involved the movement of some businesses and economic activities.

Body:

The causes of counter-urbanisation are linked to the push and pull factors of migration.

Push Factors:

  • Overpopulation or dense populations in urban areas.
  • Overcrowding in commutes.
  • Rising real estate and residential costs in urban areas.
  • Deeply congested and traffic ridden urban areas.
  • Industrial meltdowns or shifts.
  • Case Study: It first took place because of flight from the Inner cities in Britain, often as a result of economic problems in those areas. The collapse of inner city industries resulted in large scale unemployment and a cycle of decline and deprivation in those areas. Newcastle-upon Tyne is no stranger to this process, as its heavy industries of armaments and ship building led to dereliction of inner city communities along the river side.  Poor quality housing and low environmental quality can also force people away from the inner city.

Pull factors:

  • People want a better quality of life and they want to be able to live in a clean and quiet area.
  • An area without air and noise pollution from heavy industries, the crime of urban environments and the lack of opportunities found in some parts of cities.
  • They also aspire to having larger houses with more land for cheaper prices compared to the large towns and cities.
  • Opportunities for people to work from home.
  • Urban amenities being available in these areas such as through online shopping.
  • Greater peace and safety in these areas.
  • Case Study: People want a better quality of life and they want to be able to live in a clean and quiet area. An area without air and noise pollution from heavy industries, the crime of urban environments and the lack of opportunities found in some parts of cities. They also aspire to having larger houses with more land for cheaper prices compared to the large towns and cities. The Government of the UK also promoted this movement through its green belt and New Towns policy (New Towns Act of 1946).  The green belt policy restricted growth within the city boundaries, and forced developers to look just outside of the city boundaries for other villages to develop.  These new towns develop into commuter towns or suburbanised villages, also known as dormitory towns as people sleep and live in those towns but work elsewhere.  Milton Keynes is a good example next to London, whilst  Cramlington and Washington act as new towns for Newcastle upon Tyne.

Situation in India:

The urbanization in India is about 31.1% as per Census 2011. It is expected by 2030 nearly 40% of the population will migrate to the cities. Cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore are over-populated beyond their carrying capacities. The movement of more and more people into less resilient areas like coastal regions, flood plains and earthquake-prone zones has been cited as one of the factors responsible for more natural disasters. Degradation of natural environment is another reason for increasing calamities. Unplanned expansion and development in disaster-prone areas as another reason for increased disasters and mentions recent flood fury in Uttarakhand in India as an example.

Conclusion:

Several reforms are implemented by the government in India to improve the standard of living of people in rural areas like Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, MNREGA, Rashtriya Kishore Swathya Karyakram(RKSK) etc. Developing cluster of 15-20 villages having about 30 to 40 lakh population into a Rurban cluster. Counter urbanization is not without negative effects, a move towards counter urbanization, if not to degrading to rural lifestyles and environments, might be a great boon to overall rural development.


Topic  Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc./ Disaster and disaster management.

4) The frequency of tropical cyclones has decreased ever so slightly over the last 70 years in the Indian Ocean season and Instead, a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms are being witnessed, in the light of recent onset of Cyclone Idai discuss role of human-induced climate change in such events.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of the Cyclone Idai  that swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe over the past few days, the devastating cyclone that hit south-eastern Africa may be the worst ever disaster to strike the southern hemisphere.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must revolve around the role of human-induced climate change in such disastrous events. The cyclone Idai has led to devastating floods, killing and injuring thousands of people and ruining crops. More than 2.6 million people have been  affected across the three countries. Thus the answer must highlight and discuss in detail the causes and consequences of such events.

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:

Begin with quoting the facts related to cyclone Idai; location, impact spread etc.

Body:

Discuss in brief what are cyclones, their impact in general, then move on to explain the current context of Idai cyclone.

Then justify why – The frequency of tropical cyclones has decreased ever so slightly over the last 70 years in the Indian Ocean season and Instead, a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms are being witnessed.

Discuss the role of climate change, mainly the human induce ones.

Suggest measures to tackle such incidences – disaster management, early detection etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward – global efforts to tackle climate change and others.

Introduction:

Cyclone Idai is the seventh major storm of the Indian Ocean season – more than double the average for this time of year – the long-term trend does not support the idea that these type of events are now more frequent.

Body:

Cyclone is any large system of winds that circulates about a centre of low atmospheric pressure in a counter-clockwise direction north of the Equator and in a clockwise direction to the south.

Conditions Favourable for Cyclone Formation:

  • Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C
  • Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex
  • About 65 per cent of cyclonic activity occurs between 10° and 20° latitude.
  • Small variations in the vertical wind speed
  • A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
  • High humidity (around 50 to 60 per cent) is required in the mid-troposphere, since the presence of moist air leads to the formation of cumulonimbus cloud.

The interesting thing is that the frequency of tropical cyclones has decreased ever so slightly over the last 70 years. Instead, we are getting a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms. The reasons for the same are:

  • Climate change is affecting a number of factors in the background that are contributing to making the impact of these storms worse.
  • Climate change makes the rainfall intensities higher, increased influences of warming on specific events.
  • Warmer seas mean there is more energy available for cyclones, which only form when the water reaches 26 degrees Centigrade.
  • Global warming causes a sea-level rise, the resulting flooding is more intense than it would be without human-induced climate change.
  • In previous decades, the further away you were from the Equator meant the cooler the seas became and so any tropical cyclones that formed didn’t have the energy to keep going. Now climate change is impacting that relationship.
  • Under increasing sea-surface temperatures, we are seeing the line of constant temperature required for these storms to form moving further and further towards the South Pole

Cyclone Management in India:

  • India is highly vulnerable to natural disasters especially cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and drought. Natural disasters cause a loss of 2% of GDP every year in India. According to the Home ministry, 8% of total area in India is prone to cyclones.
  • In 2016, National Disaster Management Plan was unveiled to tackle disaster. It provides a framework to deal with prevention, mitigation, response and recovery during a disaster.
  • Due to increased awareness and tracking of Cyclone, the death toll has been reduced substantially. For example, Very severe cyclone Hudhud and Phailin claimed lives of around 138 and 45 people respectively, which might have been more. It was reduced due to the early warning and relocation of the population from the cyclone-hit areas.
  • But the destruction of infrastructure due to cyclonic hit is not been reduced which leads to increase in poverty due to the economic weakening of the affected population.

Measures to tackle such incidences:

  • The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP), to be implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank, is envisaged to have four major components:
    • Component A: Improvement of early warning dissemination system by strengthening the Last Mile Connectivity (LMC) of cyclone warnings and advisories.
    • Component B: Cyclone risk mitigation investments.
    • Component C: Technical assistance for hazard risk management and capacity-building.
    • Component D: Project management and institutional support.
  • These components are highly interdependent and have to be implemented in a coherent manner.
  • The NDMA had come up with its National Guidelines of Management of Cyclones in 2008. The basic premise of these guidelines is that the mitigation has to be multi-sectoral.
  • Developing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) frameworks for addressing the sustainability and optimal utilisation of coastal resources as also cyclone impact minimisation plans.
  • Ensuring cyclone resistant design standards are incorporated in the rural/ urban housing schemes in coastal areas
  • Implementing coastal flood zoning, flood plain development and flood inundation management and regulatory plans.
  • Coastal bio-shields spread, preservation and restoration/ regeneration plans.
  • There is a need for private sector participation in designing and implementing policies, plans, and standards.
  • Need of Disaster Management program to be inclusive including women, civil society, and academia.

Conclusion:

India should prepare to mitigate and deflect the destruction caused by Cyclones. We need to employ technology, strict following of command structure and most importantly the participation and cooperation of local communities in the affected area.


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

5)  A recently published Lancet report stated that India’s goal to end the epidemic of Tuberculosis by 2025 is too ambitious and unrealistic.critically analyse. (250 words)

In TB reality check. Lancet report says Indian, global goals unrealistic  Mint e-paper front page. 21-03-2019

Why this question:

The article talks about a report in British medical journal Lancet that recently published that the goal of India to end TB by 2025 is too ambitious and unrealistic. The article talks in general the high prevalence of TB and also points towards optimism of ending TB in India but not before 2045.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to discuss in detail the current scenario of tuberculosis prevalence in India, the efforts being taken by the government in this direction to eliminate it by 2025. You must  critically analyse using facts and figures and justify whether the goal set by the government of India is achievable in near future.

Directive word:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Re- assert the importance of TB elimination in India.

Body:

Explain Briefly the current status of TB in India – use the facts from the article such as – According to the World Health Organization’s “Global Tuberculosis Report 2018”, India accounted for 27% of the 10 million people who had developed TB in 2017, besides making up 32% of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people, and 27% of combined TB deaths. The disease remains a major public health challenge, and was responsible for 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2017.

Then justify how eliminating TB by 2025 is a laudable vision, but difficult to achieve, considering the complexities of managing the situation, which requires equitable high quality of care to every person from diagnosis to treatment, cutting the transmission rapidly with a combined strategy of early diagnosis treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTB) and improving socioeconomic conditions.

Highlight the features and lacuna of National Strategic Plan prepared by the center in 2017.

What needs to be done – leveraging private partnership, increased political will, financial resources and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with optimism that such a  goal is not unachievable if right set of actions are taken.

Introduction:

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the biggest killer disease in India, outnumbering all other infectious diseases put together — this despite our battle against it from 1962, when the National TB Programme (NTP) was launched. According to the World Health Organization’sGlobal Tuberculosis Report 2018“, India accounted for 27% of the 10 million people, who had developed TB in 2017, besides making up 32% of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people, and 27% of combined TB deaths. The Lancet report says that India’s goal to end the epidemic by 2025 was too “ambitious”, “unrealistic”, and, therefore, unattainable.

Body:

TB Situation in India:

According to WHO 2018 Global TB Report,

  • India accounted for 27% of the total new TB infections in 2017- the highest in the world
  • There has been a 1.7% reduction in tuberculosis cases and 3% reduction in deaths from 2016
  • India has 24% of the world’s drug-resistant TB burden- the highest in the world
  • There was also 8% reduction in rifampicin–first-line TB drug–resistant tuberculosis (RR TB) and MDR-TB

India’s efforts to eliminate TB:

  • In 2018, Indian government launched Joint Effort for Elimination of Tuberculosis (JEET), to increase the reporting of TB cases by the private sector.
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination (2017-2025) was launched in 2017. The government also called for the elimination of TB by 2025, five years prior to the international target (2030).
    • The NSP plans to provide incentives to private providers for following the standard protocols for diagnosis and treatment as well as for notifying the government of cases.
    • Further, patients referred to the government will receive a cash transfer to compensate them for the direct and indirect costs of undergoing treatment and as an incentive to complete treatment.
  • Nikshay,” (2012) an online tuberculosis reporting system for medical practitioners and clinical establishments was set up. The aim is to increase the reporting of tuberculosis, especially from the private sector.
  • In 1992, the WHO devised the Directly Observed Treatment-Short Course (DOTS) strategy and advised all countries to adopt the strategy to combat the menace of tuberculosis. The DOTS strategy is based on 5 pillars:
    • political commitment and continued funding for TB control programs
    • diagnosis by sputum smear examinations
    • uninterrupted supply of high-quality anti-TB drugs
    • drug intake under direct observation
    • accurate reporting and recording of all registered cases
  • The Indian government has been implementing Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB (PMDT) services, for the management of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and TB-HIV collaborative activities for TB-HIV

Challenges to achieve TB free India by 2025:

  • Poor socio-economic conditions:
    • Poverty remains a stark reality in India with associated problems of hunger, undernourishment and poor and unhygienic living conditions.
    • According to GTB Report, 2018, a majority of TB patients (6lakhs) in India are attributable to undernourishment.
  • Underreporting and misdiagnosis:
    • According to GTB Report 2018, India is one of the major contributors to under-reporting and under-diagnosis of TB cases in the world, accounting for 26% of the 3.6 million global gap in the reporting of tuberculosis cases.
    • Biomarkers and other diagnostics that identify individuals at highest risk of progression to disease are inadequate.
  • Treatment:
    • Inequitable access to quality diagnosis and treatment remains a major issue in combating tuberculosis. Further, the private sector which contributes a major part of TB care is fragmented, made up of diverse types of healthcare providers, and largely unregulated.
    • Standard TB treatment is not followed uniformly across the private sector, resulting in the rise of drug resistance.
  • Follow-up treatment:
    • Though the reporting of TB cases has increased lately, the reporting of treatment outcomes has not been robust.
    • The absence of consistent follow-up of treatment regimens and outcomes may result in relapse of cases and MDR-TB and XDR-TB. India has already been facing the problem of increasing MDR-TB cases
  • Drugs:
    • The drugs used to treat TB, especially multidrug-resistant-TB, are decades old. It is only recently that Bedaquiline and Delamanid (drugs to treat MDR-TB) has been made available. However, access to such drugs remains low.
  • Funds:
    • The RNCTP remains inadequately funded. There has been a growing gap between the allocation of funds and the minimum investment required to reach the goals of the national strategic plan to address tuberculosis.
  • Issues with RNCTP:
    • Weak implementation of RNCTP at state level is another major concern. The Joint Monitoring Mission report of 2015 pointed out that the RNCTP failed to achieve both the main goals of NSP 2012-2017- Providing universal access to early diagnosis and treatment and improving case detection.
    • Major issues with RNCTP include: human resource crunch, payment delays, procurement delays and drug stock-outs
  • R&D:
    • R&D for new methods and technologies to detect the different modes of TB, new vaccines, and new drugs and shorter drug regimens have been slow, as compared to other such diseases like HIV/AIDS.
  • Social Stigma:
    • According to a study which assessed social stigma associated with TB in Bangladesh, Colombia, India, India had the highest social stigma index.
    • Patients often hesitate to seek treatment or deny their condition altogether for fear of social discrimination and stigmatization.

Way forward:

  • It is important to address the social conditions and factors which contribute to and increase vulnerability to tuberculosis. Concerted efforts should be made to address the issues of undernourishment, diabetes, alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Increased political will, financial resources and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent TB will help achieve the goal.
  • Private sector engagement in combating TB needs to be strengthened. The private sector should also be incentivised to report TB cases. Example: The Kochi Model– Increasing TB cases reporting from private sector
  • There is an urgent need for cost-effective point-of-care devices that can be deployed for TB diagnosis in different settings across India.
  • Universal access to drug, susceptibility testing at diagnosis to ensure that all patients are given appropriate treatment, including access to second-line treatment for drug-resistant TB.
  • To ensure public participation — a missing element in the RNTCP —in public-private participation mode.
  • Mass awareness campaigns like ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ can play an important role in breaking social taboos regarding TB.

 Conclusion:

India has the highest TB burden in the world. Given our inter-connected world and the airborne spread of TB, we need collective global action. Ending TB in India will have massive global impact in addition to saving the lives of tens of millions of India’s people over the next 25 years. Even if ending TB by 2025 is not complete, pulling the TB curve down by 2025 and sustaining the decline ever after is a possibility.


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

6) Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are critical to property market development in India , but face unique challenges. comment. (250 words)

Hindubuisnessline

Why this question:

The article highlights the fact that REITs have an important role to play in the formalization of the Indian real estate sector. It also discusses in detail the associated challenges.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must trace the issues related to the Real estate investment trust in India, how these challenges and concerns should be overcome and REITs should be made to drive the property market in India.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Introduce by highlighting the current scenario of REITs. Discuss in short the salient features of it.

Body:

In brief discuss the following points :

  • What are REITs? Importance of REITs.
  • Discuss the role of REITs in combining regular rental income with capital appreciation from property prices.
  • Bring out the concerns related to REITs – lack of investor awareness, peculiar challenges that the Indian market poses to the REIT structure, complicated land acquisition, fragmented property market, complicated Taxation of REIT returns etc.
  • Suggest what should be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.  

Introduction:

REITs are collective investment vehicles that operate and manage property portfolios and give returns to investors. REITs are similar to mutual funds. While mutual funds provide for an opportunity to invest in equity stocks, REITs allow one to invest in income-generating real estate assets. Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) mandated that all REITS be listed on exchanges and make an initial public offer to raise money.

Body:

Salient features of REITs:

  • REITs can be used by real estate players to attract private investment, while investors (both retail and institutional) can gain dividends generated from income-producing real estate assets like office buildings, shopping malls etc.
  • REITs are only for completed projects not the under-construction projects.
  • They are primarily for commercial projects and mainly serve as an alternative investment.
  • Its purpose is to improve the liquidity position of Real Estate developers and give a secure avenue to investors to invest in long term.

Recently, India’s first real estate investment trust (REIT) was launched by Blackstone-backed Embassy Group seeks to raise Rs 4,750 crore from the market.  REITs are critical to property market development, but face unique challenges

  • Indian investors are partial to real estate and vastly prefer fixed income instruments over market-linked ones.
  • The lack of investor awareness about the vehicle and the peculiar challenges that the Indian market poses to the REIT structure.
  • The fragmented property market and complicated land acquisition rules make it necessary for REITs to take on leverage and adopt a multi-layered holding structure.
  • The grey component in property deals and the illiquid nature of the market render Net Asset Value calculations tricky.
  • Even though its assets are in cities offering good rental clients, the rate of occupancy is always a critical factor.
  • Taxation of REIT returns for investors is a complicated affair too, with different tax rates applicable on dividend, rental and interest income.
  • With risk-free government schemes offering guaranteed returns as high as 8 per cent, Indian REITs need to manage very high yields as well as capital appreciation to attract domestic investors.
  • Lack of investor familiarity with the vehicle has also been a challenge, with confusion over the offer structure, gross versus net yield, applicable costs and taxation aspects.
  • Since this is the first REIT issue, there is no comparable data in terms of pricing and attractiveness of the issue.

Way forward:

  • SEBI must kick off an investor education initiative to create greater awareness about REITs.
  • A rejig of standard IPO offer documents/disclosures to reflect their unique characteristics is also in order.
  • Advisors, who have struggled to evaluate this product, need to equip themselves.
  • Learn best practices from Singapore where it has already been time-tested.

Conclusion:

Real estate has always been considered an illiquid and a big-ticket investment. REITs provide an opportunity to diversify across real estate as an asset class. REITs are primarily a hybrid investment seeking capital appreciation and even income ( rent) from the underlying securities of the sponsor. With twin benefits of REIT and the rules in place, one should expect the REIT to provide a new investment option to the Indian investors soon.


Topic:   Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7) “With bad laws and good civil servants, it’s still possible to govern, But with bad civil servants, even the best possible laws can’t help”. Do you approve of the view in the statement? elucidate(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the quote given by the famous Otto von Bismarck a German statesman, The quote is about  the concept of good civil servants and their significance in creating services that are good and righteous irrespective of goodness of the law.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail the context of the quote and its meaning applied to civil services/public services. You must state whether you second the thoughts in the quote and if you do elucidate the same with suitable examples.

Directive word:

Elucidate – Pick out the main points on the subject in question and give your opinion, reinforcing your point of view using logic and reference to relevant evidence, including any wider prospects if any.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with importance of ethics in public services, importance of good civil servants.

Body:

Discuss :

  • What makes a civil servant good or bad?
  • How does a good civil servant serve the society in presence of both good and bad laws.
  • Debate the significance of good laws and bad laws vis-a-vis civil services.
  • Do not forget to quote relevant examples to justify your answer as such questions are best explained through the aid of examples.

Conclusion:

Re-assert  the importance of good civil servants in public services.

Introduction:

                The above quote was given by Otto Von Bismarck, who was the architect of modern Germany with the help of many ethical Civil Servants he groomed. Ethics are essential if we are to have a clean, efficient and trustworthy civil service. Civil servants must develop a culture that will pave the way for the emergence of not only a dedicated, efficient and ethical civil service, but also one that emphasises management integrity.

Body:

Laws can be subjective but implementation of laws depends on objectivity, efficiency and ethical competence of bureaucrats.

Bad laws but good civil servants:

  • Outcomes for society are better when the decisions of public office holders are made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal and private interests.
  • High standards benefit the economy through their effect on international confidence
  • Impartiality and objectivity increases predictability, which improves economic efficiency.
  • Low levels of corruption and confidence in the integrity of the trading and operating environment are crucial factors in the functioning of advanced democracies
  • Mohammed Bin Tughlaq capital transfer, coin and other experiments could be possible due to a strong bureaucracy and the empire remained strong despite that. Even the worst kinds of laws were implements and governance was possible in Nazi Germany due to strong and efficient bureaucracy.

Bad civil servants:

  • Corruption has been with us since the beginning of human organisation. Yet, we cannot be unconcerned and complacent, because it attacks not only the economic and social fabric of society, but also the moral foundations of order.
  • If officers involved in corrupt practices are responsible for law enforcement, it leads to failure of governance.
  • Governments which are not perceived to uphold high standards have less legitimacy and basic public institutions such as tax and benefit systems rely on public trust to function effectively.
  • Some of the most novel laws have failed due to incompetence of bureaucracy.
  • We can attribute the failure of land reforms in India.
  • Taking example of Napoleon’s continental system, one of the reasons for its grand failure was the corruption among the French officials.

Conclusion:

But in order to achieve ethical governance, good civil servants should be complemented with good laws. As Holocaust implemented by Nazi bureaucrats was legally right but ethically wrong.