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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 JULY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 JULY 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:  Indian Culture, Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

1) Discuss the Role of handicrafts in Indian Economy. What are the specific challenges that they face and how can they be addressed?(250 words)

Yojana April 2019 – Magic of Gifted Hands: Empowering Handicraft Artisans

Why this question:

 The question is about discussing the importance of Indian handicrafts and its contribution to the economy, the challenges it faces and the solutions to it.

Key demand of the question:

One has to bring out the significant place the handicraft industry holds in contributing to the economy and in what way it is facing challenges on various fronts.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Highlight some facts on the Indian handicrafts industry with its importance.

Body:

Start by stating how our country is gifted with a rich range of beautiful handicrafts. Almost every state of the country has its unique handicrafts. These products are a part and parcel of the culture of the concerned communities. Passed on from generation to generation, these handicrafts have the potential of sustaining the artisans economically.

Explain in detail role of handicrafts in the Indian economy.

What are the specific challenges?

How can these challenges be addressed?

Conclusion:

Conclude that skill up gradation and development in handicraft sector is an excellent approach for development of artisans, poverty reduction and providing income generation which would also help in achievement of sustainable development goals and thus contribute majorly to the economy.

Introduction:

Handicrafts are still today a vibrant aspect of Indian culture and society. Handicraft is rightly described as craft of the  people  and  in  India  it  is  not  just  an industry   as   the   word   is   commonly understood but is the aesthetic expression of the artisans which not only fulfils the  daily  needs  of  the  people  but also satisfies their aesthetic desire. Crafts have been interwoven with the culture of the people in India from the beginning of human history. Crafts have been an integral part of daily life in villages, towns, courts and religious establishments. There     are     approximately     70     lakh handicraft artisans in the country, which includes  20  lakh  artisans  related  to  the carpet  sector,  practicing  more  than  500 types of crafts.

Body:

Role of Handicrafts in Indian Economy:

  • The Handicrafts Sector plays a significant & important role in the country’s economy.
  • Textiles and handicrafts have been a key source of employment.
  • As per the latest available Annual Survey of Industries  data,  number  of  persons employed  in  the  organized  Textile  and Wearing    Apparel    Sector    is    around 26,48,238  in  2015-16  and  26,91,280  in 2016-17.
  • Further the   handloom   sector   provides direct  and  indirect  employment  to  43 lakh  weavers  and  allied    There are 68.86 lakh handicraft artisans.
  • The handloom   and   handicrafts   sector together     provide     about     111     lakh employment both in the organized and unorganized sector.
  • Textile and apparel exports have been reported at around USD 39 -40 bn in the last four years.
  • As per  trade  data,  exports  have  been reported at USD 26.63 bn during April to December  2018  which  is  an  increase  of 2.5     per     cent     over     the     previous corresponding period.

Challenges faced by Handicrafts industry:

  • Low productivity: The sector’s informal nature and the low education of most artisans create issues such as:
    • Unorganized production: As a largely unorganized sector, handicrafts faces problems such as a paucity of professional infrastructure such as work sheds, storage space, shipping and packing facilities.
    • Low education: Many crafts require the entire household to participate in production in some capacity. In many cases, crafts also serve as a seasonal source of income for agricultural households.
    • Outdated production methods: Artisans may also lack the financial capability to upgrade technology in production, or undergo necessary training on a regular basis, as would be available to them in a formal work setting. This compromises the quality of their products and raises the cost of production.
  • Inadequate inputs: There are three main issues:
    • Lack of quality raw materials: Rural artisans often lack access to quality raw materials. Due to the low volumes required, they have low bargaining power and are forced to buy sub-standard materials at a higher price.
    • Lack of funding: Craft producers suffer greatly from lack of working capital and access to credit and loan facilities. Banks cite poor recovery rates, wrong utilization of funds, lack of marketing facilities for finished products and lack of education on part of the borrowers as reasons for the low proportion of loans made to artisans.
    • Design inputs: Due to the breakdown of the historic artisan-consumer relationship, and the increasing urbanization and globalization of markets for crafts, artisans have difficulty understanding how to tailor their products to changing demands.
  • Information asymmetry: Due to their low education, artisans often cannot identify potential new markets for their products, nor do they understand the requirements for interacting with these markets.
  • Fragmented value chain:
    • Lack of market linkages: While consumers of crafts products are increasingly becoming urbanized, crafts continue to be sold through local markets; artisans have few opportunities to reach new consumers through relevant retail platforms such as department stores and shopping malls.
    • Dominance of middlemen: Although middlemen are necessary to enable effective market linkages, they often, if not always, exploit artisans by paying them a fraction of their fair wages.
    • Lack of aggregation: Crafts production typically takes places in scattered clusters in rural areas, while markets are usually in urban centers. Currently, there is a lack of organized systems to efficiently aggregate goods from small producers, carry out quality checks, store approved goods in warehouses, and supply them to wholesalers and retailers in urban areas.

Way forward:

  • All industrial policy aimed at promoting particular sectors aren’t without risks. But the externality-generating attributes —employment, exports, social transformation —of the apparel sector, India’s potential comparative advantage in it, and the narrow window of opportunity, make the risk worth taking.
  • skill upgradation  and  development in   handicraft   sector   is   an   excellent approach   for   development   of   artisans, poverty  reduction  and  providing  income generation   which   would   also   help   in achievement  of  sustainable  development goals.
  • Access to economic independence through the    handicraft    sector    can address the livelihood issues and would lead to income generation in rural areas.
  • In order to meet these challenges, a package   for   garments   and made-ups sectors can be provided.
  • GI tags, Handloom India tags etc. can add credibility and protect the artisans from fake product manufacturers.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

2) “The U.S.-Iran conflict is often portrayed in the media as one that involves two flawed actors struggling for supremacy on a complex West Asian stage”. Critically analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

More than a year ago, the U.S. unilaterally abrogated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After this, the U.S. began to squeeze the Iranian economy using sanctions. The latest round of sanctions was announced in June 2019.Post this, Iran announced that it had exceeded a limit set by the JCPOA on its stockpile of nuclear fuel.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must bring out the prevailing situation between US-Iran. Factors responsible for the conflict between the two and what needs to be done to address the challenge.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, 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: 

Briefly narrate the ongoing conflict with some background of the issue.

Body:

One can explain that a closer look of the situation reveals a simpler underlying reality that the Donald Trump administration is using the U.S.’s clout in an old-fashioned attempt to assert the country’s hegemony; Iran is just doing whatever it can to resist U.S. pressure.

Then provide a brief history of relations between the two countries.

Discuss about the impact the conflict has on India and what should be the way forward.

Conclusion:

What needs to be done to resolve the conflict and in what way India should absorb the possible repercussions.

Introduction:

The United States was all set to carry out military strikes against Iran recently. The United States and Iran have a long history of tensions, but the latest escalation started when American officials blamed Iran for attacking two oil tankers on June 13 in or near the Strait of Hormuz. The roots of the latest Iran-US crisis go back to 2018, when US President Donald Trump walked away from the Iranian nuclear deal, one of the signature achievements of his predecessor Barack Obama, and reimposed harsh sanctions on the country.

 Body:

Brief history of US-Iran Relations:

  • United States and Iran established diplomatic relations in 1883.
  • US-Iran wasn’t very complex before World War II, but it soon turned chaotic when the US’s CIA helped stage a coup to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadek in 1953. CIA activities like bribing newspaper editors to spread fake news, hiring anti-social elements to fuel unrest in the Iran created a chaotic condition in the Iran.
  • Later after several years the US offered Iran a nuclear reactor and weapons-grade nuclear fuel in 1967
  • During a revolution in Iran, the government backed by CIA was overthrown and the U.S. embassy in Tehran is overtaken and staff were held hostage for more than a year leading to diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
  • US President Jimmy Carter ordered to cut off diplomatic ties with Iran and authorizes a rescue mission to get the American hostages out in 1980. But the mission failed and eight U.S. service members were killed during the operation.
  • But Iran releases the hostages minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981
  • US President Reagan, in his second term, admits to a secret arms deal with Iran. It became a huge scandal known as “The Iran Contra affair.” (1983)
  • Once again, the diplomatic crisis erupted in 1988, When a US Navy ship was shot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing 290 people who were onboard.
  • With complete diplomatic closure existed between the two countries over the next 15 years.
  • US President George W. Bush names Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil” along with North Korea and Iraq in 2012. But, US President George W. Bush pushes for talks with Iran regarding nuclear deal.
  • The deal never moves forwards as the new US President Barack Obama falls silent and stays away from the negotiation.
  • Obama government enforces a new law that put the squeeze on Iran in financial sector. Lots of countries followed, US to cut back on buying Iranian oil. Iranian economy takes a big hit. The following year, Hassan Rouhani was elected president in Iran.
  • The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran deal, was signed on July 14, 2015 between Iran, the U.S., China, France, Russia, the U.K., Germany and the European Union. It was considered a landmark deal which would eventually bring peace and harmony to the turmoil-stricken Middle East.
  • However, President Donald Trump recently decided to unilaterally pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and to re-imposing nuclear sanctions against Iran as he claims latter is supporting militant groups in the gulf.

Implications for India:

  • Oil and Gas:
    • The impact on world oil prices will be the immediately visible impact of the U.S. decision.
    • Iran is presently India’s third biggest supplier (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and any increase in prices will hit both inflation levels as well as the Indian rupee.
    • The negotiations on the Farzad-B gas field remain stuck, with both sides blaming the other for shifting the goalposts. It was remained on paper because of Iranian unhappiness over India’s stand in the IAEA.
  • Chahbahar port:
    • India’s moves over the last few years to develop berths at the Shahid Beheshti port in Chahbahar was a key part of its plans to circumvent Pakistan’s blocks on trade with Afghanistan.
    • India has already committed about $85 million to Chabahar development with plans for a total of $500 million on the port, while a railway line to Afghanistan could cost as much as $1.6 billion.
  • INSTC:
    • Beyond Chahbahar, India has been a founder of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) since it was ratified in 2002.
    • It starts from Iran and aims to cut right across Central Asia to Russia over a 7,200-km multi-mode network, cutting down transportation and time taken by trade by about 30%.
    • New U.S. sanctions will affect these plans immediately, especially if any of the countries along the route or banking and insurance companies dealing with the INSTC plan also decide to adhere to U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:
    • India joined the SCO along with Pakistan last year, and both were formally admitted in June 2018, when Prime Minister travelled to the Chinese city of Qingdao for the SCO summit.
    • Chinese officials say they will consider inducting Iran into the 8-member Eurasian security organisation.
    • If the proposal is accepted by the SCO, which is led by China and Russia, India will become a member of a bloc that will be seen as anti-American, and will run counter to some of the government’s other initiatives like the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral with the U.S., Australia and Japan.
    • The move may also rile other adversaries of Iran, like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel, with whom the government has strengthened ties in an effort to balance its West Asia policy.
  • Rules-based order:
    • India has long been a proponent of a “rules-based order” that depends on multilateral consensus and an adherence to commitments made by countries on the international stage.
    • By walking out of the JCPOA, the U.S. government has overturned the precept that such international agreements are made by “States” not just with prevailing governments or regimes.

Way forward for India:

  • Allowing Indian investment in rupees and initiating new banking channels to go ahead with oil trade.
  • The near-term developments in its neighbourhood are a priority for Tehran even as India tries to find a balance with his stated preference to develop closer ties with both the U.S. and Israel.
  • India and Iran are looking to swiftly conclude a preferential trade agreement and a bilateral investment treaty.
  • Newly relaxed visa norms announced by Iran in addition to India’s proposal for Indian businesses to invest in rupees in Iran are all moves in the right direction.
  • Nonetheless, they may be insufficient to cement commercial ties if USA sanctions do return.
  • India should give its full support for the effective implementation of the JCPOA. Only successful implementation of the JCPOA over a period of time can create the political space for additional negotiations.
  • Both the nations can take leverage of their historical and civilisational relations to steer ties so much. The visit proved to be a much-needed reality check to the India-Iran partnership.

Conclusion:

The U.S. and Iran differ on many issues not just on foreign affairs, but internal functioning of the government. But the US has the upper hand by sticking with the complex relationship due to its federal structure and economic power. But US cannot change Iran, and Iran cannot defeat US in the Middle East. So, both the countries should join the hands together which affect both, including the Islamic State.


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

3) What do you understand by inheritance tax? Do you think the reintroduction of such a tax would serve as a measure to prevent the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a few? Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

 

Why this question: 

The article talks about how Wealth inequality in India has been alarming and in what way Inheritance tax and its reintroduction can prevent the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a few.

Demand of the question:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Define what is an inheritance tax.

Body

Explain that an inheritance tax, coupled with associated tax reforms, can potentially prevent the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a few, reduce intra-generational inequality, promote inter-generational equity, and serve a meaningful purpose to address the distributional gaps that exist in India today.

Explain that an inheritance tax, if implemented well, can potentially help the government exchequer at a time when it has been scouting for additional sources of revenue to bridge the persistent gap between fiscal targets and outcomes. Recent policies on farm loan waivers, bank recapitalization, universal health insurance, and the expansion of other social sector programmes will pose significant challenges in maintaining fiscal prudence.

List all the benefits and suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion 

Conclude with importance of such tax initiatives and reforms for the betterment of the economy.

Introduction:

An inheritance tax, also called an estate tax, is a tax assessed on all or a portion of an inherited estate. Life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, belongings and debts are all part of one’s estate. The inheritance tax rate depends on the value of the inheritance and the beneficiary’s relationship to the decedent. Such a tax can potentially prevent the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a few. It is more than three decades since estate duty was abolished in India

Body:

The objective behind the reintroduction of an inheritance tax:

  • Wealth, income, and consumption inequality is high and has been rising in India, particularly in the post-liberalisation period.
  • Economists Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty, analysing the dynamics of income inequality between 1922 and 2014, found that income inequality in India is at its peak since 1922, when income tax was first introduced here. In the 1930s, the top 1% of earners in India accounted for less than 21% of total income. This dropped significantly to 6% in the 1980s. However, it thereafter steadily increased to a historical high of 22% in 2014.
  • Wealth inequality in India has also been alarming. According to Credit Suisse 2018 Global Wealth Report, the richest 1% own 51.5% and the richest 10% account for 77.4% of the nation’s wealth. In contrast, the bottom 60% of the population owns only a meagre 4.7% of it.
  • While the per capita income of Indians has risen since liberalisation, growth has failed to be inclusive.
  • An inheritance tax, coupled with associated tax reforms, can potentially prevent the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a few, reduce intra-generational inequality, promote inter-generational equity, and serve a meaningful purpose to address the distributional gaps that exist in India today.
  • An inheritance tax, if implemented well, can potentially help the government exchequer at a time when it has been scouting for additional sources of revenue to bridge the persistent gap between fiscal targets and outcomes.
  • According to an Oxfam survey in 2018, the wealth of the richest 1% of the population increased by ₹20.91 trillion, equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18.
  • Moreover, 37% of Indian billionaires have inherited family wealth, and control 51% of the total wealth of billionaires in the country. The survey also points out that 51 of a total of 101 billionaires are more than 65 years old and collectively own ₹10.54 trillion.
  • Thus, even a moderate inheritance tax of 10-15%, benchmarked to other Asian countries such as the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, can potentially act as a stable and significant source of revenue for the government.
  • There has been a discernible improvement in the government’s tax administrative capacity, drawing upon the strengths of the information technology revolution.
  • Project Insight of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the application of Big Data analytics to improve tax compliance have strengthened tax administration.
  • This, along with the thrust towards a digital economy, could potentially reduce the marginal cost of administering and monitoring compliance of an inheritance tax.

Global Experience:

  • Today, many developed countries such as the US, UK, France, Japan and the Netherlands have inheritance tax laws in place.
  • The US imposes Gift Tax and Estate Tax (both taxes levied on the donor) at 40 percent with a combined lifetime exemption threshold for both taxes amounting to approximately $11 million per person.
  • Likewise, inheritance tax in the UK is levied at 40 percent, but with a far lower exemption threshold.
  • The growing concern surrounding India’s increasing economic disparity, the imposition of estate duty may seem desirable.

Concerns:

  • The inheritance tax is payable by the legal representative to whom the property may pass on death.
  • The recipient of the property may not have the money available to pay tax that could lead to situations of distress sale.
  • Arguments against the levy of inheritance tax mainly revolve around fears regarding the outflow of entrepreneurial human capital and financial resources going abroad.
  • With India being a developing country, keeping capital intact in the hands of entrepreneurs may represent a more efficient investment for economic development.
  • India needs to review the case for re-introducing an inheritance/estate tax with, ideally, relatively high thresholds, so it’s targeted at the very rich.

Conclusion:

India’s inheritance tax must not be used as a symbolic tool, marketed as a Robin Hood tax, for populism. Rather, the intent should be grounded in the substantial distributional inequities that exist in the country today.


Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

4) Subsidies are often criticised that instead of offering solutions to the problems they themselves become a problem. In the light of the above statement discuss the issues surrounding the subsidy system in India. (250 words)

Timesofindia

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of Subsidies.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate in what way subsidies often fail to achieve their actual intent and end up becoming a problem in themselves.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin with brief on what you understand by subsidies.

Body:

Discussion should include the following: 

Paint a picture of the history of subsidies as a concept that evolved in India since independence and that the basic objective of the public distribution system in India is to provide essential consumer goods at cheap and subsidized prices to the consumers so as to insulate them from the impact of rising prices of these commodities and maintain the minimum nutritional status of our population.

Explain the associated challenges, advantages and disadvantages.

Discuss in detail the problems of public distribution system in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way can be done to overcome the issue and make the concept work .

Introduction:

A subsidy, often viewed as the converse of a tax, is an instrument of fiscal policy. It literally implies coming to assistance from behind. However, their beneficial potential is at its best when they are transparent, well targeted, and suitably designed for practical implementation. Subsidies are helpful for both economy and people as well. Subsidies have a long-term impact on the economy; the Green Revolution being one example.

Body:

A welfare state without subsidies cannot be imagined. Governments have to extend subsidies to achieve objectives of socio- economic policy. By this, they aim at

  • Making basic necessities affordable to poor people through extension of consumer services.
  • To prepare a foundation of various economic sectors in which private sector can participate later. When economy is at lower stages of development, it is often unviable and unaffordable for private sector to step in production. This is mainly because there are limited resources with private investors and there are informational externalities/uncertainties.
  • In such case government do handholding by supporting private sector by extending subsidies and withdrawing them when private sector becomes competitive.

Subsidies should be aimed at specific development objectives. On achievement of these objectives subsidies should be phased out. It is only then that subsidies can go well with an undistorted market economy.

Issues surrounding the subsidy system in India:

  • Misuse of subsidies: The subsidies that are provided by the government seldom reach the small farmers. They are mostly snatched by the large farmers or the manufacturers.
  • Distortion of trade: Input subsidies distort trade by increasing net exports of input intensive commodities while decreasing net exports of commodities which require relatively few inputs. Many countries like Australia, US and UK have challenged the subsidies on wheat, sugarcane etc. which they claim are distorting trade.
  • Increased financial burden: The expenditure on subsidies has doubled in the last decade leading to widening fiscal deficit of the country. It is driven primarily by subsidies in fertilizer and electricity. Most of the expenditure made on subsidies goes into the wrong hands and thus perpetuates their requirement as the position of farmers does not improve.
  • Uneven distribution: Unevenness is rife across regions, crops and differing farm sizes. For example-it is alleged that subsidies have benefitted more to the north Indian states as compared to south and north eastern states.
  • Flawed policies: Hostile policies have compounded the problems as no major fertilizer plants have come up in the last many years. A huge fraction of urea requirements is still met with imports.

Instances of misuse of subsidies:

  • In case of food subsidy, PDS suffers from considerable leakage and apart from a low coverage of poor; the magnitude of benefit derived by the poor is very small.
  • In case of electricity, the subsidy rates have been rising for both agriculture and domestic sectors because the unit cost has been rising faster than the relevant tariff-rate. Also, there is considerable variation in the level of per capita electricity subsidy indicates that, in the richer States, the per capita subsidy is substantially higher as compared to that in the poorer States.
  • In case of public irrigation, water has a very high marginal productivity when used in conjunction with HYV of seeds, chemical fertilisers, power and other related inputs. It is the richer farmers who may derive relatively larger benefits because of their capacity to use these allied inputs.
  • Subsidies to elementary education form about half of the total subsidies on general education. However, this is not true for all individual States: the share of elementary education is lowest in the high income States and the highest in the low income States (Goa, Punjab and West Bengal actually give higher subsidies to secondary education than primary education).A negative correlation between the level of per capita income and the share of subsidies to elementary education is thus discernible. Most subsidies to higher education accrue predominantly to the better-off sections of society as they have an overwhelming advantage in competing out prospective candidates from the poorer sections in getting admission to courses that are characterised by scarcity of seats.
  • For subsidies of health, the greater emphasis on curative health care expenditure often reflects a bias towards the better-off people whereas preventive health care expenditure with much larger externalities would clearly be of greater help to the economically weaker sections of the society.

Way forward:

  • Reducing the overall scale of subsidies
  • Making subsidies as transparent as possible using JAM trinity
  • Using subsidies for well defined economic objectives
  • Focusing subsidies to final goods and services with a view to maximising their impact on the target population at minimum cost
  • Instituting systems for periodic review of subsidies
  • Use of technology like Direct Benefit Transfer to the beneficiaries’ bank account, Aadhar Enable Payment System etc.

Conclusion:

Subsidies are meant for poor people and they shall ensure equitable redistribution of resource. Subsidies extended to rich are regressive. They help in keeping poverty intact and create inefficiencies in economy which culminates in inflation and corruption. Rationalization of subsidy regime will improve markets in India which will then attract more investment. This in short, can turn the wheel of a virtuous economy which creates more employment and attacks poverty at its roots.


Topic:  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

5) What is Public Distribution System (PDS)? discuss its basic objective in India and explain how has coming of Aadhaar changed the functionality of PDS.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is to evaluate What is public distribution system what is its importance and in what way the Aadhaar has changed the mode of functionality of the PDS.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the concept of PDS, effects of Aadhar on the modalities of its working and how over a period of time it has only gotten better and that there is still scope for improvement.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In short explain what is meant by public distribution system.

Body:

The answer should have the following dimensions covered:

What is meant by public distribution system?

What are the drawbacks of public distribution system?

What is the basic objective of public distribution system in India?

How has Aadhaar changed the mode of working of the system – pros and cons.

What are the advantages, challenges etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Public Distribution System (PDS) is an Indian food security system which evolved as a system for distribution of food grains at affordable prices and management of emergency situations. It distributes subsidized food and non-food items to India’s poor. This scheme was launched in June 1947. It functions through a network of Fair Price Shops at a subsidized price on a recurring basis.

Body:

The objectives of the Public Distribution System are as follows:

  • To protect the low income groups by guaranteeing the supply of certain minimum quantities of food grains at affordable price.
  • Ensuring equitable distribution.
  • Controlling the price rise of Essential Commodities in the open market.

Aadhar and functionality of PDS:

  • Aadhaar as an identifier:
    • People belonging to marginalized sections of the society often do not have a valid proof of identity. As a result, they miss out on availing social benefits provided by the government. Aadhaar has been successful in solving this problem.
    • One of the quintessential properties of Aadhaar is its uniqueness. It is an identification that a person can carry for a life time and potentially use with any service provider thus, fundamentally becoming a pro-poor identification infrastructure.
  • It provides a single view of beneficiary data and information, aiding in streamlining policy decisions for the state
  • Social benefits delivery services:
    • Enables State Governments to directly transfer benefits to beneficiary accounts under various schemes.
  • Beneficiary Identification:
    • Helps in sanitizing the State’s/Department’s databases and uniquely identifying beneficiaries by removing ghost/duplicate identities
  • Demographic and development planning:
    • Enables valuable anonymized demographic data to help development planning at State, District and local government levels.
  • Preventing leakages:
    • Welfare programs, where beneficiaries need to be confirmed before service delivery, also stand to benefit from UIDAI’s verification service.
    • Examples of such usages include subsidized food and kerosene delivery to Public Distribution System (PDS) beneficiaries.
    • This usage would ensure that services are delivered to the right beneficiaries only.

However, the use of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication (ABBA) in the public distribution system has its own share of challenges:

  • ABBA requires not only Aadhaar seeding, but also successful fingerprint authentication at the ration shop every month. That, in turn, requires a functional Point of Sale (PoS) machine, adequate connectivity, and reasonably smooth fingers. Despite some alleged safeguards, the system is far from perfect
  • Evidence from Jharkhand suggests that ABBA is of little use in reducing PDS corruption.
  • Neither seeding nor the ABBA can stop quantity fraud.
  • If PDS dealers give people less than their due, biometric authentication does not help.
  • Cases of deaths due to hunger as people could not collect rations because of a biometric mismatch at the PDS shop.
  • Disenfranchisement of the elderly and the disabled, as ABBA requires beneficiaries to visit the PDS outlet personally for fingerprint authentication.
  • Seeding issues:
    • When benefits are paid through Aadhaar-enabled means such as the Aadhaar Payments Bridge System (APBS), the first step is to seed the list of beneficiaries with the corresponding Aadhaar numbers. Seeding is a tedious operation and it has to be done each time a new scheme is inducted. Those who have failed to comply are simply removed from the lists
    • Seeding often creates inconsistencies between ration-cards database and the Aadhaar database.
    • Many poor people do not know the rules of Aadhaar seeding and biometric authentication.
  • Inclusion errors increase the financial burden of the state, exclusion errors can often leave poor families vulnerable to hunger.
  • Deprivation of poor:
    • Poor people often find themselves deprived of their rights in the process. For instance linking one’s pension or ration card or bank account with Aadhaar is a tedious process as data-entry errors are common.
    • And even without such errors, Aadhaar linking often fails because a person’s demographic details in the Aadhaar database do not match the corresponding details in her job card or ration card.
    • The government failed to address these issues as job cards, ration cards and pensions have been mass-cancelled in many states

Way forward:

  • Inconsistencies need to be resolved for successful Aadhaar seeding.
  • It is essential to deal with issues of duplication, use less disruptive methods than Aadhaar such as food coupons, smart cards, and last-mile tracking
  • Using other technology to curb corruption like computerisation, SMS alerts, online availability of official records, toll-free help lines and so on.
  • It is imperative that the Union Government enact a privacy legislation that clearly defines the rights of citizens consistent with the promise of the Constitution.
  • The government should factor in privacy risks and include procedures and systems to protect citizen information in any system of data collection. It should create institutional mechanism such as Privacy Commissioner to prevent unauthorised disclosure of or access to such data.
  • Our national cyber cell should be made well capable of dealing with any cyber attack in shortest time.

Conclusion:

PDS has helped bring about the socio-economic justice by helping alleviate hunger, malnutrition, anaemia among poorest of the poor, BPL citizens, women and children. The use of ICT to reduce the touch-points will further increase the efficiency of PDS.


Topic: Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

6) Establish the co-relation between Ethics and Emotional Intelligence.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of emotional intelligence.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of EI and in what way it is correlated to ethics. 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define EI -It is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking.

Body:

Explain the following in the answer body – 

What is EI? Significance of EI in one’s life. 

Emotional intelligence is generally said to include at least three skills: emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same.

Discuss how good EI highlights good ethical understanding and sound morals.

In what way the two are related – one can best explain it using suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of the EI.

Introduction:

Emotional intelligence is about being intelligent about your emotions. It involves the ability to recognize your own emotions as well as the emotions of other people. It includes understanding emotions. It also has to do with how you manage your emotions and how you manage other people’s emotions.

Body:

Co-relation between Ethics and Emotional Intelligence:

  • Self-awareness
    • Emotional awareness: This deals with knowledge of one’s emotions and their effects. People having this competency are more aware of their feelings and performance.
    • Accurate self-assessment: This involves being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. One is open to feedbacks, new viewpoints, etc.
    • Self-confidence: This relates to complete affirmation of one’s worth and abilities. They are usually more confident and are able to make sound decisions despite any uncertainties or pressures.
  • Self-regulation:
    • Self-control: This involves management of all disruptive emotions and impulses. People who are able to control themselves are more calm, positive and focussed.
    • Trustworthiness: This comes after one has displayed standards of honesty and integrity. Trustworthy people are ethically strong, authentic and reliable. They are brave to admit their mistakes and are known to stand for tough and even unpopular decisions for larger good.
  • Self-motivation:
    • Achievement drive: This means striving to achieve a mark of excellence. People with this competence draw fresh ideas from many sources, are highly result-oriented, set quite challenging roles for themselves and constantly work towards improving their performance.
    • Commitment: This means aligning oneself with the goals of group or an organization. These people are willing to make personal or group sacrifices to meet a larger organizational goal. They are active in seeking opportunities to fulfil the group’s mission.
  • Social Awareness:
    • Empathy: This means sensing feelings and emotions of others and taking an active interest in their perceptions and perspectives. Such people are very responsive to emotional cues and listen to everything well.
    • Service orientation: This involves anticipating, recognising and meeting the needs of the customers. Thus, it caters to matching products and services according to needs of the customers to maximise customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Social Skills:
    • Influence: This stands for wielding of effective tactics for persuasion. All people who have influence are highly appealing to their listeners. They are able to build consensus and support using different strategies. They even plan dramatic events to make a point.
    • Leadership: This stands for inspiring and guiding various groups and people. Good leaders are able to arouse enthusiasm, guide the performance of others and try to model the change they expect to see in others.

Conclusion:

Good ethics reaffirm the emotional intelligence of a person. High  emotionally  intelligent  individuals  are  more  adept  at  reasoning  through  the emotional antecedents of their own and others’ behavior and using this information to guide thinking and action. Individuals high on emotional intelligence will be able to manage their emotions and react less aggressively to the behaviours of others.


Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service

7) Why does self-control sometimes fail to act as an internal system of restraint? Illustrate with suitable examples. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of self-control.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail what is meant by self-control and provide for different perspectives.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define self-control.

Body:

Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses.

Explain that Self-control is the skill needed to achieve any goal or desired outcome. People with a lot of self-control have the motivation and ability to override their unwanted impulses and desires.

Explain what happens when people fail to exercise self-control, discuss its relevance in various walks of life – private, public even its effect on civil servants; one can detail using suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance. sometimes one acta in accordance with their deliberative better judgment, and sometimes one fails to do so, choosing a course of action in total conflict with those better judgments,

It must then have to do with the individual’s inner system of self-control — that set of principles that govern their particular mind and behavior.

Introduction:

Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. It is the ability to subdue one’s impulses, emotions, and behaviours in order to achieve longer-term goals—is what separates modern people from their ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom.

Body:

Reasons why sometimes self-control fails to act as restraint mechanism:

Self-control frequently fails despite the best intentions of the person. For example, quitting smoking is not a simple matter of wishing away an addiction. Smoking cessation requires a great deal of effort to fight the urge to smoke. Unfortunately, people often lose this battle and start smoking again.

  • Temptations and Desires.
  • Lack of integrity of mind
  • Reduced will power
  • Greed
  • Extreme emotions like anger, delight, depression etc.
  • Desperation

The most popular experiment conducted for self-control failure

One of the most famous studies of self-control is known as “the marshmallow test,” which found that children who were able to resist eating one marshmallow—in order to be rewarded with two in the future—later showed higher academic achievement than those who had wolfed the treat down immediately.

 

The study’s results seemed to indicate that self-control is an innate ability with wide-reaching implications for people’s lives, but later studies have suggested that self-control actually changes significantly over a lifetime, and can be improved with practice.

Conclusion:

Without self-control, the person would carry out his or her normal, typical, or automatic behavior or engage in immediate, short-term focused actions.