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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 April 2020


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:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. What do you understand by knowledge- centric development? How can it be a leveler for urban and rural areas? Examine.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is based on the significance of knowledge centric developments amidst current times.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what you understand by knowledge- centric development in detail and in what way it can it be a leveler for urban and rural areas.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define what knowledge- centric development is.

Body:

  • To start with, explain the situations of the current times, its impact on urban and rural regions of the country.
  • Discuss the effect of pandemic on the distress migration in the country.
  • Explain the significance of Knowledge-era; explain that with technologies like additive manufacturing, internet of things, and artificial intelligence, well-trained people can address needs in both urban and rural areas from wherever they are.
  • Discuss – with emphasis on capability and capacity building of rural youth in terms of holistic education, appropriate technology and enhanced livelihood, there is a possibility for a more balanced distribution of income as well as population.

Conclusion:

Conclude that bridging the knowledge gap between a city and a village would also bridge the income gap between the two, and lead to a faster bridging of the gap between the average individual income in India and that in industrially advanced countries.

Introduction

Witnessing the reverse migration of daily wage earners in large numbers despite the lockdown to contain the coronavirus has been distressing. Many even resorted to walking back to their hometowns, hundreds of kilometres away, as their survival in cities, with no jobs in hand, became untenable.

In contrast, some in tune with knowledge-era technologies have been able to continue working, many from their homes. While the lockdown necessarily means a livelihood crisis of unprecedented magnitude, particularly for daily wage earners, it’s time to think whether a return to normalcy should mean back to business as usual or to seek a new normal.

Body

Knowledge-centric Development

  • The Knowledge-centric Development is a system of consumption and production that is based on intellectual capital.
  • In particular, it refers to the ability to capitalize on scientific discoveries and basic and applied research. This has come to represent a large component of all economic activity in most developed countries.
  • In a knowledge economy, a significant component of value may thus consist of intangible assets such as the value of its workers’ knowledge or intellectual property.
  • In the knowledge economy, innovation based on research is commodified via patents and other forms of intellectual property. In the Information Age, the global economy has moved further toward the knowledge economy.
  • The knowledge economy addresses how education and knowledge, that is, “human capital,” can serve as a productive asset or business product to be sold and exported to yield profits for individuals, businesses, and the economy. This component of the economy relies greatly on intellectual capabilities instead of natural resources or physical contributions.

Knowledge-era technology as leveler

  • With technologies like additive manufacture, internet of things, and artificial intelligence, well-trained people can address needs in both urban and rural areas from wherever they are.
  • As we embrace the knowledge era and focus on capacity building of rural youth, the opportunities in rural areas should, in principle, become higher than those in urban areas since the rural segment can now benefit from all three (agriculture, manufacturing and services) sectors of the economy.
  • There is a need for knowledge bridges to be built between cities and villages, and the creation of an ecosystem which has been conceptualized as a “cillage” — a synergistic combination of city and village.
  • Developing a “cillage” ecosystem would need a rooted and integrated approach to holistic education and research, technology development and management, as well as technology-enabled rural livelihood enhancement.
  • One can safely surmise that bridging the knowledge gap between a city and a village would also bridge the income gap between the two, and lead to a faster bridging of the gap between the average individual income in India and that in industrially advanced countries.

Conclusion

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in the context of loss of livelihoods at the base of the socio-economic pyramid, is bound to have a deep impact. It will need every effort to return to normal. Given that the new normal would, in any case, be quite different, the right course would be to channelize the stimulus caused by this crisis towards accelerating the shift to a new normal i.e. knowledge-centric development.

 

Topic:  Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

2. Non-Governmental Organisations often play the role of a Social Safety-Valve, however there aren’t free of challenges. Elucidate.(250 words)

Reference: Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is with reference to the key role played by NGOs in the society.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in what way NGOs play the role of safety valve and also explain the possible challenges they face.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In short explain what NGOs are. NGOs refers to not-for-profit organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development.

Body:

Explain the key role played by NGOs in general. Discuss their need; explain that Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) act as the operational arm of the civil society and thus have an important role in the development processes. Non-profit organisations play vital role in mobilizing public attention to societal problems and needs. They are the principal vehicle through which communities can give voice to their concerns. Discuss the issues and challenges associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) are legally constituted organizations, operate independently from the government and are generally considered to be “non-state, non-profit oriented groups who pursue purposes of public interest”. The primary objective of NGOs is to provide social justice, development and human rights. NGOs are generally funded totally or partly by governments and they maintain their non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization.

Body

Role of NGO’s as safety valve

  • Advocacy and Social Safety: Non-profit organizations play vital role in mobilizing public attention to societal problems and needs. They are the principal vehicle through which communities can give voice to their concerns.
  • Augmenting government performance: NGOs can broaden government’s accountability by ensuring government is responsive to citizens at large rather than to narrow sectarian interests. They also induce innovation and flexibility in policymaking by bringing their own independent expertise and research teams.
  • The Service Role: The non-profit sector acts as a flexible mechanism through which people concerned about a social or economic problem can begin to respond. It also caters to groups of the population who desire a range of public goods that exceeds what the government or society is willing to support. Eg: Goonj NGO works in flood relief, providing essential materials while rebuilding the society through “clothes for work” initiative.
  • Conflict Resolution: NGOs help in constructive conflict resolution. In the international arena Track II diplomacy (involving non-governmental bodies) plays a crucial role in creating an environment of trust and confidence.
  • Building Community Participation: The non-profit organizations offer alternative perspectives; and most importantly, the capacity to conduct a meaningful dialogue with communities, particularly those that are disadvantaged. They foster pluralism, diversity and freedom. Many NGOs work to preserve and promote India’s diverse culture. For example, SPIC MACAY is a society for promoting Indian classical music and culture amongst youth.
  • Akshaya Patra feeds 326.5 million meals (FY18) through 37 kitchens and the plan is to raise this threefold by 2025. There are even mobile kitchens to feed 5,000-7,000 people every day during the Kumbh Mela, the NTR canteens in Andhra Pradesh feed 60,000 people at just Rs. 5 per meal.
  • Social welfare and rehabilitation: NGOs like Chetna, Save the Children have showed the way in drug abuse control. Helped the youth in rehabilitation and skill development.
  • Non-profit organizations play vital role in mobilizing public attention to societal problems and needs. They are the principal vehicle through which communities can give voice to their concerns. Eg: Campaign for Survival and Dignity is fighting for tribal rights under FRA,2006.

Challenges faced by NGOS

  • Difficulties to get funds: The majority of NGOs have experienced difficulties in getting enough, and continuous funding in order to do their work.
    • Getting donors is a hard task, and sometimes dealing with some specific donor’s funding conditions can be an enormous challenge for NGO’s.
    • Additionally, most of the non-governmental organizations have a high level of dependency of donors’ funds, that makes them even more susceptible to donors’ behavior.
  • Absence of Strategic Planning: Many NGOs suffer from the lack of a cohesive, strategic plan that would facilitate success in their activities and mission. This renders them unable to effectively raise and capitalize on financial support.
  • Poor Governance and Networking: A lack of effective governance is all too common in NGOs. Many have a deficit of understanding as to why they must have a Board and how to set one up. A founder may be too focused on running the NGO for their own purposes; however, governance is foundational to transparency.
  • As a result there is a great deal of suspicion among NGOs, secrecy and lack of transparency.
  • Many NGOs, large and small, intervene at community level without any community mapping and implement projects without due regard to ongoing community initiatives.
  • NGO politics: One fighting another, one with resources but no community presence, another with community presence but no resources.
  • Relationships with INGOs: There is considerable concern among local NGOs that the giants, mainly INGOs, occupy so much space that it is very difficult to find room for themselves. INGOs often intervene without any concern for the building of sustainable local CSOs. They pay government and community members to participate in their projects while local NGOs have no facility for doing so.
  • NGOs under Government’s Scanner: With recent Government of India crackdown on Greenpeace and several other NGOs coming under the scanner of Indian government, it is important for NGOs to achieve and maintain a high degree of transparency in not just their work but also their financials.

Conclusion

NGOs and CSOs form the backbone of democracy. Democracy does not just revolve around what happens once in five years (elections) but how rights of the citizens are protected and are allowed to hold power holders accountable. The state must respect the articulation of the politics of voice and not just the politics of the vote. The promises of democracy can only be realized through collective action in civil society. A democratic state needs a democratic civil society and a democratic civil society also needs a democratic state. They mutually reinforce each other.

 

Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Analyse the need of creation of ‘Waqf’, in the context of India being a “Secular” State.(250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in 

Why this question:

Recently Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi directed senior officials of more than 30 state waqf boards to ensure strict and honest implementation of lockdown.

Key demand of the question:

The question demands the necessary reasons that justify the need of creation of ‘Waqf’, in the context of India being a “Secular” State.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define what ‘Waqf’ are.

Body:

Waqf is a property given in the name of God for religious and charitable purposes. A non-Muslim can also create a waqf but the individual must profess Islam and the objective of creating the waqf has to be Islamic. Then present the case of Secularism and the Indian Constitution. Explain the pros and cons of creating Waqf.  Discuss the key objectives of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that in a pluralistic society, the best approach to nurture secularism is to expand religious freedom rather than strictly practicing state neutrality.

Introduction

The Waqf is the religious endowment for the person professing Islam. It owns land and other properties that have been given to it by the state and private individuals, and it manages these properties. It ensures the commitment of proving economic security to the property owners in return of social services done.

Waqf means property given in the name of God for religious and charitable purposes. In legal terms, permanent dedication by a person professing Islam, of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognized by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable.

Body

India as a secular state

  • The term ‘secular’ was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
  • All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion (Article 25).
  • Every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the right to manage its religious affairs (Article 26).
  • No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion of a particular religion (Article 27).
  • No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution maintained by the State (Article 28).
  • Any section of the citizens shall have the right to conserve its distinct language, script or culture (Article 29).
  • All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice (Article 30).

The Western concept of secularism connotes a complete separation between the religion (the church) and the state (the politics). This negative concept of secularism is inapplicable in the Indian situation where the society is multireligious. Hence, the Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism, i.e., giving equal respect to all religions or protecting all religions equally.

Waqf Creation

  • Waqf boards are statutory bodies formed under Waqf Act, 1954, through gazette notification. These boards are purely elected bodies but can have a few nominated members too.
  • Different sects of Islam have their separate boards like Sunni Waqf Board, Shia Waqf Board,
  • While state governments are authorized to form Waqf Boards in their respective states, the Central government constitutes the Central Waqf Council.

Pros

  • Muslims constitute the largest minority group in the country—roughly 15% of the population. The Islamic religious places are managed by “Waqf boards” completely free from state interference.
  • Waqf means a property dedicated to the society – the property donated or constructed by Muslim rulers or people from the community for public use. It could be a madrasa, mosque, tomb or a graveyard.
    • It helped in poverty alleviation of the poor in the community by providing alms.
  • India’s model of secularism being positive, enables all religion not only equal treatment, but also safeguarding provisions of each religion. Likewise, Waqf would ascertain confidence amongst minorities regarding India’s commitment to protection of minorities.
  • They have promoted social welfare through endowments to Madrasas, shelter homes for homeless, scholarships for poor students amongst others. Social justice has been their mainstay.

Cons

  • Despite being huge in number, the Waqf assets in India have not been fully utilized for the betterment of Muslim societies as reported by Sachar Committee 2006. The reason is believed to be inefficiency in the governance of Waqf institutions and mismanagement by their administrators or mutawallis (trustees).
  • In India, it is estimated that there are about five lakh Waqf properties pegged at a value of about Rs 1.20 lakh crore and after Railways and Defence, Waqfs are considered to be the third largest land holding entity in the country.
    • But the total annual income derived from Waqfs however is just a paltry Rs 160 crore. The rate of earning is a mere 0.13 per cent. This shows gross corruption and misadministration.
  • Waqf Boards are politicized more often than not, propagating ideas that go against secular politics.
  • At present, many mutawallis treat Waqf endowments as their personal property, disgracefully using them for ulterior motives and self-enrichment.
  • As seen recently during covid-19 outbreak, misinformation and rumors are spread at the behest of some vested interests and thereby communalizing the issues.

Way-forward

There is a strong case for state governments to empower state Waqf boards with greater budgets and a good cadre of administrative and legal officers to professionalize them.

  • Huge tracts of land can be freed up for the Indian Muslim community that lags behind in several socio-economic parameters as indicated by the Sachar Committee report.
    • For instance, 40 per cent of Muslim areas lack hospitals.
    • Instead of shopping complexes and hotels that come up on Waqf lands, if hospitals were built up, either through the PPP model or by the government itself, it would fulfil the stated charitable objective and could also cater to the needs of all poor people in the area, not just Muslims.
    • This would help in strengthening communal amity too.
  • Waqf lands could be used to start colleges and universities like Aligarh Muslim University, skill development centres including ITIs which could boost employment.
  • State must ensure that waqf boards do not become a platform for ‘Politics of Religion’.
  • It is important to ensure fraternity and unity of all religions. This can be strengthened when religious leaders rise above identity politics. They must call for harmony and philanthropy amongst all and encourage brotherhood.
  • Proper regulations must be laid to ensure the benefits of waqf endowments to the most needy and the poor.

Conclusion

Creation of waqf has been imperative for socio-economic development and must continue to do so. Poverty, discrimination and joblessness, rampant amongst Indian Muslims, can lead to many law and order issues, by festering a sense of alienation, dejection and helplessness. Resolving the issue of Waqfs can usher in a new sense of hope.

 

Topic:  Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

4. Discuss the role of Self-help groups as a necessity in rural development of the country.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question aims to ascertain the role of Self-help groups as a necessity in rural development of the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the role of Self-help groups as a necessity in rural development of the country in detail.

Directive:

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:

Define what SHGs are.

Body:

Self Help Groups are groups of 10-20 people in a locality formed for any social or economic purpose. Most of the SHGs are formed for the purpose of better financial security among its members. SHGs can exist with or without registration. SHGs in India often work in association with Banks (SHG – Bank Linkage Programme). Briefly explain their benefits to the society in general. Then explain why SHG are a necessity in rural development?

  • In India there is a substantial percentage of rural and urban poor, who if tried individually cannot break their chains of poverty, and hence collective action is required.
  • For self-employment and financial independence, poor sections need credit.
  • Bank credits are not easily accessible to individual poor, but by forming a SHG, there are make better prospects for bank credits. (Often without collateral).
  • The chance of successful income generation is high with SHGs than individual attempts.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Rural Development can be sustainable if it has the participation of people for whom it is aimed at. SHGs bring in the much-desired peoples’ participation in rural development that has inherent advantages. They synergize the developmental efforts and infuse a sense of zeal and enthusiasm among the participating stakeholders.

Body

Background

A self-help group (SHG) is a village-based financial intermediary committee normally consist of 10–20 local women or men. When the formal financial system fails to help the needy, then small groups volunteer to cater to the needs of the financially weak by collecting, saving and lending the money on a micro scale. SHGs have gained wide recognition in most developing countries in Asia where their presence is quite pervasive

  • The concept evolved over decades and was pioneered by Noble laureate Mohammad Yunus as Self Help Groups (SHGs) in 1970s.
  • SHG movement in India gained momentum after 1992, when NABARD realised its potential and started promoting it.
  • NABARD’s SHG-Bank Linkage Program (SBLP) connected group members to formal financial services.
  • Over the last two decades, the SBLP has proven to be a great medium for social and economic empowerment for rural women.
  • India has witnessed state-led promotion of SHGs through a three-tiered architecture of community institutions at group, village and cluster level.
  • In 1999, Government of India, introduced Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarojgaar Yojana (SGSY) to promote self- employment in rural areas through formation and skilling of SHGs.

Role of SHG’s in rural development

  • Capital formation: Through micro-finance, many SHG’s have created valuable assets and capital in the rural areas and are sustaining livelihoods.
  • Access to credit: SHGs provide better access to credit at acceptable and convenient terms. The members have been able to obtain loans for emergent productive and non-productive purposes on comparatively easy terms. This has reduced their dependence on local moneylenders to a large extent.
    • Government initiative such as SHG-Bank linkage program is also increasing their financial inclusion and easy access to credit from formal institutions.
  • Poverty Alleviation: The approach of poverty alleviation through SHG is the most effective means and suits the ongoing process of reforms based on the policy of decentralization.
    • SHGs have given the poor the access to microfinance and consequently led to important changes in their access to productive resources such as land, water, knowledge, technology and credit.
  • Employment generation: Self-employment activities such as collective farming, bee-keeping, horticulture, sericulture have been taken up by SHG’s.
  • Socail welfare: There are many successful cases where SHG women have come together to close liquor shops in their village.
  • Rural infrastructure: Schemes such as Aajeevika express have helped SHG’s in creating transport in rural areas.
  • Women empowerment: SHGs have been able to improve the skills of women to do various things by managing the available natural resources.
    • It is estimated that more than 25 million rural women of India have been benefited by the Self Help Groups (SHG).
    • As a group they can help each other to learn so many things along with the money management because most of the women in the rural areas have a very little knowledge for the management of money.
    • Eg Kudumbashree in Kerala has been a huge success. Kudumbashree café is an exemplary example of nurturing entrepreneurship through SHG’s.
  • They also act as a delivery mechanism for various services like entrepreneurial training, livelihood promotion activity and community development programs.

Conclusion

SHG approach is an enabling, empowering, and bottom-up approach for rural development that has provided considerable economic and non-economic externalities to low-income households in developing countries. SHG approach is being hailed as a sustainable tool to combat poverty, combining a for-profit approach that is self-sustaining, and a poverty alleviation focus that empowers low-income households. It is increasingly becoming a tool to exercise developmental priorities for governments in developing countries.

 

Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. Disaster and disaster management.

5. In the backdrop of the criticism of the World Health Organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, discuss the role of WHO in global health efforts and the inherent challenges faced by it while suggesting measures to empower it.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

The article explain How the American President’s suspension of funds to the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic impact its work. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the role of WHO in global health efforts and the inherent challenges faced by it and also suggest measures to empower it.

Directive:

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:

Briefly explain the background of the question.

Body:

To start with, explain that The U.S. President has criticized World Health Organization (WHO) for its handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic and has alleged that the organisation was “very China centric”. The WHO has been accused of mismanaging the COVID-19 crisis and failing to vet information and share it in a timely and transparent manner. Discuss the role of WHO in global health efforts. List down the criticism of WHO’s handling of the Pandemic. Present the counter arguments if any. Suggest measures to address its challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that WHO would have to work with its partners to fill any financial gaps that arise to ensure that its work continues uninterrupted.

Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

It has been at the forefront of coordinating global response against the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the role and it’s response were criticized for being inadequate.

Body

WHO: Organization , objectives and role

  • The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the legislative and supreme body of WHO. It meets annually and reviews various works of WHO. It also appoints the Director-General every five years.
  • The WHO operates “Goodwill Ambassadors”; members of the arts, sports, or other fields of public life aimed at drawing attention to WHO’s initiatives and projects.
  • The WHO is financed by contributions from member states and outside donors. Publications of WHO- World Health Report, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, the Human Resources for Health, Pan American Journal of Public Health.
  • The WHO supports the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and drugs, such as through the Expanded Programme on Immunization.
  • Role played by WHO
    • Providing leadership on global health. Initiatives like triple billion goals for better health, convention on tobacco control, TB elimination, campaign and awareness on Anti-microbial resistance are some examples.
    • Shaping research agenda
    • Advocating for Evidence based and ethical policy.
    • Monitoring and assessing health trends.

Challenges faced by WHO

  • Donor dependency– with only 30 percent of its budget under WHO control, the organization’s agenda is guided by donor priorities. This goes against the principle of equity, which requires all countries’ requirements to be included in its agenda.
    • Eg: With USA suspending it’s WHO contribution, especially during global pandemic it becomes even more important to ensure WHO has a stable financial resource.
  • Unable to respond effectively to existing and anticipated global health challenges-
    • g. faulted response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. It also failed in insisting more transparency by China regarding Coronavirus and the morbidity attached.
    • It took till about the middle of January for WHO to suggest human-to-human transmission of the virus, toeing the China line for the first few weeks of the year, as per reports.
  • WHO cannot enforce accountability for nations’ actions. For instance, delayed reported of covid-19 and gagging of media and press from reporting it at the earliest.
  • Widening gap between the agency’s mandate and capabilities- A report by independent experts concluded that WHO lacks the capacity to deliver a full emergency public health response. WHO requires a systematic overhaul of its structure and practices to build this capacity.
  • Lack balance of staff skills- nearly half of WHO staff includes medical specialists with only 1.6 % social scientists, and 4 % lawyers. Although medical specialists are crucial for technical expertise, other staff composition is needed to understand the local traditions and culture, manage international relations and perform some of its core functions such as creating rules and principles for global health.
  • Emergence of new global institutions– which have challenged the WHO’s leadership in global health such as Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GAVI Alliance, and Unitaid etc.

Measures to empower WHO

  • Increase the WHO’s technical capacities and capabilities– Creating new departments focused on science, antimicrobial resistance and digital health will also broaden the WHO’s range of expertise and keep up with the latest public health challenges and opportunities.
  • Help focus on the mission of WHO-which does not have the capacity to do everything and has frequently found itself responding to situations rather than setting its own agenda. It may also encourage member states to provide additional resources if they have a better idea of where that money is going.
  • Coordinate with other global players– as these reforms do not address how the organization should interact with major global health players like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.
  • Mobilize more resources– WHO’s current biennial budget is 4.42 billion, with overwhelming majority dictated by donors and their priorities, which leaves the organization limited control over the funding.

Conclusion

The countries should stop politicizing the virus and ramp up their capabilities to fight the pandemic without overwhelming the healthcare infrastructure. What is needed now is global cooperation on the issue rather than issuing blame on each other. It augurs well for nations if WHO was strengthened with adequate finances.

 

Topic:  Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

6.The next big election in India will be the precursor to just how a pandemic affects electoral democracy. Comment.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

The article presents a narration of effects of COVID-19 outbreak on the elections in the country.

Key demand of the question:

One has to analyse and examine in detail the possible effect that the Pandemic will have on the electoral democracy of the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the background of the question by presenting some key facts.

Body:

To start with, highlight in what way the COVID-19 outbreak has put India’s electoral calendar on the back burner. Explain in what way the recent national election in South Korea sets an example with lessons to learn and that conduct of elections should not be completely written off in India either. Discuss the effect on the electoral democracy. Highlight the possible challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction

The COVID-19 outbreak has put India’s electoral calendar on the back burner. Much of what passed for standard political discourse just weeks ago now seems petty and beside the point, as the nation faces an unprecedented challenge.

The absence of a vaccine or therapeutic intervention against the disease has necessitated a long period of physical distancing and sanitary measures, all of which, say experts, will change the great Indian poll circus forever.Digital campaigning may replace big rallies; handbills and pamphlets are likely to return.

Body

Context of the debate

One of the defining characteristics of a democracy is that it holds regular, periodic elections. This requirement was famously enshrined into the Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The certainty of holding an election means that citizens are given the opportunity to remove or extend the mandate for their representatives and leaders.

At the same time, there are occasions where a natural disaster, famine or epidemic may mean that holding an election will potentially introduce considerable threats to human life. The problem has been laid bare with the pandemic coronavirus disease (Covid-19). From citizens queuing to vote at polling stations to public officials counting votes in crowded halls, elections have suddenly become opportunities for the spread of the infectious disease, as much as democratic rituals.

Undermining effect on electoral democracy

  • Turnout may decline, especially amongst groups more likely to be affected by the disease, and this undermines principles of inclusivity and equality in the electoral process.
  • The public debate may only focus on the current public health crisis, thereby preventing a wider discussion about other important topics;
  • An unscrupulous government may use emergency restrictions on rights to repress opposition candidates or critical media and individuals, making elections held under emergency conditions less free and less fair than they should be.

Changes that may transform election

  • Digital campaigning: Much of the campaign would have to shift to the digital sphere. Without mass vaccination, organizing big rallies would be a hazard. Leaders envision more digital campaigning, and micro, man-to-man marking gaining ground.
    • Eg: In USA, rallies, canvassing, and phone banks have been called off and replaced with virtual town halls and online barnstorms.
    • In a sign of the times, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders debated on Sunday in an empty studio, standing six feet apart.
  • Polling: There is a need to devise technology to ensure that proximity is not a factor in polling. Especially with a highly contagious disease without a vaccine on the scourging the planet.
    • And for many voters, the situation has put politics in an entirely new light, raising the stakes of the election.
    • For many, it’s putting a new premium on competence in government, while simultaneously clarifying the voting booth question: Which candidate has the right qualities to lead through these uncertain times?
  • Online Voting: New Zealand‘s Electoral Commission is considering extending existing alternative voting arrangements, designed for voters unable to attend a polling station to vote in person, to all voters for its general election scheduled for 19 September 2020.
  • There may be a move towards linking Voter ID (EPIC), Aadhar and mobile phones to ensure integrity of data and reduce duplication of voters in the electoral list.
  • After the COVID-19 outbreak and the role of governments being assessed so closely, this trend will completely overshadow identity politics.

Steps needed

An International IDEA Technical Paper makes recommendations for how policy-makers should continue. There is no one-size-fits all answer for every scenario, but there are general principles that should be applied. Inter-agency collaboration is essential and there should be:

  • Careful consideration of staff and public safety, constitutional constraints and procedures, and implications for democracy – inclusion, equality and accountability;
  • Logistical considerations for alternative voting arrangements must be made.
  • If proceeding with an election, processes for mitigating risks should be in place.
  • If postponing an election, pathways for addressing the electoral issue at hand and stringent guidelines for caretaker arrangements are needed.
  • Public communication about the issues at stake, the reasons for the decision and the processes in place to safeguard democracy.

Conclusion

The global spread of Covid-19 has already profoundly impacted the health and welfare of citizens around the world. The decisions that policy-makers make about the holding of elections will have a further profound effect, shaping the health of democracy in the future.

 

Topic:  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers

7. Discuss the relevance of Gandhian principles of swadeshi, swachhata and sarvodaya in the contemporary times.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why this question:

The article presents the relevance of Gandhian principles of swadeshi, swachhata and sarvodaya in the contemporary times. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the relevance of Gandhian principles of swadeshi, swachhata and sarvodaya in the contemporary times with suitable examples.

Directive:

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:

Briefly explain in what way COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the postmodern world.

Body:

To start with, first explain the Gandhian principles of swadeshi, swachhata and sarvodaya. The question is pretty much straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate, students must present suitable examples to justify the relevance of Gandhian principles in the current times.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of these principles.

Introduction

21st century is the era of globalization. New economic policy of globalization moves on to make the world a global village. New challenges and problems have emerged before youth. The belief that all emergent problems – ecological, social, economical, political and moral-could be resolved by discoveries and technological innovations persists, filatures in the past notwithstanding.

What is happening today is in line with what Gandhi almost predicted in Hind Swaraj as he prepared its manuscript in 1908.Gandhi put forward four main goals before youth for humanity, so as to move towards its destiny. These are Swaraj, Non-violence, Swadeshi and Sarvodaya.

Body

Swadeshi

Gandhi applied meaning of swadeshi in multiple ways.

  • Political dimension: The application of swadeshi in politics calls for the revival of the indigenous institutions and strengthening them to overcome some of its defects.
    • Gandhi pleaded the need for internal governance (swaraj) as early as 1909 in his noted booklet Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule.
    • He wanted to empower the people through political self governance. His vision of decentralized political system was Panchayati Raj by which the innumerable villages of India were governed.
  • Religious dimension: Swadeshi in religion teaches one to measure the glorious past and re-enact it in the present generation. The pandemonium that is going on in Europe shows that modern civilization represents forces of evil and darkness, whereas the ancient, i.e., Indian civilization, represents in its essence the divine force.
  • Economic dimension: Gandhi was convinced that the deep poverty prevailing among masses was mainly due to the ruinous departure from the path of swadeshi in the economic and industrial life.
    • Gandhi advocated that one who follows the spirit of swadeshi should use only things that are produced by our immediate neighbours and serve those industries by making them efficient, and strengthen them in areas where they are found deficient.
    • During the time of India’s struggle for independence Gandhi realised that the economic salvation of India consists in encouraging and reviving indigenous industries.
    • Gandhi found khadi as the necessary and most important corollary of the principle of swadeshi in its practical application to society.

Relevance

  • Self-sufficiency is an important aspect that India as a nation has struggled with, and over the years this has been exhibited in various forms in varied arenas.
  • More comprehensively, rather than indulging in a globalised lifestyle, we should endeavour to respond to Gandhiji’s call for putting into practice a unique variant of “glocalisation” — learning to experience the entire world within the precincts of our immediate village or neighbourhood.
  • The recent Make in India campaign is also a re-imagined modified version of the swadeshi movement.
  • Now during the time of Covid-19 pandemic, most airlines have been suspended, halting the global supply chain. This calls for a need for indigenous capacity building based on self-reliance.

Swacchata

Mahatma Gandhi said “Sanitation is more important than independence”. He made cleanliness and sanitation an integral part of the Gandhian way of living. His dream was total sanitation for all. Cleanliness is most important for physical well-being and a healthy environment. It has bearing on public and personal hygiene. It is essential for everyone to learn about cleanliness, hygiene, sanitation and the various diseases that are caused due to poor hygienic conditions.

Relevance

  • In the current situation of coronavirus outbreak, regular cleaning and sanitizing our hands have been touted as foremost preventive measure.
    • Practice excellent personal hygiene, promote and ensure community sanitation, and restrict ourselves to our localities, avoiding long-distance travel and attendance at public assemblies.
  • Indeed in following his dictum “Be the change you want to see in the world” through “simple living and high thinking”, each of us can make our contribution towards redeeming humanity and Planet Earth and thereby, pay homage to the Mahatma.
  • Keeping our surroundings clean will help in preventing most infectious diseases from contaminated water, oral fecal route etc.

 Sarvodaya

  • Sarvodaya is a term meaning ‘Universal Uplift’ or ‘Progress of All’.
  • The term was first coined by Mohandas Gandhi as the title of his 1908 translation of John Ruskin’s tract on political economy, “Unto This Last”, and Gandhi came to use the term for the ideal of his own political philosophy.
  • It can be summed up as follows:-
    • That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
    • That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s in as much as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
    • That is a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.

Relevance

That Sarvodaya is an agency of Service for Common Welfare Sarvodaya sets its face squarely against the politics of power and exploitation. It lays great emphasis on moral and spiritual values. It seeks to create new social and economical values. The concept of possession yields place to the concept of trusteeship. People will work for the good of all and family feeling will animate the entire community. There will be fullest scope for freedom, fellowship and equality.

  • Later Gandhian, like the Indian nonviolence activist Vinoba Bhave, embraced the term as a name for the social movement in post-independence India which strove to ensure that self-determination and equality reached all strata of India society. Eg: Bhoodan Movement
  • Ayushmaan Bharat, that aims to eventually provide near universal health care starting with the lowest strata of the population exudes the principle of Sarvodaya or upliftment of people through health for all.
  • Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan aims for a true people led development. This is a precursor for Sarvodaya through Gram Rajya.

Conclusion

With modernity’s shining gloss getting unmasked as a deceptive mirage, it is dawning on us that our globalized lifestyle has made us weaker than ever (from a Gandhian perspective morally as well as physically). Now is the right time to rethink the Gandhian Principles of swachhta for protection from pandemic, swadeshi for self-reliance and self-sufficiency and finally Sarvodaya for betterment of all lives, particularly in India.