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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 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:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1. Discuss in what way the COVID-19 pandemic presents a chance to make systemic changes for sustainable development in the country.(250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint 

Why this question:

The article talks about the possible systemic changes that can make a difference for the sustainable development in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the current scenario of the COVID-19 and present the case as to how it presents the case for systematic development in the country.

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 need for sustainable development.

Body:

To start with, discuss that the recovery efforts from the fallout of the Covid pandemic present the country a chance to make systemic changes for sustainable development. This crisis has also demonstrated that governments and individuals are capable of strong action in the face of an overarching challenge. Explain how the pandemic has reinforced the links between health, environment and the economy. Take hints from the article and explain in what way the present scenario facilitates an opportunity to envision the goal of sustainable development.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The recovery efforts from the fallout of the covid pandemic present the country a chance to make systemic changes that would ensure more sustainable development and a resilient economy. This is because the crisis has also demonstrated that governments and individuals are capable of strong action in the face of an overarching challenge

Body

Chance to make systemic changes for Sustainable and inclusive development

  • Create sustainable infrastructure
    • First, invest in sustainable infrastructure. Infrastructure investments are an effective way of boosting economic activity and creating jobs.
    • Data from the 2008-09 financial crisis shows that South Korea, which directed 80% of its stimulus towards green measures, rebounded faster than other economies in the OECD. In the recovery package developed by the United States in response to the Great Recession about a decade ago, investments in clean energy and public transport created more jobs than traditional investments.
  • Focus on renewable energy
    • India too should increase support for renewable energy, particularly rooftop solar.
    • Decentralized solar power can help spread critical services in remote regions if the upfront capital constraints can be addressed.
    • It should revisit the potential import duties on solar panels, since this may not increase domestic production, but may raise the cost of solar power.
    • This will create new opportunities for employment when the nation is reeling under unemployment crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic layoffs.
  • Electric Vehicles
    • Similarly, scaling up the electrification and adoption of public transport will be critically important to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. This should involve closer coordination with the electricity sector, and a greater focus on vehicle-charging infrastructure.
  • Agriculture reforms
    • Continued investment in cold storage facilities and supply chains will ensure the preservation and timely delivery of agricultural produce, and reduce losses to farmers.
    • It will aid in increasing the farm income as well as ensure food security.
  • Social safety nets
    • Build resilience of the most vulnerable is tantamount. About 90% of India’s workforce is informally employed, which includes gig economy workers.
    • This population is extremely vulnerable to economic shocks and needs greater access to formal credit and social safety nets such as insurance and pension schemes.
    • Beyond employment guarantees, a universal basic income – broader than the current schemes that are conditional on occupation and land ownership – can provide vital resources for subsistence, or for investing in education and health.
  • Working towards a circular economy
    • Promoting reuse, recycling, and repair models for consumption can contribute to a circular economy and reduce the waste generated by current business models.
    • This will bring a lot of unorganized sector workers such as ragpickers into safety nets.

Conclusion

For a geography as vast and diverse as India, it is not surprising that challenges abound. However, the resilience of our economy, how we transform these challenges into opportunities and the collective resolve of its citizens to overcome roadblocks, have made India a force to reckon with. India needs to plan for immediate relief as well as rebuilding with sustainability in mind. This will not only help with pandemic efforsts but also secure a lasting economic recovery, increase community resilience, and create a long-term path for sustainable development.

 

Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

2.  India’s digital divide makes the government far-flung from those who need it most, discuss the need for aggressive bridging of the digital divide to ensure access to e-governance for all.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The author in the article tries to bring the lop sides of the digital bridge and in what way the gaps in the digital divide distance the needy from the State.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need to aggressively bridge the digital divide in the country. Discuss its relevance and importance in bringing about access to e-governance.

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:

One can start by stating key facts/reports that highlight the digital divide in the country.

Body:

To start with, define what constitutes a digital divide. Present the Indian scenario. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the e-governance model to the people of the country, define the role of digital divide and explain why it is important to aggressively bridge it. One can present the case of COVID-19; highlight the issue of poor and the migrants who are at the receiving end.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions to address the problem, highlight the efforts of the government in this direction.

Introduction

The digital medium has emerged as a powerful passport for millions of citizens to register their expectations from the state and make their voices hear. Especially at a time when the nation is under a lockdown to combat an unprecedented pandemic, the glaring inequality in the access to the digital world is laid our bare.

Body

Digital Divide: It means discrepancy between people who have access to and the resources to use new information and communication tools, such as the Internet, and people who do not have the resources and access to the technology. It also means discrepancy between those who have the skills, knowledge and abilities to use the technologies and those who do not.

The digital divide can exist between those living in rural areas and those living in urban areas, between genders, between the educated and uneducated, between economic classes, and on a global scale between more and less industrially developed nations.

Status in India

  • Although India has 220 million smartphone users and is the second largest smartphone market in the world, the overall penetration is still just about 30 per cent of the population.
  • There is a huge rural- urban and inter-state digital divide in India.
    • according to statistics, more than 75 per cent of the broadband connections in the country are in the top 30 cities
    • Similarly, many states like north-eastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Assam lag behind other states in the use and development of ICTs.
  • Globally 12 percent more men used the internet than women in 2017, while in India only 29% of total internet users are females.
  • Another important reason of digital divide in India is knowledge divide. Knowledge divide is directly related with digital divide.

Advantages of Digitization

Digital revolution in India is significant as it promises to bring a multi-dimensional metamorphosis in almost all sectors of the society.

  • From digitization in governance to better health care and educational services, cashless economy and digital transactions, transparency in bureaucracy, fair and quick distribution of welfare schemes all seem achievable with the digital India initiative of the present Government.
  • Access to Education: ‘SWAYAM’ scheme provides an opportunity to students to access courses taught in classrooms from ninth standard to post graduation, that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time.
    • This digital scheme not only brings education at the door step of numerous students but also aims to bridge the digital divide as students who cannot join mainstream or formal education can access this application.
    • Another digital scheme is ‘ePATHSHALA’ which disseminates all educational content through website and mobile app.
  • Better healthcare: Digital AIIMS’ a project that aims to create an effective linkage between UIDAI and AIIMS; the ‘e-hospitals’ scheme that is an open source health management system; ‘mRaktkosh’ – a web-based mechanism that interconnects all blood banks of the state into a single network. Such initiatives has been revolutionary for Indian healthcare.
  • Further, it enables collaboration and knowledge-sharing between academia, the business world, NGOs and the vast swathes of the Indian population that will most benefit from it — our farmers, rural entrepreneurs and artisans.

Impact of Digital Divide

  • Low female representation: Due to huge digital divide in gender, thousands of Indian girls in these far-flung areas are refused access to Information and Communications Technology (ICTs), which is a primary cause of low female representation in jobs.
  • Denial to information/knowledge: This lack of equal opportunities to access online services and information deprive people of higher/quality education and skill training that could help them contribute to the economy and become leaders on a global level
  • Non delivery of welfare schemes: As many schemes have started using ICT in their delivery, at the same time due to digital divide it will create more problem.
  • Covid-19 case study: India’s deep digital divide is in ever-sharper focus with most physical means of carrying out business and governance rendered dysfunctional.
    • For instance, most emergency permits being issued by various government authorities are e-passes, which must be applied for and received digitally.
    • As such, the exigencies of the unlettered and the digitally deprived must, by default, languish behind the great divide.
    • We cannot underestimate the disproportionate burden of the lockdown, both psychological and material, being borne by them.

Need of the hour

The way to lighten this burden is through an aggressive bridging of the digital divide.

  • A national network of decentralised virtual call centres could be operated in local languages and dialects for the purpose of accessing e-governance.
  • Digitally empowered citizens, remotely serving as “digital volunteers” could be equipped with the relevant helpline numbers, website addresses and URLs for accessing public services.
  • The digitally disconnected could seek help through a simple phone call, which would be queued in the system.
  • A digital volunteer could then connect with the caller in her language, understand her requirement, and initiate the necessary procedures.
  • Similarly, leveraging India’s vast mobile phone penetration, an artificial intelligence-powered Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mechanism of placing automated calls could be harnessed for proactive dissemination of area-based vital information.
  • Such digital inclusion is essential for the reassurance of India’s teeming millions that the state is in their service and won’t let them languish without an anchor.

Conclusion

Promotion of telecommunication infrastructure in rural India is the most important condition for bridging the rural-urban digital divide and Indian government can play a significant role in creating the IT infrastructure in rural India. A special expenditure should be marked for bridging the digital divide in rural India. Government should come up with innovative schemes for giving technology access to rural areas

 

Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

3. Deliberate the relevance of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme in present times. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is straightforward from the article that talks about issues pertaining to the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme.

Key demand of the question:

Examine the relevance of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme in present times.

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Recently, the Government of India in the event of struggle against Covid-19 has suspended Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme or MPLADS funds for two years (2020 and 2021) and directed these funds to be transferred to the Consolidated Fund of India.

Body:

To start with, explain what MPLADs is; The MPLAD scheme was formulated in 1993 to enable Members of Parliament (MPs) to recommend development works in their constituencies with emphasis on the creation of durable community assets based on the locally felt need. Discuss the key features of it. Explain the issues associated with it. Discuss the relevance of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

MPLAD is a central government scheme, under which MPs can recommend development programmes involving spending of Rs 5 crore every year in their respective constituencies. MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, including nominated ones, can do so.

Recently, the Government of India in the event of struggle against Covid-19 has suspended Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme or MPLADS funds for two years (2020 and 2021) and directed these funds to be transferred to the Consolidated Fund of India.

Body

MPLAD Scheme: Features

  • The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is an ongoing Central Sector Scheme which was launched in 1993-94.
  • The Scheme enables the Members of Parliament to recommend works for creation of durable community assets based on locally felt needs to be taken up in their constituencies in the area of national priorities namely drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads etc.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been responsible for the policy formulation, release of funds and prescribing monitoring mechanism for implementation of the Scheme.
  • The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by Government of India. The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.
  • MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 per cent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.
  • In order to encourage trusts and societies for the betterment of tribal people, a ceiling of Rs. 75 lakh is stipulated for building assets by trusts and societies subject to conditions prescribed in the scheme guidelines.
  • Lok Sabha Members can recommend works within their Constituencies and Elected Members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works within the State of Election (with select exceptions). Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.
  • All works to meet locally felt infrastructure and development needs, with an emphasis on creation of durable assets in the constituency are permissible under MPLADS as prescribed in the scheme guidelines. Expenditure on specified items of non durable nature are also permitted as listed in the guidelines.
  • Implementation
    • A Member of Parliament shall give his/ her choice of Nodal District in a prescribed format to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with copy to the State Government and to the District Magistrate of the chosen District.
    • The annual entitlement of Rs 5 crore shall be released, in two equal instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each, by Government of India directly to the District Authority of the Nodal District of the Member of Parliament concerned.
    • Each MP shall recommend eligible work on the MP’s letter head duly signed by the MP to the district authority.
    • The District Authority shall identify the Implementing Agency capable of executing the eligible work qualitatively, timely and satisfactorily. It shall be responsible for timely and effective implementation of such works. All recommended eligible works should be sanctioned within 75 days from the date of receipt of the recommendation, after completing all formalities. The District Authority shall, however, inform MPs regarding rejection, if any, within 45 days from the date of receipt of recommendations, with reasons thereof.

Issues associated with the scheme

  • Against Separation of Powers: It is inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution as it co-opts legislators into executive functioning.
    • The additional workload on MPs created by the scheme diverted their attention from holding the government accountable and other legislative work.
  • Corruption: There are allegations of corruption associated with allocation of works. The Comptroller and Auditor General has on many occasions highlighted gaps in implementation.
  • Centre usurping role of state governance
    • Union Government can incur expenditure only with respect to matters over which it has subject domain as per seventh schedule.
    • MPLADS encroaches upon the domain of local self-governing institutions and thereby violates Part IX and IX-A of the Constitution.
  • Implementation issues
    • MPLAD scheme gives scope for MPs to utilise the funds as a source of patronage that they can dispense at will.
    • The CAG has flagged instances of financial mismanagement and artificial inflation of amounts spent.
    • Also, the scheme is alleged to be marred by the nexus of MP and private firms.
    • Due to this sometimes spending of MPLADS funds is seen for private works, recommending funds to ineligible agencies, diverting funds to private trusts, etc.
  • The MPLAD Scheme is not governed by any statutory law and is subject to the whims and fancies of the government of the day.
  • The scheme mandates that as soon as a work is completed, it should be transferred to the user agency for public use. Out of the 15,049 sample works created during 2004-09, handing over was not on record for 14,828 cases, which is 98.53 per cent of the works created.
  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2000) and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by Veerappa Moily (2007), recommended discontinuation of the scheme. In 2010, the Supreme Court held that the scheme was constitutional.

Relevance of the scheme

  • In 2018, when continuation of the scheme was approved, the government noted that “the entire population across the country stands to benefit through the creation of durable assets of locally felt needs, namely drinking water, education, public health, sanitation and roads etc, under MPLAD Scheme”.
  • Until 2017, nearly 19 lakh projects worth Rs 45,000 crore had been sanctioned under the MPLAD Scheme.
  • Third-party evaluators appointed by the government reported that the creation of good quality assets had a “positive impact on the local economy, social fabric and feasible environment”.
  • Further, 82% of the projects have been in rural areas and the remaining in urban/semi-urban areas.

Conclusion

At a time when the country is reeling under the pressure of pandemic and a dwindling economy, it is imperative to generate resources for better utilization. As cumulatively more than 5000 crore funds were unused under the scheme, the decision to discontinue for two years may help in ecnomic recovery. These funds will be used to strengthen Government’s efforts in managing the challenges and adverse impact of COVID19 in the country.

 

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

4. Do you think BRICS grouping can fill the void in global governance in the time of crisis the world is facing currently? Examine.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The article talks about the role of BRICS amidst the current crisis facing the world.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the potential of BRICS to emerge as an important global governance institution.

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 explain the background that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a crisis of globalization and global governance.

Body:

Explain the relevance of BRICS in the present times. Discuss the possible opportunities that the BRICS has in presenting global response to the current crisis. BRICS looks better than other global governance institutions amidst the ongoing COVID crises. There is no blame-game or pointing fingers within BRICS, rather, there is a vision for intensifying cooperation, including in sectors like healthcare and social welfare. Contrary to initial estimates of lack of effectiveness of the BRICS grouping, BRICS has progressed on developing a common position on the most important matters of the global economy and security and it also got institutionalized with the setting up of the BRICS New Development Bank in 2015. Explain the challenges that the BRICS nations have before them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a positive note.

Introduction

A report, “BRICS and the Rivalry Pandemic”, released by Russian think-tank Valdai Club this week, notes that the question of considering BRICS as a global governance institution has now come to the fore. It argues that COVID-19 is another stage for political rivalry that has reinforced some international disputes and conflicts with the U.S. “ratching up its confrontational policy towards China and Russia”. In this scenario, BRICS emerges as an important global governance institution.

Body

Role of BRICS to fill vacuum in global governance in time of pandemic

  • In 2018 Johannesburg summit, it was decided to establish BRICS Center for Research and Development of vaccines.
  • Apart from that, BRICS countries are planning to work on an early warning mechanism for outbreaks of infection, the development of diagnostic and preventive measures for the disease, as well as joint epidemiological exercises while the New Development Bank would provide financial anti-crisis assistance to members to fight the
  • Recently, BRICS decided to set up a $15 billion fund for member nations to revive the economy. This will be done by the New Development Bank.
  • BRICS nations had also agreed to ensure availability of innovative medical products through promotion of research and development and access to affordable, quality, effective and safe drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and other medical products and technologies as well as to medical services through enhanced health systems and health financing.
  • While G7, created during the Cold War, is today used by the leading Western powers to strengthen their position in the competition with non-West and to restore a rules-based international order, BRICS is based on entirely different values, and adheres to the goals and objectives of the UN Charter and the idea of equality.
  • BRICS has re-iterated to stand firm by multilateralism, by the UN-centered international system, and by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. At this crucial juncture, BRICS has lauded the work being done by WHO.
  • It has called to champion the approach of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits in governance, take the lead in advancing global governance reform along the right direction. Through joint efforts, it aims to l safeguard the legitimate rights and interests and space for development not just for members but also for all other emerging market and developing countries.

Challenges for BRICS

  • Varied Political Structures and values: While Brazil, India and South Africa are democratic, China and Russia are not. Structure of financial systems, levels of income, education, inequality, health challenges also differ substantially within BRICS which makes it hard for them to speak with a unified voice and to co- ordinate action.
  • Different geopolitical agenda: The Brasilia declaration notes shared perceptions on global economic and financial governance. However, their interpretation by each country depends on its national interest in specific circumstances.
    • g. on expansion of the UN Security Council, BRICS exposed its disunity yet again by sticking to the formulation that refuses to go beyond China and Russia supporting the “aspiration” of Brazil, India and South Africa “to play a greater role in the UN”.
    • Also the China-Pak axis will always be a hindrance for India to fully cooperate with China. China’s rejection of NSG membership to India is an example.
  • Diverging long-term economic goals of member countries: Though the five nations have greatly increased their combined economic heft since the turn of the century, the share is imbalanced.g. Brazil, Russia and South Africa’s shares of global output have actually shrunk since 2000.
    • Despite their combined population accounting for 40% of humanity, intra-BRICS trade still makes up just 15% of world trade.
    • Brazil also took India to WTO dispute resolution wrt sugar production.

Way Forward

  • For BRICS to stay relevant, it needs to make better use of its institutions, which it has set up over the last two decades.
  • The New Development Bank established in 2014, could collaborate with other multilateral financial institution supporting green energy initiatives and set up research centers which would focus on United Nations established Sustainable Development goals.
  • Healthcare research could be a priority and give a distinct view of how policies should be implemented in developing and least developed countries around the world.

Conclusion

A significant amount of convergence on economic issues is required for BRICS to work as a strong multilateral body that will have a significant effect on global governance. A joint battle against COVID-19 and pursuit of common development will help these nations embrace a better future.

 

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

5. Discuss the significant possible contributions that the “Swamitva Yojana” can make to boost rural economy.(250 words)

Reference:  narendramodi.in 

Why this question:

On Panchayati Raj Diwas (April 24th), the Prime Minister of India launched ‘Swamitva Yojana’ or Ownership Scheme to map residential land ownership in the rural sector using modern technology like the use of drones.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the significant possible contributions that the “Swamitva Yojana” can make to boost rural economy.

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 coming of the scheme into picture.

Body:

To start with, present a brief overview of the scheme. Explain the key features of the Yojana. Discuss the benefits of the scheme and highlight the need and significance of the scheme. Bring out challenges or concerns associated if any and suggest solutions to the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the new scheme is likely to become a tool for empowerment and entitlement, reducing social strife on account of discord over properties.

Introduction

On the Panchayati Raj Diwas on April 24, the prime minister launched the ‘Swamitva Yojna’, or the ownership scheme, to map residential land ownership in the rural sector with the help of modern technology like drones.

The scheme aimed to revolutionize property record maintenance in India was launched on the Panchayati Raj Diwas by the prime minister, who also interacted with members of Gram Panchayats across the country through video conferencing.

Body

Swamitva Yojana: Features

  • Objective: The Swamitva Scheme is to provide an integrated property validation solution to the rural areas of the country.
  • Technology used: Under this scheme now the demarcation of inhabited land of the rural area will be done according to the latest surveying methods using drones.
  • Implementing Agency: The Panchayats of the rural areas were expecting the launch of this scheme for a long time. For the demarcation of inhabited land, the latest surveying method is Drone’s technology.
  • The scheme will be carried out in close coordination with the Central Panchayati Raj ministry, Survey of India, Panchayati Raj departments and Revenue departments of various states.

Benefits to boost rural economy

  • It is expected to go a long way in settling property rights in rural hinterlands and likely to become a tool for empowerment and entitlement, reducing social strife on account of discord over properties.
  • The delivery of property rights through an official document will enable villagers to access bank finance using their property as collateral.
  • The residential land in villages will be measured using drones to create a non-disputable record.
    • It is the latest technology for surveying and measuring of land.
    • Drones will draw a digital map of every property falling within the geographical limits of a village and demarcate the boundaries of every revenue area.
  • The property records for a village will also be maintained at the Panchayat level, allowing for the collection of associated taxes from the owners. The money generated from these local taxes will be used to build rural infrastructure and facilities.
  • Freeing the residential properties including land of title disputes and the creation of an official record is likely to result in appreciation in the market value of the properties.
  • The accurate property records can be used for facilitating tax collection, new building and structure plan, issuing of permits and for thwarting attempts at property grabbing.

Significance of the Scheme

  • The need for this Yojana was felt since several villagers in the rural areas don’t have papers proving ownership of their land.
  • In most states, survey and measurement of the populated areas in the villages has not been done for the purpose of attestation/verification of properties.
  • When we look at the benefits of this scheme we will have to understand this point that most people don’t have the papers of their land in a rural area. In this case, the chances of disputes get increased in rural areas. This scheme will fill this gap and make the people aware of their ownership of land in rural areas.
  • Swamitva Yojana is aimed to fill the above gap to provide ownership rights to people in the villages.
  • As the property record of a village will be managed at the Panchayat level, the collection of taxes from the local landowners will also be done at this level only and collected money will be used for the benefit of the local area and people.

Challenges

  • The scheme does not spell out how to resolve existing disputes on land in the rural areas.
  • There is a lack of grievance redressal mechanism and villagers have no means to place their objections or bring notice to the authorities regarding any discrepancies.
  • The scheme has not addressed the level of reliability of the drone survey, as accuracy rate may vary.
  • Before implementation, people must be apprised of the scheme thoroughly and made aware of their rights and benefits accruing out of it.
  • Without the cooperation of the people and their acceptance, the scheme will be difficult to implement.

Conclusion

The scheme will go a long way in achieving social justice and securing the lives of rural people by providing them definite legal assurance of their land ownership.

 

Topic:  Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

6. A special plan like the Marshall Plan of USA in 1948 is the need of the hour to address the agrarian distress amidst the ongoing crisis. Comment.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The author talks about the agrarian reforms that the country needs in the current crisis hours and in what way we require Marshall plan like that of USA to address the situation.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the factors responsible for the ongoing agrarian crisis; discuss what needs to be done to address the situation.

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:

Explain what Marshall plan of USA in 1948 was.

Body:

To start with, highlight the agrarian problems the country is facing currently. One can present the case study of eastern India as suggested in the article. List down the challenges in detail. Take hints from the article and explain what can be done and what lessons can be taken from the Marshall plan of USA,1948. Suggest solutions to address the scenario.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

In the context of today’s economy, under siege because of the coronavirus pandemic, what matters is not how big a country’s GDP is or how fast it has been growing; the real challenge is how best and how quickly a country can bounce back to a growth rate of 7-8 per cent per annum.

Our survival is dependent on agriculture and a good harvest depends on quality seeds delivered to farmers by the seed sector, both public and private. As we are in the midst the coronavirus crisis, it is imperative that good seeds and other farm inputs reach farmers in time for the kharif season.

Body

State of Economy amidst Covid-19 pandemic

  • The IMF’s projections for GDP growth for this year seem to be either in the negative or below 2 per cent for almost all major countries of the G-20 group.
  • India could do a little better compared to the other BRICS nations, but its growth will most likely be below 2 per cent.
  • Many experts reckon that India could also go into negative GDP growth this year, if it does not reboot the economy properly and in time.
  • The all India relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore announced by the central government earlier, which is about 0.8 per cent of the country’s GDP, is too small to reboot the economy.
  • The lockdown has choked off almost all economic activity. In urban areas, leading to the widespread loss of jobs and incomes for informal workers and the poor.
  • Estimates by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy show that unemployment shot up from 8.4% in mid-March to 23% in the first week of April.
  • In urban areas, unemployment soared to 30.9% as of April 5. The shutdown will cause untold misery for informal workers and the poor, who lead precarious lives facing hunger and malnutrition.

What was the Marshall Plan 1948?

  • It was a call for a comprehensive program to rebuild Europe.
  • Fanned by the fear of Communist expansion and the rapid deterioration of European economies in the winter of 1946–1947, Congress passed the Economic Cooperation Act in March 1948 and approved funding that would eventually rise to over $12 billion for the rebuilding of Western Europe.
  • The Marshall Plan generated a resurgence of European industrialization and brought extensive investment into the region.
  • It was also a stimulant to the U.S. economy by establishing markets for American goods.
  • The Marshall Plan also institutionalized and legitimized the concept of U.S. foreign aid programs, which have become a integral part of U.S. foreign policy.

Agrarian distress due to pandemic

  • Preliminary reports show that the non-availability of migrant labor is interrupting harvesting activities, particularly in northwest India where wheat and pulses are being harvested.
  • There are disruptions in supply chains because of transportation problems and other non-availability of demand for farm produce. Although farm produce were essential goods, smooth transport of these were not facilitated.
  • Prices have declined for wheat, vegetables, and other crops, yet consumers are often paying more.
  • Media reports show that the closure of hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, and tea shops during the lockdown is already depressing milk sales.
  • Meanwhile, poultry farmers have been badly hit due to misinformation, particularly on social media, that chicken are the carriers of COVID-19.

Need for stimulant to India to fight agrarian distress

The government has correctly issued lockdown guidelines that exempt farm operations and supply chains. But implementation problems leading to labor shortages and falling prices should be rectified.

  • Keeping supply chains functioning well is crucial to food security. It should be noted that 2 to 3 million deaths in the Bengal famine of 1943 were due to food supply disruptions—not a lack of food availability.
  • Farm populations must be protected from the coronavirus to the extent possible by testing and practicing social distancing.
  • Farmers must have continued access to markets. This can be a mix of private markets and government procurement.
  • Small poultry and dairy farmers need more targeted help, as their pandemic-related input supply and market-access problems are urgent.
  • Farmers and agricultural workers should be included in the government’s assistance package and any social protection programs addressing the crisis.
  • As lockdown measures have increased, demand has risen for home delivery of groceries and E-commerce. This trend should be encouraged and promoted.
  • The government should promote trade by avoiding export bans and import restrictions.

Conclusion

Hence besides chalking new plans and announcements, this is the right time to take pragmatic steps to address the fault lines in India’s agricultural and farming sector, to bring rural prosperity and dispel agrarian distress.

 

Topic:  Case Study

7. You are traveling in a government bus to attend a very important job interview. In one hour you should be present at the interview venue. The bus is very congested. Luckily you are seated. From your seat you observe that a middle aged man standing next to a girl is touching and trying to molest her. The girl is silently resisting and trying to move away from him. But the man is continuing his actions. As the bus is congested, nobody is noticing this except you.  In this situation, what will you do? Explain. If you do not do anything, which values will you be compromising? Explain their importance.(250 words)

Why this question:

The question is based on the ethical instincts of an individual and morals of a society.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the precepts of the case and suggest what actions you would take in such a scenario.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving 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:

Briefly discuss the case.

Body:

Explain the possible solutions available to you to address the situation and then present a detailed evaluation of each option available to you. Discuss the importance of values that you as an individual must uphold in such situations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with most apt solution which is ethically and morally sound to the situation.

Introduction

The case presents the vulnerability of women and glaring safety issues that exists today. The unsafe environment is the major reason for low participation of women in the workforce. It has also hindered true women empowerment. This case also represents the helplessness of a woman, showing that everybody does not have an equal voice in the society.

Women’s Safety in Public Transport is one of the key challenges across the globe. It is very important to understand the travel needs of men and women are very different. In developing countries, lots of women forced to remain at home owing to lack of safe transportation option. Women are more likely to travel shorter distances and to stop more frequently than men during their journey.

Ethical Values Involved

  • Women safety and women empowerment
  • Sexual Harassment in a public setting and victimization
  • Violation of Bodily Integrity
  • Objectification of women
  • Male atrocity on the weaker sex
  • Self-interest versus societal-interest
  • Ignorance versus upholding the rights of a person
  • Bringing the perpetrator to justice

Body

Action to be taken in the situation

  • In such a situation I would apprise my fellow passengers/conductor and confront the perpetrator. Before this I would validate if the man was making the girl uncomfortable through his actions.
  • I would also give my seat to the girl, to ensure the safety for the rest of the bus journey.
  • If need be, would convince the girl to file a complaint against the man in the nearest police station.
  • It would also serve as a lesson to the perpetrator and may act as a deterrent for any such detestable crime to be continued.
  • For India to progress, it is important that even the “other half” is given equal voice and protection. Removal of a hostile climate is the first step in the right direction.

If I would just ignore the incident, it would compromise my values of respecting women and our fundamental duty of maintaining the dignity of the women and renounce practices that are derogatory to the dignity of women. It is not only a moral duty but a civic duty to stop the perpetrator from continuing the atrocious and disgraceful act. I would also be compromising upon the principles to uphold righteousness, as a law-abiding citizen.

It is said that standing in silence is as good as supporting the shameful act of sexual harassment and assault. In other words, “standing behind the perpetrators makes prey of us all”. For a society to attain gender equality it is important that both men and women together work towards dispelling injustice.

Conclusion

The society and the government has to create confidence in women so they could fearlessly travel in public transport and para-transit. They must be committed to uphold the basic right of transport passengers to live, work and travel in safety, free from assault or the threat of assault and all other forms of behaviour that may compromise their security and safety.