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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 May 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:  Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

1. Discuss the rationale of a second chamber- the Rajya Sabha in the Indian Parliament.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu The Hindu 

Why this question:

The question is based on the series of article that have been narrating the significance and rationale behind the existence of Rajya Sabha in the Indian system of Parliament.  

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the rationale behind the second chamber of the Parliament the Rajya Sabha.

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:

Present brief history of legislature in India. The central legislature that came into being under the Government of India Act, 1919, was bicameral with a Council of States comprising 60 members and a Legislative Assembly comprising 145 members. The membership and voting norms for the Council of States were very restrictive. The Rajya Sabha came into being in 1952.

Body:

One can start by bringing out key assembly debates related to coming of Rajya Sabha into action. Present Arguments against as well as in favor of Rajya Sabha. Discuss the significance of RS; bring out the importance of Bicameralism; it is a principle that requires the consent of two differently constituted chambers of Parliament for making or changing laws. Present concerns associated if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the importance that the role of RS is to represent the interests of the States as a federal chamber; and be a deliberative body holding high-quality debates on important issues.

Introduction:

‘Rajya Sabha’ or the ‘Council of States’ is the second chamber of the Indian parliament and we can trace back its origin to the Montague-Chelmsford Report published in 1918. The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house, but after every two years, one-third of its members retire.

Body:

The Rajya Sabha came into being on April 3, 1952 and held its first session on May 13 the same year. The second chamber underwent severe prenatal scrutiny in the Constituent Assembly. The proposal for a bicameral central legislature for the country was discussed at length, with deep divisions between the proponents and opponents.

An extensive debate was held in the Assembly on the topic whether a second chamber was necessary or not and it was unanimously decided in favour of as a bicameral legislature would be best suited to uphold the federal fabric of the country with diverse cultures and a vast geographical area. The political pundits thought that the challenges posed before the country would be best solved by the mutual functioning of the ‘Lok Sabha’ and the ‘Rajya Sabha’.

Rationale behind setting up of Rajya Sabha:

  • It was envisaged to serve as a forum to which seasoned and experienced public men might get access without undergoing the din and bustle of a highly competitive general election which is inevitable to find a seat in the Lok Sabha.
  • Since the ‘Lok Sabha’ decisions may go in favour of the populist sentiment and force the members to go contrary to the best judgment, the ‘Rajya Sabha’ keeps a check and balance on it.
  • It was also envisaged to serve/ act as a debating chamber in which dignified debates are to be held on various issues confronting the country. Simultaneously, it was also contemplated that it would act as a revising chamber over Lok Sabha.
  • As in any other federation, so does in India, the creation of an upper chamber was a virtual necessity on account of India’s being constituted as a federation which inevitably required a chamber in which states are to be represented for articulating their interest.
  • Unlike the House of Lords in Britain, the ‘Rajya Sabha’ members do not hold the hereditary membership rights.
  • Our leaders rejected a similar plea placed by the erstwhile kings and princes and ruled in favour of indirect elections.
  • ‘Rajya Sabha’ also provides a platform to the small and regional parties to present their views.
  • The rights of the Indian citizens need to be actively protected. Hence, the relevance of the bicameral parliament structure becomes even bigger.
  • The ‘Rajya Sabha’, the bureaucracy and the judiciary act as the 3-layered wall that sees to the upkeep of the principles of a democratic republic like India.
  • Men and women of prodigious talent and caliber have adorned the benches of the upper house and have contributed significantly towards realizing the vision of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
  • A permanent Upper House is also a check against any abrupt changes in the composition of the Lower House. It has continuity.
  • Unlike Lok Sabha, it cannot be dissolved by anyone. Thus it has, time and often, carried out some administrative functions even when the lower house is dissolved. It has members with experienced players while there may be new entrants in the Lok Sabha.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, speaking as the first chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said, “There is a general impression that this House cannot make or unmake governments and, therefore, it is a superfluous body. But there are functions, which a revising chamber can fulfil fruitfully. Parliament is not only a legislative but a deliberative body. So far as its deliberative functions are concerned, it will be open to us to make very valuable contributions, and it will depend on our work whether we justify this two chamber system, which is now an integral part of our Constitution.”

However, there are many concerns raised against Rajya Sabha and there are even demands to abolish the second chamber:

  • According to various members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has done nothing except stalling legislative works and causing policy paralysis in the country.
  • For critics, the Upper House serves no purpose as its members are not directly elected and hence are not accountable to the people.
  • Rajya Sabha often has members from the party defeated in various elections, or are from political families, and due to political differences, they do not allow passage of important bills.
  • This affects the functioning of the government in power which has a majority in Lok Sabha and which is accountable to the public in next election.
  • So many extra members are an added burden on exchequer which can be done away with.
  • Politics of boycotting and creating ruckus in the house and toeing on the party-line even on the issue that won’t attract disqualification provisions is a worrying thing.
  • At the same time, in terms of working, Rajya Sabha does not have sufficient powers in financial matters to bring any change and they are without any direct public interaction. Hence its purpose in modern democracy seems outdated.

Way forward:

  • A useful reform step would be to have members of the Rajya Sabha be directly elected by the citizens of a state. This will reduce cronyism and patronage appointments.
  • This step should be combined with equal representation for each state (say, five members) so that large states do not dominate the proceedings in the House.
  • This streamlined Rajya Sabha should remain deliberative, but there should be deadlines set for responding to bills initiated in the Lok Sabha.

Conclusion:

The mandate of the Rajya Sabha, as can be gleaned from the Constituent Assembly debates and the experiences of other Parliaments, is legislation — to revise or delay legislation without proving a clog in the wheel of the progress; to represent the interests of the States as a federal chamber; and be a deliberative body holding high-quality debates on important issues.

 

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

2. What is ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’? Discuss the significance of self-reliance and self-efficiency in the times of crisis like the COVID pandemic.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

Prime Minister announced a special economic package and gave a clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat. He noted that this package, taken together with earlier announcements by the government during COVID crisis and decisions taken by RBI, is to the tune of Rs 20 lakh crore, which is equivalent to almost 10% of India’s GDP. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the key objectives and features of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and bring out the importance of self-reliance and self-efficiency in current times of the pandemic.

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:

Straightaway start by explaining the coming of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.

Body:

To start with explain the fact that the definition of self-reliance has undergone a change in the globalized world and clarified that when the country talks about self-reliance, it is different from being self-centered. Discuss the 5 pillars of self-reliance. Then explain the key features of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. The package will also focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws, Factors of Production. It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, laborers, middle class, and industries, among others.

Conclusion:

Conclude that self-reliance will prepare the country for tough competition in the global supply chain, and it is important that the country wins this competition. The package will also focus on empowering the poor, laborers, migrants, etc., both from organized and unorganized sectors.

Introduction:

Prime Minister recently announced an economic package totaling Rs 20 lakh crore to tide over the Covid-19 crisis under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. The Rs 20 lakh crore package includes the government’s recent announcements on supporting key sectors and measures by Reserve Bank of India. the economic package would be around the 10 per cent of the GDP. The package is expected to focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, and industries, among others.

 Body:

atmanirbhar

  • A self-reliant India will stand on five pillars viz. Economy, which brings in quantum jump and not incremental change; Infrastructure, which should become the identity of India; System, based on 21st century technology driven arrangements; Vibrant Demography, which is our source of energy for a self-reliant India; and Demand, whereby the strength of our demand and supply chain should be utilized to full capacity.
  • The Self-Reliant India Mission aims towards cutting down import dependence by focusing on substitution while improving safety compliance and quality goods to gain global market share.
  • The Mission focuses on the importance of promoting “local” products.

Significance of self-reliance and self-efficiency in the times of crisis like the COVID pandemic:

  • The coronavirus disease pandemic (Covid-19) has offered India a valuable lesson on the importance of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and the country, each state within it, each district within every state, and each village within every district must aspire to attain the twin goals.
  • The definition of self-reliance has undergone a change in the globalized world and clarified that when the country talks about self-reliance, it is different from being self-centered.
  • Self-reliance will prepare the country for tough competition in the global supply chain, and it is important that the country wins this competition. It will not only increase efficiency in various sectors but also ensure quality.
  • Global supply chains have been disrupted and all nations have become preoccupied with meeting their own challenges.
  • The importance of local manufacturing, local market and local supply chains was realized during pandemic time. All our demands during the crisis were met ‘locally’. Now, it’s time to be vocal about the local products and help these local products become global.
  • For instance, the supply chain and global manufacturing controlled by Chinese economy got disrupted due to COVID. Thus there is a need to become self-reliant for essential goods and service like N95 masks, ventilators etc.
  • Restrictions on travel and mobility have meant tight controls over the flow of goods, services and labour across international, state and district borders.
  • The international economic order is changing; the possibility of greater economic cooperation is diminishing. So the emphasis should be on the need to leverage India’s inner potential.
  • India has entered in the period of demographic dividend from 2018 and thus working age population has increased which needs to be employed at home. This helps in capitalizing the Demographic dividend of India.
  • With India (1.37bn) set to surpass China (1.43bn) in becoming country with largest population by 2027, it also provides for increasing domestic demand which can be catered with locally produced goods.
  • The Self-Reliance neither signifies any exclusionary or isolationist strategies but involves creation of a helping hand to the whole world.
  • This is not a rejection of globalisation, but a call for a new form of globalisation — from profit-driven to people-centric which takes into account the needs of labors, vulnerable and have nots.

Means to achieve the self-reliance and self-sufficiency:

  • Several bold reforms are needed to make the country self-reliant, so that the impact of crisis such as COVID, can be negated in future.
  • These reforms include supply chain reforms for agriculture, rational tax system, simple and clear laws, capable human resource and a strong financial system.
  • These reforms will promote business, attract investment, and further strengthen Make in India.
  • Local Governments should be playing a key role in supporting the government’s outreach in vast belts of rural India to spread awareness about the coronavirus disease.
  • Local governments can undertake door-to-door campaigns; stitched masks; made hand sanitisers for local populations; and provided support to the local administrative and security machinery in both providing basic services to residents and enforcing the lockdown.

Conclusion:

The slowing down economy as well as weaker forces of globalization demands a new path for the New India. Atmanirbhar mission is a bridge for transforming into NEW INDIA which need balancing the interest of capital as well as labor to be effective and efficient.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

3.Discuss the relationship between climate change and energy security in the context of India, explain the key issues involved and suggest solutions.(250 words)

Reference:  pib.gov.in 

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of the speech rendered by Dr.Anil Kakodkar on the occasion of National Technology Day.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the relationship between climate change and energy security in the context of India, highlight the key issues involved and suggest solutions to address the same.

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:

Start by explaining what you understand by climate change and energy security.

Body:

Highlight the need for dealing with energy needs in the context of climate crisis. Explain the correlation between HDI and Per Capita Energy Consumption. Emphasize on the need to strike a balance between enhancing the quality of human life as well as keeping a control over the climate crisis. Comment on the aspects of action required.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions; explain that interaction between energy security and climate change at a national level can be an important influence on the positions taken by nation states at international negotiations and that there is need to recognise it and work on it.

Introduction:

Climate change and energy security are both global concerns, and both feature routinely in public policy discourses around the world. India needs a 30-fold increase in renewable energy, 30-fold increase in nuclear energy and doubling of thermal energy, making 70% of energy carbon-free. Global climate change is expected to have severe effects on world energy production and consumption. These effects will impact energy security, as well as economic and social security within India. Adaptation and mitigation measures are required to address some of the challenges on energy systems presented by climate change. The challenge before India is how to meet its energy requirements without compromising the ecology of the country.

Body:

Relationship between Climate Change on energy security in the India:

  • Increasing Energy Demand: Climate change has already started influencing energy demand in most sectors.
    • India imports 80 percent of its oil needs and is the third largest oil consumer in the entire world.
    • India’s energy consumption is expected to grow 4.5 percent every year for the next 25 years.
    • Recently due to high International Crude Oil Prices, Current Account Deficit (CAD) inflated because of higher cost of oil import, raising concerns about long term economic stability in India, highlighting importance of energy security
    • Air conditioning, urbanisation, increased demand for goods etc are among daily life processes that have increased energy demand to cope with increasingly extreme temperature variations. Energy supply will be affected as the global climate is altered.
    • Also, countries are forced to rely more on energy-intensive methods of providing sufficient water supplies. This effect of climate change drives increasing energy demand and elevates costs.
    • Agricultural practices are affected by temperature changes as farmers become more dependent on more energy-intensive methods in order to maintain productivity levels.
    • Higher temperatures decrease the ability of laborers to work healthily in open-air conditions. Hours of operation for some businesses are therefore changing, for example to earlier or later hours in the day. This change in productivity hours may lead to growing overall energy consumption.
  • Reducing Energy Supply: Energy supply has been negatively affected by changing weather patterns.
    • As water reservoirs decreases due to lower precipitation and increased evaporation, capacity for electricity production from hydropower and other water-intensive generation technologies may decline.
    • Decreasing water availability can also negatively affect cooling and cleaning systems required for Solar Power, nuclear power, and various other thermal generation technologies.
  • Impact on energy Infrastructure: The existing energy infrastructure in India is not designed to cope with the effects of climate change and as a result risks of system failures are manifesting themselves through increasing numbers of energy outages.
  • Impact on the Transportation sector: The existing transportation infrastructure is currently not designed to address the challenges of climate change and is not adequate for meeting the expected increasing needs of its societies. Any future incentives for mitigating climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon pricing, electric vehicles will require major changes in the region’s energy sector.
  • Impact on the construction sector: Climate change is also resulting in important changes in the housing sector as increasing temperatures, particularly in summer months, are also increasing the demand for air conditioning. In the phase of expanding urbanization, with large numbers of new construction projects, it is tough to meet energy demands.

Measures to tackle energy challenge:

  • Increasing accessibility to clean energy:
    • India has already committed to bring electricity to every household by 2022. An even more ambitious goal would be to provide electricity to all households on 24×7 basis.
    • To bring clean fuel in rural areas the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana, should be complemented by: Setting up of biomass pelletising units; and distribution of ‘ efficient biomass chullahs’.
    • On the agricultural front, solar irrigation pump distribution target must be stepped up and financed through credit support from NABARD and government subsidy.
    • The potential non-conventional energy sources must be explored and researched to make them technologically economical and accessible, like geothermal energy, tidal energy etc.
  • Enhancing efficiency:
    • The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the available energy-efficient technologies and products across all sectors, especially agriculture, housing and transportation.
    • At the institutional level, the national and state designated agencies working in the area of energy efficiency should be strengthened.
    • To enhance vehicle fuel efficiency gains, the auto fuel quality should be upgraded to BS VI norms for nation-wide launch in 2020.
  • INDIA ENERGY SECURITY SCENARIOS, 2047(IESS)
    • It has been developed as an energy scenario building tool. The guiding ambition of this is to develop energy pathways leading up to the year 2047, comprising of likely energy demand and supply scenarios.
    • NITI Aayog launched the India Energy Security Scenarios 2047 calculator (IESS 2047), as an open source web based tool.
    • The tool aims to explore a range of potential future energy scenarios for India, for diverse energy demand and supply sectors leading up to 2047.
  • India’s Energy diplomacy:
    • India is setting up a web of energy relationships in the extended neighborhood covering Myanmar, Vietnam in the east, with Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Gulf countries in the west.
    • Indo-US Nuclear deal opened new vistas for India in field of Nuclear energy facilitating cutting edge technology and nuclear fuel. India has started to engage with China, Kazakhstan and Australia for nuclear fuel.
    • India’s SCO membership could now play a bigger role in ensuring greater energy cooperation between energy producers and consumers by linking Central Asia and South Asia.
  • Promotion of Renewable Energy
    • A renewable energy capacity of 100 GW should be achieved by 2019-20 so as to contribute to achievement of 175 GW target by 2022.
    • Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) should develop storage solutions within next three years to help bring down prices through demand aggregation of both household and grid scale batteries.
    • A large programme should be launched to tap at least 50% of the bio-gas potential in the country by supporting technology and credit support through NABARD by 2020.

Way forward:

  • At the national/state level, it will be important for countries to shift to renewable energy sources in their energy mix in order to reduce demand competition for non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels.
  • Governments should pay special attention to improving energy infrastructure management and improving planning to cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • This will also require appropriate policies and regulatory frameworks that incentivise energy efficiency and behavioural change.
  • Governments will need to encourage small businesses’ activities in the energy sector, for example by enacting policies that support local-level development of renewable energy sources.
  • Incorporating likely climate change effects into energy forecasts and planning will be critical for all countries and international institutions.
  • Strengthening cooperation among the public sector, the private sector, and academia would be critical.

Conclusion:

Implementing the above measures and accounting for climate change impacts on the energy sector will continue to be challenging. This transition will take some time. There are various mitigation and adaptation measures that will have to start immediately. The longer the wait, the more pressing the challenges will become for the region, especially for the poorest who have the least ability to adapt.

 

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.

4. Elaborate upon  the prospects of transforming rural India with the help of digital technologies.(250 words)

Reference:  weforum.org 

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the prospects of transforming rural India with the help of digital technologies in detail.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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:

Start by highlighting the fact that ICT is becoming the facilitator of socio-economic development in rural India with its obvious facilities by way of health, education, financial services and employment avenues, etc. 

Body:

Explain what prospects digital technologies hold in general for India and direct the discussion to focus on its contributions to the rural India in particular. Explain how it can help the bridge gaps by providing ‘e’ and ‘m’ services. Discuss various offerings that ICT makes to the rural India – With respect to empowerment, enablement, market expansion etc. Comment on the Government steps to provide e-aid to farmers.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Digital technologies can be interpreted broadly as “technologies that facilitate communication and the processing   and   transmission of   information   by electronic   means.”   It promises   a fundamental change in all aspects of our lives, including knowledge dissemination, social interaction, economic   and   business   practices, political engagement, media, education, health, leisure and entertainment. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) heralds an exponential pace of technological change, building on the digital revolution to combine technologies, spawn new ones, and transform systems, industries, countries – even society itself.

Body:

Evolving Internet in India: 

  • Commercial Internet services in India were launched in August 1995.
  • The initial launch of Internet in 1995 was with dial-up access speeds of upto 9.6 kbps.
  • The initial launch of Internet services was with a rate of Rs25, 000 for a 250-hour TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) account applicable for commercial organizations (amounting to Rs100 per hour).
  • The number of Internet users in India was expected to reach 450-465 million by June, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market researcher IMRB.
  • Around 72% of Internet users in India are less than 35 years of age,
  • 80% of all web traffic in India emanates from the mobile—second highest in the world, after Nigeria.
  • Total number of telephone subscribers were 1,210.84 million as of 17 June, according to TRAI.
  • Wireless accounted for 1,186.84 million subscriptions.
  • Broadband subscribers stood at 301 million at the end of June, according to TRAI.

Digital technologies have emerged as a potent tool that can lead to socio- economic empowerment of Rural India:

ICT and agriculture:

The vast majority of poor people lives in rural areas and derives their livelihoods directly

or indirectly from agriculture. Increasing the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of

small-scale farms are   an area where   ICT can make   a significant contribution.  Farming

involves   risks   and   uncertainties, with   farmers   facing   many   threats   from   poor soils,

drought, erosion   and   pests.  ICTs   can   deliver useful   information   to   farmers   about

agriculture like crop care and animal husbandry, fertilizer   and feedstock   inputs, pest

control, seed sourcing and market prices

  • Digital technologies and agriculture:
    • The vast majority of poor people lives in rural areas and derives their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agriculture.
    • Increasing the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of small-scale farms is an area where   Digital technologies can make   a significant contribution.  Farming involves   risks   and   uncertainties, with   farmers   facing   many   threats   from   poor soils, drought, erosion   and
    • Digital technologies can deliver useful   information   to   farmers   about agriculture like crop care and animal husbandry, fertilizer   and feedstock   inputs, pest control, seed sourcing and market prices.
    • In April 2016, Modi launched eNAM (National Agriculture Market), an online platform for farmers that integrates agricultural markets online, allowing farmers and traders alike to view all Agriculture Produce Market Committee-related information and services, commodity arrivals and prices, and buy and sell trade offers, thus helping farmers bid for the best prices across markets. GOI also launched a crop insurance scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in 2016, which now covers 37 million farmers.
    • Additionally, GOI is investing in mapping all of India’s aquifers, and using technology to manage water demand. Quantifying the relationship between rainfall and groundwater levels under alternative modes of irrigation and farming should enable prioritization of prospective water and irrigation investments.
    • Digitized land registration, mobile phones and ‘Uberised’ tractor services all are contributing to improved farm management. Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) is updating millions of land records, providing title guarantees and increased security of land tenure to farmers while stimulating land rentals by nonviable smallholders and land consolidation.
  • Digital technologies for Education:
    • Moreover, appropriate use   of   Digital technologies in   the   classroom fosters critical, integrative and contextual teaching and learning; develops information   literacy (the   ability   to   locate, evaluate and use information).
    • Thus, it improves the overall efficiency of the delivery of education in   schools   and   educational   management   institutions   at   the   national, state/provincial and community level.
    • The use of Digital technologies in education aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning as well as democratize the access to education.
  • Digital technologies for Economic Development:
    • Information and   Communication   Technology   has   a   vital role in connecting   the   rural community to outside world for exchange of information, a basic necessity for economic development.
    • Effective use of ICT can demolish geographical boundaries and can bring rural communities closer to global economic systems and be of meaningful help to the underprivileged.
    • the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, (MGNREGS), the largest in the world, guarantees up to 100 days of rural employment for those in need of employment at Rs100 (US$1.5)/day. Using DBTs to pay beneficiaries has reduced transfer costs, waste and corruption – and sidestepping any possible misallocation of funds transferred from central to state to district to panchayats for distribution.
  • Employment Opportunities:
    • Poor people in rural localities have lack of opportunities for employment because they often do not have access to information about them.
    • One use of ICTs is to provide on-line services for job placement through electronic labour exchanges in public employment service or other placement agencies
  • Digital technologies in e-Governance:
    • The poverty can   be   adequately   addressed   by   effective use   of   e-governance   and   ICT application in environmental management. Improved governance by using ICT can have direct impact in reducing poverty and improving the environment.
    • ICT can contribute in a large way   in   making   government   processes   more   efficient   and   transparent   by encouraging   communication and information   sharing   among rural and   marginalized people.
  • Digital technologies in Capacity-building and empowerment:
    • Communities and   farmer   organisations   can be   helped   through   the   use   of   ICTs   to strengthen their own capacities and better represent their constituencies when negotiating input and   output   prices, land   claims, resource   rights   and infrastructure
    • ICT enables rural communities to   interact   with other stakeholders, thus reducing social isolation.
    • It widens the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global developments, opens up  new business   opportunities   and allows   easier contact   with friends and relatives. A role is also played by ICT in making processes more efficient and transparent.
    • It helps in making laws and land titles more accessible. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) linked to Geographical   Information   Systems (GIS), digital   cameras   and   internet, help   rural communities to document and communicate their situation.
    • Rural communities benefit from better access to credit and rural banking facilities.
    • Recent mobile banking initiatives offer further   scope   to   reduce   costs   and   stimulate   local
    • The Indian AMUL programme automates milk collection and payments for its 500,000 members, thereby enhancing   transparency   of   the milk   volume   and   quality   collected   and   ensuring   fair payments to farmers.
  • Digital technologies and Service delivery mechanisms:
    • There is a huge gap between information residing in agricultural knowledge centres and rural communities.
    • At local level, multi-stakeholder mechanisms are important to make relevant information accessible to end users. Intermediary organizations have to connect rural communities   to   available      Users   will   increasingly   want   tailor-made, quality answers to their questions.
    • In the Agricultural   Clinics   in   India   customers   get answers within one to   two days.
    • Mobile Q&A services are being piloted in India.
    • At national level, mechanisms   need   to   be   in place   to   ensure   learning   and   information sharing.
    • PDS using new technologies. There is now far less pilfering thanks to the digitisation of 230 million ration cards, 56% of which are strengthened with a universal ID and Aadhaar. Several states have now installed electronic point-of-sale devices at FPSs to track sales of food grains to cardholders on a real-time basis. A much debated policy shift – in-kind cash transfers in place of food distribution – is also being facilitated by digital technology.
  • Digital technologies and Health:
    • Health care is one of the most promising areas for poverty alleviation.
    • Digital technologies are being used in India to facilitate remote consultation, diagnosis and treatment.
    • Delivering health care with Digital technologies enables health care professionals and institutions to address the critical medical needs of rural communities, especially those in remote locations and those that lack qualified medical personnel and services.
  • Role of Digital technologies under climate change:
    • Digital technologies can enable access   to the set of resources in the event of climate change related shocks or disturbances.
    • Digital technologies provide access to relevant data and information that is first processed at an individual level, then facilitate communication and interaction between a wide range of stakeholders, and ultimately enable cooperation, which can translate into adaptive actions   being   implemented   with   the   participation   of   a   wide   range   of stakeholders.
    • ICTs can also speed up access to information.
    • This is particularly important when an acute climate   related   shock   such   as   landslide   or   flood
    • Mobile based telecommunications networks allow rapid communication of information, thus improving the speed of disaster warning, response and recovery

Conclusion:

The   use   of   Digital technologies tools   help   in   strengthening   social   networks, empowerment   and participation, as well as fostering productive processes at   the   local   level   through   the provision of   employment   and   skills, as   well   as support services   for   micro-enterprise activities.   In   rural   communities of   developing   countries, with   limited   capacities   and resources to respond to the effects of extreme natural hazards, drought, landslides, floods, and to the impacts of these events on local   social systems (e.g. health, infrastructure, transportation, migration), Digital technologies tools (the potential of telecentres for disaster preparedness and response) are emerging as an area of increasing interest.

 

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.

5. Why it is important to integrate National and International agricultural markets? Examine and also discuss the purpose of APMC Act and related Issues.(250 words)

Reference:  arthapedia.in

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III. It focuses on importance of integrating National and International agricultural markets, examine also the Purpose of APMC Act and the related Issues.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the importance of integrating National and International agricultural, markets, also examine the purpose of APMC Act and related Issues.

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:

Present in short the importance of agri markets in the rural regions of India.

Body:

To start with explain the purpose of APMC act, discuss the shortcomings of APMC in the past, and explain the model of APMC. Comment on the importance of integrating National and International agricultural markets. List out the concerns and challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) is a statutory market committee constituted by a State Government in respect of trade in certain notified agricultural or horticultural or livestock products, under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act issued by that state government. There are about 2477 principal regulated markets based on geography (the APMCs) and 4843 sub-market yards regulated by the respective APMCs in India. The typical amenities available in or around the APMCs are: auction halls, weigh bridges, godowns, shops for retailers, canteens, roads, lights, drinking water, police station, post-office, bore-wells, warehouse, farmers’ amenity center, tanks, Water Treatment plant, soil-testing Laboratory, toilet blocks, etc.

Following the Centre’s directive to States to amend their Agricultural Produce Markets (APMC) Acts, the Gujarat government has promulgated an Ordinance expanding the purview of the Act to include livestock under agricultural produce and to provide better market access to farmers.

Body:

APMCs are intended to be responsible for:

  • ensuring transparency in pricing system and transactions taking place in market area;
  • providing market-led extension services to farmers;
  • ensuring payment for agricultural produce sold by farmers on the same day;
  • promoting agricultural processing including activities for value addition in agricultural produce;
  • Publicizing data on arrivals and rates of agricultural produce brought into the market area for sale; and
  • Setup and promote public private partnership in the management of agricultural markets

Issues posed by APMCs:

  • Monopoly of APMC: Monopoly of any trade (barring few exceptions) is bad, whether it is by some MNC corporation by government or by any APMC. It deprives farmers from better customers, and consumers from original suppliers.
  • Cartelization: It is quite often seen that agents in an APMC get together to form a cartel and deliberately restraint from higher bidding. Produce is procured at manipulatively discovered price and sold at higher price. Spoils are then shared by participants, leaving farmers in lurch.
  • Entry Barriers: License fee in these markets are highly prohibitive. In many markets farmers were not allowed to operate. Further, over and above license fee, rent/value for shops is quite high which keeps away competition. At most places only a group of village/urban elite operates in APMC.
  • Conflict of Interest: APMC play dual role of regulator and Market. Consequently, its role as regulator is undermined by vested interest in lucrative trade. They despite of inefficiency won’t let go any control. Generally, member and chairman are nominated/elected out of the agents operating in that market.
  • High commission, taxes and levies: Farmers have to pay commission, marketing fee, APMC cess which pushes up costs. Apart from this many states impose Value Added Tax.
  • Other Manipulations: Agents have tendency to block a part of payment for unexplained or fictitious reasons. Farmer is sometimes refused payment slip (which acknowledges sale and payment) which is essential for him to get loan.

Taking these concerns into cognizance, Central Government appointed a working group which recommended a Model APMC act. However, the model legislation has actually given rise to a conflict of interest, as the APMC, which is a major player, is also the regulator/registering authority. There is reluctance on part of state governments to reform the APMC legislation, as it generates huge revenues. Some states have created entry barriers by prescribing either prohibitive license fees for setting up such markets, or the minimum distance between private markets and APMC markets. Union Budgets of 2014-15 and 2015-16 had suggested the creation of a National Agricultural Market (NAM) following which e-NAM was launched on 14th April 2016 as a Pan-India electronic trade portal to link APMCs across the States.

Importance of integrating National and International agricultural markets

  • The agricultural sector in India is progressively opening up to external trade, leading to interdependency between commodity prices across diverse markets.
  • The country’s food production has increased tremendously from just 51 million tonnes in 1950-51 to about 252 million tonnes in 2014-15. However, farm income did not grow much. This was also highlighted by the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) headed by MS Swaminathan.
  • Recent incidents of farmers reportedly dumping their bumper produce of tomatoes and onions and emptying cans of milk into drains is evidence of it. Had the markets been integrated, the surplus produce would have been transferred to deficit regions.
  • The seasonal spike in prices of perishable commodities that pushes up the food inflation cannot be addressed without market reforms.
  • Production and marketing should march together in order to benefit farmers and consumers. Farmers need to be empowered to decide when, where, to whom and at what price to sell.
  • Indian agricultural prices are not co-integrated with global agricultural prices in short run.
  • Existing literature shows that our markets are not efficient, and thus they cannot respond to sudden shocks.
  • Degree of openness data suggests that Indian agriculture sector has started opening up, but this is not visible in market integration for agricultural commodities.
  • The correlation between global and domestic prices of agricultural commodities and changes therein depend upon many factors in accordance with the demand and supply conditions.

Way forward:

The measures needed in the Agricultural Marketing in India are

  • It is imperative to bring agriculture marketing into the Concurrent or Union list to benefit farmers. This will guarantee remunerative prices to farmers.
  • The Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income under the chairmanship of Ashok Dalwai justifies the recommendation saying marketing has no boundaries; this necessitates a pan-India operation to meet the demand across the country.
  • NITI Aayog’s model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act should be implemented by the states. Further the provisions like facilitating single-point levy of taxes, promoting direct interface between farmers and end-users, and give freedom to farmers to sell their produce to whomsoever and wherever they get better prices.
  • e-NAM is a good step in this way. Budget 2018 announced developed GRAMS which would be integrated to the e-NAM Structure.
  • Promoting warehouse receipts, agro-processing and exports. Warehouse receipts will help framers defer their sale immediately post harvest, when prices are at their lowest level.
  • This will require a consolidation of farm produce, which can be successfully done through farmer-producer organisations.
  • Agro-processing and trade will require investment in developing infrastructure.
  • Existing agri-export zones need to be revisited and strengthened in this changing scenario.
  • States alone cannot revamp the agricultural marketing sector, primarily due to paucity of funds and technology.
  • Private investment on a massive scale needs to be invited to upgrade and build large storage and warehousing systems that are climate resilient.

Conclusion:

It is time to concede that production and marketing should march together in order to benefit farmers and consumers. Farmers need to be empowered to decide when, where, to whom and at what price to sell.

 

Topic:  Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct,

6. Many European countries have prescribed ethical codes for public servants whereas India has prescribed codes of conduct for them. What reasons can account for this difference of approach? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  James S. Bowman, From Codes of Conduct to Codes of Ethics: The ASPA case

All India Services Conduct Rules

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper IV.

Key demand of the question:

One has to analyse the reasons responsible for India to have only prescribed codes of conduct for the public servants in contrary to the prescribed ethical codes for them.

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:

Explain what you understand by ethical codes of conduct.

Body:

To start with explain and analyse the underlying reasons that have led to this difference of approach. Explain that Codes of ethics apply to the culture, education, and religion of a whole society. Thinking of Indian polity, we can regard the provisions included in the Directive Principles of the Constitution as forming an ethical political code. Codes of conduct generally cover an individual’s official or professional conduct. Discuss the Indian scenario of public services more elaborately, weigh the pros and cons.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it.

Introduction:

Code of ethics is a written set of rules issued by an organization to its workforces and management to help them conduct their actions in accordance with its primary values and ethical standards.

Code of conduct represents the set of enforceable rules that should be followed by a person in an organisation. A Code of Conduct applies the Code of Ethics to a host of relevant situations. A particular rule in the Code of Ethics might state that all employees will obey the law, a Code of Conduct might list several specific laws relevant to different areas of organizational operations, or industry, that employees need to obey.

Body:

Reasons for Code of conduct in India:

 The current set of values for the civil services are conduct rules which prohibit a set of common activities that constitute undesirable conduct and behaviour for civil servants. what we do not have is a statement of values which should guide the civil servants in the discharge of their duties. There is need for more generic norms to be laid down by way of accepted conduct for the civil servants. It is necessary to have a declaration of values for the civil services, reflecting public expectations of the relationship between the civil service and the government, the legislature, and the members of the public, with specific reference to political impartiality, maintenance of the highest ethical standards, accountability for actions and responsibilities to the government of the day. Another key consideration is to set up appropriate institutional mechanisms to promote and enforce the values and code of conduct and to evaluate the extent to which they are incorporated and upheld throughout the civil service.

A legislative framework is needed because it will provide a legal basis for the legislatures in India to express important public service standards, ethical values and culture which is needed in the civil service, and how these should be implemented. The legislation should also be an unambiguous statement to those within the civil service and to the people, of what is expected of the civil service. Articulation of civil service values through legislation is vital. A clear understanding of shared values and vision set out unambiguously in the civil service law will provide a unifying and motivating force for the civil service as a whole; it will also provide the foundation for a unity of outlook and behaviour across the civil service.

Bureaucrats and politicians act as interface between the administration and public as beneficiary. They are the ones formulating policies, executing them, thus it is important to have a general code of ethics guiding the wisdom while making decisions

Moreover, it will represent an approach which is consistent with best practices globally. At the minimum, the legislation should articulate the following values and ethical standards:

  • Commitment to the principles enshrined in the Constitution
  • Adherence to the highest standards of probity, integrity and conduct
  • Commitment to the citizens’ concerns and public good
  • Impartiality and objectivity in all public dealings
  • Empathy for the vulnerable sections of society

Issues associated with enforcing the code of ethics:

  • These are set of values which act as torch bearers in case of resolving ethical paradoxes in the administration of the country. Thus depends on the individual character and internal dispositions.
  • These values are generic in nature and depend much on the wisdom of the civil servants. Different situations demand different solutions, Practical wisdom and discretion are the cardinal values of civil servants.
  • These are different for different organizations, thus a fixed set of these values is difficult to be identified. For example – an environmental organization may be committed to green initiatives, an organization working for women may stipulate gender neutral policies and conduct at the supreme of other values.
  • There might be conflict arising among the values due to the preference of one over the other in specific code of ethics. Patient privacy and confidentiality is a moral issue in health care industry, however value of transparency might come into conflict with it.

However, a generic code of ethics can be listed out as in the second ARC, which lists out clearly a set of values which a civil servant should imbibe. Adherence to highest standards of probity, integrity and conduct can be a guide to an individual’s actions.

Conclusion:

Thus while formulating a code of ethics, it would be useful to keep in mind the advice of Napoleon who said, ‘Law should be so succinct that it can be carried in the pocket of the coat and it should be so simple that it can be understood by a peasant’.

 

Topic:  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators. Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration

7. St. Thomas Aquinas argues that people can defy laws under certain circumstances. Do you agree? present your viewpoints with suitable justifications.(250 words)

Reference:  Wilbur Marshal Urban Fundamentals of Ethics: Introduction to Moral Philosophy

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I

Key demand of the question:

Explain your view points about defying law under certain circumstances. Do you agree with the viewpoints of St. Thomas Aquinas? One has to opine on the above aspect and conclude with suitable justification.

Directive:

Justify – When you are asked to justify, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question using suitable case studies or/ and examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present briefly the context of the question.

Body:

To start with explain the Meaning of Law in Ethics from the perspectives of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas distinguishes four kinds of law: (1) eternal law; (2) natural law; (3) human law; and (4) divine law. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, law imposes an obligation on people. It makes people act or desist from acting; or it prescribes some actions and prohibits some actions. Now present your understanding with respect to the question context, present examples to justify suitably.  

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

Thomas Aquinas’s ethical theory involves both principles – rules about how to act – and virtues – personality traits which are taken to be good or moral to have. The relative importance of the two aspects is debated. Aquinas believes people need to identify meaningful goals before they can act. As such, moral theory is a way to facilitate action, rather than to limit it. According to Aquinas, good should be done or pursued, and evil (or badness) avoided. Without this principle, other moral rules would have no force. The maxim “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is also quite fundamental

Body:

Aquinas describes law as “a certain rule and measure of acts whereby man is induced to act or is restrained from acting.” Because the rule and measure of human actions is reason, law has an essential relation to reason; in the first place to divine reason; in the second place to human reason, when it acts correctly, i.e., in accordance with the purpose or final cause implanted in it by God.

Law is directed by its nature to the good, and especially to the universal or common good. It is addressed not primarily to private persons but to the whole people meeting in common or to persons who have charge of the community as a whole.

Aquinas recognizes four main kinds of law: the eternal, the natural, the human, and the divine.

Eternal Law

Eternal law is identical to the mind of God as seen by God himself. It can be called law because God stands to the universe which he creates as a ruler does to a community which he rules. When God’s reason is considered as it is understood by God Himself, i.e. in its unchanging, eternal nature, it is eternal law.

Divine Law

Divine law is derived from eternal law as it appears historically to humans, especially through revelation, i.e., when it appears to human beings as divine commands. Divine law is divided into the Old Law and the New Law. The Old and New Law roughly corresponding to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. When he speaks of the Old Law, Thomas is thinking mainly of the Ten Commandments.

Human Law

The human law, says Thomas, is not obliged to repress all vices. It is framed for most people, who are far from perfect in virtue. It is aimed at the more grievous vices from which the majority can abstain, i.e., those which are to the hurt of others, e.g., murder, theft, and the like. Were the law to attempt to legislate perfection, it would make people hostile to the law and defeat its purpose.

Human law can be changed, and occasionally should be changed, but it should not be lightly changed. The reason is that respect for the law is largely a matter of custom or habit, and inessential change undermines this custom. The common good is not served by a more finely tuned, theoretically better law, if people have less respect for law and follow it less faithfully.

Natural Law

Defined by Thomas as ‘The participation in the eternal law by human beings.’ We have a natural inclination to things. Reason has the capacity to perceive what is good for human beings by following ‘the order of our natural inclinations’. These are: self-preservation; family life and bringing up offspring, (shared by all animals); and the goals of knowing God and living in society (shared with all rational creatures). They are an application of the basic principle ‘good is to be done and evil avoided’. Also, preserving human life.

People can defy laws under certain circumstances:

Laws are meant to bring organization into the society. A Lawless society was a power struggle. However, under certain circumstances, exceptions can be permitted. For instance, a good samaritan can jump traffic signal while saving a life and act his part in the golden hour.

If the said law does not represent the popular will of the people and can cause crimes against humanity, such laws can be defied. E.g.: Jallianwala Bagh example – if Dyer’s law were defied, innocent human lives could be saved or Holocaust could be prevented, if people did not show unquestioned obedience to authority.

On the other hand, laws protect the rights of people, and must not be defied. Such a law must represent the collective will of people. The laws must have rational basis.

Conclusion:

For Aquinas, human laws are derived from natural law which is a participation in the eternal law. Therefore, eternal law is at the top, followed by natural law, and then human law. Divine law is the revealed law of God to man, while natural law is the imprint of eternal law on the hearts of men.