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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 July 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 : Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1. Discuss the reasons for increasing frequency of Cyclones in the Arabian Sea, and their possible negative effects. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in 

Why the question:

The article talks about the report on the Severe Cyclonic Storm – NISARGA. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is from the basics and aims to discuss the reasons for increasing frequency of Cyclones in the Arabian Sea, and their possible negative effects.

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 quoting facts related to cyclones in Arabian Sea.

Body:

Discuss the recent trends of cyclones. Explain the cyclone trends in the Arabian Sea.

Highlight the concerns associated with it. The basic mechanism of monsoons is the winds getting attracted to the low pressure areas. In SW Monsoon also, winds get attracted towards intensely heated lands of Central Asia, Tibet, Indian Subcontinent. Bay of Bengal is said to be warmer, for the cyclones to happen, but Arabian Sea also witnesses certain low-pressure areas, and it is very rare for them to turn into cyclones or severe cyclones. But last year, Cyclone Vayu, was a severe cyclone, which delayed the Monsoon. These cyclones,  being very agile low pressure areas when compared to land, quickly draw the monsoonal winds towards them and sucks out all the moisture that is present in them. Hence, a cyclone in Arabian Sea, is a severe threat to the Indian Monsoon.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones are characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate about a zone of low pressure. Tropical cyclones are intense low-pressure areas confined to the area lying between 30° N and 30° S latitudes, in the atmosphere around which high velocity winds blow. Horizontally, it extends up to 500-1,000 km and vertically from surface to 12-14 km.

The unusually high number of cyclones in the Arabian Sea, some of them extremely severe with wind speeds higher than 167 kmph, are a result of warming seas and changes in sea surface temperature distribution, says Hiroyuki Murakami, a climate scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

Body:

Reasons for increasing cyclones in Arabian Sea:

  • The first factor is the rising sea surface temperature, especially over the Arabian Sea.
  • This warm ocean contributed to intensifying cyclones, leading to more severe storms in the Arabian Sea.
  • The second factor is that onset of winter monsoon is delaying, leading to a longer storm season.
  • The last factor is increases in anthropogenic aerosols, leading to changes in sea surface temperature distribution that in turn change monsoon circulation, resulting in more active storms.

Impact of Climate change and increasing cyclones in Arabian Sea:

  • The studies associated with temperature suggest that the Indian Ocean is warming, particularly the Arabian Sea, which is doing so at the fastest rate.
  • Previously, tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea were restricted to Gujarat.
  • In the past decade though, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Karnataka have also become more vulnerable to cyclones. A recent example is “Nisarga”.
  • The Arabian Sea is quickly responding to climate change signals, heating rapidly and driving more and more cyclones, and excessive rainfall.
  • In general, when global warming proceeds, the surface ocean gets warmer. This warm condition is favourable for intensification of tropical cyclones.
  • But increasing greenhouse gasses also cause warming in the upper atmosphere, that makes the atmosphere more stable.
  • This stable atmosphere is unfavourable for tropical cyclones. Therefore, the frequency of tropical cyclone genesis would decrease when global warming proceeds.
  • But once a storm generates, the storm can develop into an intense storm due to the warmed surface ocean.
  • Regional tropical cyclones are much more complex. Some regions get more active storms by changing circulation whereas some regions get less active. Expecting changes in regional tropical cyclones contain a lot of uncertainty.

Negative effects of Cyclones on India:

  • India is highly vulnerable to natural disasters especially cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and drought. Natural disasters cause a loss of 2% of GDP every year in India. According to the Home ministry, 8% of total area in India is prone to cyclones.
  • Strong Winds/Squall: Cyclones are known to cause severe damage to infrastructure through high speed winds. Very strong winds which accompany a cyclonic storm damages installations, dwellings, communications systems, trees etc., resulting in loss of life and property. Gusts are short but rapid bursts in wind speed are the main cause for damage. Squalls on the other hand, are longer periods of increased wind speed and are generally associated with the bands of thunderstorms that make up the spiral bands around the cyclone.
  • Torrential rains and inland flooding: Torrential rainfall (more than 30 cm/hour) associated with cyclones is another major cause of damages. Unabated rain gives rise to unprecedented floods. Rain water on top of the storm surge may add to the fury of the storm.
  • Storm Surge: A Storm surge can be defined as an abnormal rise of sea level near the coast caused by a severe tropical cyclone; as a result of which sea water inundates low lying areas of coastal regions drowning human beings and life stock, causes eroding beaches and embankments, destroys vegetation and leads to reduction of soil fertility.
  • Regional Climate: Tropical cyclones can quickly change the environment of the affected areas. They can bring warmer air into hot places. This makes the atmosphere feel very sticky and muggy and rises the temperature dramatically. This can cause heat strokes and other heat related illness to children and the elderly after the storm which is not good.
  • Fishing and livelihood: Loss of habitat and Loss of juveniles and brood fishes. Loss of livelihoods of farmers and fishermen: Statistics show that the global average annual losses from cyclones and storm surges are estimated at US$ 80 billion. Small fishermen with no state-of-the-art technology are usually advised to stay off the seas before and during the cyclones.

Measures to tackle such incidences:

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

Conclusion:

In Indian waters, cyclonic storms are associated with heavy rains, thunderstorms, high tides and intense winds that cause shocking destruction in coastal areas. The increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones over the Arabian Sea can result in a massive loss of lives, livelihood and costal ecology. India should prepare to mitigate and deflect the destruction caused by Cyclones. We need to employ technology, strict following of command structure and most importantly the participation and cooperation of local communities in the affected area.

 

Topic : 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. Elucidate upon the idea of ‘One Nation One Voter ID’, also suggest how ensuring domestic ballot portability can empower migrant voters in the country? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article discusses the difficulties faced by the migrant laborer class in exercising their franchise and suggests policy measures to mitigate these challenges.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the idea of ‘One Nation One Voter ID’ and its relevance to migrant voters.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In the light of the pandemic crisis, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made it possible for senior citizens above the age of 65 to vote by postal ballot, given that they are at greater risk from exposure to the novel coronavirus. Previously, this option was available only to disabled citizens and those above 80 years.

Body:

Explain the concept of ‘One Nation One Voter ID’.

The article argues for a similar empowering approach towards migrant workers.

Talk about the voter-turn out; explain the relevance of such a novel idea to the migrants, explain how it can empower them.

Discuss the associated challenges. Suggest policy measures to address it

Conclusion:

Voting must be viewed as a civic right. Well-thought-out initiatives that facilitate voting and remove obstacles to voters exercising their franchise must be emphasized on. Ensuring that every Indian voter can participate in elections is imperative to ensure a democratically inclusive India.

Introduction:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made it possible for senior citizens above the age of 65 to vote by postal ballot, given that they are at greater risk from exposure to the novel coronavirus. Hitherto, this option was available only to disabled citizens and those above 80 years. Now, there is an opinion that the same empowering approach be extended to another group which faces enormous difficulties in exercising its franchise: migrant workers. The idea of ‘One Nation One Voter ID’ to ensure ballot portability would ensure franchisee rights for them too.

Body:

Migrant workers and their voting challenges:

  • Migrant workers constitute about 13.9 crore as in the Economic Survey of 2017, that is roughly a third of India’s labour force.
  • They have, for long, been forgotten voters, given their conditions of work.
  • Migrant workers often toil in exploitative low-wage jobs, lacking identity and proper living conditions and without access to welfare
  • Internal migrant workers do not enroll as voters in their place of employment since they find proof of residence hard to provide.
  • This group also does not constitute a vote bank worthy of attention.
  • Many are seasonal migrants who would rather vote in their villages if they could afford to return home.
  • They are often unable to exercise their voting rights.
  • Therefore, Migrant workers become quasi-disenfranchised, forgotten voters because they cannot afford to return home on election day to choose their representatives.

Ensuring domestic ballot portability can empower migrant voters in the country:

  • Equality and Inclusivity:
    • Ensuring that every Indian voter can participate in elections is imperative to ensure a democratically inclusive India.
    • Once migrant workers get to exercise their franchise, there would also be a change in how they are treated.
  • Socio-economic welfare:
    • Provision of Voter Id card linked to their Aadhar card would help get easy form of proof of identity which could be used to access health and education benefits for themselves and their wards.
    • This could in turn ensure proper living conditions and access to welfare schemes.
  • Ensures safety:
    • Since they do not have a vote where they work, their concerns are easy to ignore in their host State.
    • Sometimes, they are targeted for allegedly taking jobs away from the local population.

Measures needed:

  • ‘One Nation One Voter ID’:
    • On the lines of ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ the ‘One Nation One Voter ID’ can be arranged to ensure native ballot portability and empower the forgotten migrant voter.
    • Migrants should be able to physically vote in their city of work based on the address on their existing voter IDs and the duration of their temporary stay.
  • Proxy voting method similar to NRIs:
    • To enable NRIs to exercise their franchise, the government brought in legislation in the previous Lok Sabha to enable voting through authorised proxies.
    • While the legislation lapsed, it is interesting to contrast the concern for NRIs with the lack thereof for poor migrant workers.
  • New blend of existing models:
    • Blend of existing models of voter portability and new innovations needs to be adopted.
    • Currently, Service voters (government employees) posted away from home can vote through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).
    • On the other hand, classified service voters (e.g., military personnel) can do so through their proxies.
  • Aadhaar-linked voter-ID based solution:
    • The ECI has said that it is testing an Aadhaar-linked voter-ID based solution to enable electors to cast their votes digitally from anywhere in the country.
    • While developing this solution, we need to ensure that the linkage with Aadhaar does not result in the exclusion of eligible individuals.
  • Outreach measures and removing procedural hurdles:
    • To facilitate voting by migrant workers, the ECI could undertake substantial outreach measures using the network of District Collectorates.
    • Migrants should be able to physically vote in their city of work based on the address on their existing voter IDs and duration of their temporary stay.
    • Also, it seems technologically feasible to record and transfer votes to their respective constituencies without compromising on the credibility of the election process.

Conclusion:

Voting must be viewed as a civic right. Well-thought-out initiatives that facilitate voting and remove obstacles to voters exercising their franchise must be emphasized on. Ensuring that every Indian voter can participate in elections is imperative to ensure a democratically inclusive India. The ‘One Nation One Voter ID,’ approach would help empower the forgotten migrant voter. Once migrant workers get to exercise their franchise, there would also be a change in how they are treated.

 

Topic : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. “The lack of government welfare schemes or one-time monetary assistance to domestic workers has compounded their woes during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, discuss the issue and suggest measures to address it. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article titled “No help for the helps” brings to us the dismal picture of domestic workers amidst pandemic.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way the lack of government welfare schemes or one-time monetary assistance to domestic workers has compounded their woes during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic 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:

In brief set the context of the question.

Body:

List down first the issues being faced by the domestic workers.

Unfortunately, domestic workers fall within the large informal sector where nearly 90% of Indian workers are placed. Therefore, they do not have any recourse to law for safety, payment or welfare.

There is a need to include all domestic workers, irrespective of the category, in the social security net.

Suggest measures to address the issue.

Conclusion:

COVID-19 is going to result in a new normal in many ways, it presents an opportunity and challenge – to enhance the value of the work of care and domestic work, address its deeply gendered nature, and reflect on ensuring their basic rights.

Introduction:

Domestic worker is a person who is employed in any household on a temporary or permanent basis to do the household work. In the decade after liberalisation, there was a nearly 120% rise in the number of domestic workers in India. Women constitute over two-thirds of the workforce in this unorganized sector. As per the National Sample Survey Organization Statsitics-2011-2012 (68th round) an estimated 39 lakhs people are employed as domestic workers by private households, of which 26 lakhs are female domestic workers.

Body:

Challenges faced by Domestic workers during pandemic:

  • Domestic workers struggle to make ends meet as employers choose to keep them away even during the ‘unlock’ phase.
  • About 80%-90% domestic workers in Delhi and Mumbai have lost their jobs.
  • The lack of government welfare schemes or one-time monetary assistance has only compounded their woes.
  • The lack of social security for domestic workers in Delhi has made the blow harder on them. Though States such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have welfare boards for domestic workers and many others have unorganised workers’ welfare boards, Delhi does not have either.
  • The national capital has also not fixed minimum wages for domestic workers as done by other States such as Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, among others, according to officials.
  • While several legislations such as the Unorganized Social Security Act, 2008, Sexual Harassment against Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and Minimum Wages Schedules notified in various states refer to domestic workers, there remains an absence of comprehensive, uniformly applicable, national legislation that guarantees fair terms of employment and decent working conditions.
  • About half the states have included domestic workers as labourers under the Minimum Wages Act, which sets out terms of payment, hours of work and leave. Yet, this law is grossly inadequate.
  • The law does not, for instance, require domestic workers and employers to register with any authority, which is crucial for monitoring whether both parties are fulfilling their contractual obligations and for adjudicating conflicts.
  • Absence of proper documentation, which also increases their reliance on employers to access social security benefits. As employment is largely through word of mouth or personal referrals, employment contracts are rarely negotiated, leaving the terms of employment to the whims of the employer.
  • Unlike work in a formal setting, domestic work is not guided by clear and agreed production or output goals.

Other challenges:

  • Domestic workers are commonly referred to as servants and maids which has resulted in their feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
  • Domestic work as an economic activity is too vast and employs too many to remain unregulated.
  • Neither the Maternity Benefits Act nor the Minimum Wages Act or any other labour laws apply to domestic work.
  • Domestic workers can be hired and fired at will. The employer has no legally binding obligations.
  • Organising domestic workers has been a huge challenge as the work place is inaccessible and multiple
  • India’s domestic workers are overworked, underpaid and abused. There are many cases of torture, beatings, sexual assault, and incarceration.
  • Poor bargaining power, with no provision for weekly holidays, maternity leave and health benefits.
  • If anything is missing in the house, they are the first to be accused with threats, physical violence, police interrogation, conviction, and even dismissal.
  • Most of these are from vulnerable communities – Adivasis, Dalits or landless Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Nearly all of them are migrant workers. And an overwhelming number are women. This makes them easy to replace, and easier still to exploit.

Measures needed:

  • A draft National Policy on domestic workers is under consideration of the Central Government. This policy, if finalised, will benefit 50 lakh domestic workers in the country including maids and drivers amongst others.
    • The policy proposes legal status to domestic workers.
    • It would facilitate recognition of part-time and full-time domestic help as “workers”.
    • It would enable them with the right to register with the state labour department.
    • It also plans to ensure minimum wages and equal remuneration to the domestic workers.
  • Minimum wage provisions are important instruments to protect the most vulnerable and lowest-paid workers – such as domestic workers – from unduly low wages.
  • Social security schemes like National Old Age Pension Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development); National Family Benefit Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development); Janani Suraksha Yojana (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), Ayushman Bharat (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare).
  • Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) with Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) provide life and disability coverage to the unorganised workers for the age group of 18 to 50 years depending upon their eligibility.
  • Domestic Workers have also been included as a specific category of workers (with home as the workplace) in the Sexual Harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (2013).
  • In several States, trade unions are organizing domestic workers and unions have been registered exclusively for domestic workers.
  • Domestic Workers Sector Skills Council has been established under the Ministry of Skills Development to enable professionalization of domestic workers and enable their career progression.
  • The State governments are mandated under the Act to formulate suitable welfare schemes for unorganised sector workers relating to provident fund, employment injury benefits, housing, education schemes for children, skill upgradation of workers, financial assistance and old age homes.

Way forward:

  • Amend existing labour laws to ensure that domestic workers enjoy all the labour rights that other workers do.
  • Recognition of domestic workers as workers.
  • Decent working conditions, including specified working hours, leave, paid holidays, protection against harassment, social security and access to benefits.
  • Ensuring progressive policy and legislation while enabling better enforcement of existing legislations.
  • The domestic workers should be given daily and weekly rest hours and their payment must meet the minimum wage requirement.
  • States must take protective measures against violence against domestic workers.
  • Policymakers, legislative bodies and people need to recognize the existence of an employment relationship in domestic work.

 

Topic : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

4. Analyse the consequences of demographic transition that India is going to witness in the near future, what measures should the government take to ensure it harnesses this opportunity. (250 words)

Reference: Economic Times 

Why the question:

The article brings to us detailed analysis of demographic transition that India is about to witness.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the possible consequences of demographic transition that India is going to witness in the near future, suggest measures and initiatives that to harness the demographic potential.

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:

Discuss the nuances of the question.

Body:

Explain briefly what you understand by demographic transition. Take cues from the article and explain what Indian demographic is about to witness. Explain the transition; its pros and cons.

Discuss why there is need to recognise the importance of skill development at this point. Discuss the dimensions associated with it.

Explain what needs to be done in terms of policy measures, highlight the efforts of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Demographic transition refers to a population cycle that begins with a fall in the death rate, continues with a phase of rapid population growth and concludes with a decline in the birth rate. India is in transition phase between 3rd and 4th stages of demographic transition. Population exploded in 1970s/80s, but has shown a declining rate of population growth in the last two decades. According to Census 2011, the decadal population growth rate has declined by about 5 percentage points to 16-17%. India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28 years. Demographics can change the pace and pattern of economic growth.

Body:

demographic_transition

Stages of demographic transition:

  • Stage I: It is characterized by high birth rate, death rate and low rate of population growth.
  • Stage II: It is characterized by high and stationary birth rate, rapidly declining death rate and very rapid increase in population.
  • Stage III: It is characterized by a falling birth rate, low and stationary death rate and rapidly rising population. India is currently in this stage of transition.
  • Stage IV: It is characterized by low birth rate and low death rate with stationary population at a low level.
  • Stage V: It is characterized by death rate slightly exceeding the birth rate, and this causes population decline. This stage has only been recently recognised, and there are very few countries that are considered in stage 5.

Consequences of demographic transition in India:

  • India is one of the largest developing countries in the world and a country of growing economic and political importance not only in Asia, but in the world at large. It is in the midst of a momentous demographic transition.
  • As a consequence of baby boom, reduction in infant and child mortality rates, increase in access to better medical aid, improvement in hygiene and better education the age structure of a country is transformed which reflects the   demographic
  • India’s demographic transition is reflected in its changing age composition, specifically in the share of the working-age population, which we refer to as the economically productive population or Active Asset.
  • This “active asset” of our country has the potential to enhance our countries growth prospects. The greater the share of the population in the working –age group; the more will be the savings and investments in the economy.
  • Though, India is the second most populous country of the world, it is 1210.6 million according to 2011 census and its population is increasing continuously; out of the total population, the Active Asset/economically productive age group of 15-59 years constitute of 729.9 million people that is 60.3 percentage of the whole population.
  • On the other hand, the 60+ age people constitute only 8.6 percentage of the population. Thus we   can   say   that   India   is   experiencing   its “first   demographic dividend”.
  • A study on demographic dividend in India by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) throws up two interesting facts.
    • The window of demographic dividend opportunity in India is available for five decades from 2005-06 to 2055-56, longer than any other country in the world.
    • This demographic dividend window is available at different times in different states because of differential behaviour of the population parameters

Challenges in India to reap the demographic dividend:

  • Poor human capital: Formation reflected in low employability among India’s graduates and postgraduates. According to ASSOCHAM, only 7 % of MBA graduates have employable skills in India, and only around 20-30 % of engineers find a job suited to their skills. Technological change is making labour partially or wholly redundant in a number of sectors, across the world.
  • Low human development reflected in the human development report of UNDP. According to the Human Development Index of 2016, India stood at 131 out of 188 countries. Life expectancy at birth in India (68 years) is much lower than other developing countries (Sri Lanka – 75 years, China – 76 years). The mean years of schooling and the expected years of schooling are still low at 6.3 years and 11.7 years respectively.
  • Jobless growth: India’s high growth rate phase (2004-05 to 2010-11) has created significantly fewer jobs as compared to previous decades of economic growth. Around 47 % of India’s population is still dependent on agriculture which is notorious for underemployment and disguised unemployment. Majority of the workforce is employed by the unorganized sector where workers are underpaid and lack any kind of social security.
  • Falling female labour force participation: According to data from International Labour Organization and World Bank, India’s female labour force participation rates have fallen from 34.8 % in 1990 to 27 % in 2013. This has further declined to 23.7 % in 2016, as per the data from the Labour Ministry. Socio-cultural factors and rising family incomes have been identified as the main reasons for this decline. Another appalling concern is that a significant proportion of qualified women drop out of the workforce for reasons ranging from no suitable jobs in the locality—particularly in rural areas—to family responsibilities and marriage.
  • Poor Socio-Economic factors: The quality of primary schooling and teachers in India is very poor. ASER reports show the quality of education among children. Moreover, because modern ailments such as obesity are increasing in many developed countries, there is no guarantee that adult longevity will continue to increase perpetually.

Way forward:

  • To be able to harness the potential of this large working population, which is growing by leaps and bounds, new job generation is a must. The nation needs to create jobs to absorb the addition of young people into the workforce.
  • Improved infrastructure, skill development, access to easy finance, reducing barriers to entrepreneurship and forums for mentorship of emerging entrepreneurs in partnership with corporates are some of measures.
  • India has to invest more in human capital formation at all levels, from primary education to higher education, cutting-edge research and development as well as on vocational training to increase the skill sets of its growing working-age population.
  • The current situation calls for more and better schools, especially in rural areas. It also calls for better transportation links between rural areas and regional urban hubs.
  • Equally important focus on elderly people to make use of their wisdom and experience.
  • Increasing the number of formal jobs in labour intensive, export-oriented sectors such as textiles, leather and footwear, gems and jewellery These sectors also have a higher share of the female workforce.
  • The flagship schemes such as Skill India, Make in India, and Digital India have to be implemented to achieve convergence between skill training and employment generation.
  • Increased use of technology in all sectors.
  • The government must also ensure better quality of jobs with a focus on matching skill-sets and job opportunities.
  • There is a need to look into these qualitative issues of job satisfaction, job profile and skill matching, and the creation of opportunities for entrepreneurship in order to be able to harness the vast potential of human resources.

Conclusion:

A multi-pronged approach is imperative to reap the second demographic dividend. There is also a need to engage with the youth and create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship. The demographic dividend offers them a unique opportunity to boost living standards, but they must act now to manage their older populations in the near future by implementing policies that ensure a safe and efficient transition from the first demographic dividend to the first demographic dividend.

 

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

5. Write a short note on WHO. ​Also discuss what are seen as its major successes and failures? (250 words)

Reference: Economic Times 

Why the question:

The article brings to us detailed narration of the working of WHO as a global health organisation and its major successes and failures of the recent past.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward; one must write a short note on WHO and bring out its major successes and failures.

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:

Explain briefly the background of WHO.

Body:

The WHO is an agency of the United Nations set up in 1948 to improve health globally. 

Its primary aim is “to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable”. It has no power to impose health policies on national governments, but acts as an adviser and offers guidance on best practice in disease prevention and health improvement. It has three main strands of work: aiming for universal health coverage in every country, preventing and responding to acute emergencies, promoting health and wellbeing for all.

Discuss its constitution; explain its mode of working.

List down its major successes and failures. Present case study on recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The WHO’s stated aim is “to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable”. It has three main strands of work: aiming for universal health coverage in every country, preventing and responding to acute emergencies, promoting health and wellbeing for all.

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

Body

WHO: Organization, objectives and role

  • The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the legislative and supreme body of WHO. It meets annually and reviews various works of WHO. It also appoints the Director-General every five years.
  • The WHO operates “Goodwill Ambassadors”; members of the arts, sports, or other fields of public life aimed at drawing attention to WHO’s initiatives and projects.
  • The WHO is financed by contributions from member states and outside donors. Publications of WHO- World Health Report, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, the Human Resources for Health, Pan American Journal of Public Health.
  • The WHO supports the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and drugs, such as through the Expanded Programme on Immunization.

Objectives:

  • Its primary objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”.
  • To act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
  • To establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nations, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations, professional groups and such other organizations as may be deemed appropriate.
  • To provide assistance to the Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services.
  • To promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.

Role played by WHO

  • Providing leadership on global health. Initiatives like triple billion goals for better health, convention on tobacco control, TB elimination, campaign and awareness on Anti-microbial resistance are some examples.
  • Shaping research agenda
  • Advocating for Evidence based and ethical policy.
  • Monitoring and assessing health trends.
  • However, it has no power to impose health policies on national governments, but acts as an adviser and offers guidance on best practice in disease prevention and health improvement.

Major successes and failures of WHO:

Successes:

  • The WHO is widely credited with leading a 10-year campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s and has also led global efforts to end polio, a battle that is in its final stages.
  • In the past few years, the WHO has also coordinated battles against viral epidemics of Ebola in Congo and Zika in Brazil.
  • In response to the yellow fever outbreak in Brazil, some 3.5 million doses of vaccine from the emergency stockpile were deployed to the country through the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision for yellow fever in 2017.
  • The WHO has also mounted increasing efforts against cancer, which now takes as many lives in the developing countries as in the affluent ones.
  • The fight against tobacco, the largest single cause of preventable death in both men and women, is part of WHO effort in every country.
  • In 1997, WHO (in collaboration with Canada) rolled out the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), which took advantage of information on the Internet to function as an early warning system for potential epidemics.
  • The WHO’s condemnation of the promotion of artificial infant-formula products in developing countries also attracted widespread attention.
  • The worldwide control of infantile diarrhea with oral rehydration therapy was another great advance, based on very simple principles.

Failures:

  • In the current COVID-19 disease outbreak, while many have praised the WHO’s leadership, Trump has accused it of being China-centric and giving bad advice about the emerging pandemic.
  • Despite initially declaring that Malaria would be eradicated, the WHO has had to concede that the disease has proved more persistent and resistant to drugs than it originally realized.
  • There is also the depressing fact that Cholera, Diarrhea and Tuberculosis are still killing thousands of children and adults each year in the developing world despite cures being available.
  • In the case of TB, misuse of antibiotics has caused severe problems with the disease becoming resistant to the initial treatments

Challenges faced by WHO:

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

Measures to empower WHO:

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

Conclusion

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

 

Topic : Ethics based case study

6. Mobota is a small and very poor country in Africa. A major epidemic of a new disease breaks out in Mobota. The only medicine in the market for this disease is a drug made in India by a new pharmaceutical company called Biomed. Since the drug has been developed at heavy cost and Biomed is partly owned by a major international company, the medicine is priced very high. Mobota cannot not afford to pay the price for the large quantities it needs to control the outbreak. What are the different options for Mobota’s health minister to deal with this situation? What according to you would be the best option & why. (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is a case study.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the nuances of the case study and highlight the associated concerns of it. And suggest options available to the Mobota’s health minister to deal with this situation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Identify the ethical issues involved in the case study and the stakeholders associated.

Body:

Explain that access to medicines’ is crucial to sustenance of human lives and preservation of human dignity. It also provokes the concept of social equity as seen from developing countries suffering around the world due to lack of essential healthcare/ medicine.

Deliberate in detail the Options available to the health minister according to you. India being a country with good humanitarian record may provide subsidized medicines for urgent relief. Moreover, if India approves, the issue can be addressed at the earliest than through other intermediaries.

Since the drug company is based in India, it would be easy for Indian officials to take up the issue with the drug company and reach a decision consistent with the values India uphold as a nation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with best way forward.

Introduction:

Epidemics in the 21st century are on a rise due to a variety of factors like rising population, increasing inequality, global warming and resultant climate change, Zoonotic diseases etc. These epidemics mostly affect the poorer countries as there is a clear lack of basic facilities like healthcare, drinking water, nutrition and sanitation, cramped housing and slums etc.  The vaccines developed for such epidemics are usually in better off countries and involvement of MNCs make them usually unaffordable for the poorer countries.

Body:

As the health minister of the Mobota, the following would be the different options to access the vaccine for the country:

  • Since it is currently unaffordable, I would raise finances from the market using the sovereign bonds.
  • I would talk to the Biomed company and request them to give the medicines on compassionate grounds to save lakhs of lives.
  • The other option would be to raise a request for help from the global bodies like WHO and global philanthropic organizations like Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to procure the medicines for Mobota.
  • If neither of the above options work, it would be wise to raise a long-term loan from the global financial institutions like World Bank or IMF.
  • Lastly, I would request the MNC’s, NGO’s which are in my country to raise funds needed for the vaccine.

The best option in the above case would be a combination of 2 and 3 as the situation is grim and needs immediate attention to save the lives of the people. This is because the country is already poor and is low on resources. The epidemic is raging and killing many of the people in Mobota. The other options which involve taking loans would create debts for the future generations. Also, it is important to work to reduce the climate change effects which are leading to novel zoonotic diseases and inturn affecting the human kind. I would also use the global forums like UN, UNFCCC to strengthen this cause of sustainable development in the future.

Conclusion:

These steps would be my immediate and long-term actions.

 

Topic : Conflict of Interest and Probity

7.  ‘Regulation of the issue of Conflict of Interest is a crucial step in probity’. Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of conflict of Interest.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way regulation of the issue of Conflict of Interest is a crucial step in probity.

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:

Explain what you understand by conflict of interest.

Body:

Conflict of interest is the performance of public duties where the public official has a personal interest or appears to be in conflict with their official duty.

If a conflict of interest is kept behind closed doors it is more likely to attract suspicion and allegations of possible misconduct. Hence, regulation of Conflicts of interest is crucial for accountability and transparency in public life.

Substantiate as to why it is important to regulate it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of regulating the conflict of interest and its importance of probity.

Introduction:

A “conflict of interest” involves a conflict between the public duty and private interests of a public official, in which the public official has private-capacity interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities.

Body:

In such a situation, judgement of an individual could be impaired. A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations. Conflict of interest is seen as a moral issue and not strictly a legal one accompanied by criminal culpability in India so it is hardly surprising that blatant violations are virtually seen every day.

Example: a public official whose personal interests conflict with his/her professional position. Instances of the largest shareholder appointing himself as CEO, deciding his salary and then appointing his son to a key post and higher royalties to the parent company are some of the serious conflict of interest issues in India which don’t receive necessary attention. Or a judge giving judgement in a case involving his own family member is a case of conflict of interest.

Public servants face Conflict of Interest due to the nature of their work:

  • Personal vs Professional
    • This is the most common type of conflict of interest arising due to the conflict between personal and professional life.
    • Say, if a public servant is incharge of giving out contracts for a certain project and one of the applicant is relative or friend.
  • Conflicting Responsibility
    • Sometimes public servants are given additional charge, which might sometimes create a conflict of interest with the original line of duty.
  • Conflicting Organizations
    • Sometimes public servants are part of two separate organizations with apparently conflicting objectives and this might put them in certain conflict of interest.
    • Many public servants also volunteer for NGOs during their service. NGOs and govermental organization sometimes come at odds with each other.

Importance of regulation of conflict of interest:

  • Conflicts of interest are naturally occurring phenomena, not a pathology – that is, they are an inevitable consequence of the fact that people occupy more than one social role.
  • Getting into a situation of conflict of interest is sometimes unavoidable and not a crime in itself if properly handled.
  • Public sector employees have an obligation to act ethically and in the public interest at all times. When a conflict of interest has been ignored, concealed, improperly acted on, or has influenced actions or decision making, either inadvertently or deliberately, that conduct (not the conflict itself) could be seen as misconduct, abuse of office or even corruption.
  • There may be occasions where an officer becomes, through their actions or roles, the subject of accusations of:
    • fraud – the false representation of facts with an intention to deceive or enable person or organisation to gain an unfair advantage (this includes falsifying documents and certifying statements known to be wrong);
    • theft – stealing or dishonest misappropriation of money or property; and
    • corruption – acceptance of any gift or consideration as an inducement or reward, misuse of information or misuse of position.
  • Hence, regulation of Conflicts of interest is crucial for accountability and transparency in public life.

The measures needed to resolve conflict of interest are:

  • Transparency
    • Declaring one’s conflict of interest to the concerned authorities is the best way.
    • It helps civil servant to come clean and concerned authorities can decide further.
  • Assure integrity
    • The concerned authority should be assured of integrity and willingness to serve no matter what the decision is made on the declaration.
  • Maintain objectivity
    • If given the chance to continue working on that case, work with objectivity.
  • Reduce discretion and codify procedure
    • There is a need for legislation to make non-disclosure of a conflict of interest punishable.
    • A private member’s bill (The Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest Bill, introduced in 2012), the legislation ought to cover all arms of governance, including the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.
    • The recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Department of Personnel and Training, calling for early retirement if interested in post-retirement private service is established, needs to be implemented, besides increasing the mandatory cooling period to five years so that no undue influence can be exerted by the retired bureaucrat.
    • Also, the reasons for declining their requests for joining such firms need to be laid out clearly, to limit political concerns.
    • An open, public data platform enlisting all post-retirement appointments of civil servants will increase transparency

Conclusion:

The priority must be to frame a modern law relating to conflict of interest, along the lines of what exists in the statute of the other countries like the United States and also ensure them to their work ensures ethical governance.


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