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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 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.


General Studies – 1


 

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

1. Elaborate the relationship between level of urbanization and the economic development in India. Suggest the policy response for urbanization potential in India. (250 words)

Reference: worldbank.org 

Why the question:

The question is about the relationship between level of urbanization and the economic development in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the relationship between level of urbanization and the economic development in India also suggest in detail the policy response for urbanization potential in India.

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:

Briefly introduce rampant urbanization prevalent in India.

Body:

Start by explaining the fact that Urbanisation is seen as a chaotic process, particularly in India, where hordes of rural migrants enter cities every day for their livelihood. Urbanisation, per se, has received a negative connotation, and India’s romanticism with the rural life or its villages still remains, both in policy and politics.

Elaborate on relationship between level of urbanisation and the economic development.

Suggest upon the challenges in the current and past policies in this direction, suggest measures to address them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable reforms needed in the urban oriented policies.

Introduction

Urbanization is not a side effect of economic growth; it is an integral part of the process. As in most countries, India’s urban areas make a major contribution to the country’s economy. Indian cities contribute to about 2/3 of the economic output, host a growing share of the population and are the main recipients of FDI and the originators of innovation and technology and over the next two decades are projected to have an increase of population from 282 million to 590 million people.

India’s towns and cities have expanded rapidly as increasing numbers migrate to towns and cities in search of economic opportunity.

Body

Urbanization and economic development

  • It is estimated that currently (2020), the share of India’s urban population is about 35% of its total population, but the share of total GDP originating from urban areas is about 70-75%.
    • The share of urban areas in India’s total GDP was 45% in 1990, and rose to 63% in 2014
  • It is argued that the rising urbanization will ignite urban consumption, services, and infrastructure, and that the urban focus can put India’s economy on a higher growth path through:
    • Fuelling urban consumption, especially of the premium-end of consumer goods and automobiles;
    • Powering urban services like consumer banking, healthcare, telecom data services, and internet;
    • Driving the infrastructure sector, including civic urban infrastructure services and real estate.
  • Human capital and innovation: Cities are the centres of knowledge, innovation and specialization of production and services. Cities facilitate creative thinking and innovation.
  • Economic Agglomeration: Agglomeration economies are the positive benefits of economic activities that firms obtain from being located in close proximity with those engaged in similar businesses or interests (i.e. agglomerating).
    • It refers to the reduction of business cost as more efficiency and productivity occur because of positive technological and pecuniary externalities arising from the interaction of economic agents located in close spatial proximity due to economies of scale and knowledge spillovers.

Issues of urbanization

The challenges of unsustainability surround the Indian cities at multiple levels.

  • First, the urban system is dominated by a few large cities, clustered in the western flank of India, with huge implications for balanced regional development.
    • India suffers from the ‘Tyranny of Capitals’ – with a majority of commercial and demographic activity concentrated into regional seats of power. This concentration skews resource allocation and prevents the development of second cities.
    • Next, large cities control a significant share of the Indian economy, the propulsive industries, and new economic opportunities.
  • A majority of cities in India face hard challenges related to housing, transport, electricity, water supply, pollution, and congestion.
  • Internally, most cities are also marked by significant social exclusion, crime, and violence.
  • Also, the government policies to tackle the urban challenges and to avail the emerging opportunities have been lackadaisical and, in many ways, irrelevant to solve pressing problems.
  • City infrastructure across India is in disrepair, and 2017 gave us a series of unfortunate examples in Mumbai: multiple building collapses, a stampede after a pedestrian bridge collapsed, lamentable monsoon floods, and a horrific fire in the Kamla Mills complex.

Policy response for planned urbanization

  • Government’s urban development strategy: There two urban related ministries at the national (GoI) level- the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA).
    • The Government of India’s overarching urban development objectives is to create economically productive, efficient, inclusive and responsive ULBs, by focusing on strategic outcomes: (i) universal access to a minimum level of services; (ii) establishment of city wide frameworks for planning and governance; (iii) modern and transparent budgeting, accounting and FM; (iv) financial sustainability for ULBs and service delivery institutions; (v) utilization of e-governance; (vi) transparency and accountability in urban service delivery and management; (vii) Slum-free cities.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission launched in 2005 (which was replaced by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation in 2015). The focus of both these missions has been on urban reforms and massive investment in infrastructures, especially in megacities.
  • Smart City: Another very important program for the urban development, especially of megacities, by the Government of India—accompanied by huge investments in these cities—is the Smart Cities Mission, which aims at making the cities ‘smart’ through:
    • Promoting mixed land-use;
    • housing and inclusiveness;
    • creating walkable localities;
    • preserving and developing open spaces;
    • promoting a variety of transport options;
    • applying smart solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development.

Conclusion

The point of a city is to facilitate interactions between citizens, businesses, and public institutions. These interactions are what drive economic growth within cities – investments from companies, consumption of citizenry, the city investing in interventions that aid its organic growth, and business activity. These factors work best when they are not mutually exclusive. By investing in the development of sustainable cities, India needs to break away from the myth of the compartmentalized city.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Despite upholding the cooperative federalism, the tussle between center and state governments for the rights of states continues. Analyse the factors responsible and suggest suitable way forward to address the same. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint 

Why the question:

The article captures the instances of failure of Federalism in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the issues being faced by the States with respect to the federal features. Explain why despite upholding the cooperative federalism, the tussle between centre and state governments for the rights of states are being continued.

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:

Start by explaining what are the issues being face by states with respect to federalism.

Body:

Discuss the issues one by one such as Tax devolution to States was below the 14th Finance Commission projections. Explain the underlying reasons viz. – Economic slowdown and fall in GST collections, Delay in payments (i.e. GST compensation) to states etc.

Explain that COVID-19 has further deepened the crisis. States should spend more to help common citizens and save livelihoods. But the Centre didn’t provide any support specific to the pandemic.

Discuss that a crisis shouldn’t undermine the principles of cooperative federalism.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Cooperative federalism is the concept which reflects the relationship between centre and state where they both come together and resolve the common problems with each other’s’ cooperation. With the collaborative efforts and cooperation, different level of governments in an amicable manner, contributes towards the growth of the country.

It shows the horizontal relationship between union and states and shows neither is above the other. To ensure this relationship between centre and state, Indian constitution has incorporated certain instruments like inter-state council, Zonal council, 7th schedule etc.

Body

Cooperative federalism in India: Scenario

  • Legislative/Administrative
    • Separation of Power: Schedule 7 of Constitution provides strict delineation of powers between center and state. (Except during emergencies which comes under judicial review)
    • Article 131 of the Constitution, which gives the Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases between states and the Centre. Eg: Chhattisgarh moved SC against NIA Act in Jan 2020.
    • Coalition governments: It has increased states’ bargaining power.
  • Political
    • In relation to the imposition of President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution, federalism is far more mature.
  • Financial
    • GST Council: Passing of GST is a shining example of cooperative federalism where States and Centre have ceded their power to tax and come up with a single tax system to realize the dream of one Economic India with ‘One Nation, One Market’.
    • Majority decisions have been based on consensus till now, while states gave 2/3rd of votes.
    • Since 10th FC, state’s share has been continuously increasing till 14th FC by devolving 42%.
  • Other Areas
    • NITI Aayog: Replacing the erstwhile Planning Commission, the Aayog is promoting bottom-up approach to development planning.
    • Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas involves State’s as equal partners of development. There is a move towards competitive and cooperative

 Tussle between centre-state continues

  • State’s dwindling resources: The findings suggest that recent changes in India’s fiscal architecture, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, and increase in state shares for the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) had placed state finances in a precarious position, even prior to the crisis.
  • Lockdown without prior notice: There was no prior consultation with states before the lockdown was imposed on 25th It caused serious supply chains breakdown and importantly migrant workers chaos.
  • Struggling for fiscal space: The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Rs 20-lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Campaign) package left many scrambling with the fiscal maths.
  • Increasing dependency on Centre: The dependency of states on the Centre for revenues has increased, with the share of the revenue from own sources declining from 55% in 2014-15 to 50.5% in 2020-21.
    • While part of this is inherent in India’s fiscal structure, wherein states are the big spenders and the Centre controls the purse strings, the situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of the GST.
    • Barring a few exceptions, such as petroleum products, property tax, and alcohol excise, indirect taxes have, to a large degree, been subsumed under the GST regime, eroding the ability of states to raise their own revenues.
  • Shortfall in devolution: Adding to state woes is the significant divergence in past periods between the amount of GST compensation owed and the actual payments made, including for states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand that need greater fiscal support.
    • Even before Covid-19 hit, 11 states estimated a revenue growth rate below the estimated 14% level, implying higher amounts will be owed as GST compensation.
    • With the bulk of the states’ GST coming from goods such as electronics, fashion, and entertainment — all of which have been impacted by the pandemic — these revenues are likely to decline further.
  • Different Post-lockdown agenda: For instance, when Kerala took a decision to allow restaurants to open based on its own risk assessment, the state was pressured by the Centre to cancel such permit.

Strengthening Federalism

  • Strengthening of Inter-State Council: Over the year multiple committees have recommended strengthening of Interstate Council where the concurrent list subjects can be debated and discussed, balancing Centre state powers. There is far less institutional space to settle inter-state frictions therefore a constitutional institution like ISC can be a way forward.
  • Autonomy to states: Centre should form model laws with enough space for states to maneuver. Centre should give enough budgetary support to states so as to avoid budgetary burden. There should be least interference in the state subjects.
  • Democratic Decentralization of administration and strengthening governments at all levels in true spirit. Power should be decentralized based on the principle of subsidiarity.

Conclusion

While in certain areas, it might warrant greater powers to the Union(defence, currency etc), on the development front (education, health etc.) the Centre should respect the autonomy of the other two levels of government and consciously avoid the tendency to centralize powers and functions.

 

Topic : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3. Do you think the criminal justice system still is a residual remain of the colonial legacy in our country? Discuss the need to reform criminal justice system in the country. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Union home ministry constituted a committee for the reform of criminal laws. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way criminal justice system still is a residual remain of the colonial legacy in our country. Explain the need to reform criminal justice delivery system.

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:

Various groups related with criminal justice system raised concerns against the constitution of the committee by the ministry due to shorter time frame and limited scope for Public consultation.

Body:

Explain first in what way the existing criminal law system- Indian Penal code, code of criminal procedure and Indian evidence act are of colonial origin and reforms in these laws are very much needed.

Discuss the persistent issues in the system in detail.

Explain steps taken in this direction so far; bring out the concerns and issues involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude that wider public consultation and clear mandate are needed for any committee that is constituted to bring in genuine reforms in the criminal justice system, which is still a residual remain of the colonial legacy.

Introduction

Criminal Justice System refers to the agencies of government charged with enforcing law, adjudicating crime, and correcting criminal conduct. Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay is said to be the chief architect of codifications of criminal laws in India. Criminal law in India is governed by Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Indian Evidence Act, 1872, etc.

Body

Colonial legacy in criminal justice system

Though 1200 archaic laws were scrapped in bulk, Indians are still following many obsolete laws that have been prevalent from the time of British colonial rule.

  • The criminal justice system is a replica of the British colonial jurisprudence, which was designed with the purpose of ruling the nation and not serving the citizens.
  • Sedition: Section 124A of IPC is being used even today to repress dissent, in the largest democracy of the world.
    • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recorded 165 arrests made on the charge of sedition in the last three years.
  • Blasphemy: Controversial for curtailing freedom of speech, Section 295A of the IPC has been time and again imposed for banning publication of several books and other content.
  • It was only recently that Homosexuality under section 377 and Adultery was decriminalised.

Need for reforms

  • Pendency of Cases: According to Economic Survey 2018-19, there are about 3.5 crore cases pending in the judicial system, especially in district and subordinate courts, which leads to actualisation of the maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
  • Huge Undertrials: India has one of the world’s largest number of undertrial prisoners.
    • According to NCRB -Prison Statistics India (2015), 67.2% of our total prison population comprises undertrial prisoners.
  • Investigation: Corruption, huge workload and accountability of police is a major hurdle in speedy and transparent delivery of justice.
  • Ineffectiveness: The purpose of the criminal justice system was to protect the rights of the innocents and punish the guilty, but nowadays the system has become a tool of harassment of common people.
  • The existing system “weighed in favour of the accused and did not adequately focus on justice to the victims of crime.” This was as per Malimath Committee report

Measures needed

  • Penal code: Penal code should be modified to incorporate the present day societal, economic, and other changes. The Penal code can be divided into various codes incorporating social offences, correctional offences, economic offences and an Indian penal code (which will deal with cases that warrant 10 years punishment or more).
  • Police processes: Institutional reform including proper investigation of crimes, rationalisation of court systems by inducting technology, limiting appeal procedures to a minimum.
    • In Prakash Singh vs Union of India, Supreme Court ordered that reform must take place.
    • The states and union territories were directed to comply with seven binding directives that would kick start reform.
  • Victim centric: The system should be victim centric to ensure that the victims get justice. The victim should get a chance to put forth his case and quick completion of trials is needed to ensure that they do not lose faith in the system.
    • Fixing responsibility quickly and transparently will maximise the sense of justice to the victim.
    • Witness protection is another area, where in if made robust, victims are more likely to get justice.
  • Prison reforms: Reforming the property-based bail system, provision of proper legal support to remove problem of undertrials, improvement of prison conditions is needed. Thus, India needs to reform its archaic system to incorporate more efficient practices like restorative justice, plea bargaining, etc. that will ensure a more robust criminal justice system.
  • Malimath committee has recommended many reforms which need to be implemented. Some of the important recommendations of the Malimath committee are as follows:
    • Need for more judges to dispose-off a large number of pending cases.
    • Constitution of a National Judicial Commission to deal with the appointment of judges to the higher courts and amendment of Article 124 to make impeachment of judges.
    • Creation of separate criminal division in higher courts that have judges specialising in criminal laws.
    • Article 20 (3) of the Constitution, which protects the accused from being compelled to be a witness against himself/herself, needs to be modified.
    • The courts should be given freedom to question the accused to give information and draw an adverse inference against the accused in case the latter refuses to answer.
    • Victim Compensation Fund should be created under the victim compensation law and the assets confiscated from organised crimes should be made a part of it.

Conclusion

The reforms should not only make CJSI more efficient but also be sensitive to both the innocent and the needs of the law enforcing officers. Our policy makers need to focus on reformative justice in order to bring all around peace in the society.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Discuss the Vulnerability of Indian forests to forest fires also elaborate on the associated challenges and suggest measures to reduce the risk of forest fires. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article talks about Forest fires and their effect on carbon emissions.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the Vulnerability of Indian forests to forest fires also elaborate on the associated challenges and suggest measures to reduce the risk of forest fires.

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 stating facts such as – During 2003–2017, a total of 5,20,861 active forest fire events were detected in India, and according to the report of the Forest Survey of India, over 54% of the forest cover in India is exposed to occasional fire.

Body:

The States of northeast India, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are the most fire-prone in India.

The sharp increase in average and maximum air temperature, decline in precipitation, change in land-use patterns have caused the increased episodes of forest fires in most of the Asian countries including India.

Discuss the major observations of the study; highlight the vulnerabilities pointed out by it.

Suggest measures to address the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions.

Introduction

Every year large areas of forests are affected by fires of varying intensity and extent. Based on the forest inventory records, 54.40% of forests in India are exposed to occasional fires, 7.49% to moderately frequent fires and 2.405 to high incidence levels while 35.71% of India’s forests have not yet been exposed to fires of any real significance.

Around 95 percent of the forest fires in India are on account of human activity. Around 21 percent of the total forest cover is highly to extremely fire prone, adds the latest forest survey.

Body

fire_affected

Vulnerability of Indian forests to fires

  • Natural causes – Many forest fires start from natural causes such as lightning which set trees on fire. However, rain extinguishes such fires without causing much damage. High atmospheric temperatures and dryness (low humidity) offer favorable circumstance for a fire to start.
  • Man-made causes – Fire is caused when a source of fire like naked flame, cigarette or bidi, electric spark or any source of ignition comes into contact with inflammable material.
  • Environmental causes are largely related to climatic conditions such as temperature, wind speed and direction, level of moisture in soil and atmosphere and duration of dry spells.
  • Other natural causes are the friction of bamboos swaying due to high wind velocity and rolling stones that result in sparks setting off fires in highly inflammable leaf litter on the forest floor.
  • The youngest mountain ranges of Himalayas are the most vulnerable stretches of the world susceptible to forest fires.
  • The forests of Western Himalayas are more frequently vulnerable to forest fires as compared to those in Eastern Himalayas.
    • This is because forests of Eastern Himalayas grow in high rain density.
  • With large scale expansion of chirr (Pine) forests in many areas of the Himalayas the frequency and intensity of forest fires has increased.

Challenges and issues due to forest fires
Fires are a major cause of forest degradation and have wide ranging adverse ecological, economic and social impacts, including:

  • Loss of valuable timber resources.
  • Degradation of catchment areas.
  • Loss of biodiversity and extinction of plants and animals.
  • Loss of wildlife habitat and depletion of wildlife.
  • Loss of natural regeneration and reduction in forest cover.
  • Global warming.
  • Loss of carbon sink resource and increase in percentage of CO2 in atmosphere.
  • Change in the microclimate of the area with unhealthy living conditions.
  • Soil erosion affecting productivity of soils and production.
  • Ozone layer depletion.
  • Health problems leading to diseases.
  • Loss of livelihood for tribal people and the rural poor, as approximately 300 million people are directly dependent upon collection of non-timber forest products from forest areas for their livelihood. 

Measures to control forest fires

  • Forest fire line: Successive Five Year Plans have provided funds for forests fighting. During the British period, fire was prevented in the summer through removal of forest litter all along the forest boundary. This was called “Forest Fire Line”.
    • This line used to prevent fire breaking into the forest from one compartment to another.
    • The collected litter was burnt in isolation.
  • Firebreaks: Generally, the fire spreads only if there is continuous supply of fuel (Dry vegetation) along its path. The best way to control a forest fire is therefore, to prevent it from spreading, which can be done by creating firebreaks in the shape of small clearings of ditches in the forests.
  • Forest Survey of India monitors forest fire events through satellites on two platforms– MODIS and SNPP-VIIRS, both in collaboration with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    • While the SNPP-VIIRS identifies, alerts and tracks fire incidents on real time data at 375X375 sq meter pixel, the older version MODIS detects it in the range of 1kmX1km.
    • Forest fire suppression relies very heavily on “dry” firefighting techniques because of poor water availability.
  • Integrated forest protection: The main objective is to control forest fires and strengthen the forest protection. The works like Fireline clearing, assistance to Joint Forest Management committees, creating water bodies, purchase of vehicles and communication equipment, purchase of firefighting tools, etc., needs to be undertaken.
  • Prevention of human-caused fires through education and environmental modification. It will include silvicultural activities, engineering works, people participation, and education and enforcement. It is proposed that more emphasis be given to people participation through Joint Forest Fire Management for fire prevention.
  • Prompt detection of fires through a well-coordinated network of observation points, efficient ground patrolling, and communication networks. Remote sensing technology is to be given due importance in fire detection. For successful fire management and administration, a National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and Fire Forecasting System are to be developed in the country.
  • Introducing a forest fuel modification system at strategic points.
  • National Action Plan on Forest Fires (NAPFF): It was launched in 2018 to minimise forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivising them to work with the State Forest Departments.

Conclusion

It is important to prevent the lungs of the nation from ravages of fire. With climate change and global warming on the rise, India must prevent human-made disaster to ensure our carbon sinks are protected.

 

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. Discuss the importance of Bamboo as a livelihood opportunity for the people in North East India. (250 words)

Reference: News on Air 

Why the question:

The article brings to us the fact as to in what way Bamboo sector will be one of the important components of India’s Post COVID economy.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward; one must explain the importance of Bamboo as a livelihood opportunity for the people in North East India.

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 the context of the question that is; importance of Bamboo as a source of livelihood.

Body:

Explain why and how Bamboo is important? – It is expected to propel the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in the North Eastern Region. State and suggest facts to substantiate your stand; 40% of the bamboo resources in the NE itself. India, being the second largest producer of Bamboo, is only occupying 5% of the global trade – Shows a huge potential.

Discuss means and ways to tap this potential available to India such as “Create, Curate and  coordinate” for the Bamboo sector for its full exploitation, branding, packaging and marketing in India and abroad.

Conclusion:

Conclude that despite having the huge potential; Bamboo has seldom been used effectively. Hence, tapping the potential of the NE, and relying on India’s capacity as 2nd Largest Bamboo producer, would help in conquering the Market, and hence strengthen post Covid Economy.

Introduction

Bamboo is basically a form of grass, though with a woody stem (culm). The large proportion of Green Bamboos in the total Green Weight of the country’s Bamboo resources is indicative of the potential for utilisation in industry. Green bamboo culms are required for most industrial processing applications, as well as for artisans.

Over 39% of the total area under Bamboo is available in the North East Region, which is also the leader in availability of dense bamboo brakes.

Body

Bamboo Cultivation in India

  • Bamboo is grown on 96 million hectares in India and covers almost 13 per cent of the total forest area.
  • The total production of bamboo is five million tonnes per year.
  • About 8.6 million people depend on bamboo for their livelihood, the value of bamboo in India is estimated at $4.4 billion.
  • Though Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under bamboo forests, bamboo culture thrives in the North Eastern region.
  • India is second only to China in terms of bamboo diversity.
  • The North-Eastern States are a storehouse of bamboo diversity, home to 58 bamboo varieties.

Importance and uses of bamboo: Livelihood opportunity

  • As food: From the tender shoots as a delicacy food item to the rice cooked in the hollow of raw bamboo, it is part of everyday life.
    • Due to its versatile nature and multiple uses, it is also called ‘poor man’s timber’.
  • Medicinal value: Traditionally utilised in local medicinal systems in South Asia, Bamboo shoots have been proven to function as natural medicines, with qualities including the ability to lower cholesterol, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Construction: From house construction to flooring, agricultural implements, bamboo pervades all aspects of life and culture, artistic skills in bamboo weaving is also found in north-eastern region.
  • Drought resistance: Though it grows tall like a tree, it belongs to the grass family. It can withstand drought as well as flood.
  • Land reclamation: It can be planted to reclaim severely degraded sites and wastelands. It is good soil binder owing to its peculiar clump formation and fibrous root system and hence also plays an important role in soil and water conservation.
  • Agroforestry: The advantage of bamboo is manifold compared to monoculture tree plantations.
    • Post planting, bamboo clumps start yielding after 4-7 years.
    • It can become part of agro forestry practice in small land holdings.
    • New bamboo plantations may curb the pressure from deforestation by serving as wood substitutes.
  • Environmental benefits:
    • Generates almost 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees.
    • Acts as a Sequestration agent: Certain Bamboo species have been known to sequester as much as 12 T of CO2 per hectare.
    • Lowers light intensity.
    • Protects against UV rays: Bamboo fibre has been proven to shield against UV rays almost 60% better than comparable cotton fibres.
    • Prevents Soil Erosion due to extensive net-like root systems and rhizomes, which bind soil together. The sum of the stem flow rate and canopy intercept rate15 for Bamboos is 0. 25, implying a large reduction in run-off and a consequent reduction in erosion.

Challenges

  • Inconsistencies in Legislation and Regulation: Bamboo is subject to bewildering variety of legislative structures which create multiple regulatory regimes surrounding it; further, this regime varies across states due to the inclusion of Forestry on the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution.
  • Exploitation and Poor Regeneration in Bamboo forests: While Forest Rights are guaranteed to Forest dwelling communities under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, the process for the vesting of these community rights involves significant procedural hurdles, including a 3-tier system of registration
  • Poor Yields: The Average yield for Bamboo grown in India is 2-3 MT44 per hectare. This low yield explains why India, despite having the largest absolute area under Bamboo, has the second largest Bamboo resource.
  • Volatility in Market prices: It is observed in the NTFP sector in general that prices are highly volatile, fluctuating quite frequently.
    • This discourages Agro-forestry and commercial forestry in bamboo.
  • Underdeveloped Markets: A Market in a product can exist only if there exists adequate Demand for the Good being produced; however, in the Bamboo product sector, the demand for Bamboo products is low.

Government Initiatives

  • National Bamboo Mission launched by the Government envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based,regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
    • Under the Mission, steps have been taken to increase the availability of quality planting material by supporting the setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of existing ones.
    • To address forward integration, the Mission is taking steps to strengthen marketing of bamboo products, especially those of handicraft items.
  • Recently the Government relaxed the restrictions on harvesting, transit and trade of bamboo in non-forest areas to boost the bamboo economy across the country.
    • Bamboo was removed from the definition of “tree” and could now be felled without permit in non-forested lands.
  • Further, the Government has allocated $200 million in the 2018 Budget to provide new impetus to the bamboo sector, with huge support to the North-Eastern States.
  • Sale of bamboo products on TRIFED’s TribesIndia initiative will go a long way in providing livelihood income to the tribes, especially in north-east and central India.
  • Bamboo can be sold as Minor Forest Produce as it is now reclassified under Non-timber forest produce. Van Dhan Kendras will procure bamboo aiding fringe communities.

Conclusion

The Bamboo sector is under-industrialised in India owing to a wide variety of challenges accruing to each portion of the value Chain. Nonetheless, possessing immense potential for growth, the sector’s pivotal importance has, in recent times, prompted welcome reform steps from the Government.

 

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

6. Given the fact that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic would mostly result in higher non-performing assets and capital erosion of banks, deliberate upon the associated apprehensions and suggest measures to help mitigate the crisis. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article is amidst the context of economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the current uncertain outlook of the economy.  Suggest measures both long term and short term to address the situation.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Recently RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has warned that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic— due to lockdown and anticipated post lockdown compression in economic growth — would likely result in higher non-performing assets and capital erosion of banks.

Body:

Start by explaining the fact that the redemption pressure on NBFCs and mutual funds are indicative of the pressure on the financial system.

The recent noticeable trends have been that mutual funds have emerged as major investors in market instruments issued by NBFCs and there has been the increasing share of bank lending to NBFCs given the continuing crunch in market-based financing faced by the NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies. In such circumstance there is the possibility of development of an adverse feedback loop and hence there are associated systemic risks involved in the financial system.

Explain in detail the redundancy in the current framework.

Suggest measures – both long term and short term to address the issue at hand.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, amidst the pandemic, warned that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 would likely result in an increase in bad loans across banks, and added that a recapitalisation plan was urgently needed to ensure financial stability.

Body

Economic Fallout from Covid-19 pandemic: Apprehensions

  • Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) will spike in virtually all economies in the coming months. India’s NPA ratio is over 9 percent highest, among the important economies.
  • Dilution in regulation: Recent developments including that of private banks includes widely reported delays in resolution and the ad-hoc dilutions in regulations, which have not helped.
  • Moratorium on repayment of loans: RBI has also allowed banks to defer payment of Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs) on home, car, personal loans as well as credit card dues for three months till May 31.
    • The RBI also allowed lending institutions, banks to defer interest on working capital repayments by 3 months — a move aimed at addressing the distress among firms as production is down.
    • A working capital loan is a loan that is taken to finance a company’s everyday operations.
    • These measures may add pressure and lead to increase in NPA’s
  • Poor disclosure of bad loans: Late last year ten banks disclosed that for the previous financial year their NPAs were Rupees 26,500 crores higher than previously reported.
  • All this contributed to an increase in the banking sector’s risk premium.
  • Moody’s Investor Service (a rating agency) has reduced its GDP growth forecast for India to 2.5% in 2020 – a sharp drop from an earlier projection of 5.3%, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.

Measures to mitigate the crisis

  • Loan provisioning: Building buffers and raising capital will be crucial not only to ensure credit flow but also to build resilience in the financial system.
  • Timely resolution: All lenders including non-banking financial institutions should conduct periodic “stress tests” to gauge the impact of the pandemic on their balance sheets, asset quality and liquidity. This would enable them to take timely action to mitigate the risks.
  • Resolution Corporation: There is a need for legislative backing to have some kind of Resolution Corporation which has to deal with resolution and revival of stressed financial firms.
  • Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs/HFCs/MFIs (Allocation: Rs. 30,000 crore): Under this scheme investment will be made in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment grade debt paper of Non-banking Financial Corporations (NBFCs)/Housing Finance Corporations (HFCs)/Micro-finance Institutions (MFIs).
    • This will provide liquidity support for NBFCs/HFC/MFIs and mutual funds and create confidence in the market.
    • Securities generated under the scheme will be fully guaranteed by Government of India.
  • Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS) 2.0 for NBFCs:
    • The government had launched the PCGS for public sector banks (PSBs) (in 2019) to purchase high- rated pooled assets from financially sound NBFCs and HFCs.
    • Need for PCGS 2.0: NBFCs, HFCs and MFIs with low credit rating require liquidity to do fresh lending to MSMEs and individuals.

Conclusion

There will be more to do as the crisis evolves; governments and regulators are reacting to events, as opposed to being proactive, simply because this is a kind of crisis that they have not dealt with before. The priority is to undertake strong and purposeful action in order to minimise the adverse macroeconomic impact of the pandemic

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case study

7. Your husband is watching a news report on rape along with your 8 year old daughter. The report is airing graphic pictures of rape and murder scenes. Your father-in-law who is also watching the report comments that your daughter is not safe on the streets and she should be taught how to dress from now itself so that she would be safe when she grows up. Your husband concurs. In the same hall you are helping your son with his homework while listening to all the conversations happening in the hall. In between your son, who is 12 year old, keeps asking you about what rape is, who commits it and why every news channel is talking about only this issue etc. You are focusing only on his homework and not reacting to anything. Identify the various issues in the case study and give your opinion on them. (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is a case study that is based on the societal mindsets and existing value systems and the challenges associated therefore, with the case study centred at role of Media the question aims to address the issue in question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the ethical issues involved in the case study, discuss the stakeholders associated, and suggest solutions to address the issue.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The first issue at play here is media coverage of heinous crimes. While coverage is essential and creates awareness, inciting graphics with vivid coverage of brutal acts needs to be censored.

Body:

Explain that airing pictures of rape victims’ bodies, even with blurred faces should be out rightly censored. At the same time, adults need to ensure that children don’t get to view the channels that air provocative Graphical content. Awareness is important, traumatizing isn’t.

The second factor at play here is society’s perception of rape. It is naïve and misleading to assume that rape is primarily because of the clothing pattern or character of the victim. People who are justifying curtailing the freedom of Victims are in a way justifying the actions of the perpetuators of sexual crimes.

 Awareness should be created to erase the further social victimization of the victims and they should not be deemed responsible, partially or fully, for an act of which they are victims.

Thirdly, the question comes up as to spreading awareness about social crimes among children, especially teenagers. While it is beneficial to educate them, it must be ensured that the medium of communication is proper. We should not try to paint a helpless picture; at the same time we have to make them aware of this evil and teach them as to how important it is to curb the menace.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions to address such issues.

Introduction

The case involves grave misdemeanour by media channels in content disbursement. At the same time, it highlights the victim blaming attitude prevalent in the India society. Another important factor is the patriarchal mindset that tries to suppress liberty of women while the male child is not taught how to respect women.

Body

Ethical issues involved

  • Irresponsible Media displaying uncensored content that may not be age appropriate.
  • It also goes against the guidelines of media ethics.
  • Romanticising and sensationalisation of heinous crimes.
  • Misogynist attitude of men in victim shaming and blaming
  • Lack of Sex Education in Indian curriculum
  • Lack of open conversations with adolescents regarding sensitive issues
  • Curbing liberty of girl child in the name of safeguarding them.

Various Issues in the case

  • Airing pictures of rape victims’ bodies, even with blurred faces should be out rightly censored.
    • Media must follow certain ethical guidelines when it comes to airing sensitive content.
  • Media ethics: At the same time, adults need to ensure that children don’t get to view the channels that air provocative Graphical content. Awareness is important, traumatizing isn’t.
    • The child may be scarred for life, as it is impossible to comprehend images on the channel.
  • Perception management: The other factor at play here is society’s perception of rape. It is naïve and misleading to assume that rape is primarily because of the clothing pattern or character of the victim.
    • People who are justifying curtailing the freedom of Victims are in a way justifying the actions of the perpetuators of sexual crimes.
  • Uprooting patriarchy: Women must not tolerate misogynist attitude that suppresses their voice and choices.
    • In this case, the mother must confront the male members regarding the values they are instilling or will enforce at a later time.
  • Sex education: At the same time, questions asked by the adolescent male child must be answered sensitively. The child must be made aware of the incident and its contours. He must be taught about how it is a heinous act that is punishable.
    • Children must be taught to respect women.
    • Gender sensitisation must happen at the same time.
    • Secrecy will lead to children looking for answers elsewhere and acquiring a wrong perception about rape.
  • Spreading awareness about social crimes among children, especially teenagers. While it is beneficial to educate them, it must be ensured that the medium of communication is proper. We should not try to paint a helpless picture; at the same time, we have to make them aware of this evil and teach them as to how important it is to curb the menace.
  • Prevent victim blaming: Awareness should be created to erase the further social victimization of the victims and they should not be deemed responsible, partially or fully, for an act of which they are victims.

Conclusion

Crimes against women are on the rise in recent times. Safety of women is of utmost important to ensure that the society will prosper. The extent of violence against women in India is shameful, and shows little sign of abating. While, as a community, it is possible to pass laws to criminalise the violence, law alone will not ask men to respect the opposite gender. What needs to be ingrained in the society is this “stronger people don’t put others down; they lift them up”


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