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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 August 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 : The Freedom Struggle —  its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. Jawaharlal Nehru played a very important role in popularizing the vision of a socialist India both within the national movement and in the country at large. Illustrate with examples. (250 words)

Reference: shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in

Why the question:

Question is premised on how Jawaharlal Nehru played an important role in achieving socialist India.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the role played by Jawaharlal Nehru in popularizing the vision of a socialist India both within the national movement and in the country at large.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain the concept of socialism in short.

Body:

Jawaharlal Nehru rejected the capitalist development and worked for fundamental transformation of Indian society in a socialist direction. For him, socialism meant greater equality of opportunity, social justice, and more equitable distribution of higher incomes, ending of acute social disparities generated by feudalism and capitalism and application of scientific approach to the problems of society.

Explain how Nehru got inclined to the idea of socialism; discuss the methods and means by which he popularized the idea.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the importance of India adopting a socialist path of development under his leadership.

Introduction:

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), was the first and foremost Leader of the Indian National Congress, who proved himself instrumental in making India embark upon the path of socialism. It was due to his untiring efforts since late 20’s that socialism, Nehru and Congress – the three words, became inter-linked and dominated the political scene of India. His powerful oratory, art of presentation, non-violent approach and dashing personality put him at the apex among the socialists in India. The five principal pillars of Nehru’s legacy to India — Nation-building, Democratic institution-building, Secularism, Democratic Socialist economics, and a Novel foreign policy (Non-alignment, Panchsheel) still form the cardinal values of India.

Body:

Nehru’s Socialism:

  • First of all, Nehru did not belong to any distinct school of socialist thought. His ideas were fusion of several schools of thought of Western and Eastern traditions.
  • Secondly, he wanted to introduce socialism in accordance with the traditions and necessities of India
  • Socialism for Nehru was not just an economic theory that he adopted because of compelling circumstances, but a vital principle governing his whole thought and action.
  • His Socialism had three dimensions. It was founded on:
    • Western liberal influence.
    • Marxism philosophy
    • Gandhi an ethics.
  • Nehru was not a pioneer in the socialist field in India.
  • Nehru attended lectures of progressive intellectuals like Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and J.M. Keynes. As a result, he was drawn towards Fabien socialistic concept and became interested in the political movements of the day.
  • Nehru developed a deep faith in the ultimate success of socialism as the panacea of human ills.
  • He saw no way of ending the poverty, the chronic unemployment, the degradation and the subjection of the people except through socialism.
  • He was in socialism, not only a solution to the economic ills which India was subject to be deliverance for the entire human race
  • Nehru devised an enlightened brand of socialism, an original one and yet very convincing.
  • He emphasized that it is possible for socialism to co-exist with individual freedom. Moreover, his socialism stood for levelling up and not levelling down.
  • He would rather prefer inequality without poverty to equality with property.
  • Nehru’s whole approach to socialism was pragmatic. He did not see why he should be asked to define socialism in precise, rigid terms.
  • socialism that Nehru expounded was neither orthodox nor Marxist. It had in it an admixture of Gandhian, rational and liberal values but in it has an overwhelming regard for economic freedom and uplift of the masses.

Nehru’s socialism in post-independent India:

  • Nehru adopted same policy of non-inclusion of the word socialism in the resolution on the objectives of the Constitution, which he himself drafted.
  • But, he provided for its content by pleading to frame a constitution which would guarantee and secure to the people of India, social, economic as well as political justice and equality of opportunity as well as of status before the law.
  • The directive principles also enjoin the state to ensure that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.
  • These general principles enshrined in the constitution have formed the guidelines of Indian Planning
  • Nehru realized that the ultimate solution of the agrarian problem lay in the abolition of landlordism, feudal socio-economic structure and intermediaries. This was the basic element in Nehru’s thought.
  • Socialist programmes were to be achieved through planning. Socialism was based on planning for the benefit of the common man, raising his standards greatly, giving him opportunities of growth, and releasing an enormous amount of latent talent and capacity.
  • Nehru’s idea of planning had the support of intellectuals. It reflected some of the ideas of industrialists who favoured large-scale industrialization.
  • His objectives were a planned development creating economic   equality, equal   opportunities   and   an adequate minimum standard of life.
  • Nehru’s admiration for Russia lay in the fact that its leaders boldly adopted scientific planning as the key to progress and prosperity.
  • At the Karachi session of the Congress in 1931 resolution on fundamental rights which was drafted by Nehru stated that basic and key industries such as railways, mineral resources, shipping and other measures of public transport should be controlled by the State.
  • Nehru was convinced that the economic backwardness and poverty of the Indians was not only due to alien rule, but also due its outdated socio-economic structure. The only solution he could think of was to increase production by applying technology and scientific methods to   Indian agriculture and by adopting industrialization on a sufficient scale.
  • Nehru was aware that industrialization and agricultural development envisaged   by   him   needed   careful   economic planning. To Nehru planning was not an end itself but a means to achieve the well-being and development of the people as a whole, providing equal opportunity to all. It was essentially an integrated approach to development. Planning was essentially linked with industrialization and self-reliance of the country
  • Nehru, however, also conceded a place for village industry, because of scarcity of capital and unemployment especially rural employment. He believed that planning would benefit the common man providing great opportunities of development and a higher standard of living.

Criticisms:

Nehru’s socialism has been condemned as “compromise” and “confusion”. To yet others, because of this type of socialism, Nehru was “out of place everywhere, at home nowhere.” On the other hand, Nehru has been applauded as “the harbinger of the socialist trend in Indian national movement,” and “the white hope of world socialism”.

Conclusion:

In a sense, Nehru’s socialism became a compromise between Marxism and Gandhi’s, between Leninism and liberalism, between proletarian socialism and nationalistic bourgeois, between highly advanced industrialism and rural cottage industrialism, between violent revolution and non-violent revolution. As Nehru’s socialism has been condemned and applauded alike, it is essential to judge his concepts on Marxism and communists, socialism and socialists, Gandhi’s and Gandhian, and finally Indian National Congress-ideology and its followers.

 

Topic : Social empowerment, Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

2. Economic upliftment is one of the most enabling elements to release women from oppression, violence and powerlessness. Elaborate the statement. How far India has been successful in empowering women. Critically examine. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The question is based on the elements that can contribute to release women from oppression, violence and powerlessness.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the factors responsible for such conditions of women in the country; explain if economic upliftment can enable women empowerment and examine how far India has been successful in empowering women.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present a brief introduction about status of women.

Body:

There have been huge changes for women in terms of employment in the past decades, with women moving into paid employment outside the home in ways that their grandmothers and even their mothers could only dream of. Empowerment of women is perceived as equipping them to be economically independent, self-reliant, With positive esteem to enable them to face any situation and they should be able to participate in the development activities. Explain why economic independence is one of the most enabling elements for women. Present the case of India’s experience with women empowerment. Discuss the Remaining challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Empowerment of women is perceived as equipping them to be economically independent, self-reliant, with positive esteem to enable them to face any situation and they should be able to participate in the development activities. However, Social mores, rising incomes of men, and gender-based segregation in the job market are limiting women’s economic empowerment in India.

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra ruled that a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005. A Supreme Court Bench has once again proved that our judiciary can be the torchbearer of progressive attitudes towards women.

Body:

Economic upliftment and women empowerment:

  • The agency, freedom and intra-household power of women are strengthened when women are given an economic value; when they are enabled to hold a position in the economy through employment.
  • Scholars who have explored and studied women’s work, especially among the poorest in the most marginalised locales and communities, have been highlighting the importance of recognising women’s work, the importance of women as economic agents.
  • Economic power for women within and outside the household makes a difference to gender relations.
  • There is a bidirectional relationship between economic development and women’s empowerment, defined as improving the ability of women to access the constituents of development — in particular health, education, earning opportunities, rights, and political participation

Gender based segregation limits women’s empowerment:

  • The under-representation of women in the workforce is both a social and economic loss.
  • A McKinsey Global study in 2015 found that India could increase its GDP by 16-60% by 2025 by simply enabling women to participate in the economy at par with men.
  • Three key factors that have limited the role of women in the Indian economy: the role of entrenched gender norms in our society, the rising incomes of men (which raises family income and makes it easier for women to quit working), and the lack of quality jobs for women.
  • The latest evidence on regressive attitudes towards women comes from the Social Attitudes Research India survey covering Delhi, Mumbai, UP and Rajasthan in 2016.
  • A new study based on the survey shows that a significant share of men and women feel that married women whose husbands earn a good living should not work outside the home.

However, the idea of women- empowerment just doesn’t imply economic empowerment by increasing their Labour force participation, job creation, entrepreneurship opportunities. There is a grave necessity of social and political empowerment due to.

  • Crimes:
    • Crimes against women are discussed merely as a barrier to women’s mobility, one that hampers their supply in the labour market.
    • NCRB data recording an 83 per cent increase in crimes against women between 2007 and 2016, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global poll in 2018 naming India as the most dangerous country for women.
    • The MeToo movement tumbled out many skeletons from the drawers showing most women kept quiet about the sexual harassment due to fear of losing jobs and affecting their livelihoods and career.
  • Social barriers:
    • Married women are not allowed to work in some religions and culture. Further, the patriarchal mindset prevalent in Indian people forces such barriers on women.
    • According to recent research by Public Affairs Centre (PAC), a major metropolis like Delhi has only 196 female workers per 1,000 workers, and Mumbai has only 188. In contrast, a state like Nagaland, which has historically been matrilineal, has more than 500 women workers per 1,000 in most districts.
  • Unpaid care:
    • Unpaid work done by women in the household demonstrates no understanding of how it constrains women from entering the labour force.
    • The lack of basic facilities like drinking water, cooking gas in rural areas forces women into drudgery to arrange the basic stuff.
  • Fixed Gender Roles:
    • There are fixed gender roles in most families, again a consequence of patriarchal mindset.
    • The concept of paternity leaves and mainstreaming of gender education in schools is still miles away in India.
    • Without the renegotiation of gender roles, most women will only juggle jobs and not enjoy fulfilling careers.
  • Gender-wage gap:
    • Unequal pay for equal work is a stark feature which directly violates the fundamental right to equality of women.
    • A government report in 2018 finding a 30 per cent wage gap even for men and women with the same qualifications.
    • Women also lack equal inheritance rights leading to Feminization of poverty.
    • There is absence of any discussion on over-representation of economically active women in the informal sector, which leaves them poor and vulnerable, deprived of many work benefits.

Way Forward:

  • Implementation of the laws viz. Protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace act, maternity benefit Act in true letter and spirit.
  • Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces.
  • Incentivising companies to employ women and promoting safe work spaces are necessary.
  • Companies must compulsorily grant paternity leave so that the responsibility is shared.
  • Gender-wage gap should be reduced by bringing in stringent laws.
  • Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour to reap economic benefits is by addressing the issues of gender rights and justice. Economic agency is one of the most enabling elements to shift gender relations of power, to release women from the kind of oppression, violence and powerlessness that they experience. Women’s inclusion in the development design would enhance the outcomes of development it the self. All the Departments of States at all levels, to Ministries, to Niti Aayog and its State-level counterparts, as well as to research and policy forums should work and implement the schemes realizing the importance of women in the economy.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Any democracy needs a thriving and coherent opposition. How can the role of the opposition be made more effective for the better functioning of democracy? Analyse.  (250 words)

Reference: Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of “opposition” in a democracy.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the significance of coherent opposition in a democracy and discuss in what way the role of opposition can be made effective for better functioning of democracy.

Directive:

Analyze – When 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:

Define what “opposition” means.

Body:

Discuss the role of opposition in a democracy. Explain that the opposition parties are those political parties that do not belong to the parliamentary majority or the government coalition and voice their disagreements and critical views concerning government action and are competing for legal accession to and the peaceful exercise of power. Opposition parties are Inseparable components of parliaments and they also function according to the rules of the game, reassuring the application of those checks and balances with their contribution to government policies and constructive criticism. Democracies become complete with opposition. Suggest key measures to strengthen democracy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of opposition in a democracy.

Introduction:

Official Opposition is a term used in Parliament of India and State Legislatures to designate the political party which has secured the second largest number of seats in either upper or lower houses. In order to get formal recognition in either upper or lower houses, the concerned party must have at least 10% of the total strength of the house

Today the parliamentary Opposition in India is not merely fragmented but also in disarray. There seems to be hardly any Opposition party with a vision or strategy for its institutional working or for the Opposition as a whole. Such a state of affairs is probably worse than the defeat most of the Opposition parties have suffered in the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha.

Body:

Significance of opposition party in a democracy:

  • For a healthy democracy, a healthy opposition is as important as a strong government.
  • It helps keep the regime in power under control for one.
  • It also prevents it from developing arrogant and autocratic deviations from the path of progress and democracy by questioning such steps, assessing their policies objectively and also giving important inputs.
  • The opposition in India plays an important role in providing practical criticism of the ruling party. It is also consulted when important appointments are made.
  • They ensure that the acts of the ruling party are not detrimental to the interest of general public or nation at large.
  • The opposition ensures that the ruling political parties have a definite programme and policy to offer to the people and who can show a progressive path by action and not just by propaganda.
  • The role of the opposition party is not to oppose every decision of the ruling party.
  • Rather, it is the duty of the opposition party to support the ruling party for the acts that are in the interest of the nation.

Role of the opposition:

  • The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public.
  • This also helps to fix the mistakes of the Ruling Party.
  • The Opposition is equally responsible in upholding the best interests of the people of the country.
  • They have to ensure that the Government does not take any steps, which might have negative effects on the people of the country.
  • The role of the opposition in legislature is basically to check the excesses of the ruling or dominant party, and not to be totally antagonistic.
  • There are actions of the ruling party which may be beneficial to the masses and opposition is expected to support such steps.
  • In legislature, Opposition Party has a major role, which is:
    • Constructive criticism of government.
    • Putting restriction of arbitrariness of ruling party.
    • Safeguarding liberty and right of people.
    • Preparation to form government.
    • Expression of public opinion.

Steps to strengthen the opposition party in India:

  • National parties and regional parties have their own strength and shortcomings. It is of importance that these aspects are identified and acknowledged, to forge a successful coalition.
  • The flaws of the election process need to be removed – including the power of money that causes the voter to swing sides in the quest for money.
  • It is high time that the opposition works smartly in stitching an alliance.
  • It must engage in building a blue-print committed to subaltern empowerment, building a progressive narrative of all-round development and prosperity to represent itself as a vibrant and viable political alternative to the nation.
  • Opposition unity needs to be chalked out setting aside individual aspirations and egos.
  • One must not forget that to win elections, merely social arithmetic is not enough; proper chemistry is required to defeat authoritarianism that poses a threat to the constitution and social harmony.

Conclusion:

In this context, the parliamentary Opposition in India has much to learn from its own legacy. It can draw from it lessons to position itself as the representative voice of democratic and egalitarian urges that is at the same time critical of the idea of the nation that has left behind a significant section of its population from any meaningful sense of belonging to it. But it also may be the opportune context to think of new ways by which dissent and opposition can be sustained in a new media-induced public culture that invariably breeds docility and compliance.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. What are various urban wastes? What are the different steps involved in solid waste management in municipal areas? Elaborate upon the major problems faced due to urban waste dumping sites. (250 words)

Reference: The Print 

Why the question:

The article presents to us the alarming issue of plastic wastes amidst the pandemic.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what Urban wastes are, what are the different steps involved in solid waste management in municipal areas and what the major problems are at the waste dumping sites of urban areas.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining some key facts like Urban wastes have come up as a major problem as around 62 million tonnes of wastes are generated in India on a monthly basis. Even New Delhi generates more than 100,000 tonnes of waste every day posing environmental and safety hazards.

Body:

Start by explaining different types of urban wastes; Municipal waste that includes household waste, commercial waste, and demolition waste, Hazardous waste that includes industrial waste, biomedical waste, radioactive waste, explosive waste, and electronic waste (e-waste) etc. 

Then move on to explain different steps involved in solid waste management are. Discuss the components of composting, disposal, and waste-to-energy via incineration etc. in detail. 

Thereafter explain major problems faced due to urban waste dumping sites in urban areas.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address such alarming concerns and problems.

Introduction:

Urban Waste can be defined, in simple terms, as the waste collected from the residential and industrial areas of cities and towns. This waste can lead to serious health and environmental issues if not disposed of, treated, or managed properly. Urban waste represents a largely untapped source of recyclable materials for production, reusable goods as well as a source of both heat and electricity when properly utilised in efficient waste-to-energy plants.

Body:

Current Situation of MSW in India:

  • The World Bank study revealed that India was the world’s highest waste-generating nation.
  • According to a 2016 estimate given by the study, India’s annual waste generated is likely to touch 387.8 million tonnes in 2030 and 543.3 million tonnes by 2050.
  • The silver lining, though, is the fact that while India’s total waste production is the highest, Bermuda and the US topped the list when it came to per person generation of waste every day.
  • A report by the Press Information Bureau in 2016 put India’s annual waste generation at 62 million tonnes, “with an average annual growth rate of 4 per cent”.
  • On a daily basis, the country produces more than 1.50 lakh metric tonne (MT) of solid waste, according to a 2019 India Today report. With almost 15,000 MT of garbage remaining exposed every day, it has become a significant reason for rising pollution levels.
  • The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generated in the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
  • According to a UN report, India’s e-waste from old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.

Essential steps involved in the solid waste management:

solid_waste_management

Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:

  • Absence of segregation of waste at source
  • Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.
  • Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.
  • Lack of technical expertise and appropriate institutional arrangement
  • lack of infrastructure and technology
  • lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations
  • Indifference of citizens towards waste management due to lack of awareness
  • Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions
  • Lack of sewage management plan.
  • About 70% of the plastic packaging products turn into plastic waste within a short period.
  • Unorganized vendors and markets, existence of slum areas and Corruption are other issues plaguing MSWM.

Steps needed:

  • State governments should provide financial support to ULBs to improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.
  • Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.
  • The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at source and to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Waste to energy is a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites
  • There is a need to encourage research and development so as to reinvent waste management system in India.
  • The focus should be on recycling and recovering from waste and not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste
  • Public- Private Partnership models for waste management should be encouraged.
  • Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Responsibilities of Generators have been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.
  • Sensitization of citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.
  • International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery project which have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.

Conclusion:

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

 

Topic : Issues relating to poverty and hunger. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

5. “The rural-urban developmental imbalance reflects the inequality of opportunities”, explain the factors responsible for such inequalities and suggest solutions to address the same. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The article talks about the importance of recognising the inequality of opportunities to the rural population of India. It discusses the issue of migration and explains few solutions that can change the scenario.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way the rural-urban developmental imbalance reflects the inequality of opportunities.

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:

First explain what you understand by rural-urban developmental imbalance.

Body:

Discuss the problems of rural-urban migration; social – poor housing conditions and much higher crime rates. Economic – low wages or unemployment. Environmental – polluted drinking water and a lack of sanitation.

Discuss why the developmental imbalances are present? Explain the inequalities they lead to.

From the article take hints and factor in for solutions to address the problem of rural-urban developmental imbalance. One can give the example of COVID-19.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of recognising the inequalities and addressing them at the earliest.

Introduction:

Rural-urban   disparities, particularly   in   post-colonial countries, have for long been one of the causes of concern for   the   policymakers.   The   disparities   are   seen   in   all spheres of human life-economic and non-economic. With regard to demographic profile more than two third of its population live in rural areas.  Despite these developments, there is a wide gap between rural and urban India with respect to technology, living condition, economic empowerment etc.  Many in rural India lack access to education, nutrition, health care, sanitation, land and other assets and they are trapped into poverty. The COVID-19 crisis has forced upon us a chance to rethink the rural development model of India.

Body:

The total number of migrant workers in India exceeds 100 million. One in four workers in India is a migrant. Some migration is beneficial. However, unless we tackle the issue of continued increase in rural-to-urban migration, India’s growth will be hampered. The recent moving images of tens of millions of migrant workers trying to get back to their villages because of the COVID-19 crisis showed the intensity and scale of crisis this could result in.

Factors responsible:

  • Increased dependence of Rural population on Agriculture:
    • About 70% of the population lives in rural areas and about 50% of the overall labour force is still dependent on agriculture that is not productive enough.
    • The GDP contribution of agriculture to the nation is only about 14% while for industries and services sector (employers of people living in urban areas) is 26% and 60% respectively. (Economic Survey 2017-18)
    • The devastating effects of natural calamities such as droughts and floods further lead to lower incomes for people living in rural areas.
  • Challenges in Agriculture:
    • shrinking arable land as a result of over-cultivation, overgrazing, urbanisation, and chemical overuse; unpredictability as a result of climate change, water availability and the knock-on impact on output; current lack of productivity and supply chain inefficiencies; and shortage of value-adding processing facilities in terms of numbers, scale, and locations.
    • While India is the second-largest food producer in the world, less than 10 per cent of the total produce is processed into value-added products. As a comparison, the US processes 65 per cent. Developing countries such as the Philippines, and Brazil process as much as 75 per cent of their produce.
  • Lack of Rural Livelihood & Employment opportunities:
    • The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) for rural India reveals that in 75% households, the monthly income of the highest earning member is less than Rs. 5,000. And more than 80% rural people are without a salaried job.
  • Differential Impact of India s Growth and Development:
    • The impact of economic revival steps taken by the government has benefitted only a very few.
    • For example- in Haryana, only two urban centres- Gurgaon and Faridabad contributing majority of state revenue have been modernised while adjoining rural areas remain neglected.
    • Also, India s growth in the last decade has been mainly driven by services sector which employ bright, English speaking urban youth. But the majority of rural Indian youth are unfit for these up-end jobs because of lack of professional training.
  • Urban Bias in Social Sectors such as Health and Education:
    • India spends around 1.3% of its GDP on public healthcare and has an insufficient public healthcare infrastructure.
    • A majority of health infrastructure is in the private sector, which is limited to the middle classes in urban India.
    • Rural areas are catered by government-run dispensaries which lack infrastructure and medicines. The doctors too are not willing to serve in rural areas.
    • Rural areas lack quality educational institutions which are mainly concentrated in urban areas which are out of reach of poor rural people.
  • Poor Rural Infrastructure:
    • Development of rural areas is slow due to the improper and inadequate provision of infrastructure when compared to urban areas.
    • The primary hindrance to growth in rural productivity and prosperity is the lack of basic infrastructures such as connectivity through roads, electricity, housing, clean water and sanitation.
    • Small business enterprises can only flourish in rural areas if they have access to good quality and reliable infrastructure.
  • Dominance of Social Institutions in Rural areas:
    • In closed rural societies, social institutions such as caste system, joint family system and various social customs play a major role in the day to day life of an individual.
    • For example-the rigid caste system does not allow a low caste person to give up his traditional work.
    • While in urban areas, the emphasis is on individual s merit and qualification.
    • Similarly, rural areas have joint family traditions which regulate a person s economic activities whereas, in urban areas, there is mainly nuclear family tradition leading to economic freedom.
  • Poor Implementation of Rural Development schemes, Leakages and Corruption:
    • Although there is no dearth of schemes for rural development, the benefits of these schemes are not able to reach the target population mainly due to corruption in the disbursal of funds, non-transparency in financial transactions, wrong identification of the beneficiaries, lack of involvement of Gram Panchayats in planning and implementation and lack of political and administrative accountability.

Measures needed:

  • India’s growth may be hampered unless rural-to-urban migration is not tackled by developing a model to keep local population employed locally in rural areas.
  • There is an immediate need for cluster-based policies and adoption of digital technologies to promote agriculture and food processing units.
  • We must now develop a model of a rural economy wherein local populations can be employed locally. This will mean that we need to rethink how our local economies are structured and clustered.
  • Cluster policies are crucial for small-scale farmers and agribusiness. It enables them to achieve higher productivity, higher value-added production, and to minimise the back-breaking costs of logistics, storage, wastage, and interference from the middlemen.
  • Learnings from other countries like the example of Israel that merged learnings from a rural kibbutz-based culture with modern technology and made self-sufficiency an absolute mantra
  • Food and agro processing, which comprises about 25 lakh units, 66 per cent of which are in rural areas is the key for employment to millions who are currently in disguised unemployment.

Way forward:

  • Apart from taking steps to increase human development facilities in the villages, such as health and education, and develop appropriate infrastructure such as roads and marketing facilities, there is the need for generating employment, which can better the living conditions of villagers.
  • We need to adopt a long-term policy, keeping in mind the requirements of the rural and urban areas.
  • A close look at the development plan exercises tends to demonstrate that adhocism permeates the policy processes.
  • In the rural areas there are many resources lying unutilised. It is time to identify these and make proper use of them.
  • The application of Information Technology can be of great help in identifying what is lying unutilised or underutilised
  • Kerala has shown the way through the people’s campaign for decentralised planning. Rural-urban disparity is the least in Kerala.  There is a rural-urban continuum, rather than a divide.

Conclusion:

Urban development in a country like India has to dovetailed with rural development.  Otherwise, rural out migration will upset the applecart.

 

Topic :  role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

6. Discuss the link between social media gratification and misinformation. Also explain the ill-effects of it while suggesting solutions. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu Live Mint 

Why the question:

The question is amidst rising incidences of fake news by India media.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the issue with media, specifically the issue of misinformation; the factors responsible for it and discuss the concerns associated with social media gratification 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:

One can introduce the answer by quoting a fact or two suggesting the context of the question. An MIT study has found social media’s built-in craving for likes is affecting our ability to objectively analyze the accuracy of online news before clicking ‘share’.

Body:

Start first by explaining what social media gratification and why it often leads to misinformation.  Misinformation and disinformation spread in media is becoming a serious social challenge. It is leading to the poisonous atmosphere on the web and causing riots and lynchings on the road. In the age of the internet (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter,) it is a serious problem as rumours, morphed images, click-baits, motivated stories, unverified information, planted stories for various interests spread easily among 35 crore internet users in India. There have been many instances of online rumours leading to killings of innocent people. In some cases, ministers have deleted tweets after realizing the fake news which they shared earlier. Discuss some of the popular examples in India. Hint at the laws that seek to address the issue, suggest solutions to overcome it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that countering content manipulation and fake news to restore faith in social media without undermining internet and media freedom will require public education, strengthening of regulations and effort of tech companies to make suitable algorithms for news curation.

Introduction:

Social media are defined as digital platforms on which users can create pages, connect with other users, generate and distribute content, and engage in interactive communication. The Uses and gratification theory is one of many communications theories that help to explain human’s relationship with mass media. The main idea is that people turn to media to assist them in fulfilling certain needs that used to be filled by just talk to other people.

Off late, the social media gratification has increased leading to increased spread of fake news, deep-fakes and other misinformation. An MIT study has found social media’s built-in craving for likes is affecting our ability to objectively analyse the accuracy of online news before clicking ‘share’.

Body:

The link between social media gratification and misinformation:

  • The structure of social media, which encourages rapid browsing of news headlines, elevates splashy news items, and rewards users who post eye-catching news, by tending to give them more followers and retweets, even if those stories happen to be untrue.
  • The instantaneous social feedback all the time which leads to users craving for seeing how many likes they get for their post leads to sharing of wrong news.
  • The bad news is that when people are consuming news on social media, their inclination to share that news with others interferes with their ability to assess its accuracy.
  • Cognitive habits, more so than partisan views, influence the way people judge the accuracy of news stories and lead to the sharing of misinformation.
  • Being emotionally aroused is another thing that makes you less likely to stop and think carefully leading to spread of misinformation.

Issues caused due to social media misinformation:

  • Misinformation and disinformation spread in media is becoming a serious social challenge. It is leading to the poisonous atmosphere on the web and causing riots and lynchings on the road.
  • In the age of the internet (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter,) it is a serious problem as rumours, morphed images, click-baits, motivated stories, unverified information, planted stories for various interests spread easily among 35 crore internet users in India.
  • There have been many instances of online rumours leading to killings of innocent people.
  • In some cases, ministers have deleted tweets after realizing the fake news which they shared earlier.
  • A study on COVID-19 misinformation that was published in March 2020.
  • Using controlled tests with more than 1,600 participants, the study found that false claims were shared in part simply because people failed to think about whether the content was reliable.
  • In a second test, when people were reminded to consider the accuracy of what they are going to share, their level of truth awareness more than doubled.
  • That approach—known as “accuracy nudge intervention”—from social media companies could limit the spread of misinformation, the report concluded.
  • In Iran, a fake remedy of ingesting methanol has reportedly led to 300 deaths, and left many more sick.
  • Posts related to ‘treatments’ that are not proven, techniques to prevent exposure and infection that are either not proven and/or filled with a lot of misleading information, and instruction for individuals to stock up on supplies and food
  • Two types of danger are posed by inaccurate information on the virus: that it “could incite fear or panic,” and “the potential for individuals to do harmful things in hope of ‘curing the illness’ or ‘preventing’ the illness.”

Suitable measures needed:

  • The world’s biggest social media companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter and ByteDance, are exploring an industry-wide alliance to curb fake news on their platforms in India.
    • The proposed alliance — to be named the Information Trust Alliance (ITA) — will be a grouping of digital platforms and publishers, fact checkers, civil society and academia that will aim to control the spread of harmful content, including fake news and hate speech.
    • Facebook has announced that it currently has over 500 full-time employees and at least 3,500 external contractors who focus on election work, on top of the 30,000 people across the company focused on safety and security issues.
  • Facebook has placed authoritative coronavirus information at the top of news feeds and intensified its efforts to remove harmful content, including through the use of third-party fact checkers.
  • a public health crisis is an easier arena than politics to set policies and to take a harder line on questionable content.
  • AFP and other media companies, including Reuters and the Associated Press, work with Facebook’s fact checking program, under which content rated false is downgraded in news feeds so that fewer people see it
  • Educating the end-users to be more discerning consumers of news by informing them of verification tools so that they can ascertain the accuracy of a news item before sharing it.
  • Press Council of India, a regulatory body, can warn, admonish or censure the newspaper, the news agency, the editor or the journalist or disapprove the conduct of the editor or the journalist if it finds that a newspaper or a news agency has violated journalistic ethics.
  • A better and more effective approach to limit the influence of hoaxes on WhatsApp and other platforms is to increase media literacy.
  • The government should bring out a policy framework on the possible harm due to the internet messaging platforms to engage at a deeper level.
  • Government of India could partner with local news groups to further educate citizens on how to identify real news from fake news.
  • Imposing hefty fines, like in Germany the Social media companies face fines of up to €50m if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.

Way forward:

  • Increasing critical thinking of users: Participants who were more likely to think critically, or who had more scientific knowledge, were less likely to share misinformation. when asked directly about accuracy, most participants did reasonably well at telling true news headlines from false ones.
  • Verify the accuracy of news: Users should be educated to evaluate an information of news before they made decisions about sharing the larger group of information.
  • Nudging the users: The idea is, if you nudge them about accuracy at the outset, people are more likely to be thinking about the concept of accuracy when they later choose what to share. So then they take accuracy into account more when they make their sharing decisions

Conclusion

Government should have a mechanism for immediately issuing of notice against sites/people/agencies involved in spreading fake news. Secondly, Social media websites should be made accountable of such activities so that it becomes their responsibility to have better control over the spread of fake news. Finally, ordinary consumers of news can play a big role by, first, waking up to the reality that all they read on WhatsApp and Twitter is not the gospel truth, and then, by refusing to pass on what they cannot independently verify with other sources.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. In your own words, explain Kant’s principle of ends. Do you think that this could be a useful moral principle for you in everyday life? (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is about Kantian principle of ends in ethics.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the concept of Kant’s principle of ends in detail and suggest if the principle can be useful as a moral principle in everyday life.

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:

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an

End in themselves and not as a means to something else.

Body:

Discuss the concept in detail its significance.  If a person is an end-in-themself it means their inherent value doesn’t depend on anything else – it doesn’t depend on whether the person is enjoying their life, or making other people’s lives better. To treat someone simply as a means, and not also as an end, is to treat the person in a way That undermines their power of making a rational choice themselves. It means, first, that we Should appeal to other people’s reason in discussing with them what to do, rather than Manipulate them in ways that they are unaware of. Coercing someone, lying to them, Stealing from them, all involve not allowing them to make an informed choice. If they are Involved in our action in any way, they need to be able to agree (or refuse) to adopt our end as their own.

Explain with suitable examples as to where all the philosophy can be applied suggest your opinion.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of the principle.

Introduction:

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that the supreme principle of morality is a standard of rationality that he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Kant characterized the CI as an objective, rationally necessary and unconditional principle that we must always follow despite any natural desires or inclinations we may have to the contrary.

The CI states that it is immoral to use another person merely as a means to an end and that people must under all circumstances be treated as ends in themselves. This is in contrast to some interpretations of the utilitarian view, which allow for use of individuals as means to benefit the many.

Body:

Another version of the Categorical Imperative that Kant offers states that one should “always treat people as ends in themselves, never merely as a means to one’s own ends.” This is commonly referred to as the “ends principle.”  The fact that we are human has value in itself.

While similar in a way to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” it puts the onus for following the rule on humankind rather than accepting the strictures of divine influence.

The key to Kant’s belief regarding what makes humans moral beings is the fact that we are free and rational creatures. To treat someone as a means to your own ends or purposes is to not respect this fact about them.

For instance, if I get you to agree to do something by making a false promise, I am manipulating you. Your decision to help me is based on false information (the idea that I’m going to keep my promise). In this way, I have undermined your rationality. This is even more obvious if I steal from you or kidnap you in order to claim a ransom.

Treating someone as an end, by contrast, involves always respecting the fact that they are capable of free rational choices which may be different from the choices you wish them to make. So if I want you to do something, the only moral course of action is to explain the situation, explain what I want, and let you make your own decision.

We shouldn’t treat ourselves as a means to our own ends; instead we should respect our inherent worth. This can be used as an argument against euthanasia, suicide and other behaviours that damage ourselves.

Taking the example of slavery where human beings are treated as “means” for achieving the “ends” that is profit motive. Human intrinsic worth i.e. dignity is not respected and they are exploited for petty gains. This lead to inequality in society where one section of people exploiting other section for self-motive. Some people justify the slavery on the premises that it was based on contract between master and slave. But this argument does not hold ground because slave did not accept to slavery on free will and they might not be in their right state of mind thinking rationally and make a decision.

The idea also shows up in discussions of animal rights, with the idea that if they have rights, animals must be treated as ends in themselves.

Conclusion:

Kant’s philosophy of human individuals as end in itself endorses the golden rule of “treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated”.  As no one would wish to be used simply as a means, therefore one should not also use other human beings as means to achieve their ends. This philosophy can be of great help in resolving the ethical dilemmas where there is debate between relative importance of means and ends.


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