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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 4 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: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Given the significance of laborers to urban development, there is a need to address the stark inequalities and make urban spaces in India more socially and financially inclusive. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The question is based on the inclusive urbanisation from topics of GS paper I.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the need to address the stark inequalities and make urban spaces in India more socially and financially inclusive through the concept of inclusive urbanisation.

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:

Define the context of the question; provide some statistical data suggesting the stark inequalities, the plight of laborers in the country.

Body:

Define what you understand by inclusive urbanisation. Suggest its key features. Explain why the concept is more relevant than ever in the context of Indian cities.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has proved that the Indian cities are overburdened and underprepared to provide guaranteed social protection to millions of migrant workers. Due to denial of access to adequate food and nutrition, livelihood, housing and basic amenities like water and sanitation facilities, there has been an exodus of migrant laborers from urban to rural areas.

Further, with over 90% of the population working in the informal economy, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has predicted that as a result of the crisis and subsequent lockdown, about 400 million workers will fall deeper into poverty. Given the significance of these laborers to urban development, there is a need to address the stark inequalities and make urban spaces in India more socially and financially inclusive.

Discuss the issues faced by migrant workers in urban areas.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the problem.

Introduction:

The Covid-19 pandemic has proved that the Indian cities are overburdened and underprepared to provide guaranteed social protection to millions of migrant workers. Due to denial of access to adequate food and nutrition, livelihood, housing and basic amenities like water and sanitation facilities, there has been an exodus of migrant labourers from urban to rural areas. Further, with over 90% of the population working in the informal economy, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has predicted that as a result of the crisis and subsequent lockdown, about 400 million workers will fall deeper into poverty. Given the significance of these labourers to urban development, there is a need to address the stark inequalities and make urban spaces in India more socially and financially inclusive.

Body:

Significance of labourers to Urban development:

  • The migrant labourer is the builder of not just modern India, but modern Singapore, modern Dubai and every modern country that prides itself on the glamour list of modernity.
  • Our urban centres are our economic nodes as well.
  • A key feature of the urban economy in India, consistent with most developing economies, is the role played by informal workers and the unorganized sector.
  • Migrant workers as many as the population of Japan are forever on the move in India to keep the big city rolling.
  • In many ways this is back-end India that offers the much-needed daily support to front-end India to keep the wheels of the modern economy moving.
  • To put things in perspective, as per the Economic Survey of India, about 90% of India’s total workforce of about 500 million workers is engaged in the informal sector.
  • Factories, industrial units, hotels, restaurants and many other establishments, irrespective of their scale of operations, depend on such workers.
  • They come in many avatars. There is a hierarchy even. There is the Uber and Ola driver who has migrated from Begusarai to Bengaluru. There is the mason, the carpenter, the food delivery boy, the painter, the plumber and many, many others.
  • It is important for us to take cognisance of every point of need—social, economic, political and psychological—that the migrant worker deserves.
  • Labour migration within India is crucial for economic growth and contributes to improving the socio-economic condition of people.
  • Migration can help, for example, to improve income, skill development, and provide greater access to services like healthcare and education.

Issues Faced by Migrant Workers in Urban Areas:

  • According to the recent “Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition” survey by the government, there continue to be glaring gaps in water access in urban and rural India.
  • Mirant labourers are likely to have relied more on public amenities such as hand pumps and public taps or standpipes which are connected to a municipal connection.
  • These sources are generally unreliable, hand pumps and municipal pipes, for example, do not always supply water of potable quality.
  • Given the importance of washing hands in combating the infection, the lack of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) makes migrant labourers subject to work in an unsafe work environment
  • Though the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 has specified the role of urban local bodies in registering numbers of migrant worker and disseminating information regarding welfare schemes to them, these provisions are not obligatory.
  • Due to this, there is lack of any credible data on how many migrants enter and leave our states and cities.
  • According to the Economic Survey of India 2019, about 90% of India’s total workforce of about 500 million workers is engaged in the informal sector. This made them more vulnerable to the economic crisis induced by Covid-19.
  • Some of the major challenges due to the informalisation of the workforce include lack of job security, limited or no access to banking and insurance channels, a generally under-developed public health system.

Measures to make Urban spaces more inclusive for the labourers:

  • Creation of a Database of Migrant Workers:
    • Recognition and identification of migrants is the first step towards a more enhanced framework to provide basic amenities. To begin with, an effort to create a database of migrant workers is most necessary.
    • Creating a digital Pan-India database to ensure coordination with their home districts and respective states.
    • Eventually, convergence around this could create a framework of health, banking, microfinance and insurance networks centred around workers and migrants in urban areas.
  • Labour Migration Governance System:
    • A fair and effective labour migration governance system for workers within the country is an urgent need of the hour.
    • This is necessary for the realisation of decent work opportunities for all migrant workers while respecting fundamental human rights.
    • Also, there is a need to ensure the protection of the labour rights of workers while taking into account the views of the employers to foster innovation in business and enterprises.
  • Formalisation of Economy:
    • The central and state governments need to continue their efforts to address the informality of the Indian economy, the rural-urban divide, the uneven growth within states and between regions in the country, and the social and economic inequalities associated with the poorest and vulnerable.
    • The migrants need to be supported with relevant information and counselling for job search and employment opportunities based on their skills and previous experience through their local governance and panchayat structures.
    • Recently proposed Unorganised Worker Index Number Card by the Labour Ministry would also help in formalisation of the workforce.
  • Focusing on Public Health Infrastructure:
    • Smart cities project does well by focusing on creation of hard infrastructure for urban renewal.
    • There is a need to strengthen the public health emergency infrastructure also. This social and financial inclusion would make the Smart Cities Mission truly holistic.
  • Supporting Financially:
    • There is a need to expedite the proposed Social Security Fund under the Code on Social Security, 2019.
    • This could go a long way to provide a sense of financial security and act as a tool to monitor this segment of the population better.

Conclusion:

The global experience shows that migration will continue as long as there is hope, aspiration, and an alternative livelihood option better than those available at home. In this context, the government has the task to build back better urban spaces in India, with a human-centred approach at its core.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Give an account of the benefits that can accrue from the One Nation One Ration Card scheme. In this context, also discuss the challenges that need to be addressed for the scheme to become a success. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint 

Why the question:

The question is based on the rationale of One Nation One Ration Card scheme.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way this scheme will be instrumental in the welfare of migrant workers and play a vital role in averting migrant crisis as it existed today. Also discuss the challenges associated with it.

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 fact that Covid-19 pandemic has created a dilemma of lives vs livelihood, for governments as well as citizens. But in the absence of basic income and food security, this dilemma may hurt migrant workers the most and will lead to a migrant crisis.

Body:

Account for the advantages that the scheme can accrue. Discuss in detail the rationale behind the ONORC scheme. Discuss the benefits.

List down the possible challenges associated with implementation and execution of the scheme.

Suggest what steps need to be taken to address those challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

One Nation One Ration Card Scheme which will allow portability of food security benefits. This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country. Recently the Supreme Court (SC), asked the Union government to examine the feasibility of implementing the “one nation one ration card” (ONORC) scheme during the national lockdown. Consequently, Finance Minister announced the national rollout of a ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system in all states and Union Territories by March 2021. As of now, about 20 states have come on board to implement the inter-state ration card portability.

Body:

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Highlights of the scheme:

  • The poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country but for that their ration cards must be linked to Aadhaar.
  • Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre, which include rice sold at Rs. 3/kg and wheat at Rs. 2/kg, it would not include subsidies given by their respective state government in some other state.
  • This scheme will ensure that no poor person is deprived of subsidised grains.
  • The scheme can be implemented as already 77% of the ration shops across the country have PoS machines and more than 85% of people covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) have their cards linked to Aadhaar.
  • For remaining beneficiaries, all the States have been given one more year to use point of sale (PoS) machines in the ration shops and implement the scheme.
  • The new system, based on a technological solution, will identify a beneficiary through biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices installed at the FPSs, and enable that person to purchase the quantity of foodgrains to which she is entitled under the NFSA.
  • The Annavitran portal enables a migrant worker or his family to avail the benefits of PDS outside their district but within their state.
  • While a person can buy her share of foodgrains as per her entitlement under the NFSA, wherever she is based, the rest of her family members can purchase subsidised foodgrains from their ration dealer back home.

Significance of Scheme:

  • For migrant labourers:
    • India has had food security benefit schemes which have domicile based access.
    • 36 crore people or 37% of the population is that of migrant labourers. The scheme is therefore important for anyone who is going to move from one place to the other.
    • It happens that when one moves from one place to the other (for e.g. a government employee being transferred from one place to another), it takes about two to three months to get a ration card at that next place and then further more time to start getting commodities against the same.
    • After the implementation of the scheme, it would be ensured that a migrant is able to access the benefits which are due to him in any part of the country.
    • This would be ensured on the basis of Aadhaar authentication and a validated data.
  • For Women:
    • ONORC will be particularly beneficial for women and other disadvantaged groups, given how social identity (caste, class and gender) and other contextual factors (including power relations) provide a strong backdrop in accessing PDS.
  • Provides Choice:
    • ONORC will give the beneficiaries the opportunity to opt for the dealer of their choice. If any dealer misbehaves or misallocates, the beneficiary can switch to another FPS shop instantly.
    • ONORC lets the beneficiaries choose the PDS shop that best delivers on the attributes.
  • Curbing corruption:
    • In ONORC Scheme, the fundamental prerequisite is de-duplication so that it is ensured that the same person does not figure as a beneficiary in two different locations of the country.
    • With the help of the scheme, the government would be able to rightly target the beneficiaries to provide them with the foodgrains under the PDS. The scheme is linked with Aadhaar and biometrics, this removes most possibilities of corruption.
    • The government is creating a central data repository to get all the details of ration card which are being maintained by states so that the repository acts as a clearing house or a server to do the cross checking on the basis of Aadhaar authentication.
    • This ensures that there is no corruption or duplication of the benefits that are being passed on to the beneficiaries. The government will ensure all these things with the help of technology.

Challenges:

  • Since the scheme is based on technology, the government may face some technical challenges during the implementation of the scheme.
  • The scheme will increase the woes of the common man and, the middlemen and corrupt PDS shop owners will exploit them.
  • Tamil Nadu has opposed the proposal of the Centre, saying it would result in undesirable consequences and is against federalism.
  • Within some states issue of intra state portability.
  • Different states have different rates and these mismatching rates will be a big challenge.
  • Few regional parties have expressed apprehensions on bearing the cost of additional ration cards. This is a matter which is to be settled between the states and the Government of India.
  • One of the apprehensions mentioned by few states is the cost of additional food grain to be supplied to the migrant workers.
  • However, the whole system is based on the entitlements mandated under the NFSA and this prevents the charges of additional cost. Beneficiaries will continue to pay the same issue prices that are fixed under the NFSA.
  • The quality of services is markedly inferior for the subaltern groups with latent methods of discrimination such as lack of information, mixing of inferior grains, longer waiting time and, at times, even verbal abuse.

Way Forward:

  • The current migrant crisis should be seen as an opportunity to develop a national migration policy addressing the challenges faced by migrant workers’ productivity, living conditions and social security.
  • While this must be done, the government must also fast-track the ONORC scheme because India’s present rights-based regime is based on the assumption that people are sedentary.
  • The food security scheme under the NFSA costs more than Rs 1 lakh crore per year. It is very expensive but is highly needed. There is a need to ensure that subsidized food grains ultimately go to the person or the family that is entitled to.
  • The ONORC should also include access to health and other things.
  • At the principal level, within the government, there is broad consensus on having a unified kind of service delivery system based on technology and identity.
  • A unified service platform combining all the citizen centric services on the basis of few parameters of identity and other indicators of technology, is the need of the hour.
  • ONORC combined with a rating system based on the experiences akin to the Uber/Ola system, the government can improve PDS by closer monitoring and control. Those PDS dealers who perform better could be rewarded.

Conclusion:

While ONORC has the potential to improve outcomes particularly for the subaltern groups, like any delivery mechanism, the entire value chain of making the system work needs to be closely monitored and backed by infrastructure. The availability of point of sale (PoS) systems at PDS shops, and its functioning needs to be ensured to check compromises in the entitlements. Even after the coronavirus pandemic is over, this will be useful. Migration is bound to restart because of unemployment. When migrant workers again start boarding trains and buses for the destination cities, they must have their PDS cards that are valid across India with them.

 

Topic Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. What do you understand by human capital? Explain how human capital formation contributes to economic growth and development. (250 words)

Reference: Investopedia 

Why the question:

The question is premised on the concept of human capital and its contributions to economic growth and development of the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the concept of human capital; explain in what way it contributes to economic growth and development.

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:

Define human capital first, Human Capital can be defined as the knowledge, skills, competence and other attributes that individuals or groups of individuals acquire during their life and use to produce goods, services and ideas in the economy. It can be developed through skilling, training and providing quality education & health care facilities.

Body:

Write a brief note on the economic and non-economic benefits of investment in human capital. Giving few examples discuss how human capital formation contributes to economic growth and development.

Discuss how it enhances employability of the human resources, how it has a positive correlation with improved earnings and career prospects etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

According to the OECD, human capital is defined as “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods, services or ideas in market circumstances”. Investment in human capital is needed for technological growth, improving productivity, creating social innovations, etc.

Human capital determines the path and pace of development of an organisation or a nation. In the 21st century, India aspires to be one of the manufacturing hub of world.

Body:

Significance of human capital for economic growth and development:

  • Human capital is central to sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
  • Development of human capital enables people to be more productive, flexible, and innovative.
  • Human capital and economic growth have a strong correlation. Human capital affects economic growth and can help to develop an economy by expanding the knowledge and skills of its people.
  • The skills provide economic value since a knowledgeable workforce can lead to increased productivity.
  • Human capital is positively correlated to economic growth since investment tends to boost productivity. The process of educating a workforce is a type of investment, but instead of capital investment such as equipment, the investment is in human capital.
  • Structural unemployment: Individuals whose human capital is inappropriate for modern employers may struggle to gain employment. A major issue in modern economies is that rapid deindustrialisation has left many manual workers, struggling to thrive in a very different labour market. Thus, investment in human capital can help overcome this.
  • Quality of employment: In the modern economy, there is increasing divergence between low-skilled, low-paid temporary jobs (gig economy). High-skilled and creative workers have increased opportunities for self-employment or good employment contracts.
  • Economic growth and productivity: Long-term economic growth depends increasingly on improvements in human capital. Better educated, innovative and creative workforce can help increase labour productivity and economic growth.
  • Human capital flight: An era of globalisation and greater movement of workers has enabled skilled workers to move from low-income countries to higher income countries. This can have adverse effects for developing economies who lose their best human capital.
  • Limited raw materials: Economic growth in countries with limited natural resources, e.g. Japan, Taiwan and South East Asia. Rely on high-skilled, innovative workforce adding value to raw materials in the manufacturing process.
  • Sustainability: what we leave to future generations; whether we leave enough resources, of all kinds, to provide them with the opportunities at least as large as the ones we have had ourselves” (UN, 2012)

Way forward:

  • To engineer an inclusive and sustainable growth for India, the social infrastructure like education, health and social protection are being given utmost priority by the Government.
  • The Government has been enhancing the expenditure on human capital along with adopting measures to improve the efficiency of expenditure by a convergence of schemes.
  • Several labour reform measures including legislative ones are being implemented for the creation of employment opportunities and for providing sustainable livelihoods for the population who are largely engaged in the informal economy.
  • Bridging the gender gaps in education, skill development, employment, earnings and reducing social inequalities prevalent in the society have been the underlying goals of the development strategy to enhance human capabilities.
  • In essence, developing and empowering human capital to be able to shift to the new technology world seamlessly, should be the top priority of governments.
  • Integration of higher education with skills and vocational education. Attracting the most credible talent to the teaching profession. Building global recognition to the education system.
  • Streamlining regulation to attract credible private sector entities to education are some structural changes which are needed for transforming education.
  • Access to high speed internet, multidisciplinary learning, design thinking, data science and information filtration capabilities are typical for making a future ready workforce.

Conclusion:

As the future grows more uncertain, the only way forward is to strengthen the core of the country and predictably India’s core opportunity is its human capital. For a country like India, with a one-time huge opportunity of demographic dividend, its high time to focus on human capital. Unless, we give adequate stress to education, health and skills – we will lose this golden opportunity. As of now, our rank in various indices – human capital and human resource – is not encouraging. Both government and private entities should give better focus on the same.

 

Topic : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

4. Examine the significant features as well as the gaps in the recently approved National Education Policy of 2020. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Thirty-four years after the last National Policy on Education was introduced, in 1986, the National Education Policy, 2020 has been announced. It has been approved by the Union Cabinet, and will hopefully be approved by Parliament soon. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to assess the advantages and lacunae in the NEP 2020.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The article explains that despite having several innovative and bold proposals, National Education Policy, 2020 also makes a few problematic assumptions.

Body:

Discuss first the features and the bold moves of the new policy 2020 such as recognition of education as a public good. Holistic education involving both academic and non-academic spheres. Incorporation of early childhood care and education and the provision of breakfast in the school meal programme through 5+3+3+4 system.

Discuss then the issues associated with NEP 2020. Highlight the concerns and suggest solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude that an idea based on good intentions cannot materialize unless it is implemented properly.

Introduction:

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister recently approved the new National Education Policy 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.  Built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability, this policy is aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student. A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft in December 2018, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.

Body:

Key highlights of the NEP 2020 are:

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School Education

  • Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education:
    • NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre-school to secondary.
    • About 2 crores out of school children will be brought back into main stream under NEP 2020.
  • Early Childhood Care & Education with new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure:
    • With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
    • This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
    • The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
  • Attaining Foundational Literacy and Numeracy:
    • Recognizing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy as an urgent and necessary prerequisite to learning, NEP 2020 calls for setting up of a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by MHRD.
  • Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy:
    • The school curricula and pedagogy will aim for holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and greater focus on experiential learning.
    • Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects.
    • There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.
    • Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships.
  • Multilingualism and the power of language:
    • The policy has emphasized mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
    • Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula.
    • Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options.
    • No language will be imposed on any student.
  • Equitable and Inclusive Education:
    • NEP 2020 aims to ensure that no child loses any opportunity to learn and excel because of the circumstances of birth or background.
    • Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities.
  • Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path:
    • Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes.
    • Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators.
    • A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.
  • School Governance:
    • Schools can be organized into complexes or clusters which will be the basic unit of governance and ensure availability of all resources including infrastructure, academic libraries and a strong professional teacher community.
  • Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education:
    • NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters.
    • States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority (SSSA).
    • Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the SSSA, will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability.
    • The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

Higher Education

  • Increase GER to 50 % by 2035:
    • NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035. 3.5 Crore new seats will be added to Higher education institutions.
  • Holistic Multidisciplinary Education:
    • The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
    • UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
    • For example, Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years.
  • Regulation:
    • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
    • HECI to have four independent verticals – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
    • HECI will function through faceless intervention through technology, & will have powers to penalise HEIs not conforming to norms and standards.
    • Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
  • Rationalised Institutional Architecture:
    • Higher education institutions will be transformed into large, well resourced, vibrant multidisciplinary institutions providing high quality teaching, research, and community engagement.
    • The definition of university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive Universities to Teaching-intensive Universities and Autonomous degree-granting Colleges.

Other Provisions:

  • Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty:
    • NEP makes recommendations for motivating, energizing, and building capacity of faculty through clearly defined, independent, transparent recruitment, freedom to design curricula/pedagogy, incentivising excellence, movement into institutional leadership.
    • Faculty not delivering on basic norms will be held accountable
  • Teacher Education:
    • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.
    • By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
    • Stringent action will be taken against substandard stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
  • Mentoring Mission:
    • A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty – including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages – who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.
  • Financial support for students:
    • Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs.
    • The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
    • Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.
  • Professional Education:
    • All professional education will be an integral part of the higher education system.
    • Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.
  • Adult Education:
    • Policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy.
  • Financing Education:
    • The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  • Open and Distance Learning:
    • This will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER.
    • Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.

Challenges:

  • There is a persistent mismatch between the knowledge & skills imparted and the jobs available. This has been one of the main challenges that have affected the Indian education system since Independence.
  • NEP 2020 failed to check this, as it is silent on education related to emerging technological fields like artificial intelligence, cyberspace, nanotech, etc.
  • An ambitious target of public spending at 6% of GDP has been set. Mobilising financial resources will be a big challenge, given the low tax-to-GDP ratio and competing claims on the national exchequer of healthcare, national security and other key sectors.
  • The policy has also been criticised due to the legal complexities surrounding the applicability of two operative policies namely The Right to Education Act, 2009 and the New Education Policy, 2020. Certain provisions such as the age of starting schooling will need to be deliberated upon, in order to resolve any conundrum between the statute and the recently introduced policy in the longer run.
  • it is pertinent to note that past attempts at parliamentary legislations under the erstwhile regulatory set up have not been successful. The failure can be attributed to the role of regulators and the intended legislative changes being out of alignment, as in the case of Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, which lapsed; and the proposed Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act, 2018 which remained did not reach the Parliament.
  • While the Universities Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education have played a major role, questions pertaining to the role of the UGC and AICTE remain unanswered under the new policy.
  • Doubling the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education by 2035 which is one of the stated goals of the policy will mean that we must open one new university every week, for the next 15 years.
  • In higher education, the National Education Policy 2020’s focus on inter-disciplinary learning is a very welcome step. Universities, especially in India, have for decades been very silo-ed and departmentalized.

Way Forward:

  • The New Education Policy 2020 aims to facilitate an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach, which takes into consideration field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback, as well as lessons learned from best practices.
  • It is a progressive shift towards a more scientific approach to education.
  • The prescribed structure will help to cater the ability of the child – stages of cognitive development as well as social and physical awareness.
  • If implemented in its true vision, the new structure can bring India at par with the leading countries of the world.
  • The education policy should maintain a symbiotic relationship between the different regions of the country through the study of different languages.
  • The quality of education provided in the country shall be such that it not only delivers basic literacy and numeracy but also creates an analytical environment in the country.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment

5.  What is Production Linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturing? How does the scheme benefit Indian economy? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article talks about the production linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturing and its benefits to the Indian economy.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what Production Linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturing is and explain does the scheme benefit Indian economy.

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:

Define Production Linked incentive scheme.

Body:

Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing, Notified on 1st April, 2020. Incentives are applicable under the scheme from 01.08.2020.

 What it is? an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods under target segments that are manufactured in India to eligible companies, for a period of five years subsequent to the base year (FY2019-20). 22 companies have filed their application under the Scheme.

Discuss the benefits and challenges associated with it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the prospects of the program.

Introduction:

The Production Linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturing proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain including mobile phones, electronic components and Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units. It was notified on April 1, 2020 as a part of the National Policy on Electronics.

Global electronics giants such as Samsung, Pegatron, Flex, and Foxconn among others are in final stages of negotiations to benefit from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for making mobile phones and certain other specified electronic components.

Body:

Key features of the scheme:

  • The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies.
  • The scheme is proposed for a period of five years with financial year (FY) 2019-20 considered as the base year for calculation of incentives.
  • The scheme shall only be applicable for target segments namely mobile phones and specified electronic components.
  • The Scheme is open for applications for a period of 4 months initially which may be extended.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA) and be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support and carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by MeitY from time to time.
  • All electronic manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India will be eligible to apply for the scheme. These companies can either create a new unit or seek incentives for their existing units from one or more locations in India.
  • Any additional expenditure incurred by companies on plant, machinery, equipment, research and development and transfer of technology for manufacture of mobile phones and related electronic items will be eligible for the incentive scheme.
  • However, all investment done by companies on land and buildings for the project will not be considered for any incentives or determine eligibility of the scheme.

Benefits to Indian Economy:

  • The scheme proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain including electronic components and semiconductor packaging.
  • The government estimates that with the PLI scheme, domestic value addition for mobile phones is expected to rise to 35-40% by 2025 from the current level of 20-25% and generate additional 8 lakh jobs, both direct and indirect.
  • The production of mobile phones in the country has surged eight-times in the last four years from around Rs 18,900 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 1.7 lakh crore in 2018-19.
  • The domestic electronics hardware manufacturing sector faces lack of a level playing field vis-à-vis competing nations.
  • The sector suffers disability of around 8.5% to 11% on account of lack of adequate infrastructure, domestic supply chain and logistics; high cost of finance; inadequate availability of quality power; limited design capabilities and focus on R&D by the industry; and inadequacies in skill development.
  • Therefore, to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM), it is necessary to encourage and drive capabilities in the country for developing core components and create an enabling environment for the industry to compete globally.

Conclusion:

It would tremendously boost the electronics manufacturing landscape and establish India at the global level in the electronics sector. The Government of India seeks to boost Make in India initiative to make the country a manufacturing and export hub for mobile phones.

 

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

6. Comment upon the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest a few policy measures to address this challenge. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article co-authored by the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh discusses the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and suggests a few policy measures to address this challenge.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic and suggest a few policy measures to address.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

India entered the COVID-19 crisis in a precarious position, with slowing growth, rising unemployment and a strained financial system. The epidemic has made it more painful.

Body:

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent regulations have had adverse impacts on livelihoods and the larger economy. The economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to be bigger than the health impact itself. The global economy is expected to experience one of its worst years in history and the Indian Economic contraction does not just imply a decrease in GDP numbers but marks a reversal of years of progress.

The article argues that the slowdown in economic activity is a function of both external factors such as the lockdown and behavioural changes of people and enterprises, driven by fear, and calls for definitive and urgent steps to revive the economy back to good health.

The article argues that the key to reviving India’s economy would be to inject confidence back in the entire ecosystem involving the people (consumers), entrepreneurs and the bankers.

Conclusion:

The path to sustained recovery is to improve confidence and sentiments in society, using economic tools of fiscal and monetary policies.

Introduction:

The economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented damage to the global and India is no exception. It is clear that, for the first time in many decades, India’s economy will contract significantly. Moreover, India being a developing economy, the deleterious impact of an economic contraction is long and deep, especially on the poor. There will be a significant impact on the social sphere as well, as much of weaker sections of Indian society may slip back into poverty and unemployment.

Body:

Economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The slowdown in economic activity is a function of both external factors such as the lockdown and behavioural changes of people and enterprises, driven by fear, and calls for definitive and urgent steps to revive the economy back to good health.
  • India entered the COVID-19 crisis in a precarious position, with slowing growth, rising unemployment and a strained financial system. The epidemic has made it more painful.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent regulations have had adverse impacts on livelihoods and the larger economy. The economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to be bigger than the health impact itself.
  • The global economy is expected to experience one of its worst years in history and the Indian economy is expected to contract significantly for the first time in many decades.
  • Economic contraction does not just imply a decrease in GDP numbers but marks a reversal of years of progress.
  • The economic contraction will lead to a significant number among the weaker sections of the society slipping back into poverty.
  • Many enterprises may be forced to shut down.
  • Severe unemployment may lead to wastage of the human resource of an entire generation.
  • The economic contraction and the subsequent shortage of financial resources will adversely impact the state’s ability to feed and educate the children.
  • The impact of an economic contraction would be especially severe on the poor and the vulnerable sections.
  • There is also the underlying sentiment of fear, uncertainty and insecurity prevalent in people, firms and institutions.

boost_economy

Policy measures to address this challenge:

  • Direct cash assistance for the poor:
    • India is perhaps the only large democracy that has not provided direct cash assistance of a significant amount during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Money in the hands of people can provide an immediate sense of security and confidence for the poor.
    • The article argues that the apprehension that providing large cash assistance may deter people from returning to the workforce when needed and starve industry of labour is unfounded.
  • Restoring confidence in the financial system:
    • COVID-19 assistance measures undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government such as interest rate reductions, credit guarantee and liquidity enhancement schemes, though are welcome steps, may prove to be ineffective since banks are not confident of lending.
    • The revival of the health of the banking sector must, apart from involving steps such as capital infusion and disinvestment of public sector banks, also involve allowing institutions such as the RBI, public sector banks, bankruptcy boards, securities and insurance regulators to function freely and professionally.
  • Restoring confidence among investors:
    • Entrepreneurs must feel confident about reopening and making investments.
    • The confidence among people to spend and among bankers to lend will induce confidence in the private sector to reopen and invest.
    • Restoring confidence among businesses with greater access to capital will help them invest and create jobs.
    • Providing credit guarantee schemes for corporates would prove helpful in this direction.
  • Guarding against hasty decisions:
    • The article argues against knee-jerk reactions such as protection of Indian industry through trade restrictions.
    • This would not be able to catalyse economic activity immediately and also would mark a dangerous reversal of established industrial policy that has generated enormous economic gains over the last three decades.
  • Ensuring financial resources:
    • Improving capital adequacy of banks and providing credit guarantee schemes for corporates would require significant financial resources.
    • Given that the government is facing a major shortfall in revenues and that new avenues for tax revenues are not feasible in the short term, higher borrowing by the government is inevitable.
  • Borrow from International Institutions or deficit monetisation by RBI:
    • India must make full use of loan programmes of international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
    • Deficit monetisation by the RBI, which involves printing money, must only be used as the last resort when all other options are exhausted.
    • Our long track record as an impeccable borrower with no default, timely repayments and full transparency make us an ideal borrower for these institutions.

Conclusion:

It is thus imperative to act with utmost urgency to nurse the economy back to good health. The slowdown in economic activity is both a function of external factors such as the lockdown and behavioural changes of people and enterprises, driven by fear. The foundation for reviving our economy is to inject confidence back in the entire ecosystem. People must feel confident about their lives and livelihoods. Entrepreneurs must feel confident of reopening and making investments. Bankers must feel confident about providing capital. Multilateral organisations must feel confident enough to provide funding to India. Sovereign ratings agencies must feel confident about India’s ability to fulfil its financial obligations and restore economic growth.

 

7. “Borderless cyberspace, as a part of the “global commons” does not exist; discuss the quest for order amid cyber insecurity. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article is by Syed Akbaruddin who has served as India’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to discuss the quest of order amidst cyber insecurity and in what way borderless cyberspace needs to be part of global commons.

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:

Cyber-attacks amidst this pandemic have grown tremendously. In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 monitored by a single email provider, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-19-related daily spam messages.

Body:

Explain that like global public health, cybersecurity is a niche area, left to experts. A better understanding of the global cyberspace architecture is required.

Discuss what the gaps in the current system are. Borderless cyberspace, as a part of the “global commons” does not exist. It is an illusion that connectivity across national boundaries nurtured.

The Internet depends on physical infrastructure that is under national control, and hence is subject to border controls too. Each state applies its laws to national networks, consistent with its international commitments.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need to recognise quest for order amid cyber insecurity.

Introduction:

Cyberspace is comprised of computer networks, computer resources, and all the fixed and mobile devices connected to the global internet. A nation’s cyberspace is part of the global cyberspace; it cannot be isolated to define its boundaries since cyberspace is borderless, unlike the physical world-land, sea, river waters, and air-that is limited by geographical boundaries. The digital revolution has further sped up the emergence of a global digital space.

Body:

Cyberspace – a global common?

  • Cyberspace spans the entire globe almost seamlessly.
  • The national assets have to be part of the cyberspace, the global commons, to derive benefits of connectivity-global e-commerce, email, funds transfer, stock trading, and other relations for business and trade; social networking that is spawning global communities, and changing the way people keep in touch with their families and friends.
  • Cyberspace is indeed a global common, albeit of a new kind, since it is man-made.
  • It facilitates the transfer of data and information rather than people, vessels, and goods; it is largely owned by the private sector.
  • But it’s a national asset too, since it enables a host of business and government services to citizens; critical infrastructure depends on it for its efficient operations.
  • In fact, economies of advanced nations almost entirely depend upon it.
  • The attacks on these systems can come from anywhere in the world, because cyberspace is borderless.
  • That’s what makes cyberspace a unique global common, with every piece belonging to some company, organization, or individual as part of a national ICT asset.

However, challenges exist to Cyberspace as a global common:

  • Recent cyber-attacks by organized criminals, non-state actors, and even nation-states have underlined the threat scenario.
  • Sensitive country information including defence secrets, embassies’ correspondence; intellectual property comprising R&D of several companies based on years of efforts worth billions of dollars; penetration of critical infrastructures; use of cyberspace by terrorists, by nation-states through non-state actors have raised the spectre of a silent net-centric war-in what is known as cyber warfare.
  • Cyberspace has emerged as the new domain-beyond land, sea, air and space-that has to be factored by nations in their national defence strategies and plans. Cyberspace commons, therefore must have rules of the road.
  • Cyberspace is anarchic today since there is no formal governance regime. Market based governance that includes people, groups, and governments around the world has produced a flexible and effective global network of networks. But its regulation is complicated by several features.
  • Cyberspace is asymmetric, and offense dominant, provides anonymity because of difficulties in attribution-with implications for bringing criminals to justice and for deterrence and reprisal in the battle space.
  • Silent, undetected attacks by non-state actors-criminals and terrorists-and by nation-states for cyber espionage, and disruption of critical infrastructures to cripple economies and spread disorder-are a reality.

Cyberspace breaches in the recent times:

  • In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 monitored by a single email provider, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-19-related daily spam messages.
  • Twitter hackers collected $120,000 in full public gaze, while a “ransomware” target in California quietly paid 116.4 bitcoins or $1.14 million.
  • There is also concern about the role of states. Australia mentioned of attacks by a state actor.
  • China has been accused of hacking health-care institutions in the United States working on novel coronavirus treatment.
  • The United Kingdom has warned of hackers backed by the Russian state targeting pharmaceutical companies conducting COVID-19 vaccine research.
  • The ban on specified Chinese Apps, on grounds that they are “engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India” adds another layer of complexity to the contestation in cyberspace.

Way forward:

  • Since the cyberattacks respect no borders, it is thus essential to bring the international community together to ensure peace and security in the digital space. In such a scenario, shared rules and norms become imperative.
  • We need global rules for cyberspace as global commons to protect our national ICT assets from attackers in other countries. Clearly, national security depends on safe cyberspace commons.
  • Globally, India’s passivity in influencing global tech rules must end and India needs to play a key role in shaping cybernorms and rules.
  • Engagement in multi-stakeholder orientations such as the Paris Call (for trust and security in cyberspace) could be helpful.
  • India could consider acceding to the Budapest Convention, or Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe.
  • The sheer volume of data generated by citizens at home makes India an essential destination for foreign technology firms enabling India to exercise its authority in shaping global trade rules.
  • This allows India to shape, influence and constrain global technology rules that serve its strategic interests.
  • India can and must significantly shape the making of the digital world.

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