Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 September 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 – 2


 

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

1. What is the importance of Local Self Governments in a Democracy such as India? Why do you think did the makers of the Constitution not give adequate importance to this subject in the original constitutional document? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, part Indian polity.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of Local Self Governments in a Democracy such as India.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

India has the distinction of being a unique federal country. Ordinarily, federalism involves a two tier system – central/union government at the first level and the state/provincial government at the second level. But the Indian constitution provides for a three-tier federal structure as below: – Union Government at the top State Government in the Middle Local Government i.e. Panchayats and Municipalities at Grass Root. The third tier was constitutionalized in 1993 by the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment act of 1992 respectively.

Body:

In the answer body discuss the importance of local governance in India.

Explain then why adequate importance to this subject was not given at the inception of the constitution.

With the appointment of various committees and experiences of planning over the years, governments recognized the importance of local self-government in the post-independence era. The Constitution was amended to embody the principles of local self-government, in order to promote social and economic development in a holistic manner.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

                The term Panchayati Raj in India signifies the system of rural local selfgovernment. It has been established in all the states of India by the Acts of the state legislatures to build democracy at the grass root level1. It is entrusted with rural development. It was constitutionalised through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992.

Body:

Importance of Local Self Governments:

  • A democratic form of government must be sustained by a system of vigorous local self-government institutions.
  • Local government institutions provide an opportunity to the people to participate freely and actively in the governance and policy making which they formulate for their respective areas.
  • These are necessary to encourage and foster initiative, independence, and enterprise on the part of the people.
  • PRIs which are democratic, autonomous, financially strong are capable of formulating and implementing plans for their respective areas and provide decentralised administration to the people.
  • While inaugurating the first local self-government minister’s conference in 1948, our late Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said “local government is and must be the basis of any true system of democracy. Democracy at the top may not be a success unless built on its foundation from below”.
  • Laski said “local government offers the best opportunity to the people to bring local knowledge, interest and enthusiasm to bear on the solution of their problems.
  • It not only relieves congestion at the centre but it also checks the increasing power of democracy. It stands positively for the distribution and diffusion of power leading to administrative de- concentration and de- centralization. Being closer to the original base, it finds solution for local problems more efficiently (No ‘one size fits all’ approach).
  • It functions as a school of democracy wherein citizens are imparted political and popular education regarding issues of local and national importance. It develops qualities of initiatives, tolerance and compromise- so essential for the working of democracy. It not only relieves congestion at the centre but it also checks the increasing power of democracy.
  • It stands positively for the distribution and diffusion of power leading to administrative de- concentration and de- centralization.
  • Being closer to the original base, it finds solution for local problems more efficiently.
  • It provides facilities for minimum basic needs.
  • It also serves as a reservoir of talents for local and national leadership.
  • Government of India formulated E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project for e-enablement of all the Panchayats, to make their functioning more efficient and transparent.
  • One benefit of the local government is that the transmission of power from bureaucrats to the democratically formed local government has positively checked the influence of bureaucracy.
  • In various Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Additional Central Assistance the Panchayati Raj Institutions have been given centrality. Eg: Saakshar Bharat Mission, is a programme aimed at creating a literate Society through a variety of teaching learning programmes for non-literate and neo-literate of 15 years and above, for which the program involve community Panchayati Raj Institutions and women self-help groups in its endeavour.
  • Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) provides untied grants to the Panchayats in the backward regions in order to reduce development deficits of the country, with the requirement that the District Plans for utilization of the grant be prepared by the involvement of the Gram Sabhas.
  • Panchayat MahilaRsEvam Yuva Shakti Abhiyan aims to enable women and youth Panchayat leaders to come together to articulate their problems as women Panchayat leaders.

Lack of emphasis on local self-government in the constituent assembly:

  • The history of local self-government in India under the British rule can be conveniently divided into four phases. Local finance being a counterpart of local administration and its mainstay, has of course, been an expression of the purpose implicit in different phases of local government.The first phase may be assumed to have ended in 1882, when Lord Ripon issued his well-known resolution on local selfgovernment.
  • The second phase covers developments from 1882 to 1919, when more powers were transferred from the centre to the provinces, and the recommendations of the Decentralisation Commission of 1907, besides discussing other matters, suggested some changes in local self-government.
  • The third phase extended upto 1935, during which the Indian Taxation Enquiry Committee (1925) considered the problems of local taxation, along with central and provincial finances. The Simon Commission of 1930, reversed the process of decentralisation, by recommending strict control of the state over local bodies.
  • The fourth phase covers developments upto 1947. During this phase, the struggle for independence was intensified and with the introduction of provincial autonomy in 1937, and coming into power of congress ministries in many provinces, local bodies, particularly village panchayats, received a great stimulus and there was democratisation of local bodies. But local self-government became a mere annexe to the national political stadium, where the struggle for independence was moving towards its climax.
  • Independence opened a new chapter in socio-economic reforms, as embodied in the Directive Principles of State Policy, enunciated in the Constitution which established a federal system of public administration, provided universal adult franchise and the objective of welfare state. Article 40 of the Constitution lays down that the state would take steps to establish autonomous bodies in the form of village panchayats.
  • Although the idea of decentralised planning is as old as the Gandhian economic thought, attempts at giving a concrete shape to this thinking may be said to have been made in the postindependence period.
  • During the constitution making process and thereafter since the inception of planning in India, certain hard choices had to be made between the needs of national security, national unity and economic growth, on the one hand, and the consideration of achieving a measure of distributive justice, on the other, so that the benefits of development accrue to the people at the grass-root level, and also people may participate in the process of planning and development at different territorial levels.
  • In the initial years, the choice was made in favour of rapid growth and planning nd, therefore, decision-making remained centralised and vertical around the two political levels, viz. the Union and the state. Local bodies like panchayats, by and large, functioned as civic agencies of the state government and not as instruments of micro-level planning.
  • National integration and also the Indo-pak war shifted the attention towards maintinting the soverigntiy and terrirotiral integrity of India.
  • Lack of maturity and low levels of literacy also a paid a part why local self government remained in the DPSP’s.

Conclusion:

                The importance of local self government has all the more increased with the advent of Indian independence. They are expected not only to provide for the basic civic amenities for the safety and convenience of the citizens but also mobilize local support and public cooperation for the implementation of various programmes of welfare. Thus it can be said that the local government ensures close relationship between the people and the higher level of governments through this device of communication.

 

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. For “POSHAN Maah” to contribute towards the holistic nourishment of children and a malnutrition free India by 2030, India needs to address the multi-dimensional determinants of malnutrition on an urgent basis. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article brings to us the point that challenge to nurture India has become bigger with the outbreak of COVID-19.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need to have a multi-dimensional approach towards addressing malnutrition in the country amidst situations like Covid-19.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have launched a campaign declaring the month of September as “POSHAN Maah 2020”. By inviting citizens to send nutritional recipes, the campaign aims to create awareness about the POSHAN Abhiyan through community mobilisation.

Body:

The answer has to capture how far can such initiative help solve India’s massive malnutrition problem.

Give some statistics to set the background of the question like – Globally, there were 673 million undernourished people, of which 189.2 million (28 per cent) were in India in 2017-19, as per the combined report of FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO (FAO, et.al. 2020) on “The state of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”. Additionally, India accounts for 28 per cent (40.3 million) of the world have stunted children (low height-for-age) under five years of age, and 43 per cent (20.1 million) of the world’s wasted children (low weight-for-height) in 2019.

Discuss the multidimensional factors that contribute to malnutrition and highlight the need to identify and address them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to the problem and suggest a right approach.

Introduction:

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. India’s National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) show that there has been a decline in child malnutrition numbers in the country.

The covid-19 pandemic has disrupted optimal care for children, especially those who are malnourished, a Unicef report said. This may increase the overall severe and acute burden and massive disruptions in continuity of food availability and livelihood.

Body:

Malnutrition situation in India:

  • An average girl child aged less than 5 years is healthier than her male peers. However, over a period of time they grow into undernourished women in India.
  • Malnutrition and anaemia are common among Indian adults.
  • A quarter of women of reproductive age in India are undernourished, with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 kg/m (Source: NFHS 4 2015-16).
  • Both malnutrition and anaemia have increased among women since 1998-99.
  • 33% of married women and 28% of men are too thin, according to the body mass index (BMI), an indicator derived from height and weight measurements.
  • Underweight is most common among the poor, the rural population, adults who have no education and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
  • 2% of women and 24.3% of men suffer from anaemia, and have lower than normal levels of blood haemoglobin.
  • Anaemia has increased in ever-married women from 1998-99. Among pregnant women, anaemia has increased from 50% to almost 58%.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have launched a campaign declaring the month of September as “POSHAN Maah 2020”. By inviting citizens to send nutritional recipes, the campaign aims to create awareness about the POSHAN Abhiyan through community mobilisation. But how far it can help solve India’s massive malnutrition problem remains an open question.

Multi-dimensional determinants of malnutrition:

  • Mother’s health:
    • Scientists say the initial 1,000 days of an individual’s lifespan, from the day of conception till he or she turns two, is crucial for physical and cognitive development.
    • But more than half the women of childbearing age are anaemic and 33 per cent are undernourished, according to NFHS 2006. A malnourished mother is more likely to give birth to malnourished children.
  • Social inequality:
    • For example, girl children are more likely to be malnourished than boys, and low-caste children than upper-caste children.
  • Sanitation:
    • Most children in rural areas and urban slums still lack sanitation. This makes them vulnerable to the kinds of chronic intestinal diseases that prevent bodies from making good use of nutrients in food, and they become malnourished.
    • Lack of sanitation and clean drinking water are the reasons high levels of malnutrition persists in India despite improvement in food availability.
  • Lack of diversified food:
    • With the increase in diversity in food intake malnutrition (stunted/underweight) status declines. Only 12% of children are likely to be stunted and underweight in areas where diversity in food intake is high, while around 50% children are stunted if they consume less than three food items.
  • Lack of food security:
    • The dismal health of Indian women and children is primarily due to lack of food security.
    • Nearly one-third of adults in the country have a body mass index (BMI) below normal just because they do not have enough food to eat.
  • Failure of government approaches:
    • India already has two robust national programmes addressing malnutrition the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and the National Health Mission but these do not yet reach enough people.
    • The delivery system is also inadequate and plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Some analysts estimate that 40 per cent of the subsidized food never reaches the intended recipients
  • Disease spread:
    • Most child deaths in India occur from treatable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and complications at birth.
    • The child may eventually die of a disease, but that disease becomes lethal because the child is malnourished and unable to put up resistance to it.
  • Poverty:
    • The staff of ICDS places part of the blame of malnutrition on parents being inattentive to the needs of their children, but crushing poverty forces most women to leave their young children at home and work in the fields during the agricultural seasons.
    • Regional disparities in the availability of food and varying food habits lead to the differential status of under-nutrition which is substantially higher in rural than in urban areas.
    • This demands a region-specific action plan with significant investments in human resources with critical health investments at the local levels.
  • Lack of nutrition:
    • Significant cause of malnutrition is also the deliberate failure of malnourished people to choose nutritious food.
    • An international study found that the poor in developing countries had enough money to increase their food spending by as much as 30 per cent but that this money was spent on alcohol, tobacco and festivals instead.

Addressing the Multi-dimensional determinants malnutrition:

  • Mothers’ education, particularly higher education, has the strongest inverse association with under-nutrition. Women’s education has a multiplier effect not only on household food security but also on the child’s feeding practice and the sanitation facility. Despite India’s considerable improvement in female literacy, only 13.7 per cent of women have received higher education (NFHS, 2015-16). This is way below several countries at comparable income levels. Therefore, programmes that promote women’s higher education such as liberal scholarships for women need to be accorded a much higher priority.
  • Leveraging agricultural policies and programmes to be more “nutrition-sensitive” and reinforcing diet diversification towards a nutrient-rich diet. Food-based safety nets in India are biased in favour of staples (rice and wheat). They need to provide a more diversified food basket, including coarse grains, millets, pulses and bio-fortified staples to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age. Bio-fortification is very cost-effective in improving the diet of households and the nutritional status of children.
  • The promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and the introduction of complementary foods and a diversified diet after the first six months is essential to meet the nutritional needs of infants and ensure appropriate growth and cognitive development of children.
  • Improving the quantity and nutrient level of food consumed in the household: improving access to generalized household food ration through public distribution system. Also providing access to supplementary foods under the integrated child development services scheme.
  • To impart knowledge to improve the local diet, production and household behaviours through nutrition and health education.
  • Preventing micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia: This through providing the Iron Folic Acid Supplementation deworming, Pre and peri-conceptual folic acid supplementation, Universal access to iodized salt, Malaria prevention and treatment in malaria-endemic areas, Access to knowledge and support to stop use of tobacco products during pregnancy, Maternal calcium supplementation, Maternal vitamin A supplementation.
  • Increasing women’s access to basic nutrition and health services: By providing early registration of pregnancy and quality of antenatal check-up, with emphasis on pregnancy weight gain monitoring, screening and special care of at-risk mothers.
  • Improving access to water and sanitation health (WASH) education and facilities: By providing sanitation and hygiene education, including menstrual hygiene.
  • Empowering women to prevent pregnancies too early, too often and too close together: By ensuring marriage at/after legal age of 18 through awareness and ensuring a girl completes secondary education. Also preventing maternal depletion by delaying first pregnancy and repeated pregnancies through family planning, reproductive health information, incentives and services.
  • Expanding the maternity entitlement: Promoting community support system for women, skill development, economic empowerment as part of maternity entitlement. Providing community support system for women to support decision making, confidence building, skill development and economic empowerment.

Conclusion:

                Adequate nutrition is important for women not only because it helps them be productive members of society but also because of the direct effect maternal nutrition has on the health and development of the next generation. There is also increasing concern about the possibility that maternal malnutrition may contribute to the growing burden of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases of adults in less developed countries. Finally, maternal malnutrition’s toll on maternal and infant survival stands in the way of countries’ work toward key global development goals including SDG-2.

 

Topic: GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations.

GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

3. Analyze the economic opportunities which have opened up for India post the Chinese app ban in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is amidst the recent decision of the Indian government to ban the Chinese apps.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyze the economic opportunities which have opened up for India post the Chinese app ban in India.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The current India-China border standoff has expanded watchful Indian eyes into cyberspace; but the Chinese put up blinding shields on their own Internet territory more than a decade ago. The Chinese government began erecting censorship barriers and banned several popular Western websites and applications years ago.

Body:

Explain that the decision to ban such apps in India is not only a geopolitical move but also a strategic trade maneuver that can have significant economic impact.

Banning these Chinese websites and applications to the Indian public effectively allows our home-grown IT talent to focus on the newly arrived Internet user. Big tech firms from Silicon Valley and China in both hardware and software have been in a tussle over the Indian consumer, but India’s focus remains on exporting IT services while paying little attention to servicing our own nation’s tech market.

Take hints from the article and explain the nuances associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

                In the wake of the face-off with Chinese forces on the India-China border in Ladakh, and a violent clash on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, the Indian government banned popular apps of Chinese origin, citing data security and national sovereignty concerns. These include popular ones such as TikTok, SHAREIt, UC Browser, CamScanner, Helo, Weibo, WeChat and Club Factory.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that it had received “many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.

Body:

The decision to block the 59 apps was to safeguard the “sovereignty and integrity of India”, invoking powers under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.

The government also said that several citizens had reportedly raised concerns in representations to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) regarding security of data and loss of privacy in using these apps. In addition, the Ministry said it had also received “exhaustive recommendations” from the Home Ministry’s Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre.

Estimates by Sensor Tower show the video-sharing social networking app, TikTok, for instance, has seen about 611 million downloads in India over the app’s lifetime, while estimates of active users vary with the highest pegged at 200 million. According to media reports, file-sharing tool SHAREIt has about 400 million users. Statcounter places the Alibaba-owned UC Browser second in India market share at 10.19%, after Google Chrome (78.2%). Other reports estimate its user base at 130 million.

While the move has disrupted the app market, with multi faceted ramifications emerging from it, it also creates economic opportunities for India.

The economic opportunities post app ban:

  • The decision to ban such apps in India is not only a geopolitical move but also a strategic trade manoeuvre that can have significant economic impact. Banning these Chinese websites and applications to the Indian public effectively allows our home-grown IT talent to focus on the newly arrived Internet user.
  • Big tech firms from Silicon Valley and China in both hardware and software have been in a tussle over the Indian consumer, but India’s focus remains on exporting IT services while paying little attention to servicing our own nation’s tech market.
  • Most alarmingly, while we have spent the last two decades exporting the bulk of our technology services to developed countries in the West, the vacuum created as the Indian Internet grew has been filled by American Big Tech and by the Chinese. After the removal of more than 118 Chinese apps, Indian techies have started trying to fill the holes with copycat replacement websites and applications. But faithful copies are not enough for us to make full use of China’s exit.
  • The primary Indian IT objective must shift from servicing others to providing for ourselves. In the absence of Chinese tech, Indian entrepreneurs should not simply look to replace what the exiting firms have so far been providing. They should focus instead on providing services and products of high quality that will be used by everyday Indians across the country.
  • The aim of providing netizens with the same services across diverse markets is overarching — regional barriers created by language exist within our own nation. These provide an accretion of excellent smaller markets, with opportunities for specialised Internet services created for a local community, by the community itself.
  • The fundamental focus of the new digital products that plan to emerge in the growing market should be to provide for hyper-regional necessities and preferences. With this in mind, there are several commercial opportunities available. For example, apps and services that provide specific market prices, local train and bus routes, allow for non-traditional banking and lending, education, health, online sales, classified advertising,and so on.
  • Accessibility is also crucial. With the rise in migrant work and labour all over the country, a news or banking app with, say, an Odiya interface should work everywhere that Odiya-speaking people migrate to. However, national accessibility on its own will not make an app a game changer. Indians are savvy enough to know what a world class app is.
  • If we create hyper-local and hyper-regional services of high quality and great accessibility that are also portable across our linguistic diversity, we are far more likely to succeed in creating one of the strongest Internet markets in the world, rather than creating copycat apps or apps that only cater to English speakers.
  • Technology companies all over the world have focused their efforts on the 15% of the world’s population with deep pockets while largely ignoring the other six billion denizens of the world’s population. Some sympathetic noises about ‘emerging’ markets are made, but the waters remain largely untested.
  • If we go forward with the aim of servicing our own, India’s experiences as a modernising power are of great use to the bulk of the world’s population, which lives in penury when compared to its western counterparts. We can export our “India stack” to other countries in the “south”, such as those in Africa and Latin America. We have successfully done this before with our outstanding railway technology. There is no reason we cannot pull off the same achievement with our home-grown Internet power.

Conclusion:

                With the rise of Jio, and the response from its competitors, the widening reach of Internet connection across the country will provide hundreds of millions of non-urban Indians with fluid access to the Internet. India now has the lowest Internet data costs in the world. This presents an opportunity to be atmanirbhar.

 

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

4. Amidst rising number of cancer cases in the country, discuss the necessary steps to be taken to help reduce India’s cancer burden. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article discusses the necessary steps to be taken to help reduce India’s cancer burden.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the steps necessary to be taken to reduce the cancer burden in the country.

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:

As per the data provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) National Cancer Registry Programme Report of August 2020, there are an estimated 13.9 lakh cancer cases in India.

Body:

India has witnessed a steady rise in cancer cases over the years. India’s cancer burden has increased by 2.6 times between 1990 to 2016.

A study tracing the growing burden of cancer in India states that most of the increases in cancer incidences are attributable to its epidemiological transition and improvement in the use of cancer diagnostics.

Discuss the various factors responsible for it.

Suggest steps that need to be taken.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

                The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) National Cancer Registry Programme Report of August 2020 has estimated that the number of cancer cases in India in 2020 is 13.9 lakh. India has seen a steady rise in cancer cases over many decades. A 2017 report showed that India’s cancer burden increased 2.6 times between 1990 to 2016, and deaths due to cancers doubled during the time.

Body:

The worsening situation in India:

  • Almost two-thirds of these cancer cases are at late stages. In men, the most common cancers are of the lung, oral cavity, stomach and oesophagus, while in women, breast, cervix, ovary and gall bladder cancers are the most common. Tobacco use (in all forms) is a major avoidable risk factor for the development of cancer in 27% of cancer cases. Other important risk factors include alcohol use, inappropriate diet, low physical activity, obesity, and pollution.
  • Cancer cases in the country are likely to increase to 15.6 lakhs by 2025 — a 12% increase from current estimated cases — based on current trends, according to the National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020. The figures were released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Informatics & Research (NCDIR), Bengaluru, here on Tuesday.
  • The report also found that in 2020, tobacco-related cancers are estimated to contribute to 27.1% of the total cancer burden, and highest in the north-eastern region of the country. The other common cancers included gastrointestinal tract cancers and breast cancer.
  • Cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach and oesophagus were the most common cancers among men. Cancers of the breast and cervix uteri were the most common cancers among women, the report said.
  • According to a release issued by the ICMR, the report estimates that in 2020 cancer cases in the country will be at 13.9 lakhs.
  • “These estimates are based on information related to cancer collected from 28 Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs). Additionally, 58 Hospital Based Cancer Registries (HBCRs) provided cancer data,” it added.
  • In 2020, tobacco related cancers are estimated to contribute 3.7 lakhs (27.1%) of the total cancer burden.
  • Among women, breast cancers are estimated to contribute 2.0 lakhs (14.8%) and cervix cancer are estimated to contribute 0.75 lakhs (5.4%), whereas for both men and women, cancers of the gastrointestinal tract is estimated to contribute 2.7 lakhs (19.7%) of the total cancer burden.
  • Cancer causes loss of lives and also has a tremendous socioeconomic impact. Reducing cancer is a prerequisite for addressing social and economic inequity, stimulating economic growth and accelerating sustainable development. But merely investing in cancer treatment is not an economically viable option. We need to focus on three key aspects: risk reduction, early detection and programmatic and policy solutions.

India’s cancer care facilities highly inadequate: 

A report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology and Environment said the “systematic failure” to address the needs of patients contributes to a 20% higher mortality among Indian cancer patients than in countries with a “high” Human Development Index.

Steps to be taken to help reduce India’s cancer burden: 

  • Cancer detection & prevention clinics: Late stage at presentation is the main reason for the poor survival from cancer in India. The late presentation is mainly due to the lack of diagnostic facilities at the peripheral levels. District hospitals in India have the services of specialists and provide reasonable services.
  • It is estimated that nearly 50%-60% of cancer cases can be avoided by tackling the known risk factors effectively. Community empowerment through a multisectoral approach that brings together government, private practitioners and civil society to increase health literacy and promote certain behaviour can go a long way in reducing potential risk factors.
  • Improved awareness can also prevent stigma attached to the disease. We need to ensure that health systems are strengthened so that there is greater access to screening and vaccination, early detection, and timely, affordable treatment.
  • Population health approaches are also relevant for large-scale impact. Programmatic and policy-level solutions need to be driven by data. The information collected through the National Cancer Registry Programme has been used effectively over the years to advocate for better access to screening, early detection, referral, treatment and palliative care services. It has also helped shape cancer research in the country, which is of crucial importance to guide our efforts on cancer prevention and control.
  • Making cancer a notifiable disease could be one of the ways to help drive this research further by providing greater access to accurate, relevant data that can drive policy decisions.
  • India has improved in some areas, such as personal hygiene, which are distant drivers of cancer. Government programmes such as Ayushman Bharat, Swasthya Bharat, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Poshan Abhiyaan and Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana and initiatives such as FSSAI’s new labelling and display regulations and drug price control can encourage inter-sectoral and multi-sectoral action. Other initiatives such as the National Health Policy, the National Tobacco Control Programme, and the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke are also paving the way for progress.
  • A report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology and Environment recommended a ‘Hub and Spoke Model’ proposed by the TMC to better reach out to cancer patients nationally. This approach — already in practice in Punjab — has a network of centres, or hubs, capable of treating complex forms of cancer. They would be connected to other centres (spokes) capable of treating less complex variants of cancers. The idea is to ease access and minimise travel times for patients.
  • Tobacco control law and program needs to be prioritized and implemented effectively across all states of the country. Apart from government initiatives, advocacy by civil society and efforts of non-government organizations also needs to be promoted in this regard. Cost-effective strategies for screening could include screening of women (30–49 years of age) with visual inspection and acetic acid; oral cancer screening with visual inspection by a trained health care worker in high risk individuals; and clinical breast examination biennially in specific age groups (40–60 years).
  • Treatment facilities: A multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment is essential and this has to be made available at all Regional Cancer Centres. The services of a trained surgeon and a Clinical Oncologist are needed to plan the most appropriate treatment.
  • Palliative care: More than 75% of cancers in India present in advanced stages and Palliative care and pain relief are essential to provide good quality life for these patients.

Conclusion:

                Our approach should not simply focus on diagnostics, treatment modalities and vaccines, but emphasise inclusivity in thinking and action for equitable solutions that can greatly reduce the impact of cancer across all socioeconomic levels in the country.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

5. What are the challenges of governance with regard to the implementation of various programmes, aimed at the vulnerable section of the society? Do you think that the ethical values need to be revisited? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the need to have ethical values inculcated in implementing governance related schemes so as to ensure vulnerable sections of the society benefit from them.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the challenges of governance with regard to implementation of welfare programs. Bring out if there are any ethical values that need to be revisited.

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:

Write in brief about welfare programmes for vulnerable sections.

Body:

Various welfare programs aimed at welfare of vulnerable sections have been launched e.g.: PMAGY, ICDS etc. But situation at the ground level hasn’t improved much due to the following governance related challenges: One at organisation level like Lack of empathy and sensitivity amongst government servants. Falling commitment towards public service values etc. At citizen level – Patriarchal mindset, lack of awareness etc.

Discuss with specific examples of welfare schemes like the housing schemes, schemes of Swachh Bharat mission etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

                The poorest communities in almost any region tend to be minority communities that have been targets of long-standing discrimination, exclusion and sometimes violence. The dire situation of so many ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities is often exacerbated by numerous and complex factors. Discrimination and inequality circumscribe every aspect of their life opportunities. They are often denied equal access to quality education. Racist notions in the wider community may limit their employment possibilities to the most low-waged and precarious options.

When their rights are violated, recourse to institutions of justice is often a distant possibility. Additionally, disadvantaged minorities are commonly poorly represented in political structures and decision making bodies and consequently have little control over decisions that affect them. Lacking a voice in shaping their own circumstances, they are vulnerable to neglect. And when disasters strike, these communities are most likely to be at the back of the line for humanitarian assistance, if not totally forgotten.

Body:

The government of India implements plethora of programs like Self Employment Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan/ Accessible India Campaign, Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao,Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana and Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme etc for empowerment of vulnerable groups. But still India has long way to go in empowering them.

Organizational level:

  • The skewed and insufficient budgetary allowance is a various schemes.
  • The lack of implementation and inadequate government machinery

    Lack of civic body support to achieve the objectives of the programmes.

    Lack of representation by vulnerable groups in the system.

  • Corruption present in the system.

Community level:

  • Social abuses and orthodox rituals like female foeticide, Sati, child marriage, castesim, communalism and domestic abuse obstruct the due execution of this programmes.
  • The mind-set of people remains conservative besides the numerous campaigns spreading awareness among people.
  • Extreme inequalities

Individual level:

  • Presence of patriarchy in the mindset of people where a girl child is seen as a burden.
  • Inequality meted out to girl as compared to boys at home, school etc.
  • Lack of compassion towards vulnerable groups. 

Measures needed:

  • Use of technology to improve the outcomes of the scheme.
  • Creating end to end transparency in the implementation of the scheme.
  • Sensitisation of various stakeholder in the scheme.
  • Involving NGO’s, civil society organisations etc in order to main stream the vulnerable groups at their own pace.
  • Gender respect should be taught at the school level more so from the home level by the parents.
  • We need to address the associated problems in bringing up the girl child, her marriage expenses and discrimination in the society.
  • There also is a need to launch more dedicated efforts than just allocating monetary incentives
  • there is a need to connect with the communities first, right from the gram panchayat level to ensure awareness.
  • provide an enabling environment vulnerable groups and educate and inform person’s right at the grass root level that there should be no bias towards them.

Conclusion:

The limited success of developmental measures can be attributed to both implementation inefficiencies as well as lack of values such a honesty and integrity in work, compassion towards the weak, commitment towards the nation. In order to overcome this, one must remember the Gandhi’s talisman “Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]”

 

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

6. “Our values don’t recognise same-sex marriage”, how far is the statement justified in the Indian context? Critically analyse from ethical viewpoints. (250 words )

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta also submitted that the judgment of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court “merely decriminalizes homosexuality or lesbians. Nothing more, nothing less”.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse the statement in the context of Indian Society and evaluate if recognition to same sex marriage should be given or it is against our societal values.

Directive:

Critically 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. 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:

Start with brief background of the question.

Body:

Just over two years after the Supreme Court decriminalized consensual homosexual relations, the Centre on Monday opposed a petition seeking the registration of same-sex marriages under The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, submitting that “our law, legal system, society, our values” do not recognise such unions.

Present the points for and against the subject. Substantiate with suitable justifications, emphasize on the ethical issues involved and how they need to be resolved.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable opinion.

Introduction:

Marriage is a legally, and socially recognised union between two individuals, that is regulated by laws, customs and beliefs’ – this is a very dry definition of what one hopes is a meaningful and loving journey with our partners for life. But if you think about it, what role does love play in all of this? For most of marriage history, none at all. Unlike love, the definition of marriage keeps changing.

Body:

The first recorded evidence of a marriage contract is from around 4000 years ago. Love has been around for much longer, marriage on the other hand is a constantly evolving concept.

Pair bonding began in the early stage of our evolution, to ensure survival. After which that idea spread across cultures and eras in many ways. In the ancient world marriage was a matter of forging alliances, acquiring land and holding onto power. Over time, different kind of marriages was acceptable in different cultures – exchange marriages, group marriages, polyandry, polygyny, morganatic marriage (where titles and property do not pass to children), marrying within the family, dowry as a part of marriage contract and so on. It was only in the 17th and 18th centuries that philosophers and thinkers put forth the idea that happiness was an intrinsic goal for life and marrying for love, rather than wealth or status, was a worthwhile cause.

Over time agriculture and family plots of land gave way to free market economies and jobs, kings succumbed to democracies, and various forms of marriage were homogenised due to colonisation. The idea of marriage as a single union between two individuals, a man and a woman, began to take shape.

In today’s world, an ideal marriage is based on the notion of two equals seeking love, stability and happiness together. However the idea of equality in a marriage itself is barely 50 years old. The modern relationship is based on companionship, respect and mutual sexual attraction. Couples are increasingly making choices about their lives together – the number of children they want, or if they want kids at all, division of labour is flexible, the option of divorce if they are unhappy and so on. All these are fairly new developments, and it is only reasonable to expect the institution of marriage to continue to change with time.

In the Indian context, there are far too many challenges. Patriarchy, child-brides, unequal relationships and so on. But there is always hope. And as we take small faltering steps in the pursuit of an ideal society, the question is – when do we begin to recognise same sex marriages? The answer seems to be a long way off.

Recently the Centre told the Delhi High Court that ‘our laws, our legal system, our society and our values do not recognise marriage…between same-sex couples’. They are not alone. This sentiment is echoed by many others.

Sexuality, reproduction and marriage are closely intertwined and often tough for societies to resolve. It has often sparked emotional, religious and political debates. We saw that in 2018, when the Supreme Court, after much deliberation and delay, finally de-criminalised consensual gay sex. It took many years to do away with the archaic law that had lost its relevance in modern times. We are now free to choose our partners in bed, but what about life.

The debate over same-sex marriages is more of morality than on law. People try to establish a line of distinction between the ‘societal norms’ and ‘individual liberty’ especially in the culture where religion enjoys more prominence. The law on same-sex marriages in India is already indirectly established by the apex court. In March 2018, the Supreme Court of India has held that an adult has a fundamental right to marry a person of their own choice. The collective reading of this case with Navtej Singh Johar (September 2018) can be taken as a tacit recognition of same-sex marriage. Further in 2019, The High Court of Madras decreed and allowed the marriage under the Act.

With a steady advance in LGBTQ+ rights, a growing number of countries are legalising same sex weddings. The institution of marriage in its current form, encompasses love, conversations, sex, procreation, sharing responsibilities and happiness. There are technical aspects like property, inheritance, insurance, visitation rights in healthcare and custody and so on. Marriage is the building block of stable communities. By what logic then should the government regulate the relationship between two consenting adults. Specifically denying same sex couples the full rights of marriage is obviously discriminatory.

In India we have seen the Court intervene in cases of inter-religion and inter-caste marriages to protect our choices. This must extend to other groups. The law must ensure equality in the truest sense.

The battle for gay rights has been long and difficult. It took years for the courts to accept it is not an ‘unnatural offence’. There was much reason to celebrate the abolishment of Article 377, but that is just the beginning. Hopefully there will also come a time when a big fat Indian wedding will have two brides or two grooms. That will be a case for celebration. But it won’t end there.

Conclusion:

The struggle for the LGBTQ+ community will continue. Up next will be the fight for adoption, artificial insemination, names on birth certificates and so on and on. It is a long road ahead and we take one small step at a time, as long as it is in the right direction.

 

Topic : Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7. The bureaucracy in India is facing a number of serious challenges from diminishing human capital to political interference that, if left unaddressed, will lead to further institutional decline. Discuss. How can these challenges be addressed? (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by G SubbaRao and P N Chowdhary

Why the question:

The context is of the declining institution of Bureaucracy and the factors responsible for it.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the factors responsible for such an institutional decline, how these challenges can be addressed.

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 Indian bureaucracy is mired by several obstacles, which can lead to its institutional decline and have far reaching consequences, if left unaddressed.

Body:

The body of the answer must explore on the following dimensions in detail –

  • State the challenges that the bureaucracy in India faces.
  • Mention the consequences if these challenges remain unaddressed.
  • Discuss the reforms that are required to address the challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions and highlight the efforts of the government in this direction, suggest way forward.

Introduction:

The malady of political interference has its origin in the fifties and sixties when civil servants and political leaders started working together. With deepening democracy, it was expected that their respective roles would be defined in the context of our Constitution and refined further. Maturing democracy should have been accompanied by role definition, which unfortunately did not happen.

Body:

The structural lethargy and high individual complacency levels prevented any attempt for role clarification. The vaguely defined equation that the political boss takes the decision and the bureaucrat carries it out, has left much room for irrationality, arbitrariness and indolence.

According to a study `IAS Meets Big Data’ by the Carnegie Institute, there is a lingering view that politicisation of civil services has become more, not less, entrenched. It says the World Bank’s government effectiveness index that captures the quality of country’s civil service and its independence from political pressure, places India in the 45th percentile globally, nearly 10 percentage point decline from country’s position in 1996, when the data was first collected. It concludes that political interference generates substantial inefficiency; the best officers do not always occupy important positions, while political loyalty offers bureaucrats an alternative path to career success.

The organised poaching into legitimate jurisdiction of civil servants has frustrated the emergence of a mature relationship between the two important arms of the Executive. In more mature and stabilised parliamentary democracies, conventions and norms are so embedded in the culture of governance that there is any confusion of roles is unthinkable. Even in the Whitehall system, despite the hilarious caricatures of Sir Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Wooley, bureaucracy’s image as the repository of knowledge and administrative memory is never questioned.

As a result, whenever public policy formulation is characterised by enlightened political leadership, spectacular performance can be achieved. Give the civil servants citizen-centric decisions devoid of vested interests, and then hang them if they do not perform or misbehave.

Political interference remains one of the biggest obstacles to bureaucratic effectiveness. Perhaps for the first time, researchers have drawn a clear, quantifiable links between the pervasive abuse of transfers and postings of civil servants and development outcomes.

Even the Administrative Reforms Commission report recommends measures of softening the impact of political interference, not of eliminating it. Measures like Public Services Bill, Civil Services Bill Performance and Accountability Bill, etc., would serve a limited purpose without touching the root cause. No Chief Minister has yet announced the prohibition of pressure by any political functionary in the work of a civil servant.

Reforms needed:

  • Independent civil service boards at the centre and the states that would make recommendations on the postings and transfers of civil servants
  • Fixed tenures for civil servants at a posting.
  • Formal recording of instructions/orders/directions from political authorities and legislators, among others, on what they ask civil servants to do.
  • One reason for the slow pace of decision-making in key ministries is the fear among officers about possible victimization in case something goes wrong. Written orders, while preventing abuse, can also shield officers from such fears.
  • Ideally, there should be a political consensus on protecting civil servants from abuses in the system. 

Conclusion:

A politically agnostic bureaucracy is central to effective governance. What is required are clear and transparent norms that guide appointments and transfers of bureaucrats. The Fifth Pay Commission took a stab at it, suggesting institutional and structural interventions, none of which was accepted. It called on ministries, departments and organisations to formulate clear, detailed and transparent transfer policies. Calling for minimum predetermined tenures, the commission suggested that orders for premature transfers should contain detailed, recorded reasons approved by a Civil Service Board, and that the civil servant in question be given an opportunity for appeal. The pay commission acknowledged that it is perhaps not desirable to deny political masters some say in appointments to key posts. For this not to degenerate into patronage and for competence to not suffer, training, career progression and termination in the civil service and the police must change, drastically.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos