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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 December 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: Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Landslides

1. Elucidate volcano formation, their types and structures associated with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: Fundamentals of Physical Geography by G C Leong, Fundamentals of Physical Geography – class XI NCERT

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, portions of World Geography.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain volcano formation, their types and structures associated with suitable examples.

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:

Define what Volcanoes are.

Body:

A volcano is a vent (opening) in the earth’s crust through which molten material erupts suddenly from a magma chamber below the surface. Due to very high temperature, some rocks slowly melt and turn into a thick flowing matter known as magma. Since it is lighter than the solid rock around it, the magma rises and gets collected in magma chambers which eventually pushes through fissures and vents in the earth’s surface.

Start by discussing their formation.

Mention types of volcanoes with suitable diagrams and description.

Present the various landforms associated with it. Both intrusive and extrusive.

Conclusion:

Conclude with their significant contributions in landform formation.

Introduction:

A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. The process is called Volcanism and has been ongoing on Earth since the initial stages of its evolution over 4 billion years ago.

Body:

Volcano eruptions on land in the last century alone have produced one and half billion tons of material per year, while the volume of basalts erupted by submarine volcanoes in mid-ocean rifts and along fracture zones is several times higher. Volcanic activity is widespread over the earth, but tends to be concentrated in specific locations. Volcanoes are most likely to occur along the margins of tectonic plates.

  • Volcanoes at convergent plate boundaries:
  • Ocean-Ocean plate collision and Ocean – Continent plate collision: In subduction zones where oceanic plates dive under continental plates.
  • As the oceanic plate subducts beneath the surface, intense heat and pressure melts the rock.
  • Molten rock material, magma, can then ooze its way toward the surface where it accumulates at the surface to create a volcano.

  • Circum-Pacific Region: Also known as “Pacific Ring of fire”: about two-thirds of the world’s volcanoes are found in this region.
  • The chain of volcanoes extends from Aleutian Islands into Kamchatka, Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, southward into Pacific Islands of Solomon, Tonga and New Zealand.
  • On the other side of the pacific, the chain continues from the Andes to Central America (Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua), Mexico and right up to Alaska. Example: Mt. Fuji, Mt. Vesuvius, Stromboli, Etna etc.
  • Types of volcanoes found due to convergent plate boundaries:
  • Composite Cones or Strato volcanoes:
    • They are conical or central type volcanic landforms.
    • Along with andesitic lava, large quantities of pyroclastic material and ashes find their way to the ground.
    • They are accumulated in the vicinity of the vent openings leading to formation of layers, and this makes the mounts appear as composite volcanoes.
    • The highest and most common volcanoes have composite cones.
    • Example: Vesuvius, Mt. Fuji, Stromboli (Lighthouse of the Mediterranean) etc.
  • Cinder cone (Tephra cones):
    • Cinder cones are small volume cones consisting predominantly of tephra that result from strombolian eruptions.
    • They usually consist of basaltic to andesitic material.
  • Calderas:
    • After the eruption of magma has ceased from the cones, the crater frequently turns into a lake at a later time.
    • Water may collect in the crater. This lake is called a ‘caldera’.
    • Example: Lake Toba in Sumatra, Crater Lake in Oregon, USA.
  • Volcanoes at Divergent plate boundaries:
    • Divergent boundaries within continents initially produce rifts which eventually become rift valleys.
    • Example: In Africa’s East African Great Rift Valley– Mt.Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Cameroon.
    • Most active divergent plate boundaries occur between oceanic plates and exist as mid-oceanic ridges.
    • Example: Mid- Atlantic ridge where there is a constant sea-floor spreading and formation of new plate boundaries. Iceland is a remarkable location in that a section of the North-Atlantic mid-ocean ridge is exposed on land.
    • Divergent boundaries also form volcanic islands which occur when the plates move apart to produce gaps which molten lava rises to fill.

  • Types of volcanoes found due to divergent plate boundaries:
    • Conical Vent and Fissure Vent:
      • A conical vent is a narrow cylindrical vent through which magma flows out violently. Conical vents are common in andesitic (composite or strato volcano) volcanism.
      • A fissure vent, also known as a volcanic fissure or eruption fissure, is a narrow, linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts, usually without any explosive activity.
      • The vent is often a few meters wide and may be many kilometers long. Fissure vents are common in basaltic volcanism.
    • Shield Volcanoes or Lava domes:
      • These volcanoes are mostly made up of basalt, a type of lava that is very fluid when erupted. They are not steep.
      • They become explosive if somehow water gets into the vent; otherwise, they are less explosive.
      • Example: Mauna Loa (Hawaii).
    • Mid-Ocean Ridges
      • These volcanoes occur in the oceanic areas. There is a system of mid-ocean ridges more than 70,000 km long that stretches through all the ocean basins. The central portion of this ridge experiences frequent eruptions.
      • The lava is basaltic in nature.
      • Cools slowly and flows through longer distances.
      • The lava here is responsible for sea floor spreading.
      • Example: Mid-Atlantic Ocean ridge; extension is seen in the Iceland.
    • Volcanoes due to Hot Spots:

 

    • Hot spots are places where a chamber of magma has accumulated at depth beneath the surface.
    • The volcanic islands of Hawaii are a notable example of this. The Hawaiian Islands ride atop the Pacific plate as it moves in a north-westerly direction over the hot spot that creates the volcanoes.
    • Therefore, the oldest volcanic island is found at the northwest end of the chain and the youngest to the southeast.
    • Volcanic activity ceases as the older islands move off the hot spot.
  • Types of volcanoes found due to Hotspots:
    • Shield Volcanoes or Lava domes:
      • These volcanoes are mostly made up of basalt, a type of lava that is very fluid when erupted. They are not steep.
      • They become explosive if somehow water gets into the vent; otherwise, they are less explosive.
      • Example: Mauna Loa (Hawaii).
    • Lava Plains and Basalt Plateaus:
      • Sometimes, a very thin magma escapes through cracks and fissures in the earth’s surface and flows after intervals for a long time, spreading over a vast area, finally producing a layered, undulating (wave like), flat surface.
      • Example: Deccan traps (peninsular India), Snake Basin, U.S.A, Icelandic Shield, Canadian Shield etc.

Way Forward:

Volcanoes have a huge impact on man and material as urbanization and globalization increases. The effects have impacts on flora, fauna and the global warming which can accelerate the climate change.

 

Topic: Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Landslides

2. “Landslides are more than just a natural phenomena”. Do you agree? Discuss and suggest ways to mitigate it. (250 words)

Reference: Fundamentals of Physical Geography by G C Leong

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I , portions of World Geography.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to explain in what way landslides are more than just a natural phenomenon and explain ways to mitigate 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:

One can start with background/case study – Landslides have caused massive damage of life and property during extremely heavy rain across India, most recently in Kerala. The Kedarnath landslide in Uttarakhand in June 2013, caused by flash floods that resulted in over 5,000 deaths, was identified as the most tragic such disaster.

Body:

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.

Landslides are a type of “mass wasting (a geomorphic process),” which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.

Several things can trigger landslides, including the slow weathering of rocks as well as soil erosion, earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Explain why landslides have become more than just natural phenomenon.

List down suggestions to mitigate them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Landslides have caused massive damage of life and property during extremely heavy rain across India, most recently in Kerala. The Kedarnath landslide in Uttarakhand in June 2013, caused by flash floods that resulted in over 5,000 deaths, was identified as the most tragic such disaster. The landslip in Idukki, that has so far claimed 43 lives and rendered several homeless, follows from a continuing spell of heavy rains in Kerala.

Body:

  • Landslides:
    • A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.
    • Landslides are a type of “mass wasting (a geomorphic process),” which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.
    • Several things can trigger landslides, including the slow weathering of rocks as well as soil erosion, earthquakes and volcanic activity.
    • As per Geological Survey of India, the window of economic loss due to landslides may reach between 1-2% of the gross national product in many developing countries.
  • Landslides in India:
    • Landslips, or landslides, in the Western Ghats have a history. Following the 2018 floods, data from the Geological Survey of India showed that Kerala had experienced 67 major landslide events and several minor ones from 1961-2013.
    • As part of a National Landslide Susceptibility Mapping (NLSM) Programme, the agency mapped several States in the Western Ghats, North-eastern States, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand to assess how vulnerable their districts were.
    • The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides during the monsoon season from June to September. The landslides usually occur in the altitudes between 500m to 3500m.
  • Causes of Landslides:
  • Natural Causes:
    • Earthquakes: Himalayas are situated at the convergent plate boundary zone of two continental plates viz. Indo-Australian plate in the south and Eurasian plate in the north. Thus, geologically Himalayas are highly active seismic zone and Orogenesis is still in process. The earthquakes loosen the soil, which trigger the landslides.
    • Rainfall: Himalayan region and western ghats receives quite heavy rainfall that leads to percolation of water in the lower layers, soil erosion, solifluction & landslides.
    • Slope: The steep slopes of Himalayan Mountains and western ghats are one of the major reasons of frequent landslides than any other mountain ranges in India.
    • Structure: large portion of Himalayas is made up of sedimentary Rock which is more fragile.
  • Anthropogenic Causes:
    • Jhum Cultivation: popularly known as slash & burn type of cultivation practiced particularly in the Himalayan region.
    • Deforestation & Grazing: Himalayan region and western ghats are Centers of huge diversity when it comes to trees & this diversity has led to indiscriminate chopping of trees. The trees help in holding the soil together, curbing the erosion and landslides to maximum extent. Increased grazing has led to wiping out of many grassland areas causing soil erosion and easy prey for landslides.
    • Illegal mining & Industrial activities: The rampant commercial activities have huge impact on the sensitive zones of Himalayas. The constant blasting of rocks, increased vibrations due to drilling, boring etc. lead to loosening of rocks and soil particles in turn causing landslides when there is enough fluidity.
    • Infrastructure projects: Himalayas being source of many rivers has lead to construction of multipurpose dam projects like Tehri. This has affected the already fragile Himalayas. There has been increase in number of developmental projects of highways, tunnels through hills which cause stress and sheer in the surrounding regions. Example: Chenani-Nashri tunnel project.
    • Unsustained Urbanization and Tourism: Increasing migration to cities has led to urban sprawl clearing the forest areas. Increased vehicular traffic, clearing of forest land to build infrastructure like roads, hotels etc. have affected the geography of the region.
    • Climate change: Global warming has led to quicker melting of snow and more percolation of water within the underlying surface of hill.
  • India among nations most affected by landslides due to human activities: study:
    • Landslides triggered by human activities are on the rise around the world and India is among the most-affected countries, accounting for at least 28% of such events over last 12 years, according to a study published.
    • Researchers compiled data on over 4,800 fatal landslides which occurred from 2004 to 2016, leaving out those caused by earthquakes.
    • More than 56,000 people were killed by landslides around the world during the period, a majority of which involved a single slope, according to the study based on the Global Fatal Landslide Database (GFLD).
    • At least 700 of these fatal landslides were caused by construction works, illegal mining and unregulated hill-cutting.
    • While the trend is global, Asia was found to be the most-affected continent where 75% of landslides occurred, with a substantial number reported along the Himalayan Arc.
    • All countries in the top 10 for fatal landslides triggered by human activity are located in Asia. India accounts for 20% of these incidents.
    • The research said human-triggered fatal landslides are increasing at the highest rate in India, where 28% construction-triggered landslide events occurred during the period, followed by China (9%), Pakistan (6%), the Philippines (5%), Nepal (5%) and Malaysia (5%).
    • We were aware that humans are placing increasing pressure on their local environment, but it was surprising to find clear trends within the database that fatal landslides triggered by construction, illegal hill-cutting and illegal mining were increasing globally during the period.
  • The measures to control landslides are:
  • Structural measures:
    • Stopping Jhum cultivation.
    • Store Excess water in catchments areas to reduce the fury of flash floods, recharge the ground water and improve the environment. Dig runoff collection ponds in the catchments.
    • Grow fuel / fodder trees in all of the common lands.
    • Plantation in barren areas, especially on slopes, with grass cover is an important component of integrated watershed management programme.
    • Grazing should be restricted. The grasses of industrial importance should also be planted so that there is some economic return to the farmers as well.
    • Use the surface vegetative cover to protect the land from raindrop’s beating action, bind the soil particles and decrease the velocity of flowing water.
    • Construction of engineering structures like buttress beams, retaining walls, geogids, nailings, anchors to stabilise the slopes.
  • Non-structural measures:
    • Environmental Impact Assessment of the infrastructure projects before commencing the work.
    • Declaration of eco-sensitive zones where mining and other industrial activities are banned. Eco-tourism should be promoted.
    • Hazard mapping of the region to identify the most vulnerable zones and take measures to safeguard it.
    • Local Disaster Management force for quick relief and safety of the people affected by landslides.
    • Teaching people about landslides & ways to mitigate.
    • Constructing a permanent assessment team comprising scientists & geologists for better mitigation and adaptation techniques.
    • Involving the local people for sustainable development of Himalayas
  • Way Forward: Preparedness and Mitigation:
    • Important preparatory strategies could involve monitoring and landslide prediction.
    • The National Landslide Susceptibility Mapping (NLSM) Programme of the Geological Survey of India could help assess the vulnerability of the districts and this could allow the concerned states to plan accordingly.
    • Installing early warning systems based on the monitoring of ground conditions like slope displacement, strain in soil and rocks, groundwater levels can help warn the residents and authorities of the risks.
    • Landslide Education, Awareness and Capacity Building among the residents and the local administration must be an important preparation strategy.
    • The district and state disaster management apparatus should be ready for intervention at a short notice.

 

 

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

3. “The problem with sanitation in India is not lack of infrastructure but the social and cultural stigma attached to it.” Do you agree? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article brings to us views of how sanitation in India is not lack of infrastructure but the social and cultural stigma attached to it.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to analyse the statement in detail and present a detailed analysis of it.

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:

Briefly present the status of sanitation in India with suitable facts.

Body:

Talk about lack of proper toilets, work related discrimination, issues related to scavenging in India, lack of physical resources etc.

Discuss in what way it is more a problem related to social and cultural stigma attached, give examples.

Such as prevalence of caste systems, lack of physical resources, social discrimination etc.

Suggest what needs to be done to address such issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with efforts of the government in this direction. And suggest suitable way forward.

Introduction:

In India in 2017, 59.5% have access to “at least basic sanitation”. Between 2014 and 2019, the Government in India built around 110 million toilets all across India, due to which the basic sanitation coverage went up from 38.7% in October, 2014 to 93.3% in 2019

Body:

  • Social and cultural stigma attached to sanitation:
    • Woman has to think twice before leaving her house and will rather drink less fluids and risk health issues than access unusable toilets.
    • Such issues on the sanitation front remain invisible, even when they are commonly experienced.
    • Sanitation workers are compelled to travel to their workplaces in garbage trucks, standing next to the very garbage they clean and collect.
    • Within India’s sanitation system, neither users nor the sanitation workers feel equal.
    • The academic approach to scavenging results in book titles such as India Stinking (2005), Manual Scavenging in India: A Disgrace to the Country (1997), Endless Filth: The Saga of the Bhangis (2003).
    • The government response at policy level is to wipe off the visual representation and replace it with positive imagery.
    • The caste system and how it determines Indians’ view on human and other waste, where ideas of sanitation privilege purity over hygiene.
    • In Indian society, we categorize spaces as pure and impure, and keep them separate.
    • “Pure” places like temples, schools and workspaces are discouraged to include toilets.
    • In 1970, the Tamil Nadu government provided houses for sanitation workers in Krishna Puthur village of Kotagiri, equipped with one room and a small partition for the kitchen. The houses neither had toilets nor a bathroom.
    • Women living in these houses defecate in the open even today.
    • The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is lost on the workers as well as the tourists visiting Kotagiri.
    • Various studies, including one by the Rice (Research Institute for Compassionate Economics) Institute, have pointed out that the problem with sanitation in India is not lack of infrastructure but the social and cultural stigma attached to it.
    • Government’s decision to amend the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act to make the use of machines mandatory in cleaning of manholes.
    • This is a welcome move, no doubt, and one hopes it will reduce the number of deaths that take place during the manual cleaning of manholes.
  • Why did it take so long for us to introduce the machines?
    • Though the water closet was first discovered in Europe in the 16th century, it became popular in India only in the 20th century.
    • While governments in the West made the installation of water closets mandatory in public buildings, including churches, India continues to use dry latrines, and the underprivileged defecate in the open, practices rooted in our cultural understanding of human excreta.
    • We are the only society that not only differentiates spaces as pure and impure but also its people. There is an exclusive section of our population – specific castes – to clean human filth.
    • The social status of this section has been permanently fixed.
  • India’s achievements in sanitation coverage:
    • Sanitation coverage in the country has increased from 38 percent in 2014 to 85 percent and asserted that the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ is playing a central role in creating a healthy India.
    • Over 7 crore (7,40,30,643) toilets have now been built under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a significant achievement for both the campaign and towards the improvement of the country’s sanitation.
    • more than 3.5 lakh villages in the country have declared themselves open defecation free.
    • A recent report by the Toilet Board Coalition estimated the sanitation market opportunity in India alone to be at US$ 32 billion in 2017 and doubling to US$ 62 billion by 2021.
  • Way forward:
    • Government policies and the civil society discussion on sanitation are yet to focus on this cultural stigma.
    • It’s in this backdrop that we need to view the discussion on introducing machines to clean manholes.
    • Then only the country will achieve “sampoorna swachhata” (absolute cleanliness)

Conclusion:

Sanitation will also improve the quality of lives of Indians apart from achieving numerous Sustainable Development Goals. “Clean India” is essentially a component of government’s vision of building a ‘New India’, with an ambition of achieving “Sankalp Se Siddhi”.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

4. Despite numerous government policies focusing on skill development in India, skill development still remains a major challenge in the country. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us the challenges with skill development in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way despite numerous government policies focusing on skill development in India, skill development still remains a major challenge in the country.

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:

Briefly start with scenario of skill development in India.

Body:

First, highlight the importance of skill development and certain programmes to achieve so in the past.

Skill Development gains importance in a transiting society- demographically and technologically (onset of 4th Industrial Revolution) like India, as it enhances employability and equips one to tackle requirements of the labour market. Towards this end, many programmes have been launched like Skill India Mission, PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana, reforms in Apprenticeship Rules, Sector Skill Councils in recent times.

Despite this, certain issues plague skilled manpower of India, rendering low employability and employment rates like – Shortage of well-trained and skilled personnel, low Female participation in workforce, Skill Deficit in Rural Areas etc.

Suggest solutions to address the problems.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Skill Development should not be seen as an individual activity and needs to be dovetailed with other initiatives like Make in India, Digital India for scaling up economies.

Introduction:

Skill Development can be defined as proficiency that is acquired or developed through training or experience. It strengthens the ability of individuals to adapt to changing market demands and help benefit from innovation and entrepreneurial activities. Skill building could also be seen as an instrument to empower the individual and improve his/her social acceptance or value. At national level, the future prosperity of any country depends ultimately on the number of persons in employment and how productive they are at work. Skilled human resource is essential for inclusive growth. Hence, skill development can be connected to a broader growth, employment and development mandating government interventions.

Body:

  • Current scenario in India:
  • According to the Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS) 2018, the unemployment rate among the urban 15-29-years-old was 23.7%.
  • This pervasive joblessness is mainly due to the poor training of the youth as only 7% of the people surveyed in the framework of the PLFS declared any formal or informal training.
  • The current data suggest that only 2.3% of the workforce in India has undergone formal skill training as compared to 68% in the UK, 75% in Germany, 52% in the USA, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea.
  • On the other hand, according to a recent survey, 48% of Indian employers reported difficulties filling job vacancies due to skill shortage.
  • The CMIE reports show that the more educated Indians are, the more likely they are to remain unemployed too. The last PLFS for 2018 revealed that 33% of the formally trained 15-29-year-olds were jobless.
  • Importance of Skill development for India:
  • The skilled workforce is crucial for the success of recently launched missions –Make in India, Digital India, and Smart Cities.
  • Demographic Dividend: With most of the major economies of world having sizeable ageing population, India has huge opportunity of serving the booming market. The ‘demographic window’ is only a span of few decades. The skilled youth is required to save demographic dividend from becoming demographic disaster.
  • Slowdown in China – an opportunity: With China gradually vacating its factories, with rising Chinese wages and an appreciating Yuan, and also with internal demographic challenge of too few young people, India has an opportunity to become a factory of the world.
  • Sectoral mobilization: Less number of people will be required to work in farming as productivity improves. This would result in sectoral mobilization of workforce from agriculture to secondary and tertiary activities.
  • Better Employment: Skills are needed to those currently in colleges for them to be better employed.
  • Skill Capital of World: To convert this vision into reality, India needs to create a skilled and productive workforce matching international standards of quality and productivity through integration of skills and training along with education.
  • Initiatives undertaken to strengthen skill development:
  • “Skill India” programme, that aims to train a minimum of 300 million skilled people by the year 2022.
  • The National Skill Development Mission was launched to provide strong institutional framework at the Centre and States for implementation of skilling activities in the country.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), a dimension of skill India, under which the training fees were paid by the government.
  • A ‘Skill Loan’ initiative was launched in which loans from Rest 5,000-1.5 lakhs will be available to whom who seek to attend skill development programmes, over the next five years. The idea is to remove financial constraints as a hindrance to accessing skill training programmes
  • National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015: The Policy acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy. The Vision of the Policy is “to create an ecosystem of empowerment by Skilling on a large Scale at Speed with high Standards and to promote a culture of innovation-based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure Sustainable livelihoods for all citizens in the country”.
  • In 2014, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was created to harmonise training processes, assessments, certification and outcomes and, crucially, to develop Industrial Training Institutions (ITIs) — the building blocks of this endeavour.
  • Apprenticeship Protsahan Yojana: It is a major initiative to revamp the Apprenticeship Scheme in India.
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya –Grameen Kaushal Yojana: The Ministry of Rural Development implements DDU-GKY to drive the national agenda for inclusive growth, by developing skills and productive capacity of the rural youth from poor families.
  • Nia Manzil for education and skill development of dropouts;
  • USTTAD (Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) to conserve traditional arts/crafts and build capacity of traditional artisans and craftsmen belonging to minority communities.
  • Nai Roshni, a leadership training Programme for minority
  • MANAS for upgrading entrepreneurial skills of minority youth.
  • Challenges
  • With the largest youth population in the world, India faces the difficult task of educating every citizen to become a productive member of society.
  • This goal has become harder with the pandemic: over 320 million learners have been affected and more than 5 million young people are likely to have lost their jobs.
  • Proactive measures need to be taken to resolve this situation. Education can play a vital role in bridging this gap.
  • India’s Right to Education Act guarantees free and compulsory education for the ages of 6 to 14 years, and is based on books and written examinations.
  • However, evidence shows that many people develop 21st century skills on the job, or from courses that focus on practical application of skills.
  • This indicates that vocational education can be a route for many to gain specific skillsets and knowledge which they can directly apply in their jobs.
  • Such education formats are referred to as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
  • Towards a skill capital
  • In India, the skills development ecosystem has undergone rapid changes and improvements over the last decade.
  • The National Skill Development Policy was launched in 2009 and revamped in 2015, recognizing the challenge of skilling with speed and high standards.
  • Since then, India has laid the foundation for delivering on this vision of making quality skills development programmes available to the youth, but also faced various challenges.
  • UNESCO’s State of the Education Report for India 2020, published this week, focuses on vocational education and training and showcases the growth of the skills development sector, along with emerging challenges.
  • It also provides practical recommendations to ensure that policy is effectively implemented.
  • One of the biggest challenges for expanding the reach of TVET-related courses has been the lack of aspiration and stigma attached to jobs such as carpentry and tailoring.
  • Considerable effort, including information campaigns involving youth role models, would go a long way in improving the image of vocational education.
  • At the same time, common myths around TVET need to be debunked.
  • Research is now proving that TVET graduates for entry level jobs can get paid as much as university graduates, and for some jobs can even surpass them.
  • The report emphasizes the need for expanding evidence-based research.
  • High-quality research based on careful data-gathering and analytics can add value to all aspects of TVET planning and delivery but is especially useful for creating evidence behind the value of vocational education.
  • For instance, proving the business case of apprenticeship to employers can push them to hire more apprentices.
  • Considering that many employers are unable to find skilled candidates for jobs, promoting skills development and hiring skilled workers can make the economy stronger.
  • Way forward:
  • Improving the labour market information system where emerging demand for skills are spotted quickly and the necessary training and certifications for the same are created.
  • Quick improvements in public-private partnership in capturing demand for skills and following through with quick investments in skill-building to match demand with supply.
  • Jobs and skills planning should be decentralized and it has to be done at state and district levels, where there is granular information on education, skills and job options.
  • Implementing a new model of manufacturing which is high-skilled, and where high-end cottage manufacturing can create employment at the small scale level.
  • If urbanization is good and well planned, then job growth will be positive. Government should concentrate on the development of towns and narrow areas and service it with good infrastructure to generate employment alongside development.
  • If government starts spending on public goods (schools, hospitals, dams, roads etc.) instead of spending on freebies (deep subsidies on food, farm loan waivers etc.) the capacity of government to create employment increases.

Conclusion:

India needs a new strategy to counter the phenomena of jobless growth. This requires manufacturing sector to play a dominant role. The focus of economic policy must be the creation of jobs and creating an enabling policy for youth to take up entrepreneurship and create more jobs in the market. India does not need five companies worth 5000 crores turnover but needs 5000 companies of 5 crore turnover.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. Account for the prospects and challenges of AI economy in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us the importance of AI economy to India.

Key Demand of the question:

One must account for the prospects and challenges of AI economy in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some key facts such as; Data and AI services are expected to help boost India’s economic growth in a big way. For example, according to NASSCOM, data and AI will contribute $450 billion-$500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025, which is around 10% of the government’s aspiration of a $5 trillion economy.

Body:

Start by discussing the prospects of AI to India.

India has a thriving AI start-up ecosystem with cutting-edge solutions being developed in areas such as cancer screening, smart farming and conversational AI for the use of enterprises.

Our skilled human resource in AI/ML is fast growing, with over 5,00,000 people working on these technologies at present.

Discuss the steps taken to promote AI in India.  Suggest what needs to be done to ensure AI driven economy’s potential is harnessed for our country.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the future for AI looks promising but to convert the potential into reality, India will need better strategies around talent development, stronger policies for data usage and governance, and more investments in creating a technology infrastructure that can truly leverage AI.

Introduction:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI is an interdisciplinary science with multiple approaches, but advancements in machine learning and deep learning are creating a paradigm shift in virtually every sector of the tech industry.

Body:

  • Artificial Intelligence:
  • It is simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computers.
  • It refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making and execute tasks in real time situations without constant supervision.
  • Particular applications of AI includes expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.

  • Prospects of Artificial Intelligence:
  • NITI Aayog’s national strategy for AI envisages ‘AI for all’ for inclusive growth, and identifies healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and smart mobility and transportation as focus areas for AI-led solutions for social impact.
  • Data and AI services are expected to help boost India’s economic growth in a big way. NASSCOM believes that data and AI will contribute $450 billion-$500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025, which is around 10% of the government’s aspiration of a $5 trillion economy.
  • It has the potential to overcome the physical limitations of capital and labour and open up new sources of value and growth.
  • The growing AI economy is estimated to create over 20 million technical roles alone.
  • AI can create not just niche solutions to specific problems that banks and other service providers are deploying, such as speeding up loan application processing or improving customer service;
  • it can also provide solutions for better governance and social impact. For example, during the lockdown, the Telangana police used AI-enabled automated number plate recognition software to catch violations.
  • It has the potential to drive growth by enabling
  • Intelligent automation i.e., ability to automate complex physical world tasks. o Innovation diffusion i.e., propelling innovations through the economy.
  • Role in social development and inclusive growth: access to quality health facilities, addressing location barriers, providing real-time advisory to farmers and help in increasing productivity, building smart and efficient cities etc.
  • The exponential growth of data is constantly feeding AI improvements.
  • AI has varied applications in fields like Healthcare, Education, Smart Cities, Environment, Agriculture, smart Mobility etc.
  • Challenges related to Artificial Intelligence:
    • Ethical concerns- With popularization of a new technology, its virtues are not guaranteed. For instance, the internet made it possible to connect with anyone and get information from anywhere, but also easier for misinformation to spread.
    • Data Management- as there is lack of clarity on data flow and data ownership which might result into data colonialism (data generated by developing countries yet not benefitting them).
    • Biasedness: The algorithms used in artificial intelligence are discrete and, in most cases, trade secrets. They can be biased, for example, in the process of self-learning, they can absorb and adopt the stereotypes that exist in society or which are transferred to them by developers and make decisions based on them.
    • Accountability: If an AI system fails at its assigned task, someone should be made responsible for it. e.g. an anti-terrorism facial recognition program revoked the driver’s license of an innocent man when it confused him for another driver.
  • Measures taken by the government:
  • National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence- NITI Aayog has identified five areas where AI can be useful. It has noted the lack of regulation around AI as a major weakness for India.
  • Center of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence by National Informatics Centre (NIC) which is a platform for innovative new solutions in AI space, a gateway to test and develop solutions for projects undertaken by NIC at central and state level.
  • Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI): Recently, India joined GPAI as a founding member. GPAI is multi-stakeholder international partnership to promote responsible and human centric development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.
  • Way Forward:
  • The stakes are high for India. We need to speed up our readiness to seize the opportunities that the future presents. Three areas need our attention.
  • The first is talent development. No meaningful conversation on AI preparedness can take place unless we are able to meet the rising demand with the right talent. In 2019, we nearly doubled our AI workforce to 72,000 from 40,000 the year before.
  • The second area is policies around data usage, governance and security. Without data, there cannot be AI. However, we need a balanced approach in the way we harness and utilize data. We need a robust legal framework that governs data and serves as the base for the ethical use of AI.
    • Third, though the use of digital technologies has gone up, the level of digitization continues to be low. This poses a big challenge for organizations in finding the right amount of training data to run AI/ML algorithms, which in turn affects the accuracy of the results. Then there is the problem of availability of clean datasets. Organizations need to invest in data management frameworks that will clean their data before they are analyzed, thus vastly improving the outcomes of AI models.

Conclusion:

The future for AI looks promising but to convert the potential into reality, India will need better strategies around talent development, stronger policies for data usage and governance, and more investments in creating a technology infrastructure that can truly leverage AI.

 

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.

6. Discuss in what possible ways Anganwadi centres (AWCs) could become agents of improved delivery of ICDS’s services. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The column from The Hindu brings to us the niche role that the Anganwadi centres (AWCs) can play in addressing the gaps of ICDS services in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what possible ways Anganwadi centres (AWCs) could become agents of improved delivery of ICDS’s services.

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 the economic fallout of COVID-19 makes the necessity of quality public welfare services more pressing than ever.

Body:

Begin with the explanation of ICDS; The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme that caters to the nutrition, health and pre-education needs of children till six years of age as well as the health and nutrition of women and adolescent girls is one such scheme.

Bring out the lacunae and loopholes in the system that has led to compromised delivery of services.

Highlight the possible role that Anganwadi centres (AWCs) could play to become agents of improved delivery of ICDS’s services.

Conclusion:

Take hints from the article and suggest solutions.

Introduction:

Anganwadis or day-care centres are set up under the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.

Body:

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme:
    • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
    • Anganwadi centres provide a package of six services: supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, immunization, nutrition and health education, as well as referral services.
    • Aim: To reduce infant mortality and child malnutrition.
    • Beneficiaries: Children in the age group of zero to six years, and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

  • Fundamental issues:
    • Anganwadi centres (AWC) lack basic amenities and face infrastructure problems.
    • Around 24% of them lacked their own building and operated from small rented premises. The cumulative effect was that children were forced into cramped, poorly lit and unhygienic spaces, often in searing heat.
    • Administrative duties like organizing functions, and conducting exams and surveys distracted them from their core health and nutrition responsibilities.
    • Thus, overburdened with work, undervalued and underpaid, Anganwadi women have become demotivated and demoralized.
    • Despite improvements, there is still much left to do in terms of achieving universalization of coverage and advanced service delivery.
    • A 2015 evaluation carried out by NITI Aayog had found that over 24% of the AWCs surveyed maintained poor records.
    • Technology constraints: Information and communications technology-enabled real time monitoring (ICT-RTM) has been rolled out in POSHAN Abhiyaan districts. The Programme will be ineffective due to the limited capacities of AWCs to handle smartphones owing to their lack of technological literacy.
    • Technical issues: This is compounded by technical issues like slow servers and data deletion problems, resulting in irregular and improper recording of growth data of children.
    • Financial constraints: Despite their indispensability, nearly 40% of Anganwadi women had to use their personal money to run the AWCs, 35% of them complained of delayed payments.
  • Anganwadi centres (AWCs): agents of improved delivery of ICDS’s services
    • ICDS requires work on multiple fronts to be effective, given that recent reports have shown gaps in the utilization of services.
    • Anganwadi centres (AWCs) could become agents of improved delivery of ICDS’s services.
    • According to government data, the country has 13.77 lakh AWCs. These centres have undoubtedly expanded their reach, but they need to play a much larger role in anchoring community development.
    • Nearly a fourth of the operational AWCs lack drinking water facilities and 36 per cent do not have toilets.
    • In 2015, the NITI Aayog recommended better sanitation and drinking water facilities, improved power supply and basic medicines for the AWCs.
    • It also suggested that these centres be provided with the required number of workers, whose skills should be upgraded through regular training.
    • ICDS beneficiaries do register for services but because the anganwadis lack adequate facilities, they turn to paid options.
    • Privately-run centres come at a price, hitting low-income families the hardest.
    • A study on utilization of ICDS services in coastal Karnataka reported enrolment in private nursery schools as a major reason for non-adherence to ICDS services.
    • It also reported the need for improvement in the quality of meals provided by the Programme.
    • AWCs clearly do not seem to provide the environment that encourages parents to leave children at these centres.
    • Only a limited number of AWCs have facilities like creche, and good quality recreational and learning facilities for pre-school education. Research has shown the significance of the playing-based learning approach in the cognitive development of children.
    • An approach that combines an effective supplementary nutrition Programme with pedagogic processes that make learning interesting is the need of the hour.
    • Effective implementation of the ICDS programme rests heavily on the combined efforts of the anganwadi workers (AWWs), ASHAs and ANMs.
    • But not much has been done to improve the career prospects and service conditions of these frontline workers. Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu are amongst the states that have done relatively better in this respect.
    • The Centre’s POSHAN Abhiyaan has taken important steps towards building capacities of AWWs. It is important that a more robust mechanism is now created to regularly assess and plug knowledge gaps.
  • Smart Anganwadi:
    • Technology can also be used for augmenting the programme’s quality.
    • AWWs have been provided with smartphones and their supervisors with tablets, under the government schemes.
    • Apps on these devices track the distribution of take-home rations and supplementary nutrition services.
    • The data generated should inform decisions to improve the Programme.
    • In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, anganwadi centres have been geotagged to improve service delivery.
    • Gujarat has digitized the supply chain of take-home rations and real-time data is being used to minimize stockouts at the anganwadi centres.
    • The Centre has acknowledged the need to improve anganwadi centres. Its Saksham Anganwadi Scheme aims to upgrade 2.5 lakh such centres across the country. It is up to the state governments to take up the baton.
  • Way forward:
    • Analysis of ICDS shines a light on three imperatives.
      • First, while infrastructure development and capacity building of the anganwadi remains the key to improving the Programme, the standards of all its services need to be upscaled.
      • Second, states have much to learn from each other’s experiences.
      • Third, anganwadi centres must cater to the needs of the community and the programme’s workers.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Ethics based Case study

7. Amit Singh is a small farmer in a northern state of India. He comes to know about recently launched PM fasal Bima Yojana. He was told by Gram Pradhan to visit his bank for further information. The bank officials completed the formalities and deducted the amount of premium from his account. After few days, heavy rain and hailstorm destroyed his wheat crop. Due to bad weather and incessant rain for three-four days he could not inform the bank officials. After four days, when he reached the bank to inform, he was told to visit insurance company office. When he finally contacted the insurance  Company officials, he was told that they were unable to process his claim as he was supposed to register crop loss within 72 hrs. of the incident.

Suppose you are an officer at district level responsible to hear the complaints against the insurance claims and Amit Singh files a complaint before you then how you will tackle the issue? Discuss and also identify the ethical issues and their possible remedies. (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is a case study involving ethical issues concerning realization of insurance benefits to the poor and vulnerable farmers.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to suggest solutions to address the issue at hand and identify the ethical issues and their possible remedies.

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:

Firstly discuss the context in question.

Body:

Briefly discuss the objectives of the PMFBY; Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events, Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming etc.

Then talk about the issues involved in the above case – with respect to insurance claims, banks and the existing grievance redressal mechanism.

Suggest solutions to these problems – Citizen friendly governance or pro-active, pro-people governance, informed decision making, social contract etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the Government has responsibility of welfare of people under Social Contract. It is responsibility of government to make scheme farmer friendly and not insurance company friendly.

Introduction:

In the above case study, the issue is regarding the Amit Singh’s complaint before the officer at district level who is responsible to hear the complaints against the insurance claims regarding the crop loss.

Body:

  • Stakeholders involved:
    • Amit Singh: Farmer who lost his crop due to heavy rain and hailstorm
    • Officer at district level: who has the responsibility to solve the issue.
  • PM fasal Bima Yojana:
    • Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events, Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming etc.
  • Ethical Issues involved:
    • If I approve the complaint and give the insurance amount to Amit Singh:
      • Positives: Upholding the values such as compassion, empathy, sympathy and humanity
      • Negative: Showing lack of Responsibility and accountability, breaking the rules of the scheme
    • If I did not approve the complaint and did not give the insurance amount to Amit Singh:
      • Positives: Upholding the rules and regulations of the scheme, dedication to work, accountability, responsibility and so on
      • Negatives: Showing the Apathy towards the Amit Singh, not upholding the necessary values for service such as integrity, dedication to service, compassion.
    • Possible remedies:
    • Firstly, I will try to help with finding any provision in the scheme that can benefit the Amit Singh.
    • If it is not possible then I will try to talk with higher officials regarding the issue and try to convince them in allotting money for Amit Singh under discretionary grants.
    • If it is not possible then I will inform the NGOs in the area and take help from them by mobilizing the resources through effective credit system.
    • If it is not possible then I will involve the people of the village through community participation and help the Amit Singh through Mobilizing penny funds.
    • For the future I will try to promote the Community farming technique in the village for long term benefits of the village.

Conclusion:

Government has responsibility of welfare of people under Social Contract. It is responsibility of government to make scheme farmer friendly and not insurance company friendly.


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