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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 March 2021

 

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: Role of women, Social empowerment

1. “Abhorrent practices discriminating against menstruating women should be considered abnormal”. Discuss. (250 words )

Reference:  The Hindu

 

Why the question:

A college in Gujarat had forced girls to remove their undergarments to check if they were menstruating. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is about the prevalence of abhorrent practices discriminating against menstruating women and in what way it’s time to prove them abnormal.

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 notions of purity and pollution.

Body:

The stigma of menstruation is perpetrated by cultural taboos, discrimination, lack of education, silence, period poverty (the inability to access/afford feminine hygiene products) and such practices have been in existence as part of women’s life.

Discuss the concerns around this; Menstruation discriminates women on the basis of gender thus violating Article 14 of the Constitution.  Amounts to a violation of the Right to Privacy, perpetuates female subordination, Taboos about menstruation present in many societies impact on girls’ and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and most importantly, health.

Discuss the court interventions and their opinion in this regard.

Suggest solutions to address problems.

Conclusion:

Conclude that taboos about menstruation present in many societies impact on girls’ and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and most importantly, health.

 

 

Introduction:

Menstruation is a natural and healthy biological process for women, in spite of this, it is still considered a taboo in Indian society. Even today, the cultural and social influences on people create a major hurdle in ensuring that the adolescent girls are educated about menstrual hygiene.

In February 2020, an incident in Gujarat’s Bhuj where girl students were asked to remove pants to prove that they are not menstruating has brought back the stigma surrounding the menstruation.

Body:

Some abhorrent practices that discriminate women:

  • During their menstruating days, women are prohibited from participating in day-to-day activities. For example, women are prohibited from entering the kitchen or a temple.
  • There is a high level of stigma regarding menstruating women. They are also not allowed to eat along with their families or travel outside the house.
  • Women are unable to go out for work during their periods due to superstitions associated with menstruation. This reduces the wages they receive which in turn hurts their financial independence.
  • the notion of menstruating women being “impure”, a notion which targets the physiological feature of being women.

Reasons for taboo about Menstruation:

  • Low awareness about menstrual hygiene
  • The stigma finds its roots in the notion of purity and pollution attached historically to menstruation. This was explained exceptionally by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in Indian Young Lawyers Association v. The State of Kerala (2018), known popularly as the Sabarimala case, a decision that India is still struggling to accept.
  • The main reasons for this taboo still being relevant in the Indian society are the high rate of illiteracy especially in girls, poverty and lack of awareness about menstrual health and hygiene.
  • These deeply entrenched social norms about menstruation restrict girls’ freedom and affect their health.
  • Prevalence of Hegemonic Patriarchy in Indian society perpetuates the restrictions, which are often reflected in religious texts like Manu Smriti or in the restriction on entry of women from menstruating age group in the religious places like Sabarimala temple.
  • In short, the three A’s – Awareness, Accessibility and Affordability are major factors affecting this issue.

Implications of such discrimination on women:

 

  • According to a UNICEF study conducted in 2011:
    • Only 13% of girls in India are aware of menstruation before menarche.
    • 60% of girls missed school on account of menstruation,
    • 79% faces low confidence due to menstruation and 44% were embarrassed and humiliated over restrictions.
    • Thereby, Menstruation adversely impacts women’s education, equality, maternal and child health.
  • Poor menstrual hygiene can cause physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections, according to UNICEF.
  • It also stops women from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth.
  • Young girls who do not receive an education are more likely to enter child marriages and experience an early pregnancy, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complications as a result.
  • Period shame has negative mental effects as well. It disempowers women, causing them to feel embarrassed about a normal biological process.
  • Menstrual inequality is often caused by shame around the conversation as well as the high cost of feminine products. This creates challenges in education and an increased risk of disease.
  • The latest National Family and Health Survey found that 58% of young Indian women (15-24 years) use a hygienic method of protection (mostly sanitary pads), a significant increase from the 12% using pads in 2010. However, only less than 18% of Indian women use sanitary pads.
  • More than 77% of menstruating girls and women in India use old cloth, which is often reused, ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and husk sand during periods.

 

Measures needed for ‘Period dignity’:

  • The first step is to normalize menstruation and destroy taboos around the natural process. Then policy must be enforced to make menstrual products, sanitation and hygiene easily accessible.
  • There is a need to break the menstruation stigma and change national policy through education and behavior change with initiatives like hosting menstrual waste workshops and promoting toilet designs that can handle menstrual material waste in India.
  • Girls and women should also be educated about premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Sanitation and hygiene needs of women, coupled with a need for privacy, safety and dignity is also seeing special emphasis in the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • NGO’s and CSO’s can train women and girls to make safe, reusable sanitary pads so they always have access to clean and affordable sanitary products.
  • There is a need to work with local communities to end the practice of discrimination and period-shaming tradition for good.
  • The World Bank and WASH partnered together to create Menstrual Hygiene Day to spread awareness about the importance of sanitary products for women and girls around the world.
  • Legislations like that in Scotland which aims to develop a universal system in Scotland, which will provide free sanitary products for “anyone who needs them” needs to promoted in India.
  • In January 2017, a member of parliament from Arunachal Pradesh tabled a private members’ bill – The Menstruation Benefit Bill in the Lok Sabha, and proposed paid leave for all working women in India every month.
  • From 2014 onwards, the government is funding states under the National Health Mission for decentralised procurement of sanitary napkins to provide rural girls at a cost of Rs 6 for a pack of six napkins. The programme aims at increasing awareness on menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls, increase access to good quality sanitary napkins and their safe disposal.
  • The government has launched Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin, that seeks to provide biodegradable sanitary pads for only One Rupee per pad, efforts should be made to increase its accessibility and availability.

 

Conclusion:

A multi-sectoral response involving water, sanitation, urban planning, education, health, and the social sector can ensure that evidence-based, and cost-effective policies are developed for the benefit of all.

 

 

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

2.  An improved understanding of the underlying factors behind urban congestion will support the policy measures ensuring  progress of urban mobility in India. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

 

Why the question:

The article discusses the nuances of urban congestion and the need to understand them.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail how an improved understanding of the underlying factors behind urban congestion will support the policy measures ensuring progress of urban mobility in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some data on the urban congestion aspect in India.

Body:

The answer body must explain in what way a better understanding of the causal factors behind congestion will improve the policy measures to improve urban mobility in India, and strengthen the interactions between transportation networks, market integration and globalisation that will drive future economic growth and job creation.

Take cues from the article and list down the underlying factors and explain in what way they can effectively guide the policy measures to resolve the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting suitable solutions.

 

Introduction:

In recent years, traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and deterioration of the environment because of growing population, increasing urbanization, and increasing car ownership have become serious problems in the urban areas. Mumbai was ranked as the most traffic-congested city in the world for the second straight year, while Delhi was at fourth place as part of the Traffic Index 2018 published by TomTom, an Amsterdam-based company.

 

Body:

Traffic congestion means there are more vehicles trying to use a given road facility than it can handle- without exceeding acceptable levels of delay or inconvenience. Congestion and the associated slow urban mobility can have a huge adverse impact on both the quality of life and the economy.

 

Underlying factors behind Urban Congestion:

  • Indian cities are slow due to uncongested mobility and not due to mobility delays. They are slow at all times, even at night in the absence of traffic.
  • A popular view is that urbanization leads to ever larger cities and increased rates of motorization. These two features eventually lead to a complete gridlock and congestion.
  • Data on urban transportation in India is scarce. In the UK and the US, knowledge on urban mobility and congestion stems from surveys of household travel behaviour. However, such surveys are prohibitively expensive to carry out in India.
  • The multi-purpose nature of urban transport also impacts urban mobility in India.
  • The nature of urban transport, where roads are multipurpose public goods, used by various classes of motorised and non-motorised vehicles, as well as a wide variety of other users such as street-sellers, children playing and animals.
  • the quality of the road network is bad which also leads to urban congestion.
  • In Indian cities, there is a slow build-up of congestion that often persists until late into the evening. This is different from the familiar twin peak congestion patterns, due to morning and evening commutes as experienced in cities of USA.

 

Effects of the Urban traffic congestion:

Economic impacts:

  • Since the 1990s the spur in economic growth has created a huge demand for transport infrastructure and services.
  • Despite increasing level of urban mobility in Indian cities, urban transportation is becoming increasingly difficult in terms of convenience, cost and time
  • It is concerned with the monetary value of the time spent sitting in traffic.
  • Congestion in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata costs the economy Rs 1.47 lakh crore annually, according to a study conducted by a global consultancy firm.
  • Traffic congestion in Bangalore alone costs the city approximately 5% of its economic output.
  • Unaffordability of private transport and lack of proper public transit option has become a major concern, especially for the urban poor.

 

Quality of Life:

  • Environmental concerns like Increasing air and noise pollution.
  • In 2016, a World Health Organisation (WHO) study found that fourteen of the twenty world’s most polluted cities belonged to India.
  • According to CPCB (Central Pollution Control board), around 180 Indian cities face severe pollution concentration. In Indore, transport contributes 30 percent of PM10 but 46 percent of PM 2.5, while in Chennai it is 20 percent of PM10 and 35 percent of PM2.5. Air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in Indian cities
  • Road accidents: India experiences 120,000 deaths per year due to traffic fatalities, more than any other country.
  • Delhi has the highest accident rate in India and third-highest in the world.
  • Blocked traffic also interferes with the passage of emergency vehicles etc.
  • Safety or the lack thereof, is the single biggest factor constraining women’s mobility. According to Action Aid UK, 79% of women in major Indian cities reported being harassed on streets.

 

Measures needed:

  • India’s unique travel patterns imply that country-level policies, and local-specific investments, are necessary, and that using our comprehensive data sources and methodology to study other countries individually may uncover distinctive patterns.
  • Effective Traffic Policies like Street usage capacity, Area licensing System, Electronic Road Pricing, Quota for new vehicle system, Weekend car system etc must be implemented.
  • Scaling up investments in travel infrastructure is the only way to improve uncongested mobility.
  • Better Integrated Urban Planning: Currently, urban transport policies are regulated by city municipalities in the country. At the national level, the Government of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) mandated to transform urban areas, particularly urban transport
  • Promotion and integration of Public Transport: The Working Group on Urban Transport for 12th Plan period recognizes the important of public transport. In India, metro rail transport is already in operation in cities like New Delhi and Bangalore. The same facilities are also underway in other major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Kolkata.
  • Intelligent signalization system: instead of using conventional old signalization we must go for automated signalization in the mega cities. Intersections are the major sources of the congestion and this system could relief a much amount of congestion
  • Strict lane management: Different lanes for different types of vehicles should be marked on the roads and law i.e. financial penalty should be imposed to make the drivers maintain the lane discipline
  • Supply and demand: Congestion can be reduced by either increasing road capacity (supply) or by reducing traffic (demand) revealed that road capacity can be increased in a number of ways such as adding more capacity over the whole of a route or at bottlenecks, creating new routes, and improvements for traffic management. Reduction of demand can include, parking restriction, park and ride, congestion pricing, road space rationing, incentives to use public transport and introduction of e-education, e-shopping and home-based working options will reduce the number of people travelling.

 

Conclusion:

There is requirement of integrated urban transport policies to reduce the congestion on urban roads. Continuous vehicle purchasing due to high income in the mega cities also should be addressed and there should be birth of new rules and regulations for registering a new vehicle the major urban congested cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc State and city public transport undertaking need to be strengthened to attract the public to use the public transport.  Introducing a rapid and efficient public transport and promoting it to a national levels leads to some relief in the major congestion problems in the urban cities. In the mega cities there is a need of strict rules of parking and uniform charges of vehicles so that no one can park their vehicles on the busy roads.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3.In order to leverage demographic dividend, there is a need to have a systematic approach so as to create a suitable environment to develop opportunities for gainful employment of the rural youth. Comment. (250 words )

Reference:  The Diplomat

 

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of demographic dividend and importance of rural youth.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how in order to leverage demographic dividend, there is a need to have a systematic approach so as to create a suitable environment to develop opportunities for gainful employment of the rural youth.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss the context of rising unemployment in India.

Body:

India is one of the youngest countries in the world, where the proportion of the rural youth population forms the majority share in India’s youth population. However, in recent years unemployment rates have been on the rise. Moreover, agriculture and allied activities constitute the bulk of the rural economy, its dominance has been dwindling over the years. Therefore, engaging rural youth in productive agricultural activities will help India to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend.

Discuss the rural-centric policies that can help to harness the demographic dividend.

Account for the efforts of the government in this direction.

 

Conclusion:

Thus, conclude that harnessing demographic dividend for country’s growth would require rural-centric policies.

 

Introduction:

Demographic dividend, as defined by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) means, “the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older).” India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28 years. Demographics can change the pace and pattern of economic growth.

 

Body:

Need to have a systematic approach to tap the demographic dividend:

  • The study on demographic dividend in India by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) throws up two interesting facts.
  • The window of demographic dividend opportunity in India is available for five decades from 2005-06 to 2055-56, longer than any other country in the world.
  • This demographic dividend window is available at different times in different states because of differential behaviour of the population parameters.
  • Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) has grown larger than the dependent population (defined as children aged 14 or below as well as people above 65 years of age).
  • This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055, or 37 years from its beginning.
  • This transition happens largely because of a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR, which is the number of births per woman) after the increase in life expectancy gets stabilised.
  • Many Asian economies — Japan, China, South Korea — were able to use this ‘demographic dividend’, defined by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as the growth potential that results from shifts in a population’s age structure.

 

Challenges associated with harnessing the Demographic Dividend in India:

  • Different sections of the population have unequal access to resources like education and technology.
  • Different states have different demographic transition like Kerala and Tamil Nadu are witnessing demographic dividend, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi are opening up the demographic dividend, Bihar and UP are yet to open up.
  • Technological change is making labour partially or wholly redundant in a number of sectors, across the world. Even where labour is still necessary, increasing complexity of production requires labourers to have a minimum skill level that is much higher than the skill level required during the labour-intensive output boom in China and South-East Asia in the past decades.
  • The infrastructure put up in place in cities are not able to handle migration.
  • Dissatisfaction cited are unsecure jobs, low salaries, stressful environment, and mismatch between job and qualification.
  • Social and political problem associated with regional disparity.
  • Female labour force participation has decreased.
  • Educational imbalances: The quality of primary schooling and teachers in India is very poor. ASER reports show the quality of education among children. Moreover, because modern ailments such as obesity are increasing in many developed countries, there is no guarantee that adult longevity will continue to increase perpetually.
  • Employment issues

 

Way Forward:

  • To be able to harness the potential of this large working population, which is growing by leaps and bounds, new job generation is a must. The nation needs to create jobs to absorb the addition of young people into the workforce.
  • Improved infrastructure, skill development, access to easy finance, reducing barriers to entrepreneurship and forums for mentorship of emerging entrepreneurs in partnership with corporates are some of measures.
  • India has to invest more in human capital formation at all levels, from primary education to higher education, cutting-edge research and development as well as on vocational training to increase the skill sets of its growing working-age population.
  • The current situation calls for more and better schools, especially in rural areas. It also calls for better transportation links between rural areas and regional urban hubs.
  • Equally important focus on elderly people to make use of their wisdom and experience.
  • Increasing the number of formal jobs in labour intensive, export-oriented sectors such as textiles, leather and footwear, gems and jewellery These sectors also have a higher share of the female workforce.
  • The flagship schemes such as Skill India, make in India, and Digital India have to be implemented to achieve convergence between skill training and employment generation.
  • Increased use of technology in all sectors.
  • The government must also ensure better quality of jobs with a focus on matching skill-sets and job opportunities.
  • There is a need to look into these qualitative issues of job satisfaction, job profile and skill matching, and the creation of opportunities for entrepreneurship in order to be able to harness the vast potential of human resources.

 

Conclusion:

A multi-pronged approach is imperative to reap the demographic dividend. Universal education, value-added skills accretion and massive growth in employment in the formal sectors should be the key focus areas. There is also a need to engage with the youth and create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship. The demographic dividend offers them a unique opportunity to boost living standards, but they must act now to manage their older populations in the near future by implementing policies that ensure a safe and efficient harnessing of the Demographic Dividend.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:Disaster and disaster management.

4. Recurrent fire accidents in India show the apathy of the government towards public safety. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

 

Why the question:

The article explains how the Mumbai hospital fire shows that India needs to make public safety an absolute value.

Key Demand of the question:

Account for the apathy of the government towards public safety with respect to fire accidents and need to fix the same.

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:

Start with some key data related to fire accidents in the country.

Body:

Recently, the fire accident in Mumbai hospital (located inside Mumbai’s Dreams Mall) resulted in the death of 10 people so far.

An effective fire safety protocols could have prevented the devastating effect on lives and property.

The tragedy points towards the failure of the government to make fire safety a systemic compulsory in public buildings.

It has to be noted that, after a fire in Rajkot last November, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the incident. It issued directions, to task an officer with fire safety for each COVID-19 hospital.

Then move on to discuss what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

 

Introduction:

In India, although there are many rules and regulations, codes and standards related to fire safety, these are seldom followed. Laxity in fire safety measures caused major fires in many buildings.

Recently, a blaze that engulfed a private COVID-19 hospital in Mumbai’s Bhandhu area and at least nine people died as flames and smoke spread through the facility housed in a mall. This incident comes soon after the fire that snuffed out the lives of infants in Bhandara, again in Maharashtra. The tragedy focuses attention on the failure to make fire safety a systemic imperative in public buildings.

Body:

Hospital fires are a distinct entity in the literature on safety, since the presence of incapacitated patients, oxygen-suffused environments, plenty of air-conditioning and lack of sufficient physical space creates a devastating combination when disaster strikes.

Fire Accidents in India:

  • According to National crime records bureau figures 17,700 Indians died and 48 people every day due to fire accidents in 2015.
  • Of those who died, 62% were women.
  • Maharashtra and Gujarat, the two most highly urbanised states, account for about 30% of the country’s fire accident deaths.
  • According to India Risk Surveys 2018, outbreak of fire poses risks to business continuity and operations and ranks India at 3rd position in fire incidents, especially in Northern and Western regions of India.

Lacunae in Fire Safety in India:

  • Violation of safety norms and lack of standardisation and regulation is a major cause of fire accidents, as large scale construction of false roofs in commercial buildings and multiplexes is against the national building construction code.
  • High rise buildings are more prone to fire accidents as they lack an adequate in-built fire protection system that makes salvaging operations difficult.
  • Poorly stored goods, even though they are not flammable, helps to spread fire and hinder fire fighters gain access to the seat of the fire or reduce the effectiveness of sprinkler systems.
  • Unclear provisions of fire safety audit in terms of scope, objective, methodology and periodicity of a fire safety audit.
  • Lack of adequate resources, preparedness and poor fire services fail to ensure fire safety cover to the population.
  • Lack of awareness about the safety arrangements before purchasing or hiring a flat in an apartment or before starting an institution.
  • Faulty Wiring: PUF (polyurethane foam) used for plastic insulation carries a high risk of accidental fire as most of the times it is exposed to electrical wiring which on becoming heated due to overloading or short circuit catches fire immediately.

 

Measures needed:

  • Modernisation of Fire safety equipment: the government should provide financial support and assistance in augmenting and modernising the fire departments
  • Proper designing of electrical fittings and regular maintenance of wiring (at least once in a year).
  • Building awareness among citizens about fire prevention and protection measures by organising firefighting workshop once in six months in localities/Mohallas/schools with the involvement of local councillors/elected representatives.
  • Fire service departments should audit critical fire prone installations (like high rise buildings, multiplexes in congested areas) periodically (once in six months) and take appropriate actions against erring establishments.
  • Proper demarcation of entry and exit points in crowded buildings, installation of firefighting equipment and their regular maintenance, periodic renewal of No-objection certificates by building owners in order to ensure fire preparedness.

 

Way forward:

  • Fire service is a state subject and has been included as municipal function in the XII schedule of the Constitution. The municipal corporations and local bodies are responsible for providing fire services in many states.
  • All State governments should require mandatory compliance with such safety features for any institution handling patients or giving care.
  • Certification of facilities through third-party audit should be made compulsory to eliminate conflicts of interest involving official agencies.
  • The institutions should also be insured for the highest levels of public liability.
  • At a broader level, governments must shed their indifference and work to make all spaces safe.
  • In private, public or commercial buildings, official agencies tend to favour tokenism rather than high standards for the safety of occupants and visitors.
  • They are ever-willing to “regularise” deviations in construction over time. It is time to fix responsibility for deadly accidents on a single official agency.

 

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

5. The current model of economic growth prioritizes capital over labour and is unlikely to resolve the unemployment crisis amidst the pandemic situation, do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

 

Why the question:

The article from Indian express explains that the current model of economic growth prioritizes capital over labour and is unlikely to resolve the unemployment crisis.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way the current model of economic growth prioritizes capital over labour and is unlikely to resolve the unemployment crisis amidst the pandemic situation.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the havoc in the economy that the pandemic has created.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain how the current model of economic growth prioritizes capital over labour.

Then discuss the unemployment crisis amidst the pandemic situation.

This level of unemployment is not just a symptom of the “jobless” model of economic growth that has been followed in the last two decades, but is also a recipe for political and social instability. The pandemic and the subsequent crisis in the employment-unemployment situation have only highlighted the fragile situation of the labour market. The real crisis of unemployment and jobless growth is a bigger pandemic that is unlikely to be resolved with the current model of economic growth which prioritizes capital over labour.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction:

Unemployment has become a chronic problem of India and in the recent years the situation has only worsened. This level of unemployment is not just a symptom of the “jobless” model of economic growth that has been followed in the last two decades, but is also a recipe for political and social instability. The pandemic and the subsequent crisis in the employment-unemployment situation has only highlighted the fragile situation of the labour market.

Body:

State of Unemployment in India:

  • In the current pandemic situation, the world has been caught ill-prepared to deal with a crisis of high magnitude.
  • According to the PLFS April-June 2020 round, the urban unemployment rate for the population above the age of 15 was 20.8 per cent, which is close to the monthly average for the same quarter from CMIE at 19.9 per cent
  • While the lockdown certainly contributed to the worsening of the employment situation, particularly in urban areas, the fact that the economy was already going through severe distress as far as jobs are concerned is no longer surprising.
  • Between 2016-17 and 2019-20, growth decelerated to 4 per cent, less than half the 8.3 per cent rate in 2016-17.
  • The unemployment rates in urban areas for all categories increased by almost three times between 2011-12 and 2017-18.

 

The reasons for issue of unemployment in contemporary India:

  • The labour force is the sum of the employed and those unemployed who are seeking employment.
  • A shrinking of the labour force is most unusual in an economy with a growing population, and thus a growing working age cohort.
  • Low education and lack of skills lead to loss of many job opportunities.
  • Discouraged-worker effect: A section of those hitherto willing to work may have simply dropped out of an already challenged labour market.
  • Demonetization has caused demoralisation among a section of the already unemployed who may have given up all hope of finding employment.
  • About 90% of Indian Workforce is in the unorganized sector which was majorly affected during Demonetization and GST introduction.
  • Declining Capital formation which is not backed by Public and Private Investment.
  • Low female LFPR to the tunes of 24% also adds to high unemployment rate.
  • Automation and IR4.0 is a looming threat to many jobs which have repeated work or sequential work.
  • Socially disadvantaged groups do not get enough exposure in the job market like the general castes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Labour laws in India are complex and relatively strict. Employment protection legislation is restrictive, compared with other emerging economies and OECD countries. Thus, corporates in India tend to rely more on temporary contract labour, stay small or substitute labour for capital to avoid strict labour laws.
  • The worsening situation is partly a result of the long-term neglect of the employment issue in policy circles. It is also a result of policy decisions such as demonetisation and GST implementation, which affected the informal/unorganised sector adversely. It is these enterprises in the unorganised sector that are the drivers of employment creation.

 

Way Forward:

  • Increase public spending in education:
    • At 3.8% of GDP, public spending on education in India is lower than countries like Brazil and Malaysia.
    • The focus of the government needs to shift to spending on enhancing the quality of education and vocational training.
  • Similarly, allowing foreign investment in sectors like legal and accountancy services will create employment as more foreign firms will move to India.
  • Infrastructure investment can also be utilised as an engine of job-creation.
  • Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills helps build human capital, which is key to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating more inclusive societies.
  • Educated unemployment:
    • Besides promoting technical education, the government needs to focus more on creation of jobs and demand for workers since industries are unable to create sufficient job opportunities for all the technically educated people
    • Policies should ensure that the education systems prepare young people for the skill demands of employers through outreach programmes, training, apprenticeships, and access to job-search assistance measures.
    • More businesses should recognise the opportunity, and need, to invest in young people so that they can help in developing the qualities necessary for education and future employment.
    • NGOs should engage collectively in policy advocacy on youth They should also partner with companies to develop skills and training programmes to tackle youth unemployment.
    • Singapore has launched certain programmes to establish partnerships between domestic and foreign universities to promote tertiary education. India could learn from such initiatives.
    • New age sectors like defence and aerospace, education and healthcare, and burgeoning green sectors like solar energy and wind, present another massive opportunity to identify ‘upcoming jobs’ and prepare talent accordingly. India’s ambition to create more than one million new jobs in the green energy sector by 2022 is encouraging.
  • Uneducated unemployment:
    • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations.
    • Private sector leaders should build capacity among unskilled and semi-skilled workers to ensure sustainability of renewable energy projects and provide opportunities to rural communities.
    • Government officials should create public training programmes to prepare the poor and less educated people especially semi-skilled and unskilled for employment in the clean-energy sector.
    • People need to be made self employed by providing training in skills and latest technologies for agriculture and other avenues especially in rural areas.
    • Women in rural areas who are left behind by men due to migration need to look into other sources of livelihood other than agriculture like animal husbandry etc.

 

Conclusion:

India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28. Demographics can change the pace and pattern of economic growth. While China’s spectacular growth has already benefited from a demographic dividend, India is yet to do so.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

6.When it comes to attitude held by people in India then one often faces stereotypes, prejudices, complacent but hostile and conflict driven attitudes. Do you agree? Examine and give arguments. (250 words)

Reference:   Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of “Attitude”.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how often attitude held by people in India is often characterized by stereotypes, prejudices, complacent but hostile and conflict driven attitudes.

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:

Start with the definition and importance of attitude in general.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain first what are prejudices and their impact on society.

Mention some examples where attitude of hostile and conflictual attitudes can be seen.

Discuss the reasons of such attitude. Also provide arguments against it.

Suggest measures to address such attitudes.

Conclusion:

Conclude that attitude of people does not change overnight. It is slow going process.

 

Introduction:

Stereotyping is a situation when one judges an individual or a group of people based on his/her own and others opinions and experiences. Stereotypes are characteristics imposed upon groups of people because of their race, nationality, and sexual orientation. Stereotypes are not always accurate and even if positive, can be harmful.

Prejudices are opinions formed beforehand without any reason knowledge or thought. In many countries today prejudice is still a big issue among different cultures people always tend to stereotype others just because of race, sex, colour or whatever the case may, be. For instance, the holocaust against the Jews was due to the prejudice towards them.

 

Body:

Stereotypes, prejudices and hostile attitudes directly impacts the behaviour and conduct of an individual. This will manifest in the form of negative treatment, discrimination against the certain sections of the people.

For instance, Negative consequences (direct and indirect) associated with negative stereotyping, such as discrimination and hostility, negative attitudes, and a lingering effect of lack of self-control and aggression. Such outcomes are already visible in India.

Another example is of Incidents of people, particularly Muslims, being harassed for their suspected affiliation with Tablighi Jamaat have been reported during the covid pandemic last year.

Discrimination against certain sections. For e.g.: Discriminated view of Transgender community and stereotyping them as unnatural or deviants with occult practices has led them to beggary and exclusion from participating in education, employment opportunities or political arena which has led to severe social and economic inequality which is perpetuating across generations.

Prejudiced views between cultures may result in racism; in its extreme forms, racism may result in genocide, such as occurred in Germany with the Jews, in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis and, more recently, in the former Yugoslavia between the Bosnians and Serbs

In order to combat stereotypes and reduce prejudices we can all try to learn more about people, especially those who are different from us, and understand and value our similarities and our differences. If we are more conscious of our assumptions we can also choose how we respond – within our families and home lives; in the workplace as employers and employees; as parents, teachers and mentors to children; and in other relationships and positions that we have and hold.

 

Conclusion:

Prejudice and social inequality are unavoidable in a multicultural society like India. The need of the hour is to encourage such depressed sections through affirmative action, stricter implementation of anti-discrimination law like that against untouchability, gender harassment. Removing stereotypes in society need strong efforts and readiness for change.

 

 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; 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.

7. “Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”-Stephen Hawking. Comment.( 250 words)

Reference:   Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on a quote given by Stephen Hawking.

Key Demand of the question:

Expand the inherent message given through the quote and discuss its importance.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the meaning of statement given in question.

Body:

In the above statement, the Stephen Hawking is trying to explain that ‘to err is human’ and those mistakes should be taken positively and learn and improve from them. As without mistakes one may not progress in society. Even the child when fell upon floor try to rise and learn from it. Life is all about making mistakes and learning from them.

Provide the arguments in favour of the statement with some examples.

Give your opinion about the statement.

Conclusion:

Conclude that there is general understanding in society that which mistake can be said as silly mistake and which as genuine one and which mistake is punishable.

 

Introduction:

The above statement by World Renowned Physicist Stephen Hawking exemplifies the importance of trying and working hard and in the process committing mistakes and rectifying the same to grow higher.

Most of us tend to try and avoid mistakes and view them as negative rather than important. But mistakes can teach us and help us improve. Understanding the importance of mistakes and how to use them to our best advantage is what separates out the great leaders from the rest of the crowd.

Body:

Making mistakes provides us opportunities to showcase our leadership. Instead of trying to hide our errors, we should be using them to highlight our leadership skills and character.

Importance of mistakes in life:

  • Gain Clarity
    • We have been taught that mistakes mean we have done something wrong and we have failed in some way.
    • Identifying actions and outcomes that make us feel like we didn’t succeed can help us gain clarity on what success means to us.
    • Mistakes let us know we have strayed from what we want to be, do, or have.
    • Paying attention to why we view the action as a mistake can help nudge us back towards our desired vision and leadership purpose.
  • Face Fears
    • Because mistakes tend to be viewed as negative, we have a natural fear of them.
    • An even stronger emotion is our sense of pride; and we fear those things that threaten our ego.
    • To admit that something went wrong and take action to correct it calls on us to face those fears.
    • Learning to overcome our fear opens us up for growth and advancement.
    • Facing your fear is a sign of power and resiliency.
  • Show Courage
    • Addressing the fear that mistakes can bring and moving forward despite the setbacks demonstrates courage.
    • It takes courage to admit that we didn’t get it right the first time and we want to try again with a new approach.
    • Understanding how to be emotionally and mentally courageous is something that many of struggle with.
    • Mistakes provide us opportunities to show our courage, and courage is a sign of leadership.
  • Inspires Creativity
    • Mistakes force us to explore alternatives.
    • They require us to re-examine an issue and think creatively to find or develop other solutions or approaches.
    • Mistakes teach us what doesn’t work and encourages us to create new ways of thinking and doing.
    • Creativity and innovation are a mindset where mistakes are viewed as educational challenges.
    • This shift in mindset can provide positive energy for discovering something new and better.
  • Demonstrate Integrity
    • Big mistakes often start as small errors.
    • Even our smallest choices have power, so it is important we pay attention to the integrity of the choices we make every day.
    • Mistakes can be a signal that our words and our actions are out of alignment.
    • In that case, we can re-examine our intentions, reconsider our priorities, and adjust our actions.
    • How we handle mistakes demonstrate the integrity of oneself.
  • Teach Others
    • Many mistakes provide a lesson to be learned.
    • Not only is it a lesson for us, but it provides an opportunity to teach and mentor others what we’ve learned.
    • Others may be inspired when we are courageous and make our private struggles public.
    • This gives us opportunities to talk through what we could or would have done differently.
    • These are powerful lessons for individuals to share.

 

Conclusion:

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” – Winston Churchill.

We must learn to embrace our mistakes and see them for the lessons they offer and the opportunities they provide. This is the approach that will catapult our lives to success. An experimental approach to life and learning must include using mistakes to our advantage. By staying focused on the big picture of our life and were we are headed, we can learn to take mistakes in stride as part of our personal development.

 


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