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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 August 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: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. Deliberate upon the causes responsible for racism in India. How does racism reveal various aspects of society? (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution establishing a Permanent Forum of People of African Descent to provide expert advice on addressing the challenges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and intolerance.

Key Demand of the question:

Deliberate upon the causes responsible for racism in India and explain how does racism reveal various aspects of society.

 Directive:

Deliberate – 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 agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what Racism is; Race can be defined as the attributes, traits and features which differentiates one group from the other existing social groups. Racism is a theory that one race is superior to the other based on the physical attributes, caste, creed, ethnicity or origin.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain the different variants of racism.

Present the context of racism in India. The Indian variant of racism has its own template. In India, racism, casteism, and colours are not mutually exclusive–they may often overlap. What makes racism in India unique and complicated is its indisputable link with casteism, ethnicity as well as the colonial experience.

Discuss the impact of racism in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward to overcome these challenges.

Introduction

The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people is called as Racism. Modern Racism has manifested due to migration and globalization.

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution recently establishing a Permanent Forum of People of African Descent to provide expert advice on addressing the challenges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

Body

Racism is a reality and it is being perennially practiced and blatantly bloated in all societies across the geo-political spectrum in World Wide Web of equality, liberty and fraternity. Racism attacks all-encompassing normative system and erodes all aspects of human values in life. Primarily, racism is the most callous and conspicuous negation of human equality ordained by the collective wisdom in divinities, spiritualties and mundanities. However, the citadels of racism are still alive and kicking in every nook and corner of the world and India is not an exception.

Causes responsible for racism:

  • Regional diversity:
    • Racism in India is also visible amongst Indian communities. Due to a large regional diversity, we find communities pitted up against each other ideologically, or for resources.
    • There have been many cases of North Indian discriminating against those from the South, the mainland population isolating the North Easterns and a multitude of regional clashes.
    • In a scenario where the country is so fragmented within itself, a foreigner seems even more alien, and a common enemy of all.
  • Perception of an ‘out-group’
    • In India, however, post colonial rule hasn’t been much of an influx of different nationalities settling down for work and living here.
    • Therefore, when one encounters foreigners, they are immediately viewed as an outsider and beyond the Indian social fabric.
    • This xenophobia leads to hostility and alienation as they don’t fit in Indian standard norms and societal framework.
  • Act of retaliation
    • There have been many noted cases of visible racism against Indians around the world.
    • These are evident in reports of crimes against Indian students in Australia, UK, politicians and business corporations discriminating against Indian brown skin, and in America, where Indian-Americans are constantly shunned.
    • Also, Indian stereotypes are used to taint the image of the country time and again, and questions such as “Do people in India go to school on cows?” and “How can you speak in English?” are asked very often, demeaning and infuriating the Indian masses.
  • Competition
    • With the coming in of so many foreign firms, Indians are often reminded of their managerial positions in the workplace. In most scenarios, Indians form the labour workforce for international business ventures, but even if they reach corporate set-ups, they often hit a glass ceiling and find individuals of western nationalities superseding them, or above them, in the corporate ladder.
    • This constant competition for jobs and financial comparison leads to an unhealthy relationship or mental perception towards foreigners.
    • This makes them an out-group and subjects of Indian indignation.
  • Lack of imbibing virtues of tolerance
    • Children, and even adults, aren’t being taught tolerance or the beauty of harmonious living. Since this is left as a grey area, people live on with persisting mindsets.
    • They are given no stimulus to change the way they think and the importance of international help and support doesn’t trickle down to the masses.
  • Poor legislation and implementation of laws:
    • the government hasn’t put in place strong deterrence in instances of violence towards a particular community or racial abuse against foreigners who come to the country.

Causes of modern racism

  • Current forms of racism and discrimination are complex and often covert.
  • The anonymity of the Internet has allowed racist stereotypes and inaccurate information to spread online.
  • At the onset of the pandemic, traffic to hate sites and specific posts against Asians grew by 200% in the U.S.
  • In India and in Sri Lanka, social media groups and messaging platforms were used to call for social and economic boycotts of religious minorities, amid false information accusing them of spreading the virus.
  • Structural forms of discrimination, including micro-aggressions and everyday indignities, remain widespread.
  • The use of new technologies and artificial intelligence in security raise the spectre of ‘techno-racism’, as facial recognition programmes can misidentify and target racialised communities.

Consequences of Racism

  • Racial discrimination deepens and fuels inequality in our societies..
  • Prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory acts, whether subtle or overt, aggravate existing inequalities in societies.
  • A study published by The Lancet drew attention to the social dimension of the COVID-19 pandemic and the greater vulnerability of ethnic minorities, who have been disproportionately affected.
  • The World Health Organization has cautioned on the dangers of profiling and stigmatising communities that can lead to fear and the subsequent concealment of cases and delays in detection.
  • Women and girls also carry a double burden of being exposed to racial and gender-based prejudices.
  • Racial discrimination, beyond being a breach of human rights, has harmful effects on human health and well-being, and risks wider disruptions to social cohesion.

Combatting discrimination and racist tendencies

  • UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris hosted a Global Forum against Racism and Discrimination on March 22, 2021, in partnership with the Republic of Korea. The Forum gathered policymakers, academics, and partners to initiate a new multi-stakeholder partnership on anti-racism.
  • The new proposed road map to tolerance calls for a multisectoral effort to tackle the root causes of racism through anti-racist laws, policies and programmes.
  • The role of education is crucial in providing the space for young people to understand processes that sustain racism, to learn from the past, and to stand up for human rights.
  • Through new approaches to inter-cultural dialogue and learning, youth and communities can be equipped with skills to eradicate harmful stereotypes and foster tolerance.
  • The International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities provides an additional platform for city-level planning and a laboratory for good practices in the fight against racism.

Way forward:

  • UNESCO’s actions against racism through education, the sciences, culture, and communication offer an example of a way forward.
  • UNESCO promotes the role of educationin providing the space for young people to understand processes that sustain racism, to learn from the past, and to stand up for human rights.
  • Through new approaches to inter-cultural dialogue and learning, youth and communities can be equipped with skills to eradicate harmful stereotypes and foster tolerance.
  • UNESCO also offers master classes to empower students to become champions of anti-racism in their schools and communities.
  • The International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Citiesprovides an additional platform for city-level planning and a laboratory for good practices in the fight against racism.
  • Recent and new manifestations of racism and discrimination call for renewed commitments to mobilise for equality.

Conclusion

Racism will not be overcome with mere professions of good faith but must be combatted with anti-racist action. A global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination is built first and foremost in the minds of women and men. The constitutional construction of constitutionalism on human rights instil a sense of pride among We, the People of India. The words of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan remain pertinent: “Our mission is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

2. A long-term strategy of water management cooperation between India and Nepal is the need of the hour to end the crisis of flooding every year. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains that India-Nepal flood management needs course correction.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the flood crisis that India and Nepal have been witnessing around its borders and the need for cooperation between the two for better water management.

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 brief background on India-Nepal ties.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain that Flood Management -Flooding in the Nepal plains that have also affected downstream areas across the border needs to be addressed.

The Kosi Barrage and attendant embankments have the possibility of wreaking havoc because siltation of six decades has raised the riverbed within the levees far above the outlying tracts.

While it is easy to demand a high dam in the hills of Nepal, it is important to study the other ecologically & socially sustainable alternatives.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

People in North Bihar (Mithilanchal region)  and Uttar Pradesh face perennial flooding almost every year despite the efforts of government. Floods lead to deluge of many districts, causing havoc, snapping communication lines and claiming several lives. This chronic issue is making over five crore people in north Bihar and Terai in Nepal vulnerable. But it does not seem to get attention by policymakers in both the countries.

According to Flood Management Improvement Support Centre (FMISC), Department of Water Resources, 76% of the population in north Bihar faces recurring threat of flood devastation. In Bihar about 73.06% of the land area is flood affected.

Body:

Factors causing floods:

Natural factors:

  • High discharge and sediment load of Himalayan river system:
    • A large part of north Bihar is prone to flood because it is drained by a number of rivers with their catchments in Himalayas.
    • Rivers like Kosi, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Mahananda etc originate in Nepal.
    • Thus, they are having high discharge and sediment load causing havoc in the plains of Nepal’s Terai and Bihar.
    • 65% of the catchment area of stated rivers falls in Nepal or Tibet while 35% area lies in Bihar.
  • Shifting of river course:
    • As the river comes from a high slope to a flat plain, its velocity decreases suddenly and this results in the river unloading the sediment
  • The silt causes the level of riverbed to rise. As a result, the natural longitudinal (straight) course of the river is disturbed. Therefore, the river searches for a lateral path (left or right).
  • As a result, it changes its course and breaches the embankments on the new path it has created. The breach of embankments causes floods.
  • Between the mid-18th and mid-20th centuries, the Kosi is said to have shifted over 100 kilometres westward, resulting in large-scale human displacements.
  • More than average rainfall:
    • India’s northern states have received above-average rainfall on account of sustained low-pressure conditions.

Anthropogenic factors:

  • The man-made factors — habitation, deforestation, population growth in catchment areas, encroachment of river banks and wetlands, lack of drainage, unplanned urban growth, hill cutting — which lead to higher sedimentation. For example, the sediment deposition itself creates temporary sandbars or river islands.
  • The dams that are being built and the mismanagement in dam operations during rains are further creating disasters.
  • The wetlands forests and local water bodies are being systematically destroyed which in turn is adding to the disaster vulnerability of the area.
  • The infrastructural interventions such as building embankments and re-routing streams have disturbed the conventional pattern of slow water flow.

Evaluation of previous co-operation measures between India and Nepal:

  • The Kosi Treaty of 1954, under which the embankments in Nepal were established and maintained, was not futuristic and did not make enough provisions for the maintenance of embankments and the rivers changing their course.
  • When work on the Kosi embankments started in January 1955, a group of retired Nepali soldiers came over voluntarily to join hands with Indian volunteers and start the work.
  • Such a progressive government-citizen interface could not sustain itself and water cooperation between the two countries for a common cause waned.
  • Consequently, not much has happened barring the use of water resources for hydroelectric generation.

Measures undertaken so far:

  • First ever disaster management plan came into Bihar state with the efforts of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
  • Bihar’s Disaster Management Department released two documents titled: “Pre-Flood Preparedness” and “Flood Control Order 2021”.
  • During his tenure in 2005-2010, he made a few noticeable structural changes such as renewed approaches in infrastructure of dams and reservoirs, detention basins, embankments as well as channel improvement.
  • Non-structural measures such as floodplain management, flood forecasting & warning, flood insurance and financial compensation are also being taken in the state.

Measures needed for flood management:

  • The dire need is for watershed-based master planning and development legislated guidelines for each major river basin, especially those that impact densely populated settlements.
  • There must be a demarcation of ecologically sensitive zones using existing village survey maps and public participation.
  • There must be clear land use plan for these zones specifying flood plains, protected forest areas, agricultural and plantation zones, with details of the types of crops, building usages permitted and the density of buildings permitted.
  • To compensate owners in non-buildable areas, there must be strategies such as Transfer of Development Rights to buildable zones in cities.
  • The master plan should focus on permitting only ecologically sensitive building strategies for these areas by proposing new construction techniques.
  • Controlled development can be proposed using building height rules, floor area ratio control, and restrictions on cutting and filling natural land.
  • Strategies to make sure that all infrastructure projects are carried out in a scientific manner with strict scrutiny must be specified.
  • This should include roads built on difficult terrain and all public infrastructure projects in wetlands and the High Ranges.
  • Copenhagen in Denmark, which faces a similar problem of repeated flooding, has come up with active cloudburst responsive planning as a process to develop the city in line with climate change needs.

Way forward:

  • Course correction is needed to re-establish water cooperation as a common cause and draw inspiration for joint action from the 1950s between India and Nepal.
  • There is a need for greater sensitisation on climatic imbalances and sustainable development.
  • In the mainstream political and policy establishments, greater attention needs to be given to this annual calamity and its devastating effects on lives and livelihoods.
  • India and Nepal need to be in dialogue to end the crisis of flooding every year.
  • With a long-term strategy of water management cooperation between India and Nepal, the matter should be looked into.

Conclusion:

A solution to the issue of chronic flooding lies in revisiting the old plans and arrangements between India and Nepal. This is because flood control in Bihar is just not possible till a dedicated intergovernmental panel is formed through a bilateral mechanism between India and Nepal, that in turn can study, assess and offer solutions to this shared crisis.

 

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

3. Explain the significance of emphasizing native languages in the education system of India; also bring out the policies in this direction. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article argues for significance of emphasizing native languages in the education system.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the significance of emphasizing native languages in the education system of India; also bring out the policies in this direction.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining importance of native language in general.

Body:

Explain that post the emphasis on native languages in NEP, 2020, the dreams of many Indian students seeking to pursue professional courses in their mother tongue can be realised.

Discuss in detail the significance of emphasizing native languages in the education system.

Explain that from ‘Mother tongue versus English’ to ‘Mother tongue plus English’ approach: In an interconnected world, proficiency in different languages opens new vistas to a wider world, but what is essential is a strong foundation in the mother tongue.

Discuss the policies and programs in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

The recent decision of 14 engineering colleges across eight States to offer courses in regional languages in select branches from the new academic year marks a historic moment in the academic landscape of the country on which rests the future of succeeding generations.

Body

Background

  • On a parallel note, the decision of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), to permit B. Tech programmes in 11 native languages in tune with the New Education Policy (NEP), is a momentous one.
  • This monumental move opens the door to a whole world of opportunities — to students of B.Tech courses, in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi and Odia.

Significance of emphasizing native languages in the education system of India

  • NEP’s emphasis on the mother tongue as the medium of instruction will instil confidence in students from poor, rural and tribal backgrounds.
  • Multiple studies have proved that children who learn in their mother tongue in their early, formative years perform better than those taught in an alien language.
  • UNESCO and other organisations have been laying emphasis on the fact that learning in the mother tongue is germane to building self-esteem and self-identity, as also the overall development of the child.
  • Unfortunately, some educators and parents still accord unquestioned primacy to English, and resultantly, the child’s mother tongue ends up as their ‘second/third language’ in schools.
  • While our educational system has seen phenomenal growth to the extent that it offers courses of international repute in engineering, medicine, law and the humanities, we have, paradoxically, excluded our own people from accessing it.
  • Over the years, we have ended up building academic roadblocks, impeding the progress of the vast majority of our students and remained content with creating a small bubble of English-medium universities and colleges, while our own languages languish when it comes to technical and professional courses.
  • Interestingly, in a survey conducted by the AICTE in February this year, of over 83,000 students, nearly 44% students voted in favour of studying engineering in their mother tongue, underscoring a critical need in technical education.

Policy decisions in this regard and way forward

  • The NEP outlines the road map, demonstrating to us the means to protect our languages while improving the access and quality of our education.
  • We must begin with imparting primary education (at least until Class 5) in the student’s mother tongue, gradually scaling it up.
  • For professional courses, while the initiative of the 14 engineering colleges is commendable, we need more such efforts all across the country.
  • Private universities must join hands and offer a few bilingual courses to begin with.
  • A welcome development in this regard is the collaboration between the AICTE and IIT Madras to translate SWAYAM’s courses in eight regional languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam and Gujarati.
  • This will be a major boost for engineering students and help them transition more smoothly to an English-dominated curriculum in later years.
  • We need more such tech-led initiatives to really democratise higher education.

 

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

4. The PESA Act is considered to be the backbone of tribal legislation in India, in this backdrop do you think proper implementation of it can rejuvenate self-governance in the tribal pockets of the country? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Down to Earth

Why the question:

The article talks about reviving tribal self-governance system.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the role played by PESA Act and its potential in rejuvenating self-governance in the tribal pockets of the country.

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:

Start with brief background of the question.

Body:

During most of the time in history, Adivasis had their own federal governance system. These decision-making processes were considered people-centric and democratic. The administrative systems during the colonial period and elected parliamentary democracy after independence affected this Adivasi governance system to a great extent.

Then talk about the traditional governance system of Adivasis. Highlight the issues with traditional governance system.

Expound upon the role being played by PESA.

Conclusion:

PESA recognizes the traditional system of the decision-making process and stands for the peoples’ self-governance.

Introduction

Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 is a law enacted by Government of India to cover the “Scheduled Areas”, which are not covered in the 73rd Constitutional amendment. This particular act extends the provisions of Part IX to the Scheduled Areas of the country. PESA brought powers further down to the Gram Sabha level. The Gram Sabha in the Panchayat Act were entrusted with wide ranging powers starting from consultation on land acquisition to that of ownership over minor forest produces and leasing of minor minerals.

Body:

Under the PESA, the Gram Sabha or Panchayats at appropriate level shall have the following powers:

  • To be consulted on matters of land acquisition and resettlement.
  • Grant prospecting license for mining lease for minor minerals and concessions for such activities.
  • Planning and management of minor water bodies.
  • The power to enforce prohibition or to regulate or restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant.
  • The ownership of minor forest produces.
  • The power to prevent alienation of land and to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a scheduled tribe.
  • The power to manage village markets.
  • The power to exercise control over money lending to scheduled tribes.

Problems with PESA:

  • Dilution of role of Tribal Advisory Councils: PESA comes under the Fifth Schedule, which mandates Tribal Advisory Councils to oversee tribal affairs and also gives extrajudicial, extra constitutional powers to the Governors of each State to intervene in matters where they see tribal autonomy being compromised.
  • However, the councils, with the Chief Minister as their chairperson, have evolved into a non-assertive institution amid the machinations of upper-class politics, and its representatives hardly speak against the State governments’ policies.
  • The Governors, in order to have friendly relations with the Chief Ministers, have desisted from getting involved in tribal matters. Tribal activists have constantly complained that there is not even a single instance where the Governors have responded to their petitions for interventions in threatening crises, such as deepening clashes over land, mining or police excesses.
  • Lack of coordination at Centre: Even if one were to expect proactive intervention from the Centre, PESA would get entangled in bureaucratic shackles. Two different ministries, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, have an overlapping influence on the implementation of PESA and they function almost without any coordination.
  • Lack of operationalization: In most of the state the enabling rules are not in place more than eight years after the adoption of the Act suggests that the state governments are reluctant to operationalize the PESA mandate.
  • Ignoring the spirit of PESA: The state legislations have omitted some of the fundamental principles without which the spirit of PESA can never be realised. For instance, the premise in PESA that state legislations on Panchayats shall be in consonance with customary laws and among other things traditional management practices of community resources is ignored by most of the state laws.
  • Ambiguous definitions: No legal definition of the terms like minor water bodies, minor minerals etc. exist in the statute books. The states in their conformity legislations have also not defined the term leading to ambiguity and scope of interpretation by the bureaucracy.

Conclusion:

In recent years, many reports ‘The Report of Expert Group of the Planning Commission on Development Challenges in Extremist Affected Areas’ (2008), ‘The Sixth Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission’ (2007), ‘The Balchandra Mungekar Committee Report’ (2009), etc. have clearly underlined the dismal situation of the implementation of PESA.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to opt for an effective device whereby maximum people can be informed, made aware and motivated to come forward for the proper implementation and execution of PESA. There is an urgent need to break the culture of silence among tribal and to strive for capacity building, sensitization and orientation to improve the tribal self-rule scenario.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Discuss the potential of India in becoming the capital of gig-workers of the world. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article brings to us the potential of India in becoming the capital of gig-workers of the world.

Key Demand of the question:

Bring out the potential of India in becoming the capital of gig-workers of the world.

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 what a Gig-economy is.

Body:

You can start by highlighting the changes that the pandemic has brought in the economy in general and in what way it has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the gig- workers.

Explain how gig –economy is evolving; an inclination towards flexible work is being driven by factors such as freedom, technology up gradation, skill focus, additional income and human capital. Gig economy allows task ownership, convenience and flexibility. Based on tastes and preferences, you can determine the number and type of projects you work on, the quantum of your earnings, and thus, the work-life balance.

Discuss the potential of India in becoming the capital of gig-workers of the world.

Conclusion:

Conclude suitably.

Introduction

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.

An estimated 56% of new employment in India is being generated by the gig economy companies across both the blue-collar and white-collar workforce. According to the Oxford Internet Institute’s ‘Online Labor Index’, India leads the global gig economy with a 24% share of the online labor market, with demand for software developers, creative and marketing professionals.

Body:

The potential of India in becoming the capital of gig-workers of the world:

  • Industry bodies have been conducting several studies on this parallel economy and just before the advent of the pandemic had predicted India’s gig economy to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 per cent to touch $455 billion in the next three years.
  • India at present has around 15 million freelance workers engaged in projects in sectors like IT, HR, and designing. In comparison, there are almost 53 million independent workers in the US.
  • The present Covid-19 scenario would push more of the conventional workforces towards the gig economy in India.
  • India’s workforce is adding almost four million people every year, this would have a big impact on the gig economy in the near future.
  • Even in India, firms are shrinking in size, giving rise to a large number of start-ups specialized in taking up non-core activities on contractual basis.
  • The recent Periodic Labour Force Survey from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation shows unemployment rate at a 45-year high, at 6.1%; the highest levels of joblessness is among urban youth.
  • Other reports show that over the past two years’ domestic consumption has reduced, industrial growth has flatlined, private investments are lower, and market volatility has hit drivers of employment.
  • And so, not surprisingly, many, including undergraduates and diploma holders, now look at the gig economy as a stop-gap solution until the market turns.
  • Human resources firm Team Lease estimates that 13 lakh Indians joined the gig economy in the last half of 2018-19, registering a 30% growth compared to the first half of the fiscal year.
  • Better Place, a digital platform that does background verification and skill development in the informal sector, estimates that of the 21 lakh jobs that will be created in the metros in 2019-20, 14 lakhs will be in the gig economy.
  • Food and e-commerce delivery will account for 8 lakh positions and drivers will account for nearly 6 lakh positions, says the report, based on 11 lakh profiles in over 1,000 companies.
  • Delhi, Bengaluru and other metros are expected to be the biggest drivers of this sector. And two-thirds of this workforce will be under the age of 40.

Key Challenges:

  • This workforce has limited employment rights like minimum wages, health benefits, sick leaves or even retirement benefits to fall back on.
  • Also, the payment is assured only on the completion of the project giving a sense of financial insecurity.
  • The lack of any kind of protection was also deterring several talented workers against participating in the economy
  • The Central government recently passed the social security code which could cover gig worker as well.
  • One of the key proposals includes the creation of a social security fund which is around 1 per cent of the aggregators’ annual turnover.
  • This fund would be used primarily for the welfare of the unorganized and the gig workforce

Way Forward:

  • The government needs to come out with some more regulations to protect the workforce of the gig economy.
  • Also, at present, there is no mechanism to address the issue of redress of disputes.
  • It could also mean countries coming together to set up a platform to extend their labour protection to the workforce who are working part-time in their country.
  • Companies employing the workforce on a temporary basis should also be made responsible to contribute to their insurance and social obligation other than just their tax commitment.

Conclusion:

The scope of the gig economy in a country like India is enormous. The government needs to come out with a comprehensive legislation to empower and motivate many to take this path. The gig economy and its workforce cannot be overlooked when we talk about the future of employment.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

6. Do you think shifting to electric vehicles means subsidizing the affluent? Are there better alternatives? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains that the government is promoting Electric vehicles in India at a good pace. However, there are issues attached to government policies towards EVs.  

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the concerns associated with electric vehicles and highlight the alternatives associated.

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 key facts like – Hefty subsidies are being offered by the central government and the state governments of Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat. Together, these subsidies add up to Rs 5 lakh per car. They are presently time-bound and are being offered only by five states — Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Meghalaya.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the issues with subsidies on e-vehicles; Moral blindness behind subsidies etc.

What are the available alternatives? – Instead of promoting EVs, India can promote other cheaper alternatives. For instance, Methanol fuel, gasification, Biochar etc.

Present your arguments both in favour and against.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction

E-vehicles or EVs are becoming increasingly popular in India. It is evident in the increasing sales of TATA Nexons EVs. The most important reason behind their popularity is their low running cost, which is a sixth of the diesel variant.

Body

The government is promoting Electric vehicles in India at a good pace. However, there are issues attached to government policies towards EVs.

Concerns regarding Electric vehicles

  • Lack of Battery Cell Manufacturing:There is a complete absence of primary battery cell manufacturing in India which poses the risk of increasing trade deficit.
    • At the moment, most manufacturers rely on batteries imported from Japan, China, Korea and Europe.
  • Building Charging Infrastructure:Another big challenge is the development of charging infrastructure which will need to be combined with existing refuelling stations and at alternative locations closer to homes.
  • Limited Grid Capacity:According to a Niti Aayog report, India’s EVs market needs a minimum of 10 GW of cells by 2022, which would need to be expanded to about 50 GW by 2025.
    • However, currently, India is able to add only 20 GW every year to its grid for all of our other increasing energy needs. Thus, the fulfilment of the requirement of 10GW additional capacity only for EVs would be a huge task.
  • Local Issues:Bringing transportation decisions closer to the people is understandable and necessary. Transport challenges such as congestion, affordability, and infrastructure and transit systems availability are localized issues, impede the standardization of Evs.
    • Local production of inputs for EVs is at just about 35% of total input production.
  • Moral blindness behind subsidies: The cost of a basic Nexon EV was Rs 14.3 lakh and that of the diesel variant Rs 8.3 lakh. At present five states — Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Meghalaya are providing a huge amount of subsidies per car i.e., Rs. 5 lakh per car.
    • Only 1 car in 50 sold cars costs more than Rs 10 lakh, which is purchased by the affluent fraction of the car-owning population. It means that Rs. 2,770 crore subsidies from taxpayers, will be paid to the affluent class of the country.
  • The Indian electric vehicle (EV) market currently has one of the lowest penetration ratesin the world.
  • The Indian EV industry has been hit hard due to rupee’s dramatic depreciation in recent months.
  • The production will be severely affected in terms of production costs.
  • The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (Fame) framework has been extended repeatedly.
  • Anuncertain policy environment and the lack of supporting infrastructure are major roadblocks.
  • India does not have any known reserves of lithium and cobalt, which makes it dependent on imports of lithium-ion batteries from Japan and China.
  • High rate of GST on EVs when government is trying to promote Evs.

Measures needed

  • For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
  • Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
  • Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelersbecause two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
  • A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
  • Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
  • Corporates could invest in charging stationsas Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  • Addressing technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability etc.
  • Private investment in batterymanufacturing plants and developing low cost production technology is needed.
  • India is highly dependent on thermal sources, which account for about 65% of current capacity. As EV adoption increases, so should the contribution of renewables.
  • Need for a policy roadmap on electric vehiclesso that investments can be planned.
  • Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Providing waiver of road tax and registration fees, GST refunds and free parking spacesfor EVs.

Way forward

  • The budgetary measures will have an immediate impact on the pricingof electric vehicles and bring in more models, but it will take a sustained effort by the Centre, in partnership with State governments, to enable a fast rollout of charging infrastructure.
  • In a bold and far-reaching move, India’s electric vehicle goalsare set to flourish if NITI Aayog has its way.
  • The government think tank moved a Cabinet note to address e-mobility targetsfor a greener India, which emphasises on the sale of only electric vehicles by the year 2030.
  • This would go a long way in addressing India’s clean fuel ideologyand reduce high pollution levels.
  • The government said it is planning to set up a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storageto bring clean and connected technologies that can usher in an era of shared and sustainable EV infrastructure in the country.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

7. Trust based Governance is quintessential to achieve Sabka Sath , Sabka Vikas aivam Sabka Vishwas. Elaborate.  (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why the question:

The slogan of Sabka Sath , Sabka Vikas aivam Sabka Vishwas needs trust of all stakeholders. So we need to work out a strategy towards ‘trust-based governance’.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate upon the importance of trust-based governance.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of trust-based governance.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain why it is important to have the trust of people for successful and effective governance.

Discuss what the ways and means are by which trust-based governance can be achieved.

Highlight the key aspects such as – Work and social harmony, Reliable data and statistical systems, Administrative and bureaucratic reforms etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

In recent years, government has been exhorting trust-based governance as a model to make India inclusive and equitable. The model has been seen in various schemes such as Atmanirbharta, tax reforms, social welfare and development.

Body

Elements required to achieve Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas

  • The first thing needed is social harmony and all steps to achieve an equilibrium so that people can live peacefully and be active economic actors. Fundamentalism of all types needs to be acted against vigorously.
  • In Aspirational India all sections of the society seek better standards of living, with access to health, education and better jobs.
  • A Caring Society, based on Antyodaya, which is both humane and compassionate is the need of the hour, as the elderly population grows.
  • In area of economic development, inclusive growth is the key to take all sections of people towards upliftment. This would entail pervasive economic reforms and yielding more space for the private sector to ensure higher productivity and greater efficiency.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat, that aims to provide food security, better farm income and so social security to migrants is the step towards sabka vikas.
  • A ‘whole of government’ approach is needed, which now works in silos. There is inter-department conflicts and clash of interest that is detrimental to welfare of the public.
  • The next element is to reduce judicial delays and ease the burden of the courts. Efficient judiciary and criminal justice system are quintessential for sabka vikas as justice is at the core of it.
  • GDP indicator is not alone to gauge the inclusivity and equitability of development. Other indicators of happiness and human development should be developed.

Way Forward

  • Administrative and bureaucratic reforms to bring about transparency and accountability
  • A policy of Coherence to be centred around PMO and Chief Minister’s office.
  • Work on Ease of Doing Business through easing permits, checking inspector raj, license raj etc.
  • We need 2nd wave of economic reforms to reinvigorate the LPG reforms of 1991
  • We need urgent judicial reforms to reduce pendency and delays and reduce the practice of long summer and winter breaks to Courts.

Conclusion

The above elements will help in unifying India and bring its diversity together towards path of progress. Each interaction with government is an occasion to send a trust signal, to raise low expectations and meet new, high ones. This is how the ‘nothing will happen’ mindset gets replaced with the confidence that yes, something will be done.


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