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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 March 2022

 

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General Studies – 1


Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. Atmanirbhar Bharat is a human-centric way forward based on our own civilisational ethos and values. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: the Hindu

 

Why the question: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call in May 2020 for an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) highlighted the reality that in a post-COVID-19 world, India cannot exist in isolation. It is clear that the world is small and connected. In just the last one month, the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine on our economy and democracy make it imperative for us to continuously engage with the world around us.

Key Demand of the question: To write nature of Atmanirbhar Bharat and its relation with India’s ethos and values.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the aims and objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Body:

First, in brief, give the various facets of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Next, write about how Atmanirbhar Bharat is rooted India’s ethos and values – Its link with Gandhian swadeshi, self-reliant India dealing with the world on its own terms., addresses existential challenges in the country, Social capital, family and communities etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by the achievements of Atmanirbhar Bharat in the Indian societal context.

 

Introduction

Prime Minister in his address stated that India’s self-reliance does not advocate self-centric arrangements. It is ingrained in the happiness, cooperation and peace of the world.  It is based on the premise of ‘माता भूमि पुत्रोहं पृथिव्या” ‘ – the culture that considers the earth to be the mother

Body

Atmanirbhar Abhiyaan

The idea of Atmanirbhar Bharat if based on 5 pillars:

  • First Pillar is Economy, emphasizing on Quantum Jump rather than Incremental change.
  • Second Pillar is Infrastructure.
  • Third Pillar is Our System, a special reference has been made to technology and contemporary policies as part of this system.
  • Fourth Pillar is Our Demography.
  • Fifth pillar is Our Demand.

Atmanirbharta: Rooted in Indian ethos

  • Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Swadeshi galvanised our nation. Atmanirbhar Bharat is Swadeshi tailored to India in 2022.
  • The ideational foundation of this concept is not just relevant to today’s India; it also addresses existential challenges in the country and challenges in its engagement with a tension-filled world order.
  • Within the country it is even more important that the conflicting aspirations and expectations of States are managed and harmonised to present a united, confident and self-reliant India. For example, the aspirations of the Dravidian model of development and other regional-specific aspirations should synchronise with the holistic concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • If India does not evolve a harmonious national model, only chaos will result.
  • The emphasis on unity rather than diversity in our polity becomes vital.
    • In the absence of cooperation, fundamental issues such as the sharing of Cauvery waters and coal for energy will remain unresolved.

Facets of Atmarnirbhar Abhiyan

  • Faster Economic Recovery: India’s ability to recover from the effects of COVID-19 and its economic fallout depends on the resilience of domestic industries.
    • In this light, the mission aims to promote Indian industries while making them competitive through reforms and government interventions.
  • Supply Chain Fragility: Countries all over the world are now looking at boosting domestic capabilities to be able to absorb future supply chain shocks.
  • Emergence of developmental gaps: Continuous dependence on external sector for a long time creates developmental gaps in an economy. For example, technological dependence on imports has negatively affected the level of indigenous innovation and R&D.
  • Health and Economic Security: The fallout of COVID-19 has showcased how dependency of any form such as raw material, labour etc. can precipitate into a security crisis.
    • For example, absence of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) production capacity had created a crises situation for India during the initial period of the crises.
  • Geopolitical considerations: High dependence on other countries for resources affects the geopolitical standing of the country in that region. For example, high import dependency of India on China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).

Conclusion

To enable the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, several large scale and long-term measures like making subsidies performance dependent and strengthening public regulation will have to be taken in conjunction with aforesaid measures. More importantly, increased investment in Education and Skill development is imperative to complement the structural reforms announced in the package.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;

2. Evaluate the performance of Ujjwala 2.0 (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana) in achieving the vision of universal access to LPG for the poor. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: the print

 

Why the question: The Central government on Monday apprised the Rajya Sabha that there is no hindrance in achieving the targets set for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)–a flagship scheme of the current dispensation to provide LPG cylinder to rural and deprived households.

Key Demand of the question: To write about performance Ujjwala 2.0, the bottlenecks that the poor face in accessing LPG and to suggest measures to overcome those.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you must pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the aims and objectives of Ujjwala 2.0 (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana).

Body:

Write a brief comparison with its earlier version, its successes and limitations and how Ujjwala 2.0 is an improvement over its previous version.

Next, write about the various impediments like affordability, administrative issues, low value for women’s labour etc poor face while accessing LPG which causes them to continue to use firewood and cow dung as fuel.

Write the measures that need to be taken to enhance and promote the usage of LPG. Mention the aspect of integrating other forms clean energy apart from LPG which is accessible and affordable.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The sustained rise in the price of LPG cylinders has been burning a hole in many a household budget for more than a year now. The price of LPG refills has risen by more than 50% to over ₹900 per cylinder in November 2021 compared to around ₹600 over the past year.

With no refill subsidies in place since May 2020, there is genuine concern about many households now slipping back to using polluting solid fuels for cooking, such as firewood and dung cakes.

Body

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: Key features

  • Ujjwala 1.0: Under Ujjwala 1.0, the target was to provide LPG connections to 50 million women from the below poverty line (BPL) households, by March 2020. However, in August 2018, women from seven other categories were brought under the purview of the scheme.
    • In the first phase of the PMUY, 8 crore poor families, including from the Dalit and tribal communities, were given free cooking gas connections.
    • The LPG infrastructure has expanded manifold in the country. In the last six years, more than 11,000 new LPG distribution centres have opened across the country.
  • Ujjwala 2.0: Under Ujjwala 2.0, an additional 10 million LPG connections will be provided to the beneficiaries.
    • Government has also fixed a target of providing piped gas to 21 lakh homes in 50 districts.

Performance of Ujjwala 2.0

  • PMUY 2.0 was launched on August 10, 2021, and the target of one crore connections were provided within six months by January 2022.
  • Per capita consumption of PMUY beneficiaries has increased from 01 refills in 2019-20 to 3.66 refills in current Financial Year (till February 2022).
  • The release of 8 crores of LPG connections under the scheme has also helped in increasing the LPG coverage in the country from 62 per cent on May 1, 2016, to 99.8 per cent on April 1, 2021.

Issues faced while accessing LPG cylinders

  • Around 30% of Indian households continue to rely on biomass as their primary cooking fuel, mainly due to high LPG prices.
    • The practice of biomass usage is predominantly concentrated in rural areas, particularly among States such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • Easy availability of free biomass and lack of home delivery of LPG refills further reduce the efficacy of LPG as a reliable and affordable proposition.
  • Given the loss of incomes and livelihoods during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the ability of households to afford LPG on a regular basis has taken a further hit.
  • There are deficiencies such as the issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries, and problems with the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies in the deduplication process.

Conclusion and way forward

  • The scheme should be extended to poor households in urban and semi-urban slum areas.
  • Subsidy reinstatement: There is a need to reinstate the subsidies on LPG refill for low-income households.
    • At the current refill prices, an average Indian household would have to spend around 10% of its monthly expense on LPG to meet all its cooking energy needs.
  • Identifying true beneficiaries: The Government can also explore diverse approaches to identify beneficiaries.
    • This may include limiting the subsidy provision to seven to eight LPG refills annually and excluding well-to-do households using robust indicators.
    • For instance, lowering the income-based exclusion limit for LPG subsidy to ₹2,50,000 a year from ₹10 lakh a year or excluding families owning a non-commercial four-wheeler vehicle can significantly reduce the number of eligible beneficiaries.
  • Home delivery of LPG: Only half the rural LPG users receive home delivery of LPG refills, while the rest have to travel about five kilometres one way to procure a cylinder.
  • Gaps in the doorstep delivery of LPG cylinders are also present in urban pockets, particularly in slum areas. These need to be rectified.

 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

3. The economic crisis in Sri Lanka is also having its spill over effect on India. Examine. How can India’s priority for geo-economics and regional connectivity help Sri Lanka overcome this crisis? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Business standard

 

Why the question: External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Monday assured Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa of India’s continued cooperation in coping with the unprecedented economic crisis in the island nation.

Key Demand of the question: To write about impact of economic crisis in Sri Lanka on India and how India can play a part in helping Sri Lanka overcome it.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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: 

Begin by giving context regarding the unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

Body:

In brief, mention the various factors that has led to this crisis.

Next, write about the spill over effect the crisis is having on India – Driven out by hunger and loss of jobs, people from the island nation are seeking refuge in India, supply chain blockage at Colombo, impact on Bilateral trade, Indian investments in Sri Lanka etc.

Next, write the ways how India’s geo-economic and connectivity perspective can help Lanka.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

Refugees from Sri Lanka are trickling in on India’s southern shores. The effect of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is now being felt in India too. Inflation has soared past 17% in Srilanka and there has been many news regarding fatal incidents of people dying while standing in queues for fuel and ration. Hospitals are doing only emergency surgeries due to shortage of medicines and other supplies. Sri Lanka is going through the worst crisis since its Independence.

Driven out by hunger and loss of jobs, people from the island nation are seeking refuge in India, which is doing its best to help the neighbouring country.

Body

Background

  • The island has been facing daily power cuts and double-digit inflation, which hit 17.5% in February.
  • The Sri Lankan central bank allowed the local currency to devalue by 30% in a month.
  • Food inflation soared to 25.7% in February. The crisis is now starting to impact Indian exporters.

Factors that have led to this crisis

  • Shortage of foreign exchange reserves: They have plummeted 70% in two years to just $2 billion at the end of February, which can barely cover two months of imports.
  • Foreign debt: Meanwhile, the country has foreign debt obligations of about $7 billion this year. The forex crisis is the result of several factors.
  • Easter sunday attacks: Tourism, which is the country’s third-largest foreign exchange earner, came to a virtual halt after the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings which killed more than 250 people.
    • Tourist arrivals dropped by as much as 70%.
  • Pandemic: And then the pandemic struck, dealing a severe blow to the tourism industry.
  • Remittance: Remittances from foreign workers, which is the nation’s biggest source of dollars, slumped 22.7% to $5.5 billion in 2021.
  • Dependence on imports: The country’s heavy dependence on imports for essential goods like sugar, pharmaceuticals, fuel, pulses and cereals worsened the crisis.
  • The government’s ban on chemical fertilizers last April as it looked to become the first country to fully adopt organic farming backfired. A survey showed that 90% of Sri Lanka’s farmers used chemical fertilisers for cultivation.
    • The move led to a drastic drop in domestic food production, pushing up food prices.
    • The decision was rolled back after months of mass protests by farmers but the damage was done.

Impact on India

  • Thousands of containers sent from India to Sri Lanka, including for its own consumption as well as trans-shipment cargo, have been lying uncleared at Colombo port as authorities can’t afford to transfer containers between terminals.
    • This, in turn, has led to some build-up of cargo intended for Sri Lanka at Indian ports.
  • Any disruption in Colombo port operations makes India vulnerable to an increase in costs and congestion issues. India also relies considerably on Colombo port for global trade given it is a transhipment hub.
    • 60% of India’s trans-shipment cargo is handled by the port. India-linked cargo, in turn, accounts for 70% of the port’s total trans-shipment volume.
  • A number of leading companies from India have invested and established their presence in Sri Lanka. They have been affected.
  • India is also one of the largest contributors to Foreign Direct Investment in Sri Lanka. FDI from India amounted to about $1.7 billion from 2005 to 2019.

Ways India is helping Srilanka

  • India has extended financial assistance to the tune of $2.4 billion in the last three months to Sri Lanka, which includes a $400 billion RBI currency swap, deferral of a $500 million loan and a $1.5-billion credit line for importing fuel, food and medicines.
  • Modernisation Project: An early modernisation project of the Trinco oil farms that India has been pursuing for several years.
    • The Trincomalee Harbour, one of the deepest natural harbours in the world, was developed by the British during World War II.
    • In particular, the projects to develop oil infrastructure in Trincomalee have been hanging fire since 2017.
  • India’s approach: A four-pronged initiative has been decided that included
    • Lines of Credit (LoC) towards the import of fuel, food and medicines
    • Currency swap
    • Debt deferrals from India to Sri Lanka

Conclusion

New Delhi’s assistance might address some problems in the complex relations between India and Sri Lanka. It is important to note that in times of peril, New Delhi and Colombo have established a robust channel of communication and demonstrated an ability to act on promises quickly. Nurturing the Neighbourhood First policy with Sri Lanka is important for India to preserve its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region.

 

Topic:  Important aspects of governance,

4. Good governance brings about women’s empowerment directly by boosting gender participation in the making of decisions through consensus-building and representation. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: livemint

 

Why the question: In response to globalization, economic competitiveness among countries has drastically increased. To gain an advantage, developing and developed countries are looking to achieve sustainable and substantial growth, at the heart of which lies the concept of ‘good governance.’.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the role of good governance in fostering women entrepreneurship and empowerment.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin defining good governance and its relation with women empowerment.

Body:

Write about the role of good governance in women empowerment – Central to inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the urgent need to harness the economic potential of women – half of the world’s population. women are powerful drivers of development. When men and women become more equal, economies grow faster, fewer people remain in poverty, and overall well-being increases.

Mention the steps that are further required to promote good governance to achieve women empowerment.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

Good Governance is often referred to as a process of enabling the accountability of decision-making and how decisions are implemented to tackle holistic development agendas. Since fundamental principles of good governance are centred on the legitimacy and empowerment of all voices, women’s empowerment, along with other socio-economic agendas, is a focal area.

Body

Good governance and women empowerment

  • Reservation in local bodies: 73rd Amendment Act introduced reservations for women of not less than one-third of all seats (including those reserved for Scheduled Tribe and Caste candidates) in Gram Panchayats.
    • The Act sought to enable the economic and political empowerment of women while facilitating their access to key positions as decision-makers for accurate representation of society.
    • This measure resulted in more women gaining political office and holding positions of authority and power across local and state levels.
  • Education enrollment: With the enactment of Right to Education Act in 2009, girl child enrollment in primary school is nearly cent percent.
    • Furthermore, secondary school enrollment is at 80.9% in 2015-16 from 76.4% in 2013-14. This is mainly due to better sanitation in schools under Swachh Bharat.
  • Women centric development: Ujjwala Scheme has provided LPG gas connection to 8 crore women, giving them respite from drudgery of indoor pollution and mortality.
    • Nutrition based programmes targeting women such as POSHAN, Laqshya (Labour room Quality Improvement Initiative) and institutional deliveries has decreased MMR to 122 per lakh (26.9% reduction from 2013)
  • Entrepreneurship: Women SHG’s are given loans of upto 1 Lakh under the MUDRA scheme.
    • NITI Aayog has created Women Entrepreneurship Portal wherein it has handholding programme for women.
  • Women and science: Women-centric programmes under the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) initiative.
    • ‘Women Scientists Program’ provides fellowship to women who have had a break in the career to pursue research in science and engineering.
  • Reproductive health: Maternity Benefit Act has increased the maternity leave to 26 weeks.
    • Pradhan Mantri Matritva Yojana provides cash transfer to women at certain intervals during their pregnancy.

Measures needed to ensure better opportunities for women

  • First would be the introduction of specific policies for women entrepreneurship as a tool to achieve economic empowerment of women.
    • Along with these, the allocation of funds from the corpus of gender-budgets towards women entrepreneurship is necessary for us to encourage women-led businesses.
  • Second, the inclusion of rural entrepreneurs is necessary for us to create change at the grassroots level.
    • For instance, the MSME Procurement Policy of 2018 could be tweaked to mandate 3-5% of public procurement from women-led small businesses.
    • Moreover, the inclusion of women entrepreneurs in debates around public policy, legislation and regulatory frameworks is essential for well-informed decisions to be taken.
  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.
    • Same can extended to Loksabha and Vidhansabhas to increase their participation in governance.

Way forward

  • Learning from the Nordic region, noteworthy participation of women in politics, institutions and public life is the catalyst for transformational change.
  • Women need to be equal participants in the labour force to pioneer the societal changes the world needs in this integral period of transition.
  • Every effort must be directed towards achieving gender parallelism by facilitating women in leadership and decision-making positions.
  • Social protection programmes should be gender-responsive and account for the differential needs of women and girls.
  • Research and scientific literature also provide unequivocal evidence that countries led by women are dealing with the pandemic more effectively than many others.

Value addition

Gender gap in India

  • India scores quite low in when it comes to gender inequality, according to latest UNDP Human development report, India is ranked 125 of 159 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII).
  • Labour participation: In terms of labour participation only 23.3% of women (79.1% men) above 15 years are part of India’s labour force.
  • Wage gap: Research from India’ leading diversity and inclusion consulting firm Avtar Group shows that women are paid 34% less than men for performing the same job with the same qualifications.
  • Lack of Economic Empowerment: Women are underrepresented in senior managerial position and overrepresented in low paying jobs. Oxford Survey shows that globally only 19% firms have a female senior manager.
  • Access to productive capital: It is harder for women to access funds and capital for farming, starting a business or for other developmental works.
  • Secondary Education for women is lower than man in majority of countries while this stands at less than 80% in India.
  • Social norms and stereotypes: Classifying men as “bread winners” and women pursuing jobs as “career women” was reported by Oxford University Survey. It also highlighted that most of the unpaid work is seen as a women’s job.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in India play an important role in India’s economic and social arena with significant contribution to output, employment and exports. Examine the impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) on India’s MSME sector. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question: To write about contribution of MSME in India’s growth and how FTA’s affect MSMEs.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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: 

Begin by giving factual status of proportion of MSME vis-à-vis the population dependent on it also adding the dimension of the demographic demand of India.

Body:

Elaborate upon the importance of MSMEs in socio-economic development of the country. GDP growth, Job creation, exports and entrepreneurship etc.

Mention about the challenges created by FTA’s with respect to MSMEs such as – Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), Import Duties, Non-Tariff Measures, Investment, Rules of Origin (ROO), skilling, linkage with the e commerce industries, upgrading of marketing skills and meeting new market needs etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward and summarising the overall impact of MSMEs in socio-economic development of India.

 

Introduction

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector is the second largest employment generating sector (after agriculture) and accounts for 45% of output in India. This sector plays a crucial role in providing large employment opportunities at comparatively lower capital cost than large industries.

They also help in industrialization of rural and backward areas, thereby, reducing regional imbalances, assuring more equitable distribution of national income and wealth.

Body

Role of MSME sector in economic and social arena

  • Contribution to GDP: With around1 million units throughout the geographical expanse of the country, MSMEs contribute around 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the GDP from service activities.
  • Exports: It contributes around 45% of the overall exports from India.
  • Inclusive growth: MSMEs promote inclusive growth by providing employment opportunities in rural areas especially to people belonging to weaker sections of the society.
  • Financial inclusion: Small industries and retail businesses in tier-II and tier-III cities create opportunities for people to use banking services and products.
  • Promote innovation: It provides opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to build creative products boosting business competition and fuels growth.

Challenges due to FTA on MSME’s

  • Utilisation rates for India’s FTAs are low, due to a failure to disseminate information especially to MSMEs, low preference margins for high export potential goods, placement of export potential items under the sensitive list, and high compliance costs, all of which undermine the value of the FTAs.
  • Non-Tariff measures: The imposition of NTBs poses a challenge for enterprises in developing countries and least developing countries (LDC) to comply with NTBs in order to export.
    • Specifically, the burden is felt most by small and medium enterprises (SME) in these countries who often are unable to comply with these NTBs and the same impede their integration into the global value chains.
    • Ensuring compliance with the ever-changing NTBs of each export market requires SMEs to make costly investments in terms of adapting to requisite production processes, packaging and labelling specifications or undergoing multiple certifications for a singular product.
  • Lack of skilled manpower: The training and development programs in respect of MSME`S development has been. Thus, there has been a constant crunch of skilled manpower in MSMEs.
  • IPRs: MSME’s cannot afford to apply for IPR’s and cannot handle the cumbersome procedure to get one. This excludes it from premium value for its product outside the country.
  • Rules of Origin (ROO): Most of the MSME’s are unaware of this provision and there is information asymmetry which puts them at a disadvantage

Conclusion

MSMEs being the growth engine of economy, there is a need to prepare a roadmap for sector in addition to the ad-hoc initiatives undertaken. Delineation of the objectives, vision, and mission is necessary to give clarity on the path to be treaded. An inclusive, sustainable vision to compete with the global MSMEs, by collaborating the industry groups, researchers, government and other stakeholders is the need of the hour.

 

Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

6. The changing nature of warfare calls for an architecture of a strong strategic defence for India to secure itself against the current geopolitical boil-over and resultant reshaping of multi-polarity. Analyse. (250 words) 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: livemint

 

Why the question: The time has come to secure our geography, democracy and economic well-being. Ukraine is demonstrating that the quality of leadership, political in particular, matters. Our leadership at every level should encourage patriotism and love of the motherland to deliver what the nation needs.

Key Demand of the question: To write about need to develop a strong strategic defence to prepare for a changing nature of warfare and steps needed in that direction.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by providing context regarding the emergence of new forms warfare and explain them in brief.

Body:

In first part, mention the vulnerabilities of India to such warfare – economic losses, loss of autonomy, internal dissension etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to placed – tackling information war, identifying vulnerable areas, creating awareness, proactively taking action against hostile elements etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

Modern war is multifaceted and includes military warfare, a cyberwar, an information war and also economic war, which could cover energy supplies. External support and assistance, however generous, will be inadequate for victory. Our deficiencies are visible in India’s import bills that range from military hardware, combat aircraft, parts and inputs for local production to energy and technology. The answer lies in atmanirbharta (self-reliance), be it for logistical infrastructure including railroads, ports, airports and information highways, et al, or the issue of energy sufficiency.

Body

Vulnerabilities in India that can affect its security due to warfare

  • Dependence on defence equipment: India remained the world’s second-largest arms importer during 2015-19, with Russia as its largest supplier.
    • Although Russia’s share of the Indian weapons market has declined from 72% to 56%, it is still a significant amount.
    • Current war on Ukraine and sanctions against Russia may make defence relations difficult for India.
  • Hostile neighbourhood: India is surrounded by hostile neighbours in the north like China, Pakistan and Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
  • AI and cyber warfare: There are a limited understanding of key questions like- What kind of AI do we want? How much autonomy should be given to the machines on the battlefield? Etc
  • Disinformation and fake news: An adversary can create a parallel reality and use falsehoods to fuel social fragmentation. The idea behind this is to disorient the public and make it difficult for a government to seek public approval for a given policy or operation
    • For instance, Facebook took a hammering over Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. It conceded the following year that up to 10 million Americans had seen advertisements purchased by a Russian agency.
    • For example, Russia’s use of gas and lending instruments in the Ukrainian conflict.
  • Space warfare: Rapid developments in space technology: Emergence of micro and nano satellites, higher maneuvering capabilities among satellites, satellite jammers, compact spy satellites, improved cyber infrastructure etc. have significantly enhanced capacity of a nation to partake in offensive and defensive space operations.
    • India has Anti-Sat and such capabilities but it is nowhere near to USA or China.
  • India has been at the receiving end of variants of Hybrid Warfare.
    • Firstly, from Pakistan in the form of state sponsored terrorism and the other through cyber-threats from China
  • New forms of terrorist attacks: The idea of Hybrid Warfare encourages new forms of terrorist attacks such as ‘lone-wolf’ attacks and creation of ‘sleeper cells’. These attacks are extremely difficult to detect and, in most cases, the financial and ideological source remains anonymous.
    • Adversary could also act on the lines of radicalization of the population, which leads to issues like
    • Communalism, Naxalism and Separatism in the long run.

Securing against such vulnerabilities

  • Institutional measures are needed to keep vulnerabilities in check and estimate possible hybrid threats.
  • Conduct a self-assessment of critical functions and vulnerabilities across all sectors and ensure regular maintenance.
    • For example, regularly upgrading critical Fintech systems in the country.
  • Enhance traditional threat assessment activity to include non-conventional political, economic, civil, international (PECI) tools and capabilities.
  • Creation of multinational frameworks preferably using existing institutions and processes – in order to facilitate cooperation and collaboration across borders.
  • Training of armed forces in hybrid warfare, armed forces have a dual role of protecting civilian population and disabling enemy.
    • Training in special battle techniques, as well as conditioning to overcome urban combat stress.
    • Training in use of technological tools such as smart robots, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
    • Intelligence tools like Real Time Situational Awareness (RTSA) for precise operations.
  • Strengthening the democratic institutions enables government to gain trust of its citizens.
    • This helps government negate various forms of hybrid warfare such as disinformation and radicalization.
    • Inclusion of Civil Society Institutions such as think tanks multiply the government’s capabilities to counter such threats.
  • Investing in Journalism to raise media literacy: Global research shows that 70 percent of uses of the term “hybrid threats” by the media are inaccurate. As a result, investing in journalism will indirectly help citizens in understanding the threat.

 

Conclusion

India must become self-reliant with robust backing of technology. This will secure our borders and frontiers both visible and invisible against intruders. Our foreign policy must be aligned with our national interest and India is rightly doing so in the current geopolitical turmoil.

Value addition

Hybrid warfare

  • It generally refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain warfighting approach.
  • These methods aim to disrupt and disable an opponent’s actions without engaging in open hostilities.
  • The methods adopted by it are a combination of activities, including disinformation, economic manipulation, use of proxies and insurgencies, diplomatic pressure and military actions.
  • It tends to target areas which are highly vulnerable and where maximum damage can be caused with minimum effort.
  • It usually involves non-state actors indulging in subversive roles supported by states in order to give the latter some plausible deniability

 


General Studies – 4


Topic: Citizen’s Charters

7. Explain the basic principles of citizens’ charter movement and bring out its importance. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Conceptual Tuesdays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question: To explain the concept of Moral Relativism using examples.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by defining a citizen charter.

Body:

First, discuss the core principles of a citizen’s charter; Awareness: About citizen’s entitlements; time, period and quality of service delivery, Simple to understand, Moral backing, Accountability: Individual and of organization, Transparency: Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances, Empowerment: Citizens especially weaker sections.

Next, write about the importance of above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

 

Introduction

A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.

 Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizen’s Charters.

 

Body

The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

 

 

Objective of the Citizens’ Charter

Goal of Citizens’ Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.  Six principles of the Citizens’ Charter movement as originally framed were:

  • Quality:Improving the quality of services
  • Choice:Wherever possible
  • Standards:Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met
  • Value:For the taxpayers’ money
  • Accountability:Individuals and Organisations
  • Transparency:Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances

Later on, these were elaborated by the Labour Government as following nine principles of Service Delivery (1998):

  1. Set standards of service
  2. Be open and provide full information
  3. Consult and involve
  4. Encourage access and the promotion of choice
  5. Treat all fairly
  6. Put things right when they go wrong
  7. Use resources effectively
  8. Innovate and improve
  9. Work with other providers
  10. The Indian Scenario

Salient Features of a Citizen’s Charter

The salient features of a Citizen’s Charter are:

  1. Agreed and published standards for service delivery;
  2. Openness and information about service delivery;
  3. ‘Choice’ and Consultation with users;
  4. Courtesy and helpfulness in service delivery; and
  5. Provision of redressal of grievances.

 

Standards: The Charter should lay out explicit standards of service delivery so that users understand what they can reasonably expect from service providers. These standards should be time‐bound, relevant, accurate, measurable and specific.

Information and openness: A key attribute of good service is the availability of relevant and concise information to the users at the right time and at the right place.

Choice and consultation: The Charter should provide choice of services to users wherever practicable. There should be regular and systematic consultation with the users of the service to fix service standards and to ascertain quality of service delivery.

Courtesy and helpfulness: The Charter can help embed a culture of courteous and helpful service from public servants.

Grievance redressal and complaints handling: by facilitating and responding to complaints, the causes for complaint can be reduced. Secondly, by identifying ‘trends’ in complaints, the service provider can resolve systemic and recurring problems.

Problems faced in implementation of Citizen’s charter:

  • One size fits all: Tendency to have a uniform CC for all offices under the parent organization. CC have still not been adopted by all Ministries/Departments. This overlooks local issues.
  • Silo operations: Devoid of participative mechanisms in a majority of cases, not formulated through a consultative process with cutting edge staff who will finally implement it.
  • Non-Dynamic: Charters are rarely updated making it a one-time exercise, frozen in time.
  • Poor design and content: lack of meaningful and succinct CC, absence of critical information that end-users need to hold agencies accountable.
  • Lack of public awareness: only a small percentage of end-users are aware of the commitments made in the CC since effective efforts of communicating and educating the public about the standards of delivery promise have not been undertaken.
  • Stakeholders not consulted: End-users, Civil society organizations and NGOs are not consulted when CCs are drafted. Since a CC’s primary purpose is to make public service delivery more citizen-centric, consultation with stakeholders is a must.
  • Measurable standards of delivery are rarely defined: making it difficult to assess whether the desired level of service has been achieved or not.
  • Poor adherence: Little interest shown by the organizations in adhering to their CC. since there is no citizen friendly mechanism to compensate the citizen if the organization defaults.

Way forward:

  • Wide consultation process: CC be formulated after extensive consultations within the organization followed by a meaningful dialogue with civil society.
  • Participatory process: Include Civil Society in the process: to assist in improvement in the contents of the Charter, its adherence as well as educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.
  • Firm commitments to be made: CC must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery standards to the citizens/consumers in quantifiable terms wherever possible.
  • Redressal mechanism in case of default: clearly lay down the relief which the organization is bound to provide if it has defaulted on the promised standards of delivery.
  • One size does not fit all: formulation of CC should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing only broad guidelines.
  • Periodic updation of CC: preferably through an external agency.
  • Fix responsibility: Hold officers accountable for results: fix specific responsibility in cases where there is a default in adhering to the CC.

Conclusion

Citizen’s Charter is playing a prominent part in ensuring “minimum government & maximum governance”, changing the nature of charters from non-justiciable to justiciable & adopting penalty measures that will make it more efficient & citizen friendly. The Sevottam model proposed by 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission for public Service Delivery can be regarded as a standard model for providing services in citizen centric governance.

 

 


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