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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 April 2022

 

 

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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. What are megaliths? Enumerate the various types of megaliths. Discuss the major arts and crafts of the megalithic age. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The discovery of a number of megalithic stone jars in Assam’s Dima Hasao district has brought to focus possible links between India’s Northeast and Southeast Asia, dating back to the second millennium BC. According to a study in Asian Archaeology, the jars are a “unique archaeological phenomenon”.

Key Demand of the question:  

To write about megaliths, its types and arts and crafts of that age.

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 by defining megaliths and mention the few megalithic sites in India.

Body:

First, write about the various types of megaliths – dolmen, cairn circle, cists, stone circle menhirs etc.

Next, discuss the various arts and crafts of the megalithic people – metallurgy, woodcraft, bead making, pottery, terracotta art, stone cutting and rock art. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about the importance of megalithic arts and crafts.

Introduction

A megalith is a stone which is larger in size and has been used to construct a monument or a structure. The monument or the structure has been constructed either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic has been used to describe buildings built by people living in many different periods from many parts of the world. The construction of this type of structures took place mainly in the Neolithic and continued into the Chalcolithic Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Body:

Important megalithic sites: Adichannalur, T. Narasipur, Jadigenahalli, Hallur, Chandravalli, Brahmagiri and Maski etc.

Various types of megaliths

  • Menhirs
    • Menhirs are like large and tall memorial stones erected to give some clue to the presence of a grave at that place.
    • These stone pillars varied in length between one and a half to about five and a half metres.
    • Menhir graves have mostly been found in Maski and Gulbarga regions of Karnataka.
  • Dolmen
    • In the category of Dolmen graves, the dead body used to be placed on a slab of stone on a raised platform covered from all side with a flat stone slab resting on the four legs of stone erected at the four corners of the dead body.
    • Since it gives a table like look it has been designated as dolmen which loosely means a stone table.
    • Such graves have been found form Brahamgiri in Karnataka and Chingelput form Tamil Nadu.
  • Cist
    • Cist graves also follow a set pattern.
    • The dead body was first buried and small stones erected all around it.
    • Then larger stone slabs were made to rest on the pillars,, providing the grave some sort of a shade.
    • Such megalithic graves have been found from Banda and Mirzapur of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Cairn Circle
    • Cairn Circle type of megaliths consist of several round shaped stones.
    • It seems that first the dead body used to be buried along with iron implements, clay pots or urns and bones of pets and then rounded stones were fixed all around the grave.
    • Such megaliths have been found from Nayakund and Borgoan (Maharashtra) and Chingelput (Tamil Nadu).
  • Monolith
    • Any single standing stone erected in prehistoric times. Sometimes synonymous with “megalith” and “menhir”; for later periods, the word monolith is more likely to be used to describe single stones.
  • Capstone style
    • Single megaliths placed horizontally, often over burial chambers, without the use of support stones.

Major Arts and crafts during Megalithic age

  • The major activities were pottery making, lapidary, smithery, carpentry, basketry and stone cutting etc.
  • Major Metals: iron, copper, gold, silver etc.
  • The archaeological evidence The major implements are axes, ploughshares, hoes, sickles, spades, etc.
  • Carpentry: axes, chisels, wedges, adzes, anvil, borers, hammer stones, etc. were the major tools.
  • Pottery:The major pottery of megalithic culture are black-and-red ware (BRW), burnished black ware, red ware, micaccous red ware, grey ware, russet coated painted ware (RCPW), etc.
  • Other crafts: Bead making, Mat weaving, Stone cutting, Terracotta making, Rock art, etc.

Measures needed to safeguard these fast-disappearing monuments

  • Belying their historical significance, megalithic burial sites today are found in various states of neglect.
  • Governments should build megalithic parks to help preserve these fast-disappearing monuments.
  • The threats of encroachment and destruction should be warded off by classifying them as monuments of importance by ASI and development of no-construction zones in 200m radius of the monuments
  • AMASR act should be implemented in true letter and spirit to safeguards these treasure troves of history of our ancestors.
  • Funds from CSR and schemes like Hamari Dharohar should be implemented.
  • The local self-governments should be given the responsibility of developing eco-tourism which could help their income as well as safeguard the monuments.

Conclusion:

Prehistoric Megaliths or large stone constructions dating before the advent of written history are found in huge numbers in all parts of India. Their economy was primarily subsistent economy.

Value addition

Importance of Megaliths

  • Megaliths are a vital element of landscape and for historical reasons they are a sui generis monument, commemorating prehistorical cultures.
  • Burial practices: Megaliths were constructed either as burial sites or commemorative (non-sepulchral) memorials. This helps identify various communities and contact between them by comparing burial practices.
  • Socio-religious beliefs: Goods of daily use have been found in megaliths used as graves. This reflects the belief of megalith people in life after death and belief in existence of soul.
  • Economic life: Goods related to hunting are found more as compared to agriculture. This signifies the fact that megalith people were hunter gatherers and did not practice advanced agriculture. Evidences of seeds of rice, wheat, millet, Barley, Pea etc. have been found in Megaliths.
  • Polity: Fact that megalith construction required efforts of a group of people points towards an organized polity. Also these were not built for commoners. They signify the emergence of a ruling class.
  • Technology: The range of iron artifacts recovered indicate that the megalithic people practiced a wide range of occupations and included carpenters, cobblers, bamboo craftsmen, lapidaries engaged in gemstone work, blacksmiths, coppersmiths and goldsmiths, proof of complex social organization.
  • Megaliths find mention in Sangam literature and Buddhist work Manimeklai.
  • At the same time, along with the remaining elements of the natural and cultural environment, they create a unique image of place identity, attracting large numbers of tourists.

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2. India is witnessing one of the largest urban growth spurts in history. This gives an unprecedented opportunity to look at urban planning and development through a long-term strategic lens to enable economic, environment and social impact. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The IPCC’s latest report shows how smart urban planning can mitigate the effects of climate change. The Union budget 2022 had announced the formation of a high-level committee of planners, economists and institutions to make recommendations on urban sector policies. The finance minister said that by the time India turns 100, nearly half the population will be living in urban areas, making it imperative to not only nurture India’s mega cities but also facilitate tier-2 and tier-3 cities to gear up for the future.

Key Demand of the question:  

To analyse the opportunity presented by the growing urbanisation trend and how to maximise it.

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 citing a statistic about the fast developing urbanisation in India.

Body:

First, write about the opportunities in economy, environment and society due the growth in urbanisation.

Next, write about the various constraints and bottlenecks which will hinder proper urban planning and implementation in order to above to realise the above opportunities – affordable housing, issues of urban slums, waste management, poor drainage.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to address the above concerns.

Introduction

India has witnessed rapid urbanisation in recent years. Over 34% of our population is currently living in cities. By 2050, this number is projected to cross 50%. Urban infrastructure development results in high economic value-add but often leads to unequal and inequitable growth. As a developing economy, negative externalities such as  air and water pollution, climate change, flooding, and extreme heat events also impinge on the economic value of urban infrastructure.

Body

Boons provided by Urbanization

  • Over the last two decades, cities have emerged as the world’s economic platforms for production, innovation and trade.
  • The rapid economic growth usually associated with urbanisation can be partially attributed to structural transformation, as labour moves from the agricultural sector to industry and services.
  • Urban areas offer significant opportunities for both formal and informal employment, generating a sizeable share of new private sector jobs.
  • Urbanization has helped millions escape poverty through increased productivity, employment opportunities, improved quality of life and large-scale investment in infrastructure and services.
  • The transformative power of urbanization has in part, been facilitated by the rapid deployment of Information and Communications Technology.
  • It can also be attributed to agglomeration and scale economies, as proximity and density reduce the per capita costs of providing infrastructure and service.
  • Urbanization helps in creating knowledge spill-overs and specialisation that hugely enhance the productivity of urban residents.

 

Lacunae in current schema of urban planning:

  • The new Indian urban landscapeis being designed around grand concepts such as smart cities and export-oriented industrial corridors.
  • Cities are built mostly on economic terms without considering or less importance to cultural and recreational aspects of human beings.
  • Town and country planning acts in India have largely remained unchanged over the past 50 years, relying on techniques set up by the British.
  • Cities still create land use and regulatory control-based master plans which, on their own, are ineffective in planning and managing cities.
  • Despite the many changes brought about by modernisation, the focus of planning continues to be the strict division of the city into various homogeneous zones such as residential, commercial and industrial.
  • The cities do not cater for environmental disasters.
  • Master plans face prolonged delays in preparation, sanctioning and implementation.
  • They lack the mandate for integration with other sectoral infrastructure plans which largely remain as wishlists.
  • Inter-agency negotiations remain out of the scope of the master planning process.
  • They tend to take a static, broad-brush approach to cities that have dynamic fine-grained structures and local specificities. In most cases, they end up having a low implementation rate.

Way forward

  • Indian cities should transition to using master plans for developing a shared vision and stating desired long-term outcomes as a regulatory control tool.
  • Strategic plans should be developed every five years to increase a city’s competitiveness and help it achieve its strategic goals with respect to sustainability and economic development by identifying key projects to be implemented.
  • Local area plans should be developed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of citizens through public participation, contextualising local challenges, needs and ambitions, while supporting the overall objectives of the master plan.
  • Cities should also aim to mainstream the use of spatialised social, economic and environmental data to create robust links across the urban- rural continuum.
  • Plans are about people and not just physical spaces.
  • Building consensus around future growth and development, with a focus on climate action, economic and social integration, is crucial.
  • Such a participatory process is what will help build a vibrant, inclusive and liveable urban India.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. The recently signed Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and U.K has opened new avenues for cooperation between the two countries which can lead to building of a lasting partnership. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The U.K. Foreign Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, visited New Delhi as a part of a wider diplomatic push. She had visited India last October. Ms. Truss met with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and also participated in the inaugural edition of the India-U.K. Strategic Futures Forum, a Track 1.5 Dialogue.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about the historical ties between India and U.K and opportunities created by Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by providing context of India-U.K relations, the historical angle, aftermath of Brexit and global geo-political turmoil.

Body:

Start by writing about the scale of existing relations with Britain. Mention the changes brought in Brexit.

Next, write about the opportunities for collaboration between India and Britain in the aftermath of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Trade, tourism, diaspora, investments and commonwealth.

Mention the obstacles: duty reductions on autos, wines and spirits and wanted India to open financial sectors such as banking and insurance, postal, legal, accountancy, maritime and security and retail. India, as always, sought free movement for service professionals.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward as to how these countries sharing a common history can have a win-win relationship.

Introduction

India and UK are bound by strong ties of history and culture. In 2021, India & UK agreed on a common vision of a new and transformational Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and adopted an ambitious India-UK Roadmap to 2030 to steer cooperation for the next 10 years.

The recent visit of U.K. Foreign Secretary to India and participation in the inaugural edition of India-U.K. Strategic Futures Forum, a Track 1.5 Dialogue, has emphasized that the bilateral relationship is indeed on an upward trajectory.

Body

New avenues for cooperation between India and the UK

  • Democracy power

 

  • countering Russian aggression and reducing global strategic dependence on Moscow by underlining the importance of democracies working cohesively to deter aggressors.

 

  • Indo-Pacific Initiative

 

  • The U.K. will join India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a major partner on maritime security issues in Southeast Asia.
  • Defence cooperation
    • India is a key strategic partner for the U.K. and was underscored by signing of Defence and International Security Partnership between India and the U.K. in 2015.
  • Joint cyber security programme
  • A new joint cyber security programme is set to be announced to protect online infrastructure as both parties attempt to carry out joint exercises to combat threats from cyber criminals and ransomware.
  • Strategic Tech Dialogue
  • India and the U.K. plan to hold the first Strategic Tech Dialogue, a ministerial-level summit on emerging technologies.
  • British International Investment funding
  • The U.K. has confirmed 70 million euro of British International Investment funding to support the usage of renewable energy in India.
  • India–U.K. Free Trade Agreement
  • In January, India and U.K. managed to conclude the first round of talks for an India–U.K. Free Trade Agreement.
  • The negotiations reflected shared ambitions to secure a comprehensive deal between the fifth and sixth largest economies in the world as both sides covered over 26 policy areas.
  • Other areas of cooperation
  • Fintech, Market regulation, Sustainable and green finance & Cyber security are some of the niche areas where India and UK can cooperate.

Way forward

  • Indian and UK Government should prioritise trade talks and do more to lay the groundwork for an eventual deal.
  • Starting out with improving access to targeted support for UK businesses in India, particularly start-ups and smaller businesses – could be the way out to improve the business environment in India.
  • UK and India’s convergence of interests in the Indian Ocean region offers an important opportunity to increase engagement on defence and security.
  • Hence, both nations should promote standards of transparency and sustainability for infrastructure projects in the region
  • With the UK expanding its footprint in the Indo-Pacific and India working toward gaining prominence as the net security provider in the region, both countries’ aspirations and future seem to be intertwined. Hence, the imperative for thorough execution.
  • New geopolitical realities demand a new strategic and it is time to seize the moment to lay the foundations of a partnership that can respond adequately to the challenges of the 21st century.
  • India needs to recognise the lack of harmony between different strands of the relationship. Long joint statements and unreachable ambition are not the answer. Arriving at common ground on issues troubling India should be the foremost concern
  • This relationship has had many beginnings. Just to stay in the game, we have to concede to geopolitics. Britain (post- Brexit) and India (with the China challenge) need partners. Given India’s difficulties amid the pandemic, Britain has early advantage
  • Hence, the need to bank on the profound ties of culture, history and language to further deepen relations between India and UK.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Understanding how the primary and secondary markets work is key to understanding how stocks, bonds, and other securities trade. Compare and contrast primary and secondary capital markets. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

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 the differences between primary and secondary capital markets.

Directive word: 

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by mentioning the role of capital markets in the economy.

Body:

Compare and contrast primary and secondary capital markets on the various following parameters – Definition, types of purchasing, nature of buying and selling, role of intermediaries, price levels, organisation of markets, advantages and disadvantages. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Capital market is a market where buyers and sellers engage in trade of financial securities like bonds, stocks, etc. The buying/selling is undertaken by participants such as individuals and institutions. This is the long-term financial market of an economy, where capital are raised for a period of minimum 365 days and above.

“primary market” and “secondary market” are both distinct terms; the primary market refers to the market where securities are created, while the secondary market is one in which they are traded among investors.

Body

Features of Primary Market

  • A company turns to the primary market for its long term capital needs. Fulfilling the need for long term capital is, therefore, a feature of a primary market.
  • A fresh issue of securities takes place in the primary market. The buyers are usually institutional investors and retail investors.

Features of Secondary Market

  • The secondary market helps companies fulfil short-term liquidity requirements. It facilitates the marketability of existing securities.
  • It also ensures true and fair dealing for the protection of the investor’s interest.

Differences: Primary Market vs Secondary Market

  • Securities that are issued in a market are referred to as the primary market. When the company gets listed on an exchange and its stocks are then traded among investors, it is called the secondary market.
  • The primary market is also known as a ‘new issue market’ and the secondary market is known as an ‘after issue market.’ Depending upon the demand and supply of the securities traded the prices in the secondary market vary. But, the prices in the primary market are fixed.
  • In the primary market, investors have an option to purchase the shares directly from the company, whereas in the secondary market, the investors buy and sell the securities among themselves.
  • Investment bankers do the selling in a primary market. In the secondary market, the broker acts as an intermediary while the trading is done.
  • In the primary market, the company stands to gain from the sale of a security. While in the secondary market, investors stand to gain any sort of capital appreciation from the securities.
  • The securities in the primary market can only be sold once, while in the secondary market sale and purchase is a continuous process.
  • The amount that is received from the securities becomes capital for a company whereas; in the case of the secondary market, the same reflects the income for investors.

Similarities between Primary Secondary Markets are follows:

  • Listing:
    • The securities issued in the primary market are invariably listed on a recognized stock exchange for dealings in them.
    • Further trading in secondary market can also be carried out only via a stock exchange platform.
    • The listing on stock exchanges provides liquidity as well as marketability to the securities and facilitates discovery of prices for them.
  • Control By Stock Exchanges:
    • Via the mechanism of Listing Agreement between the issuer companies and the stock exchange the stock exchanges exercise considerable control over the new issues as well securities already listed on the stock exchange.
    • Exchanges ensure that there is continuous compliance by the issuer company of the clauses provided in the Listing Agreement.

Conclusion

The two financial markets — primary market and secondary market, play a major role in the mobilization of money and help develop the economy. Countries with robust financial markets make it easier for companies to access funds and grow faster.

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

5. Examine the impact of the pandemic on the MSME sector. What steps are required to make the MSME sector more resilient to external shocks in the future? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Despite many initiatives by governments since Independence, the sector has been facing challenges in its quest for survival and growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the vulnerability of the MSME sector.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of the pandemic on the MSME sector and steps needed to make the sector more resilient.

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 MSME sector and slowdown it faced during the pandemic.

Body:

First, write about the role of MSME sector in the economy of the country by citing statistics.

Next, write about impact of the pandemic on the sector – Disproportionate Impact, Reduced operating Capacity, Supply/Demand Fluctuations, Credit Vulnerabilities etc.

Next, mention various measures taken by the government and further steps needed to make it resilient to external shocks in the future.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Micro, Small & Medium enterprises (MSME) termed as “engine of growth “for India, has played a prominent role in the development of the country in terms of creating employment opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic has left its impact on all sectors of the economy but nowhere is the hurt as much as the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) of India.

The government, in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has now launched a series of measures to alleviate their distress.

Body:

Impact of COVID on MSME sector:

  • A recently conducted survey finds that production in SMEs has fallen from an average of 75% to 13%.
  • With 110 million employed by Indian SMEs, it is crucial to ensure adequate institutional support, failing which we might see an even larger impact on livelihoods.
  • SMEs also account for a third of India’s GDP, 45% of manufacturing output and 48% of exports and hence are crucial to manufacturing and export competitiveness.
  • With SMEs’ operational challenges exacerbated by Covid-19, it is all the more important to focus on this sector.
  • SMEs will be vital in absorbing a significant proportion of the 600 million entrants to the labour market in EMEs by 2030.
  • With a large proportion of these entrants bound to be from India, it is imperative that the Union and state governments ensure financial and institutional support for SMEs.
  • In terms of location, SMEs are relatively evenly distributed in comparison to larger organisations.
  • Rural areas account for 45%, while the remaining are in urban areas. Hence, SMEs are well-poised to address poverty in both the cities and villages.
  • Although the proportion of urban poverty has declined over the years, it has increased in absolute terms.
  • In 2018, Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai had anywhere between 42-55% of their population living in slums. This number is certain to have increased in the pandemic.

Other issues:

  • Low ICT usage.
  • Low market penetration.
  • Quality assurance/certification.
  • IPR related issues.
  • Quality assurance/certification.
  • Standardization of products and proper marketing channels to penetrate new markets.

Measures needed:

  • Recently, The Union Cabinet approved a USD 808 million or Rs 6,062.45 crore, World Bank assisted programme on “Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP).
  • Government of India and banks should design plans and measures to widen easy, hassle-free access to credit.
  • The RBI should bring stringent norms for Non-Performing Assets (NPA) and it will help curbing loan defaulters and motivate potential good debts. Further, according to critics, the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSME (CGTMSE) run by SIDBI is a growing contingent liability and needs to be examined with urgency
  • Government should provide enhanced development and upgradation of existing rail & road network and other infrastructure facilities in less developed and rural areas to boost growth and development of MSMEs
  • There should proper research and development in respect of innovative method of production and service rendering. Further, the government should promote and subsidise the technical know-how to Micro and small enterprises.
  • Government should encourage procurement programme, credit and performance ratings and extensive marketing support to revive the growth of sick units.
  • Skill development and imparting training to MSME workers is a crucial step to increase the productivity of the sector. The government should emphasise predominantly on skill development and training programs
  • With Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the Centre has taken several steps redefining MSMEs, credit access, subordinate debt, preference in government tenders towards ‘energising the MSME sector’.
  • It has also launched the MSME Udyam portal for registration, though this is not mandatory. Information asymmetry on government schemes and incentives on registration must be addressed.
  • MSMEs need to be better integrated into the digital economy to expand their market access, diversify their customer base and solidify their supply chain.
  • Industry and the Indian economy along with MSMEs would reap the benefits of leveraging technology, that will have positive ripple effects on the nation’s GDP and the creation of more jobs.

Way forward:

  • The traditional concept of apprenticeship, which involves part-time work and is a widely accepted skilling practice, especially in weaving, handicraft and manufacturing units, does not find mention in India’s wage-protection rule-books. This oversight can be fixed via coverage by either the wage code or social security code rules, or perhaps the Shops and Establishments Act rules, as deemed appropriate
  • Efforts need to focus on quality manufacturing, with the use of automation to enhance operations, and the exploration of new markets through e-commerce.
  • This would require a holistic approach of hand-holding existing manufacturers in the sector, equipping both managers and their workforces with appropriate skills, and educating them on new technologies and standardization norms, even as we expose them to new market avenues and instil confidence in them that the country’s ecosystem would assist them in their expansion plans.
  • New MSMEs, especially, should be encouraged to start off with this advantage.
  • Skilling plans in accordance with sector-wise requirements will enable us to create appropriate job opportunities not just in India but also across the globe, as various developed economies need skilled manpower in a swathe of industries that cover manufacturing, software and healthcare.
  • Indian policies need to be revisited so that discrepancies are removed and we encourage small units to take advantage of e-com platforms.

Conclusion:       

Thus, Indian MSME sector is the backbone of the national economic structure and acts as a bulwark for Indian economy, providing resilience to ward off global economic shocks and adversities. Given the important role played by the sector in the economy, issues faced by it must be addressed on an urgent basis to revive the economy battered by the pandemic. Apart from the fiscal stimulus, the sector requires a political-economy approach that prioritizes MSME interests. India needs to ease the regulatory burden of small units and aid their survival through fiscal support. Above all, they need a level-playing field vis-à-vis big businesses.

Value addition

Potential of India’s MSME sector:

  • Contribution to GDP: The share of MSMEs in the country’s gross value added is estimated to be about 32%.
  • Leveraging Exports: It also contributes about 40% to total exports and 45% to manufacturing output.
  • Employment Opportunities: It employs 60 million people, creates 1.3 million jobs every year and produces more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets.
  • Diversity: There are approximately 30 million MSME Units in India and is quite diverse in terms of its size, level of technology employed, range of products and services provided and target markets.
  • Fostering Inclusive Growth: MSME is constructing inclusive growth in numerous ways through promoting non- agricultural livelihood at least cost, unbiased regional development, large female participation, and providing a protection against deflation.

The challenges and concerns associated with the growth of MSME sector:

  • Access to Credit:
    • According to Economic Survey (2017-18), MSME sector faces a major problem in terms of getting adequate credit for expansion of business activities.
    • The Survey had pointed out that the MSME received only 17.4 per cent of the total credit outstanding.
    • Most banks are reluctant to lend to MSMEs because from the perspective of bankers, inexperience of these enterprises, poor financials, lack of collaterals and infrastructure.
    • According to a 2018 report by the International Finance Corporation, the formal banking system supplies less than one-third (or about Rs 11 lakh crore) of the credit MSME credit need that it can potentially fund
    • most of the MSME funding comes from informal sources and this fact is crucial because it explains why the Reserve Bank of India’s efforts to push more liquidity towards the MSMEs have had a limited impact.
  • Poor Infrastructure:
    • With poor infrastructure, MSMEs’ production capacity is very low while production cost is very high.
  • Access to modern Technology:
    • The lack of technological know-how and financial constraints limits the access to modern technology and consequently the technological adoption remains low.
  • Access to markets:
    • MSMEs have poor access to markets. Their advertisement and sales promotion are comparatively weaker than that of the multinational companies and other big companies.
    • The ineffective advertisement and poor marketing channels makes it difficult for them to compete with large companies.
  • Legal hurdles:
    • Getting statutory clearances related to power, environment, labour are major hurdles.
    • Laws related to the all aspects of manufacturing and service concern are very complex and compliance with these laws are difficult.
  • 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

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. Evaluate the various measures taken by the government to reduce the growing air pollution and improve the quality of air. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

Some 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India according to the World Air Quality Report, 2020. The India State Level Disease Burden Initiative published in Lancet Planetary Health in December 2020, indicated 1.7 million deaths in India were attributable to air pollution in 2019.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the steps taken so far to tackle air pollution and suggest further steps to improve the quality of air

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to 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 the answer by giving air pollution statistics in India.

Body:

In brief, write about the impact of air pollution in India.

Next, write about the various policy measures like Air Pollution Act, National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), Commission for Air Quality Management, Graded Response Action Plan, National Ambient Air Quality Standard, FAME phase II and vehicle Scrappage Policy etc. Write about their performance in tackling air performance – their successes and limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India according to the World Air Quality Report, 2020. The India State Level Disease Burden Initiative published in Lancet Planetary Health in December 2020, indicated 1.7 million deaths in India were attributable to air pollution in 2019.

Body

Impact of air pollution on the economy:

  • Beyond health costs, air pollution can also hurt the economy in other ways.
  • According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), India had the highest share of welfare costs (or a loss of income from labour), of about $220 billion (about ₹1.4 trillion), in South and South-East Asia of a combined total of $380 billion from mortality due to air pollution.
  • In addition to human lives lost, there’s an estimated global cost of $225 billion in lost labour, and trillions in medical costs, Greenpeace report says.
  • Government is keen to ascend the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” chart, but images of people walking around Delhi in safety masks do little to attract investment.
  • In a 2018 study, Jamie Hansen-Lewis of Brown University finds that air pollution hurts productivity in India’s labour-intensive industries.
  • She estimates that bringing the country’s air to global standards would lead to a small increase in profits of 0.3% across manufacturing companies with more pronounced effects in labour-intensive firms. Similarly, pollution is also hurting agriculture by stifling crop productivity.
  • A 2014 study estimated that air pollutants were responsible for 19% of the loss in yields in wheat production in India in 2010.

Government efforts in dealing with air pollution:

  • The Centre has launched the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) I India scheme in 2015 to reduce pollution caused by diesel and petrol-operated vehicles and to promote electric and hybrid vehicles in India.
  • The FAME phase II scheme has been extended for two years to drive greater adoption of the scheme.
  • The Vehicle Scrappage Policy, launched August 13, 2021, is a government-funded programme to replace old vehicles with modern and new vehicles on Indian roads. The policy is expected to reduce pollution, create job opportunities and boost demand for new vehicles.
  • The prime minister in August 2021, announced the enhancement of target to 20 per cent for ethanol blending in petrol by 2025 in order to further lower carbon emissions and improve air quality.
  • In August 2021, the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 were notified, which are aimed at phasing out single-use plastic by 2022. The Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic and e-waste management has been introduced.
  • The Indian Railways has set a target of net zero carbon emission by 2030 primarily through sourcing its energy requirement through renewable energy and 100 per cent electrification for reduction of carbon emission by December 2023.
  • The implementation of the Green India Mission (GIM) has been undertaken to increase green cover in India to the extent of five million hectares (mha) and improve the quality of existing green cover on another five mha.
  • The government acknowledged air pollution as a pan–India problem with the drafting of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was intended to build and strengthen the institutional capacity to monitor air quality across India, carry out indigenous studies to understand the health impacts of air pollution and create a national emission inventory.

Way forward

  • Short term measures should be accompanied by measures that increase the forest cover of the land and provide farmers with an alternative to burning the remains of their crops.
  • An innovative approach could be to use climate change funds to turn farm residues into a resource, using technological options such as converting them into biofuels and biofertilizers.
  • Proactive engagements are necessary to persuade and reassure farmers.
  • It is important to find other uses for stubble such as biomass, which may encourage farmers to look for alternative sources of income.
  • India should at least now give high importance to the WHO warning about air pollution being the new tobacco. Sharply escalated, deterrent parking fees can be implemented.
  • From an urban development perspective, large cities should reorient their investments to prioritise public transport, favouring electric mobility.
  • Incentives for adoption of alternate mobility technologies should be promoted.
  • The World Bank has said it is keen to enhance its lending portfolio to tackle air pollution, opening a new avenue for this.
  • Governments should make the use of personal vehicles in cities less attractive through strict road pricing mechanisms like Congestion tax, Green-house Gas tax
  • Need to speed up the journey towards LPG and solar-powered stoves.
  • Addressing vehicular emissions is within India’s grasp but requires a multi-pronged approach. It needs to combine the already-proposed tighter emission norms (in form of BS VI), with a push for shared mobility and public transport and adoption of alternate mobility technologies.
  • NCAP should take precedence from emerging practices in the country—pollution cess in Delhi on truck entry, big diesel cars, and diesel fuel sales and the coal cess—to generate dedicated funds to finance clean air action plan.
  • Tackle road dust by mechanised sweeping and water-sprinkling but what would be more beneficial is if the sides of the roads could be paved or covered with grass that holds the soil together and stops the production of the dust in the first place.
  • Attention to non-technological aspects such as urban planning, to reduce driving, and to increase cycling, walking, and use of public transport are needed.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: accountability and ethical governance

7. Does accountability foster ethical or morally responsible behaviour in public servants? Critically analyse. (150 Words)

Difficulty Level: Tough

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.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Key Demand of the question: To write about the role of accountability in fostering ethical behaviour and its limitations.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by defining accountability.

Body:

Write about how accountability and its various mechanisms to enforce it leads to ethical behaviour in public servants – Code of ethics, vigilance RTI, Lokpal and courts make civil servants act ethically and prevent any divergent behaviour. However, mention that despite having accountability mechanisms public servants have acted unethically. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning ways to create stronger accountability mechanisms.

Introduction

Accountability in ethics is taking ownership for outcomes (successes or failures) while addressing performance issues fairly and promptly. The ability of citizens to demand accountability and more open government is fundamental to good governance. Ethics and accountability are important elements for modern government as in majority of the countries, there is a severe crisis of legitimacy.

Body

Accountability ensures ethical responsible behaviour

  • Accountability ensures rule of law and respect for institutions.
  • It ensures transparency in operations by having checks and balances and time-bound service delivery.
  • It ensures commitment to promises, manifestos and citizen’s charters.
  • It empowers citizens and aids their development through citizen-centric policies.
  • It ensures judicious use of public funds and resources and hence, infuses the efficiency in governance.
  • It reduces corruption and builds trust among the governors and the governed.
  • Ensures that the grass roots level problems are effectively addressed.
  • Improves last mile outreach and helps bring in a change in attitude of bureaucracy.

However, there are instances where Accountability is ignored

  • RTI Act is blatantly ignored by emphasizing more on Official Secrets Act.
  • Conflicts of Interest are often seen especially in cases of tenders for Govt projects.
  • Corruption is still a searing wound festering in the fields of Governance.

Conclusion

Accountability is intended to make public officials answerable for their behaviour and responsive to the entity from which they derive their authority. Accountability also indicates establishing criteria to measure the performance of public officials, as well as oversight mechanisms to ensure that standards are met.

Value addition

Ways to build and maintain a culture of accountability in government organisations

To Ensure effective accountability, the following steps can be taken

  • Protection of whistle-blowers through legislation.
  • Mechanisms like social audit in MGNREGA, Gram Sabha involves people in decision making process. This ensures accountability as well as equality principle as decision making is not left in the hands of few people.
  • E-Governance initiatives for providing an accountable administration include a framework for efficient handling of public grievances through the Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) which is already in place.
  • Encouraging Citizens’ Participation through RTI in local languages.
  • Citizen’s Charter can be used for improving the delivery of goods and services provided by the Government. 
  • Lokpal and Lokayuktas being independent investigation agencies can make an impartial enquiry on corruption related offences across all public organizations.
  • Promoting Competition and discouraging monopolistic attitude among the public service sectors
  • System of checks and balance makes sure there is no concentration of power and each organ accountable for their actions. Thus, governance is carried in the interests of people. Ex: Judiciary through Review power(A-32) strikes down laws which are inconsistent with constitutional values

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