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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 June 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 is the importance of studying pre-history? What information do we have on the cultural aspects of stone age in India? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about importance of studying pre-history and its cultural aspects.

Directive word:

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving a brief time period of pre-historic times in India and its various sub classifications.

Body:

First, write about the importance of studying pre-history – understanding evolution, beginning of agricultural societies, racial studies etc. Cite examples.

Next, write about the cultural aspects of stone age – the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic cultural aspects.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Prehistory, also called the prehistoric period, refers to the period extending back when there was no writing and no engagement with written documentation. The beginning of prehistory is indicated with the origin of the earliest representatives of genus Homo (comprising the modern humans and the group of their close extinct ancestors – detailed in Unit 2 of this course). This evidence is currently dated between 5-2 million years before present (BP) in Africa, approximately one million years ago in Europe and Asia, an estimated 40,000 years BP in Australia, and even less in America.

Body

About the pre-historic age and importance of studying it

  • A study of prehistory and its sources is important to comprehend the nature of the past where there was no written documentation. This will also help us to identify and compare the transition from prehistory to the historical period.
  • The recovery of knowledge of the past is the central concern of historical research.
    • The history of human settlements in India goes back to prehistoric times.
    • No written records are available for the prehistoric period. However, plenty of archaeological remains are found in different parts of India to reconstruct the history of this period.
    • They include the stone tools, pottery, artifacts and metal implements used by pre-historic people.
  • The development of archaeology helps much to understand the life and culture of the people who lived in this period.
  • In the absence of written records from this period, artefacts or material remains form the primary source of understanding prehistory. The material remains are available mostly in the form of stone tools, the remains of animals, human fossils, biofacts and cultural landscapes.
  • It also gives a foray into the evolution of modern civilisation and also human beings as a species. The development of society from barbarism to civilisation without written records needs to be understood to comprehend present conditions.

Aspects of stone age in India

In India, the prehistoric period is divided into the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), Neolithic (New Stone Age) and the Metal Age.

  • Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age: In the Old Stone Age, food was obtained by hunting animals and gathering edible plants and tubers.
    • Therefore, these people are called as hunter-gatherers.
    • They used stone tools, hand-sized and flaked-off large pebbles for hunting animals.
    • Their way of life became modified with the passage of time since they made attempts to domesticate animals, make crude pots and grow some plants.
    • A few Old Stone Age paintings have also been found on rocks at Bhimbetka and other places.
  • Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age: The next stage of human life is called Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age which falls roughly from 10000 B.C. to 6000 B.C. It was the transitional phase between the Paleolithic Age and Neolithic Age.
    • Mesolithic remains are found in Langhanj in Gujarat, Adamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and also in some places of Rajasthan, Utter Pradesh and Bihar.
    • The paintings and engravings found at the rock shelters give an idea about the social life and economic activities of Mesolithic people.
    • In the sites of Mesolithic Age, a different type of stone tools is found. These are tiny stone artifacts, often not more than five centimetres in size, and therefore called microliths.
  • Neolithic Age: A remarkable progress is noticed in human civilization in the Neolithic Age. It is approximately dated from 6000 B.C to 4000 B.C. Neolithic remains are found in various parts of India. These include the Kashmir valley, Chirand in Bihar, Belan valley in Uttar Pradesh and in several places of the Deccan.
    • The chief characteristic features of the Neolithic culture are the practice of agriculture, domestication of animals, polishing of stone tools and the manufacture of pottery.
    • In fact, the cultivation of plants and domestication of animals led to the emergence of village communities based on sedentary life.
    • There was a great improvement in technology of making tools and other equipment used by man.
    • Stone tools were now polished.
    • The polished axes were found to be more effective tools for hunting and cutting trees.
    • Mud brick houses were built instead of grass huts. Wheels were used to make pottery.
    • Pottery was used for cooking as well as storage of food grains. Large urns were used as coffins for the burial of the dead
  • Metal Age: The Neolithic period is followed by Chalcolithic (copper-stone) period when copper and bronze came to be used.
    • The new technology of smelting metal ore and crafting metal artifacts is an important development in human civilization.
  • Iron Age: Iron is frequently referred to in the Vedas. The Iron Age of the southern peninsula is often related to Megalithic Burials. Megalith means Large Stone. The burial pits were covered with these stones. Such graves are extensively found in South India. Some of the important megalithic sites are Hallur and Maski in Karnataka, Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh and Adichchanallur in Tamil Nadu.

Conclusion

As no written records are available for the prehistoric period, it is difficult to authenticate the information at hand. However, plenty of archaeological remains are found in different parts of India to reconstruct the history of this period. They include the stone tools, pottery, artifacts and metal implements used by pre-historic people. The development of archaeology helps much to understand the life and culture of the people who lived in this period

 

Topic: population and associated issues

2. Sustained growth of the India’s older population presents many socio-economic challenges. We must quickly recognize the scope of the new demographic reality and adjust current policies accordingly. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hinduinsights on India

Why the question:

A national survey carried out by the NGO HelpAge India has shown that as many as 47% of elderly people are economically dependent on their families for income and 34% are relied on pensions and cash transfers, while 40% of the surveyed people have expressed the desire to work “as long as possible”, highlighting the need to pay greater attention to social security of senior citizens in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the socio-economic issues faced by the elderly and the need to accommodate the same in the policy making.

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 citing statistic regarding the elderly population in India.

Body:

First, write about the various issues with population aging – affects economic growth, formal and informal social support systems, and the ability of states and communities to provide resources for older citizens.

Next, write about the various policies framed so far for welfare of senior citizens and their limitations.

Next, write about the changes that are needed in the above policies.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

In 2009, there were 88 million elderly people in India. By 2050, this figure is expected to soar over 320 million. Between 2000 and 2050 the overall population of the country is anticipated to grow by 60 per cent whereas population of people of age 60 years and above would shoot by 360 per cent. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was cleared by the Cabinet recently

Body:

Challenges posed by growing elderly population in India:

  • Isolation and loneliness among the elderly is rising.
    • Nearly half the elderly felt sad and neglected, 36 per cent felt they were a burden to the family.
  • Rise in age-related chronic illness:
    • Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases will cause more death and illness worldwide than infectious or parasitic diseases over the next few years.
    • In developed nations, this shift has already happened. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are expected to almost double every 20 years, as life expectancy increases.
  • Special challenges for less developed nations:
    • Poorer countries will carry the double burden of caring for older people with chronic diseases, as well as dealing with continued high rates of infectious diseases.
  • Increasing need for long-term care:
    • The number of sick and frail elderly needing affordable nursing homes or assisted living centers will likely increase.
  • Rise in the Health care costs:
    • As older people stop working and their health care needs increase, governments could be overwhelmed by unprecedented costs.
    • While there may be cause for optimism about population aging in some countries, the Pew survey reveals that residents of countries such as Japan, Italy, and Russia are the least confident about achieving an adequate standard of living in old age.
  • Elderly women issues:
    • They face life time of gender-based discrimination. The gendered nature of ageing is such that universally, women tend to live longer than men.
    • In the advanced age of 80 years and above, widowhood dominates the status of women with 71 per cent of women and only 29 per cent of men having lost their spouse.
    • Social mores inhibit women from re-marrying, resulting in an increased likelihood of women ending up alone.
    • The life of a widow is riddled with stringent moral codes, with integral rights relinquished and liberties circumvented.
    • Social bias often results in unjust allocation of resources, neglect, abuse, exploitation, gender-based violence, lack of access to basic services and prevention of ownership of assets.
    • Ageing women are more likely to get excluded from social security schemes due to lower literacy and awareness levels.
  • Ageing individual is expected to need health care for a longer period of time than previous generations but elderly care for a shorter period of time

Roadmap for elderly care with passage of time

  • As a signatory to Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), India has the responsibility to formulate and implement public policy on population ageing.
  • Issues of poverty, migration, urbanization, realization and feminization compound the complexity of this emerging phenomenon. Public policy must respond to this bourgeoning need and mainstream action into developmental planning.
  • Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.
  • The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
  • With the WHO declaring 2020 to 2030 as “Decade of Healthy Ageing”, there is a need for Institutes like AIIMS to be in the forefront in promoting healthy ageing.
  • Increasing social/widow pension and its universalization is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
  • Renewed efforts should be made for raising widespread awareness and access to social security schemes such as National Old Age Pension and Widow Pension Scheme. Provisions in terms of special incentives for elderly women, disabled, widowed should also be considered.
  • Government must proactively work on life style modification, non-communicable disease management, vision and hearing problem management and accessible health care through Ayushman Bharat.

Conclusion

The elderly are the fastest growing, underutilized resource that humanity has to address many other problems. Re-integration of the elderly into communities may save humanity from mindlessly changing into a technology driven ‘Industry 4.0’ which futurists are projecting: an economy of robots producing things for each other. Healthy elderly citizens can share their wealth of knowledge with younger generations, help with child care, and volunteer or hold jobs in their communities.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3. In view of the multiple political parties with different ideology and a charged political environment in the recent past, a relook into the appointment, powers and functions of the Governor under the Indian constitution is the need of the hour. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The West Bengal legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed the West Bengal Private University Laws Amendment Bill 2022. The Act replaces the Governor with the state’s Education Minister as a Visitor of private universities. There was no voting as BJP had walked out.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various issues between the governor and state’s elected executive and steps needed to ensure a harmonious relations between the both.

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 writing role of the governor in legislative process of the state.

Body:

First, write about the increasing politicization of the post of Governor and him/her acting as the ‘agent of centre’ and various responses of the state government to it. Mention the recent examples of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

Next, write about the relook that is required in the appointment and powers of the governor vis-à-vis the state executive. Substantiate by citing various committees.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward in order to resolve the tussle between legislature and governor.

Introduction

Article 154 of the Constitution envisages Governor as the executive chief of the state. All executive actions are taken in his name. B R Ambedkar called the office of the Governor as the “office of dignity”. He is not an agent of the Centre, but the governor’s post in an independent Constitutional office. His office is the linchpin of Indian Cooperative Federalism.

The controversy over the politicization of the Governor post is once again in the news over delayed decision making by the Governor of TN in the appointment of CM.

Body

Need for relook into Governor’s post

  • Gubernatorial powers:Misusing the powers of Governor.g.: In Maharashtra, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has stalled the election of Speaker since the post fell vacant in February 2021. He had refused to accept the recommendation of the Council of Ministers on the nomination of 12 members to the Legislative Council, until the matter reached the High Court.
  • Locking horns with Government:g.: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has made allegations of impropriety in welfare schemes, questioned Government claims about investments in the State, and taken up the cudgels for the Opposition BJP. He has been summoning the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police on a regular basis, and when they do not turn up, taking to Twitter and often tagging the Chief Minister.
  • Governor’s appointmentArticle 155says that governor should be appointed (not elected) from amongst persons of high status with eminence in public. The elected government at the state is not even consulted while making appointment of the Governors. Further successive governments have reduced this important constitutional office to a sinecure and resting place for loyal and retired / about to retired / about to retire politicians apart from docile bureaucrats.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the Chief Minister: Governor appoints Chief Minister, other ministers, Advocate General, Chairmen and members of the State Public Service Commission in the state. After elections in the state, there is a convention to invite the largest party to form government in the state. This convention has been flouted many times at the whim of the governor. E.g.: The recent episode Maharashtra where Governor inducted a new government at 5:00 am without ascertaining the requisite numbers for the government.
  • Reservation of Bills for Consideration of President: As per Article 200of the Constitution, the governor can reserve certain types of bills passed by the State Legislature for the President’s consideration. Centre, through the governor in case of different parties ruling, used this provision to serve partisan interests. g. In Tamil Nadu, Governor R.N. Ravi has not acted upon the T.N. Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, adopted by the Assembly in September 2021. the indefinite delay in taking a decision amounts to undermining the legislature, and is unjustifiable.
  • Misuse of Article 356: Article 356is the most controversial article of the Constitution. It provides for State emergency or President’s rule in State if the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of a State. But since the SR Bommai case, this has been sparsely used.
  • Removal of the Governor:Article 156 says that the governor will hold office during the pleasure of the President for five years. The governor has no security of tenure and no fixed term of office. This prevents to uphold neutrality of the governor, fearing retribution. E.g.: The mass changing of the governors of state whenever a new government comes to power at Centre..

Recommendations made regarding the Governor Posts

Sarkaria Commission Report Recommendations

  • “The Governors tenure of office of five years in a State should not be disturbed except very rarely and that too for some extremely compelling reason. It is very necessary to assure a measure of security of tenure to the Governor’s office.”
  • Governor should be an eminent person and not belong to the state where he is to be posted.
  • State chief minister should have a say in the appointment of governor
  • Governor should be a detached figure without intense political links or should not have taken part in politics in recent past.
  • Governor should not be a member of the ruling party.
  • Governor should be removed before his tenure only on the grounds as if aspersions are cast on his morality, dignity, constitutional propriety, etc.

The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution recommendations:

  • Governor’s appointment should be entrusted to a committee comprising the prime minister, the home minister, the speaker of the Lok Sabha and the chief minister of the concerned state.
  • If they have to be removed before completion of their term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.

The Punchhi commission recommendations

  • The person who is slated to be a Governor should not have participated in active politics at even local level for at least a couple of years before his appointment.
  • For office of Governor, the doctrine of pleasure should endand should be deleted from the constitution. Governor should not be removed at whim of central government. Instead, a resolution by state legislature should be there to remove Governor.
  • There should be provisions for impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature along the same lines as that of President by President.
  • The convention of making the Governors as chancellors of universities should be done away with.
  • The commission recommended for “localising emergency provisions” under Articles 355 and 356, contending that localised areas— either a district or parts of a district — be brought under Governor’s rule instead of the whole state.

The Supreme Court’s interpretation

  • In 2010, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court interpreted these provisions and laid down some binding principles (B.P. Singhal v. Union of India), the Supreme Court held:
  • President, in effect the central government, has the power to remove a Governor at any time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be heard.
  • However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner.  The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.
  • The mere reason that a Governor is at variance with the policies and ideologies of the central government, or that the central government has lost confidence in him or her, is not sufficient to remove a Governor.  Thus, a change in central government cannot be a ground for removal of Governors, or to appoint more favourable persons to this post.
  • Such a decision, to remove a Governor can be challenged in a court of law.

Conclusion

Despite several commissions appointed by Government themselves and the Supreme Court guidelines, the post of governor is misused again and again.

It is, however, time for a thorough review of the Governor’s powers and the process of appointment and removal.

  • New rules and conventions may need to be put in place so that Governor’s constitutional mandate is strengthened.
  • All part conference to review the role of the Governors, the powers exercised by him and the manner in which he should be appointed and removed.
  • The Constitution should be amended and security of tenure must be provided to the Governors. The judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in B. P. Singhal case is the law of the land and the Government should respect it.
  • The Governors should be treated with dignity, and should not be fired only for political considerations.
  • The Constitution of the land prohibits the arbitrary exercise of power and the Government is not an exception to the equality law.

 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

4. Malnutrition occurs as a result of complex interplay among various factors. However, simple yet practical and innovative solutions can contribute towards ending malnutrition and anaemia. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) has shown marginal improvement in different nutrition indicators, indicating that the pace of progress is slow. Children in several States are more undernourished now than they were five years ago.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about causes for Malnutrition and measures needed to overcome it.

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 giving statistic related to status of malnutrition in India.

Body:

First, write about the various causes of malnutrition – poverty, maternal health illiteracy, diseases like diarrhoea, home environment, dietary practices, hand washing and other hygiene practices, etc. Briefly mention its impact.

Next, write about the simple and innovative solutions that are needed to tackle it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

India has 5,772,472 children below five years affected by severe wasting, the most in the world, alerted UNICEF. It had been reported in 2017 by the National Health Survey that approximately 19 crore people in the country were compelled to sleep on an empty stomach every night.

Underweight is most common among the poor, the rural population, adults who have no education and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Hence it clear that hunger and malnutrition is also a direct consequence of socio-economic status of people in India.

Body

Malnutrition in India

  • India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the worlde. around 195 million.
  • Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India do not meet their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting.
  • 9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
  • Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

Causes of hunger and malnutrition in India

  • Poverty: Poverty restricts the food choices and has been the causative factor of hunger related deaths.
    • If the persistent high prices of food items and the regional disparities in terms of development, especially the backwardness among the hilly and tribal areas also taken into account, the percentage of people who cannot afford balanced nutrition will be much higher in India.
  • Poor access to safe drinking water: Safe and tap drinking water is still a luxury in many parts of rural India and urban slums/shanties. Unsafe water causes water borne diseases and children are prone to it more than adults.
  • Issues with agriculture: The change from multi to mono cropping systems limits the diversity of agricultural products.
    • Inclination towards cash crops and changing food habits result in malnutrition, undernutrition and even micro-nutrient deficiencies.
    • Local cuisine such as millets are not being consumed causing nutrient deficiencies and anaemia.
  • Food wastage: Food wastage is also an emerging challenge that undermines the efforts to end hunger and malnutrition. According to the FAO, the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 6 billion tonnes of primary product equivalents.
  • Poor health services: The relationship between poverty and access to health care can be seen as part of a larger cycle, where poverty leads to ill health and ill health maintains poverty.
  • Insufficient education and training: In developing countries, children do not have access to basic education because of inequalities that originate in sex, health and cultural identity. It has been revealed in reports that illiteracy and lack of education are common factor that lead to poverty and in turn hunger.
  • Covid-19 impact: The momentum set by this entire nutrition movement was disturbed once Covid lockdowns led to the shutting of schools, Anganwadi centres, Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres.
    • Further, frontline workers had to be engaged in Covid-related work that took precedence over their daily duties, which entailed identifying, referring and monitoring children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition among other nutrition-strengthening activities.
  • States tried to cope to the best of their abilities by replacing hot-cooked meals with dry ration or cash transfers.
  • Moreover, indirect forces triggered by the pandemic such as disruption in food systems, dried-up income sources, job losses and consequent financial hardships also mean that access to nutrient-rich food might have reduced among economically vulnerable people.

Measures needed to tackle hunger

  • Agriculture-Nutrition linkage schemes have the potential for greater impact in dealing with malnutrition and thus, needs greater emphasis.
    • Recognising the importance of this link, the Ministry for Women and Child Development launched the Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh in 2019.
    • There is a need to promote schemes directed to nutrition-agriculture link activities in rural areas. However, implementation remains the key.
  • Early fund disbursement: The government needs to ensure early disbursement of funds and optimum utilisation of funds in schemes linked to nutrition.
  • Underutilisation of Resources: It has been pointed out many a times that expenditure made under many nutrition-based schemes is considerably lower than what was allocated under them. Thus, emphasis needs to be on implementation.
  • Convergence with other Schemes: Nutrition goes beyond just food, with economic, health, water, sanitation, gender perspectives and social norms contributing to better nutrition. This is why the proper implementation of other schemes can also contribute to better nutrition.
    • The convergence of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission with schemes pertaining to nutrition, will bring holistic changes to India’s nutrition scenario.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme aims to enhance the nutrition of school children by providing a balanced diet in schools.
    • By including milk and eggs in each states’ menu, preparing a menu based on climatic conditions, local foods etc. can help in providing the right nutrition to children in different States.

Conclusion

Welfare measures must continue to reach the most vulnerable population and children and mothers must be at the centre of the focus to target hunger and malnutrition. Achieving zero hunger requires agriculture and food systems to become more efficient, sustainable, climate-smart and nutritionsensitive. It is important to look at the future of food production to achieve the zero-hunger goal. Human resource capacity building is the key as is access to education and health services and empowering the poor through partnerships.

Value Addition

Government welfare measures

  • Eat Right India: An outreach activity organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
  • Food Fortification: Food Fortification or Food Enrichment is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
  • National Food Security Act, 2013: It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
  • Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services to children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Supplementary Nutrition,
    • Pre-school non-formal education,
    • Nutrition & health education,
    • Immunization,
    • Health check-up and
    • Referral services.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan: Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • It also targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 4% to 25% by 2022.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices;

5. Minimum support prices (MSP) are meant to function as a safety net. Yet, they are unable to become the means of farmer’s income security as intended. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The government has announced minimum support prices, MSPs, for 14 summer crops, chief among which is rice. While the average increase is 6%, the increase for rice is the lowest, at 5.1%. 

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the current limitations of MSP and changes that are needed in it.

Directive:

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 the defining the concept of MSP.

Body:

Frist, write about the various objectives behind MSP.

Next, write about the reasons as to why MSP has not achieved its stated objectives – MSP distorts the basic logic of the supply-demand mechanism, slows down the process of diversification, and is economically a very expensive and inefficient policy instrument, besides leading to massive leakages and corruption.

Next, discuss what needs to be done. Highlight the efforts of the government in this direction

Conclusion:

Write a way forward.

Introduction

Minimum Support Price (MSP)is the rate at which the government buys grains from farmers. Currently, it fixes MSPs for 23 crops grown in both Kharif and Rabi seasons. The Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the Khari season 2022-23 were recently approved by the cabinet. The rates for 14 Kharif crops have been increased, the hikes ranging from 4% to 8%.

Body

Yes, MSP helps farmers to an extent

  • MSP has been beneficial in transferring incomes to rural areas and to counter farm level inflation.
  • It can also counter the agricultural distress brought on by natural hazards in the country. It gives farmers hope of earning more in the new sowing season.
  • In the last few years, India has become a net importer of pulses. Massive hike in the MSP of these crops will encourage the farmers to grow nutritional crops. It will help in changing the cropping pattern which was long due.
  • A higher MSP regime will also help in achieving the Government’s target of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.
  • It also acts as an incentive for farmers to produce the crop which is in short supply.
  • Higher profits for the farmer will also help them to invest in necessary infrastructure and equipment.
  • The MSP to some extent will protect the farmer by guaranteeing a minimum floor price so that they can plan in advance for the next season.

However, MSP is fraught with limitations

The trouble with MSP is that while it is touted as an all-important factor for farmers promising an instant rise in their income and stability, it also has many drawbacks in implementation. This affects the price realisation of farmers, in reality for several reasons.

  • Methodology: MSP covers numerous costs such as the cost of sowing (A2) and labour (FL). These considerations are controversial with suggestions that it should be based on comprehensive costs (C2), which also include land rent costs.
  • Inflation: Too much of a hike on MSP either paves way for inflationary effects on the economy, with a rise in prices of food grains and vegetables, or loss to government treasury if it decides to sell at a lower price as compared to the higher MSP it bought at.
  • Diverse factors: MSP is a nationwide single price policy. However, the actual costing for production varies from place to place, more severely so in areas lacking irrigation facilities and infrastructure. Thus, not all farmers have equal benefits.
  • Procurement at MSP is flawed: First, procurement of wheat and paddy for meeting the requirement of the public distribution system (PDS) is undertaken largely by state governments.
    • Of the total procurement of wheat and paddy from farmers, the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI’s) share is less than 10%.
    • In the north-east and many other states, procurement operations are almost non-existent and farmers are forced to sell below MSP.
    • As the experiences of these schemes show, the benefit of higher MSPs for kharif crops or rabi, is unlikely to be available to most farmers as the states lack adequate storage capacity, working capital and manpower for undertaking large-scale procurement of all commodities.
    • The MSP-based procurement system is also dependent on middlemen, commission agents and APMC officials, which smaller farmers find difficult to get access to.
  • Agri-Infrastructure: Hiking the MSP without investing in infrastructure is just a short-term play. While it does deliver immediate results, long-term developments to back-it up are also important.
  • Environmental harm: It degrades the soil because of irrespective of the soil condition, some crops are preferred which have MSP over them which results in exploitation of group water resources, alkalinity, decrease in the production of the crops in long run and much harm to environment.

Conclusion

The government should shift its focus from providing only price support to farmers and focus on building better infrastructure, minimizing the gap between farmers and the market, land reforms, policy reforms to increase flow of credit to farmers, establishing food-processing industries for perishable goods, providing better irrigation facilities etc so, that agriculture emerges as a viable means of sustenance.

 

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

6. Describe the features of Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers. Evaluate the various benefits and risks associated with the scheme. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressIndian Express

Why the question:

The government on Tuesday unveiled its new Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services. The new defence recruitment reform, which has been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, will come into effect immediately, and the soldiers recruited under the scheme will be called Agniveers.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Agnipath scheme, its benefits and risks.

Directive:

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 writing about aims and objectives of Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers

Body:

Frist, discuss the key features of the scheme – recruitment, salary, duration and post tenure etc.

Next, write about the major benefits from the scheme.

Next, write about various concerns associated with the scheme in the short term and long term.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to address these shortcomings.

Introduction

Agnipath Defence Policy Reform is a government scheme launched to recruit young men and women in the Indian Armed forces. The Agnipath scheme was announced by the defence Minister Rajnath Singh on June 14th 2022.

Body

About the Agnipath scheme

  • Agnipath is a new defence recruitment model that would allow “patriotic and motivated” youth to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years.
  • The process of recruitment will commence in 90 days.
  • The plan is to recruit about 45,000-50,000 personnel below officer rank in the three services every year through a biannual exercise with a six-month gap.
  • As per the Agnipath scheme, this year there will be a planned intake of about 46,000 young men and women.
  • Soldier recruited through Agnipath scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
  • This scheme will be the only form of recruitment of soldiers into the three defence services Armed Force, Indian Navy and Air Forces, hereon.
  • Enrolment of Agniveers to all three services will be through a centralized online system, with special rallies and campus interviews at recognised technical institutes such as the Industrial Training Institutes, and the National Skills Qualifications Framework. The Model is based on an all-India merit-based selection process.

Objectives

  • It aims at providing an opportunity to the patriotic and motivated youth with the ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ to join the Armed Forces.
  • It is expected to bring down the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces by about 4 to 5 years.
  • The scheme envisions that, the average age in the forces is 32 years today, which will go down to 26 in six to seven years.

Various benefits to Youth

  • Upon the completion of the 4-years of service, a one-time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package of Rs 11.71 lakhs will be paid to the Agniveers that will include their accrued interest thereon.
  • They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years.
  • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.
  • The government will help rehabilitate soldiers who leave the services after four years. They will be provided with skill certificates and bridge courses.
  • Furure Ready Soldiers: It will create “future-ready” soldiers.
  • More Employment Opportunities: It will increase employment opportunities and because of the skills and experience acquired during the four-year service such soldiers will get employment in various fields.
  • Higher Skilled Workforce: This will also lead to availability of a higher-skilled workforce to the economy which will be helpful in productivity gain and overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth.

Issues related to the scheme

  • Difficult to Find Another Job:The ‘Agnipath’ scheme opens the way for recruitment of about 45,000 soldiers into Army, Navy and Air Force in the first year but on a short-term contract of four years. After the completion of the contract, 25% of them will be retained and the rest will leave the forces.
    • The four years of service will mean other jobs will be out of reach after that, and they will be left behind their peers.
  • No Pension Benefit: Those hired under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be given a one-time lumpsum of a little more than Rs 11 lakh when they end their four-year tenure.
    • However, they do not receive any pension benefits. For most, seeking a second job is essential to support themselves and their families.
  • Training May Remain Unutilized: Forces will lose experienced soldiers.
    • The jawans joining the Army, Navy and Air Force will be given technical training so that they are able to support the ongoing operations. But these men and women will leave after four years, which could create a void.

 

Conclusion

Despite the reservations, there is potential for future employment to these youth as the defence industry is ready to take off in a huge manner in India. Once this happens, the industry will have readily skilled youth for the jobs and hence there is also future to these youths. At the same time, national security is ensured.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

7. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” ― H.G. Wells

Difficulty level: Tough

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Quotes Wednesdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

First, explain moral indignation and substantiate with examples.

Next, write about the correlation of moral indignation with that of Jealousy with halo. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

“Those who can’t, will make sure that those who can, don’t” captures the essence of the quote.

Indignation is anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean. Moral indignation is typically a reactive emotion of anger over perceived mistreatment, insult, or malice of another. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.

Body

Moral indignation introduces an ethical element to this emotion. To be righteous is to position yourself as morally ‘correct’. Another term for this concept is therefore righteous anger.

In other words, a state of moral indignation effectively says, ‘I am right to be angry about this situation’.   However, morality is not reality. People vary in their beliefs and attitudes about life’s rights and wrongs. Therefore, moral indignation is typically murky territory as people assert their opinions.

Eg: The teacher became indignant when fired from their job for misconduct.

Righteous indignation is not self-righteousness in which people feel proud of themselves and think that they are always right and no one is better than them.

Moral outrage is external-directed energy. It is a form of reactive emotion regarding Anger that emerges when faced with a situation concerning offensive attitudes, mistreatment, or injustice. Sometimes someone in your life does things that don’t meet your standards and expectations, or someone does such an unjust act against the laws of society and the laws of nature. Anger can occur when negative feelings are sparked and wrongful actions and behaviors come to blame. Under such circumstances, one gets filled with rage.

But this may also be purely out of jealousy that we show such behaviour against others. We may feel inadequate in front of others and inflict such judgement upon them by taking a false moral high ground.

Moral indignation is considered a positive thing when someone with this type of anger is on the right side. Or when someone feels an adrenaline rush when thinking about a situation that is not morally fair or right. It must not be confused with self-righteousness.

If something is happening against the laws of nature, acts of society, and laws of humanity. And you are getting mad at it; then your Anger is righteous indignation. Suppose you want to change that unfair treatment. Or you may be hurt because other people are not considering the unjust situations dangerous. But you wish to spread justice and righteousness; then your Anger is a positive thing.

Here is the example of Mahatma Gandhi. He used his reactive emotion of Anger for a productive purpose and used it wisely. India was under British rule for over 250 years. He used the positive power of righteous indignation to compel the British to leave India. It shows that righteous Anger is a good thing if we use it as a positive power.

Conclusion

It has both aspects to it and depends on the perception of the person who is thinking about righteousness. Therefore, one must be careful about moral beliefs and ethics before using it as a yard stick to judge others or take any action. An honest impartial inquiry of thought and action is required before we react to any person or a situation.


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