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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 July 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.


Answer the following questions in 150 words:

General Studies – 1


1. In 1975, the national emergency provisions were used for political reasons and this presented a grave challenge for Indian democracy as well as key lessons for it. Elaborate.

Reference: India since Independence by Bipan Chandra.



The Emergency was set in motion by the Indira Gandhi government on June 25, 1975 and was in place for 21 months till its withdrawal on March 21, 1977. The order gave Ms. Gandhi the authority to rule by decree wherein civil liberties were curbed. An external Emergency was already in place even before the imposition of the internal one.

Threat to national security and bad economic conditions were cited as reasons for the declaration. Considering it as a black chapter, a famous historian Coomi Kapoor noted “The number of those in Indira Gandhi’s prisons during the Emergency far exceeded the total number jailed during the 1942 Quit India”



  • In 1975, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi advised the president to proclaim emergency without consulting her cabinet.
  • The cabinet was informed of the proclamation after it was made, fait accompli.

Challenges posed by emergency imposed

  • Liberty curtailed: The union government misused its emergency powers and curbed democratic rights of the citizens, opposition parties and of the press.
    • Electricity of the newspaper houses got disconnected, leaders of opposition parties were arrested.
  • Free press was suppressed: Government curtailed the freedom of press via “Press censorship” and made it mandatory to get its approval before publishing it.
  • Protests, strikes and public agitations were not allowed.
  • Fundamental right of constitutional remedies to move the court for restoring their FRs got suspended.
  • Banning organizations: Religious and cultural organization like RSS, Jamait-E-Islami was banned on the apprehension of disturbance to social and communal harmony.
  • Misuse of power: Government misused the provision of preventive detention, arrested the political workers of opposition parties.
  • Torture and custodial deaths occurred during Emergency, arbitrary relocation of poor people, imposition of compulsory sterilization to control population.

Changes introduced to keep power of government in check

The power misused came as a wakeup call for the entire nation and consequent steps were taken to amend the constitution (44th constitutional amendment) to take safeguards against misuse of powers:

  • Ground for Emergency declaration: The word ‘internal disturbance’ was replaced by ‘armed rebellion’ in respect of national emergency.
  • President reconsideration: Empowered the president to send back once, the advice of the cabinet for reconsideration.
    • Made the president to declare a national emergency only on the written recommendation of the cabinet.
  • Liberty restored: Provided that the fundamental rights guaranteed by article 20 and 21 cannot be suspended even during emergency.
    • Gave constitutional protection to publication in newspaper of true reports of the proceedings of parliament and state legislatures.
  • Approval by both houses: The proclamation of Emergency must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within one month from the date of its issue.
    • However, if the proclamation of emergency is issued at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the period of one month without approving the proclamation, then the proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha has in the meantime approved it.
  • Emergency cannot be indefinite: If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the emergency continues for six months, and can be extended to an indefinite period with an approval of the Parliament for every six months. This provision for periodical parliamentary approval was also added by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
  • Special majority: Every resolution approving the proclamation of emergency or its continuance must be passed by either House of Parliament by a special majority

Supreme courts intervention in placing checks and balances

  • The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 made the declaration of a National Emergency immune from the judicial review. But this provision was subsequently deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
  • Further, in the Minerva Mills case , (1980), the Supreme Court held that the proclamation of a national emergency can be challenged in a court on the ground of malafide or that the declaration was based on wholly extraneous and irrelevant facts or is absurd or perverse.
  • The Supreme Court has thereafter enlarged the concept and the application of Article 21 well beyond what was ever contemplated by the framers of the constitution



The Emergency declared in 1975 (internal emergency) proved to be the most controversial. There was widespread criticism of the misuse of Emergency powers. In the elections held to the Lok Sabha in 1977 after the Emergency, the Congress Party led by Indira Gandhi lost and the Janta Party came to power. This government appointed the Shah Commission to investigate the circumstances that warranted the declaration of an Emergency in 1975. The commission did not justify the declaration of the Emergency. Hence, the 44th Amendment Act was enacted in 1978 to introduce a number of safeguards against the misuse of Emergency provisions.


Value addition

Emergencies declared in India so-far

  • This type of Emergency has been proclaimed three times so far–in 1962, 1971 and 1975. The first proclamation of National Emergency was issued in October 1962 on account of Chinese aggression in the NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency– now Arunachal Pradesh), and was in force till January 1968.
  • Hence, a fresh proclamation was not needed at the time of war against Pakistan in 1965.
  • The second proclamation of national emergency was made in December 1971 in the wake of attack by Pakistan.
  • Even when this Emergency was in operation, a third proclamation of National Emergency was made in June 1975.
  • Both the second and third proclamations were revoked in March 1977. The first two proclamations (1962 and 1971) were made on the ground of ‘external aggression’, while the third proclamation (1975) was made on the ground of ‘internal disturbance’, that is, certain persons have been inciting the police and the armed forces against the discharge of their duties and their normal functioning.


2. What are the causes for gender inequality in the country? Examine its impact on the society.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India



India ranks 135 among a total of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index, 2022, released by the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report, 2022, says it will now take 132 years to reach gender parity, with the gap reducing only by four years since 2021 and the gender gap closed by 68. 1%. India ranks poorly among its neighbours and is behind Bangladesh (71), Nepal (96), Sri Lanka (110), Maldives (117) and Bhutan (126). Only the performance of Iran (143), Pakistan (145) and Afghanistan(146) was worse than India in South Asia. In 2021, India ranked 140 out of 156 nations.


Causes for Gender inequality in the country

  • High gender divide: The gender gap in the country has widened, with only 62.5% of it closed and especially low gender parity in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity.
  • Wage gap: Women are paid considerably less than men, with some research showing that the gender pay gap between women and men in the same jobs with equivalent qualifications can be as much as 34%.
  • Labour force participation: India, as of 2020, has the lowest female labour force participation rate among South Asian nations, with four out of five women neither working nor looking for jobs.
  • High Job loss: According to Oxfam, 17 million women in India lost their jobs in April 2020, with their unemployment rate rising far higher than that among men.
  • Lesser opportunities for women: Women were found to be seven times more likely to lose their jobs during the lockdown phases, and if rendered unemployed, were 11 times more likely to remain jobless than their male counterparts.
  • Uneven domestic responsibility: Potential reasons for this include the increased burden of domestic responsibilities that Indian women typically had to bear, in terms of not just household chores but extra time needed for elderly care and children’s studies, with schools shut.
  • Even pre-pandemic, a Time Use Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office showed that women spent nearly 4.5 hours on childcare and other care-giving responsibilities, in contrast with the meagre 0.88 hours for men.


Impact on society

  • Pre-natal sex-selective Abortion:The most extreme expression of the preference for sons is female infanticide and sex selective abortion. A study in a Bombay hospital found that 96% of female were aborted.
  • Sexual Harassment at work places: is a harassment of a sexual nature, typically in the work place. Sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal discrimination. Sexual harassment at work place is not an isolated phenomenon but a mainfestaion of the larger gender discrimination in society.
  • Female are malnourished: India has exceptionally high rate of child malnutrition, because tradition in India requires that women eat last and least throughout their lives, even when pregnant.
  • Women are uneducated: Families are far less likely to educate girls than boys and far more likely to pull them out of school, either to help out at home or from fear of violence. So women and girls receive far less education than men both due to social norms and fears of violence.
  • Women are in Poor health: Females receive less health care than males. Many women die in childbirth. The practice of breast feeding female children for shorter periods of time reflects the strong desire for sons.
  • Women are overworked: Women work longer hours and their work is more than the men (agricultural Work).
  • Women are Unskilled: Women have unequal access to resources.
  • Injustice Policy of Reservation in Public office:The women occupy 46% of the Indian population but reservation is given for only 33% where reserved.
  • Women are mistreated:In recent year there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India in term s of rapes, assaults and dowry related murders.
  • Women are Powerless:While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution. But due to lack of power to decide who they will marry and are often married off as children.

Need of the hour

  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Gender sensitization: Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Way forward

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


Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.

General Studies – 2


3. Critically Examine the view that the president of India is merely a rubber stamp of the executive.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India     



Article 53 reads as ‘The executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers’ subordinate to him’. In spite of the expression ‘directly’ in Article 53 of the Constitution, India’s President merely ‘reigns and does not rule’. The role of president is largely ceremonial in nature. This was the consequence of 42nd Constitutional Amendment that drastically curtailed the President’s powers with respect to the Council of Ministers. Article 74 (1) now mandates the President to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. This prevents the president becoming a power center rivalling that of prime minister.



President’s role in Indian political setup:

  • The President of India is the Head of State and the Chief Executive. The executive powers of the Union are in the hands of the President.
  • The President of India is vested with Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers. But as the advice given by CoM is binding on Indian President, in reality, most of these powers rest with the COM; but decisions are taken in the name of President of India.
  • He exercises these either directly or through officers subordinate to him. However, being the head of a parliamentary system, he is only a constitutional/titular head and exercises nominal power.
  • The President always acts in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister. All his powers are really used by the Prime Minister and the Union Council of Ministers.
  • The President holds the highest office in India, represents the sovereignty of India, enjoys the highest position and plays a valuable part in the working of the Indian Constitutional system.
  • President is also the supreme commander of armed forces and has powers to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament.
  • He/She further makes appointments to important posts including the PM, state governors and Supreme Court and High Court judges.

By looking at the powers of the President, it becomes quite easy to evaluate the position of the President. At the face value, the powers of the President appear to be very big and formidable. A close review, however, reveals that President of India is a nominal and constitutional executive head who exercises all his powers on the advice of the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers. The President is always bound to accept the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. However, despite such a provision, the President is neither merely a figure head nor a rubber stamp in the hands of the Ministry.

President’s discretionary powers:

  • Suspensive Veto:
    • The President has discretionary power when he exercises suspensive veto ie. when he returns a bill (not money bill) for reconsideration of the parliament.
    • However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and presented again to the President, it is obligatory for him to give his assent to the bill.
  • Pocket Veto:
    • This is not a provision mentioned in the Indian constitution, but this is a possible situation when the President of India can use his discretionary power. In this case, the President neither ratifies nor reject nor return the bill, but simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period.
    • As the time limit within which the President has to take the decision with respect to a bill presented to him for assent, has not been mentioned in the constitution, in effect the inaction of the President stops the bill from becoming an act.
  • President can seek information from Prime Minister:
    • Under article 78 the President enjoys the right to seek information from the PM regarding the administration of the affairs of the union.
    • Under the established convention, the President has the right to warn or encourage the Council of Minister (CoM) in the exercise of its power.
  • Case of no sitting of both houses:
    • Under Article 85, the President can summon each House of Parliament to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, to ensure that six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its sitting in the next session.
  • Case of no majority:
    • When no political party or coalition of parties enjoy the majority in Lok Sabha, then the President has discretion in inviting the leader of that party or coalition of parties who in his opinion is able to form a stable government.
  • Case of no-confidence with CoM- dissolving Loksabha:
    • It is for the president to decide if he should dissolve Loksabha or not when CoM loses the majority in Lok Sabha. The President can dissolve Lok Sabha only on the advice of CoM but the advice is binding only if the government is a majority government.
  • Case of no-confidence with CoM- dissolving CoM:
    • It is for the president to decide if he should dissolve CoM or not when CoM loses the majority in Lok Sabha.
  • Case of a caretaker government:
    • A caretaker government does not enjoy the confidence of Lok Sabha and hence it is not expected to take major decisions but only to make the day-to-day administrative decisions. It is for the President to decide the day-to-day decisions.

Indian Presidents are not rubber-stamps:

  • While India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad is known to have frequently disagreed with then PM Jawaharlal Nehru, seventh President Giani Zail Singh is known to have a rocky relationship with PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • K R Narayanan, India’s tenth President, famously told the Parliament that he is ‘not a rubber stamp’ while returning a proposal calling for imposition of President’s rule in UP.
  • Pranab Mukherjee was more assertive than any of his predecessors. Although he is known to have rejected 28 mercy petitions, a record number, he commuted four sentences, in defiance of the government’s wishes and refrained from sending those back to the government for reconsideration.

President can play an effective role:

The President is not a silent institution and his role stands beyond the constitutional provisions and established conventions. The powers of the President flow from the oath he takes under Article 60 to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and submit himself to the service and well -being of people of India’. Therefore, new norms can be devised and used to preserve the faith and belief of the common man in the system. These norms can be:

  • The Constitution is silent on the limitations on the President’s activities in public affairs. Public speaking of president can initiate the debate in the society.
  • Use of pocket veto in the cases which are considered to be undermining the Constitution.
  • Reaching out to the people of India.


The office of the President should not be conceived as merely a ceremonial post or a rubber stamp. Within the confines of constitution, a president can redefine the activities of his office. The President can declare Emergency, suspend rights, dissolve state Assemblies and declare the government bankrupt.


General Studies – 3


4. In India’s Unicorn boom, scorching growth with a convergence to the path to profitability is incredibly difficult to achieve. Critically Examine.

Reference: Live Mint



In the venture capital industry, the term unicorn refers to any startup that reaches the valuation of $1 billion. The term was first coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013. Mostly, all the unicorns have brought a disruption in the field they belong to. Uber, for example, changed the way people commuted. Airbnb changed the way people planned their stay while travelling and Snapchat disrupted the usage of the social media network etc.

India’s tally of unicorns has reached 100 recently, which was told by PM in Mann ki Baat.


Factors that have aided the Unicorn boom in India over the recent past

  • A huge population: The country has over 1.3 billion people, which provides a large market for these startups to tap into. India also has a burgeoning middle class with more disposable income than ever before.
  • A supportive government: The Indian government has been very supportive of the startup ecosystem. It has been implementing policies that provide a conducive environment for businesses to grow and raise funds.
  • The Indian government’s long-term strategies and concerted push through initiatives like Startup India and Digital India have joined forces with the embrace of digital finance, rise of Indian IT companies, large talent pool, increased expendable income of Indian middle class and availability of capital to significantly boost the growth of India’s startup ecosystem.
  • Increasing investment opportunities: The availability of capital has also increased, with more and more venture capitalists and private equity firms investing in Indian startups. In the first quarter of 2022, the number of Indian startups that have been funded hit a record high of 506, and the funds raised totaled to US$11.8 billion.
  • Besides these hardware-ish factors, the unicorn craze in India is also facilitated by the opportunities brought forth by the regulatory action on tech giants in China and the pandemic.
  • Last year’s unicorn boom coincided with Beijing’s crackdown on Chinese internet businesses, which alarmed investors and drove them to look for alternative geographies to invest their funds.
  • Simultaneously, COVID-19 compelled Indian customers to turn to online enterprises for their daily needs, ranging from food to medical services.
  • These factors have offered new opportunities for Indian startups and contributed to the growth of Indian technological firms, resulting in an increase in the number of unicorns.

Factors that are needed in order to ensure they succeed and become profitable, while contributing to job creation

  • The factors enabling the rise of unicorns comprise the availability of private equity funds, increasing Internet penetration and digital payments, more robust infrastructure and the rising pool of skilled talent.
  • Considering the focus on creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, however, the nation’s policymakers, risk-taking corporates and funding agencies need to foster a conducive climate for ensuring easier availability of domestic capita
  • As business models get more complex and interlinked, the regulators have to play a more proactive role in formulating appropriate regulations that encourage innovation and support emerging business models rather than hindering innovation.
  • Besides promoting local funding, the government and corporate entities may need to invest in a big way through leading academic institutions to de-risk start-up investments in the long run.
  • It appears that corporations and valuation experts overestimate the Indian economy’s potential to consume services by assuming exponential demand growth over longer time periods.
  • Firms spend a lot of money to offer huge discounts to clients in the hopes that people would become so used to these platforms that they will continue to use them even if the prices are raised. This could lead to cartelization and market monopoly on a long run.


By providing the “minicorns” (a start-up with $1 million-plus valuation) and “soonicorns” (funded by angel investors or venture capitalists and likely to soon join the unicorn club) the right regulatory ambience and local sources of funding, India can create a truly innovative and resilient economy.

With the ecosystem in place and the resilience of the industry apparent amid the pandemic, innovators and entrepreneurs are thus braced for a promising journey to create hundreds of Indian unicorns in the near future.


5. The knowledge and understanding acquired from genomics research can be applied in a number of different settings, including medicine, biotechnology and social sciences. Elaborate.

Reference: Down to Earth



The field of genomics uses biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology methods to understand and use biological information in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

This information benefits medicine and public health — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as agriculture, biological research and more. Access to genomic technologies needs to be expanded, especially for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), according to a report by the World Health Organization’s Science Council.


Various applications of genomics

  • Population health: Genomics can make enormous contributions to human health, from surveying populations for infectious agents — such as the virus that causes COVID-19 — to predicting and treating a wide variety of diseases, such as cancers and developmental disorders.
  • Identification and diagnosis of genetic factors contributing to common disease: Genomic technologies are increasingly being used to understand the contribution of both rare and common genetic factors to the development of common diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
  • Gene therapy: Gene therapy involves the administration of DNA or RNA, in order to correct a genetic abnormality, or modify the expression of genes.
  • Genome editing: Genome editing uses molecular techniques to modify the genome – genome editing can add in, cut out, or replace sections of the DNA sequence.
  • Infectious diseases: Sequencing the genomes of microorganisms which cause human infection can identify the exact organism causing symptoms, help to trace the cause of infectious outbreaks, and give information as to which antibiotics are most likely to be effective in treatment.
  • Prenatal diagnosis and testing: Genetic diseases are often devastating and may cause significant disability and even death in childhood. Prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases allows parents to make decisions about whether to continue with the pregnancy or to allow early diagnosis and possible treatment in utero or at birth.

Steps to promote genomics research in India

  • Increase funding for healthcare research with appropriate emphasis on genomics.
  • Leverage India’s assets such as traditional knowledge and genomic diversity in consultation with knowledge-holders
  • Prioritize strategic entry points for India and improve industry-academic interface with appropriate incentives to improve public health and the nation’s wealth.
  • Develop independent, accountable, transparent regulatory systems to ensure that ethical, legal and social issues are addressed for a single entry, smart and effective system.
  • Engage the public and ensure broad-based input into policy setting and ensure equitable access of poor to genomics products and services.
  • Deliver knowledge, products and services for public health. A key outcome of the course was the internet-based opinion leaders’ network – the Indian Genome Policy Forum – a multi-stakeholder forum to foster further discussion on policy.


Advocacy for genomics is needed to persuade governments, commercial and non-commercial organisations, academic institutions and others of genomic technologies’ medical, scientific and economic benefits.


Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):

General Studies – 1


6. Unless there is political inclusion of the disabled, the goal of inclusiveness and empowerment will remain elusive. Comment in the light of recently released the draft of the national policy for persons with disabilities.

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India



The Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities (DoEPwD) recently released the draft of the national policy for persons with disabilities. The necessity for a new policy which replaces the 2006 policy was felt because of multiple factors such as India’s signing of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities; enactment of a new disability legislation (Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016) which increased the number of disabilities from seven conditions to 21 and being a party to the Incheon Strategy for Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022.

These commitments have changed the discourse around disability by shifting the focus from the individual to society, i.e., from a medical model of disability to a social or human rights model of disability.


Steps taken to achieve inclusivity of PwD’s in India

  • Rigths of PwD’s Act 2016: Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
    • The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21. The act added mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, speech and language disability, thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinson’s disease which were largely ignored in earlier act.
    • In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
    • It increases the quantum of reservation for people suffering from disabilities from 3% to 4% in government jobs and from 3% to 5% in higher education institutes.
  • Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    • The aim of the Campaign is to make a barrier free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country.
  • Deen Dayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to Persons with Disabilities, like special schools, vocational training centres, community based rehabilitation, pre-school and early intervention etc
  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP): The Scheme aims at helping the disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.


Shortcomings in the new draft policy

  • A glaring omission is the absence of any commitment to the political uplift of persons with disabilities.
    • Political empowerment and the inclusion of the disabled are an issue that has not found traction in India’s democratic discussion. India does not have any policy commitment that is aimed at enhancing the political participation of disabled people.
    • The first visually disabled Member of Parliament in independent India, Sadhan Gupta, hardly finds mention in our political or disability discourse
  • The exclusion of disabled people from the political space happens at all levels of the political process in the country, and in different ways.
    • For instance, the inaccessibility of the voting process, barriers to participation in party politics or a lack of representation at the local, State or national levels have all aggravated the marginalisation of the disabled.
  • Political parties in India still do not find the disabled as the large electorate to specifically address their needs.
  • The lack of live aggregate data on the exact number of the disabled people in every constituency only furthers their marginalisation.
    • The lack of accessible space for party meetings, inaccessible transport for campaigning or an attitudinal barrier among voters and party leaders can be termed as contributing factors.
    • Thus, we seldom see disability being highlighted in the manifestos of parties.

Way forward

  • A few States have begun the initiative at local levels to increase participation.
    • For instance, Chhattisgarh started the initiative of nominating at least one disabled person in each panchayat.
  • If a disabled person is not elected then they are nominated as a panchayat member as per changes in the law concerned.
  • This is a step that has increased the participation of the disabled in the political space at local level.


The document lays emphasis on the point that central and State governments must work together with other stakeholders to “make the right real”. This right can be made real only when it includes political rights/political participation within it. This will only conform to the universal principle on disability, i.e., “Nothing about us. Without us.”


General Studies – 2


7. The health of municipal finances is a critical element of municipal governance which will determine whether India realises her economic and developmental promise under the 74th Constitution Amendment Act. Examine.

Reference: The Hindu



The 74th Constitution Amendment Act was passed in 1992 mandating the setting up and devolution of powers to urban local bodies (ULBs) as the lowest unit of governance in cities and towns. Constitutional provisions were made for ULBs’ fiscal empowerment. However, three decades since, growing fiscal deficits, constraints in tax base expansion, and weakening of institutional mechanisms that enable resource mobilisation remain challenges.


Various aspects of finances of ULB’s

  • Tax Revenue: The revenue from the local taxes include property tax, entertainment tax, taxes on advertisements, professional tax, water tax, tax on animals, lighting tax, pilgrim tax, market tax, toll on new bridges, octroi and so on. In addition, the municipal bodies imposes various cesses like library cess, education cess, beggary cess and so on. Octroi (i.e., taxes on the entry of goods into a local area for consumption, use or sale therein) has been abolished in most of the states. Property tax is the most important tax revenue.
  • Non-Tax Revenue: This source include rent on municipal properties, fees and fines, royalty, profits and dividends, interest, user charges and miscellaneous receipts. The user charges (i.e., payment for public utilities) include water charges, sanitation charges, sewerage charges and so on.
  • Grants: These include the various grants given to municipal bodies by the Central and State Governments for several development programmes, infrastructure schemes, urban reform initiatives and so on.
  • Devolution: This consists of the transfer of funds to the urban local bodies from the state government. This devolution is made on the basis of the recommendations of the state finance commission.
  • Loans: The urban local bodies raise loans from the state government as well as financial institutions to meet their capital expenditure. They can borrow from the financial institutions or other bodies only with the approval of the state government.

Challenges in securing and ensuring availability of funds

  • Financial condition: The first is that ULBs’ own sources of revenue were less than half of their total revenue, with large untapped potential. The ULBs’ key revenue sources are taxes, fees, fines and charges, and transfers from Central and State governments, which are known as inter-governmental transfers (IGTs).
  • Government transfers: Second, many ULBs were highly dependent on IGTs. Transfers from the Central government are as stipulated by the Central Finance Commissions and through grants towards specific reforms, while State government transfers are as grants-in-aid and devolution of State’s collection of local taxes.
  • Poor governance: The largest reason for the poor condition of India’s cities is the failure of municipal governance. There is a lack of planning and governance at the urban local body level.
  • Lack of management capacity: Indian municipalities do not have the management capacity to either plan economic activity or execute it. The system of recruitment fails to bring in the best men. Several vacancies are not filled for years and transfers are affected at the free will of the senior bureaucrats and the government.
  • Corruption: In these bodies’ corruption, favouritism and nepotism are rampant. In the case of most of the bodies, the state government is empowered to take disciplinary action and the urban body has very little control over its personnel.
  • O&M expenses: The operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses are on the increase but still inadequate. O&M expenses are crucial for the upkeep of infrastructure and for maintaining quality of service delivery. The share of O&M expenses in ULBs’ total revenue expenditure increased from about 30% in 2012-13 to about 35% in 2016-17.
  • Lack of coordination: Poor coordination among centre, state, and various departments at local level led to poor implementation of urban policies. Inability to coordinate leads to administrative inefficiency and thus poor urban governance.


Measures to overcome

  • Greater autonomy: The urban local bodies should be given greater autonomy. India needs to follow a devolved model that empowers urban local bodies. Municipalities should be more autonomous in their functioning, so that they can deliver quality service.
  • Governance Reforms: Governance reform are needed as catalyst for change. The Government may consider the adoption of a common categorisation of urban bodies across the country so as to assist a systematic planning process and devolution of funds. All areas having population more than 10 lakhs should be defined metropolitan areas.
  • Timely elections and recruitment: For strengthening ULBs, a minimum level of staffing should be provided in metropolitan areas. Elections to ULBs should not be, generally, delayed beyond six months.
  • Encouraging public-private partnership: Successful PPP programs should be formulated at both state and city levels to fund city development. Role of the state should be to create an enabling environment with an aim to expand and deepen private sector investments in infrastructure.
  • Holistic approach: It is important to integrate various urban development and related programs at local, state and national levels to develop sustainable city or metropolitan regions. Urban institutions should be strengthened and roles of different organisations should be fixed.


The scale of municipal finances in India is undoubtedly inadequate. A ULB’s realised own revenue resources are far below the estimated potential. Tapping into property taxes, other land-based resources and user charges are all ways to improve the revenue of a ULB. IGTs assume significance in the fiscal composition of ULBs, and a stable support from Central and State governments is crucial till ULBs improve their own revenues. Measures need to be made to also cover O&M expenses of a ULB for better infrastructure and service.


8. NITI Aayog has been constituted to actualise the important goal of cooperative federalism and to enable good governance in India. NITI Aayog acts as the quintessential platform for the Government of India by bringing States together as ‘Team India’ to work towards the national development agenda. Examine.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India



The National Institution for Transforming India, also known as NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1 January 2015. It is the premier policy “Think Tank” of the Government of India, providing directional and policy inputs. Apart from designing strategic and long-term policies and programs for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre, States, and Union Territories.


Role of Niti Aayog in cooperative federalism & good governance in India

  • The institution has to provide governments at the central and state levels with relevant strategic and technical advice
  • Dissemination of best practices from within the country as well as from other nations
  • The infusion of new policy ideas and specific issue-based support
  • To respond to the changing and more integrated world that India is part of
  • Ensure that the economically vibrant middle-class remains engaged, and its potential is fully realized
  • Incorporate the significant geo-economic and geo-political strength of the Non-Resident Indian Community
  • Use technology to reduce opacity and potential for misadventures in governance
  • Ensure that India is an active player in the debates and deliberations on the global commons
  • NITI Aayog has been providing relevant technical advice to the Centre, States and UTs.
  • NITI has also established models and programmes for the development of infrastructure and to reignite and establish private-public partnership, such as the Centre-state partnership model Development Support Services to States and Union Territories (DSSS); and the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) programme.


Current challenges plaguing NITI Aayog

  • To achieve these in practice will require the NITI Aayog to overcome the two key challenges.
  • Access high-quality researchers in multiple disciplines who can partner with policymakers.
  • Creating a willingness among policymakers to learn from evidence.
  • There are other many challenges ahead for NITI Aayog, the most significant of which is bringing all stakeholders on board to fully realize the aspirations of the common man and bring development to the village level by enacting policies that are people-centric, or it will simply be old wine in new bottles.
  • NITI Aayog has no powers in granting discretionary funds to states, which renders it toothless to undertake a transformational intervention.
  • It acts as an advisory body onlythat advises the government on various issues without ensuring the enforceability of its ideas.

Way forward

  • Planning decentralization, but within the framework of a five-year plan. It is necessary to shake bureaucratic inertia by specializing it and establishing performance-based responsibility.
  • Over time, the NITI Aayog could become a change agent, contributing to the government’s aim of improving governance and introducing innovative ways to improve public service delivery.
  • NITI Aayog continues to be a symbol of the country’s efficient, transparent, innovative, and responsible governance structure, as well as exemplary work ethics.
  • NITI Aayog should be given a financing function so that it can assist in bridging the gap between states’ development experiences.
  • An alternative is to make the Finance Commission a permanent organization that can oversee fiscal transfer mechanisms rather than just giving a five-year tax-sharing formula.


General Studies – 3


9. Semiconductors are critical technological components for emerging technologies and India’s push to reduce dependence on semi-conductor imports is a welcome step. Evaluate India’s strengths and weaknesses in achieving self-sufficiency in semiconductor production.

Reference: Live Mint


Semiconductor chips are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products. These chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.

Semiconductor shortage is turning into an acute issue. Due to it, the growth prospects of the auto industry are once again in jeopardy. This issue also offers immense opportunity for India to foray in to Integrated Circuits and Chip design.


Strengths of semiconductor industry of India

  • India’s biggest advantage in the Plus 1 space is its end-to-end design and manufacturing capabilities.
  • Vietnam is known for strong midstream activities, and local companies focus mainly on assembly.
  • Upstream activities, involving design and production, are mostly done overseas.
  • India has a highly talented young engineering force.
  • Not only is India considered to be the most digitally dexterous country in the world due to the largest Gen Z workforce, we have a huge domestic market.
  • And we are closer to Africa, the Middle East and European markets.


  • For one, the level of fiscal support currently envisioned is minuscule when one considers the scale of investments typically required to set up manufacturing capacities in the various sub sectors of the semiconductor industry.
  • A semiconductor fabrication facility, or fab, can cost multiples of a billion dollars to set up even on a relatively small scale and lagging by a generation or two behind the latest in technology.
  • Even granting that India’s Production Linked Incentive scheme intends to give only 50% of the cost of setting up at least two greenfield semiconductor fabs by way of fiscal support, not much of the current scheme outlay of approximately $10 billion is likely to be left to support other elements including display fabs, packaging and testing facilities, and chip design centres.
  • Chip fabs are also very thirsty units requiring millions of litres of clean water and extremely stable power supply.
  • India has a decent chip design talent but it never built up chip fab capacity. The ISRO and the DRDO have their respective fab foundries but they are primarily for their own requirements and also not as sophisticated as the latest in the world.
  • It may be best if the new mission focuses fiscal support, for now, on other parts of the chip-making chain including design, where surely India already has considerable talent and experience.

Way Forward

  • Given the long gestation periods and rapid technology changes, India must out-strategize on design and functionality as the end product will be out only after three-four years from the moment work begins, by which point the prevailing chip shortage would have been resolved, while technology would have advanced further.
  • Apart from incentivising more FDI in electronics to deepen our supply chains through incentive schemes, we need to focus on encouraging Indian manufacturers and start-ups to enter and master complex R&D and manufacturing verticals.
  • We can then ensure that valuable Intellectual Property is created and owned by Indian companies.
  • The semiconductor industry is changing fast as new-age technologies require innovation at the design, material, and process levels.
  • Indian engineers have contributed immensely to this area in multinational companies. We must encourage them to set up their design start-ups with handsome government grants and tax incentives.
  • Premier research institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science should also be asked to work aggressively on R&D in chip designing and manufacturing.
  • Further, the government must focus on emerging technologies like LiDAR and Phased Array in which incumbents do not have a disproportionate advantage and the entry barrier is low.
  • By working aggressively in new cutting-edge technologies, India can ensure that it becomes Aatmanirbhar.
  • India needs to push for a Quad Supply Chain Resilience Fund to immunise the supply chain from geopolitical and geographic risks
  • India and Taiwan have started negotiations for a free-trade agreement and setting up a semiconductor manufacturing hub in an Indian city, signalling their resolve to further expand the two-way economic engagement.


The program will usher in a new era in electronics manufacturing by providing a globally competitive incentive package to companies in semiconductors and display manufacturing as well as design. The program will promote higher domestic value addition in electronics manufacturing and will contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025. This shall pave the way for India’s technological leadership in these areas of strategic importance and economic self-reliance.

Value addition

Government initiatives in this regard

The Union Cabinet’s decision to set aside ₹76,000 crore for supporting the development of a ‘semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem’ is a belated but welcome acknowledgment of the strategic significance of integrated circuits, or chips, to a modern economy.

  • India Semiconductor Mission:
    • In order to drive the long-term strategies for developing a sustainable semiconductors and display ecosystem, aspecialised and independent India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) will be set up.
    • ISM will beled by global experts in the semiconductor and display industry. It will act as the nodal agency for efficient and smooth implementation of the schemes on Semiconductors and Display ecosystem.
  • Production Linked Incentives:
    • Incentive support to the tune of Rs.55,392 crore (7.5 billion USD) has been approved under PLIfor Largest Scale Electronics Manufacturing, PLI for IT Hardware, SPECS Scheme and Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
    • In addition, PLI incentives to the quantum of Rs.98,000 crore (USD 13 billion) is approved for alliedsectors comprising ACC battery, auto components, telecom & networking products, solar PV modules and white goods.
  • Semiconductor Fabs and Display Fabs:
    • It would provide fiscal support of up to 50% of the project costfor setting up semiconductor and display fabrication units.
    • The Union government will work with the States to set up high-tech clusters with the required infrastructuresuch as land and semiconductor-grade water.
  • Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL):
    • MeitY will take requisite steps for modernization and commercialization of Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL).
    • MeitY will explore the possibility for the Joint Venture of SCL with a commercial fab partnerto modernise the brownfield fab facility.
  • Compound Semiconductors:
    • It will support fiscal support of 30% of capital expenditure to approved units.
    • At Least 15 such unitsof Compound Semiconductors and Semiconductor Packaging are expected to be established with Government support under this scheme.
  • Semiconductor Design Companies:
    • TheDesign Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme shall extend product design linked incentive of up to 50% of eligible expenditure and product deployment linked incentive of 6% – 4% on net sales for five years.
    • Support will be provided to 100 domestic companiesof semiconductor design for Integrated Circuits (ICs), Chipsets, System on Chips (SoCs), Systems & IP Cores and semiconductor linked design.


10. The world has made considerable progress in financial inclusion and access to financial services have grown significantly. However, there are challenges in bridging the remaining gap mainly on account of last mile connectivity. There is a growing realisation that digital technology can play an effective role in plugging the remaining gaps. Analyse.

Reference: Live Mint


Financial inclusion may be defined as the process of ensuring access to financial services and timely and adequate credit where needed by vulnerable groups such as weaker sections and low-income groups at an affordable cost. Global Findex database found that 71% of adults in developing economies now have a formal financial account compared to 42% in the first edition a decade ago.


In a diverse country like India, financial inclusion is a critical part of the development process. Since independence, the combined efforts of successive governments, regulatory institutions, and the civil society have helped in increasing the financial-inclusion net in the country


Background: Financial inclusion

  • Mobile and Internet Banking Transactions: The mobile and Internet banking transactions have increased to 13,615 per 1,000 adults in 2020 from 183 in 2015.
  • Bank Branches: The number of bank branches has reached up to7 per 1 lakh adults in 2020 from 13.6 in 2015 which is higher than in Germany, China and South Africa.
  • No Frills Account: The number of no-frills bank accounts has significantly increased. Of these, almost two-thirds are operational in rural and semi-urban areas and more than 78% of these accounts are with state-owned banks.

Issues in achieving absolute financial inclusion

  • The first challenge in making products broadly available is bridging the gap between supply and demand of capital.
  • In a financially integrated world, capital is agile. Yet owing to a limited risk appetite, low or thin-file data on customers and challenging regulatory oversight, capital remains a constraint in designing bespoke products.
    • For India to overcome these challenges, the existing infrastructure must be adapted to our new purpose, providing easy-to-use, customer-centric experiences.
  • At present, only about 5% of India’s 6 lakh villages have bank branches. There are 296 under-banked districts in states with below-par banking services. Thus, bank reach is poor in rural areas leading to financial exclusion.
  • Financial literacy and technology readiness are two critical issues. Financial education assists people in making sound financial decisions. These are not just challenges of the Indian market, but other economies too.
  • The lack of infrastructure and cost-effective technology for facilitating transactions at the doorstep is a hindrance to financial inclusion.


Current Affairs

Digital technology role in financial inclusion

  • This digital transformation makes it easier, cheaper and safer for people to receive wages from employers, send remittances to family members, and pay for goods and services.
  • Mobile money accounts can better handle high-volume, small-denomination transactions, which help users to access financial services and save in order to cope better with crises.
  • Individual accounts also give women more privacy, security and control over their money.
  • The share of adults in developing economies who make or receive digital payments grew from 35% in 2014 to 57% in 2021.
  • The digital revolution also serves as a powerful anti-corruption tool, because it helps to increase transparency as money flows from a government’s budget to public agencies to citizens.

Way forward

  • Governments and the private sector can help further this transformation. First, they need to create a favourable operating and policy environment. For example, enabling the interoperability of systems allows for payments across different types of financial institutions and between mobile money service providers.
  • Improving access to finance depends much more on the mobile-phone system than on the physical banking system.
  • Cheap and functional mobile phones and affordable internet access are prerequisites for expanding digital finance.
  • Consumer protections and stable regulations are also needed to foster safe and fair practices that bolster trust in the financial system.


Expanding people’s access to finance, reducing the cost of digital transactions, and channelling wage payments and social transfers through financial accounts will be vital to mitigating development setbacks resulting from the ongoing turbulence.