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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 August 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Compare and contrast Himalayan drainage system and the Peninsular drainage system of the Indian subcontinent. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference:  Insights on India , 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 differences between Himalayan drainage system and the Peninsular drainage system as well as its similarities.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about the drainage system of India.

Body:

First, write the differences between the both on the basis of evolution, nature, type of flow etc.

Next, explain some similarities between both the river systems.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

The flow of water through well-defined channels is known as ‘drainage’ and the network of such channels is called a ‘drainage system’.

Body

 

The catchment area of large rivers or river system is called a river basin while those of small rivers, a lake, a tank is often referred to as a watershed. There is, however, a slight difference between a river basin and a watershed. Watersheds are small in area, generally less than 1000 ha.

BASIS FOR COMPARISONHIMALAYAN RIVERSPENINSULAR RIVERS
MeaningHimalayan Rivers are the rivers that originate from Himalayan ranges and flows throughout the year.Peninsular Rivers include those rivers that arises from Western Ghats and receive water only during a particular period.
NaturePerennialNon-perennial
FormDeltaSome rivers form delta while others form Estuary
ShapeMeanderingStraight
RocksBed rocks are soft, sedimentary and easily erodibleBed rocks are hard, resistant and not easily erodible
Fed bySnow and rainRain
Drainage basinLargeSmall
IrrigateNorthern PlainsDeccan Plateau
ValleyV-shaped valley is formedU-shaped valley is formed

Key Differences Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers System

  • Himalayan Rivers are the water bodies that emanate from the north of Himalayan mountain ranges. On the other extreme, Peninsular Rivers include those watercourses that arise from, Western Ghats or Central Highlands.
  • The Himalayan rivers are perennial, i.e. they have water all around the year. As against, Peninsular rivers are seasonal, in the sense that they have water during a particular period only.
  • Big deltas are formed by Himalayan Rivers. On the other extreme, some peninsular rivers like the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery form deltas, while the Narmada and the Tapi form estuaries.
  • While Himalayan rivers form meanders, there is an absence of meanders in case of Peninsular rivers.
  • The bedrocks of Himalayan rivers are soft, sedimentary and easily erodible. Conversely, bedrocks of Peninsular rivers are hard, resistant and not easily erodible.
  • Himalayan rivers get water from snow and rain, whereas Peninsular rivers are fed by rain only.
  • The drainage basin of Himalayan rivers is comparatively larger than the Peninsular rivers.
  • Himalayan rivers water helps in the irrigation of Northern Plains. In contrast, Peninsular rivers irrigate Deccan Plateau.
  • Himalayan rivers form a V-shaped valley, while Peninsular watercourses form valley having a U-shape

Conclusion        

The channel and valley length of the Himalayan River system is larger in comparison to the Peninsular River system. While in case of Himalayan Rivers, water is added by the underground sources also, but in case of Peninsular rivers due to hard lithology, no underground water is added to the river.

 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2. Throw light on the importance of monsoon for India and account for variations in Indian monsoon year after year. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

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 monsoon for India and causes for its variation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by introducing Indian monsoon and its importance briefly.

Body:

First, write in detail about the overall importance of Indian monsoon.

Start by briefly mentioning about mechanism of the monsoon and the reasons for fluctuations in Indian monsoon according to the seasons. Divide the answer in to various months and how monsoon varies with it. Use a diagram to explain it more systematically. Do include the Western Disturbances, Somali Jet Streams, Easterly Jet streams etc, climate change. Write about its impact.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to deal with excess and well as deficit of monsoonal rain.

Introduction

Monsoons are seasonal winds which reverse their direction with the change of season. The monsoon is a double system of seasonal winds. They flow from sea to land during the summer and from land to sea during winter. Monsoons are peculiar to Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia, parts of Central Western Africa etc. Indian Monsoons are Convection cells on a very large scale. They are periodic or secondary winds which seasonal reversal in wind direction.

Body

Seasonal variation in the India monsoons

 

Significance of Monsoon on Indian economy: 

  • The monsoon is important for India’s farm-dependent $2 trillion economy.
  • It is a crucial source of water supply necessary for agriculture, industry and households in the country.
  • India gets around 70 percent of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season.
  • This affects the yield of some key kharif crops like rice, pulses and oilseeds such as soybeans.
  • Around 50% of India’s total food output comes in the form of Kharif crops.
  • India is primarily an agrarian economy—agriculture contributes 16% of India’s GDP.
  • It is also crucial for rabi crops as monsoon has an impact on the ground water and also reservoirs which are critical for rabi crops irrigation.
  • Bumper farm output keeps food prices under control and keep inflation in check.
  • This boosts demand for consumer goods as well as income of rural people.
  • All of this leads to a stronger economic outlook that in turn help lift equities, especially of companies selling goods in rural areas.
  • Monsoon rains also replenish reservoirs and groundwater that helps in improving irrigation and also boosts hydropower production.
  • Good Monsoon can reduce demand for subsidized diesel used for pumping water for irrigation.
  • Good monsoon also checks government spending.
  • Industries use raw materials like cotton, sugarcane, vegetable oils and natural rubber. The prices of these raw material fall in times of good monsoons.
  • The loan portfolio of banks rises and banks net interest margins also rise.
  • Easy interest rates prevail in the economy and bank stocks rise in value.
  • A good monsoon will mean more farm related employment leading to a higher cash flow into the economy, all with a positive impact on the overall GDP.

Effects of poor monsoon on Indian economy:

  • A poor monsoon season can have a rippling effect on India’s economy and overall GDP growth of India.
  • A delayed monsoon can lead to supply issues and even accelerate food inflation.
  • Higher food inflation translates into higher interest rates, which in turn raises the borrowing cost across the country and impacts profitability.
  • Below normal monsoon can also lead to drought-like situation, thereby affecting the rural household incomes.
  • Other sectors affected by the health of the rural economy are banking, NBFCs and microfinance institutions.
  • Droughts result in NPAs, as farmers are unable to repay loans.
  • Groundwater levels will continue to fall dangerously.
  • This affects the farm sector which employs over half of the total population of India.
  • Crop failure and/or deficient rainfall is one big reason for mass farmer suicides across the country.
  • A poor monsoon weakens demand for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) products, tractors, two-wheelers and rural housing.
  • It forces the government to spend on the import of food as well as take measures like farm loan waivers. These widen fiscal deficit.
  • This not only results in banks facing losses, it also disturbs the credit discipline of borrowers.
  • The impact even ripples overseas, as commodity markets are starved of Indian sugar and rice.
  • States like Kerala, Karnataka, MP and Maharashtra -could face challenges from a deficit monsoon, as they have poor irrigation availability.

Way forward:

  • Monsoon does play a big role in India. It has social, political, as well as economic implications.
  • Thus monsoon doesn’t only affect the crops but all the industries in the country.
  • The monsoon-dependent Indian economy needs climate-sensitive budgeting.
  • The excessive dependence on monsoon may be mitigated by the construction of modern irrigation canals, afforestation, and diversification of Indian industries.
  • Farmers, especially smallholder farmers, need advance warning of emergent weather conditions at a local level.
  • Develop climate-smart agriculture practices.
  • Build adaptive capacities to climate variability and strengthen the sustainability of farming systems.
  • Preventive measures for drought that include growing of pulses and oilseeds instead of rice.
  • Mobile telecommunication systems are increasingly cost-effective and an efficient way of delivering weather-based agro-advisories to farmers at a large scale.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

3. Breaking myths and stereotypes around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is crucial to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and to accelerate technology-led economic growth and development. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

While women make up about 47% of the total workforce, they are statistically under-represented in STEM, with less than 30% of the world’s researchers being women.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ways to empower women in STEM and improve their participation.

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: 

Start the answer by citing the status of gender equality in STEM in India.

Body:

Discuss the status of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) fields. About 43% of STEM graduates in India may be women, which is the highest in the world, but women’s share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.

Most of the women STEM graduates in India either pursue another career or do not work at all. Women across the world face the ‘leaky pipeline’ problem in STEM fields.

Suggest some measures to improve women’s participation in STEM fields. Discuss the efforts of the government in this direction. Talk about policy measures in force.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Science, technology, engineering, and medicine –together known as ‘STEM’ fields –suffer from lack of women, especially in India. In school exam results, we hear of how girls have outshone boys, but when it comes to those who take up research in later life, the number of women is minuscule. This means that many of our best brains that showed the maximum potential do not pick research as a career.

Since independence, successive governments in India have taken many steps in bringing gender empowerment. However, various developmental indices reflect that still, a lot needs to be done in this regard. One such area of improvement is increasing gender participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

Body

India tops world rankings in producing female graduates in STEM with 43% but employs only 14% of them. In comparison, Sweden produces 35% female STEM graduates and employs 34% of them.

Status of Women in STEM Fields

  • While women make up about 47% of the total workforce, they are statistically under-represented in STEM, with less than 30% of the world’s researchers being women.
  • About 43% of STEM graduates in India may be women, which is the highest in the world, but women’s share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.
  • While in India, 43% of the total graduates in STEM are women, which is one of the highest in the world, only 14% become scientists, engineers, and technologists. Sources indicate that India ranks second in the world’s top 20 countries with the highest number of women Tech CEOs.
  • However, the share of Women CEOs in Tech companies in India is only a minuscule 5%.
  • According to a recent Accenture research report, the gender pay gap in India is as high as 67 percent.

Reasons for this gender gap

  • Most of the women STEM graduates in India either pursue another career or do not work at all. Women across the world face the ‘leaky pipeline’ problem in STEM fields.
  • Women leave the workforce, due to the absence of supportive institutional structures during pregnancy, safety issues in fieldwork and the workplace.
  • The STEM field is so perpetuated with gender stereotypes. It has a very strong male-dominated culture. Further, there is a lack of role models for girls and women.
  • Not just societal norms but issues related to poor education and healthcare access are responsible for a lesser number of women in these fields.
  • When highly qualified women drop out of the workforce, it results in considerable depletion of national resources in science and technology.
  • Stereotypes encountered by girls to the family-caring responsibilities.
  • Patriarchal society.
  • Women face bias when choosing a career.
  • Women continue to face the same kind of discrimination at work as they face in society.
  • Various studies have found that girls excel at mathematics and science-oriented subjects in school, but boys often believe they can do better, which shapes their choices in higher studies.
  • In 2015, an analysis of PISA scores by OECD found that the difference in math scores between high-achieving boys and girls was the equivalent of about half a year at school.
  • But when comparing boys and girls who reported similar levels of self-confidence and anxiety about mathematics, the gender gap in performance disappeared — when girls were more anxious, they tended to perform poorly.

Government Initiatives so far to bridge the gender gap in STEM: 

  • Vigyan Jyoti scheme:
    • Announced in the 2017 budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • The scheme aims to arrange for girl students of classes 9, 10 and 11 meet women scientists, with the IITs and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.
    • It is intended to create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education
    • It also offers exposure for girl students from the rural background to help to plan their journey from school to a job of their choice in the field of science.
  • GATI Scheme:
    • The Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) will develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM.
  • Inspire-MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge)
    • Attract talented young boys and girls to study science and pursue research as a career.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan programme
    • Launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2014.
    • Connect India’s elite institutes with local communities and address their developmental challenges with appropriate technological interventions.
  • Indo-US fellowship for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to participate in international collaborative research in premier institutions in America
  • Women-centric programmes under the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)initiative
  • Bio-technology Career Advancement and Reorientation (Bio-Care)

Way Forward

  • Promote gender equality as an explicit human right.
  • Identify and eliminate practices that create systemic and structural impediments to the advancement of women in science.
  • Support the empowerment of women to enable them to flourish in the scientific profession.
  • Identify potential risks and hindrances to women in their pursuit of science and implement strategies to eliminate them.
  • Engage with the Government of India, scientific institutions and the civil society to promote and support gender equality in general, and in science in particular.
  • Replicating ISRO Model:The role of women engineers in the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 shows that how social shackles pertaining to women are loosening. Thus, there is a need for emulating ISRO’s model in STEM fields.
  • Bringing Behavioural Change:Subdued gender participation emanates from social-economic issues, which can be treated by bringing behavioural change. For this, the contributions of women in the STEM sector should be highlighted in textbooks. This may motivate the next generation of girls to be leaders in the STEM sector.
  • Women’s participation in STEM should be encouraged from primary school level rather only in higher studies.
  • Awareness about gender inequality and its outcome has to be increased and the community should be supportive and understanding of career prospects for women.
  • Companies can provide more internship opportunities for women and give STEM scholarships to meritorious yet economically backward girls.
  • India’s forthcoming Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) should focus on the thrust on gender equity and inclusion. Digital India too provides an opportunity to impart education in the STEM field to women.

Conclusion

A research report by McKinsey said that narrowing the gender gap in STEM can lead to an increase of $12-28 trillion in the global economy. Thus, India should look at Gender equality as an essential facet of the development perspective.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

4. Examine the implications of the withdrawal of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. Do you think its withdrawal is justified? Critically comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

On Wednesday, the Minister for the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY), Ashwini Vaishnaw, withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. The reasons for the withdrawal were circulated in a note to MPs, which stated that, “considering the report of the JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee), a comprehensive legal framework is being worked upon…”.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of withdrawal of data protection bill and to comment on its withdrawal.

Directive word: 

Critically comment – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘comment’ is prefixed, we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving the aims and objectives of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019

Body:

First, in brief, highlight the major features of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019

Next, write about the implications of its withdrawal – on the rights of people, on tech companies, privacy aspect etc.

Next, write about if the withdrawal is justified – cite examples and statistics to substantiate your views.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward in order to have robust data protection law in India.

 

Introduction

The Union Information Technology Minister announced the withdrawal of The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha. He stated that the government has decided to come up with a fresh bill that fits into the comprehensive legal framework with reference to the suggestions made by the Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) on the Bill. The Joint Committee of Parliament on the Personal Data Protection Bill had submitted a 542-page report with overall 93 recommendations and 81 amendments to the Bill in December 2021. Apart from that, the panel, headed by former Union Minister, had recommended about 97 corrections and improvements to the Bill. The data protection Bill has been in the works since 2018 when a panel, led by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna.

 

Body

Implications of the withdrawal

  • The JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) has nowhere suggested a withdrawal in favour of a “comprehensive legal framework”, but on the contrary pitched for the Bill to “be passed” with amendments.
  • The government fears that a compliance burden can impede innovation and growth in the digital economy.
  • There exists a reasonable argument that if passed into law, the 2019 bill may institutionalise bad privacy practices.
  • Seeking changes in the law at a later date may be difficult considering the relentless pace of digitisation.

Is the move justified?

  • The Joint committee of parliament proposed 81 amendments to the Bill finalised by the Srikrishna panel, and 12 recommendations.
  • It includes expanding the scope of the proposed law to cover discussions on non-personal data — thereby changing the mandate of the Bill from personal data protection to broader data protection.
  • In its most basic form, non-personal data are any set of data that does not contain personally identifiable information.
  • The JCP’s report also recommended changes on issues such as regulation of social media companies, and on using only “trusted hardware” in smartphones, etc.
  • It proposed that social media companies that do not act as intermediaries should be treated as content publishers — making them liable for the content they host.
  • Thus, the move is justified

Way forward

  • To build stakeholder confidence and clear doubts on specific provisions, a public consultation could have been organised.
  • With the government setting the goal of a one trillion dollar digital economy a regulatory intervention is required to improve the business practices in digital products and services.
  • India should explore the existing parliamentary amendments and judicial review to update the law and fill the legal vacuum.
  • Growing international consensus suggests that next-generation innovation in technology needs data protection.

Conclusion

A “comprehensive legal framework” to regulate the online space, including bringing separate laws on data privacy, the overall Internet ecosystem, cybersecurity, telecom regulations, and harnessing non-personal data at the earliest to boost innovation in the country.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector is expected to be the driving force for the Indian economy in the years ahead. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector is expected is expected to contribute $2 trillion and create 50 million additional jobs by 2024, as India aims to become a $5 trillion economy.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of SME sector to the Indian economy and ways to harness it.

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

Body:

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

Next, Mention about the challenges of the SMEs such as skilling, linkage with the e commerce industries, upgrading of marketing skills and meeting new market needs. Mention the steps that are needed to address the above issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

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

Body:

Potential of India’s MSME sector:

  • Contribution to GDP: . The sector is expected to contribute $2 trillion and create 50 million additional jobs by 2024, as India aims to become a $5 trillion economy. The share of MSMEs in the country’s gross value added is estimated to be about 32%.
  • Leveraging Exports: It also contributes about 40% to total exports and 45% to manufacturing output.
  • Employment Opportunities: It employs 60 million people, creates 1.3 million jobs every year and produces more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets.
  • Diversity: There are approximately 30 million MSME Units in India and is quite diverse in terms of its size, level of technology employed, range of products and services provided and target markets.
  • Fostering Inclusive Growth: MSME is constructing inclusive growth in numerous ways through promoting non- agricultural livelihood at least cost, unbiased regional development, large female participation, and providing a protection against deflation.

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

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

Other issues:

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

Measures needed:

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

Way forward:

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

Conclusion:       

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

Value addition

Impact of COVID on MSME sector:

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

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6. Examine the prospects and scope of ocean thermal energy as source of clean energy as well supplement to India’s energy security. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

The National Institute of Ocean Technology, an autonomous institute under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is establishing an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant with a capacity of 65 kilowatt (kW) in Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep.

Key Demand of the question:

To write scope of ocean thermal energy for clean energy and energy security purposes.

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 defining ocean thermal energy.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the mechanism of ocean thermal energy.

Next, write about the scope and prospects of ocean thermal energy along India’s vast coast line. Mention the enabling factors as well as limiting factors with respect.

Next, write about it as a source of clean energy as well as an additional supplement to India’s energy security.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to holistically harness it.

Introduction

 

Ocean Thermal Energy, also called Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), refers to using the temperature difference between the deep parts of the sea, which are cold and the shallow parts of the sea, which are cold, to run a heat engine and produce useful work. The energy source of OTEC is abundantly available, free, and will be so for as long as the sun shines and ocean currents exist.

The National Institute of Ocean Technology, an autonomous institute under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is establishing an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant with a capacity of 65 kilowatt (kW) in Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep.

Body:

How OTEC is tapped

  1. Ocean thermal energy conversion uses the temperature difference between cooler deep and warmer shallow or surface seawaters to run a heat engine and produce electricity. It is base load electricity generation system.
  2. The deeper parts of the ocean are cooler because the heat of sunlight cannot penetrate very deep into the water.
  3. Here the efficiency of the system depends on the temperature difference.
  4. Greater the temperature difference, the greater the efficiency.
  5. The temperature difference in the oceans between the deep and shallow parts is maximum in the tropics, 20oC to 25o
  6. Tropics receive a lot of sunlight which warms the surface of the oceans, increasing the temperature gradient.
  7. OTEC is one of the continuously available renewable energy resources.

Scope of Ocean Thermal Energy in India:

  • India is geographically well-placed to generate ocean thermal energy, with around 2000 kms of coast length along the South Indian coast, where a temperature difference of above 20 degrees C is available throughout the year.
  • That means, about 1.5×10 million square kilometres of tropical water in the Exclusive Economic Zone around India with a power density of 0.2 MW/km2.
  • The total OTEC potential around India is estimated as 180,000 MW, considering 40% of gross power for parasitic losses.
  • However, the cost estimates of ocean energy as against conventional energy is still being worked out, as the country is still in a nascent stage of development of the technology and start generation.

Conclusion:

Ocean Thermal energy technology can help India stimulate innovation, create economic growth and new jobs as well as to reduce its carbon footprint. It will also help India to support its neighbouring countries who have energy deficits, for their better economic growth and can guide them on their way to being self-sufficient in energy sector.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. You’re a HR responsible for hiring content writers for a project. Binod is one such applicant who has applied for the job. He has cleared all the earlier rounds and during HR round you come to know that he has financial difficulties and is in dire need of the job. As he met all technical qualifications and his attitude seemed to be fine, you hire him with a probationary period of 6 months. Post 6 months, based on his performance he would be made permanent.

Few weeks into his job, you get adverse reports from his team lead about his performance. When you talk to him, he informs you that he is unable to balance personal and professional life. His personal problems are affecting his work performance. You counsel him and guide him to the best of your abilities but in a few weeks the same problems continue. The team lead requests you to consider terminating his employment as he has been given enough chances to improve. But ultimately it is your call. What will be your course of action in this scenario?

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, mention the facts of the case

Body:

Give the major ethical issues involved along with the stakeholders. Write about the course of action that you will take with respect to Binod. Evaluate its pros and cons of the course of action.

Conclusion:

Stress on the importance of balancing empathy with efficiency.

Introduction

               With Liberalization, Privatization & Globalisation,  services sector has seen a great boom since 1992. Variety of services have come up giving skilled personnel the opportunities for employment. The above case study is one such where a skilled person, Binod, is applying for a job as a content writer and I being the HR responsible for hiring should decide on Binod’s employment.

Body

Binod is faced with personal problems which is interfering with his performance at profession. The team lead has requested me to consider Binod’s termination as the latter has been given enough chances to improve.

The options with me are

  • Terminating Binod’s employment
  • Giving Binod a brief leave and asking him to sort his personal life and then join back work.

My course of action

In the above scenario, I would go with option 2 considering the importance of job and difficulties in securing the job. Further, I would also give Binod an ultimatum that if there are issues again, he would be terminated. As the team leader had requested me to remove Binod. I would place Binod in a different team and once he is proven good, he would be placed back in the team.

Conclusion

At times, there are issues of mixing up of personal and professional lives of employees. As HR personnel, one should have empathy and emotional intelligence to ensure that the employee is safeguarded but at the same time the productivity at work is not degraded.


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