Q.1) Public investment in railways would generate largest spillovers, would boost aggregate growth and competitiveness of Indian manufacturing. Analyze.
The Top Asnwer for this Question is written by – Mumtaz Ahmad
Ans) Railways have been the ‘engine of growth’ since its incorporation during the industrial revolution phase. All the major developed economies of the world have significant dependence on Railways for freights, whether China or USA. In Indian context the story has not been so promising as the majority of freight movement occurs through road route and railways have abysmally low contribution (25-30%).
There is greater need for public investment in Railways along with institutional and structural reforms (viz. Bibek Debroy Committee). Following points strengthens the above viewpoint:
Railways are one of the efficient freight movement system which is essentially cheaper and productive.
Transit time as compared to roadways, which face octrois, blockades etc., is on the lower side.
Railways provide efficient forward and backward market integration, thereby enhancing the economic activity.
A large number of manufacturing hubs could be commissioned in the railway corridors (such as proposed DMIC) thereby boosting manufacturing output.
These combined with less intensity of environmental pollution could actively support the concept of sustainable economic growth.
The feasibility of railway freight movements in India has remain stunted since independence due to various socio-political reasons such as low fare of passenger railways are compensated from the freight charges rather being compensated by government. These affect the business sentiments and needs to be adequately looked into. The Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) and DMIC appears promising step in order to revive railways and accelerate growth.
Q.2) Critically analyze the recommendations of Bibek Deboroy committee on restructuring of Indian railways.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Indushree
Ans) Bibek Debroi committee recommendations aim to overhaul the ailing railways sector. However, feasibility of implementation is being questioned on various grounds.
Commercial accounting is expected improve estimation of project returns and risk assessment. However, complete redesign of railway accounting system is a complex process.
Creation of independent regulatory agency is a welcome move. Regulation of private entry, rationalising tariffs, enforcing safety regulations and creation of level-playing field for operators are better performed by a specialised agency. But, complete separation between Ministry of railways as policy formulator and agency as implementor is not feasible
Encouraging private entry into railways can attract investments and improve accessibility. But it could result in higher fares and price volatility severely impacting the poor.
Although establishment of Indian Railway Manufacturing Company to manufacture railway coaches and locomotives can help commercialisation and specialisation, separation of core manufacturing units may result in co-ordination issues and procurement delays.
Focusing on core business of railway transportation reduces the load on railway administration. But, outsourcing of non-core activities like catering, railway hospitals, schools can result in employee dissatisfaction.
Gradual phasing out of railway budget has dangers of prioritising commerce over public welfare.
Devolution of powers can improve accountability at local station level.
Considering these challenges, five year transition period provided by the committee must be used to address challenges effectively and bring in necessary changes to transform railways.
Q.3) Dedicated Freights Corridors are aimed at bringing speed with efficiency in transport sector. Discuss the challenges in laying out planned DFCs in India.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Cosviny
Ans) Challenges are huge when we talk about infrastructure building in Developing country like India. In context of DFC’c are following:-
Interstate model- land is a state subject and LARR can provide only the guidelines for acquisiton but final mandate will come from State assembly.
The government was taking a number of steps to use new energy as a major source of power. The major challenge before it was to produce more power and bring down the cost of the new energy.
Getting environmental clearance and go for 100 percent green will be very tough.
Dependence on International funding of the project . Negotiation takes time due to which cost of the project is rising.
plan to promote Special Purpose Vehicles to take up individual projects along the corridor on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis, could surely emerge as a model.But its experience with railway and Industries is incipient and evolutionary stage in India.
Gestation period is longer and return in terms of inclusion of common people is doubtful. It seems it will a booster to business lobby. Such a huge investment but on proposal of fast train passenger corridor for common man is exlclusionary.
Railway manufacturing is not at advanced stage in India as compared to Japan and China. The whole import without indigenisation it will very costly affair and dependable on foreign entity. Both are cause of concern.
Q.4) Critically analyze the role of University Grant Commission in light of higher education in India.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Alok Sharma
Ans) UGC is the authoritative body- statutory organization -set up in our country by the Central Government
in 1956 to control, coordinate, determine and maintain the standards of Higher education. Universities can start functioning only after getting the prior sanction and recognition of the UGC.
But, off-late, UGC is not able to maintain high standard of teaching, research and education in higher education in India.
(a) UGC is the only one which is functioning without the support of full-time executive members
(b No Indian university figures even in top 200 universities.
(c) Various allegation of bribery in awarding the recognition to private universities. Few years back, SC cancelled the recognition of around 50 universities.
(d) UGC dictating dual degree rule for autonomous institute such as IIT
(e) Hari Gautam panel recommended to scrap UGC and replace it with National Higher Education Authority. According to the panel report, UGC has failed to fulfill its mandate and unable to deal with emerging diverse complexities
(f) UGC has reduced itself to only funding body
As India to reap the benefit of demographic dividend, higher education is critical for imparting skill to its 400 million youths. Program such as Make in India, Skill India, and Digital India requires skill based talent which can be provided if there is a well-oiled institute to regulate the higher education.
Q.5) At the time of Independence education was seen as a method to prevent violent revolutions and chaos, so that Indian could embark on the path to economic development. Discuss.
The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Monk Who Sold his Nano
Ans) “Vidya dadati Vinayam”. The Sanskrit sloka exemplifies the importance of education in traditional Indian society. For the country to wake into the heaven of freedom (where knowledge was free, where world was not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls, Where the clear stream of reason had not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, Where the mind was led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action) education was all the more imperative.
At the time of independence, India had a literacy rate of 16%, it had 26 universities and only 400,00 students in higher education. The problems of caste discrimination, untouchability, superstitions, gender discrimination, religious orthodoxy, conservative mindset was omnipresent. Even minor attempts to reform(Hindu code bill) were vehemently opposed. To eradicate this logjam, education was focused and expanded. IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, IISc, were set up. New universities were encouraged. To even out the caste disparities reservation was inculcated in academic institutions.
The education did bring in harmony for a while but the state couldn’t provide for education for all (unlike Mao’s great leap forward), nor was the education attained fully utilized due to license, quota, gunda raj which caused brain drain (unlike Deng Xioping’ leap).
The mammoth pit of ignorance created by two centuries of misrule couldn’t be filled up in 2 decades. The problems of discrimination still persists. Despite literacy rate improving by 5 folds, the excellence of education has diminished. The institutions set up by Nehru stand as islands of excellence in the oceans of mediocrity. Measures like MDM may have increased enrollment ratio, but lack of opportunities have also increased the drop out ratio. The elements of religious orthodoxy still prop up here and there. We have still to awake into the heaven of freedom dreamt of by Guru Dev.