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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 21st April, 2016

  • April 21, 2016
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs April 2016, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 21st April, 2016

 

ECONOMICS

 

TOPIC

General Studies 2:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General studies 3:

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

 

Analysing India’s Demographic Dividend

  • Economic theory suggests that when the proportion of young people in a region increases, a significant boost to economic growth should materialise. The post-World War II years saw the West in general and the US in particular benefit from this dynamic as the baby boomers delivered record productivity.
  • However, even as India’s demographic profile today is similar to that of the US in 1960, contrary to popular belief, a demographic dividend is unlikely to accrue to India anytime soon.

Demographic Study of India’s Northern Belt:

India’s rapid economic progress over the past two decades masks its abysmal performance on social indicators— imbalance between rapid economic progress and stagnant-cum-awful social metrics is particularly glaring in India’s northern belt (INB, the region spanning Rajasthan in the west to Bihar in the east)

Emergence of dangerous socio-economic problems:

  • The persistence of a skewed gender ratio—
    • Only 43 per cent of India’s female population compared to 57 per cent of the male population
    • Only 901 women for every 1,000 men
  • The emergence of a “youth bulge” that is largely uneducated and/or unemployed—
    • Characterised by the youngest population structure in the country – 20 per cent of the population here is aged between 15 and 24
    • Lack of skills and education – only 71 per cent of people in the INB are literate compared to 80 per cent in south India – the INB won’t be able to reap the benefits of its youthful demographic structure
    • Oversupply of under-skilled labour
    • Out of every 100 people in the INB, 64 are unemployed (the corresponding number for south India is 36)
    • Could prompt mass migration to more developed regions in search of jobs— putting pressure on labour markets in the southern and western regions of the country.
  • Gross domestic product growth in the most prominent sector of this region, that is, agriculture, being consistently low—
    • Accounts for 60 per cent of employment in the INB
    • Has consistently grown at a slower pace than the industrial and services sectors in the last two decades
    • Per Capita Income: $1,200 in the INB (South: $2,000)
  • Destitute Population: widespread economic destitution in the INB, which accounts for a much higher share of India’s impoverished population (over two-thirds of India’s destitute people live in the INB)
    • Higher crime rates in the INB— persistence of inequalities and poor employment opportunities— increase in instances of communal tension in the region— social unrest and, consequently, explicit economic losses

Connecting the Dots:

  • Critically examine the factors that are responsible for the failure in reaping the benefits of the demographic dividend in the northern region of the country despite its rich cultural heritage. What are the required interventions by the government to arrest these deficiencies?

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC:  General Studies 2:

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Governance Issues

 

Manual Scavenging – A question of dignity

Background:

  • In 1993, India banned the employment of people as manual scavengers. In 2013, landmark new legislation in the form of the Manual Scavengers Act was passed which seeks to reinforce this ban by prohibiting manual scavenging in all forms and ensures the rehabilitation of manual scavengers to be identified through a mandatory survey.
  • Despite progress, manual scavenging persists in India. According to the India Census 2011, there are more than 2.6 million dry latrines in the country. There are 13,14,652 toilets where human excreta is flushed in open drains, 7,94,390 dry latrines where the human excreta is cleaned manually. Seventy three percent of these are in rural areas and 27 percent are in urban areas.
  • the very existence of what Gandhi called a “national shame”, i.e. manual scavenging is a degrading caste-based occupation, it should be a matter of grave concern that an activity that has been outlawed by Parliament since 1993 has such divergent numbers reported by various arms of the government.

 What is Manual scavenging all about?

  • Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. It often involves using the most basic of tools such as buckets, brooms and baskets.
  • The practice of manual scavenging is linked to India’s caste system where so-called lower castes were expected to perform this job. Manual scavengers are amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in India

 

Why is there is a huge under-statement of numbers involved in manual scavenging?

The way government defines manual scavengers actually acting as a reason behind under-statement of numbers

The ways in which numbers are unaccounted:

  • the instruction manual for the ‘Survey on Manual Scavengers in Statutory Towns’ defines a manual scavenger as a person “being engaged or employed on a regular or frequent basis.
  • A person engaged or employed to clean excreta with the help of appropriate devices (like high pressure water jet etc.) and using proper protective gear, will not be deemed to be a ‘manual scavenger.
  • a large section of our citizens remaining unaccounted for as far as official records are concerned include women (98 per cent of scavengers are women because patriarchy is rampant in this strata of society too) .
  • who are engaged in scavenging and receive food in lieu of payment
  • Who work as contract employees indirectly employed by the Indian Railways ( the largest employer of those cleaning excrement from railway tracks)
  • Numerous municipal corporations across the country.

Surveys conducted by activists estimate that there are actually over 1.2 million manual scavengers in the country but as per the Socio Economic Caste Census 2011, 1,80,657 households were engaged in manual scavenging for a livelihood; the report also recorded 7,94,000 cases of manual scavenging across the country. 

Employing manual scavengers made an offence:

  • With the passing of the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the government is required to ensure the elimination of unsanitary latrines
  • This act has made manual scavenging an offence punishable across India except J&K.
  • Under this Act, offences are cognizable and non-bail able
  • The Act also prohibits the employment of manual scavengers and the hazardous manual cleaning of sewer and septic tanks, and tasks the government with maintaining a survey of manual scavengers and their rehabilitation.

Way ahead:

Comprehensive Rehabilitation of the Manual Scavengers within a time bound framework 

  • Manual Scavengers will be issued Photo Identity card
  • Government will provide initial cash aid
  • Children of the Manual Scavengers will be provided scholarship
  • Residential plot with financial aid will be allocated for the construction of the house or a ready built house
  • Imparting Manual Scavengers livelihood skill
  • Providing concessional loan with subsidy for assuming alternative occupation
  • Extending any other legal or programmatic help
  •  As a real tribute to Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary, Aspirational India must demand the creation of 12 million jobs this year, and an end to 1.2 million jobs(Scavenging jobs

Connecting the dots:

  • Every job has its own dignity but engaging in manual scavenging is itself a question of dignity. Comment
  • Mahatma Gandhi called manual scavenging a “national shame” and degrading caste-based occupation, Suggest multi-pronged ways to end such social stigma.

 

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