General Studies 1
- Effects of globalization on Indian society
General Studies 2
- 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.
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Skilling India’s expanding workforce
India’s workforce is young and growing fast where it is estimated that 250 million people will enter the labour market by 2025. India banks hugely on its demography for healthy dividend. The moot question is if the India’s emerging workforce is ready for the challenge?
- The IMF’s World Economic Outlook has mentioned that India is already among the fastest growing major economies in the world. It has projected GDP growth at 7-8% for the next two years.
- India has been extremely competitive in terms of labour and production costs along with a successful culture of entrepreneurship.
- The surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) in last few years has shown that investors share the IMF’s optimism. India’s young workforce only adds to the attraction.
- However, if the workforce is managed poorly, it leads to straining the economy and lead to higher unemployment. If the workforce is managed well, a larger talent pool can contribute towards growth and development.
Young workforce is not guarantee to success
- Mere presence of youth in India is not adequate for sustained economic growth.
- The skills and employability of the 250 million young people joining the workforce over the next decade will be crucial.
- Today, innovation and digitalization is driving global competition and exorbitant consumer expectations in this era of globalisation. Thus, goods and services will have to constantly evolve to remain relevant. Along with it, the skills required to deliver them will also have to be evolved.
- It is estimated that 6 out of 10 young people entering the workforce by 2025 will be in professions that do not exist today.
- Right now, India’s 50% of its population is still employed in farming. India Skills Report 2016 shows the stark reality that still only 5% of young people aged 20-24 have obtained vocational skills through a formal training system.
- Even at higher-education level, despite rising number of graduates, many lack the soft skills required to succeed in business today, like problem solving and creative thinking.
- As per Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), a study published annually by INSEAD, Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) and Adecco Group, India ranked 90th among 109 countries which were ranked on their ability to grow, attract and retain talent.
How to improve the skill sets?
- It has to be ensured that the 250 million young people should have the requisite skill set to start working over next decade.
- Firstly, India has to invest more in talent development. It has to be started with formal higher education, where courses should align more closely with real world business needs, including more focus on soft skills.
- Next, there should be greater emphasis on vocational training as it is beneficial as well. Government of India and industry should work together to develop apprenticeship models able to provide the employable skills markets require.
- There are too few apprenticeship schemes in the world. Although in markets where they are prevalent, like Germany, they have proved hugely successful.
- More importantly, education must not stop after school or university. Lifelong learning is essential.
- Digital skills are next important education across the board as digitalization is increasingly present in every sphere of work.
- Flexibility in work atmosphere is needed in this time period due to precarious nature of the global economy which is continuously changing and risky.
- There should be balance between permanent and temporary labour to tackle periods of high or low demand. This is necessary for companies to survive.
Government has taken some steps to felicitate business practice in India. The result is that India has moved up 12 places in the World Bank’s ease of doing business measure. Flexibility is an important tool for competitiveness. The countries that rank highest in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) have flexible labour markets as well as excellent formal and vocational training.
Making India’s economic growth sustainable through sharing economy
- One specific area in which improved digital skills and flexible working practices can combine to offer significant rewards in India is the sharing economy.
- In this system, people rent or share goods and services with the aid of online technology. The sharing economy operates across hundreds of services, in sectors like financial services, retail and real estate.
- It has enormous potential in India and has already created millions of micro-entrepreneurs who benefit from sharing expertise, goods or services.
- Indian economy is ripe for a sharing economy boom because of its high urban population and population density.
- It helps local sharing services due to the proximity between suppliers and customers, and the huge numbers of millennials who are comfortable with technology and the concept of sharing.
- The sharing economy is heavily dependent on people with digital skills and short-term, elastic employment, enabled by flexible working and hiring practices. Hence, providing digital skills and facilitating flexible working norms are a must for economic boon.
- India has the basics to put its economic growth on fast track. The economy is growing fast, entrepreneurship is booming and government initiatives to boost competitiveness are on the right track.
- Now the only need is to give the emerging 250 million workforce a platform to develop the industry-linked skills as well as soft skills to enable them for assured employment.
- Along with skills, the working place has to provide necessary flexibility so that the employees can optimally utilise their skills and time.
- The sharing economy is a booming phenomenon and India has huge potential to capitalise on it with right conditions to thrive, simplified regulation and business barrier reduction that will encourage investment.
The India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in October 2016 will provide a strategic platform for the WEF’s global multi-stakeholder community to discuss and debate the theme “Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation”.
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
(FRs v/s DPSP): Prohibition of alcohol consumption and cow slaughter
The politics of alcohol consumption and cow slaughter have, of late, been the main debate for acting without caring about how it will affect constitutional law and philosophy.
The fundamental debate was:
Can state dictate what one can eat and what one can drink or do Indian citizens have the right to drink and eat what they want?
The Patna high court’s recent judgment on prohibition of alcohol consumption in Bihar and Bombay high court’s earlier beef ban verdict—is a necessary redressal of the balance.
These judgements are a nuanced look at how the relationship between the republic and the citizen is being renegotiated within the constitutional framework.
Bihar prohibition judgment –
“With expanding interpretation of the right to privacy, as contained in Article 21 of the Constitution, a citizen has a right to choose how he lives, so long as he is not a nuisance to the society. State cannot dictate what he will eat and what he will drink.”
- This is a landmark observation since never before have the courts viewed prohibition through the lens of personal liberty.
- Previous judgements on the issue, almost always upholding prohibition, have viewed it through the right to livelihood lens and found that the limitations on the production and sale of alcohol were reasonable restrictions imposed by the state.
This time, however, the personal liberty aspect was specifically raised by the petitioners who included not just alcohol traders but also individuals asserting their right to drink reasonable quantities of alcohol in the confines of their home.
Bombay high court’s beef ban verdict –
A similar line of thinking is seen in the Bombay high court’s beef ban verdict.
The Bombay HC judgment struck down section 5 (d) of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act which criminalized the possession of the flesh of cattle slaughtered outside Maharashtra (such slaughter is banned within the state) and the court opined:
“As far as the choice of eating food of the citizens is concerned, the citizens are required to be let alone especially when the food of their choice if not injurious to health…. The state cannot make an intrusion into his home and prevent a citizen from possessing and eating food of his choice…. This intrusion…is prohibited by the right to privacy which is part of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21.”
Fundamental Rights v/s Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)
These are hugely progressive steps in the evolving discourse on personal liberty but they aren’t without their challenges.
The directive principles of state policy (DPSP) – Article 47 – urge the state to prohibit the consumption of intoxicating substances that are injurious to health (though this is not a call for a blanket ban because drinking in moderate sums is, arguably, not injurious to health—a point that is made in the Bihar verdict)—and the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
What happens when the state seeks to realize these goals but also steps on the citizens’ fundamental rights?
- The ground rule is that while the two need to be viewed harmoniously, in case of conflict, fundamental rights cannot be sacrificed in the pursuit of DPSP.
Chief Justice of Patna gives a twist:
However, the chief justice of the Patna high court argued that — the framers of our Constitution did not see alcohol consumption as a fundamental right because then they wouldn’t have listed prohibition as a DPSP.
When seen in this perspective, Chief Justice of Patna HC pointed out that – Fundamental Rights could be eroded to secure a DPSP — thereby militating against the principles set out famously in the Minerva Mills case (which held that Directive Principles are subordinate to the Fundamental Rights).
Understanding the Minerva Mills case:
In the Minerva Mills case (1980), the Supreme Court also held that –
‘the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles. They together constitute the core of commitment to social revolution. They are like two wheels of a chariot, one no less than the other. To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution. This harmony and balance between the two is an essential feature of the basic structure of the Constitution. The goals set out by the Directive Principles have to be achieved without the abrogation of the means provided by the Fundamental Rights’.
Therefore, the present position is that the Fundamental Rights enjoy supremacy over the Directive Principles. Yet, this does not mean that the Directive Principles cannot be implemented. The Parliament can amend the Fundamental Rights for implementing the Directive Principles, so long as the amendment does not damage or destroy the basic structure of the Constitution.
Recent Court Judgments offers a progressive push to both law and society:
Several Supreme Court judgements had previously upheld complete beef bans.
These judgements had rejected arguments based on freedom of religion and freedom of trade because cattle preservation was considered to be in the public interest in an agrarian economy. But evidence points to a ban on cattle slaughter being the wrong way to protect that public interest.
It is also worth wondering if the courts’ zealous attitude towards cow slaughter will change as India becomes an industrialized economy. The issue of laws evolving to reflect changing social mores is touched upon in the prohibition verdict where Chief Justice of Patna HC writes,
“We have to view this concept (of personal liberty) in changing times, where international barriers are vanishing.”
Connecting the dots:
- Can state dictate what one can eat and what one can drink? Critically comment.
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