1. Caste as a social institution has changed its characteristics in the past two decades; a transformation brought about by caste based entitlements. Do you agree? Substantiate your views.
It was in this context that V.P. Singh decided to implement the Mandal Commission Report in 1990, which made provision for an extension of the reservation policy.
Caste question became more complex than the binary of SCs and ‘General’ categories. While following the Mandal Commission Report, the Central government framed a new category of Other Backward Classes to accommodate communities, mostly caste based, in its expanded system of quotas.
This shift in state policy also created new competition among those located in “middle” of the presumed caste hierarchy.
The dynamics of change unleashed by neo-liberal economic policy over the past quarter of a century and growing aspirations for mobility out of village and agrarian economy among a wide range of communities has only made this competition more intense.
Even the dominant communities like the Jats of Haryana and Western UP or the Marathas of Maharashtra began to mobilize for inclusion in the OBC list.
There is a constant renegotiation of position where the between the fixed extreme positions which are ritually fixed, other castes are fighting to maintain their ritual status but want backward status in terms of entitlements from the state.
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: Archit Gupta
The caste as an institution has undergone tremendous changes in past two decades. It started from the recommendations of the Mandal Commission to grant reservations to Other Backward Classes. Earlier, the reservation was limited to SCs And STs and there was hardly any resistance to it. However, with almost 50% of seats reserved in many educational institution and government jobs, the caste has become a rallying factor. The recent protests by Jats and Marathas shows that people are fearful of losing their caste identity and want to claim caste entitlements.
The policy of reservation has also led to dominance of caste identity on political and social scene instead of eliminating it. Many political parties use caste based reservation as an election promise and this further leads to clash between various communities. Another issue is misuse of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act which has turned many upper castes against lower castes as can be seen in the case of recent Maratha protests in Maharashtra.
Although the difference between various castes is diminishing due to increasing urbanization and awareness, the caste identity is still playing a major role is rallying crowds and this might be harmful for your democracy. The time has come to examine as caste as sole criteria for reservation and to what level should reservation be granted.
2. India is at the brink of a demographic disaster. Critically comment.
By 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country with 64 per cent of its population in the working age group and this is being seen as an opportunity to excel. But, owing to several factors, India is emerging towards a demographic disaster.
Education system: poor infrastructure, high dropouts, paucity of well-trained teachers, regional disparities in education mean the benefits will not be evenly spread across the country.
Employability: Even though population is huge, employability remains low. No progress is possible with having huge level of unemployable people. This is evident in the fact that the formal jobs constitutes a mere 7% in India.
Health level: Global Hunger Report says 15.8% Indians undernourished along with unhygienic living due to unplanned urbanization lead to poor health of Indian workforce.
Share of Informal sector: Leads to diversion of most of the jobs into informal sector which is full of poverty and exploitation.
Agricultural dependence: 47% of population still depends on agriculture.
Jobless Growth: Inability manufacturing sector to be the driving force of economy and limited job generation in services sector cannot cater the demands of young Indian population.
Female Participation: Considerably lower than any other developing country. Women constitute only 27% of the work force, so there is Wastage of human capital.
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: Navneet Khubber
By 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country with 64 per cent of its population in the working age group and this is being seen as an opportunity to excel. But, owing to several factors , India is emerging towards a demographic disaster.
Education: poor infrastructure, high dropout ,paucity of well-trained teachers, regional disparities in education mean the benefits will not be evenly spread across the country.
Lack of Skills required to handle the upcoming Jobs in the Global arena.
Health : India’s rankings for IMR, GHI have been very low. A quarter of the world’s undernourished are in India. Nutritional deprivation causes lasting damage to children’s physical and cognitive development. India spends 1.2 % of GDP on health.
UNEMPLOYMENT: Most of the youth are unemployed or under-employed which will affect the purpose of demographic dividend.
Female participation: As per world bank, the female participation in economy is only 27%. So we are already fettering away half of demographic dividend.
Lack of sufficient number of vocational training institutions and poor quality of established ITI and other institutes.
Extremism, Communalism, drugs, etc. which affect youth mind.
HDI of India, which is ranked at an abysmal 135.
MUDRA yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas yojana,, USTAAD, Nai Manzil are some of the schemes launched in India. A proper implementation of these schemes plus the success of Make in India is imperative if we want an able manforce.
3. The hidden entrepreneurial energies of women must unleash in order to ensure economic and social security. Discuss.
Women, despite being almost half of the population, form a very small part of the work force. Their number is even lower in the organized sector. This makes them economically dependent on their male counterparts.
A great change was seen with the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and cooperatives like AMUL with women taking charge of small businesses and cottage industries. This is just a glimpse of hidden entrepreneurial energies of women which if tapped can ensure their economic and social security.
Entrepreneurship or starting one’s own venture has many benefits for the individual as well as the country as a whole. A venture, if successful, is a lifelong support. The owner can retire at will unlike the other jobs where an age is fixed for retirement. This will provide lifelong social security. Also if a woman is at the helm of affairs it will change the patriarchal mindset and give a lot of confidence to other women.
Not only the GDP will increase but wealth will be distributed and gender gap will come down. Encouraging entrepreneurship would mean creating new jobs as well.
It will also help in improving the social status of women. Right now a boy is looked as the bread earner and a girl child as a burden. This will bring about a long term change and will be helpful in improving the sex ratio.
(Note: Social Security – any of the measures established by legislation or otherwise to maintain individual or family income or to provide income when some or all sources of income are disrupted or terminated or when exceptionally heavy expenditures have to be incurred (e.g., in bringing up children or paying for health care)
In the patriarchal structure, women are still considered unfit for certain jobs entrepreneurship is one of them.
Lack of angel investors who do not take them seriously.
Lack of awareness and motivation.
Added pressure of family which is usually not shared by their men counterparts.
Lack of technical and managerial support, especially in rural areas.
You need to mention several schemes started by the Government which are promoting entrepreneurship like – Stand up India for Dalit women, Start up India, Sub schemes under ‘Make in India’ etc.
4. Discuss the merits and challenges associated with ‘Universal Basic Income’.
The persistence of poverty and significant leakages in welfare schemes that aim to alleviate it has prompted many academics and policymakers to explore more efficient alternatives to India’s creaky and leaky welfare architecture. One of the suggestions has been to move towards a “universal basic income”.
Provide definition of UBI
Merits (Some points include:)
UBI would avoid the inefficiency and wastage associated with government subsidies, and help lift the poor out of poverty.
UBI can end the “non-merit” subsidies and tax exemptions that mostly benefit the rich.
It will enhance bargaining power against traders, middlemen, contractors, creditors and landlords.
The main pragmatic justification for UBI is that in many current programmes targeting the poor, through a process of political and administrative collusion and connivance, benefits continue to leak to non-targeted, better-off people, while many of the intended beneficiaries are left out.
In a country where the large majority of workers are in the informal sector—often self-employed, without benefits and without formal account-keeping and hence beyond means-testing—and with an administration as corrupt and inept as ours, targeted programmes will remain leaky and inefficient. Therefore implementation of UBI will fix these issues.
Challenges (Some points include:)
It will lead to work disincentives (as one gets his/her income without any work): It would reduce the motivation for work and might encourage people to live off assured cash transfers.
Ensuring fiscal affordability of UBI: India spends about 4% of its GDP on subsidies. UBI would take up that figure to about 11%. Hence, huge burden on government exchequer.
Huge skilled financial and human resource is required to manage the initiative.
A UBI handout by itself would not solve the two fundamental problems the poor face in India—low income-earning opportunities and inadequate quality of human capital services consumed by them.
In India, where entrepreneurship and job creation continue to face formidable challenges, and public sector failures in education, health and sanitation severely degrade the poor’s expenditure on human capital. Therefore, a UBI will prove insufficient or even wasteful.
UBI or a cash transfer as envisaged by JAM or the MGNREGA will provide some relief to the poor, but will not provide a long-term solution to the problem of poverty. For that one needs investment in health, education, and skill-formation to enable the poor to take advantage of growth opportunities, and investing in infrastructure and regulatory conditions to facilitate private investment for employment generation.
5. What is ‘Smart Cities’ mission? What are its components and objectives? Will it resolve the problems associated with urbanization? Explain.
Provide brief intro about Smart Cities Mission.
The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative and new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.
Objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions.
The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.
The Smart Cities Mission is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
Under this mission, 100 smart cities would be built.
Components of Smart Cities Mission:
List some of its components
Housing for All scheme
E-Governance and Citizen Services
Smart Waste Management
Smart Water Management
Smart Energy Management
Smart Urban Mobility
Will it resolve the problems associated with urbanization?
Provide both the views, but conclude with positive justification.
Creating a smart city isn’t just about creating the physical infrastructure — roads, clean water, power, transport and so on, things India finds difficult to deliver to its citizens nearly seven decades after Independence. The big challenge will be to create self-sustaining cities, which create jobs, use resources wisely and also train people and help to resolve the problems associated with urbanization.
Smart cities mission is urban renewal and retrofitting program by GoI to develop 109 cities across India making them sustainable and citizen friendly.
Smart cities have different components :
Objectives of Smart Cities:
->Promote cities that provide core infrastructure which includes adequate water and electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management ,robust IT connectivity etc
->clean and sustainable environment and application of smart solutions.
->Drive economic growth by enabling local area development and improve quality of life of people
->Create employment and enhance income for all specially poor and disadvantaged thereby pushing for inclusive development.
Smart cities mission look very promising project of urbanization. But there are problems associated with it as well.
It involves displacement of people due to land acquisition for the project say for road widening. Proper compensation/rehabilitation should be provided for that.
The smart solutions applied may not be accessible to every citizen due to lack of awareness/digital literacy. So there is need to create awareness among citizens.
There will be rapid migration to these cities in search of opportunities in which case city should be able to accommodate migrating people and assure them same quality of life rather than creating slum areas again.
Smart cities mission is indeed project with smart vision if it is developed keeping above problems in mind and provide environmentally sustainable cities, it will resolve urbanization problems of our country.
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