1. With only few institutes of excellence amidst an ecosystem of mediocrity, the higher education system in India is in dire need of reforms. Comment.
Write a brief introduction.
In a survey conducted in 2015, it was found that only 8 universities from India existed among the top 500 universities of world. The higher education in India is facing challenges like:
Increasing number of contractual faculty
Less importance given to research
Lots of learning hrs are wasted in teaching only. There is no importance given to initiative by the students.
Many private colleges are springing up just for profit maximization,
More than 80% of engineering graduates are coming from private engineering collages. The infrastructure and teaching quality are sub-standard.
In India private companies carry out their own research, there is no organic linkage between the academia and industry in terms of research.
Steps/reforms that are to be undertaken:
Improving the quality of teaching and facilities, This has to be on an ongoing basis where the performance is constantly evaluated rather than term end appraisals.
Recent initiatives like IMPRINT India and hub and spoke model by incumbent government can give a boost to research in India.
There should be proper regulation to keep a check on education quality standards, especially in private institutions
There should be collaboration with foreign universities so that new and innovative techniques of teaching are adopted.
Write a suitable conclusion.
Best answer: abhishekrwt597
IISC Bangalore was recently feature in the top 10 of THE’s list of small universities globally. Not withstanding such achievements, the higher education system in India is in need for dire reforms as:
1)Very few Indian institutes feature in global rankings.Questions over methodology notwithstanding, this reflects poorly on our higher edu sector.
2)Govt spending on higher education (4% on education overall) remains low, despite evidence of falling quality and unemployablity of a majority of our educated youth.
3)Over 800 universities and 40000 higher edu institutes exist in India. But most suffer from crumbling infrastructure, lack of faculty(Bhopal Medical institutes report recently) and outdated syllabus and pedagogy.
4)Recent Govt drive to open AIIMS and IIM’s in every state, though well intentioned, risks becoming counter productive in absence of infra, labs and expert teachers(recent report on several AIIMS without hands on experience for students)
5)Govt witdrawal from Higher Education has led to Pvt edu players charging high fees, mushrooming nationally(like the healthcare sector). These are often subject to lax regulations and owned by influential politicans. Further, the govt often mistakenly indulges in overregulation of the few successful ones(issues with the IIM bill).
The Govt thus needs to:
1)Invest in and support public universities(their success evidenced by JNU, IISC,DU,etc featuring prominently in Global rankings)
2)Create a uniform set of regulations for all higher education institutes, specifying student intake, faculty qualification, min infra required,regular syllabus upgrade, etc.
3)Proceed with the IIM and AIIMS expansion drive ensuring that infrastructure for announced institutes is in place before opening new ones.
4)Allow for collaboration of domestic univ with foreign names to open campuses in India, thus preventing brain drain and learning from global best practices.
2. The fact that Polio could be tackled effectively in India, presents a roadmap to be emulated for other diseases as well. Examine.
Write a brief introduction.
Polio was eradicated in India because of consistent and co-ordinated efforts from the government, voluntary sector, NGO, etc. It took close to 2 decades for eradicating polio from India which shoes that determination and efforts can eradicate diseases of any magnitude.
Polio success story can be replicated in other kinds of diseases too, especially those that affect the Children and women.
Polio elimination began with identification and acknowledgement of the scale of the problem. Recent incidents like the under-estimation of the no of TB and MDR-Tb patients in India affect national and global health strategies and can be avoided.
Polio Vaccination program required active collaboration between Goi, WHO, Civil society and NGO’S. Similar collaboration is required for tracking and targeting of other diseases, especially those that are concentrated and easy to eliminate (Kala-azar in Bihar and E UP)
Identification of High risk districts and special attention for Polio. In AIDS for instance, efforts to focus on north east and trucker population, have been stymied by lack of funds, ART shortage, and merger of NACO with MHFW.
Mission mode approach: PIP was launched in 1995,backed by information dissemination(TV ads, celeb endorsments,etc) to tackle issues countered in countries like Pakistan(CIA issue).
Monitoring and changes where necessary: The government shifting to an IPV proactively to prevent spread of WPV after its discovery in Telangana. Contrast this to the shortage of TB drugs(Recent death of 18 year old girl needing Bedaquiline). Such incidents need to be avoided.
3.What is hidden hunger? What steps have been taken to address it? Discuss.
Hidden hunger occurs when the quality of food people eat does not meet their nutrient requirements, so the food is deficient in micronutrients such as the vitamins and minerals that they need for their growth and development.
2 billion people suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Women and children in families with low-income often don’t get enough vitamin a, iodine and iron, and sometimes other essential nutrients. This limits their growth, development, health and working capacity.
India faces an invisible public health crisis in the form of widespread maternal and child undernutrition. One-third of Indian women (of reproductive age) are undernourished, and close to 60 million children (under five years of age) are at risk, that is, they are either stunted (low height-for-age) or wasted (low weight-for-height). Women and adolescent girls face the added burden of societal discrimination, which manifests in their unequal access to food, healthcare and resources. As a result, about 42% of Indian women are underweight when they begin pregnancy—compared to about 15% in African countries.
Several steps taken by the Indian government to address this issue are:
Diversifying the PDS basket.
Promoting the use of milk products and poultry.
Schemes like Janni Suraksha Yojana, Matritva Shishu Suraksha yojana etc, promote healthcare for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Mid Day meal scheme in schools to provide a complete meal to school going children atleast once a day.
Providing iron and folic acid tablets in schools.
Creating awareness about healthcare and hygiene with the help of ASHA workers.
Minimum wages have been increased, also many schemes like MGNREGA has been started to provide daily employment. Improved income can improve nutritional value of food.
(Note : More points can be added with specific schemes.)
Best Answer: PK
Hidden hunger refers to deficiency of nutrients in people. It will look like they are taking enough food, but in reality, their bodies will lack in nutrients like zinc, iron, proteins etc. Hidden hunger is prevalent in India, where a lot of people live in close proximity to poverty line.
One of the major cause of hidden hunger is protein inflation. Milk, eggs, pulses, meat are considered luxurious foods. Poverty line calculation in india also does not take into account nutritional support, rather is calculated on calorie requirements. Thus, levels of healthy nutrition are not estimated – remains hidden.
Government addresses this issue in the following manner:
MDM: providing school going children with boiled eggs, pulses.
Maintaining a buffer stock for pulses
Focusing on raising the general income levels of population by schemes like MGNREGA
Incentivising towards diversification from wheat and rices towards pulses and horticulture.
PDS in India focuses on distributing coarse grains. Diversifying this basket can serve as a starting step. Introducing UBI intended towards raising nutrition levels of select people [non universal, BPL] can be also looked upon. Taking appropriate steps to contain protein inflation will improve access of poor to nutrient rich food.
Best Answer 2: Furykk
Hidden hunger is caused due to deficiency in required dietary intakes like Vitamins, proteins etc which are important for the development of body even though the quantity of food qualifies for tackling hunger.
Hidden hunger is a problem in India due to prevalence of food deficiency diseases like anemia, osteoporosis etc. Various steps have been taken to counter it-
1) Government schemes like MDM and ICSD to tackle the problem of nutrition deficiency among children and lactating mothers
2) Institutions like ICAR, Agricultural Universities (Pusa) are building nutrient rich seeds and fortification techniques to tackle component deficiency
3) Compulsory Fortification of Fe and other protiens and vitamins in food supplied through MDM & ICDS
4) Diversify Agricultural produce by MSP, compulsory procurement & other policies to support millets, pulses and other coarse grains which can tackle deficiency in nutrients
5) Pest and Insect Management through pesticides being provided to ensure security against pests. Protection is also supplanted through Insurance schemes like Fasal Bima Yojana against natural disasters also
5) Supply Chain Management of farm produce through centralized warehouses, mandis which have adequate infrastructure to store produce
7) Behavioral changes to highlight and create awareness of important essential nutrients in diets through schemes like Fat Tax
GOI has taken various steps to tackle hidden hunger however the nutritional level of the young in India still remains low. India is beind in MMR and IMR with respect to world’s average as per Economic Survey therefore composite techniques to tackle the same would go a long way in solving the crisis.
4. Should India adopt a Presidential form of government? What will be it’s pros and cons? Analyse.
Points provided in your answer should be on the lines of above 2 articles.
Referring Laxmikanth also helps to answer the 2nd part of the question, i.e. pros and conservation of Presidential form of government.
Briefly outline the merits and demerits of the Westminster model of Parliamentary democracy and the US model of Presidential System in the Indian context.
Best answer: abhishekrwt597
India after independence adopted the parliamentary form of governance. Despite this, debates over the merits or not of the presidential govt form have never subsided. The Swaran Singh Committee appointed in 1984 to suggest such a move or not, also recommended the latter. Despite this, the inherent stability of the presidential form, say its proponents, can be of use for a diverse country like India, specially in the contemporary world of global flux and uncertainty.
The pros of the Presidential form of Govt are:
1)It provides stability, vs the PD form that favors accountability.
2)Allows for swift decision making, as the President isnt accountable to the legislature(Strict SOP) and doesnt require its concurrence in policy making(with adequate safeguards).
3)Allows for appointment of technocrats and true experts to the Cabinet, as they arent(subject to confirmation by the legislature) not accountable to the parliament. This leads to more EVIDENCE BASED policy making.
The cons of such a system, specially for India are:
1)Stability can give way to dictatorship, where the president rules by Fiat.(esp in democracies where charismatic leaders are popular like India) and becomes difficult to remove.
2)Traditionally works well in Mature democracies(India not one yet.) Perennial instability In France(semi presidential system) and recent incident in Turkey point to its dangers.
3) Checks and Balances in PD(Executive accountable to the Leg) are absent here.
4)Legislature in PD leads to debates and discussions over every Govt actions, besides the COLLECTIVE WISDOM of the house leads to better policy making. This may be absent in the presidential form of Govt.
5)In PD, the exec needs to cooperate with the Leg to ensure smooth working of the Govt. This allows harmony in governance. This may be absent in a strictly SOP prez system(Eg obama during his second tenure in USA).
Therefore, the presidential system has its pros and cons. Any move towards such a sytem needs to be done only after careful consideration of the same.
5. GST is the most important tax reform post independence. Do you think GST would usher India into an era of one nation, one tax and one market? Examine.