1. Education sector shouldn’t become a theatre of ideological battles. While it is fine to infuse indigenous sources and perspectives into the current education system, the modern and scientific outlook towards knowledge can’t become subservient to ideology of any kind. Critically analyze
India’s education sector has long been held hostage to changing political landscape and the ideologies that drive them it has oscillated between the whims of Occidentalism , Christian theology ,Nehruvian socialism, liberal arts to the fancies of mythologically driven right wing governments bent on changing the historical narrative and perspectives whenever they are in power.
“ Ideology in the guise of education is nothing but indoctrination” said John Amos. The recent skirmishes happening in JNU, the move to replace German with Sanskrit in kendriya vidyalayas, the fiasco at Indian science congress where mythology was given precedence over hard scientific facts, the changing of curriculum and pedagogy by Rajasthan Government on the basis of Narendra Batra panel and the appointment of ICHR chairman has led to fears of saffronization of education.
While the fears may be unfound it has led to a debate about the approach towards education it is necessary to blend our education into a blend of both indigenous and scientific approach as our constitution tells us to develop scientific temper (under Article 51A of DPSP) many educationists believe that castigating indigenous sources of education as outdated can be perilous.
Indian medicine systems like ayurveda and unani are feted for their effective palliative treatment , our traditional knowledge of herbs ( like turmeric, condiments) is also famous there is a need to not only preserve but also pass on these valuable source of information to the future vide institutes like TKDL etc. in order to protect from IPR issues ( as seen in cases of basmati rice).
But all said and done it is the imperative of political class and the active civil society that the education system must follow the global best practices and also to disseminate our indigenous cultural knowledge on the lines of Singapore and prevent it from becoming an weapon in the ideological battles .
Education aims to impart modern ideas and critical reasoning to the receivers in objective manner free of any prejudice or predilection. It should not become theatre for ideological battle given its adverse affects:
> Historical distortion – eg- amending the NCERTs according to political ideology, inclusion of vedas /puranas as part of the subject
>Nationalisation of education – eg- forcing Hindi as medium of education despite the fact that knowledge of English is India’s strength especially vis-à-vis countries like China.
>Religious ideas in education – often conflict with the modern scientific ideas eg- creationism vs darwinism
>Effects on Democratic education eg- terming JNU leftist/anti-nationalist
>Xenophobic ideas – Pakistan’s official textbooks has often been criticized for sometimes promoting religious intolerance and Indophobia
However, indigenous source and perspective may prove to be productive for India’s education sector:
> Exploring Scientific history of India– India being a land of great mathematicians like Bhaskaracharya, astronomers like Varahmira, etc
> Indigenous source of knowledge – such Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, etc
> Exploring Indian perspectives – eg- Babu Kunwar Singh considered a ‘Baghi’ in British texts, while a hero in local folktales
> Defining true Indian culture – respect for dignity of women e.g.- Matreyi and Gargi in early Vedic times; respect to teachers as stipulated in Brahmacharya ashram
Hence, instead of enforcing a particular ideology in the garb of indigenising education should be replaced by scientific and empirical enquiry of curriculum to present objective facts to young minds.
2. The government through various interventions and policies has tried to make manufacturing a dynamic sector, one of which is the emphasis on skill development. Examine the policies and interventions in the area of skill development and also evaluate their effectiveness.
In order to utilize and channelize the huge demographic dividend, government is focusing more on manufacturing sector which provides high rate of employment. But due to lack of skills, GOI is emphasizing on skill development with introduction of various schemes and policies.
Policies and schemes:
Pradhan Mantri Yuva yojana: To scale up ecosystem for new generation and 1st generation entrepreneurs and train them with easy access to information and networking, incubator facility etc.
National apprenticeship scheme: To promote industrial on hands training to students, in which government will share 25% of stipend amount.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana: To train people with focus on youths seeking employment opportunity in foreign country and required skills for the same.
Prior learning scheme: Due to lack of formal education, many skilled people lack opportunity. So government will recognize the acquired skills in particular industry and certify them.
Ustaad, Nai Manzil, Nai roshni: For minority community, to impart skills for women, recognition, safeguarding and training of traditional skills of community among others.
UDAN: To provide training for unemployed youths of Jammu and Kashmir and integrate them with the formal work force of the nation.
ITI: More vocational training and Industrial training institutes are being opened to train youth’s after schooling.
GDP: It will result in increase of manufacturing sector’s share in GDP.
Employment: It will increase the employment percentage of country.
Formal employment: It will help in movement from informal to formal workforce.
Inclusiveness: It leads to inclusive development of Women and vulnerable sections of community.
Industry ready: It will make students or job seeker’s industry ready with necessary skills
The seriousness of the present government towards Skill development can be seen in policies and schemes introduced. Also a new Ministry was carved out for skill development and NSDC was given more teeth. Also new skill development service cadre is under consideration. The success these will be known very soon.
3. Discuss the significance of social security and insurance cover for the citizens of India. Also discuss the recently launched schemes and plans in this regard. Are they effective? Critically examine.
Article 41 of Directive Principles in Indian constitution asks the state to “within the limits of its economic capacity and development,” make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.” Article 42 says the state shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity benefits.
Significance of social security and insurance cover:
High cost of out of pocket expenditure on health in India means families lying above the BPL falling into the BPL category in wake of illness because of lack of any social security.
Presence of large unorganized sector. Many survey suggests that only those in the formal sector, 8 per cent of India’s workforce, enjoys social security. Over 91 percent of workers, over 39.5 crore workers, are in the informal sector.
Recently launched schemes and plans:
Atal Pension Yojana- which caters mainly to the people who are part of unorganised sector.
Jeevan Jyoti Yojana
National Pension Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana- Leading to financial inclusion making insurance policies and social security schemes to reach to the poor.
Maternity Benefit Act providing social security to women.
Are they effective?
Schemes like PMJDY have proved to be a successful one as millions of Indians have created bank accounts under it. Similarly, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is a scheme which has been one of the most comprehensive insurance schemes.
However, the implementation and structure of above schemes are not very effective because of following issues:
Bureaucratic delays and administrative apathy.
Multiplicity of schemes.
Lack of awareness among the needy ones.
Banking professional not sensitive to needs of poor when it comes to insurance schemes and generating awareness.
India spends 1.4 percent of its GDP on social protection, among the lowest in Asia, far lower than China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and even Nepal. Also only 17% of Indians have insurance. Given the significance and importance of these schemes India needs to bring in national insurance policy as well as universal healthcare scheme.
4. If implemented properly and emulated on a large scale, the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana has the potential to transform the rural sector. Do you agree? Examine. Also evaluate the performance of this scheme in recent years.
Despite the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, made for local self government, the grass-root level organizations are not seen to play the envisaged role in development of villages where majority of Indian population resides. The Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana is a flagship scheme of the central government to promote both self-rule (Swarajya) and good-governance (Surajya) in the villages of India.
Design of the scheme
A gram panchayat(GP) would be the basic unit. It will have a population of 3,000-5,000 in plain areas and 1,000-3,000 in hilly, tribal and difficult areas
The MP would identify a GP other than his/her own village or that of his/her spouse
Village development plan for each GP
This scheme has potential to transform villages
Improving the standard of living by improved service delivery of key amenities. This includes human development, personal development, economic development and social development.
Improve local governance through increased community participation and bottom up approach.
Make the village an ideal prototype which the other GPs can learn from and emulate.
The design of this scheme puts the MP at the centre of execution where she has to adopt and transform a village. The scheme also allows for the convergence of various central government projects and programmes with additional funding through MPLADS to produce tangible results. The implementation strategy includes the formulation of a village development plan through stringent situation analysis and repeated reviews.
Performance so far
In terms of the actual implementation or development witnessed on the ground, the programme has been a mixed bag so far.
One can see from the fast tracked development in Chikhli in Navsari constituency (Gujarat) or the green development initiative (100 per cent solar powered villages) promoted in the two villages of Toorputallu and PMLanka (Pedamainavanilanka) in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, SAGY offers the potential to transform villages into islands of excellence.
On the other hand many fundamental and operational flaws in the scheme came to light,
Cases have come to the light where villages have good infrastructure, but MPs have still gone ahead to adopt them. Ex : Ugamedi has already been developed as a tourism spot.
No clear guidelines for MPs on developing the model villages
As per the guidelines of the scheme, urban MPs cannot adopt an urban undeveloped
area and have to adopt a village in the nearby district. Since, a part of the funding is to be done through MPLADS, it is unfair for the residents of urban constituencies as the money assigned to them is being diversified.
The funding pattern is not clearly articulated by the government leading to extreme confusion among the MPs.
Only 50 MPs across both the Houses of Parliament have identified the GP under Phase II of SAGY.
But it is too early in the day to comment about the success of the scheme. The success will be judged not by the allocation of funds and budgets spent, but by its ability to fundamentally transform the culture of rural governance.
5. The smart cities project is faced with multiple challenges and ambiguities in terms of it’s financial model, governance and scale. Critically examine.
The Smart cities schemes envisages cities which are digitally connected, and sustainable, where the physical world and the virtual world are synergized to provide solutions to the real time problems.
The first stage of the Scheme had envisaged 100 smart cities. Out of these 96 have already submitted the master plan to the Urban development ministry.
Though very ambitions and potentially game changing, the project is faced with huge challenges:
The central government and urban local bodies are going to work together for funds with assistance of world bank and Asian developmental bank and multilateral loans.
Property tax, Profession tax ,Entertainment tax, Advertisement tax ,Octroi and entry taxes are the sources of funding. The abolition of octroi, the once largest source of municipal revenue for many cities, has negative impact on the fiscal sovereignty of urban local bodies.
Municipal bonds are the debt financing instruments but many states have restriction son ULB borrowing Tax free municipal bonds can be a huge incentive.
Most of the projects are done though Public private partnership hence contract model must be transparent and user charges cannot be too high.
Governance issues need to be solved for a good collaboration between union, state and local bodies:
Smart City Advisory Forum will be established at the city level for all 100 Smart Cities to advise and enable collaboration among various stakeholders.
At the planning stage itself, cities must seek convergence in the SCP with AMRUT, SBM, HRIDAY, Digital India, Skill development, Housing for All, etc.
executing projects through Special Purpose Vehicles wherein private corporations can have up to 40 per cent share-holding. Hence bypassing the existing framework Scale of operation is huge as it involves building more physical infrastructure to support the technology.
Understanding the concepts of retrofitting, redevelopment and greenfield development by the policy makers, implementers and other stakeholders at different levels will require capacity assistance.
Promoting a variety of transport options – Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transport and last mile para-transport connectivity.