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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 13th January 2018

  • IASbaba
  • January 13, 2018
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 13th January 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS FOCUS)


Caste and gender distribution in teaching profession

Part of: Mains GS Paper I, II- Social issues, Issues related to education

Key pointers:

  • The recently released All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) for the year 2016-17 reveals that- At 4.9%, Muslim representation among teachers in higher educational institutions in India is much lower than the community’s proportion in India’s population (14.2%).
  • The representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is also lower than the populations of the two categories. The representation of SCs is at 8.3% of the total number of teachers in higher educational institutions, ST representation is 2.2%. The Scheduled Castes account for 16.6% of India’s population and STs about 8.6%.

Gender distribution in the teaching profession at the higher education level:

  • Bihar comes across as having a hugely skewed gender ratio, with 75.3% male teachers and just 24.7% female teachers. Jharkhand also shows an excess of male teachers, with the ratio at 60:40.
  • A few states Kerala, Punjab, Chandigarh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Delhi and Goa have more female teachers than male teachers.

Reason behind:

One reason for the skew in representation may be variable access to higher education – a must for teaching at these levels.
The data reveal that SC, ST and OBC reservations have still not brought about representational parity.

All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) is done by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. 

Article link: Click here


Wealth Index prepared by NFHS-4 

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Background:

  • The National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-4) was conducted among more than 6 lakh households in 2015-16.
  • Its large sample size and the fact that it was carried out just a couple of years ago, makes it an extremely useful source of information in analysing India’s socio-economic landscape.
  • NFHS-4 has prepared a wealth index.

Wealth index:

  • The index has been prepared on the basis of scores on ownership of consumer goods such as television and bicycles, and household characteristics such as availability of clean drinking water.
  • This information has been used to classify all households into wealth quintiles. Those in the lowest quintile would the poorest 20%, while those in the top would be the richest 20% of the lot.
  • The report then uses these quintile scores to classify population for states, religious and caste groups and rural-urban areas into each quintile.

Findings:

  • The report shows that poverty is predominantly a rural phenomenon in India. 29% of rural India belongs to the bottom quintile, while the figure is just 3.3% for urban India.
  • Among major states, people in Delhi and Punjab are the richest with more than 60% of their households in the top wealth quintile.
  • Bihar is the poorest with more than half of the households in the bottom wealth quintile.
  • Jains are the richest religious community, with more than 70% of their population in the top quintile.
  • There isn’t much difference between Hindus and Muslims and they are very close to the national distribution of wealth.
  • Upper castes have almost double the share of households in the top quintile compared to any other caste group.
  • Scheduled Tribes are the worst-off section in terms of wealth.

NFHS-4 statistics on disparity in wealth-holdings across various categories tell us that there cannot be a one size fits all policy if the government is serious about addressing this problem.

Article link: Click here


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/ECONOMY

TOPIC:

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.

Making Indian labour globally competitive

Background:

The integration of developing economies such as China and India into the global economy in the last few decades has helped lift millions out of poverty. The introduction of their labour forces into the global economy increased growth and income in these economies which also resulted in a decline in global inequality.

Second wave of change in the global labour market:

The World Bank’s latest “Global Economic Prospects” report shows that the second wave of change in the global labour market will play out over the next two decades, with developing economies contributing to all of the addition in the global skilled labour force, as the number of skilled workers in advanced economies is expected to decline.
The rising level of skill and education in developing economies will also lift potential global growth and continue to reduce global inequality.

Introduction:

The global skilled workforce is likely to increase from 1.66 billion workers in 2011 to 2.16 billion by 2040. Skilled workers have been defined as those having at least nine years of education.
Since improvement in the level of education and skill tends to increase income, rising income in the developing world will lead to a reduction in inequality. The global Gini coefficient is estimated to decline from 65.8 in 2012 to 62.6 by 2030.

Indian context:

The way things progress in India, to a large extent, will determine how fast income convergence happens and the level of global inequality declines.
The World Bank in this context notes: “…fast-growing EMDEs (emerging market and developing economies) with a large number of poor, such as India, which accounts for 28 percent of the world’s poor in 2013, will continue to contribute to the reduction of global inequality.”

Benefiting from the gains:

The next wave of gains will depend on how well India adjusts to the changing economic and technological environment. India will need to make adjustments to be able to take advantage of a potential change in the composition of the global labour force. Policymakers will need to work on different levels to be able to create a competitive labour force and make India benefit from the emerging global situation.

  • India urgently needs to focus on education and skill development. The “Annual State of Education Report” periodically shows the depressing state of education in Indian schools.
    Despite several initiatives by the government, outcomes in the area of skill development have also not been as desired.
    One way of improving outcomes could be better use of technology in education.
    India needs rapid improvement from primary to tertiary education to be able to compete in the global market.
    The changing technological landscape also means that the workforce should be in a position to make quick adjustments.
  • The World Bank in its analysis assumes that additional workers will get employed . This will be a big challenge for India.
    It has not been able to create enough employment opportunities for people moving out of agriculture. The basic reason for this is India has not capitalized on labour-intensive manufacturing.
    India’s competitive advantage in some of the labour-intensive sectors has actually declined in recent years. The legal and regulatory requirements in markets like land and labour make it difficult for firms to grow and take advantage of economies of scale. To be able to absorb its rising workforce, India needs to remove impediments in the manufacturing sector.
  • Even though inequality at the global level declined in recent decades, it has gone up in advanced economies as the national income share of wages came down. This has resulted in a political backlash. Therefore, there is a lingering risk of protectionism.
    India will need to protect its interest in such an environment and look for opportunities to increase trade at both bilateral and multilateral forums.
    Also, adequate attention should be paid to currency management in the world of volatile capital flows. Exports are an important driver of growth and job creation. It will be difficult to grow at a faster pace without the backing of strong exports. 

Conclusion:

A skilled labour force along with a focus on manufacturing and exports will help India grow at a faster rate in the medium to long run. An increasing number of skilled workers not only raises the potential growth but also reduces inequality within the country by reducing the skill premium.

Connecting the dots:

  • An increasing number of skilled workers not only raises the potential growth but also reduces inequality within the country. Discuss. Given the importance of skilled labour, enumerate ways of making Indian labour competitive.

NATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • 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

Individual rights versus innovation 

Introduction:

A committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge, has been tasked with making recommendations and drafting a data protection law.
The rationale of the committee is “to harness the benefits of the digital economy and mitigate the harms consequent to it”. Since technologies such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence are here to stay and hold out the promise of welfare and innovation, India will have to develop a data protection law.
A white paper has been published by the committee, this gives reason for concern.

Concern:

The broader framing of the document proceeds from a premise of weighing the scales between individual rights and technological innovation. The committee says that we need data protection law to ensure a balance between innovation and privacy.
This framing of a trade-off between the demands of technological innovation and individual rights is a terrible bargain for our future.
It presumes to hold both fundamental rights and innovation as somewhat equal, or at the very least as competing values.
This appears contrary to the principles of individual liberty.

Way ahead:

A data protection law should be guided by following three:

  • The right to privacy verdict given by Supreme court in the Puttaswamy case.
  • Nine privacy principles proposed by Justice A.P. Shah Committee.
  • The data breach alleged with Aadhaar system in place. 

The right to privacy judgement:

  • The judgment asserts that the right to privacy exists as a natural right inherent in all fundamental rights of the Constitution. At the root of this is the liberty of the individual that finds expression through concepts such as autonomy and dignity — choice and freedom.
  • Privacy has positive and negative features, where it restrains “an intrusion upon the life and personal liberty of a citizen”, and also requires “an obligation on the state to take all necessary measures to protect the privacy of the individual”.

The privacy protections that limit state intrusion and data protection laws should shield individuals rather than commercial interests or technological innovation.
By avoiding a binary bargain between the benefits of rights and technology, a sound legislation would further innovation as a social goal that serves human needs. It would make big data subject to greater legality, the Internet of Things best suited to the Internet of people, and artificial intelligence subject to natural rights.

Justice A.P. Shah Committee:

The committee proposed nine privacy principles acting on a “fundamental philosophy” of “ensuring that the privacy of the data subject is guaranteed”.

  • Principle of Notice: A data controller should notify all individuals of its information practices before collecting information from them.
  • Principle of Choice and Consent: Individuals divulging information must have a choice in the matter. No collection or processing of personal data should take place without consent, with the exception of authorized agencies.
  • Principle of Collection Limitation: A data controller should collect only as much information as is directly necessary for the purposes identified.
  • Principle of Purpose Limitation: The collection or processing of information be restricted to only as much information as is adequate and relevant.
  • Principle of Access and Correction: Data subjects should have access to the data held about them, the ability to seek corrections, amendment, or deletion of such data in case of inaccuracy.
  • Principle of Disclosure of Information: The data subject (person whose information is taken) has the right to privacy in case their personal information is disclosed to a third party.
  • Principle of Security: A data controller to ensure the security of the collected personal information by ‘reasonable security standards’ to protect from reasonably foreseeable risks.
  • Principle of Openness: A data controller to make public all the information it can about the practices, procedures, policies and systems that it implements.
  • Principle of Accountability: This principle pins accountability on the data controller to comply with measures that fulfil the other eight principles.

Data protection protecting individuals and not about protecting innovation, state interests for welfare objectives, or commercial interests of technologists and corporations.

Recent instances of data breach:

  • The Aadhaar project, which aims to usher a data-driven revolution in the private sector and at the same time act as a state policy panacea, has become a topic of public concern.
    Repeated press reports indicate continuing data breaches, exclusion and theft of benefits, lack of legal remedies and the prospect of profiling and surveillance.

Conclusion:

To forge an understanding, a fundamental acknowledgement has to be that technology is a means, and not the end in itself. It must exist and work within the framework of the rule of law. We need to honour constitutionalism, privileging individual rights over innovation. Data protection legislation should be about protecting people, not innovation.

Connecting the dots:

  • A data protection legislation should be about protecting people, not innovation. Analyse.

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