IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th February 2019
Place in news: Man Sagar Lake
Part of: GS Prelims I and III – Indian Geography; History; Conservation of birds
- 22nd Indian Birding Fair was organised on the banks of Man Sagar Lake, Rajasthan.
- The Jaipur birding fair was dedicated to conservation of waders.
Do you know?
- Wading birds are tiny birds mostly confined to the edges of water and are observed feeding across moist surfaces.
- The Indian subcontinent hosts 84 species of wading birds, 64 of which are migratory.
- Wading birds such as little stint, green sandpiper, small pratincole, pied avocet, Jerdon’s courser, black winged stilt and many more species were spotted on the occasion.
About Man Sagar Lake
- It is an artificial lake named after Man Singh, the then ruler of Amber and a trusted general of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
- Man Singh had built it in 1610 AD by damming the Dravyavati river.
- A palace, Jal Mahal, is situated in the middle of the lake.
Budget shortfall worries Defence Services
Part of: GS Mains III – Indian Economy and related issues; Government budget; Defence
- The shortfall in Defence allocation in the interim Budget 2019-20 has left the Services worried as it threatens to derail the capability enhancement and modernisation under way.
- The shortfall is so significant that, for the Navy and the Air Force, the capital allocation does not even meet the committed liabilities (that is, payments for deals already contracted).
Do you know?
- The share of the three Services in the overall defence budget stands as follows: Army–54%, Navy–14% and Air Force–22%.
- However, the Army, with its large size, has a huge revenue burden compared to the other two Services, and a significant part of it goes for salaries.
Do you know?
- Competitive populism is a euphemism for providing general population or a segment of population with freebies or huge subsidies to achieve electoral success.
- Vice-President expressed his displeasure over few schemes announced by the current government.
- Competitive populism among political parties and offers of loan waivers and free power in the run-up to elections are just temporary solutions that do not address the need for structural changes to sustainably develop incomes in the country, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said.
- Populist measures may have short-term political gains, but lead to long-term economic problems as they are “unproductive,” he said.
TOPIC: General studies 3
- Security challenges and their management; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
- Challenges to internal security
- Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
Radicalization of Muslim youth in India
- We often came across several news reports about global jihadi organisations such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have recruited a few Indian Muslim youth primarily by exploiting the latter’s local grievances to serve their own global goals.
- News reports about occasional acts of terrorism outside of Jammu and Kashmir attributed to young Indian Muslims have also appeared intermittently in the press.
Note: The below article provides whether Indian Muslims are really immune to extremist propaganda. If NO, then why are Indian Muslims getting radicalized? What are the factors responsible for this radicalization?
- Many analysts, Indian and foreign, had assumed until recently that Indian Muslims were immune to extremist propaganda because of both the syncretic and moderate nature of Indian Islam and the democratic and secular character of the country which made them feel they were equal participants in the political process.
- Both these assumptions are now problematic, as several factors have been at work in the past three decades that challenge this conventional wisdom.
Factors responsible for the radicalization of Muslim youth
1. Wahhabi/Salafi influence
- Increasing influence of Saudi Wahhabism and related forms of Salafism on Islam as practised in the Indian subcontinent.
- Many Indians of all faiths migrated to energy-rich West Asian countries (especially following the oil boom of the 1970s) which provided vast employment opportunities.
- Religio-cultural impact on section of Indian Muslim emigrants (they encountered with fundamentalist form of Islam followed in these countries, especially Saudi Arabia)
- The impact of Wahhabi/Salafi Islam on the mindset of a segment of returnees – Many migrants who returned to India are fascinated by obscurantist ethos of those oil-rich countries and are adopting ultraconservative practices.
- For instance, section of Muslim women have adopted an ultraconservative dress code (often under patriarchal pressure) – the niqab, or full face covering, popular in Saudi Arabia and some other West Asian countries. This dress code is very different from the traditional concept of purdah (covering up or modesty) practised by conservative Muslim families in the Indian subcontinent.
- Wahhabi/Salafi Islam beliefs and practices are passed on to a much larger group of relatives and acquaintances (who are already impressed by the former’s newly acquired prosperity)
Do you know?
- The vast majority of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent belong to the Hanafi sect based on the most liberal school of Islamic jurisprudence.
- Traditionally Indian Islam has been greatly influenced by Sufi teachings and is, therefore, tolerant and accepting of religious diversity.
- Visitors to major Sufi shrines, such as those of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer and Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi, where people of all confessions come to pray and seek blessings, can testify to the syncretic spirit of Indian Islam.
- Therefore, Indian Islam harbours natural defences against extremism in belief and practice.
- However, the ideological infiltration of Wahhabism/Salafism has eroded some of these defences and made a section of Muslims more insular and, therefore, open to extremist ideas.
- Some Indian Muslims have began to approximate the harsh Wahhabi dogma, beliefs and practices, which stands in stark contrast to the indigenous version of Islam in India.
2. Growth of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism
Second and equally important factor – spectacular rise of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism from the 1990s
- The rise of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism has had a major psychological impact on a section of Muslim youth, prompting their estrangement/unfriendliness from the national mainstream.
- Inter-religious riots in which Muslims suffered disproportionately had been common in India since Independence.
- In some cases the police killed Muslim youth in fake encounters. (For example, Hashimpura massacre in Uttar Pradesh)
- The demolition in 1992 of the Babri mosque by a Hindu mob under the direction of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) luminaries and the riots that ensued, in which scores of Muslims lost their lives, shook the confidence of many Muslims in the secular character of the Indian state.
- 2002 Gujarat massacre – massacre of about 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat to avenge the death of 59 kar sevaks who were burnt to death in a train at Godhra after an altercation with local Muslims.
- Inaction and refusal of the state machinery to protect Muslim citizens.
- Lynching of several Muslims in northern and central India on the pretext that they were taking cows for slaughter or eating beef. (lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, UP in 2015)
- Acts of mob violence carried out with relative impunity by the so-called gau rakshak (cow protector) vigilantes.
- Such events began the process of alienation among a section of Muslim youth from the Indian state.
- Such incidents have led to a widespread feeling among Indian Muslims that the state, instead of providing security to them, now colludes with those determined to intimidate them into submission.
- This series of actions and reactions makes it evident that the growth of Hindu nationalism has acted as a major stimulus for the radicalisation of a section of Muslim society in India and that the two phenomena feed off each other.
The way ahead:
- Opinion leaders and religious scholars from within the Muslim community have the primary duty to confront and defeat the malign Wahhabi-Salafi influence on Indian Muslims in order to preserve the liberal and syncretic nature of Indian Islam.
- They should keep a check on spread of extremist ideology among Muslim youth.
- However, the impact of the growth of Hindu nationalism on the Muslim psyche can be countered only by the policies and actions of the governing elites at the Centre and in the States.
- State should effectively fulfil its responsibility of providing them physical security and ensuring that they are treated with fairness and dignity.
- This will be the best antidote to the percolation of radical ideas among Muslim youth by removing their sense of alienation from the Indian state that in the long run can threaten the country’s security.
Connecting the dots:
- Do you think Indian Muslims are immune to extremist propaganda considering the syncretic and moderate nature of Indian Islam and the democratic and secular character of the country? Give arguments in favour of your answer.
- Examine the factors that are mainly responsible for the radicalisation of a small segment of Muslim youth in India.
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
General studies 3
- Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Why MGNREGA better than PM-KISAN?
Two key concerns: Rural distress and Unemployment has hit unprecedented levels.
In order to address above issues, one of the announcements in the Budget speech was cash transfer scheme – Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
We have already read many articles dealing with Agrarian/Farm Distress and PM-KISAN:
- Tackling Farm Distress: Make farming profitable
- PM- KISAN: The return of targeted cash transfers
- Analysis of PM-KISAN: Will the Rs6,000 farmer payout help?
About PM-KISAN Scheme (Fast Recap)
- It aims to extend direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year to farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares.
- This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each.
- Around 12 Crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit.
- This programme will be funded by Government of India.
- This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs.75,000 crore.
- PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.
In today’s editorial we will see whether the PM-KISAN scheme is a reasonable solution to address farmers’ distress and why strengthening the MGNREGA would be more prudent than a targeted cash transfer plan like PM-KISAN.
MGNREGA and PM-KISAN
- A month of MGNREGA earnings for a household (if two members of a household works) is more than a year’s income support through PM-KISAN anywhere in the country.
- PM-KISAN is a targeted cash transfer programme and MGNREGA is a universal programme. Any rural household willing to do manual work is eligible under the Act.
- The landless can earn through the MGNREGA but are not eligible for the PM-KISAN scheme. According to the 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census, around 40% of rural households are landless and depend on manual labour.
- It is unclear how tenant farmers, those without titles, and women farmers would be within the ambit of the PM-KISAN scheme.
- Land records are not sorted out in rural India and without land settlement it is difficult to ensure the advantage of PM-KISAN.
- Universal schemes are less prone to corruption than targeted schemes.
- In targeted programmes, it is very common to have errors of exclusion, i.e., genuine beneficiaries get left out.
Under PM-KISAN, funds will be electronically transferred to the beneficiary’s bank account by [Government of India] through State Notional Account on a pattern similar to MGNREGS.
- Delay in payments: The Centre has frequently tinkered with the wage payments system in the MGNREGA. Centre alone has been causing a delay of more than 50 days in disbursing wages.
- Payments rejected due to technical reasons: In the last four years alone, more than ₹1,300 crore of the MGNREGS wage payments have been rejected due to technical errors such as incorrect account numbers or faulty Aadhaar mapping.
- Payments getting diverted: There are numerous cases of MGNREGS payments getting diverted to Airtel wallets and ICICI bank accounts.
- Failure of Aadhaar-based payments – 42% of the biometric authentications failed in the first attempt, compelling them to come later. (continued harassment faced by people)
The government is building a new scheme (PM-KISAN) on similar shaky platforms.
In addition, the success of the PM-KISAN depends on there being reliable digital land records and reliable rural banking infrastructure.
While ₹75,000 crore has been earmarked for this scheme, the MGNREGA continues to be pushed to a severe crisis.
We know that, MGNREGA allocation for 2019-20 is ₹60,000 crore, lower than the revised budget of ₹61,084 crore in 2018-19. And among those allocated ₹60,000 crore, around 20% of the money goes to unpaid pending payments from previous years.
Thus, subtracting the pending liabilities, in real terms, the Budget allocation has been lower than 2010-11.
- Therefore, strengthening an existing universal programme such as the MGNREGA would have been a prudent move instead of introducing a hasty targeted cash transfer programme.
- The MGNREGA is neither an income support programme nor just an asset creation programme. It is a labour programme meant to strengthen participatory democracy through community works. It is a legislative mechanism to strengthen the constitutional principle of the right to life.
- Moreover, the MGNREGA works have demonstrably strong multiplier effects. By routinely under-funding this Act, the current government continues to undermine the constitutional guarantee.
Connecting the dots:
- Strengthening the MGNREGA would be more prudent than a targeted cash transfer plan like PM-KISAN. Do you agree? Critically examine.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
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Q.1) Consider the following with regard to Man Sagar Lake:
- It is an artificial lake named after Man Singh
- It is located in Jaipur, Rajasthan
- A palace, Jal Mahal, is situated in the middle of the lake
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.2) Consider the following statements with reference to Sufism in medieval India:
Sufis followed –
- Charity and suppression of passions
- Strict observance of the Sharia
- Performance of prayers and pilgrimages
Which of the statements given above are correct?
- 1 and 3 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 4 only
- 1, 2, 3 and 4
Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Sufism:
- While orthodox Muslims emphasize external conduct, the Sufis lay stress on inner purity.
- The Sufis consider love and devotion as the only means of attaining salvation.
- The preaching of Sufi teachers shaped the thinking of Bhakti reformers like Ramananda, Kabir and Nanak.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.4) Consider the following statements:
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) is a targeted cash transfer programme whereas MGNREGA is a universal programme.
- The landless can earn through the MGNREGA but are not eligible for the PM-KISAN scheme.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
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