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SYNOPSIS [24th March,2021] Day 63: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. Discuss the government’s key welfare schemes for the tribal population. What are the challenges in their implementation? Examine.
Candidates are expected to write about the key welfare schemes for tribals and examine the challenges in their implementation.
After Independence, provisions were made in the Constitution to safeguard tribal interests and promote their developmental and welfare activities through various government schemes. Governmental schemes tried for the uplift and rehabilitation of tribals but faced challenges to achieve their goals and tribal proletarianisation has persisted since independence.
Key welfare government schemes for tribals –
- Development of PVTGs: It is for 18 States and a UT for the activities like housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, and animal husbandry.
- Mechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through MSP and Development of Value Chain for MFP: The scheme seeks to establish a system to ensure fair monetary returns for their efforts.
- Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana: The scheme proposes to bring tribal population of the country at par with other social groups and include them in overall progress of the nation. The government aims for holistic development of tribals by plugging in the infrastructural gaps and lags in human development indices.
- Tribal Handicrafts: TRIFED has setup TribesIndia a chain of showrooms where several categories of handicrafts are being marketed like tribal textiles, tribal jewellery. TRIFED is also working on the capacity building of the tribes.
- Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs): To provide quality middle and high-level education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas, to enable them to avail of reservation in high and professional educational courses and as jobs in government and public and private sectors.
Challenges faced by government while implementation of tribal welfare schemes –
- Social barriers pertain in dealing with tribal social system. Cultural barriers are related to different cultural values which come in the way of adoption of innovation.
- Poor implementation of programmes is reason for lack of social development among tribes. Another arguments regarding poor development of the tribal populations is built around the issue of the traditional socio-cultural aspects of tribal life.
- Massive development displacement of tribes. Tribal areas have witnessed the development of industry, mining, infrastructure projects such as hydraulic projects such as dams and irrigation. It has been often loss of livelihood and involuntary migration of tribes.
- About 40 per cent of those displaced by dam-building belong to the Scheduled Tribes. Scheduled Tribes constitute about eight per cent of the country’s population; they are clearly disproportionately represented in the number of displaced persons.
- The Provisions of PESA 1996 and FRA 2006, enacted to redress the historical injustice to tribal and forest communities, have been significant initiatives that have changed their legal status. However, policies and practices have been slow to absorb the changed circumstances recognised in the law.
- Massive push to development agenda with economic liberalisation and the entry of private corporations into tribal areas, has been met with considerable resistance by tribal communities.
- Of the nine States considered to be seriously affected by LWE, six are States with Scheduled districts. LWE primarily as a national security problem used address militarily. This approach is resulting in the further alienation of tribal communities, widen the trust deficit between the State and the tribal people creates hurdle in implementation.
- Northeast is often viewed as a singular and homogeneous entity, the region is highly diverse with over 200 tribes and sub-tribes, each of which have their own language, culture and political structures. Therefore DoNER in Northeast faces challenges also conflicts between the State and tribal groups, between different tribes, and between tribes and non-tribal groups hamper relationship between people and administration.
High-Level Committee under Virginius Xaxa recommended appropriate interventional measures to improve the same –
- New micro-agencies need to be created in such pockets to cater to specific tribal groups.
- Protecting the land and forest rights of tribal communities is equivalent to protecting their livelihoods, life and liberty.
- The right to preservation of their language, culture and traditions, and to protect themselves against the loss of identity, must be recognised, protected, documented and allowed to thrive as a dynamic living culture.
Schemes are facing grass roots implementation problems. But it does not mean that these schemes are a failure. Due to such initiatives many tribal communities of India improved their economic, educational, social and cultural status. Due to such scheme mainstreaming and channelization of scheduled tribes took a leap forward. By strengthening of the weaknesses of tribal area schemes the objective of their existence in modern world can be achieved.
2. Do you think reservation in jobs and higher education has resulted in the socio- economic upliftment of backward classes? Critically examine.
Student can give a brief background of reservation, provisions in constitution and with the help of some examples ground reality can be showcased. In the way ahead and conclusion thoughts of Dr Ambedkar on the same can be given.
In simple terms, reservation in India is all about reserving access to seats in the government jobs, educational institutions, and even legislatures to certain sections of the population. Also known as affirmative action, the reservation can also be seen as positive discrimination. Reservation in India is a government policy, backed by the Indian Constitution.
What was the purpose of reservation?
- Advancement of Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) OR any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens (Eg: OBC) OR economically weaker sections (EWS) – Article 15 (4), Article 15 (5), and Article 15 (6)
- Adequate representation of any backward class of citizens OR economically weaker sections (EWS) in the services under the State. – Article 16 (4) and Article 16 (6).
- The objective of providing reservations to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) in services is not only to give jobs to some persons belonging to these communities. It basically aims at empowering them and ensuring their participation in the decision-making process of the State.
- Besides, the state is also keen to end practices such as untouchability. Scheduled Castes (SC) are given 15% quota in jobs/higher educational institutions while Schedule Tribes (ST) are given 7.5% quota in jobs/higher educational institutions.
- Reservation for Other Backwards Classes (OBC) was introduced based on the Mandal Commission Report (1991). The quota for OBCs is 27% in government jobs and higher educational institutions.
Is reservation still relevant?
- We live in the 21st century India and the caste system is history for most of us. And since it’s history, then it shouldn’t be found anymore.
- But Even today, in many villages, teashops serve tea to the oppressed castes (Dalits or Scheduled Castes) in disposable cups and the others in reusable glass tumblers. They have different benches for each caste group. Do those teashops ask for caste certificates? No. They identify someone’s caste based on his appearance.
- The places where they are born and live are already divided based on caste. Their towns and villages are divided into “agraharas”, the exclusive settlements for Brahmins; “colonies” or “cherish”, the ghettos for the oppressed; and the rest of the area for the other caste Hindus. Even streets are identified with castes. Merely by looking at a pupil’s address, one can guess his or her caste.
- In several incidents, if Dalits found burning Holika for the Holika Dahan ceremony, they are tonsured and paraded naked in the villages. Also in some parts of India, there have been allegations that Dalit grooms riding horses for wedding ceremonies have been beaten up and ostracised by upper caste people.
- Discrimination can also exist in access to healthcare and nutrition. A sample survey of Dalits, conducted over several months in Madhya Pradesh and funded by ActionAid in 2014, found that health field workers did not visit 65 percent of Dalit settlements. 47 percent of Dalits were not allowed entry into ration shops; and 64 percent were given fewer grains than non-Dalits.
- In Haryana state, 49 percent of Dalit children under five years were underweight and malnourished while 80 percent of those in the 6–59 months age group were anaemic in 2015.
- A sample survey in 2014, conducted by Dalit Adhikar Abhiyan and funded by ActionAid, found that among state schools in Madhya Pradesh, 88 percent discriminated against Dalit children. In 79 percent of the schools studied, Dalit children are forbidden from touching mid-day meals.
- There have been incidents and allegations of SC and ST teachers and professors being discriminated against and harassed by authorities, upper castes colleagues, and upper caste students in different education institutes of India.
Road ahead –
- We as a nation have travelled few steps towards equality and we have to go miles before we reach our destination. The historical injustices cannot be corrected by one policy measure. It is just an instrument to fast track the process.
- The ancient Indian psyche is still dominant in 21st century globalised world. According to Dr Ambedkar democracy is just a topsoil on hierarchical Indian society.
Reservation has resulted in betterment of marginalised classes but the journey is far from over. Policy measures accelerated the affirmative actions but lot needs to be done for the upliftment. Even today in modern India practices like manual scavenging is a blot on our dream of becoming an egalitarian society. For the real upliftment to happen as Dr Ambedkar said, liberty, equality and fraternity should be guiding our path and vision.
3. What are the factors responsible for the prevalence of a lower sex ratio in some of India’s states? What recent measures have been taken to reverse this trend? Discuss.
Question has asked you to discuss so it requires an in-depth answer that takes into account all aspects of the debate concerning the topic. You must demonstrate reasoning skills with this type of question, by using evidence to make a case for or against a research topic/argument.
According to the 2018 report on “vital statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System”, Arunachal Pradesh recorded the best sex ratio at birth in the country while Manipur recorded the worst sex ratio at birth. Sex ratio at birth is number of females born per thousand males. It is an important indicator to map the gender gap of a population.
Factors responsible for the prevalence of a lower sex ratio in some of India’s states –
- Sex discrimination leading to death, experienced by them from womb to tomb in their life cycles.
- The distorted gender makeup of the entire population does reflect an adverse child sex ratio.
- Poor reach among young people for reproductive health education and services as well as poor cultivation of gender equity norms.
- According to information from the UNPFA, reasons for female infanticide include anti-female bias, as women are often seen as subservient to men, who often employ positions of power.
- In addition, parents believe they will be better taken care of in their old age by men, as men are perceived as the principal wage earners of the family.
- Social Practices: Parents of girls are usually expected to pay a dowry, which could be a massive expense, avoided by raising males.
- Counter Effect of Rise in Income: Contrary to popular perception, in India’s sex ratio at birth declined even as per capita income increased nearly 10 times over the last 65 years, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data.
- Various patriarchal cultural factors contribute to male preference. While for some the onus of dowry makes a girl child a burden for others, the son preference may be related to the tradition of sons performing funeral rites. Sons carry on the family lineage, while daughters, after marriage, are understood to move away to become a member of another family. With most women shifting out to live with the husband’s house, old age care of the parents is usually provided by the son.
What recent measures have been taken to reverse this trend –
- Female education and economic prosperity need to be worked on to help improve the ratio.
- Rollout campaigns on sensitisation towards women and children, making women safety cells, ensuring the safety of women on public transport systems, making cyber-crime cells are some other initiatives that need to be taken.
- In view of the complexity of son preference resulting in gender-biased sex selection, government actions need to be supplemented by improving women’s status in the society.
- Young people involvement in reducing the effect of population momentum and accelerate progress towards reaching a more normal sex-ratio at birth is important.
- Initiatives like the government’s beti bachao beti padhao Campaign has achieved remarkable success in bringing behavioural change in the society. Such initiatives should be encouraged more.
India has created several impressive goals to reduce its population growth rates, India and the rest of the world has a long way to go to achieve meaningful population policy which are not only based on quantitative control but qualitative control as well. There is an urgent need to reach young people both for reproductive health education and services as well as to cultivate gender equity norms. This could reduce the effect of population momentum and accelerate progress towards reaching a more normal sex-ratio at birth. India’s population future depends on it.
4. What are the issues with the trade and regulation of bitcoins in India? Do you agree with the proposal of criminalizing bitcoin trade?
Question is very straight forward in its approach students are expected to write about the issues with the trade and regulation of bitcoins in India, also in the second part of the question students need to mention about the proposal of criminalising the bitcoin trade.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that was created in January 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a whitepaper by the mysterious and pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto.The identity of the person or persons who created the technology is still a mystery. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and, unlike government-issued currencies, it is operated by a decentralized authority. Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency. There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger that everyone has transparent access to. All bitcoin transactions are verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity. Despite it not being legal tender, Bitcoin is very popular and has triggered the launch of hundreds of other cryptocurrencies, collectively referred to as altcoins.
Issues with trade –
- Section 26 of the RBI Act states that, ‘every banknote shall be legal tender at any place in India in payment or on account for the amount expressed therein, and shall be guaranteed by the Central Government’. The virtual currency is not guaranteed by the Central Government, so, in order for any virtual currency to be declared legal tender, it will have to be expressly guaranteed by the Central Government. In that case, parties are legally bound to accept it as a mode of payment. So, privately issued cryptocurrencies would not be safe.
- Security Issue: Instances like Mt Gox bankruptcy highlight some of the key risks associated with crypto exchanges pertaining to the safety and security of cryptocurrencies. Crypto-currencies are prone to cyber frauds, hacking and other network-related issues.
- Lack of Investor Protection: Due to the anonymous nature of crypto-currency transactions, there is a lack of investor/consumer protection in the form of recourse and quick and orderly access to their own funds/assets.
- Bitcoin’s value, astronomical even now at about $8,300 but much below January 2018’s stratospheric levels, is based on demand for a fixed supply of Bitcoins in the future it cannot exceed 21 million in number, of which 18 million has already been mined. Cryptos are feared not just for their sheer speculative propensities, but also for their capacity to undermine sovereign currencies (the latter is an exaggerated apprehension).
Issues with regulation –
- Virtual currency is being traded anonymously over the Internet and used for a host of anti-national and illegal activities, from terror funding to illicit trade of arms and drugs and so on.
- The online use of this currency, was without any border restrictions or geographical constraints, resulting in danger to the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
- However, it does not make sense to go overboard and criminalise merely adventurous crypto speculators. There are no official or other data available that point towards misuse of cryptocurrencies for illegal ends.
- Cryptocurrencies are much more prone to volatility. Cryptocurrencies are digital asset, not usually backed by a physical commodity or currency. This means that their value is completely dependent on faith. Their price follows the laws of supply and demand. In the absence of regulatory oversight, market manipulation can occur, which introduces volatility. This, in turn, discourages institutional investment in the market. Thus, a cryptocurrency may be a worth of a fortune today in the market and be utterly worthless tomorrow.
Is criminalising bitcoin trade the only option –
- Blockchains and cryptocurrencies have the potential to radically transform every industry that relies on contracts and transactions. It can facilitate irrefutable proof of ownership of digital art, or facilitate smart contracts that execute clauses automatically when certain conditions are met. It can improve accounting, banking, insurance, and nearly every other sector.
- Decentralised finance based on the blockchain is revolutionising how the financial industry works. A new business order, with digital currencies and blockchain technologies as its cornerstones, is emerging. Criminalising or even the use of such language will put off some of the brightest minds from India and leave us behind.
- Such a blanket prohibition would be disastrous on multiple levels. For one thing, enforcing the law would be even more difficult than under the License Raj. Raids once aimed at seizing dollars and gold bars would face the challenge of locating a password or seed phrase holding millions in Bitcoin. Nor can the government seize or even access the network of computers scattered across the world mining cryptocurrency and maintaining blockchain ledgers.
- To enforce a ban, authorities would have to develop an intrusive surveillance system that could track all digital and internet activity in the country. Thankfully, India does not have the state capacity to pull that off. More likely, its efforts will only drive the cryptocurrency market underground.
- The ban would prevent Indians from capitalizing on crypto-asset appreciation, which blockchain evangelist Balaji Srinivasan has called a “trillion-dollar mistake.” India receives the highest inflow of global remittances and using blockchain networks could save Indians billions in transfer fees. Meanwhile, elite Indians with options will flee the country, taking their wealth and innovations with them.
Instead of criminalizing digital currencies, the government should take a hard look at India’s restrictions on financial transactions and bring them in line with the changing world. Liberalization in 1991 made India a world leader in IT. Opening up even further could place Indians where they belong — at the frontier of fintech innovation, not under suspicion.
5. How is unemployment measured in India? Discuss. What is the recent trend of unemployment in India’s informal sector? Examine.
The candidate needs to address the question in two parts where the first part needs to discuss how employment is measured in India while in the second part should examine the recent trend of unemployment in India’s informal sector.
Unemployment occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work. Unemployment is often used as a measure of the health of the economy. The most frequent measure of unemployment is the unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployed people divided by the number of people in the labour force.
The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), since its inception in 1950, does the measurement of unemployment in India. Its three different estimates include –
- Usual status approach with a reference period of 365 days preceding the date of survey.
- Current weekly status approach with a reference period of seven days preceding the date of survey.
- Current daily status approach with each day of the seven days preceding date of survey as the reference period.
- The NSSO defines following three broad Activity Status i) Working (engaged in an economic activity) i.e. ‘Employed’ ii) Seeking or available for work i.e. ‘Unemployed’ iii) Neither seeking nor available for work.
- All those individuals having a broad activity status as i) or ii) above are classified as being in the Labour Force and those having activity status iii) are classified as outside the Labour Force. Thus labour force constitutes of both employed and unemployed.
- In other words, Labour force (also called work force) is the total number of people employed or seeking employment in a country or region. One is classified as ‘not in labour force’, if he or she was engaged in relatively longer period in any one of the non-gainful activities. Unemployment rate is the percent of the labour force that is without work.
Despite now being the fastest growing large economy in the world, India is still suffering from the damaging effects of policy-induced informality in the workforce from the initial decades after independence.
- The definition and percentage of unorganised labour in the informal sector are blurry and confusing. The Economic Survey of 2018-19 puts it at almost 93%” of the total workforce as “informal”. But NITI Aayog’s Strategy for New India at 75 puts it at approximately 85% of all workers.
- It has been realised that lack of reliable statistics on the size, distribution and economic contribution of the sector has been a major constraint in providing a realistic understanding of the significance of the informal sector to the Indian economy, leading to its neglect in development planning.
- There has been a shift in the pattern of employment in recent years with the process of casualization being stalled and self-employment going up both in rural and urban areas for men as well as women.
- Indicating a shift towards rise in self-employment over the last eight years in rural areas, the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18 shows that the percentage of self-employed in rural India went up across both male and female as against that seen in 2009-10.
- While the introduction of the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and The Code on Social Security, 2019 are conducive to the conservation of the rights of unorganized labourers, they have not been very effective. The constant influx of menial migrant labourers also makes the nation susceptible to the expropriation of its workers’ surplus value.
- The Indian agricultural sector (largest employer of the informal sector) serves as an example of an industry which is tainted by disguised unemployment due to an oversupply of labourers; it employed 55% of the nation’s labour force in 2017 but contributed a meagre 16% to the GDP.
- COVID-19 induced pandemic has led to an alarming expansion of informal sector, in recent times, has adversely affected employment and income security for the larger majority of the workforce, but governmental initiatives have helped in improving the scale of social welfare / security programme.
- The International Labour Organization (ILO 2020) report has indicated that as a result of COVID-19, an estimated 400 million informal sector workers are at risk of abject poverty in India. Women are likely to bear the brunt of job losses the most because much of their work is invisible, and they are more likely to work in informal work arrangements.
At present, the Indian economy is faced with a conundrum of simultaneously securing the future of an ever-increasing labour-force and sustaining high levels of economic growth through the adoption of capital-intensive technology in production. Inaction on these two fronts can have calamitous ramifications; without upskilling the working population and imparting necessary proficiency to young individuals, economic inequality will only rise and the working population with marginal financial stature may submerge into indigence. All these factors clearly necessitate governmental actions to mitigate the situation.
TLP HOT Synopsis Day 63 PDF