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SYNOPSIS [16th August,2021] Day 156: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. How are global IT giants like Google and Facebook affecting the lives of common Indians? Illustrate.
Introduce with what has been the penetration level of these sites in life of an Indian with contextualising the demand of question.In next part mention the positive benefits these tech companies have brought in India and balance it with the counter view on how it has also deteriorated the conditions in some aspects.In conclusion write what steps the government and tech giants needs to take for better public confidence in these technologies.
There has been a phenomenal increase in the use of online social media (OSM) services in India, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.These services and the tech giants which control them have affected Indians in every domain from messaging, thinking, employment, marriages, women empowerment to issues such as cybercrime, fake news, political influence.Therefore in past decade the social media had has a prominent effect on lives of Indians.
- Giving expression to one’s thought – There was a time when one had to submit his/her article and, if lucky, wait for Sunday edition of newspapers to print it. Now anyone can anytime express his/her view online. Common man can become director, actor and producer of online programs on platforms like YouTube.
- Connecting with people – for cultural, economic, political reason has become easy. Networking has helped common people in seeking jobs, advertisement etc.
- Tools like Google translator has helped in increasing interaction among people.It has also hepled guides in tourism sector to better serve their customers.
- Gender sensitization through online movements and campaigns like #Metoo movement, “Beti Bacao, Beti Padhao” Andolan. These movements have led to empowerment among girls and women to raise their voice against injustice and seek remedies for the wrong done.
- E-learning is revolutionising education sector. Students can self-learn from the online platforms. The platforms such as SWAYAM and JIGYASA helped many students to learn in lockdowns.
- E-commerce – has increased choices of goods and services for common man.This has connected the retailer to the end consumer thus benefiting consumer in terms of prices and retailers in increasing their customers base.Further in pandemic the online e-commerce hired 1 lakh new employees which was helpful in times of high unemployment.
- E- governance – has been made possible due to easy access of internet, facilitated by some IT giants. The National e governance plan and later the rechristened e Kranti mission has made digitisation as part of every Indian with services such a aadhar, pancard, driving licenses, crop loans being provided online.
- Local language content : social media has given a forum for local languages to proliferate in literature, movies, arts and education.The innovation in language interfaces by facebook and google has brought local languages in mainstream.
- Crises management : In the times of crises social media has been useful to gather help and formulate a streamlined response.It has been used for crowdfunding at times of floods, to notify safety to relatives, to relay information regarding needs after disaster and to voice angst against government for delayed response. For example: Covid 19 has brought importance of social media in prominence with use in disseminating message of social distancing, educating about the virus and removing vaccine hesitancy.
However, there have been many negative impacts as well –
- Privacy of people is constantly under threat. It was alleged in Cambridge Analytica case that data of common people were collected from Facebook – a social media platform, to do ‘election engineering’. This could affect the democratic system at large.
- There is a constant threat of malware attack and damage to the devices.There have been attacks on Canara bank and SBI cards in past were the customers were defrauded.This causes hesitancy in citizens to use digital banking and other digital services.
- Fake news emanating from IT giants platforms has affected the moral compass of common man. It also leans to illegal and immoral activities like mob lynching.Further in times of covid 19 fake news related to vaccines has led to vaccine hesitancy which has wide repercussions for people at large.
- Cyber bullying and trolling has affected many especially women. The cases where recently many women’s particularly from minorities were abused and trolled with the anonymity is hazardous for women as individually on psychological level and morally as a nation.
- Internet addiction, game addiction etc had caused damage among young generation. Certain online game like ‘Blue Whale’ has caused death of youths.
- Tendency of Individualism, isolation, depression etc are increasing. The reduced social interaction can affect the social capital at large.
Need of the hour is create awareness among masses to use these platforms wisely to tap maximum benefits from them. Self-regulations from the side of IT Giants to detect and remove fake news to content that may cause violence must be taken up. Platform like Facebook and WhatsApp has taken steps in this direction, but more pro-action steps are requires to serve the interest of common man.The new IT guidelines with the focus of tech giants on curbing fake news will both be beneficial for a digitally empowered citizenry .Further the quick implementation of the Data protection law in India and localisation of data is necessary for ensuring privacy.
2. Examine the significance of sports as a soft power. What steps are required to be taken to make India a sporting superpower?
Introduce on how sports can be an effective medium of diplomacy.In next part write how it has been a medium in past history with various examples.In next part mention what are the steps needed to make India a sports powerhouse.In conclusion write why its important for India to be a superpower in sports.
Sport is a universal phenomenon, transcending linguistic, national, and cultural boundaries. As such, it can facilitate communication across cultures. At its best, sports diplomacy harnesses this aspect of sport for a variety of diplomatic ends: women’s empowerment, intercultural understanding, non-violence education, and more.Many nations have used Sports to pursue their goals such as USA and USSR at the height of cold war, China during 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Significance of sports as soft power
- Highlight National achievement : The olympics at Beijing in 2008 highlighted how China has emerged from a third world country to a country which is more assertive and confident.Similarly the way Qatar is preparing itself to host the FIFA World Cup of 2022 shows the prestige of games to display a country’s power.
- Spread of values : The sports men with their own conduct and the host country with its hospitality enhances the interests in other people towards a nation.The American values of individualism ,equality and egalitarianism are displayed when their athletes from LGBT community wins medal with applause and acceptance from the nation and world.
- Display of power : The tremendous efforts required to host an international games highlights the power commanded by a nation, Similarly the number of medals won by a nation highlights the progress made by the nation .
- Reduces violence and promotes bonhomie : Athletes have ever been used as source of diplomacy between two warring nations before actual government to government relations pickup.For example Cricket has played a role of bringing India – Pakistan together to build people to people relations and also bring leaders together.
- Food and culture : The food habits and customs of nations gets exchanged in sports which leads to spread of cohesiveness.The olympics of Australia and Las Vegas brought the food habits from these countries to other nations.
- Relative competence: It creates a health competition among the nations.
Therefore the nations such as Russia, USA, Britain, Japan China who have projected sports as soft power tool to persuade other nations of its dominance have commanded global respect and influence.This makes sports an important aspect to focus for India to project it as soft power.
Steps to make India Sporting Superpower:
- Investment in infrastructure at grassroots level :The budding sportspersons in our country do not have access to the best infrastructure. To be able to compete at the top level, we need to have more stadiums and basic infrastructure. For instance, the introduction of astroturf, a more advanced, expensive outfield, inflicted a death blow on Indian hockey players who dominated every Olympics in hockey till then. This is because due to the lack of basic infrastructure, Indian hockey fields could not replicate it.
- Budding sportswomen and men should have access to equipment. For example, professional robots can help master the skills in table tennis. At the same time, the available infrastructure is mismanaged and not marketed properly. Look at the Commonwealth games stadium near Akshardham which is lying vacant for most part of the year.
- Commercialisation :There is a serious setback in the country when it comes to commercialising sports. We can take inspiration from how Reliance is commercialising football, by launching Indian Sports League and bringing top companies and great players together to create interest in the sport, like , Roberto Carlos, Nicolas Anelka, Elano Blumer and Marco Materazzi. Mahesh Bhupati’s ITPL immensely boosted tennis with players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Maria Sharapova playing for Indian Tennis League, and in 2017, U-17 FIFA Football World Cup is expected to boost the market significantly with its extensive international media coverage.
- Inducting players in governing bodies : We need to ensure that only former players enter sports governing bodies, as they have a clear idea of the problems faced by players and know the best ways to solve them. Additionally, we need good administrators to market and manage sports. Let us take cognisance of how Anil Kumble changed the scene of Karnataka cricket by introducing young faces into the team and providing budding fast bowlers Like Vinay Kumar, S. Arvind to the Indian cricket team.
- Taking care of players after retirement :Sportsmen have a very short shelf life. Once they retire, many of them struggle even for basic survival. We must think of a pension system to support the players who have played at a certain level. We also need to create enough avenues where they can share their skills and earn a livelihood. In their retired life, players can become great coaches for future legends and help bring out their talent. An academy must be created to train former players into coaches. We already see the former players like badminton maverick Prakash Padukone doing an excellent job of training potential sportstars.
- Curriculum : Additionally, sports must be included in mainstream curriculum and given its due importance.Teach sports at schools and universities level to make study understand importance of sports.
- Develop a sports culture : India seriously lacks a sports culture. We, as a country, have never valued sports in the same light as academics. In the face of exams, we stop practice sessions. While parents are not to be blamed for this, there is a vicious circle around us, which we must shatter for good. We need to develop a sports culture in our ecosystem that will produce more internationally respected stars like Usain Bolt, Micheal Phelps, and Rafael Nadal.
- Decentralise the Sports Authority of India : The over centralisation in competition and recruitment have led to corruption and favouritism.This structure needs to be remodelled for effective outcome.
- Make authorities accountable: There should not be permanent heads and non players who head the sports bodies.Its time to recruit professionals at each level and create a structure of accountability to ensure success is being measured and rewarded
Recently government of India has taken various steps such as to setup sports universities, launching of Khelo India program and olympic podium schemes to better serve the athletes.
India’s performance at recent olympics although historical in the metrics of medals won but still falters to the potential which a country of billion citizen possess.Further it reflects how India lacks sports as a soft power in its diplomatic basket.Therefore to pursue foreign diplomacy, display nations might and attain a status of superpower in sports India needs to invest more in its athletes, infrastructure and overall governance concerning the sports in India.
3. The PM Ujjwala Yojana lays the basis for a fundamental material transformation at the bottom of the pyramid. Elucidate.
Introduce with what is PM Ujjwala yojna and mention its recent revamp.In next part write how it has transformed the bottom pyramid which includes children, women, SC,ST, etc.In next part write some of the issues which it is facing with a way forward for effective implementation.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a government scheme launched in 2016 by government India. The scheme originally envisaged the distribution of 50 million LPG connections to women below the poverty line.This was done to bring effective change directly at the bottom of pyramid trough direct intervention.This scheme has been further expanded to attain the target of 80 million connections.
PM Ujjwala and the transformation of bottom of pyramid:
- Its implementation has resulted in significant increase in national LPG coverage, in general and Eastern States, in particular.This has reduced the harmful inhalation of toxic gases to poor population, especially to the children and women’s of the household.
- The scheme has resulted in mass coverage of rural poor households and 48% of the beneficiaries are SC/STs.This has ensured that the hitherto deprived population who were out of the coverage are no longer deprived of the modern technologies which most of the elites have adopted decades back.
- Those beneficiaries, who could not afford to make upfront payment under this scheme for purchase of gas stove and refilling of cylinder, were provided loan facility by the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).Thus the handholding of the citizens is done to bring them into the mainstream.
- It is significant to mention that under the PMUY, the average per capita consumption is 3.28. This should be seen as a positive change in the lives of these households which were long dependent on the traditional cooking fuels and methods.
- LPG Panchayats were formed to promote learning through peer group interaction – Kuch Seekhein, Kuch Sikhayein, where apart from experience sharing, it also aims at safe and sustained usage of LPG.This has increased the participation of the women’s in panchayats and created the sense of self governance in villages.
- PMUY implementation has been appreciated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and termed it as a decisive intervention to check the indoor health pollution being faced by the women of the country.
- It has provided employment to rural population especially the most deprived trough setting up new distribution agencies,this has increased the overall consumption expenditure of rural population.
- It has improved the health of vast population and also elongated the life expectancy as per the WHO surveys.
- It has created a sense of empowerment in women’s and SC/ST with entitlements being in their name.They have gained confidence in public life.Further it have increased government to public relations ,which will serve to reduce alienation in poor population.
Challenges the PM Ujjwala Yojna is facing :
- Low Consumption of Refills: :Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge, and low consumption of refills hindered recovery of outstanding loans disbursed under the scheme.The annual average refill consumption on 31th December 2018 was only 3.21.
- System Anomalies: There are deficiencies such as the issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries, and problems with the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies in the deduplication process.
- The scheme should be extended to poor households in urban and semi-urban slum areas.
- There is a need for achieving a higher LPG coverage of the population by providing connections to households that do not have LPG.
- Entering Aadhaar numbers of all adult family members of existing as well as new beneficiaries to make deduplication effective and appropriate measures in distributors’ software to restrict issuance to ineligible beneficiaries.