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Model answers 28-10-2015

Model answers – Test 6

 

Notes 1- video attached

18) Do you think the recent changes proposed by the ministry of human resources in universities, IITs, IIMs are geared towards knowledge creation.

 

The IIM bill, choice based credit systems are the major changes proposed by the government of India. Central issue in both the cases include bringing in  greater accountability for results and standardisation to achieve the comparable data for analysis. However it can be criticized as a retrogressive for the following reasons

The objective of education is to develop logical, analytical skills along with the critical reasoning. Every disciplinary study requires thinking, reasoning, debating and questioning. Than only the evolution of knowledge happens. The proposed standardisation model suggested for higher education kills the very critical thinking necessary for knowledge. The standards will be determined with lowest common denominator to accommodate small universities. The universities become sweat shops for producing employees to clerical positions.  It will ultimately compromise the centers of excellence.

 

The decreasing quality will shift the higher educational eco system away from the public universities and towards private universities. It increases inequality in access to education.he benefits of mobility proposed also appears un implementable, if we see the scales and centralised framing of curriculum will kill the innovation and autonomy of the universities.

 

The purpose of higher education is production of Knowledge. In this context, creating a right environment with freedom for academics matters the most. However, it has to be balanced with accountability needs of a public funded institution. Accountability shall not be a state surveillance and control, it has to be for results and outcomes. Autonomy and output can go together. Success of university administration in USA and UK proves this. Culture of “singular focus on excellence in research and Right incentivisation also matters for innovation. Universities in India also shall serve the diversity needs and standardisation may go against to this.

 

addendum

- In the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a special emphasis on translation and commercialisation of federally funded research output. The BayhDole Act (1980) allowed individual researchers and universities “to leverage funded research output as intellectual property that could be taken forward, licensed or commercially exploited to create new products, solutions and private companies”. No such a system exists in India

 

19) Decentralization requires more regulation not less to guarantee basic transparency, accountability and representation.  If not, it will lead to decentralized despotism. Express your opinion with relevant examples.

Decentralization assumes coordination between levels of government and require more regulation and not less to guarantee basic transparency, accountability and representation. If not, it leads to capture of power by the local elites and can lead to decentralized despotism rather than increasing the democratic space. In India, it is much a bigger challenge due to factors of caste, gender discrimination, and corruption. Growth of shadow presidents bypassing the women and dalit representatives in village panchayats is a manifestation of this power imbalance.

On development front state has to oversee, regulate, and sanction local authorities so that poor people really benefit from political reform. In India, as state capacities to take the regulatory functions to the grass root levels is inadequate, accountability mechanisms such as social audit can be strengthened. Effective decentralization also needs local authorities to which finance, functions and functionaries have been devolved. Finally, institutional mechanisms to ensure the voice of citizenry can be heard.

There is nothing automatic in pro poor orientation of decentralization, without state capacities, empowered local authority, collective voice articulated by civil society decentralization did not achieve results. It is reflective in the functioning of panchayat raj in Kerala and west Bengal on one side and other states on the other side. Under Operation barga, panchayats helped to improve agricultural technology and reform land tenancy. Institutional strengthening  of gram panchayats project – WB is another progressive initiative in the state. It involves

1)       Untied performance based fiscal transfer

2)      Capacity building for panchayats

3)      Gram panchayat management systems

4)      GIS based concurrent monitoring system

These initiatives show that s well intentioned state Government can make decentralization beneficial to the masses.

17)  The National Mental health policy 2014 was cited as most progressive and participative. In spite of this, it suffers from systemic challenges in its implementation.

 

The policy is progressive and sensitive to the social impact of mental illness, like stigma and poverty. But, implementation will be tough and depends largely on the passage of the mental health bill that is pending in parliament.

The emphasis of the new policy is on the rights of the mentally ill including the suggestion that attempted suicide should be decriminalized. The policy also draws attention to the largely-neglected need to support care givers, who are almost always family members in India. The recognition that a care giver should receive monetary and tax benefits is “radical, “Poverty and mental ill health are inextricably linked in a negative vicious cycle,” policy acknowledges that social exclusion, unequal opportunity and income disparity could aggravate mental illness, especially for vulnerable groups, like poor, homeless women.

Poor doctor to population ratio, lack of availability of finances, institutions that provide mental health care delivery can impede the program implementation. . According to the WHO Mental health atlas of 2011, India spends less than 1% of its total health budget on mental health. It also faces a severe shortage of mental health professionals, with one psychiatrist for every 3.4 lakh people. Added to this, social perception need to be changed to the mental health. It involves huge social education exercise.
In this context, like other health issues, improvement of mental health issues needs people and government participation and on higher scale.

 

13) How the sustainable development goals are different from millennium development goals and how SDGs are achieved?

The SDGs are a set of seventeen goals comprising 169 targets and indicators for reducing poverty and improving environmental sustainability. They are developed with input from the UN s 193 member states and an array of nongovernmental organizations. They focus on six essential elements -  “dignity, people, prosperity, our planet, justice, and partnership.”

While the MDGs focused primarily on poverty and health, the SDGs also cover the environment, human rights, and gender equality, among others. The MDGs did not consider the root causes of poverty, or gender inequality, or the holistic nature of development and they were primarily targets for poor countries (with financing from wealthy countries), while SDGs demand action from all countries. It is a shift in developmental theory.

The MDGs were drafted by a small team of technical experts at UN while the SDGs were drafted over years by an intergovernmental open working group that comprised representatives of seventy countries.

SDG are also going to be financially very expensive with estimated ranging from $15 – 25 trillion. Developing countries, through tax revenues and private investments, provide “the vast bulk” of resources for development. Resolving tax fraud is seen as crucial to closing the funding gap. Finally, “These are voluntary agreements. They’re not treaties. There will be a review how countries are doing across these indicators, but ultimately these governments are accountable to their own citizens. The UN statistical commisison is tasked with assigning and measuring indicators of progress toward the SDGs.

 

20)   All the recent development initiatives launched by the Government revolve around financial inclusion. JAM trinity is expected to solve many systemic administrative weaknesses. Analyze with a focus on streamlining of subsidies.

 

The factors that can be cited as reasons for poor realization of subsidies include leakages, poor targeting of beneficiaries on one side and development of distortions in the markets in a way that hurts the poor.

 

JAM trinity stands for Jandhana Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile number. The penetration of mobile phone is able to integrate Rural – Urban India and rich and poor. It made last mile connectivity a reality and simplifies the process of governance and functional monitoring of service delivery.But, Affordability of technology and reliable connectivity are the major challenges.

 Aadhar with NPR will helps in right targeting of beneficiaries. Added to this, transactional interface of the citizen and Government becomes more transparent and reduces corruption and leakages. Here, the effectiveness of JAM trinity depends on comprehensive implementation with high reliability and few distortions.

Financial Inclusion through Jan dhan Yojana facilitates direct cash transfers and decreases transactional costs to the Government in service delivery. Success of this is visible in Bolsa Familia program in Brazil. But,  Success of Bolsa Familia is due to the existence of social and developmental conditions as  pre requisite to cash transvers. So, integrating developmental goals to JAM trinity can make it complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14) Right to information has been seen as the key to strengthening participatory democracy and ushering in people centered governance. But, the secrecy in the functioning of political parties, official secrets act, conduct rules are still the major hindrances. Discuss

 

A)      The most contentious issue in the implementation of the Right to Information Act relates to official secrets. In a democracy, people are sovereign and the elected government and its functionaries are public servants and so transparency shall be norm and secrecy an exception.

The Official Secrets Act, enacted during the colonial era, governs all matters of secrecy and confidentiality, sedition and was enacted to serve different circumstances. It created a climate of mistrust and it still continues.

Civil Service Conduct Rules, 1964 also prohibit communication of an official document to anyone without authorization. Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, prohibits the giving of evidence from unpublished official records without the permission of the Head of the Department, who has abundant discretion in the matter. In this context 2nd administrative reforms commisison recommended for replacement of oath of secrecy with oath of transparency and repeal of official secrets act to create a culture of transparency.

Political parties form an important care democratic politics and they influence the policy and outcomes through many established ways. Voter also has right to know the information and details about the political parties to make an informed choice. In this connection declaration of sources of finances will bring in greater respect and legitimacy.

 

 

Source – Hindu articles on ghettoisation , understanding society class XI( page no 41-48) , varun feroz Gandhi articles on urbanization in Hindu

15) Urbanization in India has become an irreversible process and an important determinant of National economic growth and poverty reduction.Discuss the problems associated with urbanization with special emphasis on providing housing for all.

a) Urban landscape in India involves interactions between diverse communities, classes and occupations. In this context planning, resource mobilization, land distribution, governance, providing basic amenities and infrastructure are the major challenges. Growing pace of rural – urban migration, economic distress on the rural front aggravated this. In this context, polarization of living spaces, crumbling infrastructure, growth in fringe areas, urban penalties leading to high crime and unsafe cities.

In housing sector, according to pronab sen committee the total deficit in urban areas falls around 18.9mn units. It can not be achieved by government alone. In this context, raising the affordability of the poor, involvement of private sector, simplification of regulatory norms, buyer protection shall go hand in hand.

following can be cited as solutions to achieve housing for all.

  1. NRLMP – It will improvise the land record management in urban centers.
  2. Simplification of procedures - Smart regulator in Hong Kong - It merged eight procedures involving six different agencies in one stop Centre. In India, National building code 2005 needs to be for automatic approvals.
  3. RBI has set a 15% threshold for banking exposure to real estate. Granting infrastructure status will open up additional financing.
  4. Rationalization of tax, which adds up to 30-37% of cost, curtailing of flow of black money will increase the overall affordability if the house.
  5. Singapore public housing model can be adopted in India. ( The National Housing Board constructions are described as mixed income developments. Here , The plan is to make well off and poor live side by side. it is a mix of incentivisation, subsidization and proper regulation that made housing for all a possibility. Increasing the access to long-term loans for all income groups is  the success formula.  In India too, affordability gap funding can be introduced.
    1. Revisiting the rent control act can free up a significant portion of 20 million unoccupied housing units.

 

16)   E governance initiatives and infrastructure developing under Digital India may not be of much help in addressing the governance and development concerns unless systemic administrative and institutional reforms are associated with it. Analyze the above statement in the light of growing digital divide.

E governance is a technical tool to achieve the objectives of policy. In this context, policy is always a question of politics and policy priorities are political choices. So, excessive emphasis on technology, rather than development can worsen the scenario. Historically, it is proven, technology that failed to benefit the grass root levels led to widening of economic inequalities. In this context, growing digital divide may transform in to opportunity divide and establish as developmental divide between rural and urban areas in India. So, development of local language interfaces, emphasis on e – literacy, e-participation, capacity building of the cutting edge functionaries can help in building the divide. Infrastructure constraints also placed India at 89th  rank in network readiness Index. Digital India emphasised the rural digital infrastructure and is a positive step. Growing mobile platforms and their simplicity in use are also welcome signs.

 Added to this, E governance initiatives need to be intrinsic to the reform in administration. It mean Business process re-engineering, organization of data, policy framework of the government shall precede technology. In this context, using technology as a quick fix solution led to failure of most of the e governance initiatives. Viability of the initiative, affordability of service, cost benefit analysis all shall be the part of assessment of an e Government solution. 2nd ARC report on e governance says that in spite of 3 decades of time in to e governance in India, still the country do not have a legal framework to guide the process. As said by Prime minister modi, digital India can transform India can only happen if technology and reform go hand in hand.

 

 

 

 

 

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