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(GIST OF YOJANA) The People's Policy [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  The People's Policy

[NOVEMBER-2019]

The People's Policy

Context:

The nation dedicated an open defecation free (ODF) country to Mahatma Gandhi this 2 October, 2019 on Bapu’s 150th birth anniversary, it is timely to analyse how the Swachh Bharat Mission became the global benchmark for participatory and transformative development.

Mahatma Gandhi on sanitation:

  • Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of an India where no one had to suffer the indignity of open defecation. There cannot be a better tribute to him than the transformation of the country, in the last five years, from being on the higher side of global open defecation to a torch-bearer for global sanitation.
  • The Prime Minister connected with and understood the needs of our people at the grassroots and brought about the sanitation revolution we know today through his inspirational leadership. The world recognises this, and the Global Goalkeepers Award that the PM was presented with during his recent visit to the US, more than reaffirms his decision to put sanitation at the front and centre of India's developmental agenda.

Pillars of SBM-G:

  • Five years on. Team Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) has identified four key pillars of India’s sanitation revolution, which can, more or less, be applied to any large-scale transformation in the world. In a more detailed fashion, a recent compilation of essays titled.
  • ‘The Swachh Bharat Revolution’ by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, has also followed this 4Ps structure for the book, which chronicles the implementation journey of the flagship programme.
  • First is political leadership. Arguably, the biggest game-changer for the SBM-G was the Prime Minister investing his personal political capital in the mission. Inspired by his leadership and commitment, various Chief Ministers took up the cause, creating a domino-like effect, cascading leadership to the Chief Secretary and in turn to Collectors, all the way down to Sarpanchs at the grassroots level. Leaders at all levels are prime catalysts for large-scale transformations.
  • Second is public financing. Typically, no large-scale transformation can be an unfunded mandate. Over Rs. 1 lakh crore was committed to ensuring universal access to sanitation, thereby backing the political will with budgetary support. About 90 per cent of the 10 crore households which received toilets were from socially and economically weaker sections of society and they received financial incentives to build and use toilets.
  • Third is partnerships. The SBM-G partnered with implementers and influencers alike national and international development agencies, media houses, civil society, celebrities, as well as all departments/ministries of the Government of India, who pledged an additional $6 billion for sanitation in their respective sectors. This “all hands on deck” approach, making sanitation everyone’s business, helped to mainstream it into the national consciousness.
  • Fourth is peoples’ participation. The SBM-G trained over half a million swachhagraha, grassroot motivators, who triggered behaviour change in every village in India. Ordinary people undertook extraordinary roles and inspired others to build and use toilets. Stories of sanitation champions emerged from every nook and corner of the country. A large-scale transformation can be truly successful if it captures the imagination of the people and becomes a people’s movement or a Jan Andolan.

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  • While these four pillars provided the SBM-G its strategic focus, administrative disruption led to efficient on-ground implementation, which has traditionally been the Achilles heel of large programmes in India. It started with the Prime Minister setting a target, a sunset clause for the Mission — 2 October, 2019. A sunset clause brought with it a sense of urgency and accountability. The deadline drove States to prioritise SBM-G and inspired Team SBM-G to imagine possibilities that they may not have done otherwise. The next important step was building a team of people who believed that the goal is achievable.
  • Younger people with fresh perspective and lesser administrative baggage believe anything is possible and focus on finding creative solutions. SBM-G brought in a unique blend of young professionals and experienced but driven bureaucrats, and each person became committed to the goal. It was also important to think scalability during the design process.
  • The Department attempted to devise solutions which are easy to implement, like the on-site twin pit toilet systems for rural India, as opposed to expensive networked sanitation solutions. By providing flexibility to States and implemented by design, the mission allowed them to tailor solutions to local contexts. To build faith in the rest of the administrative system, it was important for the mission to demonstrate some quick wins. Low hanging fruits were targeted first the districts with the highest sanitation coverage- to become ODF on priority. This created a demonstration effect for others to learn from and created belief in the system. Nothing succeeds like success. Continuous engagement with implementers made the mission agile.
  • Team SBM-G visited each State multiple times and engaged directly with District Collectors through learning workshops, informal gatherings and WhatsApp groups, promoting healthy competition among implemented which spurred local innovation.
  • The SBM-G made sanitation glamorous by engaging extensively with the media, leveraging popular culture, and associating Bollywood stars, sportspersons and other influenced to promote the message of sanitation. And lastly, the mission kept the buzz alive throughout its lifecycle through regular, large-scale events with the Prime Minister at important milestones, helping sanitation stay on top of public recall.
  • But everything is not done and dusted. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation recently released the forward-looking 10-year Rural Sanitation Strategy to move from ODF to ODF Plus, focusing on sustaining the SBM-G gains, ensuring that no one is left behind, and ensuring access to solid and liquid waste management for all villages. The next ambitious goal announced by the Prime Minister on August 15 this year is to ensure piped water supply to all households by 2024. With the programme in mission mode for the next five years, this will be an additional shot in the arm for SBM-G’s sustainability efforts.
  • Evidently, India has achieved what was unimaginable a few years ago, but the show must go on.

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(GIST OF YOJANA) Gram Panchayats: Beyond Odf [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  Gram Panchayats: Beyond Odf

[NOVEMBER-2019]

Gram Panchayats: Beyond Odf

Introduction:

The Millennium Development Goal on sanitation, which was not achieved by India, and the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - in particular SDG 6, which aims for universal water supply and sanitation - intend to provide similar aspirational frameworks which India has incorporated in its various national efforts, setting its own water and sanitation targets to be reached much sooner than 2030 as prescribed by the SDGs.

Lessons that Shaped Swachh Bharat

  • The confined focus on construction did not address the fact that even those who did receive toilets often ended up still defecating in the open, as some independent evaluations found. This was because while previous campaigns such as TSC did budge for information, education and communication (IEC) expenditures, they were underutilised and thus hardware (i.e. toilets) was significantly higher on the agenda than influencing the behaviours of the users.
  • However, incorporating behaviour change communication (BCC) frameworks into social programmes allows implementers to message directly that influences one’s sense of self-efficacy and agency to realize behaviour change. It also reinforces the importance of local community ownership over outcomes and sustains results at a larger-scale. This is why when the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on 2 October. 2014. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of investing in a Jan Andolan, which eventually became the rural component, SBM-Gramin (SBM-G).
  • The SBM-G guidelines developed in 2014 incorporated some of the lessons learnt from prior implementation efforts. The document gave Gram Panchayats (GPs) a more integral role of making their own Open Defecation Free (ODF) plans and execute them. The GPs were encouraged to galvanise behaviour change as well as an allocation of funding earmarked specifically for the IEC activities. To troubleshoot past issues with inadequate supply to meet demand, GPs were also asked to work with trained local masons to ensure that toilet construction demands were met. To provide an enabling environment, GPs were advised to use any funding source including the 14th Finance Commission (FFC) allocations for WASH services including in schools and anganwadis.

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The approach to SBM-G itself was structured to allow more freedom in execution and a few unique advances included:

  • Strong public and political willpower publicised by the Prime Minister over the past five years.
  • Adequate funding that paid necessary incentives to off-set high capital cost for 100 million households - approximately Rs. 1.00,000 crore.
  • District-level flexibility in administering the necessary activities and campaigns to increase coverage, which allowed for creative and locally relevant initiatives to be tested out, especially around behaviour change campaigns seeking mobilising communities en masse.
  • Improving the ratio of financial investment in hardware with strong investment in software (i.e. behaviour change communication) with the community-level outcomes (like ODF status) - not single households in mind.
  • Utilising the Community Approaches to Sanitation (CAS) methodology, which evoked emotional reactions such as disgust to the practice of open defecation through facilitation and not proselytisation; and
  • Women-headed households and Scheduled Castes and Tribes prioritised in the programme, with specific mention and attached incentives in the guidelines.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE TEACHER EFFICACY  [NOVEMBER-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE TEACHER EFFICACY

 [NOVEMBER-2019]

SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE TEACHER EFFICACY

  •  What is needed is a complete transformation of the teaching profession in the key areas listed above and so that education and learning standards could be improved. There is a dire need to improve the efficacy of teacher and teaching standards. Some suggestions that can help achieve these are listed below:
  •  To ensure that truly excellent students enter the teaching profession from and in rural areas, merit-based scholarships need to be instituted across the country. In rural areas, special merit scholarships that also guarantee employment in their local areas should be established upon successful completion of their four-year integrated B.Ed. Programmes. Incentives will be provided for teachers to take up teaching jobs in rural areas, especially in those remote rural areas with the greatest current numbers of teacher shortages and vacancies.
  •  Finally, in order to gauge passion and motivation for teaching, a classroom demonstration or interview should become an integral part of teacher hiring at schools.
  •  A comprehensive teacher requirement planning exercise needs to be conducted in each State to assess expected teacher and subject vacancies over the next two decades.
  •  To ensure decent and pleasant service conditions, all schools need to be equipped with adequate and safe infrastructure, including working toilets, clean drinking water, clean and attractive spaces, electricity, computers and internet in order to ensure that teachers and students are comfortable and inspired to teach and learn.
  •  In collaboration with parents and other key local stakeholders, teachers will also be more involved in the governance of schools and decision making, including as members of School Management Committees.
  •  Finally, teachers need to be given more autonomy in choosing finer aspects of curriculum and pedagogy, so that they may teach in the manner that they find most effective for the students in their classrooms and communities. Teachers should be recognised for novel approaches to teaching that improve learning outcomes in their classrooms.
  •  Teachers must be given constant opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations. To ensure that every teacher has the flexibility to optimise their own development as teachers, a modular approach to continuous professional development will be adopted. Opportunities, in the form of local, State, national, and international teaching and subject workshops, as well as online teacher development modules, will be available to all teachers so that each teacher may choose what is most useful for their own development.

Recommendations:

Other recommendations to improve teacher availability and quality of teaching in schools are as follows:

  •  Ensure availability of a full complement staff of teachers in every school with a focus on remote schools and remote districts. States should rationalize teachers across districts and schools, ensuring that every primary school has at least two teachers and that every upper primary school has teachers for all subjects.
  •  Strengthen BRCs and CRCs for teacher professional development. BRCs and CRCs need to build a repository of curricular materials and resources (print and digital) to help teachers in preparing for their classes and working on self-guided study. States should develop a strong core group of outstanding teacher educators through a rigorous process of selection and professional development in partnership with identified institutions.
  •  Make material for teachers and teacher educators available in the state/local language. Create a digital repository of existing material at the state level which could be aggregated at the national level. Identify universities/departments that could take responsibility for creation, translations and validation of the new materials.
  •  Significantly strengthen SCERTs and DIETs. These two institutions are, in the long-term, the academic lifelines for the school system. It is critical to build strong leadership in these institutions, create a cadre of teacher educators and ensure full faculty availability, assure the availability of quality infrastructure and learning resources (including vibrant libraries in both institutions) and strong linkages with all departments of school education.

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(GIST OF YOJANA) ODF Plus: Key interventions to be focused upon [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  ODF Plus: Key interventions to be focused upon

[NOVEMBER-2019]

ODF Plus: Key interventions to be focused upon

  • Sustained usage of Individual Household Latrines (IHHL).
  • Ensuring no one is left behind and providing sanitation access to new households.
  • Sanitation coverage of public spaces (through public and community toilets).
  • Implementation of Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) in rural areas including compost pits/decentralised waste treatment facilities.
  • Visible cleanliness, and solid and liquid waste management

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) ISSUES REGARDING TEACHERS EDUCATION  [NOVEMBER-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) ISSUES REGARDING TEACHERS EDUCATION

 [NOVEMBER-2019]

ISSUES REGARDING TEACHERS EDUCATION

There are a number of issues affecting teachers and teacher education today. These are listed below:

  •  Lack of initiatives and mechanisms that explicitly aim to recruit the best performing students, or those that have the most talent for teaching, into the teaching profession. In particular, current teacher recruitment does not involve any interviews or classroom demonstrations that assess motivation and passion.
  •  Quality teacher education is severely lacking and indeed in a crisis at the current time. There are approximately 17,000 teacher education institutions in the country, of which over 92 per cent are privately owned. Various in-depth studies have shown that a large proportion of these teaching colleges are not even attempting to provide a good education. Moreover, many teacher education institutions are 'stand-alone' teaching colleges; thus, despite their good intentions, they generally do not have the capability of providing teacher education that includes a strong pedagogical and practicum training.
  •  Next major issue is that of deployment of teachers. According to government data, the country faces over 10 lakh teacher vacancies— a large proportion of them in rural areas— leading to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs) that are even larger than 60:1 in certain areas. Even more worrisome than the problem of PTRs in some areas is the issue of lack of teachers in schools across the necessary subjects.
  •  Associated with the challenge of deployment of teachers is the sudden and unpredictable transfers to which teachers and indirectly their students and schools are often subjected. Losing teachers suddenly can have harmful effects on students, and their learning. Transfers also prevent teachers from becoming truly invested in and building relationships with the schools and communities in which they serve. Hence, stability of tenure of teachers must be ensured for better and enhanced educational outcomes.
  •  Lack of sufficient infrastructure, resources, and supplies are other impediments that affect the availability of teachers, especially in rural India. Lack of safe drinking water, working toilets, and electricity in some schools pose grave challenges for effective learning to take place. In addition, there is a lack of availability in support mechanisms and structures that can help support teachers in their duties.
  •  In Spite of the Right to Education Act mandating teachers not to indulge in non teaching activities, teachers are often asked to spend large portions of their time on these activities, such as midday meal preparation, administrative tasks, data management, etc. This prevents teachers from concentrating on their actual teaching jobs.
  •  Education sector is a rapidly changing industry. A teacher needs to be constantly updated with the best teaching practices and methodologies that have proven to be useful. This means evaluating and reflecting one's pedagogical skills by adopting novel and innovative techniques. The system does not promote constant update of teaching skills and capacity building in such a way that it does not lead to training fatigue. The high performing countries keep professional development and training as the top most priority and conduct regular rigorous in-house training to improve the quality of teaching.
  •  Finally issues like salary, promotion, etc, in the school system are hardly based on merit and competence. There is a dire need to revisit and overhaul service conditions and career management to restore the high status of the teaching profession. This will facilitate productivity and efficiency on the part of teachers.

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(GIST OF YOJANA) Sardar Patel National Unity Award [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  Sardar Patel National Unity Award

[NOVEMBER-2019]

Sardar Patel National Unity Award

  • The Government of India has instituted the highest civilian award in the field of contribution to the unity and integrity of India, in the name of Sardar Yallabhbhai Patel. A notification instituting the Sardar Patel National Unit Award was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 20th September 2019.
  • The Award seeks to recognise notable and inspiring contributions to promote the cause of national unity and integrity and to reinforce the value of a strong and united India. The award will be announced on the occasion of the National Unity Day. i.e. the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on 3 1st October.
  • The Award shall be conferred by the President by a Sar.ad under his hand and seal and presented by him in a presentation ceremony along with the Padma award presentation ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • An Award Committee includes the Cabinet Secretary. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. Secretary to the President. Home Secretary as Members and three-four eminent persons selected by the Prime Minister.
  • The Award would consist of a medal and a citation. No monetary grant or cash award would be attached to this Award. Not more than three Awards would be given in a year. It would not be conferred posthumously except in very rare and highly deserving cases.
  • The nominations would be invited every year. The applications would need to be filed online on the website www.nationalunityawards.mha.gov.in specifically designed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. All citizens, without distinction of religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth, age or occupation, and any institution/organisation would be eligible for the Award.
  • Any Indian national or institution or organisation based in India would be able to nominate an individual for consideration for this Award. Individuals may also nominate themselves. State Governments, UT Administrations and Ministries of Government of India may also send nominations.

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Current Public Administration Magazine (NOVEMBER 2019)


Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine


1. Accountability and Control

Right to information

The relationship of the RTI with the judiciary has been fraught from the beginning. Since the RTI Act conferred powers on the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India and the chief justices of high courts of states for carrying out its provisions, all these courts framed their own rules. On November 13, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court passed its order in the Subhash Agarwal matter, bringing a closure to cases pending resolution for nearly 10 years. Has Subhash Agarwal got the information he had sought from the Supreme Court? Not yet. Will he get it soon? Not very likely, certainly not the entire information he wanted. The five-judge Supreme Court bench recently disposed of the civil appeals its own registry had filed before it. In the process, the bench, in a dissertation length order, has delved deep into the concepts of fiduciary relationship, public interest, privacy, confidentiality and independence of judiciary and, in conclusion, cast an onerous duty on its Central Public Information Officer to decide on disclosure of the information taking into account the observations of the court.

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2. Indian Government and Politics

Citizen Rights and Duties

The nation celebrated Constitution Day on November 26 to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution in 1949. Since 1979, this day was observed as National Law Day, and from 2015, it has being observed as Constitution Day. The traditions and temperament of Indian thought through the ages laid greater emphasis on duties. Swami Vivekananda even termed “devotion to duty” as the highest form of worship of God. The Constitution of India, originally, did not contain the aspect of fundamental duties for citizens. However, during discussions on the draft Constitution and fundamental rights therein, in the constituent assembly, few members had raised their voices in favour of citizens’ duties towards the nation. Prabhu Dayal Himatsingka, a member of the Constituent Assembly representing West Bengal during the discussion on the draft constitution on November 18, 1949, had said: “I wish along with fundamental rights there were certain fundamental duties also. If we think more of our duties than of our rights, a lot of our difficulties will be over and the rights will take care of themselves and there will be no occasion to feel any difficulty for want of those rights”.

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3. Significant Issues in Indian Administration

Viable Solutions to PDS

Migrants’ woes are often invoked in making a case for portability of benefits in the public distribution system (PDS). Most recently, an article (‘A hundred small steps’, IE, September 26) did just that. However, in many cases of short-term seasonal migration (a dominant form in India), only one or two of the household members migrate, leaving the ration card behind for the rest of the family to use. What proportion of migrants would prefer to draw their ration at the place of work rather than in their village is a key piece of the puzzle in understanding the extent to which portability of PDS benefits is valued by migrants. If the food security of migrants is the motivating concern, this need is probably better met by other initiatives such as Tamil Nadu’s Amma canteens or Karnataka’s Indira canteens, which provide heavily subsidised meals. Such community kitchens have quietly become popular across the country — Jharkhand’s dal-bhaat kendras, Delhi’s Jan Aahaar kiosks, and others in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh are such initiatives. Of course, protecting migrants from exploitation through stricter enforcement of their rights as labourers will go much further

<< Read More >>

4. Administrative Ethics

Gandhian Ethics

November 17 marked the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution organised by the Czech Civic Forum and the Slovak public against one of the last Soviet-orbit regimes. The Velvet Revolution (sametová revoluce) was a non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia. The Czech and Polish experiences of democracy have shown that democratisation in Eastern Europe took place less within the framework of the existing state systems than at the level of civil societies. When the Czech and Polish dissidents of the 1980s were struggling against their communist authoritarian regimes, they returned to the concept of civil society. What Eastern European intellectuals and civic actors understood by civil society was not just the 18th century concept of the rule of law, but also the notion of horizontal self- organised groups and institutions in the public sphere that could limit the power of the state by constructing a democratic space separate from state and its ideological institutions.

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5. Current Topic

Ayodhya Ruling

India’s Supreme Court is acclaimed as the most powerful among its counterparts in the world. It has rewritten the Constitution of the country on several major issues. It has even become the third chamber of Parliament. Its verdict in the Ayodhya case must be evaluated in this light. The founding fathers of the Constitution gave us an enlightened, forward-looking basic law, which is not just a legal document but is aimed at bringing about socio- economic transformation in the country. Secularism is an important precept underlying the framework of fundamental rights. But, as in several other areas, there is a considerable divergence between the precept and the reality. Significantly, the Constituent Assembly failed to agree on the definition of the word “secular”. It also could not agree on calling the Constitution secular. It was only during the Emergency in 1976 that the word secular was introduced in the preamble to the Constitution by the highly controversial 42nd amendment. Secularism acquired a new status when the Supreme Court declared it as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Whenever the concept of secularism is under threat, this injunction of the Court is invoked.

<< Read More >>

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) TOWARDS DIGITAL AND FINANCIAL LITERACY  [NOVEMBER-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) TOWARDS DIGITAL AND FINANCIAL LITERACY

 [NOVEMBER-2019]

TOWARDS DIGITAL AND FINANCIAL LITERACY

  • Digital literacy brings within its ambit, an array of new technological advancements to be used for effective and safe communication.
  • On the other hand, financial literacy is the ability to understand different areas and concepts of finance like financial planning, budgeting, investment, savings and much more.

Importance of Financial Literacy: The importance of financial literacy is:

  1. Inclusive Growth and Financial Inclusion: Financial education assumes a crucial role in making the consumers respond to the initiatives of the supply or the service provider side. It has always been the prime concern of the government to achieve social inclusion, of which financial inclusion forms the greatest part. Financial literacy, and education, plays a critical role in making available the services and benefits that the weaker groups need so as to achieve the agenda of inclusive growth and sustainable prosperity.
  2. Familiarity and Ability: There are a vast amount of products and services available in the market. It has made it difficult for the layman to discern what option would best suit them. Hence, to make an informed choice, it is necessary to have financial literacy. Knowing about the schemes and options develops confidence, familiarity and skills to administer.
  3. Freedom from exploitation: Financial literacy will assist in safeguarding individuals and the general public against manipulative financial schemes and inflated interest rate charged by moneylenders.
  4. Prevention of over indebtedness: Financial education will help to avoid over-indebtedness, improve the quality of services and make wise financial decisions.
  5. Promotion of entrepreneurship: The educated entrepreneurs who have small scale businesses can benefit a great deal if a systematic national plan to impart specific financial knowledge is properly implanted. This is owing to the fact that making them aware of the new financial ventures and products will guide them in understanding the workings of market mechanism and improve their business dealings.
  6. Positive Spillover effects: when individual and group are made to have proper financial education, it can lead to multiplier effects in the economy. A household with a substantial amount of financial education would make regular savings and invest in the correct channels to generate income. The financial well being of persons will in turn augment the societal welfare.
  7. Making the Pension Responsibility an individual or personal affair and not that of the State / Corporations: An individual who is financially literate would be in a superior situation to evaluate his/her own necessities and make savings in suitable schemes. This leads to a reduced strain on social programs and pension plans, and promote an economy that is tougher.
  8. Behavioral Change: The outburst of many financial products has made their usage grow quite rapidly without any refrain from the larger financial implications. There can be brought about a certain degree of behavioral change by means of financial education. The latest global financial crisis has raised the question of whether the individuals' lack of financial knowledge can result in making debt traps that a country cannot survive for long.
  9. More and better input in Financial Markets: In India, the need of the hour is to 'convert savers into investors'. It is mentioned in the National Strategy for Financial Education that more participation from the of domestic retail investors in securities market will increase the strength and depth is needed of the same and “will give dividends by Increasing depth of securities market, reducing reliance on foreign investors and domestic savers reaping benefits of Corporate Growth and reducing strain on Government Treasury for investment in National Infrastructure."

There have been numerous initiatives taken by the government to spread financial literacy in the country:

National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE):

As per the National Strategy for Financial Education, the key elements of financial literacy module should be as follows:

  •  To understand the main financial products that one might need in the course of one's life like the "bank accounts, insurance, retirement savings plans and securities market investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds."
  •  Getting to learn about the fundamental financial concepts like investment return, compound interest, annuity, diversification, present and future value of money, so on and so forth.
  •  Being more aware of financial risks and prospects and developing skills and self-reliance to gain profit from them.
  •  Making well informed financial choices about "saving, spending, insurance, investing and managing debt throughout one's life."

Project Financial Literacy:

  •  This is a central bank (RBI) endeavor that aims to disseminate information regarding its basic banking concepts to schools, colleges, economically weaker sections residing in the rural and urban areas, senior citizens, defense personnel, and many more in the specific target group. Under this initiative, RBI organizes trips of school and college students to the RBI headquarters and also conducts banking and insurance related quizzes in schools (for classes VII to XIV) to create awareness about general economy and bring about financial literacy. It also creates modules on General Indian Economics for the same purpose. There is also a Financial Literacy Week that is observed by RBI to create awareness and understanding on key topics every year "through a focused campaign."

Digital Literacy in India:

  •  The modern day technical advancement and large scale consumption of mobile phones as the consumer market, India is a country where awareness and literacy regarding the digital aspect of communication is utmost necessary. Computers, internet and mobile phones have become a seminal part of our existence. Thus, the degree of familiarity with the technological and digital platform decides how effectively can the communication of content, ideas, information and entertainment takes place in this generation take place.

Importance of Digital Literacy:

  •  It is imperative to develop an effective and competent framework of digital organisation, since the world is only a click away and information has been digitised and compressed. To get ready for the surge of digital transformation, India needs to build its digital skills, beginning from digital awareness and education of its citizens.
  •  To stay well-connected with the world and be in effective communication developmental ideas and translating the vision of rapid growth into reality, digital literacy is a must in today's world.

Government Endeavours To Strengthen Digital Literacy in India:

  •  Under the Digital India campaign, the government has taken numerous initiatives to bring about digital literacy in the country. Some of the endeavours are:

Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA):

  •  National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) Scheme has been initiated by the government in order to impart IT training to citizens who are not literate in the IT sphere. This scheme aims at making target groups like the Angawadis, ASHA workers, sanctioned ration dealers, etc IT literate and enable them to effectively and actively participate in the national developmental course of action, by augmenting their livelihoods through digital literacy.

Digitize India Platform (DIP):

  •  This is an initiative of the Union Government under the Digital India Programme. DIP is an interface that provides digitisation services for scanned images of documents or physical copies for any organisation. This scheme aims at creating a digital repository of all existing content, which includes the certificates and degrees of people, in various formats and media in a digitised pattern.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT):

  •  DBT was brought underway with the objective to identify beneficiaries and accurately target them by directly transferring funds into their account, doing away with any sort of middlemen in the process.
  •  It is an initiative to reform the delivery system of the government and ensure efficient, effective, non duplicable, faster and simpler transfer of information/funds in order to achieve the goal of "Maximum Governance, Minimum Government". DBT promotes greater transparency and lesser frauds so as to make the government accountable and inspire more confidence of the people in governance.

AADHAR and AADHAAR Enabled Payment System:

  •  AADHAR platform is one of the main pillars of the Digital India Platform. AADHAR number or the unique identity number is generated by using a person's biometric specifications.
  •  This platform has the largest biometrics based recognition system, and is "a strategic policy tool for social and financial inclusion, public sector delivery reforms," to "promote hassle-free people-centric governance."
  •  Similarly, the AADHAR enabled payment system lets the customer use his/her AADHAR card as the identity proof and link the bank to AADHAR to carry digital payment activities. This model brings into force "financial inclusion".

Saugamya Bharat Abhiyan:

  •  It is a pan-India flagship campaign that is also known as the Accessible India Campaign. This campaign aims at achieving "universal accessibility" for people with disabilities in order for them to have access to equal opportunity, independent living and inclusive socio-economic development.

AGRIMARKET App:

  •  This app has been created to enable the farmers to stay updated with the crop prices in order to ensure the best market for the sale of their crop and assess the market conditions beforehand. This app automatically traces the location of the farmer through GPS and fetched the market prices of the crops within a range of 50km. the app has been helpful in preventing the farmers from carrying out "distress sale."

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM):

  •  This app makes the bank transactions simple, swift and uncomplicated. It enables bank to bank direct transfer, which is done using a mobile phone.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra:

  •  Under this initiative of the government, the main task of the centre is to quarantine and safeguard cyberspace by spotting botnet infections and subsequently notify the end-users to prevent further damage. This falls within the purview of 'National Cyber Security Policy' that aims to ensure clean cyber ecosystem iindo8.

Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan (VISAKA)

  •  Launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, VISIKA is said to be "biggest digital transformation of country after Independence”. The principle of the 'Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan' is to energetically connect the Higher Education Institutions and their students and encourage all payers and payees to use a "digitally enabled cashless economic system"5 for their fund transfer.

Conclusion

  •  To keep abreast of the evolutionary shifts that the modern age technical innovations bring with itself, it is necessary that individuals are provided with apt resources and information that would create awareness and make practical use effective and easy.
  •  Educating people about various facets of socio-economic and developmental concepts is a step taken towards efficient and productive governance. The concept of financial and digital literacy is important in the present day scenario and India has already started moving towards realizing the value the digital and financial transformation and tapping into the benefits from them.

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(GIST OF YOJANA) Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes

[NOVEMBER-2019]

Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes

  • In Prohibition a major health of Electronic and wellness Cigarettes initiative (production, for the country, manufacture, the Union import, Cabinet export, approved transport, the Promulgation sale, distribution, of the storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019.
  • Electronic-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes. These include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Heat-Not-Bum Products, e-Hookah and similar devices. Their use has increased exponentially in developed countries, especially among youth and children.
  • Upon promulgation of the Ordinance, any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognizable offence, punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh or both for the first offence and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for a subsequent offence. Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable, with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs. 50,000 or both. The owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the Ordinance will have to suo moto declare and deposit these stocks with the nearest police station.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 November 2019 (Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (Indian Express))

Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level : Polycystic Kidney Disease
Mains level : Read the newscard

Context:

  •  Doctors at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital have removed what is believed to be the “largest kidney” in India and the third-largest in the world, from a 56-year-old man suffering from a genetic disorder called Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD).
  •  The kidney weighed 7.4 kg (more than two newborn babies), and measured 32 cm x 21.8 cm. A human kidney on average weighs between 120 grams and 150 grams.
  •  According to doctors at the hospital, the only two instances of kidneys heavier than this being removed are from the United States (9 kg) and the Netherlands (8.7 kg).
  •  The Guinness Book of Records, however, acknowledges a 4.25 kg kidney removed from an ADKPD patient at a Dubai hospital in 2017 as the heaviest ever.

What is Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD)?

  •  It is a rare disease that occurs in 1 out of 700-1,000 individuals. Globally, there are over 12.5 million such cases, but only a fourth of them are believed to be aware of their condition.
  •  Even so, as inherited kidney disorders go, ADPKD is among the most common. It is also one of the most common causes of end-stage kidney disease (when kidneys can no longer function properly).
  •  Numerous cysts grow in the kidneys, and the most common symptoms include pain in the back and between the ribs and hips, headaches, blood in the urine, high blood pressure, and kidney insufficiency.
  •  Though a kidney disease, ADPKD can affect other organ systems leading to a multisystem disorder. Organs that can be affected include the liver, pancreas, prostrate and glands of the male reproductive tract.

Key findings:

  •  The American non-profit National Organisation for Rare Diseases (NORD) says ADPKD was earlier known as adult polycystic kidney disease, since it usually occurs in the fourth or fifth decade of life — but it has been reported in children and infants as well.
  •  ADPKD is caused by inherited mutations in one of the two genes that create proteins for the proper functioning of the kidneys and other parts of the body.
  •  Even so, the precise role that these proteins play in the proper functioning of the kidney is not fully understood. Researchers believe they help in the development of tubes and blood vessels in the kidneys and other organs, and in increasing the flow of calcium through cell membranes.
  •  The ADPKD cysts that can range in size from that of a pin-head to larger than a grapefruit, according to NORD. These cysts, which resemble blisters, form inside the kidneys on the walls of hair-sized structures called nephrons, which help to filter out waste from the blood.
  •  The cysts can also continue to grow as isolated sacs of fluid, and this is what gives the kidney its abnormal size and weight.

How can the disease be treated?

  •  Both men and women are equally likely to develop this disease. Over 6,000 new cases are diagnosed every year in the United States, according to NORD.
  •  Treatment includes dialysis and renal (kidney) transplant. The diagnosis involves using imaging techniques such as ultrasonography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  •  In the case of the 56-year-old patient in Delhi, his other kidney weighed more than the one that was removed. One of them had to be removed because the patient had stopped responding to antibiotics, and was in pain.
  •  The patient is on dialysis, and is expected to undergo a renal transplant. Typically, among patients with this disease who are undergoing dialysis, the kidney is not removed unless there are signs of bleeding, infection or tumours.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 November 2019 (NITI Aayog Performance (Indian Express))

NITI Aayog Performance (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Niti Aayog
Mains level: Niti Aayog’s recent performance and it comparison with Planning commission

Context

  •  The Narendra Modi government has its plate full.
  •  It needs to increase employment and incomes; revive investments and growth; untangle the financial sector; navigate muddied-up international trade; solve the perennial problems of poor education and health, and the growing problems of environmental pollution and water scarcity.
  •  Even though statistical confusion was created in the run-up to the election to deny that problems of unemployment and growth were serious, high-powered Cabinet committees have been formed to tackle them.
  •  Regardless of whether or not India has the fastest growing GDP, it has a long way to go to achieve economic and social inclusion, and restore environmental sustainability.
  •  India’s problems are complex because they are all interrelated. Fixing one part of the system alone can make matters worse.
  •  For example, providing skills to millions of youth before there are enough employment opportunities is a bold fix that can backfire. The complexity of the task demands a good plan and a good strategy.

Under scrutiny

  •  Since India has not done as well as it should have to produce faster growth with more inclusion and sustainability, one would have to surmise that it has not developed the requisite capabilities.
  •  Mr. Modi has known this. Indeed, the first major reform he announced in his first term was to abolish the Planning Commission.
  •  He replaced it with the loftily titled ‘National Institution for Transforming India.

How else would it persuade the States to do what it wanted them to do?

  •  Chief Ministers retorted that the Planning Commission must improve its ability to understand their needs and to develop ideas that they would want to adopt because they accepted the ideas as good for them, not because they would have to if they wanted the money.
  •  Mr. Modi, as a powerful Chief Minister, understood well the limitations in the Planning Commission’s capabilities and what it needed to do to reform itself, which the investigations commissioned by Dr. Singh had also revealed.
  •  It is not surprising, therefore, that the bold charter of NITI Aayog that Mr. Modi announced in 2015 was consistent with the insights that Dr. Singh and Vajpayee had earlier.
  •  He was implementing an idea whose time had come.

A good starting point

  •  Implementation of radical change is never easy. If things don’t go well soon, nostalgia will rise for the old order even though there was dissatisfaction with it. And the change-maker will be blamed for the disruption.
  •  The NITI Aayog charter is a good starting point for a new journey in transforming the governance of the Indian economy.
  •  The NITI Aayog and the government would do well to conduct an open-minded review of what NITI Aayog has achieved so far to adopt the new role described in its charter that of a catalyst of change in a complex, federal, socioeconomic system.
  •  And assess whether it has transformed its capabilities sufficiently to become an effective systems reformer and persuader of stakeholders, rather than merely an announcer of lofty multi-year goals and manager of projects, which many suspect it is.

Points missed by NITI Aayog

  •  There is deep concern that NITI Aayog has lost its integrity as an independent institution to guide the government; that it has become a mouthpiece of the government and an implementer of the government’s projects.
  •  Many insist that NITI Aayog must have the ability to independently evaluate the government’s programmes at the Centre and in the States.
  •  Some recall that an Independent Evaluation Office set up in the last days of the UPA-II government was swiftly closed by the NDA government.
  •  Others counter that the Planning Commission had a Programme Evaluation Organisation all along and which continues.
  •  They miss the need for fundamental transformation in the approach to planning and change.

Way ahead

  •  The traditional approach of after-the-fact evaluation sits in the old paradigm of numbers, budgets and controls.
  •  The transformational approach to planning and implementation that 21st century India needs, which is alluded to in NITI’s charter, requires evaluations and course-corrections in the midst of action.
  •  It requires new methods to speed up ‘organisational learning’ amongst stakeholders in the system who must make plans together and implement them together.
  •  The NITI Aayog’s charter has provided a new bottle.
  •  It points to the need for new methods of cooperative learning and cooperative implementation by stakeholders, who are not controlled by any central body of technical experts with political and/or budgetary authority over them.

Conclusion

  •  Merely filling this new bottle with old ideas of budgets, controls and expert solutions from above will not transform India.
  •  The debate about NITI Aayog’s efficacy must focus on whether or not it is performing the new role it must, and what progress it has made in acquiring capabilities to perform this role, rather than slipping back into the ruts of yesterday’s debates about the need for a Planning Commission.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 November 2019 (5 years challenges to the Foreign policy (The Hindu))

5 years challenges to the Foreign policy (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: BIMSTEC, SAARC
Mains level: India’s foreign policies and challenges

Context

  •  In an unpredictable global environment and with resource constraints, India needs to shape a domestic consensus.
  •  As Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his second term, the world looks more disorderly in 2019 than was the case five years ago. U.S. President Donald Trump’s election and the new dose of unpredictability in U.S. policy pronouncements;
  •  The trade war between the U.S. and China which is becoming a technology war;
  •  Brexit and the European Union’s internal preoccupations; erosion of U.S.-Russia arms control agreements and the likelihood of a new arms race covering nuclear, space and cyber domains;
  •  The U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are some of the developments that add to the complexity of India’s principal foreign policy challenge of dealing with the rise of China.

Redefining neighbourhood

  •  As in 2014, in 2019 too Mr. Modi began his term with a neighbourhood focus but redefined it. In 2014, all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders had been invited for the swearing-in.
  •  However, the SAARC spirit soon evaporated, and after the Uri attack in 2016, India’s stance affected the convening of the SAARC summit in Islamabad.
  •  Since an invitation to Pakistan was out of the question, leaders from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand) with Kyrgyzstan, added as current Shanghai Cooperation Organisation chair, highlighted a new neighbourhood emphasis.
  •  Relations with countries on our periphery, irrespective of how we define our neighbourhood, will always be complex and need deft political management.
  •  Translating India’s natural weight in the region into influence was easier in a pre-globalised world and before China emerged in its assertive avatar.
  •  Today, it is more complex and playing favourites in the domestic politics of neighbours is a blunt instrument that may only be employed, in the last resort; and if employed it cannot be seen to fail.
  •  Since that may be difficult to ensure, it is preferable to work on the basis of generating broad-based consent rather than dominance.

The multi-pronged diplomatic efforts

  •  This necessitates using multi-pronged diplomatic efforts and being generous as the larger economy.
  •  It also needs a more confident and coordinated approach in handling neighbourhood organisations — SAARC, BIMSTEC, the Bangladesh, the Bhutan, India, Nepal Initiative, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation, the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
  •  This should be preferably in tandem with bilateralism because our bilateral relations provide us with significant advantages.
  •  With all our neighbours, ties of kinship, culture and language among the people straddle boundaries, making the role of governments in States bordering neighbours vital in fostering closer linkages.
  •  This means investing attention in State governments, both at the political and bureaucratic levels.

Managing China and the U.S.

  •  China will remain the most important issue, as in 2014.
  •  Then, Mr. Modi went along with the old policy since the Rajiv Gandhi period that focussed on growing economic, commercial and cultural relations while managing the differences on the boundary dispute through dialogue and confidence-building measures, in the expectation that this would create a more conducive environment for eventual negotiations.
  •  Underlying this was a tacit assumption that with time, India would be better placed to secure a satisfactory outcome.
  •  It has been apparent for over a decade that the trajectories were moving in the opposite direction and the gap between the two was widening.
  •  For Mr. Modi, the Doklam stand-off was a rude reminder of the reality that the tacit assumption behind the policy followed for three decades could no longer be sustained.
  •  The informal summit in Wuhan restored a semblance of calm but does not address the long-term implications of the growing gap between the two countries.
  •  There is the growing strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China unfolding on our doorstep.
  •  We no longer have the luxury of distance to be non-aligned. At the same time, the U.S. is a fickle partner and never has it been more unpredictable than at present.

Key issues harming the relations with India

  •  As part of its policy on tightening sanctions pressure on Iran, the U.S. has terminated the sanctions waiver that had enabled India to import limited quantities of Iranian crude till last month.
  •  The Generalised System of Preferences scheme has been withdrawn, adversely impacting about 12% of India’s exports to the U.S., as a sign of growing impatience with India’s inability to address the U.S.’s concerns regarding market access, tariff lines and recent changes in the e-commerce policy.
  •  A third looming issue, perhaps the most critical, is the threat of sanctions under the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), were India to proceed with the purchase of the S-400 air and missile defence system from Russia.
  •  Till the end of last year, then U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis had been confident of India securing a waiver — but times have changed.
  •  Other potential tricky issues could relate to whether Huawei, which is currently the prime target in the U.S.-China technology war, is allowed to participate in the 5G trials (telecom) in India.
  •  The reconciliation talks between the U.S. and the Taliban as the U.S. negotiates its exit from Afghanistan raise New Delhi’s apprehensions about the Taliban’s return, constituting another potential irritant.

External balancing

  •  How New Delhi manages its relations with Washington will be closely watched in Beijing and Moscow, which have been moving closer.
  •  It is reminiscent of 1971 when China began moving closer to the U.S. to balance the then USSR, with which its relationship was strained.
  •  Today, both see merit in a common front against the U.S., though for China the rivalry with the U.S. is all-encompassing because of its geography and Taiwan.
  •  Russia has interests beyond, in Afghanistan, West and Central Asia and Europe, and it is here that it will need to exploit new opportunities to reshape the relationship.

Way ahead

  •  In a post-ideology age of promiscuity with rivalries unfolding around us, the harsh reality is that India lacks the ability to shape events around it on account of resource limitations.
  •  These require domestic decisions in terms of expanding the foreign policy establishment though having a seasoned professional at the top does help.
  •  We need to ensure far more coordination among the different ministries and agencies than has been the case so far.
  •  Our record in implementation projects is patchy at best and needs urgent attention.
  •  The focus on the neighbourhood is certainly desirable, for only if we can shape events here can we look beyond.

Conclusion

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 November 2019 (Laws and future of Artificial Intelligence (The Hindu))

Laws and future of Artificial Intelligence (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level: Artificial Intelligence
Mains level: Artificial Intelligence challenges and laws if disputes arises

Context

  •  In February, the Kerala police inducted a robot for police work.
  •  The same month, Chennai got its second robot-themed restaurant, where robots not only serve as waiters but also interact with customers in English and Tamil.
  •  In Ahmedabad, in December 2018, a cardiologist performed the world’s first in-human telerobotic coronary intervention on a patient nearly 32 km away.
  •  All these examples symbolise the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our everyday lives.

Questioning the capability of AI systems

  •  But the capability of AI systems to learn from experience and to perform autonomously for humans makes AI the most disruptive and self-transformative technology of the 21st century.
  •  If AI is not regulated properly, it is bound to have unmanageable implications.
  •  Imagine, for instance, that electricity supply suddenly stops while a robot is performing a surgery, and access to a doctor is lost?
  •  And what if a drone hits a human being? These questions have already confronted courts in the U.S. and Germany.
  •  All countries, including India, need to be legally prepared to face such kind of disruptive technology.

Challenges of AI

  •  Predicting and analysing legal issues and their solutions, however, is not that simple. For instance, criminal law is going to face drastic challenges.
  •  What if an AI-based driverless car gets into an accident that causes harm to humans or damages property?
  •  Who should the courts hold liable for the same?
  •  Can AI be thought to have knowingly or carelessly caused bodily injury to another?
  •  Can robots act as a witness or as a tool for committing various crimes?

Evolution of AI

  •  Except for Isaac Asimov’s ‘three laws of robotics’ discussed in his short story, ‘Runaround’, published in 1942, only recently has there been interest across the world to develop a law on smart technologies.
  •  In the U.S., there is a lot of discussion about regulation of AI. Germany has come up with ethical rules for autonomous vehicles stipulating that human life should always have priority over property or animal life.
  •  China, Japan and Korea are following Germany in developing a law on self-driven cars.
  •  In India, NITI Aayog released a policy paper, ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’, in June 2018, which considered the importance of AI in different sectors.
  •  The Budget 2019 also proposed to launch a national programme on AI.
  •  While all these developments are taking place on the technological front, no comprehensive legislation to regulate this growing industry has been formulated in the country till date.

Legal personality of AI

  •  We need a legal definition of AI.
  •  Also, given the importance of intention in India’s criminal law jurisprudence, it is essential to establish the legal personality of AI and whether any sort of intention can be attributed to it.
  •  Since AI is considered to be inanimate, a strict liability scheme that holds the producer or manufacturer of the product liable for harm, regardless of the fault, might be an approach to consider.

Conclusion

  •  Since privacy is a fundamental right, certain rules to regulate the usage of data possessed by an AI entity should be framed as part of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.
  •  Traffic accidents lead to about 400 deaths a day in India, 90% of which are caused by preventable human errors.
  •  Autonomous vehicles that rely on AI can reduce this significantly, through smart warnings and preventive and defensive techniques.
  •  Patients sometimes die due to non-availability of specialised doctors. AI can reduce the distance between patients and doctors.
  •  But as futurist Gray Scott says, “The real question is, when will we draft an artificial intelligence bill of rights? What will that consist of? And who will get to decide that?”

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 November 2019 (To clear arc from India to Nigeria (Mint))

To clear arc from India to Nigeria (Mint)

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: India - Nigeria
Mains level: Bilateral ties between India - Nigeria

Context

  •  It was a coincidence straight out of the silver screens in Mumbai or Lagos.
  •  The leaders of India and Nigeria both began their respective second terms within a day of each other following their unexpectedly decisive election victories.
  •  The challenges faced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during their first terms were uncannily similar: security against terror, monetary and fiscal conundrums, a communal and sectarian divide, chronic unemployment, rampant corruption, rural distress and a fragile neighbourhood being the recurrent themes.

Diverse trade

  •  It may be tempting to both Indians and Nigerians to shrug at these similarities as banal trivia; however, under them lies plenty of substance and potential linking the two countries and aspirations of their people.
  •  Nigeria being Africa’s most populous country (191 million) and economy ($376 billion) as well as the world’s sixth largest oil exporter (about 2 million barrels per day) is evidently important to us.
  •  According to the latest Indian Department of Commerce statistics, Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa (19th overall) with total trade estimated at $13.5 billion in 2018-19. As official Nigerian data show, thanks to our booming oil imports, India is Nigeria’s largest trading partner.
  •  For the same reason, Nigeria enjoys 4:1 surplus in bilateral trade. Nevertheless, it is still a sizeable market for India’s manufactured exports, such as (2018-19 figures) miscellaneous machinery ($500 million), vehicles ($495 million), pharmaceutical products ($447 million), textile items ($299 million), iron and steel articles ($152 million) and plastics ($109 million).
    Outlook for India’s investment in Nigeria
  •  In contrast to the stagnancy in India’s global exports, its exports to Nigeria surged by 27% last year to reach around $2,880 million.
  •  Indian investments in Nigeria are estimated at around $15 billion with a further $5 billion in the pipeline.
  •  There are at least 180 Indian companies operating in Nigeria with pharmaceuticals, steel, power, retailing, fast-moving consumer goods and skilling as their mainstay.
  •  Approximately 50,000 Indians reside in Nigeria, some of them for decades.
  •  Most of them are professionals, such as engineers, accountants, bankers, trainers and health-care experts.

Success despite apathy

  •  While all these facts go to underline the substantive nature of India-Nigeria ties, they also point to two important contextual factors.
  •  All these achievements are the outcome of valiant attempts by individual stakeholders with scant official encouragement or support.
  •  The enormous potential still waits to be leveraged in such sectors such as upstream hydrocarbons (despite India being the largest buyer of Nigerian crude), agriculture, health care and skilling.
  •  Despite their growth, Indian exports to Nigeria are still around a quarter of China’s.

Much potential

  •  Although bilateral ties have had to face strong headwinds during the past five years, more could have been accomplished. Mr. Buhari, who was trained in India as a military officer and holds this country in high esteem, attended the third India-Africa Forum Summit held in October 2015 and met Mr. Modi for bilateral talks.
  •  Then Vice President Hamid Ansari’s bilateral visit in September 2016 broke the hiatus in top-level contact since Manmohan Singh’s Nigeria visit, as Prime Minister, in 2007.
  •  Though some ministerial-level visits took place in the past five years, these were mostly for multilateral events in India. The last session of the Joint Commission Meeting was in 2011 and the Foreign Office Consultations were held in 2003.
  •  Bilateral ties have not drawn commensurate proportion of the resources offered by India to its African partners largely due to some systemic issues.
  •  Defence cooperation has been mostly episodic and training oriented.

Conclusion

  •  As the two leaders begin their respective second innings, they need to give a push to India-Nigerian ties sooner rather than later.
  •  Actions along few force-multiplier axes suggest themselves. With oil and other commodities becoming a seller’s market, an early summit between the two leaders is an obvious imperative.
  •  It could evolve a multi-pronged strategy to leverage evident economic complementarities in sectors such as hydrocarbons, infrastructure, institution-building, defence and agriculture.
  •  A purposive follow-up session of the joint economic commission soon thereafter could provide an incremental and sustainable road map empowering the relevant bilateral stakeholders.
  •  If handled deftly and with political will, it could usher in an India-Nigeria economic synergy that has been untapped for some decades.

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Current Public Administration Magazine (OCTOBER 2019)


Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine


1. Accountability and Control

Research in elite institutions must focus on the problems of their surrounding environment

As a developing country, India faces many challenges. The systematic study of such problems and their solutions will lead not only to better development outcomes, but also new science, enterprises and jobs. The writer is with Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas, IIT Bombay. He is currently on deputation to IIT Goa. There should be better alignment of research and development with existing programmes at the national and state level (Illustration: C R Sasikumar) It is good to hear that the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India has engaged in a review of its State Science and Technology Councils (SSTC) Programme. The SSTCs were formed to spearhead the use of science and technology (S&T) for regional problems and to foster “scientific temper” within states, and the DST programme was mandated “to provide core support”.

<< Read More >>

2. Indian Government and Politics

Is Parliament sovereign in India or not? We need to know.

The crisis in the UK yields an interesting contrast concerning the question ‘Who Rules?’ In March 1975, Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister with a large majority in Parliament, suffered a defeat in the courts. Instead of obeying a mild decision of the court (‘refrain from voting in the Lok Sabha’), she imposed Emergency, signed into law by then-president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. The shocking thing about the Emergency was that it was perfectly constitutional. Obviously, it is not ‘We the People’ who rule India. It is the elected majority party acting as the Executive. The crisis in the UK yields an interesting contrast concerning the question ‘Who Rules?’ Boris Johnson as Prime Minister chose to prorogue Parliament, truncating the number of days it could meet. Parliament broke for summer holidays on Thursday, July 25, and was to reconvene on September 3. Then Parliament was to break for party conferences and meet again on October 4. It was not unusual to prorogue a Parliament but it requires the assent of the Head of the State.

<< Read More >>

3. Indian Administration

Our Lokpal movement to schools, water, power

What makes Gandhi especially relevant in the times we live in is his unflinching commitment to democracy and the wisdom of the people. As a product of the Gandhian Jan Lokpal movement against corruption in high places, I have witnessed the power of Gandhian methods of resistance and protest. Mass movements throughout independent India’s history as well as around the world have taken inspiration from the original mobiliser of the masses, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. In this context, as long as there is injustice in the world, Gandhi will remain relevant.

What makes Gandhi especially relevant in the times we live in is his unflinching commitment to democracy and the wisdom of the people. The idea of decentralising power from the hands of a few to the hands of many was a romanticised utopia for many of us as activists. “True democracy cannot be worked by twenty men sitting at the centre. It has to be worked from below by the people of every village,” Gandhi wrote in Harijan.

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4. Law & Order Administration

Have the courage to remove or at least reform the IPC

English laws were to be used to keep Indians in order. The British rulers never understood their subjects — the mob as they called it. They needed someone to fashion tools for keeping Indians in order. A group of eminent Indians had written an open letter to the Prime Minister pointing out the problem of vigilante attacks. Such attacks have been occurring for a while now and the main victims are Muslims. The attacks occur mainly in the Hindi belt. The authors were not revealing a dark secret or a vital aspect of India’s defences. Even so, a citizen filed an FIR with the police, and a local magistrate in Bihar then filed a case for sedition under the Indian Penal Code. The case has now been closed.

<< Read More >>

5. Current Topic

Citizenship Amendment Bill

This is the fearful tempest that threatens to engulf India in the coming months, one which will destroy in its wake this country as it was imagined and promised. There was, for a while now, the ominous rumbling of distant thunder. Today, this is fast gathering into a menacing storm, one which can ultimately destroy India as we know it. Many had hoped that the idea of amending citizenship laws in ways which exclude from citizenship people of just one religious identity would be abandoned in the face of vehement opposition in the states of India’s Northeast. They also expected that talk during the communally-surcharged summer election campaign of 2019, of extending the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) to states outside Assam, was just electoral provocation, which would be stilled after the polarised election accomplished its objectives.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) EDUCATION SCENARIO IN THE NORTH EAST  [NOVEMBER-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) EDUCATION SCENARIO IN THE NORTH EAST

 [NOVEMBER-2019]

EDUCATION SCENARIO IN THE NORTH EAST

  • It is important to recognise that with the expansion of schooling, o large number of students are now drawn from underprivileged backgrounds with higher ability group variation in the classrooms than ever before. In this context, teachers and schools should assist students in achieving the pathways for developing critical and higher order thinking and the ability to communicate effectively.

Education sector in Meghalaya:

  •  The education sector in Meghalaya is being pushed to deliver high quality with greater transparency and focus is shifting to outcome measures related to quality. The Government of Meghalaya along with the Government of India has taken multiple steps to address gaps in the education system. There is also an increased realisation to focus on quality of education and need to view education as a continuum right from early education to higher education, integrated with vocational programmes as opposed to the disconnected silos.
  •  Meghalaya, with more than 14,282 schools, about 900,000 students, about 51,000 teachers and sparsely populated areas, has achieved significant progress in the education sector in recent past.
  •  The State has made significant strides in education in recent years and is committed to greater equity and social justice through bringing requisite reforms in education sector. While the State has made notable progress on multiple fronts including improving access, better infrastructure and focus on learning outcomes, there are still several areas that warrant a long road to improvement ahead.

Status of School Education in Meghalaya:

  •  It is important to recognise that with the expansion of schooling, a large number of students are now drawn from underprivileged backgrounds with higher ability group variation in the classrooms than ever before. In this context, teachers and schools should assist students in achieving the pathways for developing critical and higher order thinking and the ability to communicate effectively. To put it in different words, strategies for expansion of capability should be such that it leads to reduction in inequality in learning outcomes between different groups and enhancement of other forms of capabilities.
  •  Achievement of the idea of sustainable development from the perspective of the capability approach, teaching learning practices must move from formation of basic competencies to formation of ability to think and reason and be informed of the world around them. School Education for sustainable development must be an education that Is the basis for abilities needed to establish agency and attitudes supporting behaviour that leads to equal and just society.

Drop-Out Rate

  •  High drop-out rate in the State has been a major cause of concern to the State Government, such factors tend to supplement each other and reinforce their adverse impact. However, it is well recognized that poverty, large size of families, distance between residence and school, a non-conducive school environment and untrained teachers are, to a large extent are responsible.

Untrained Teachers

  •  As per U-DISE September 2015-16 there are more than 15,000 untrained teachers. The policy of the Government will be to address the problem at source and in future to appoint only trained teachers. Simultaneously, the backlog of untrained teachers will be cleared by adopting appropriate strategies. The teachers will be trained through Open Distance Learning within a stipulated time through IGNOU and NIOS.

Access and Quality issues in School Education:

  •  The problem of access to Elementary Education has been largely addressed through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).However, although ASER 2012 has rated the State between 3rd and 6th position in the country in terms of learning levels for Primary School students, quality will remain an important concern and will continue to be a priority as it has a direct bearing on the quality of the subsequent stages of Education. The intermediate goal is to provide at least two teachers for each Primary School. However, the ultimate aim is to have one teacher per class in each school.

School Improvement Initiatives in Meghalaya:

  •  A more comprehensive approach would be equalisation of learning opportunities through strategies for expansion of capability of students. Teaching learning strategies needs to take into account the inter-relatedness of capability expansion as means of equalisation of learning opportunities and learning outcomes as a basis for long term sustainable development. Through strategies of capability expansion, teachers and schools should promote equalisation of learning opportunities.

The Meghalaya School Improvement Programme:

  •  The MSIP was piloted in ten schools during the year 2014,through the collaborative efforts of the DERT, the Directorate of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), RMSA Meghalaya and the District Institute of Education and Training.

The programme focussed on three key areas:

  1. establishing school teams/communities of learning
  2. undertaking school quality assessment and
  3. outcome-based progress tracking.

The programme also had the following guiding principles to guide all school-based activities:

  1. reduce isolation through collaborations and effective communication,
  2. Increase staff capacity through continuous professional development,
  3. create a supportive school environment and
  4. to strive for continuous improvement.
  • Though the task team faced innumerable challenges which included dearth of funds, school personnel not reporting for training, absence of educational personnel offering school-site support, poor connectivity in parts Garo Hills, Jaintia Hills and Khasi Hills and poor monitoring of action plans at the school level, they also saw the potential of communities of learning.

Central findings of Pilot schools:

  •  The experiences from the 10 pilot schools have shown that schools need a lot of hand holding during the entire process of preparation and implementing their school improvement plans. With limited funds 3nd time, capacity building is often limited to initial orientation workshops where schools are taught regarding the concept of school improvement plans, identifying their own priorities and areas of focus, school rating as per Shaala Shiddhi domains, constituting teams and preparation of the school improvement plans. However, in order for a school to really maximise the benefits of this intervention more handholding is required especially on one to one consultations.
  •  It is seen that most schools could not even start the process of preparation of School improvement plan, and some of the main reasons were
  1. Non-cooperation from other teachers/school authorities
  2. Not able to prioritise the importance of this program
  3. Not able to identify and constitute the teams
  4. Work hygiene (responsibilities, meetings, recordings etc)
  5. Inability to identify correct priorities, set realistic targets, and class room level actions
  6. Inability to use data to sort priorities
  7. Inability to review performance, take course corrections and so on Hence, it is obvious that any long term program that engages with schools at their level, must have more elaborate, focussed and continuous capacity so that schools may attain the desired level of self-improvement.

Conclusion

  •  Quality of learning continues to remain a big challenge for the Meghalaya's education system. The National Achievement Survey (NAS) grade X results show over 35 percent of the students scored less than the average scores of 250 on math, social science and science assessment.
  •  NAS scores across subjects also show the percentage of correct responses in Grade V. At grade 5, not more than 43 per cent percent of students could answer correctly most of the question pertaining to "grasp and interpret in reading comprehension. In Mathematics only about 29 per cent of students could identify "difference between numbers" correctly.
  •  Rationalisation of resourcing through the merging of small schools and creating composite schools can release resources which can then be utilised for financing schemes needed to improve education system efficiency and quality. Mega schools need to be examined to establish whether they are justified by lower costs and higher levels of achievement.
  •  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can provide detailed insight into current patterns of school location in relation to habitations. This can lead to the development of plans to increase locational efficiency that are both technically effective and educationally and politically feasible.

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(GIST OF YOJANA) Water Heroes - Share Your Stories Contest [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  Water Heroes - Share Your Stories Contest

[NOVEMBER-2019]

Water Heroes - Share Your Stories Contest

  • The Department “Water Heroes of Water - Share Resources, Your Stories” River Development Contest is launched and Ganga by Rejuvenation; Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India with the objective of promoting value of water in general and for supporting country-wide efforts on water conservation and sustainable development of water resources.
  • The participant will have to post their Success Stories in the field of water conservation which will comprise of a Write-up (up to 300 words), pictures and a video of one to five minutes duration depicting their efforts/significant contributions/best practices used in different parts of the country in the field of water conservation, water utilization or water resources development and management. The participants will share their stories, pictures along with the link of their Youtube Video on the MyGov portal. In addition to MyGov Portal, the entries may also be submitted to [email protected] .
  • All selected entries will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 each. The Contest shall run for duration of 10 months. Each month, a maximum of 10 entries shall be selected for the cash prize. The last date of submission is 30.06.2020.

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Current Public Administration Magazine (SEPTEMBER 2019)


Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine


1. Accountability and Control

Judiciary must take proactive steps to stop lynching, punish perpetrators

Judicial apathy sends terribly wrong signals to future perpetrators, who may justifiably believe that they may ultimately be acquitted, and in any case will be bailed out pending trials. On January 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an ANI interview spoke on lynchings: “Any such incident does not reflect well on a civilised society… This is totally wrong and condemnable… For improving this situation, we should all work collectively. There should be no such incident in the society.” Later, in June, while speaking in Rajya Sabha, the PM again said, “The lynching (in Jharkhand) has pained me. It has saddened others, too”.

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2. Indian Government and Politics

SC’s Ayodhya judgment

As the 40 days of hearings are over, and just before the Lordships are set to rule on the matter, it is good to recall that it will be 27 years since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya this December. Sophie Howe is a Future Generations Commissioner in Wales. Her job, as defined by a law that was enacted in Wales in the UK in 2017, is to make sure that public bodies are accountable to the future. As she said in a recent podcast: “My job description, as set out in law, is to act as the guardian of the interests of future generations.” Her duty is to make sure that decisions, which the next generation could have to pay for in 30 years, are not made.

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3. Indian Administration

The steel frame has become a cage

The current economic slowdown is short-term pain for long-term gain because of overdue medicine. In September 1984, J R D Tata responded to retired bureaucrat P N Haksar’s letter taunting him that businessmen were not doing enough for India’s development with “I began my 55-year-old career as an angry young man because I couldn’t stomach foreign domination… I end it as angry old man… because it breaks my heart to see the continuing miserable fate of the vast majority of our people, for much of which I blame years of ill conceived economic policies of our government. Instead of releasing energies and enterprises, the system of licences and controls imposed on the private sector, combined with confiscatory personal taxation, not only discouraged and penalised honest free enterprise but encouraged, and brought success and wealth, to a new breed of bribers, tax evaders, and black marketeers”.

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4. Police Administration

A law alone will not serve as a panacea against torture by police in India

What is needed is ‘ease of policing’, better training and infrastructure Common Cause’s recent survey on the Status of Policing in India is said to have affirmed that the black sheep in the police force find nothing wrong with beating up criminals to extract a confession. It is still, however, too judgemental to suggest that torture is endemic to Indian policing, as Maja Daruwala does (‘Exorcising third-degree’, IE, September 27). There is still an overwhelming majority of IPS and other police officers in the country who abhor torture and have faith in human dignity. Torture is not justified under any circumstance. It is a wound in the soul that demeans the society.

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5. Current Topic

Lack of clarity about the role of Chief of Defence Staff

The past five years have seen the last vestiges of the Nehruvian legacy being progressively swept away. Conclusive proof of this came when the present government ordered retaliatory raids, in peace time, on Pakistani soil. Strategic culture is said to have a significant impact on national security and state behaviour. In 1992, RAND Corporation analyst, George Tanham had pronounced that a combination of “lofty Hindu philosophy and a fatalistic outlook” had prevented the development of a strategic culture in India, and that “… Indian elites showed little evidence of having systematically thought about national strategy”. Tanham’s contentions were contested by those who asserted that being heirs to the rich philosophy of Vedic literature, epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the wisdom of Chanakya’s Arthashastra, Indians had never lacked a strategic culture.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN SCHOOL EDUCATION  [NOVEMBER-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN SCHOOL EDUCATION

 [NOVEMBER-2019]

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN SCHOOL EDUCATION

During the last two decades, a major emphasis has been given on improving school environment by different educational programmes like Operation Blackboard, District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Samagra Siksha, in order to enhance regular participation of students and finally resulting in improvement in their learning levels.

Recommendations made by RTE Act 2009 for school education:

  •  RTE Act 2009,has recommended that each school should be equipped with 'All weather building consisting of at least one classroom for every teacher; barrier-free access; separate toilets for boys and girls; safe drinking water facility to all children; playground; securing the school building by boundary wall or fencing.

Increase in number of schools:

  •  SSA and RMSA during its decade long programme have sanctioned more than 3.64 lakhs elementary and secondary schools, which has resulted in significant increase in the number of schools in rural areas. The figures of the 8th All India Education Survey reveal that (96.01 per cent) rural population have access to primary stage education facilities within walking distance of 1km; and 92.81 rural population have access to upper primary stage education facilities within a distance of 3 kms. SSA has a provision of residential facilities in sparsely populated or hilly and densely forested areas with difficult geographical terrains.
  •  Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) are residential upper primary schools set up in educationally backward blocks for girls from SC,ST, OBC and Minority communities. 3609 KGBVs have been sanctioned by Government of India.
  •  Girls' hostel for students of secondary and higher secondary schools: This is also a Centrally Sponsored Scheme that has been implemented since 2009-10 to set up a 100-bed girls' hostel in each of the 3,479 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) of the country in an effort to ensure that girls are retained at the secondary level of education. 2,483 Girls' Hostel are sanctioned in rural areas to improve access and retain the girls in Secondary and Higher Secondary classes (X XII) so that the girls get the opportunity to continue with their studies irrespective of distance to schools and other socio-economic factors.
  •  School Building and classrooms: There are 98 per cent schools in rural areas, having their buildings. Since the inception of the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Scheme, SSA and RMSA 18.40 lakh classrooms has been constructed as a result the student classroom ratio (SCR) reduced drastically.
  •  Drinking Water: Investment for enhancement in facilities was not limited to opening of new schools alone. The school infrastructure (physical facilities in the school) has also augmented substantially with financial and technical support provided from SSA and RMSA. As per UDISE 2016-17, there are 97 per cent schools in rural areas equipped with drinking water facility. Many states have already achieved universal availability of drinking water facility with 100 per cent in schools.
  •  Separate Toilet for Boys and Girls: Department of School Education and Literacy launched Swachh Vidyalaya Initiative with an objective to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in all government schools within the timeline of 15th August, 2015. Under this initiative 4,17,796 (2.26 lakh boys' and 1.91 lakh girls toilets) toilet blocks were constructed or made functional in 2,61,400 schools within the given timeline. This included schools in the most difficult to remote areas in the country or areas facing Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The Initiative was made successful in partnership with all State Governments, 64 Central Public Sector Undertakings, and 11 Private Corporates. With this, about 13.77 crore children in 11.21 lakh government schools all over the country now have access to toilet facilities.
  •  Ramp and CWSN Toilet: One of the major objectives of all education programmes that have been implemented at present is to develop an inclusive education system by providing access to children with disabilities. Provisioning of ramp and CWSN toilet facility are two major interventions in this regard. It has been found in DISE 2016-17 that around 64 per cent schools are having ramp and 23 percent schools having CWSN toilet facility. The proportion of schools without ramp facility is much higher in case of secondary and higher secondary level though there has been considerable decline of such schools during the last TWO years of all levels.
  •  Library: The RTE Act and RMSA specifies that the Library will be an essential component of the school, providing not only resource for learning, but also for strengthening the idea of reading for pleasure, among the students. The UDISE 2016-17 data indicates that there has been an increase in the facilities from 2010 after the implementation of RTE Act and RMSA. In rural areas the percentage of schools with library has been increased from 55 per cent in 2009-10 to 82 per cent in 2016-17.
  •  Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is being used in classrooms to improve learning outcomes worldwide. [email protected] schools was a scheme launched in 2004 by MHRD and revised in 2010 to provide opportunities to secondary and senior secondary students to mainly build their capacity on ICT skills and make them learn through computer aided learning process.
  •  Computer Aided Learning (CAL): Under SSA the CAL is primarily introduced in rural government upper primary schools covering the classes VI to VIII to attract and retain children and also in the process, enhance the quality of learning. The main objective of the CAL programme is to attract the rural children, retain them in the schools and to improve the quality of the education through animated multimedia based educational content.
  •  Electricity: Electricity is a lasting need for education. Particularly in rural areas within a few years, students will be using digital devices to access information needed for studies, instead of using traditional textbooks. Computers and smart classrooms in rural areas have changed the need for electricity in schools. Although more than80 percent of secondary and higher secondary schools in the rural areas are equipped with electricity facility, large number of primary schools are still devoid of electricity, despite having electricity in villages.
  •  Playground: RTE Act 2009 gives emphasis on playground in schools as playing puts enormous positive impact on children in their learning and overall physical development. The situation regarding availability of playground in schools is far from satisfactory even in rural areas. There are 59 per cent schools having playground within it. Lack of availability of playground hampers engagement of children in different games and physical activities making schooling monotonous and unattractive. The situation is slightly better in case of upper primary, secondary and higher secondary levels.
  •  Boundary Wall: It is also noteworthy that although most of the schools are running in a building but many of these schools are found without any boundary wall. The analysis of U-DISE data indicates that a 47 per cent of schools in rural areas do not have boundary wail which is very important for the safety of children.
  •  Science Laboratory for Secondary and Higher Secondary schools: Science is different from any other subject. It is believed that laboratory teaching and experiments that are being conducted help encourage deep understanding in children. Children are able to retain knowledge for longer when they see the experiments being performed in front of them. Under RMSA, integrated science labs has been sanctioned to the Secondary- Schools. The chart below shows the availability of the labs in rural areas.

Way Forward:

  •  To improve the quality of the programme, Government of India, in 2018-19, has decided to treat school education holistically without segmentation from Pre-Primary' to Class 12.
  •  Samagra Shiksha - an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12. It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  •  With the introduction of Samagra Siksha, the focus is on improving quality and learning outcomes in school education, also to improve retention in schools.
  •  The main emphasis of the programme is on improving the education infrastructure and to provide quality education.

Conclusion:

  •  A good school infrastructure with good spaces makes conducive place for the children to study. Both SSA and RMSA have improved access to elementary and secondary education in the country.
  •  In rural areas, the augmented school infrastructure has enhanced enrolment of children in schools, especially girls and other disadvantaged groups.
  •  It makes the learning more interesting and gets the children motivated to attend school, this in turn improves the attendance and interest of students in learning.

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(GIST OF YOJANA) AI-enabled mobile application for Swachh Bharat Mission [NOVEMBER-2019]


(GIST OF YOJANA)  AI-enabled mobile application for Swachh Bharat Mission

[NOVEMBER-2019]

AI-enabled mobile application for Swachh Bharat Mission

  •  The Swachh Ministry Survekshan-2020 of Housing and Toolkit- Urban Affairs “SBM (MoHUA), Water Plusalong Protocol with and the Swachh Nagar"- has launched an integrated waste management app and Artificial Intelligence enabled mSBM App.
  •  The Swachh Survekshan 2020 Toolkit contains the detailed survey methodology and component indicators with scores to help cities to prepare themselves for the survey.
  •  Al-enabled mSBM App, a Mobile App developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), not only facilitates the applicants of Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) under SBM-U to know the status of their application in real-time after uploading the photograph but also helps them upload the correct photo.
  •  The App also helps the respective ULB nodal officer to verify and approve the application thereby significantly reducing the processing time for the applicants.
  •  The Ministry every year redesigns the Swachh Survekshan innovatively to ensure that the process becomes more and more robust, with a focus on sustaining the changed behaviours.

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