trainee5's blog

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 22 June 2020 (Tale of two flawed agri ordinances (The Hindu))



Tale of two flawed agri ordinances (The Hindu)



Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Farmers Producer Organisation
Mains level: Criticism of APMC Act and role of FPOs

Context:

  • Agricultural market reforms have been on the agenda of many Union governments, including the present one. 
  • However, they were so far being attempted more by nudging and persuading the States, being a State subject. But the NDA government has, after trying the same approach, concluded that States cannot be pushed beyond a point. Therefore, it has taken the ordinance route. 
  • The stated purpose is to create ‘one nation one market’, and provide farmers with the choice to sell their produce for better price discovery, and also to attract private investment in the agricultural market. 
  • There are major aspects of the two major ordinances that deal with regulation and promotion of agricultural produce markets.

Trade and commerce:

  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, shifts the domain from the State to the Centre. 
  • It intends to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter- and intra-State trade of farmer produce outside the physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce marketing legislations, and to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading. 
  • Like the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Market (APLM) Act, 2017, this Ordinance defines a trader to include ‘agent’. 
  • It is common knowledge that traders take titles to goods......................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Status and role of FPOs:

  • On the positive side, the Ordinance provides for the establishment of e-markets by farmer producer organisations (FPOs), though one is not sure how many can make use of this opportunity, given their poor capital and professional resources. This is similar to the State APMCs allowing private wholesale markets being set up by such collectives.
  • The Ordinance defines a farmer as a person engaged in the production of crops by self or hired labour or otherwise; this definition includes the FPO. 
  • It is important to note that no FPO is involved in farm production; most are into pre- and post-production aggregation, trading and value addition. 
  • The FPOs are also not defined as buyers, while cooperatives and co-operative societies are. This is problematic, especially for FPOs.

Agricultural transaction:

  • The Ordinance defines a transaction between traders, both within and across States,as one pertaining to ‘farmers’ produce’. 
  • How can this be justified, as once the primary transaction is completed, it stops being farmers’ produce? 
  • This is akin to the FPOs asking for exemption from income tax arguing that since they deal with the produce of their member-farmers, who are exempt from paying income tax, the FPOs should also be accorded the same exemption.

Regulation and role of States:

  • The Ordinance attempts to regulate traders undertaking intra- and inter-State trade by mandating the use of PAN and electronic registration of a trade, besides directing that payments be made within 1-3 days. 
  • In case they are not, it imposes penalties of ₹25,000-5 lakh, with an additional ₹5,000 per day for physical trade (in case of the electronic platform, the penalties range from ₹50,000-₹10 lakh, plus an additional ₹10,000 per day). But the fact that it only provides for Central regulation of e-markets, and not all transactions, is difficult to justify.
  • The Ordinance still goes by State APMC-notified produce to define scheduled farmer produce. 
  • What is the relevance of APMC-notified produce here, when its domain is reduced only to the market yards? This leaves a part of the larger agricultural produce market unregulated, despite existing Acts.

Contract farming:

  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, is nothing but a badly designed contract farming law. 
  • The use of the term ‘farming agreement’ itself is unusual, as it can be confused with other arrangements like share-cropping or leasing. 
  • Contract farming is about contract first, with farming being a part of it.

Direct purchase: 

  • The way it is defined, the Ordinance also includes direct purchase, which is not the appropriate transaction under this ordinance.
  • One indication that direct purchase is a part of this Ordinance is the fact that large retailers are mentioned as contracting parties. 
  • In both global and Indian contexts, large retailers or supermarkets don’t have contract agreements with farmers, and buy directly without any prior price commitment. 
  • Although it is desirable that they sign an agreement, under this Ordinance a written contract is not mandatory. This shows a lack of appreciation for the concept of contract farming.

The definition of an FPO:

  • Here, too, the definition of an FPO as a farmer is not correct. 
  • There are many FPOs in India which undertake contract farming directly or indirectly with their members and non-member farmers, like in seed production. 
  • So, clubbing them with farmers is not appropriate. They are ..............

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Poor design of contract:

  • The very basic aspects of contract farming like acreage, quantity, and time of delivery are not specified, which is a must for any regulatory law as these are mandatory aspects of such an arrangement, whether by the supply of inputs or otherwise. 
  • On the other hand, the farm-gate pick-up of produce by buyers has been made mandatory, which was unnecessary. 
  • The parties should be able to decide themselves whether the farmer will deliver the produce at factory gate, collection centre, or whether the buyer would pick up the produce from the farm.
  • The Ordinance also leaves out many sophisticated aspects of modern contract farming practices, like contract cancellation clauses; delayed deliveries or purchases, and damage therein; and ‘tournaments’ in contract farming, where farmers compete with each other and are paid on relative performance, a practice which is banned in many countries.

Act as Anti-contract farming:

  • The Act links the contract price with the APMC mandi price or electronic market price, which is anti-contract farming in nature. 
  • The price, like many other basic aspects of contract, should be left to the parties to negotiate and shouldn’t be tied to any other channel — especially the APMC price, as the very rationale for bringing this law was to provide alternative channels to farmers and create competition in APMC markets, as price discovery was not efficient. 
  • Now, going back to the same mandi does not speak very well of the Ordinance.

Regulation or facilitation:

  • Unlike the Trade and Commerce Ordinance, this Ordinance does not specify any penalties for any violations of the contract provisions, which is surprising to say the least. 
  • Rather, it facilitates and promotes and facilitates the contract farming mechanism in lieu of regulating it. 
  • The Act goes all the way to facilitate contract farming is clear from the fact that it mentions that the stock limits law (ESA Ordinance) would not apply to contract-farmed produce. 

Conclusion:

  • The aspects of ‘farmer empowerment’ and ‘protection’, mentioned in the title of the Ordinance, have been given a go by in its contents. 
  • The proof of any law is in its implementation, but as far as farmer interest protection is concerned...............

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 22 June 2020 (RBI’s new paper places too much onus on bank boards to ensure good governance(The Hindu))



RBI’s new paper places too much onus on bank boards to ensure good governance(The Hindu)



Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Not much 
Mains level: Measures suggested by the RBI for new standards of governance at banks

Context:

  • The Reserve Bank of India has put out a discussion paper to flesh out the governance structure at commercial banks and institute new checks and balances on their business, compliance and risk management functions. 
  • Taking the view that being in the financial intermediation business makes a bank accountable not just to its shareholders but also depositors.
  • The RBI is seeking to put the onus of governance mainly on bank boards and their senior management teams. 
  • This paper recommends the ideal composition of bank boards, sets hard.........

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Recommendations: 

  • To ensure that bank employees cutting across hierarchy are aware of their priorities, the paper proposes that boards set the ‘tone at the top’ for correct behaviour and formulate written policies on code of conduct. 
  • A top-down approach is in order, written codes have proved hardly any deterrent to misbehaviour in the past. 
  • The more concrete prescriptions are those requiring board members to disclose conflicts of interest upfront and to refrain from related party dealings, except where they can prove arm’s length. 
  • Specifying that the chairpersons on bank boards be independent directors, and that top managers from the risk and compliance functions report directly to the board instead of the CEO, are good steps to ensure that they are not hijacked by profit motives. 
  • But based on the YES Bank débâcle, the RBI also appears to be correlating weak bank governance directly with CEO tenure. 
  • It has proposed a maximum tenure of 10 years for promoters functioning as bank CEOs and 15 years for professionals in this role. The link however is quite tenuous, with many well-governed banks (Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank, for instance) featuring CEOs with long tenures. 
  • If a 10-year limit is deemed essential to prevent excessive concentration of power in the promoter-CEO, it isn’t clear why a professional CEO must be allowed 15 years. 
  • This proposal reflects the RBI’s lack of policy clarity on whether higher promoter skin-in-the-game or professional management leads to better governance.

Shifting supervisory responsibilities for good governance:

  • Overall, there’s also the question of whether the RBI is attempting to shift too much of its own supervisory responsibilities for good governance on to bank boards. 
  • The bank’s Nomination and Remuneration committee is now expected to vet its directors and prospective CEOs for ‘fit and proper’ criteria and the Audit Committee is expected to oversee vigilance functions. 
  • While insisting on some accountability from boards is welcome, stretching the concept too far can lead to conscientious individuals shying away from taking up board positions. 

Conclusion:

  • Apart from attempts to tone up internal governance.................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 22 June 2020 (Universalise food entitlements to avert hunger and aid growth (Mint))



Universalise food entitlements to avert hunger and aid growth (Mint)



Mains Paper 2:National 
Prelims level: National Food Security Act
Mains level: Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of bufferstocks and food security

Context:

  • It is difficult to predict the precise impact of the lockdown on the Indian economy. 
  • However, data released last week suggests that the lives and livelihoods of people are likely to be much more severely hurt than hitherto believed. Much of this data is based on a partial collection of statistics. 
  • Still, it is sufficient to show a sharp contraction in industrial activity during the lockdown. 
  • Considering that the economy was already on a downtrend before the covid crisis, with quarterly growth rates slowing down sharply, a recovery will be slow and painful.
  • This necessitates interim measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of the millions who have been rendered jobless and have returned home. 
  • The least that is needed is the provision of food and supplementary income to help them sustain themselves until the Indian economy recovers.

Challenges towards economic revival: 

  • India’s enhanced budgetary allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will help some of them get work and earn some money. 
  • However, it is hardly sufficient to boost demand and effect an economic revival. 
  • The second challenge is to make food available at subsidized prices until the next harvest, which is at least five months away. 
  • Allocations in Public Distribution System:
  • Union government had increased allocations ..........................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Challenges:

  • Also, the scheme leaves out millions of families. These are not necessarily households that aren’t poor, even though they may have been excluded from the priority criteria of the NFSA. 
  • Since the identification of who is eligible has been done on the basis of data that is almost a decade old, it might exclude many who have either been rendered jobless in the course of the economic slowdown or later during the lockdown. 
  • Unfortunately, at a time when even elementary data collection is difficult, there is no way to identify those not on the NFSA list who may need a food subsidy because of their changed circumstances. 
  • There are also several others who have failed to get their entitled food supplies due to technical and administrative hurdles. 
  • With the “one nation, one ration card" plan unlikely to be fully implemented before next year, the risk of a large chunk of beneficiaries losing out on their official entitlements is high. 
  • The only way out is to make the PDS universal at least for the next six months.

Way ahead:

  • Our highest-ever foodgrain stocks are a result of record procurement of both wheat and rice, at almost one-third of the country’s total production. But it also implies that the available stock with the public is lower than what is actually available. This stockpiling is likely to create an artificial scarcity of foodgrains in the market. 
  • At a time when there are signals of rising food inflation at the retail level, adding to stocks is only going to put more upward pressure on prices. 
  • Releasing foodgrains by universalizing the PDS for six months will not only reduce these stocks, but also boost demand in the economy by increasing the disposal income of households that are struggling.

Conclusion:

  • It is rarely the case that misdeeds of the past appear as a boon. 
  • This is one such rare occasion. 
  • Food stocks accumulated over the years can now be used to provide relief to millions of ..........................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 June 2020 (Skilled response (Financial Express))



Skilled response (Financial Express)



Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: National Skill Development Corporation
Mains level: Indian Economy and issues relating todevelopment and employment

Context:

  • Covid-19 continues to ravage lives and destroy economies, causing disruption that will change the world forever. 
  • In India, this has resulted in extreme narratives.
  • On the one hand, are those that see untold devastation of its economy, on the other are those who believe it is India’s moment to achieve its destiny.

Re-ignite growth:

  • A key factor of production to re-ignite growth in the economy from the current deep spiral inflicted by demand and supply shocks is going to be the workforce, not just as an input factor but also as an engine of demand. 
  • The extent India benefits from an imminent shake-up of global supply chains and economic order will also be determined by how well it manages its workforce. 
  • With limited natural resources, infrastructural constraints, exhausting red tape, and a burgeoning population, India’s principal resource are its people.
  • Therefore, India’s economy sits on the threshold......................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Is it staring at an abyss or looking towards its zenith? 

  • With around 10-12 million youth entering the workforce every year and many more millions now rendered unemployed, are we heading to social unrest and national despondency, or are we going to leverage this to emerge as an economic powerhouse.
  • Can we make labour available where it is required? Can the workforce be suitably skilled to participate in gainful economic activity? 
  • This is easier said than done primarily because most jobs are available in geographies far removed from where the labour primarily comes from.

Relook at its manufacturing strategy:

  • India needs to relook at its manufacturing strategy, maybe get an updated one. 
  • The ‘Make in India’ plan seems to have made no noticeable change to the share of manufacturing’s contribution to India’s GDP (15.07% in 2014 to 15.4% in 2020). 
  • Cluster-based industrialisation, a model well proven by late industrialisers such as China, needs a new vigour. 
  • India needs to allocate more funds to cluster development. It needs to facilitate technology, skills, market development and integrate the MSMEs with the formal credit process.

Readying an employable workforce:

  • Readying an employable workforce is a crucial element of this effort. 
  • This is best achieved when skilling is decentralised to the states which can then work with district industry centres and with local industry associations. 
  • This will create demand-led skilling opportunities. 
  • While the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)................................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Jointly fund the skilling programs:

  • Labour receiving states could work with labour supplying states for an arrangement where both parties jointly fund the skilling programs. 
  • The receiving states could determine the training modules, with a part done in the home state and the rest on the job. 
  • This will create a win-win situation and will allow industrial centres to get a well-trained workforce. Meanwhile, they can be committed to improving working conditions. 
  • This will allow better management of migrant labour, reducing hardships and protecting their rights and benefits.

Create local industry:

  • Manpower supplying states shouldn’t waste the current crisis and must create a local industry. 
  • They could begin by focusing on urbanisation in small towns with the creation of manufacturing clusters for labour-intensive sectors such as food processing, wood manufacturing, apparel and any other sector in which the geography enjoys comparative advantage.

Localisation of skilling centres:

  • The skilling centres should be located in these small towns. 
  • Such centres will facilitate industry engagement with skilling activities, which will lead to demand-led skilling programs. 
  • Such clusters will allow greater participation of women in the workforce. 
  • Minimising migration will lower the cost of living for the workforce, besides becoming a lower input cost for industrial units setting up in manpower supplying states.

Creation of opportunities in India and abroad:

  • The government could consider incentivising industry for their support and contribution towards skilling and vocational education. 
  • It should strengthen the Unnati scheme that provides MGNREGA beneficiaries 100 days of training to obtain new skills.
  • Another opportunity that exists for India’s unemployed youth is a job opportunity in select nations abroad. 
  • After the successful start of the Indo-Japan Technical Intern Training Program, it is a model worth emulating. 
  • In other countries, too, there exist opportunities for Indian youth in multiple trades.
  • Besides the current health crisis creating a great demand for healthcare professionals, in many other trades too, India has the advantage of skilling its youth for the global market.

Way ahead:

  • To achieve sustained high rates of growth during the coming decades, India needs to harness its workforce. 
  • With the large supply, there is much to leverage. Need of the hour, clearly, is to connect the workforce to livelihood, jobs, self-employment and entrepreneurship. 
  • Creating an environment where more self-employed and entrepreneurs can flourish.....................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 June 2020 (The health-tech edge(Financial Express))



The health-tech edge (Financial Express)



Mains Paper 2:Health 
Prelims level: Health start-up
Mains level: Describe the role of tech start-up to build public healthcare infrastructure 

Context:

  • Covid-19 has exposed the gaps in public healthcare infrastructure and human resources, if this hadn’t already been obvious. 
  • Even metros like Delhi and Mumbai, the disaster that awaits the country if the pandemic spreads widely in the rural areas isn’t hard to imagine.

Reason behind to build health start-up:

  • Uttar Pradesh, for instance, has just 4 doctors for 10,000 population, against the national average of 7 per 10,000 population. 
  • Against such a backdrop, it is fortunate that India has a thriving nursery of health-tech start-ups, most of which seem tailored to bridging the gaps between demand and supply of healthcare infrastructure and personnel. 
  • Not only have health start-ups been able to bolster India’s stock of PPEs, N95 masks, ventilators, even 3D-printed face-shields, etc, many health-tech ones are helping crucial hospital functions to reduce human-to-human contact.
  • The Centre, states and even municipalities—to beef up healthcare capacity on its own, it needs to partner with start-ups and help scale up innovations, whether from the private or the public sector. 
  • Karnataka and Rajasthan seem to be .............................................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Examples:

  • Kerala-based start-up Asimov Robotics has created a self-sanitising robot that can deliver food, sterilised equipment, ingestibles at the bed-side in hospitals, reducing pressure on healthcare-workers.
  • Janitri, founded in 2017, has monitored 27,000 pregnancies across 100 healthcare facilities in the two states with two offerings, Daksh and Keyar—the former is a tablet-based intelligent labour-monitoring tool while the latter is a wearable fetal heart-rate and uterine contraction monitoring device. 
  • Both products improve efficiency and ease of monitoring, given they erase the need for bulky, non-transportable machines, human error in data monitoring and entry, etc. 
  • Niramai, a Bengaluru-based health analytics company, has developed a non-invasive technique to detect breast cancer which uses heat signatures to determine if cancer exists—now, the same technology has been repurposed for real-time body-temperature-monitoring for large groups.
  • 5C Network, another Bengaluru-based start-up, makes consultation from a panel of expert radiologists available remotely, by facilitating direct uploads of radiological scans from hospitals and diagnostic centres on to its portal. 
  • Teleradiology, in a country that has just 1 radiologist per 100,000 population, could prove transformational, especially in rural areas.

Way forward:

  • While the Centre has conducted/sponsored hackathons for targeted solutions for Covid-related issues, the engagement with health-tech start-ups has to go beyond such sporadic support. 
  • State/local governments need to map the delivery-gaps in public healthcare, whether because of a lack of infrastructure or personnel, and engage start-ups that are offering solutions to these problems. 
  • Only with such backing from the government can there be meaningful scaling up ..............................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 June 2020 (What the migrant worker needs)



What the migrant worker needs



Mains Paper 2:National 
Prelims level: Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act of 1979
Mains level: Migrant workers occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditionsprovisions and significance

Context:

  • The issue of migrant workers has evoked widespread debate in the development discourse in India. 
  • Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Rajasthan are the other important source states of migrants, who are mainly employed in construction, factories, domestic work, textiles, brick-kilns, transport and agriculture. 
  • Further, Rajasthan has a huge migrant population, which depends on tourism, manufacturing and mining industries and agriculture for livelihood.

Migration:

  • Migration is neither unique nor new to India. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted that the refugee crisis would be the defining feature of the decade back in 2015. 
  • In India’s case, the Five-Year Plan documents bring out that migration was not adequately factored in development plans. 
  • This is surprising because migration impacts competitiveness, productivity and jobs. 
  • This issue has, however, acquired..................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

 Exodus:

  • The exodus of migrant labour is visible and their suffering is palpable. 
  • We need to provide undivided attention to the working conditions of migrant workers. 
  • Out of the total labour force of 465 million workers, around 91 per cent (422 million) were informal workers in 2017-18. 
  • The Economic Survey (2017) estimated 139 million seasonal or circular migrants. 
  • Circular urban migrants perform essential labour and provide services that many people want but are unwilling to provide themselves. 
  • Hence, this issue has implications for livelihoods, agriculture, food security, and safety net policy as well as programme responses. 

Lack of protection:

  • Migrant labourers, who are mostly from rural areas but live most of the year in cities for work, lack regular salaries or incomes. 
  • Many have no savings and live in factory dormitories, which were closed during the lockdown. 
  • There is no central registry of migrant workers, despite the existence of The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 1979. 
  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code of 2019 has been introduced in Parliament to promote the welfare of migrant workers and legal protection for their rights. 
  • The proposed code seeks to merge 13 labour laws, including the Inter-state Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 into a single law.

Highlights the impact:

  • The COVID-19 lockdown hit agriculture, supply chains, food and nutrition security and livelihoods, and adversely impacted harvesting of crops across states. 
  • Major agrarian states are facing an acute shortage of labourers. 
  • The COVID-19 urban hotspots will face a labour shortage of seasonal migrants, affecting the construction and manufacturing sectors. 
  • The cost of moving people is roughly double that for goods in India.
  • The workers would benefit from a “one nation one ration card”, which addresses the problem of ration-card portability. 
  • The move would benefit nearly 670 million people and..............................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

The Government Aid:

  • The current situation can brook no delay. The government has taken cognisance of the issue and announced measures to contain the impact on the migrant workers. 
  • The finance minister’s second press conference on May 14 focused on migrant workers, small farmers, street vendors. 
  • She announced a provision of Rs 30,000 crore through NABARD, in addition to the already existing Rs 90,000 crore allocation, for the rabi harvest and post-harvest rabi-related work for small and marginal farmers. 
  • Further, Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit will be provided to two crore farmers across the country. 
  • About Rs 11,000 crore was allocated for the urban poor, which includes the migrant workers, for building shelter homes for the homeless.
  • Several government-funded housing projects in major cities would be developed into affordable rental housing complexes on a PPP mode. 
  • Further, the Centre will transfer 8 lakh metric tonnes of grain and 50,000 metric tonnes of chana to state governments to provide 5 kg of grain (wheat or rice) per labourer and 1kg of chana/family/month for two months free. 
  • This is expected to benefit up to eight crore migrant workers.

Required speedy response: 

  • The issue of migrant workers needs to be considered in its entirety to formulate a speedy and effective response. 
  • For many migrants, staying home is not an option. 
  • We must devise a programme for survival and a medium-term blueprint for growth and structural transformation. 
  • This is a tall order and requires a review of national legal, regulatory and institutional concerns in resettlement and rehabilitation of migrant labourers. 
  • There is a need to adopt a human rights approach to address the socio-legal issues.

Resolution:

  • The resolution of contradictions in trade, fiscal, monetary and other policies — for example, the implementation of the report of the task force on migration (2017), expansion of the outreach of the Integrated Child Development Services–Anganwadi (ICDS-AW) and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) to include migrant women and children and inclusion of migrant children in the annual work plans of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan — would also be helpful.
  • Given the overarching environment of uncertain livelihoods, wage losses and layoffs, it is necessary to strengthen the resilience of the financial system and skill workers.

Conclusion:

  • The issues and challenges of migrant workers require leveraging information and communication technologies and the JAM trinity. 
  • The debilitating physical effects of the coronavirus necessitate coordinated and concerted..................................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 June 2020 (Don’t grudge a nurse(Indian Express))



Don’t grudge a nurse(Indian Express)



Mains Paper 2:Health 
Prelims level: PPE
Mains level: Social issues 

Context:

  • As Delhi heads for a case load of half a lakh and 80 per cent of ICU beds are filled, the health crisis is being intensified with nurses in the capital’s private hospitals reportedly resigning or refusing to work. 
  • In some cases, nursing home owners are doubling up as janitors, while others are going to the police to complain that nurses are abandoning patients.  

Plight:

  • However, the plight of nurses, who have been working at the front in the battle against COVID-19, must be appreciated. 
  • Their complaints are well-known, have been repeatedly articulated and remain largely ignored. 
  • Personal protection equipment has been in chronically short supply in the capital, and has put the lives of both doctors and nurses at risk. 
  • Shifts are punishingly long, nurses in PPEs cannot take breaks even to go to the toilet, and they bear the cicatrice of the equipment for hours after they go off duty. 
  • The United Nurses Association had written to the chief minister about substandard equipment, but did not get a reply. 
  • Many nurses who were not able to go to work when public...............

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Empathising:

  • Besides, nurses cannot be seen in isolation. They have families, too. 
  • Most of them are from out of town, and relatives back home worry for their well-being because the pandemic has been presented as a “mahamari” — a great killer. 
  • Nurses living alone in Delhi are themselves insecure because they do not have social security or family networks that they can fall back on in hard times. 
  • Those who have family in the capital are concerned because they are generally not able to quarantine themselves in the workplace, and could carry the infection home. 
  • To offset the multiple risks that they are facing, some nurses are demanding better financial terms, on the lines of the “hardship allowance” which is commonly offered to servicemen at difficult postings. 
  • Others are simply dropping out to seek better qualifications.

Conclusion:

  • Abandoning patients during a pandemic may be a crime but nurses feel abandoned themselves. 
  • The solution is to see that they are physically secure and feel adequately compensated for the high-risk job that they are performing. 
  • If private organisations cannot bear the full burden, the state should remember that it has commandeered their.................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 June 2020 (Beijing should note (Indian Express))



Beijing should note (Indian Express)



Mains Paper 2:International Relations 
Prelims level: India-China relations 
Mains level: About recent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan of Valley of eastern Ladakh and its implications on India China relations 

Context:

  • In pushing India to a tipping point, China is close to losing the hard-won trust of the world’s second most populous nation and a large neighbour. 
  • If the 1962 war saw the freezing of bilateral relations for the next quarter of a century, the current crisis could lead to a chill that lasts longer. 
  • Keeping India’s trust, however, might look like a trivial matter to the current Chinese Communist Party leadership. 
  • India might be the world’s fifth largest economy, but it is one-fifth the size of China’s. 
  • Beijing is acutely sensitive to power differentials, and sees an India that is struggling to find an effective response to the Chinese manoeuvre in Ladakh. 
  • Of course, Communist China’s disdain is not exclusively for India.  

Flexing muscles:

  • By all accounts, Beijing feels confident that it can confront all the major powers simultaneously. 
  • It bets that economic interdependence and political influence operations can easily break up any potential hostile coalition that might emerge within and among them. 
  • Coming to the Asian neighbours, the CCP believes that it owes no explanation for taking territories and waters that it claims as its own. 
  • It is convinced that China’s “historic rights” take precedence over international law and good neighbourliness — whether it is in the South China Sea or in the Himalayas. 
  • The sensitivities of its neighbours — from Japan to Indonesia and...................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Learning from the past:

  • Appealing to China’s better angels at this juncture, then, might be futile. 
  • Yet, the CCP should know that China is not the first power to be overwhelmed by narcissism and hubris. 
  • Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany believed they were unstoppable in Asia and Europe in the run-up to the Second World War. 
  • Soviet Russia, too, believed in the late 1970s that America was in irreversible decline after its humiliating defeat in Vietnam and a string of socialist revolutions, from Cambodia to Namibia and from Afghanistan to Mozambique. 
  • But the tide eventually turned against all the three great powers that ended up in history’s dustbin. 
  • Just as India struggles to understand the power impulses that drive China, the CCP could never fathom India’s political culture.  

Conclusion:

  • It has been easy for Beijing to underestimate India’s strategic resilience that produces unity amidst crises. 
  • The CCP might also be under-estimating India’s tradition of “non-cooperation”. 
  • If Beijing does not step back and restore the status quo ante that existed prior to the crisis that began in May, it will compel Delhi to embark on a radical reorientation of its China policy. 
  • The CCP ought to have no doubt that the Indian people can and will step up to such a recalibration.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

(Notification) UPSC : NDA & NA Exam (II) 2020



(Notification) UPSC : NDA & NA Exam (II) 2020



Post Detail :

F.No.7/1/2020.E.1(B): An examination will be conducted by the Union Public Service Commission on 06th September, 2020 for admission to the Army, Navy and Air Force wings of the NDA for the 146th Course, and for the 108th  Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC) commencing from 2nd July, 2021. 

The date of holding the examination as mentioned above is liable to be changed at the discretion of the Commission.

The approximate number of vacancies to be filled on the results of this examination will be as under :— 

  • National Defence Academy :        370 to include 208 for Army, 42 for Navy and 120 for Air Force (including 28 for ground Duties)
  • Naval Academy(10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme) : 47

    Total : 413

Education Qualification: 

(i) For Army Wing of National Defence Academy :—12th Class pass of the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent examination conducted by a State Education Board or a University.

(ii) For Air Force and Naval Wings of National Defence Academy and for the 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme at the Indian Naval Academy :—12th Class pass with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics of the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent conducted by a State Education Board or a University. Candidates who are appearing in the 12th Class under the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent examination can also apply for this examination.  

Age :

Only unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 02nd January, 2002 and not later than 1st January, 2005 are eligible.

Physical Standards:

Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (II), 2020 as per guidelines given in Appendix-IV.  

Fees  :

Candidates (excepting SC/ST candidates/Sons of JCOs/NCOs/ORs specified in Note 2 below who are exempted from payment of fee) are required to pay a fee of Rs. 100/- (Rupees one hundred only) either by depositing the money in any Branch of SBI by cash, or by using net banking facility of State Bank of India or by using Visa/MasterCard/Rupay Credit/Debit Card.

SCHEME OF EXAMINATION:

1. The subjects of the written examination, the time allowed and the maximum marks allotted to each subject will be as follows:— 

Subject Code Duration Maximum Marks
Mathematics 01 2½ Hours 300
General Ability Test 02 2½ Hours 600
Total 900
SSB Test/Interview : 900

2. THE PAPERS IN ALL THE SUBJECTS WILL CONSIST OF OBJECTIVE TYPE QUESTIONS ONLY. THE QUESTION PAPERS (TEST BOOKLETS) OF MATHEMATICS AND PART “B” OF GENERAL ABILITY TEST WILL BE SET BILINGUALLY IN HINDI AS WELL AS ENGLISH.

3. In the question papers, wherever necessary, questions involving the metric system of Weights and Measures only will be set. 

4. Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write answers for them. 

5. The Commission have discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects at the examination.

6. The candidates are not permitted to use calculator or Mathematical or logarithmic table for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not therefore, bring the same inside the Examination Hall.

Pay Scale:

Low - up to Rs. 9000/-pm
Middle - Rs. 9001/- to Rs. 18000/-pm
High - Above 18000/-pm 

How to Apply :   

  • Candidates are required to apply online by using the website upsconline.nic.in Brief instructions for filling up the online Application Form have been given in the Appendix-II (A) Detailed instructions are available on the above mentioned website. 
  • The Commission has introduced the facility of withdrawal of Application for those candidates who do not want to appear for the Examination. In this regard, Instructions are mentioned in Appendix-II (B) of this Examination Notice.
  • Candidate should also have details of one photo ID viz. Aadhar Card/ Voter Card/ PAN Card/ Passport/ Driving License/ School Photo ID/Any other  photo ID Card issued by the State/Central Government. The details of this photo ID will have to be provided by the candidate while filling up the online application form. The same photo ID card will also have to be uploaded with the Online Application Form. This photo ID will be used for all future referencing and the candidate is advised to carry this ID while appearing for examination/SSB. 

Important Date :

  • Starting Date- 16-June-2020
  • Last Date – 06-July-2020

Click Here To Download Official Notification

Click Here To Apply Online

Study Material for UPSC National Defence Academy (NDA) Exam

(E-Book) KURUKSHETRA MAGAZINE PDF - JUN 2020

 (E-Book) KURUKSHETRA MAGAZINE PDF - JUN 2020

  • Medium: ENGLISH
  • E-BOOK NAME : KUKSHETRA MAGAZINE PDF -JUN 2020
  • Total Pages: 52
  • PRICE: 49/- FREE/- (only for few days)
  • Hosting Charges: NIL
  • File Type: PDF File Download Link via Email

Click Here to Download PDF

Related E-Books:

(E-Book) KURUKSHETRA MAGAZINE HINDI PDF - JUN 2020

 (E-Book) KURUKSHETRA MAGAZINE PDF - JUN 2020 (HINDI)

  • Medium: Hindi
  • E-BOOK NAME : YOJANA KURUKSHETRA PDF -JUN 2020
  • Total Pages: 56
  • PRICE: 49/- FREE/- (only for few days)
  • Hosting Charges: NIL
  • File Type: PDF File Download Link via Email

Click Here to Download PDF

Related E-Books:

(ALERT) UPSC : IES 2020 Exam Alert



(ALERT) UPSC : IES 2020 Exam Alert



Indian Economic Service Examination, 2020 will not be held due to NIL vacancy reported for the Indian Economic Service by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs).  

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 June 2020 (An unravelling of the Group of Seven (The Hindu))



An unravelling of the Group of Seven (The Hindu)



Mains Paper 2:International Relations
Prelims level: G7 countries 
Mains level: Know about G7 countries, why it’s lost relevance in modern times, process of the expansion of G7 countries, way forward

Context:

  • The next G7 summit, tentatively scheduled in Washington DC in mid-June, has been postponed by the host, U.S. President Donald Trump. 
  • His decision followed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to stay away from the meeting, ostensibly because of restrictions on travel imposed by COVID-19. 
  • The recent meetings of G7 have had desultory results. 

Logic of expansion:

  • While postponing the summit “to at least September”, Mr. Trump declared that in any case, the G7 “is a very outdated group of countries” and no longer properly represented “what’s going on in the world”. 
  • He asked, rhetorically, why not a G10 or G11 instead, with the inclusion of India, South Korea, Australia and possibly Russia?
  • Elaborating this logic, the White House Director of Strategic Communications said the U.S. President wanted to include other countries, including the Five Eyes countries (an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States), and to talk about the future of China. 
  • A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official immediately reacted, labelling.................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Background:

  • The G7 emerged as a restricted club of the rich democracies in the early 1970s. 
  • The quadrupling of oil prices just after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, when members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States, shocked their economies. 
  • On the initiative of U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the G7 became the G8, with the Russian Federation joining the club in1998. This ended with Russia’s expulsion following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. 
  • Economic circumstances
  • When constituted, the G7 countries accounted for close to two-thirds of global GDP. 
  • According to the 2017report of the accountancy firm, PwC, “The World in 2050”, they now account for less than a third of global GDP on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, and less than half on market exchange rates (MER) basis. 
  • The seven largest emerging economies (E7, or “Emerging 7”), comprising Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey, account for over a third of global GDP on purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, and over a quarter on MER basis. 
  • India’s economy is already the third largest in the world in PPP terms, even if way behind that of the U.S. and China.
  • By 2050, the PwC Report predicts, six of the seven of the world’s best performing economies will be China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia. 
  • Two other E7 countries, Mexico and Turkey, also improve their position. 
  • It projects that India’s GDP will increase to $17 trillion in 2030 and $42 trillion in 2050 in PPP terms, in second place after China, just ahead of the United States. 
  • This is predicated on India overcoming the challenge of COVID-19, sustaining its reform process and ensuring adequate investments in infrastructure, institutions, governance, education and health. 

The limitations of G7:

  • The G7 failed to head off the economic downturn of 2007-08, which led to the rise of the G20. 
  • In the short span of its existence, the G20 has provided a degree of confidence, by promoting open markets, and stimulus, preventing a collapse of the global financial system.
  • The G7 has not covered itself with glory with respect to contemporary issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the challenge of the Daesh, and the crisis of state collapse in West Asia. 
  • It had announced its members would phase out all fossil fuels and subsidies, but has not so far announced any plan of action to do so. 
  • The G7 countries account for 59% of historic global CO2 emissions (“from 1850 to 2010”), and their coal fired plants emit “twice more CO2 than those of the entire African continent”. 

Need for a new institution:

  • The world is in a state of disorder. The global economy has stalled and COVID-19 will inevitably create widespread distress. 
  • Nations need dexterity and resilience to cope with the current flux, as also a revival of multilateralism, for they have been seeking national solutions for problems that are unresolvable internally. 
  • Existing international institutions have proven themselves unequal to these tasks. A new mechanism might help in attenuating them.
  • A new international mechanism will have value only if it focuses on key global issues. India would be vitally interested in three: international trade, climate change, and the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • A related aspect is how to push for observing international law and preventing the retreat from liberal values on which public goods are predicated. Global public health and the revival of growth and trade in a sustainable way (that also reduces the inequalities among and within nations) would pose a huge challenge. 
  • Second order priorities for India would be cross-cutting issues such as counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation. 
  • An immediate concern is to ensure effective implementation of the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention and the prevention of any possible cheating by its state parties by the possible creation of new microorganisms or viruses by using recombinant technologies. 

Conclusion:

  • On regional issues, establishing a modus vivendi with Iran would be important to ensure that it does not acquire nuclear weapons and is able to contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Gulf and West Asia. 
  • The end state in Afghanistan would also be of interest to India, as also the reduction of tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 June 2020 (Wrong priorities (The Hindu))



Wrong priorities (The Hindu)



  • Mains Paper 2:Governance 
  • Prelims level: Not much 
  • Mains level: Priorities for government during the pandemic period, Challenges and way forward  

Context:

  • Some things are better kept for later during a pandemic. And, public worship is certainly one of them. 
  • Mass religious gatherings defeats physical distancing and have a history of amplifyingthe COVID-19 pandemic in more than one country. 
  • Governments should sober down to open religious places early in the unlock phase. 

Key Priorities:

  • Even with online registration, e-passes, distance marking and use of personal protective equipment by staff, gatherings in confined spaces go against the grain of infection prevention principles. 
  • It is heartening that some temple boards, churches and Islamic religious bodies have wisely decided to remain closed. 
  • As among the top five virus-affected nations, India cannot afford to create conditions that lead to mass transmission. 
  • The priority today is to refloat a crippled economy safely, while postponing all optional activities to a time when there is better disease control, and prevention and treatment courses are available. 
  • The compulsion to unlock when infections have not peaked has already placed the onus of...........................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Political will:

  • After pursuing a lockdown strategy that had low impact on the infection curve, but many negative outcomes, India needs to draw up it unlock priorities carefully. 
  • It must show the political will to enforce norms on public behaviour such as mask wearing and physical distancing. 
  • Yet, the scenes from many cities coming out of lockdown, including hard-hit ones such as Mumbai, show anxious crowding in many situations, including on public transport. 
  • Night curfews are weakly enforced. 
  • This is worrying, considering the limited medical capacity that exists to care for a large number who might suffer the worst effects of COVID-19. 
  • Getting unlocking wrong could mean an explosion of cases, which, WHO has warned, remains a possibility in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 

 Way forward:

  • National policy should not put the cart before the horse, by prioritising activities such as worship at public places. 
  • All available resources must be devoted towards productive and essential work. 
  • The Centre has to also explain what it is doing to assess the prevalence of infection at the community-level at a suitable scale.

Conclusion:

  • By opening up religious places for worship now, India risks high community...........

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 June 2020 (If PM Cares(Indian Express))



If PM Cares (Indian Express)



  • Mains Paper 2:Governance 
  • Prelims level: PM CARES fund
  • Mains level: Know about the PM CARES fund, the composition of its committee, objectives and why the government constituted a new fund despite having Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), key analysis and way forward

Context:

  • On March 28, PM Modi announced the creation of a separate fund to deal with COVID-19 — the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES). 
  • Observers were quick to question the need for a separate fund, when India already had an established Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
  • The PMNRF is more representative of the concerns of Indians: It’s committee includes, among others, the Prime Minister, the President of India and the president of the Indian National Congress. 
  • Decision-makers for PM CARES include the Prime Minister, the finance minister, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Defence, all from one political party. 

Forceful donations:

  • The PMNRF had an unused corpus of Rs 3,800.44 crore as of 2019. Despite this, Modi established the PM CARES fund and solicited donations for it. 
  • Reportedly, the Indian Railway donated Rs 151 crore. The army, navy and air force, defence PSUs and employees of the defence ministry have collectively donated Rs 500 crore. 
  • While a significant portion of these contributions has been voluntary, it appears that many government employees weren’t given much of a choice.
  • Circulars were being issued in various government departments, “urging” employees to contribute one day’s salary each month or give their objection in writing. 
  • The implication seemed ominous- anyone objecting to this “voluntary contribution...................................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

No transparency:

  • When donations are made from taxpayer funds by government bodies, the public has the right to know where the money is going. 
  • This is where the most problematic issue with PM CARES arises — its lack of transparency. 
  • The Modi government has stated that the CAG will not audit the fund. Rather, it will be audited by independent auditors appointed by the trust. 
  • The PMO has also refused to make the documents related to the PM CARES fund public. 
  • If the government has nothing to hide, why not allow the CAG to audit it? 

Funds not used for migrants:

  • On March 24, Modi appeared on television and announced a 21-day lockdown with four hours’ notice. Millions of migrant labourers were stranded in cities with no savings to survive. 
  • The people waited for PM Modi to use the PM CARES funds to help these migrants. No such announcement came. 
  • An estimated 12.2 crore have lost their jobs since the lockdown was announced. No funds from PM CARES were allocated to create jobs for them.

 Procuring ventilators:

  • A recent analysis by IndiaSpend estimated that at least Rs 9,677.90 crore has been collected in the PM CARES fund so far. 
  • Of this, Rs 4,308 crore has been donated by government agencies and staff. 
  • Yet, the only announcement to be made till date about the usage of the funds is the allocation of Rs 3,100 crore for COVID-19 work, made on May 13 — Rs 2,000 crore of which is mired in controversy. 
  • The reason: The central government is procuring 5,000 ventilators from a Rajkot-based firm which has supplied ventilators to Ahmedabad’s largest COVID-19 hospital. 
  • These machines have proved inadequate, and have forced Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to put out an SOS for “actual ventilators”. 
  • The PM CARES fund has announced that it would be spending Rs 2,000 crore for the purchase of 50,000 “Made in India” ventilators. 
  • It is to be hoped that they do not prove to be substandard. 

Litany of problems:

  • PM CARES comes with a litany of problems. 
  • The decision-makers at its helm belong to one political party. Besides, there is total lack of transparency about the use of the funds. 
  • The allegations of cronyismand favouritism with regard to spending are particularly of concern. 
  • The most worrying part, however, is the fund has clearly not benefited the people who needed help. 
  • The fund may be called PM CARES, but does the...................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 June 2020 (The academy we need (Indian Express))



The academy we need (Indian Express)



Mains Paper 2:National 
Prelims level: Higher education institutes
Mains level: Scenarios of online learning system in India, Difference between physical and Online learning, create institutional framework for online learning system, way forward

Context:

  • COVID-19 has shaken the landscapes of higher education institutes (HEIs) in tectonic ways. 
  • As they strive to reposition themselves in the context of social distancing for the unpredictable “new normal”, established modes of functioning have come asunder. 
  • It is not just the shape, size and form of the classroom that will change, but also what will be taught and how it will be taught.

 Re-imagining the academy:

  • While everyone awaits instructions “from above”, the lack of clear and consistent communication has hurtled the 37.4 million student population into bewildermentand anxiety about the future. 
  • If crises offer opportunities, this is the time especially for the public university, to wrest the initiative, break free of familiar drills and re-imagine the academy. 
  • Policymakers may welcome out-of-box initiatives at a time when they too grapple with uncertainties. 
  • Admission processes, methods of evaluation, the nature of governance, determination of “merit” — all need to be put to scrutiny.
  • Most official mandates thus far have centred on “hardware” issues, reflecting undoubtedly genuine concerns around a return to “functionality” by September. 
  • There is the predictable stress on the “completion of syllabi” and the mantra of “learning outcomes” while ensuring student safety and welfare. 
  • In spirit, they focus on mitigation. 
  • There is little to invoke the....................................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Careful calibration:

  • As universities scramble to put together their online infrastructure with insufficient preparation, learning from home has involved a complete rejigof the spatio-temporal dimension. 
  • “Distance education”, traditionally the less preferred sibling of the “regular” system, has moved mainstream in its tech avatar. 
  • The “new normal” will see several more unanticipated inversions.
  • The pivot to online platforms, including the UGC mandate to shift 25 per cent of teaching online for the future, must be carefully calibrated to avoid exclusions that dilute affirmative action initiatives on campuses. 
  • The uses of technology as an online resource for teaching-learning must not blind us to its propensity to exacerbate inequalities in the increasingly heterogenous higher education space in India. 
  • A combination of government policies — the Right to Education and reservations among them — has enabled a considerable influx of members from erstwhile marginalised groups. 

Key challenges:

  • Where education shifts from class to online, students with uneven access to technology, learning resources, internet connectivity and lacking in suitable physical space, will be disproportionately affected. 
  • Women and students with special needs, in particular, those from homes that are financially stressed, or where higher education is not a valued priority will be doubly disadvantaged. 
  • Those in dysfunctional families with additional caring responsibilities during the crisis will face particular challenges.
  • A new paradigm that includes asynchronous learning as a digital framework, can provide diverse learners with flexible access to study materials and connect them with classmates and instructors at their preferred pace and time. 
  • This will need a range of online resources. Agile and imaginative leadership must harness its potential, drawing on the experience of open universities. 

Problems with complex ecosystem:

  • In the complex ecosystem of higher education in India, comprising over 1,000 universities, approximately 40,000 colleges and around 10,000 stand-alone institutions, one size will just not fit all. 
  • For the majority of teachers, especially in colleges, the urgent imperative of COVID-19 has involved hurriedly switching from face-to-face teaching to virtual education.
  • This has required considerably more time for preparation and scheduling more one-on-one meetings with students. 
  • In many institutions, it has meant merely collating information from web sources disseminating lecture notes through WhatsApp, with a few Zoom or Google Meet sessions added on.
  • Faculty have seen these largely as interim measures to meet a crisis. 
  • They are secure in the faith that in the academy where human interactions are deeply valued, the “virtual” communities of the electronic media will not make committed and competent teachers obsolete.

Importance of physical learning:

  • Every educator has experienced the thrills of shared everyday joy in the proximate classroom space — the flicker of recognition, the acceptance of an idea, the quizzical articulations. 
  • Such unmediated communication remains the authentic barometer of learning resonance, the ultimate spur of motivation. 
  • Technology has not yet crossed that Rubicon. 
  • The ruminative space of the tutorial too has all but vanished.
  • The intensity of co-curricular endeavour; 
  • the allure of the sports field, the camaraderie of cultural engagement; 
  • the life-changing interactions in hostels; 
  • the friendly sparring of dialogue and debate; 
  • the discovery of unfamiliar worlds; 
  • new calibrations of identity; 
  • autonomy and freedom and the tangible lessons in citizenship; 
  • bargaining and coexistence. 

Rare opportunity:

  • The academy of our imagination stands interrupted.
  • Yet, this crisis offers the rare opportunity to re-envision and expand academic autonomy in the public university space. 
  • Also, it presents the chance to wrest the over-centralised structures, to push the envelope on spaces for creative enquiry and engagement.
  • At the core are substantive questions of our processes of knowledge production and dissemination — our epistemic structures. 
  • How hospitable are we to the multiple intelligences that diverse learners bring to the academy? 
  • How do we effectively break the hierarchies and silos of different disciplines and become sensitive to a genuine pluralism of ideas even as they cohere and collide? 
  • How open can we be to the uneven reverberations of learning? How do we encourage the easy flow of critical thinking, to move beyond “received curricula”? How “constructivist” is our pedagogy? 

Learn and Re-learn: 

  • Current structures of education are attempting to prepare students for futures that we cannot predict, given the pace of change. 
  • We are unable to accurately ascertain what new skills can now be learnt for the jobs of tomorrow. 
  • The ability to constantly learn and re-learn will be key to navigate the maze of the future.
  • This moment might ironically be the opening in the academy.
  • For teachers and students to become better co-learners and partners in knowledge production; 
  • For teachers to revisit their pedagogy, providing greater room to engage with dialogic exploration and rumination; 
  • For administrators to develop moredeft and equitous internal mechanisms to meet contingencies; 
  • For young learners to acquire the mental and emotional skills to deal with the disruption and discontinuities that will likely define this century. 

Conclusion:

  • Yuval Harari cautions us that big data and technology will set the algorithms of living and being in inscrutableways that impinge upon human autonomy and choice. 
  • Opportunity that the COVID-19 challenge presents should be used to reinvent higher education along pathways too long blocked by apathy, hubris and intransigence. 
  • A collaborative effort that keeps the student at the centre of such engagement................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

(E-Book) YOJANA MAGAZINE HINDI PDF - JUN 2020 (HINDI)

 (E-Book) YOJANA MAGAZINE PDF - JUN 2020 (HINDI)

  • Medium: Hindi
  • E-BOOK NAME : YOJANA MAGAZINE PDF -JUN 2020
  • Total Pages: 56
  • PRICE: 49/- FREE/- (only for few days)
  • Hosting Charges: NIL
  • File Type: PDF File Download Link via Email

Content Table

  • उद्योग 4.0 (डॉ रंजीत मेहता)
  • अटल नवप्रवर्तन मिशन: नवाचार को बढ़ावा (आर रमणन, नमन अग्रवाल, हिमांशु अग्रवाल)
  • सोशल मीडिया : सार्वभौमिक तथा व्यापक रूप से प्रभावी (अमित रंजन)
  • डिजिटल इंडिया (डॉ शीतल कपूर)
  • कृत्रिम मेधा से स्थानीयकरण (बालेन्दु शर्मा दधीच)
  • कोविड-19 विषाणु विज्ञान (डॉ सराह चेरियन, डॉ प्रिया अब्राहम)
  • प्रवासी और आर्थिक विकास (सुचिता कृष्णप्रसाद)
  • लॉकडाउन में ऑनलाइन शिक्षण (डॉ के डी प्रसाद, डॉ भानु प्रताप सिंह)
  • भारतीय सिनेमा में प्रौद्योगिकी का बदलता स्वरूप (संजय श्रीवास्तव)
  • भारत वैज्ञानिक प्रकाशन वाले देशों में तीसरे स्थान पर
  • कृषि उपज व्यापार पोर्टल ई-नाम प्लेटफॉर्म,
  • वेंटिलेटर 'स्वस्थ वायु' का विकास
  • एमएसएमई चैंपियन्स पोर्टल
  • करेंसी नोटों को कीटाणुमुक्त करने के लिए स्वचालित यूवी सिस्टम,
  • कोविड-19: नवोन्मेषी समाधान प्रतियोगिता

Click Here to Download PDF

Related E-Books:

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 June 2020 (Reorienting Indias food basket Act on pulses now Indian Express)



Reorienting India’s food basket: Act on pulses now(Indian Express)



Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Red gram and Bengal gram
Mains level: Uses of technologies and procurement scheme can boosts pulses production in India

Context:

  • Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus the need to reorient our food basket. 
  • Plant-based nutrition will be seen as a more sustainable system of production and consumption from the environment and nutrition viewpoint. 
  • This fits well with SDG-12 (responsible consumption and production).

Role of pulses as a nutrient: 

  • Pulses are a great source of protein for Indians, especially vegetarians. 
  • They are an essential part of our food, and their importance has to increase now. We need to pay more attention to pulses cultivation and consumption.
  • Red gram and Bengal gram (chana) account for most of India’s pulse production, followed by black gram and green gram. 
  • They are grown in rice fallow cultivation (coastal regions) of Andhra and Orissa. 
  • Red gram (kharif crop) is grown mainly in the Deccan plateau, while Bengal gram (rabi crop) is grown in different parts. 
  • Increasing population, improved incomes and enhanced awareness about nutrition has boosted demand for pulses in the last two decades.

Pulses production output timeline: 

  • In 2000, about 14 million tons (mt) of pulses accounted for 22 million ha (mha) of land. In 2010, the acreage increased to 26 mha with an annual production of 16 mt and annual import of 4 mt. 
  • By 2015, the demand inched up to 22 mt, and the imports rose to 5 mt. The retail price of tur dal touched Rs 180/kg. 
  • To ease the situation, the government increased the acreage to 30 mha, and imports increased from 5 mt in 2015 to 6.3 mt in 2016. 
  • Though this brought the prices............

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Procurement of pulses grain to support farmers: 

  • The Food Corporation entered the market in a big way to procure pulses. 
  • This year the imports are expected to be below 1 mt. Currently, the retail price of tur dal is hovering around Rs 100/kg.
  • Balancing farmers’ welfare and consumers’ welfare is a tough ask. The MSP for pulses has increased every year. 
  • Similarly, tur dal support price increased from Rs 46.25/kg in 2015 to Rs 58/kg this year; support price for black gram, Bengal gram and green gram, went up from Rs 46.25/kg to Rs 57/kg, Rs 35/kg to Rs 48.75/kg and Rs 48.50/kg to Rs 70/kg, respectively.
  • Although these support prices provided relief for the farmers, on many occasions, the market price was less than the support price, especially when large-scale imports took place, and when the government did not procure enough quantities at the support price.

Research and development in higher-yielding varieties:

  • Efforts to develop higher-yielding varieties are going on, especially at the Directorate of Pulses Research, based at Kanpur, and ICRISAT, Hyderabad.
  • Directorate of Pulses data shows that the actual yields in the farmers’ fields are less than the yields in the demonstration plots of research institutions by about 47% in red gram, 52% in Bengal gram, 53% in black gram and 26% in green gram. 
  • This may be attributed to weather-related issues, pests and diseases and improper application of fertilisers.
  • There is a need to take up projects that increase yields, protein content and make our red gram varieties more tolerant to the dreaded pod borer, which causes 50% yield losses, drought situations, and to several fungal and bacterial diseases. 
  • Since these are mostly rainfed crops, there is an acute need to develop varieties which mature faster. 
  • We must invest in using modern science and technology to develop hybrids in red gram.

Application of technologies:

  • Farmers use heavy doses of pesticides to control the pod borer in red gram and the diseases in black gram and green gram. 
  • Researchers have been trying to develop varieties that are tolerant to borer but have not been very successful. 
  • There is a strong case to use Bt technology, used in cotton to control the same insect. This can dramatically reduce the use of pesticides and increase yields in red gram and Bengal gram.
  • Development of these two crops with Bt has been going on, but needs regulatory progress.
  • Micro-irrigation tool like Hose Reel technology-based irrigation system could be perfectly suited for these crops.
  • To fight yield-reducing water stress, we should not hesitate to use modern technology like the GM trait Water Use Efficiency, which will act as an insurance policy for the farmers against drought. 
  • Similarly, we should use modern genomics and dig deeper into their genome to find useful genes that can help these crops to resist pests, diseases and water stress conditions. 
  • Private investments could be encouraged in this........................

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Promoting mixed crops farming: 

  • Encouraging farmers to grow pulses as mixed crops with sugar cane and to bring 1.2 mha of additional cultivation of pulses in rice fallow lands is a good step. 
  • Increased yields and production should not reduce the price realisation of the farmers. Market reforms to improve profitability are critical. 
  • While the new e-NAM is expected to help, we may have to make more efforts in setting up village-level primary processing and grading centres. 
  • The government may encourage new entrepreneurs and FPOs to jump in by providing them with policy and funding support.

Way ahead:

  • We also need a long-term and predictable policy environment for import and export of pulses. Sudden decisions to import can land the farmers in distress.
  • Pulses need to be included in PDS and in the mid-day meals to improve nutrition standards.
  • Another reason for encouraging cultivation is the water efficiency of the crop. One-hectare millimetre of water can produce 12.5 kg of Bengal gram while it can produce only 7 kg of wheat and 2.5 kg of paddy. 
  • They also fix nitrogen in the soil, thereby improving the soil health.

Conclusion:

  • It is time to convert some of the acreages under cereals to grow pulses. 
  • This will help bring greater balance to the crop portfolio, especially considering the changing food basket. It is also better for the environment.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EDITORIAL (Only for Course Members)

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - trainee5's blog