UPSC MAINS 2015 General Studies 3 Solved
Instructions: Answer the following questions in not more than 200 words each. Contents of the answers are more important than their length. All questions carry equal marks.
Note: Each question carries 12.5 Marks (12.5×20 = 200 Marks )
1.The nature of economic growth in India in recent times is often described as a jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer.
India’s unemployment experiences are different from the structural transformations and job displacements associated with faster technological progress happening in the developed countries.With the adoption of neo-liberal policies labour-intensive sectors were relegated to the background and capital-intensive labour displacing sectors were encouraged.
There has been acceleration in capital intensification at the expense of creating employment. A good part of the resultant increase in labour productivity was retained by the employers as the product wage did not increase in proportion to output growth. The workers as a class thus lost in terms of both additional employment and real wages in organised manufacturing sector.” Neo-liberal policies resulted in a drop in the rate of labour absorption and rapid growth of the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sector) economy. FIRE economies generated job opportunities only for skilled labour to make deals and securing agreements. The much-hyped IT and ITES sectors employed very small percentage of the force.
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2.Livestock rearing has a big potential for providing non- farm employment and income in rural areas. Discuss suggesting suitable measures to promote this sector in India.
There are some limitations and challenges in livestock promotion among poor farmers – inadequate feed and water resources, low productivity and limited availability of health services, and poor management practices, and these need to be addressed. While the mainstream research and extension hardly reach the small farmers, there are some efforts made by the NonGovernmental organizations as well as some specific projects, which can serve as examples to be emulated. All these examples bring out the importance of a participatory process and how peoples initiatives can bring about sustainable solutions. From being research centric, many institutions are moving towards farmer-centric research and extension. For example, under the Indo-Swiss project, the government of Sikkim involved farmers in a Participatory development Technology process, enabling farmers chose a right feed management option.
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3.In the view of the declining average size of land holdings in India which has made agriculture non – viable for a majority of farmers should contract farming and land leasing be promoted in agriculture? critically evaluate the pros and cons.
In the wake of economic liberalization, the concept of contract farming in which national or multinational companies enter into contracts for marketing of the horticultural produce and also provide technologies and capital to contract farmers has gained importance. According to this, bipartie agreements are made between the farmer and the company and the latter contributes directly to the management of the farm through input supply as well as technical guidance and also markets the produce. The main features of this type of contract farming are that selected crops are grown by farmers under a buy back agreement with an agency engaged in trading or processing. In such cases, the centralized processing and marketing agencies supply technology and resources, including planting materials and occasional crop supervision. Under such contracts, the farmer assumes the production related risks, which the price risk is transferred to the company.
In some cases, the company also bears the production risk, depending on the stage of crop growth at which the contract is made.If the contract is made at flowering or fruiting stage, the company bears the production risks also. In any case, the company bears the entire costs of transaction and marketing. It is this variant of contract farming which is said to be one of the ways by which small farmers can participate in the production of high value crops like fruits, vegetables, flowers etc. and benefit from market led growth. Land Leasing: There are three different types of leases- A. Crop Share Lease Advantages Both landowner and tenant can enjoy more of a true partnership and better communication when they use this type of lease. There is a higher potential for revenue, and the landowner is more involved with the decisions regarding production, purchasing, and marketing. Tenants can enjoy a fair “rent paid” since this lease is production-based, and the costs are typically split. The landowner will also share the risk with the tenant. Disadvantages This sort of lease is kind of difficult to navigate as both landowner and tenant will need to track the costs, FSA paperwork, and more. Landowner and tenant alike will have to work together to make certain decisions together and agree on crop share splits, which may be tough if they have different ideas and philosophies, and determining the costs for drying, transporting, and storing crops can be problematic. Landowners may also be unsure of the amount of money they will receive each year as they are sharing in the risk, and there is always a potential to make less if there are poor yields or a downturn in market prices (or both). Tenants could end up paying more here than in the other lease types, and the FSA payment is shared with landowner.
B. Straight Cash Lease.
Advantages: This sort of lease is the simplest of all and allows for the easiest budgeting. Landowners have virtually no risk; they have the highest guaranteed income, and they are relieved of virtually all decisions except for terms of the lease and capital improvements. Tenants can enjoy the freedom to make any and all cropping and production decisions and not so much recordkeeping. They also will receive all of the FSA direct payments. Disadvantages: A fair lease is hard to determine with volatility in grain markets and input prices and perhaps should be determined annually. Cash rents are likely to be too low in times of rising prices and increasing yields, and too high in times of decreasing/low prices or yields. Landowners also have the least amount of control and involvement in this type of lease. Their soil conservation efforts cannot be expenses, and they must be capitalized into the value of the land. Tenants have a decent likelihood of overpaying or underpaying for the land and assume virtually all risk. They also usually require more working capital if the rents are due at the beginning of the cropping season.
C. Flex Lease
Advantages The rent that is paid and received is in direct proportion to the yields received or the market prices available or both. This lease is also simpler than the crop share lease and provides the
opportunity for longer term leases as the need to renegotiate the rent as frequently to make sure it is fair is eliminated. Landowners have a guaranteed income component and even the potential for an increased income. While they share in some of the risk, the risk is usually fairly limited. Tenants have the freedom to make all the cropping and production decisions and don’t bear all of the risks alone. This lease also improves working capital positions since the flex portion of the rent paycheck isn’t paid until harvest.
Disadvantages Landowners and tenants must agree on the base amount and method to determine the “flex amount” or bonus, and verifying the accuracy of the yields can prove to be difficult. Landowners may not know how much they’ll receive each year, and the guaranteed revenue is not as high for landowners. There is also a certain amount of tracking that may be necessary for the landowner to do. For tenants, there is a possible risk of base rent being over the amount determined by yields or market prices, and flex leases based only on yields or only on market prices can actually increase the tenant’s risk.
4.How can the Digital India program help farmers to improve farm productivity and income? What step has the government taken in this regard?
Government’s “Digital India” project launched on 1st July 2015 envisions empowering citizens with e-access to government services and livelihood related services, among others. The project has three core components, viz. digital infrastructure, digital services and digital literacy. Mobile phone is the preferred delivery medium with focus on mGovernance and mServices. The mAgriculture and mGramBazar, out of the seven components covered under mServices, directly impact agricultural extension and marketing services. The project will benefit small farmers. It seeks to
[i] Transform rural India into a digitally-empowered knowledge economy
[ii]Provide universal phone connectivity and access to broadband in 250,000 villages
[iii] Extend timely services to farmers through information technology and its tools
[iv] Enhance efficiency in agricultural governance through digital literacy and electronic delivery of services. This article briefly highlights government’s initiatives and suggests the need for harnessing potential of digital India for agricultural development.
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5.In what way could replacement of price subsidy with direct benefit Transfer (DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss.
The introduction of DBTL will improve the operational efficiency of the LPG subsidy system, and result in significant savings in overall subsidy expenditure. Direct Benefit Transfer is a mechanism to transfer the subsidy amount directly to the bank account of beneficiaries. Main agendas for DBT is to prevent and address following 1. Leakages, 2. Delays. 3. Reducing structural expenses in distributing the subsidies in hand. 4. Encouraging everyone to have bank account to get engaged in financial activities.
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6.What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming this bottleneck?
Using E-Commerce, organization can expand their market to national and international markets with minimum capital investment. An organization can easily locate more customers, best suppliers and suitable business partners across the globe.E-Commerce helps organization to reduce the cost to create process, distribute, retrieve and manage the paper based information by digitizing the information.E-commerce improves the brand image of the company. E-commerce helps organization to provide better customer services.E-Commerce helps to simplify the business processes and make them faster and efficient. E-Commerce reduces paper work a lot. E-Commerce increased the productivity of the organization. It supports “pull” type supply management. In “pull” type supply management, a business process starts when a request comes from a customer and it uses just-in-time manufacturing way.
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7.Craze for gold in Indian has led to surge in import of gold in recent years and put pressure on balance of payments and external value of rupee. In view of this, examine the merits of Gold Monetization scheme.
The gold grows itself in this scheme.
1.The weight of gold remain same forever if you keep is in the house. But the GMS increases the weight of the gold according to the given interest rate.
2. You need not to worry about the security of the gold. It can’t be stolen.
3. You can save the expense of locker. Lockers are not cheap.
4. You will get the true value of your gold.
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8.“Success of make in India program depends on the success of Skill India programme and radical labour reforms.” Discuss with logical arguments.
For a successful Make in India program, the changes India need not involve a reversion to licence raj but making the whole of India a fertile habitat for all kinds and sizes of entrepreneurship. India today is a hostile habitat for entrepreneurship; we need entrepreneurs to generate our own power, provide transport, get our own security and find our own employees. Skill India could equip with necessary skills required to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship. Instead of Special Economic Zones, we need to fix the whole country by moving from deals to rules-based system, rebooting the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, getting rid of the labour and tax-inspector raj, implementing Goods and Services Tax (GST), growing the venture capital industry etc.
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9.To what factors can be the recent dramatic fall in equipment cost and tariff of solar energy be attributed? What implications does the trend have for thermal power producers and related industry?
Cost of production dropped 60%; price to equal thermal power’s in three years- towards harnessing solar power at cheaper cost. The price of solar power closer to the price of thermal power — produced from coal or gas, and India’s largest source. Solar is also seeing increasing adoption at the consumer level. Micro grids, of 150 watts (powering 20 households) to 5 kilo watt (40 households and commercial use like water pumps) are being set up to independently power villages. There are solar lanterns and street lights. Solarbased products have a huge market in remote areas, where they can easily replace costly diesel and kerosene. A micro grid entails installing a small field of solar panels at a central location in a village. The panels generate solar power during the day and store it in batteries. In the night, this power is released for seven hours to houses connected to the grid.
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10.There is a clear acknowledgement that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are a tool of industrial development, manufacturing and exports. Recognising this potential, the whole instrumentality of SEZs require augmentation. Discuss the issue plaguing the success of SEZs with respect to taxation, governing laws and administration.
Established on the basis of tax concessions, the SEZ units can avail tax exemptions and fiscal sops (refer box item incentives and benefits to SEZs). Ultimately, the cost of their manufacturing is based on these tax benefits.Units outside SEZs get some benefits which are not available with SEZs units. When these taxes were imposed on SEZ units, these units found it rather discouraging to work in SEZs as com¡pared to units in Domestic Tariff Area (DTA).
Continuous changes in the government policies like imposition of MAT and DDT, duty drawbacks for certain industries given outside and not within SEZs, and lack of clear state policies on SEZs in many parts of the country, have also impacted the growth of SEZs in the past. Apart from taxation, the industry experts also face hindrance in the form of lack of policy at the state level. Despite Central Government´s SEZ Act, many state governments have not framed their own SEZ policies, worsening the woes of the developers and the units. Thus, lack of single window clearances at the state level makes the approval procedure for developers a cumbersome task.
11.What do you understand by “Standard Positioning System” and “Precision positioning system” in the GPS era? Discuss the advantage India perceives from its ambitious IRNSS programme employing just seven satellites.
The Standard Positioning System is a service supplied from the net of satellites of system GPS. The SPS is used for uses civil, while service PPS remains classified to the military use. The SPS concurs to construct simple and economic receivers much and works on one single frequency. The Precision Positioning System (PPS) is a service supplied from the net of satellites of the system Global Positioning System (GPS) specific for the military use.
2. Surveying and Town/Construction Planning
3. Disaster Management
4. IRNSS can provide synchronised time information.
7. Satellites can be used for precision guiding of missiles, bombs and aircraft.
8. Troops can use satellite data to carry out pre..
12.What are the areas of prohibitive labour that can be sustainably managed by robots? Discuss the initiatives that can propel the research in premier research institutes for substantive and gainful innovation.
They can also change the face of precision farming, as devices like autonomous tractors and farm drones take the dirty work out of farming. Meanwhile, autonomous dairy systems like FutureDairy are helping out with robotic milking and herding.Robotics technology is also rushing into the dim, murky, and debris-strewn tunnels of mines. Autonomous devices like driverless trucks and precision drilling techniques are being deployed by mining giants like Rio Tinto, which has funded one of the world’s largest non-military robot programs.
13.Discuss the advantage and security implication of cloud hosting of servers vis-a-vis in house machine based hosting for government business.
Storage and Scalability, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Mobility, Cost Efficiency, Enable IT Innovation.
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14.India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which has a database containing formatted information on more than 2 million medicinal formulations is proving a powerful weapon in country’s fight against erroneous patents. Discuss the pro and cons of making the database available publicly available under open source licensing.
Lower-cost option, voluntary, recommend a solution, Open source fits some, but not all. The ability to listen to the needs, understand their reliability, are problems
15.Discuss the Namami Gange and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) programmes and causes of mixed results from the previous schemes. What quantum leaps can help preserve the river Ganga better than incremental inputs?
Feasible plan, corruption, department unable to devote their fullest time, Sewage treatment issues.
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16.The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects.
Delay in plan preparation, State not responsive, structural changes in urban planning, people education on disaster 17
17.Human right activists constantly highlight the fact that the Armed forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is a draconian act leading to cases of human right abuses by security forces. What sections of AFSPA are opposed by the activists. Critically evaluate the requirement with reference to the view held by Apex Court.
AFSPA is a bare law with just six sections. The most criticised are those in 4th and 6th section: The former enables security forces to “fire upon or otherwise use force even to the causing of death” where laws being violated. The later says no criminal prosecution will lie against any person who has taken action under this act. Further the AFSPA provides no specific time limit for holding arrested persons to the nearest police station. Section 5 of the AFSPA vaguely advises that those arrested be transferred to police “with the least possible…
18.Religious indoctrination via social media has resulted in Indian youth joining the ISIS. What is ISIS and its mission? How can ISIS be dangerous to the internal security of our country.
ISIS, (also know as Daesh, ISIL or simply Islamic State) is a Jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria influenced by the Wahhabi movement. It aims to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state in Sunni majority regions of Iraq and Syria. ISIS can become the fulcrum of terrorism against India, well-established intelligence and logistic network, in a symbiotic relationship. The social media campaign by the ISIS is ideally placed to exploit alienated members of the society. While India may be amongst the most challenging targets for a radical organisation like the ISIS, given the strong roots of liberalism, democracy and secularism in the country, from the perspective of the ISIS, this is a prize which could well tip the balance in its favour, not only in the region but also beyond
19.The persisting drives of the government for development of large industries in backward areas have resulted in isolating the tribal population and the farmers who face multiple displacements. With Malkangiri and Naxalbari foci, discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) doctrine affected citizens back into mainstream of social and economic growth.
Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 60 Selected Tribal and Backward Districts. The Development Commissioner/equivalent officer in charge of development in the State is responsible for scrutiny of expenditure and monitoring of the IAP. To attract youth in naxal affected areas, government announced that it would employ large number of youth from these regions in government jobs. Potable Water and Good Roads
20.Considering the threats cyberspace poses for the country, India needs a “Digital Armed Forces” to prevent crimes. Critically evaluate the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 outlining the challenges perceived in its effective implementation.
India is presently facing many sophisticated cyber security problems and challenges that need attention of our policy makers. It is equally important to establish a strong, robust and resilient cyber security infrastructure in India on priority basis. This must include creation of offensive and defensive cyber security capabilities of India. India must also develop indigenous software and hardware so that dependence upon foreign imports can be minimi…
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