23 Solved Questions with Answers
18. Performance of welfare schemes that are implemented for vulnerable sections is not so effective due to absence of their awareness and active involvement at all stages of policy process. Discuss.
The welfare schemes are the schemes, designed to provide the necessary means for the development of individuals, groups or a community. Generally, they are targeted towards the vulnerable and marginalised section of the society.
However, It is observed that the benefits intended to be delivered to the people through these schemes do not reach the beneficiaries because of weakness in administrative planning delivery mechanism and lack of awareness of the targeted groups. It is also observed that many development projects and programmes have failed in the past because of the inadequacies in design, implementation,involvement and general awareness about the policy in the public.
Ineffectiveness of the Policies
- Weak professional support to design, implement and monitor schemes at national, state and local levels.
- Too realistic or too optimistic assumptions, based on technical and non-technical parameters without the knowledge of the local situation, proper database and resource constraints, making the policies suffer at last.
- Poor policy formulation due to the unawareness about the vulnerable sections and area specific approach to handle distinct groups.
- No systematic attempt to identify people who need welfare schemes, determine their needs, address them and enable them properly.
- Inadequate analysis of environmental and rehabilitation implications.
- Delays in clearances from regulatory authorities for land acquisition and in procurement of resources due to poor planning and coordination.
- Inability of the project management to take prompt decisions on various levels of policy making even if they are necessary to achieve the objectives.
- There is no consistent approach in the design of delivery mechanisms and do not provide flexibility needed for different development levels of a policy.
- Lack of strict time frames, financial mechanisms and inter agency cooperation pose challenges.
- Most of the schemes are unrelated to each other with little horizontal convergence or vertical integration resulting in conflicts.
- Policies and programmes are not evaluated on their outcomes instead focus stays on monitoring finances.
- No method to ensure that policies reach everybody they are meant for.
The quality of policy framework and effectiveness of implementation of the policies are as important as the availability of resources for the realisation of the intended policy objectives. Availability of funds alone is not sufficient for tackling socio-economic problems like poverty and backwardness. Both implementing bodies as well as the benefitting people have to be aware of each others’ situations and work harmoniously.
18. National Education Policy 2020 isin conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient education system in India. Critically examine the statement.
Recently, the Government announced the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which will replace the National Policy on Education, 1986. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 aims to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030”.
Is NEP in tune with SDG 4?
- Promote free primary and secondary education and universal literacy and numeracy (SDG 4.1 and 4.6):
- NEP aims at universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
- The Policy also makes education more inclusive by proposing the extension of the Right to Education (RTE) to all children up to the age of 18.
- Eliminate all discrimination in education (SDG 4.5): NEP focuses on bringing 2 crores out of school children back into the mainstream through an open schooling system.
- Equal access to quality pre-primary education (SDG 4.2): The Policy also recognizes the importance of the crucial early stage for the development of mental faculties of a child by bringing uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum with three years of Anganwadi/pre-schooling.
- Ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university (SDG 4.3):
- NEP emphasises on Vocational Education from Class 6 with Internships.
- The Policy overhauls the undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification.
- The National Research Foundation will be created for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to promote free exchange of ideas and technology.
- Substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries (SDG 4.C): A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.
NEP 2020 has the potential to make an overwhelming impact on the socio-economic fabric of society, as expected in SDG-4. However, its effective implementation coupled with sufficient financing may become the defining factor of its success.
- Promote free primary and secondary education and universal literacy and numeracy (SDG 4.1 and 4.6):
18. Can Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations present an alternative model of public service delivery to benefit the common citizen? Discuss the challenges of this alternative model.
Civil society refers to the communities and groups that function outside of government to provide support and advocacy for certain people and/or issues in society. A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) is a non-profit group organised on community, national and international levels to serve a social or political goal such as humanitarian causes or the environment.
Role of Civil societies and NGOs as an alternative model of public service delivery:
- Civil society and NGOs can provide a ready pool of volunteers and resources that the government can tap into.
- Issues of inclusion-exclusion errors can be addressed through grass-root verification by the volunteers.
- Skill enhancement and livelihood support schemes like National Rural Livelihood Mission can be made more effective through involvement of civil society and NGOs.
- The last-mile delivery of public services can be addressed. For example, during the COVID-19 lockdown, several voluntary groups distributed food, ration, and vegetables for the homeless and the migrants.
- Civil society and NGOs can play the role of effectively communicating the needs of people to the government. For example, the PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was launched in response to Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan’s petitioning to distribute food grains to everyone.
Civil societies and NGOs can have a positive influence on the state and the market. But there are various challenges such as:
- Ad-hocism and lack of continuity in the delivery process.
- The issue of misappropriation of funds is highlighted every now and then. There are issues where the civil society or an NGO is accused of using foreign funds for provoking protests and stall governmental projects.
- There have also been reports of NGOs lobbying parliamentarians and using the media to manipulate issues in their favour.
- The ‘big brother attitude’ of the government officials and their mindset of construing NGOs simply as contractors fulfilling staffing requirements.
Civil society and NGOs can be made an integral part of the development process but, given the prevalent situation, they cannot completely substitute the administrative channels for the delivery of public service delivery. Nevertheless, the civil society/NGOs and the administrative channels need to coordinate to carry out the public service delivery efficiently and effectively.
18. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 remains indadequate in promoting incentive-based system for children's education without generating awareness about the importance of schooling. Analyse.
The Right to Education Act 2009 (RTE Act 2009) was enacted by the Parliament of India on 4th August 2009. It provides for free and compulsory education for children aged between 6-14 years under Article 21(A) of the Constitution of India. India is one of the 135 countries to have made education a fundamental right for every child.
Main Features of RTE Act 2009
- Compulsory and free education for all up to class 8.
- Maintain proper norms and standards relating to
- Separate toilets for girls and boys
- Drinking water facility
- Special provisions for admission of children out of school. They will be admitted to an age-appropriate class.
- Zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment.
- No child can be held back or expelled from school till Class 8.
- All private schools to reserve 25 % of their seats for children belonging to socially disadvantaged and economically weaker sections.
Incentives provided to encourage parents and children to complete education
- Free of cost textbooks, uniforms and stationary items.
- Mid-Day Meal scheme (PM Poshan): The scheme covers 11.80 crore children across Classes 1 to 8.
- Sarva Siksha Abhiyan
- To add additional classrooms, toilets and drinking facilities.
- Providing education to the differently abled or children with special needs.
- To bridge the digital gap by offering computer education to the children.
- Strengthening for providing quality Education in Madrassas (SPQEM)
- To bring about qualitative education and follow National Education System standards in subjects.
- Providing Science labs, Computer labs in the secondary and higher secondary stage madrasas.
Key issues for achieving RTE
- Lack of awareness among child labourers, migrant children, differently abled children about free educations, books, uniforms and other incentives.
- Lack of awareness about 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of the society.
- Lack of awareness about the fundamental right Article 21A.
- Minorities children especially the poor class are unaware for special provisions under the SPQEM scheme.
Steps Need to Be Taken to Create Awareness
- Campaign: The representative of local bodies and Sarpanch of Panchayats should organise campaign in their local areas.
- Awareness can be done with the help social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
- The Government teachers should be visit to the backward areas to aware people about the incentives provided by the government like mid-day meal.
It has been twelve years since the implementation of RTE Act, but it still has a long way to go to be called successful in its purpose. All parents want their child to get quality education and food, but due to limited awareness, deserving children are missing out of school. Hence, digital media campaign can change the scenario and India’s demographic dividend will turn into asset for the nation.
17. “Poverty Alleviation programs in India remain mere showpieces until and unless they are backed up by political will.” Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation program in India. (2017)
In the last 15 years, India has seen the adoption of an ‘alphabet soup’ of ambitious national anti-poverty programs. However, the effectiveness of these programs has always been questioned. Below Poverty Line card, traditionally the main point of access to government welfare schemes has turned out to be a failure. According to reports as many as half of India’s poor households do not even possess a BPL card as their allocations have been discretionary.
The plethora of programmes that have been launched by the various departments, more or less for the same objective, covering by and large the same target group in the same area, has created quite a bit administrative confusion. Another weakness in the implementation side relates to the lack of political will which is quite obvious in the rural development area. The main point of deficient implementation can be summarized as under:
- Half-hearted implementation of the programme
- Lack of political commitment or strong leadership behind it
- Faulty administrative structure and also its incapability in translating policy into programmes and plans into action
- Limited ways of checking corruption and leakages that diverts the flow of benefits.
However, not all can be termed a failure. For instance, NREGA, another flagship scheme is universalistic by design, promises employment and a guaranteed income to households. It has been hailed by politicians and experts alike.
Causes of failure
- There is no systematic attempt to identify people who are in poverty, determine their needs, address them and enable them to move above the poverty line.
- There is no commitment by the government to support an individual or a household for getting
minimumlevel of subsistence through any program.
- The resources allocated to anti-poverty programs are inadequate.
- There is no method to ensure that programs reach everybody they are meant for.
As things stand, many of those living in poverty today will continue to remain poor over time. The magnitude of the problem, demands that we address the poverty challenge on a priority basis.
- Half-hearted implementation of the programme
17. How far do you agree with the view that the focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India? (2018)
Hunger is a stark and bitter reality for teeming millions in India who are caught under the ‘poverty trap’. It is also quite true that the single point focus on lack of availability of food as the prime reason for hunger has kept the ineffectiveness of human development policies in India in the background. Most of the poverty stricken households barely manage a difficult existence and struggle to provide their children with the nourishment they need to be healthy, happy and reach their full potential. Almost a third of Indian babies are born with low birth weight which is a very high number and reflects the ineffectiveness of human development policies in India. Lack of access to food, no access to drinking water, lack of sanitation facilities and gender inequity – all of these contribute to child malnutrition, which again stems from hunger and poverty.
Ending hunger and malnutrition will not be achieved by focusing on food security and agriculture alone. Policymakers in India must acknowledge the critical need to link action in addressing food security to national strategies across sectors. There is a need to pursue a “zero hunger” programme with no stunted children below the age of two. This should be a multipronged strategy that focuses on improving agricultural productivity, empowers women through support for maternal and child care practices, and offers nutritional education and social protection programmes. The nutrition mission must develop effective protocols for treating the acutely malnourished while ensuring better coordination between the nutrition and healthcare departments. India should adopt a zero tolerance mindset in battling hunger through long-term political commitment and effective human development policies that do not see hunger as arising only out of lack of availability of food. The country’s serious hunger level is driven by high child malnutrition and underlines need for stronger commitment to the social sector and effective human development policies rooted in ground realities of India.
17. “Micro-Finance as an anti-poverty vaccine, is aimed at asset creation and income security of the rural poorin India”. Evaluate the role ofthe Self Help Groups in achieving the twin objectives along with empowering women in rural India.
Micro-Finance provides financial services to those who are not served by the conventional formal financial institutions. In rural India, where the credit market has been traditionally dominated by moneylenders, micro-finance becomes important to serve the credit requirement of poor and end the vicious cycle of debt trap through promoting income-generating activities.
Micro-Finance: An Anti-poverty Vaccine
- Microfinance services contribute to the improvement of resource allocation, promotion of markets, and adoption of better technology; thus, microfinance helps to promote economic growth and development.
- It assiststhe communities of the economically excluded to achieve a greater level of asset creation and income security at the household and community level.
- It aims to dispense access to the capital to small entrepreneurs.
- To promote Micro-Finance, the government launched initiatives like NABARD, MUDRA loans, etc. MUDRA providesrefinance support to Banks/NBFCsfor lending to micro units having loan requirements upto 10 lakh Rs.
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Micro-Finance
- SHGs are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions. In the last few decades, SHGs have emerged as the most effective mechanism for delivery of microfinance services to the poor in general and women in particular.
- The Genesis of SHG in India can be traced to the formation of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 1972.
- The income-generating and asset creating activities supported by SHGs include piggery farming, ginger cultivation, small business, handicraft and weaving, etc.
- They have a multiplier effect in improving women’ssocio-economic condition and enhancing theirself-esteem.
- For instance, Kudumbashree SHG of Kerala has created a three-tier community network which is run by Community Development Societies (CDSs) of poor women.
- One of the successful enterprises of Kudumbashree is Café Kudumbashree, which includes all women-run cafes as well as catering services.
- Kudumbashree women run more than 30,000 enterprises and have an annual turnover of 1090 million Rs.
For equitable and sustainable development in rural India, financial inclusion supported by MFIs plays an important role. It strengthens India’s ability to post fast economic growth with a focus on reducing poverty and empowering women.
17. “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu?
Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power, moral authority, special privilege, and control over property. Despite the prevalence of patriarchy in India, the status of women in post-Independent India has continuously changed with changing socio-economic and political realities. This change has been a result of external agents and catalysts like government initiatives and women-led movements.
Women have been empowered by spread of education, communication, media, political parties, and general awakening. Women like Kalpana Chawla, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Late Sushma Swaraj represent diverse fields of social work and professional life. But issues like the Sabarimala controversy, Triple Talaq, Madhya Pradesh HC judgement in POCSO Act, etc. highlight that patriarchal barriers to women empowerment remain deeply entrenched in society.
Apart from special focus on women education and women empowerment schemes, collective interventions are the need of the hour to change the conception that India is a patriarchal society. This can be done through:
- Imbibing gender equality ideas needs to start within homes, in attitudes of parents, spouse and siblings.
- Women must have the freedom to take important decisions of life such as which career to pursue, when to marry, etc.
- Setting up of specially designed courts (Fast Track Courts) for trying cases of violence against women. These courts could be mandated to finalise the case within a stipulated period.
- The cause of gender equality at work will be helped by balancing maternity leaves with paternity leaves.
- Administrative reforms need to factor in gender inclusion, especially in police. It can help de-emphasise the culture of violence in public life.
- Concepts like 24×7 cities can combine urbanisation, needs of public safety, and promote greater participation of women in economy and public life.
Thus, education and empowerment schemes are necessary to support the feminist movement, but issues hindering gender equality in India require more fundamental and practical approach.
17. Do you agree with the view that increasing dependence on donor agencies for development reduces the importance of community participation in the development process? Justify your answer.
Donor agencies are the agencies which provide financial help in the developmental process. It may be a national or international agency, like Japan International Cooperation, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc. In recent times, development processes have been getting dependent on donor agencies for the obvious reason to have easy access to funds.
However, this increasing dependence devoid of community participation is fraught with risks. In simple terms, community participation means involving the grassroot level stakeholders in the developmental process.
In this respect, the following points can be noted that pertain to the working of donor agencies:
- Given the strong financial backing of donor agencies there is less hindrance in the development process. However, they have less accountability in the whole process because they are very objective in nature rather than participatory.
- In the developmental process, donor agencies can have their own rules related to labour wages and their working conditions. This often reduces community participation to the extent that it even alienates the same communities for which it is vouched.
- They are more technology-oriented and productivity-focussed. This often causes a decrease in labour force participation. Additionally, donor agencies can also promote favoritism, this means that they help as per their choice not as per need. This can lead to regionally skewed development.
Thus, to ensure effective development process, community participation is a must to illustrate, consider the tribal areas. The best way to ensure its development is to involve the tribals by means of manpower contribution, social audit, allowing them to promote their language & culture, promotion of cooperative culture, etc.
If one gets dependent only on donor agencies then it is like a top-down approach to the development process which can often be away from the ground realities.
Thus, Donor agencies are humanitarian but if we get over-dependent on them, then they will ignore domestic or local needs and, in some way, it is like colonialism and this will affect community participation. So, a balanced approach is more suitable in any developmental process between donor agencies and communities.
16. “The incidence and intensity of poverty are more important in determining poverty based on income alone”. In this context analyse the latest United Nations Multidimensional Poverty Index Report.
According to the World Bank, Poverty is pronounced deprivation in well-being, and comprises many dimensions. It includeslow incomes and the inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary forsurvival with dignity.
A common method used to estimate poverty is based on the income or consumption levels and if the income falls below a given level, then the household is said to be poor. According to the World Bank population living under $1 income/day is considered poor. Similarly in India, as per the Rangarajan committee (2014), the poverty line is estimated as Monthly Per Capita Expenditure of 1407 Rs. in urban areas and 972 Rs. in rural areas.
Based on income, incidence of poverty is measured by the poverty ratio, which is the ratio of the number of poorto the total population. Butthe extent of poverty is not equal among the poors. Intensity of poverty estimates the depth of poverty by considering how far, on average, the poor are from that poverty line.
However, these income based estimates, offer a quantity based assessment by simply counting the poor below the poverty line, and remain limited at the qualitative level.
UN’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
- MPI is based on the idea that poverty not just depends on income and an individual may lack several basic needs like education, health, etc.
- The UN’s MPI presents quantitative as well as qualitative aspects of poverty. It uses three dimensions viz., Education, Health and living standard and gives score between 0-1.
- According to MPI report 2020, around 1.3 billion people are still living in multidimensional poverty.
- In 2019, the burden of multidimensional poverty disproportionately falls on children-half of multidimensionally poor were below 18.
- India was ranked 62nd among 107 countries with an MPI score of 0.123 with 27.9% head count.
- In 2019, around 19.3% of Indian population is vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.
- The report mentions that India lifted as many as 270 million people out of multidimensional poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
- MPI also reflects that COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the development landscape.
The MPI methodology shows aspects in which the poor are deprived and helps to reveal inter connections among those deprivations. Thus enabling policymakers to target resources and design policies more effectively. The MPI methodology can be, and often is, modified to generate national measures of Multidimensional Poverty that reflect local cultural, economic, climatic and other factors.
16. Besides the welfare schemes, India needs deft management of inflation and unemployment to serve the poor and the underprivileged sections of the society. Discuss.
India has leading demographic dividend, fifth largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. But on another side, the current inflation projection is around 6.7 percent. CMIE report says that India’s overall unemployment rate is 6.8 percent. Despite of large share of welfare funding in various scheme like PM AWAS YOJANA, AYUSHMAN BHARAT, MUDRA YOJANA etc, India’s considerable population live under poverty.
Need for deft management of inflation and unemployment
- It can help to smoothly functioning of demand- supply chains and positive growth cycle which can minimize unemployment.
- It can reduce the production cost which can minimise the unemployment rate.
- It can create the favourable investment opportunities and the new employment opportunities.
- It can help to reduce the fiscal deficit which can provide more funding to welfare schemes.
- It can help to address the economic chaos created by Covid19 pandemic.
- It can help to achieve the SDG Goals of No Poverty, No Hunger.
- It is key to envision the goal of Atam Nirabhar Bharat.
- Strictly adherence to FRBM act guidelines, Finance Commission recommendations, qualitative and quantitative instruments of monetary policy.
- Need for provision of ‘Urban MGNREGA’ like concept for urban poor (7.8 percent urban unemployment rate).
- Need of more skill development initiatives to harnessing the true potential of demographic dividends.
- Need to prepare buffer initiatives to save Indian economy from global spill over effects.
- Advance computing technology and data analytics to strategize inflation management and other schemes to serve the poor and under privileged sections.
- More Financial inclusion initiatives can help to reduce poverty and empowers the poor citizen.
- In age of globalisation, it is challenging to remain untouched from various geopolitical episodes like Russia- Ukraine War, China- Taiwan issues etc.
- Natural events like floods, cyclones and droughts mismanage the inflation management. These events lead to large-scale mass migration, poverty and hunger.
- Progress of welfare works can be hindered by political instability, elements of corruption and red tapism.
- Need to encourage local cooperative societies and self-help groups for more employment generation at local level.
- India’s logistics infrastructure should be integrated and robust. It would reduce the production cost and would create new employment.
- There should be more diverse skill enhancement initiatives to improve employment opportunities.
15. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. (2016)
India is a young nation. According to Census 2011, children constitute 39 per cent of the country’s population. The Constitution of India provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that children are protected from exploitation and moral and material abandonment.
The National Policy for Children, 2013 aims to protect the rights of the children to survival, health and nutrition; education and development; protection and participation for focused attention. It adheres to the Constitutional mandate and guiding principles of United Nations and reflects a paradigm shift from a need based to a rights-based approach.
The main provisions of National Child Policy are
- The Policy recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and covers all children within the territory and jurisdiction of the country.
- It ensure equitable access to comprehensive and essential preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative health care of the highest standard, for all children before, during and after birth, and throughout the period of their growth and development.
- It secures the right of every child to learning, knowledge, education, and development opportunity, with due regard for special needs, through access, provision and promotion of required environment, information, infrastructure, services and supports, for the development of the child’s fullest potential.
- The policy aims to create a caring, protective and safe environment for all children, to reduce their vulnerability in all situations and to keep them safe at all places, especially public spaces.
- It enable children to be actively involved in their own development and in all matters concerning and affecting them.
- It is the first policy document in India that specifically highlights ‘disability’ as a ground for discrimination that must be countered.
Status of Implementation
- The infant mortality rate remains as high as 40. As per the Global Hunger Index, India's hunger levels are ranked as "serious" with around 40% of children stunted. The nation ranks 20th among the countries with serious hunger situation. Malnutrition has been one of the huge crisis in India for many years. Though the levels of stunting have declined as per National Family Health Survey, the numbers are still appalling.
- The RTE has ensured near 100% gross enrollment ratio and most of the children have access to education but the standard of education needs improvement.
- Child labour and trafficking is still a stigma on Indian society and the rising incidents of crime by juveniles indicate the failure to guide them in the right direction.
NPC 2013 has promised a lot for children’s survival, protection, education and health. However, after recognizing various gaps, the government has now come up with legislations like the Child Labour (amendment) Act, Juvenile Justice Bill etc. The recent Draft National Action Plan for Children 2016 aims to provide a roadmap that links the policy objectives to actionable strategies that will help realize the goals of Child welfare in India.
9. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance? (2016)
Education and health care are some of basic human right to which all human beings are entitled to. The Supreme Court has from time to time interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution and has brought ‘Right to health’ and ‘right to primary education’ (Article 21A) under fundamental rights. Therefore, both primary education and health care is an important aspect for a democratic set up.
Prof. Amartya Sen have lamented about the primary education and health care situation in India and advocated for reforms. According to him:
- Without developing social sectors like school education and basic health-care services, and without carrying outland reforms, it will not be possible for India to have a participatory and widely shared economic growth.
- Education and health care are not only vital for quality of life, they have much to contribute to economic development and social change.
- India needs to broaden its base in the spheres of education, healthcare and women’s equality to foster economic growth.
- India ranks alongside Haiti and Sierra Leone when it comes to government spending on health as a share of the total health expenditure of the people.
- He has made a strong case for a radical reform in primary school curriculum which would reduce the curriculum overload in primary education in the country, making home tasks redundant and private tuition unnecessary.
- The government must prioritise expenditure on education and healthcare instead of ill-directed subsidies and tax exemptions.
Suggestions for improvement in primary education and health care
- Increasing the government expenditure on primary education and health care to atleast 5% of GDP. While the government spends only 1% of GDP on health, education spending in India has been lower than the world average.
- There is a need for proper utilization of funds by plugging the loopholes arising from procedural and institutional bottlenecks.
- Taking inspiration from the Yashpal Committee Report which seeks to make learning more meaningful and enjoyable by relating formal education to the living world of the children.
- The mantra of availability, affordability, and assurance must be followed for improving status and performance of Health care in India.
- Expanding the reach of health services to rural and remote areas is hindered by the limited availability of providers there. Therefore there is a need to improve the quality of Public Health Centres in those areas.
- Cooperation and collaboration of both public and private sectors.
India is the only country in the world which is aiming to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force. Effective implementation of existing policies for skill development, fundamental education reforms, public private partnership and international collaborations can help the nation to become a global superpower.
8. Hunger and Poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement. (2017)
famine affectedthird world country that depended on import of food grains to feed its population to a food secured nation, India has come a long way. Various steps taken by successivegovernment to deal with hunger and poverty are discussed below–
- Green revolution in the late 1960s assured that India became
self sufficientin food grain production. There is clear evidence that levelof hunger declined in most of the states.
- “GaribiHatao” (Removal of Poverty) gained prominence during
1970swith emphasison welfareof the masses.
- Food for Work Programmes implemented from time to time aimed towards providing food in lieu of work also met with some success. It was felt that it would address the dual need
ofthe employment and food.
- The accessibility issue of food was assured by
TargetedPublic Distribution System (TPDS) introduced in 1997. Better targeting ensured reduction in levels of poverty and hunger.
- More recently, employment generation programmes like MGNREGA and DeendayalAntyodaya Yojana have met with unprecedented success in improving
livelihoodof the people.
But the challenges still remain. According to the latest Global Hunger Index (2017), India got a lowly 100th position out of 119 countries. On poverty front also, around 21.9% of India’s population still lives below the national poverty line. Measures that could be taken are–
- All the above programmes and schemes are mired with leakages and problems of last mile delivery. This issue
needto be addressed by better targeting using JAM trinity (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile).
- Low performance on hunger index can be improved by moving towards nutritional security by way of promotion of
nutri-cereals and other supplements.
- Better facilities
ofhealthcare and education will indirectly help in reducing out-of-pocket expenditure and thus will help reduce incidenceof poverty.
- Steps towards
of realisation goalsof Universal Basic Income and Basic Minimum Services will go a long way in addressing vicious cycle of chronic poverty.
- Green revolution in the late 1960s assured that India became
8. Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2021 ranks India at 140 among 156 countries. This gender inequality is the outcome of unequal opportunity, education, health economic participation and empowerment, which results in pushing women into a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition.
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions. Microfinance is a type of banking service provided to unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who otherwise would have no other access to financial services.
Microfinancing of women SHGs can help uplift even the most vulnerable and marginalised section of women in the following ways:
- By mobilising poor rural women and building community institutions of the poor, SHGs are aimed at reducing poverty. To this, microfinancing acts as a catalyst because it can help channel the savings and funding of the SGH members.
- Credit flow will make women work and interact with the outside world. This will help in reducing the gender inequality and promote community involvement.
- Microfinancing of women SHGs improves the decision-making ability of its members. With greater say in the matters of resource utilization, family planning etc., it results in better nutritional values among their families.
Though microfinancing of women SHGs can help overcome challenges like malnutrition, poverty and gender equality, it is not alone enough to change the grim situation. Additionally, there needs to be a change of patriarchal mindset, spread of awareness about SHGs and penetration of rural banking facilities.
7. Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss. (2017)
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 replaced the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It has come as a breather for
estimated70-100 million disabled citizens of India. Main provisions of the act that ensure inclusion and empowerment are enumerated below–
- The act aims towards more inclusive coverage of the disabled population by increasing the types of disability from existing 7 to 21. Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. Acid Attack Victims have been included.
- Every child with benchmark disability (at least 40% of the specified disability) between the age group of 6 and 18 years has been given the right to free education. It also
recognisesthe right of a disabled child to study in a school. mainstream
- Additional benefits such as reservation in higher education (not less than 5%), government jobs (not less than 4 %), reservation in
allocationof land, poverty alleviation schemes (5% allotment) etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities andthose with high support needs.
- Stress has also been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings in a prescribed time-frame.
This act stresses the principles of non-discrimination, full and effective participation and inclusion in society, equality of opportunity, accessibility
andrespect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities. Emphasis has been given to right based approach with focuson right to equality and opportunity, right to inherit and own property, right to home and family and reproductive rights among others.
The act has also been criticised as it misses on
specialprovision to assist persons with mental illness. Many states also could not frame rules under the act within the stipulated time limit. In absence of rules, several key provisions of the act could not be enforced.
While the 2016 Act provides many reassurances, brings domestic law in consonance with international standards, and is a huge step forward, its implementation should be monitored carefully to ensure that the needs of persons suffering from disability issues are being comprehensively met.
7. Appropriate local community-level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieve ‘Health for All’ in India. Explain. (2018)
‘Health for All’ which includes the continuous availability of quality and affordable healthcare results in better health outcomes. It can be ensured by strengthening local community level healthcare services. Government has recently launched Ayushman Bharat to strengthen the primary health-care system through well functional health and wellness centres.
Role of local community level healthcare intervention to achieve ‘Health for All’:
- Local community level intervention is the first source of comprehensive and accessible healthcare that meets the immediate needs of individuals. Addressing issues at this level can result in risk screening for early disease detection bringing down the overall disease burden of the country.
- Provision of preventive services at the local level like vaccinations and family planning, nutrition and maternal care can reduce the need for secondary and tertiary healthcare services.
- Management of chronic health conditions and palliative care at local level can reduce the out-of-pocket expenditure for people.
- Maintaining the physician-patient ratio at the grassroot level can ensure the availability of doctors for all, reducing the dependence on quacks and eliminating preventable causes like incorrect treatment.
- The healthcare intervention at local community level should be supplemented by upgradation of infrastructure, technological advancement and capacity building of health workers.
- Decentralised policy making that involves local community health workers can effectively address the local healthcare needs.
Hence, it is important to address these issues at the community level to achieve ‘Health for All’.
7. There is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. The shrinking of social expenditure by the government is forcing the poor to spend more on non-food essential items squeezing their food budget. Elucidate.
Since the economic reforms, Urban Head Count Ratio (HCR) poverty fell from 32% in 1993-94 to 21% in 2009-10. The fall in poverty in rural India has been even more spectacular, where HCR declined from 50% to 34% in the same period. However, this looks decidedly uncomfortable when confronted with another set of facts on the prevalence of hunger(or under-nutrition) in India.
Despite increase in real income of the people over the last two decades, overall calorie consumption and nutritional intake has not commensurately increased. According to Global Hunger Index, India is second after South Sudan, when it comes to wasting (low weight for height) among children. Also,there are millions of children and adults suffering from “Hidden Hunger”.
- The poor are increasingly spending more on education,healthcare,transportation,fuel and lighting. The share of monthly expenditure devoted to these items has increased at such a pace that it has absorbed all the increase in real income over the past decades. This has led to a ‘Food Budget Squeeze’.
- Possibly, the most important reason for this is shrinking social expenditure by the government which is rendering the urban and the rural poor dependent on market prices of non-food essential items, like education,healthcare etc which are typically high.
- Social sector spending has always been low in India compared to other countries. According to the National Health Profile 2018, India spends 1.02% of the gross domestic product on public healthcare, while Maldives spends 9.4%, Sri Lanka 1.6%, Bhutan 2.5%, and Thailand about 2.9%.In education, India’s public investment is around 2.7% of GDP, while it is 3.4% in Sri Lanka and 7.4% in Bhutan.
- Another reason is, rural working people are migrating in large numbers to urban centres or other rural areas in search of work. Most of such migration is temporary and seasonal in character, and involves travelling relatively large distances. This large circulation of labor does have substantial impact on the expenditure patterns of households. For instance, an increasingly footloose labourforce means that a large section of the working poor have to bear higher costs of transportation, maintain communication with the sites of work (much of which is seasonal in character), and are deprived of traditional non-market sources of food when away from home.
- Hunger persists in India also because of a decline in access to non-market food sources, preference for ‘better tasting more expensive calories and increased spending on luxury items like radio, TV, and mobile phones, as economist Abhijit Banerjee writes in his book – “Poor Economics”.
- In recent times, talks of Universal Basic Income and replacing food subsidies with Direct Benefit Transfer are gaining ground. These measures may further aggravate the crisis of hunger by exposing the poor to market volatility.
Economists Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze distinguish two aspects of social security — “protection” and“promotion”. While the former denotes protection against a fall in living standards through ill health, accidents; the latter focuses on enhanced living conditions- “capability building”.Government needs to take care of these by increasing expenditure on education upto 6% of GDP as recommended by Kasturirangan committee, and meet the target of spending 2.5% of GDP on health helping the poor to focus on nutrition.
7. “Earn while you learn scheme needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful.” Comment.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” ‘Earn while you learn’ scheme provides opportunities to the students to earn while they are learning through part-time jobs. It is a great combination of working & learning and is usually called vocational education.
The Ministry of Tourism runs a Scheme titled ‘Earn While You Learn’ with a view to inculcate appropriate tourism travel traits and knowledge amongst trainees to enable them to work as ‘student volunteers’.
Features/Benefits of the scheme:
- Provides opportunity to students to earn some extra pocket money during college days.
- Chance to get work experience and hands-on training while studying.
- College drop-out rate due to financial issues will come down considerably.
- It will prepare the students to take up jobs in future and expose them to the outside world.
Need of the scheme to be strengthened:
- It is expected to facilitate the ease of doing business by providing a steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry and services.
- It will lead to improvement in quality and market relevance of manpower.
- It helps students to recognise and understand their choices and preferences and help them build their career.
More awareness about this kind of initiatives by the government should be generated. The success of this scheme will help India reap its demographic dividend to its fullest.
6. ‘To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs, the identification of beneficiary segments is to be synchronized with the anticipated outcomes’. Examine the statement in the context of the WASH scheme. (2017)
India is one of the developing countries that has come out with WASH schemes to address the challenges of health and sanitation in urban and rural areas. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for urban and rural areas is one of the
manifestationof the importance of WASH schemes.
hasbeen huge disparities in access to WASH services across different segments of the population. In India, around 128 million lack safe water services and about 840 million people don’t have sanitation services. Thus there is an urgent need to identify the different kinds of beneficiaries and communities whose accesssto WASH services need to be enhanced. The outcomes need to be enhanced in terms of adequacy, accessibility, affordability, quality andsafety of the WASH services.
WASH sectors come under concurrent subjects and both central and state governments can legislate on it. The collection of data related to WASH schemes are generally done at
statelevel but it suffers from many discrepancies. The needs and barriers for segments of the population differ and consequentlythe strategies also need to be customisedfor the different segments. Therefore, policymakers are gradually moving away from a “one size fits all” approach to a more beneficiary-centric approach.
A traditional approach has been to segment the beneficiaries on the basis of geographical and social context (GSS).
Populationwas therefore segmented as rural, urban, low income and so on. Recently there is a trend to segment the beneficiaries on the basis of the human life cycle (LCS). Beneficiaries are thus segmented as children, adolescents, adults, senior citizens, and so on.
To be able to achieve our WASH targets, it is important that our policies adopt both the LCS and GSS approaches.
6. Despite the consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive.
Human development is increasingly viewed as the ultimate goal of development. It has multiple dimensions such as life expectancy at birth, education, standard of living, healthcare, inequalities, etc. and these can be improved and achieved with the rapid economic growth.
The Human development is best measured by the United Nations Human Development Index and the World’s Banks Human Capital Index. While, the economic growth is measured by the Gross Domestic Product or gross national product. However, there exists a strong correlation between Economic Growth and Human Development as Economic Growth provides the necessary resources to permit sustained improvements in Human Development.
- India today is among the largest economies of the world. However, according to the United Nations Human Development Index report 2018, India ranks 130 out of 189 countries. The HDI 2018 highlighted some improvements such as increased life expectancy at birth, increased enrollment in schools, etc. However, India’s gross national income per capita also increased by a staggering 266.6 per cent between 1990 and 2017.
- According to the World Bank’s Global Human Capital Index 2019, India ranks 115th out of 157 nations. The report also held that a child born in India is likely to be only 44% productive when (s)he grows up, if (s)he receives education and adequate healthcare. So, This clearly states that the Indian economy has failed to provide a trickle-down effect.
Reasons for the lack of Human development
- Unequal Distribution of Wealth and Non-inclusive growth: In the last five years, only 1% of the wealthiest in India increased their share in wealth of around 60% and the richest 10% in India own more than four times more wealth than the remaining 90%.
- This results in an uneven distribution of wealth across the various sections of the society and it marks the prevalence of high inequality in the Indian socio-economic paradigm which led Non-inclusive growth and low human development.
- Jobless growth: With increasing economic growth, the rate of growth of employment has declined.
- According to NSSO, unemployment is India is highest in 45 years.
- With rising population and, consequently, the labour force, India will soon experience demographic disaster rather than a demographic dividend.
- Also, according to ASSOCHAM, there is no deficiency of the adequate number of jobs, but the majority of the labour force doesn’t have adequate skills required by the market.
- Dismal condition of Education and Health:
- On comparison with similarly placed emerging economies, India spends way too low in the education and health sector.
- India spends 3% of GDP on education and 1.5% of GDP on health.
- Education status in India:
- Independent India retained the largely colonial superstructure of primary, secondary, and tertiary education, which emphasis on rote learning and obsession with marks in the exams.
- Consequently access, quality, and outcomes all are far lower than what anyone would have desired.
- Dropouts are only one outcome of bad quality. Poor learning outcomes, low employability of graduates, low productivity, and consequent low wages constitute another set of outcomes.
- All these outcomes are reflected in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, which concluded that the quality of education is far from satisfactory.
- Health status in India
- Even after many government schemes, both the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate remains high.
- There is a high prevalence of malnutrition in Indian children, reflected in a high percentage of Child stunting, wasting and underweight.
- The neglect of women’s health, in particular, is striking.
- Apart from it, India features the highest deaths in the world due to air pollution.
- Also, there is a disconnect between the rate of technological growth and ability to distribute the gains from it by adequately focusing on skilling (via knowledge, education) and health, which is critical for greater resilience and sustained productivity.
- Though the government has initiated many schemes for enhancing human capital i.e. Skill India, Digital India, Startup India, Ayushman Bharat. However, the results are not yet promising.
- The government needs to increase public expenditure on health and education as envisaged by National health policy 2017 (2.5% of GDP) and Draft education policy 2019 (6% of GDP).
- Apart from holistic reforms in education, Right to Education must be accompanied by Right to Learning.
- Promotion of Primary health centre under Ayushman Bharat, which focuses on preventive healthcare is a step in the right direction.
- The government should also focus on promoting labour-intensive sectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles and garments and leather goods.
- Skill framework in India needs to integrate with industries, so as to increase the employability of the Indian labour force.
- The government should make efforts to curb digital divide, as it creates and reproduces socio-economic backwardness.
Human development and economic growth share a cause and effect to each other relationship. Therefore, without investing in Human capital and addressing current economic slowdown, the goal to becoming a $5 trillion economy, will remain a pipe dream for India.
6. In order to enhance the prospects of social development, sound and adequate health care policies are needed particularly in the fields of geriatric and maternal health care. Discuss.
Poor health constitutes suffering and deprivation of the most fundamental kind. Diseases impact the well being, burden family, weaken societies, and squander potential. Over the years, significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality.
Linkages between social development and health care:
- In developing countries, breaking the vicious circle of poverty and ill-health is an essential condition for development.
- Health is pertinent for the realization of basic human needs and for a better quality of life. Health is a causative factor that affects a country’s aggregate level of economic growth.
- The rising out-of-pocket expenditures on healthcare pushes around 32-39 million Indians below the poverty line annually.
- Women and elderly are one of the most vulnerable sections of society. In this context, access to quality health care and sound health policies are crucial for their healthy development, reducing deprivation, and social empowerment.
- Ageing is a continuous, irreversible, universal process, which starts from conception till the death of an individual.
- However,the age at which one’s productive contribution declines and one tendsto be economically dependent can probably be treated asthe onset of the aged stage of life. National Elderly Policy defines people of 60+ age group as elderly.
- With well-designed and judicious investments, ageing population can help build-up human, social, economic and environmental capital.
- However, this would call for investing in all the phases of life, fostering enabling societies, and creating flexible but vibrant environment for building a society for all ages.
- In order to generate comprehensive data on social, economic and health conditions of the elderly, the Government undertook Longitudinal Aging Study of India.
- Other initiatives of the Government of India:
- Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP)
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
- Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY)
- Women are strong pillars of any society. Sustainable development in India can only happen through maternal and child care.
- Maternal health is an important aspect of the development in terms of increasing equity and reducing poverty.
- The survival and well being of mothers is not only important in their own right but are also central to solving larger economic, social, and developmental challenges.
- The Sustainable Development Goal 3 pertains to maternal health, where the target is to reduce maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to 70 per 100000 live births.
- Institutional deliveries are an important means to achieve maternal health. Key initiatives in this are:
- Janani Suraksha Yojana
- Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram
- Midwifery initiative aims to create a cadre of skilled nurses for providing compassionate women-centred, reproductive, maternal and newborn healthcare.
Healthcare has a major role to play in reducing social exclusion at the local level, due to its impact on employment, working conditions and household income. It can drive forward the implementation of local and national goals for sustainable development.
6. “Besides being a moral imperative of a Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary precondition for sustainable development.” Analyse.
Primary health care is a term used to describe the first contact a person has with the health system when they have a health problem. The Welfare State is a concept of government in which the State plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens.
Primary health structure is a moral imperative of a Welfare State:
- Right to Health is a part and parcel of Right to Life and therefore right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed to every citizen of India under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- As a Directive Principle of State Policy, Article 47 talks about raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and to improve public health. It provides an obligation on the state to provide primary health facilities.
Primary health care is the most efficient and effective way to achieve health for all. Primary health structure is a necessary precondition for sustainable development in the following ways:
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 talks about ‘Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages’. Access to quality health care would not be possible without an effective primary health structure.
- Lack of availability of subsidised and timely treatment leads to affordability issues and creates a vicious cycle of poverty and heightens the out of pocket expenditure of people.
- Health conditions, disabilities, and unhealthy behaviors can all have an effect on educational outcomes and can also lead to social exclusion.
- At a societal level, poor population health is associated with lower savings rates, lower rates of return on capital, and lower levels investment; all of these factors can and do contribute to reductions in economic growth.
As recognized in the 2018 Astana Declaration, the Primary Health Care approach is the most effective way to sustainably solve today’s health challenges. The National Health Policy 2017 envisages providing a larger package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the Health and Wellness Centers’ and advocates allocating major proportion of resources to primary care.