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Q.1) India has one of the lowest female labour force participation (FLFP) rates among emerging markets and developing countries. What are the reasons for low labour participation of female labours?  Suggest how more women participation in workforce can be achieved?  (GS-1)

India has one of the lowest female labour force participation (FLFP) rates among emerging markets and developing countries. FLFP is measured as the share of women who are employed or are seeking work as a share of the working-age female population.

  • Women’s participation in the workforce is skewed towards certain sectors. For example

1- Unorganised sector – Ninety percent of Indian workers are employed in the unorganized sector, where wages for women are lower and other factors like no flexibility, childcare benefits and maternity leaves creates disincentives for women to seek work outside the home.

2- Manufacturing and services – This sector account for just 18 per cent of rural employment for women.

3- Agriculture – dominates at 75 per cent.

4- Blue collar jobs – Women are losing blue collar jobs while gaining white collar ones.

Reasons for low labour force participation:

  • Increased income of men – As men in the family start earning more income, women tend to cut back their work in the formal economy to concentrate more on household activities.
  • Caste factor – In some communities, especially in some upper castes, there may be a stigma attached to women working outside the home.
  • Safety issues & Harassment issue at work place – Women are more vulnerable to exploitation and harassment at work in developing countries like India. They are also unable to effectively fight against harassment.
  •  The nature of economic growth in the country has meant that jobs were not created in large numbers in sectors that could readily absorb women, especially for those in rural areas.

How to bring more women into the workforce?

  • Bridging gender gaps in secondary and tertiary education.
  • Creating employment opportunities in male dominated sectors.
  • Ensuring skill training for women in key sectors.
  • Increasing the reach of the financial sector in order to provide services to the women entrepreneurs better.
  • Promoting gender diversity policies and practices in private sector organizations
  • Strengthening legal provisions for women and the enforcement of these laws
  • Addressing infrastructure issues.
  • Reshaping societal attitudes and beliefs about women participation in the labour force.
  • Reservation can be provided to women in formal sector as provided in Bihar for state government jobs

Q.2) Law Commission of India has released The DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017. What the bill proposes? What are its various loopholes? GS-2

Law Commission of India has released The DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017. It aims to prevent misuse of DNA technology by regulating and standardizing DNA testing as well as supervising the activities of all authorized laboratories

Proposals:

The proposals of the bill are discussed below:

  • The bill proposes for establishing new institutions like a DNA profiling Board, a National DNA Data Bank and regional DNA databanks in every state or one or more states.
  • It restricts DNA profiling to the purpose of identification only and not for extracting any other information.
  • No bodily substances will be taken from a person unless consent is given by him except if the individual is arrested for certain specific offences or if magistrate is satisfied of the need for DNA test.
  • There is also provision for defined instances for deletion of profiles and destruction of biological samples.
  •  He can request for another DNA test in case of doubts that his earlier samples may have been contaminated.
  • Any violation would attract imprisonment up to three years and a fine up to 2 lakhs.
  • Only accredited labs by DNA profiling Board would be authorised to carry out DNA testing and analysis.
  • The new Bill has also removed a provision that allowed DNA profiles in the databank to be used for “creation and maintenance of population statistics databank”.
  • Samples picked up from a crime scene, belonging to those who are not offenders or suspects, would not be matched with the databases. They would have to be expunged from the records on a written request from the individual concerned.

Loopholes:

  • There are chances, that a wrong match is generated, causing unnecessary harassment to an individual.
  • Issue of privacy – such as whose DNA can be collected and under what circumstance, who can access the database, the circumstances under which a record can be deleted etc.
  •  Security issue: Though the Law Commission cites the use of the 13 CODIS (Combined DNA Index System)profiling standard as a means to protecting privacy in its report — this standard has yet to find its way in the text of the Bill. It has been pointed out that information like ancestry or susceptibility to a disease, or other genetic traits, is liable to be misused.
  •  No improvement in conviction rates – Over the last 25 years; most countries have adopted a DNA fingerprinting law and have developed databases for use primarily in criminal investigation, disaster identification and forensic science. However, DNA tests have not led to an improvement in conviction rates in countries where it is already being followed.

Q.3) Global weather disasters and the rising pollution levels of major Indian cities demands a change.  In reference to the above statement, explain Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs) used in developing new electrical vehicles. Also discuss the factors that are important for the shift to electric vehicles using Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs). GS-3

Introduction

  • India is facing the need for a drastically reduced CO2 footprint per capita head.
  • Development of new technologies and energy – efficient products and services is an immediate need.
  • Nations taking up the responsibility for global climate protection will have to think and invest both in technology and business perspective.

India building vehicles based on Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs).

  • India for over the last 30-40 years has developed the competence to engineer and build globally competitive vehicles based on Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs).
  • India via joint ventures, technology licences and technology transfer, Indian manufacturers and suppliers have built full-fledged capabilities in ICEs.
  • Value engineering of these products ensured personal mobility for the Indian middle class at price points that are unmatched globally.
  • Today, about 40-50% of the domestic and export sales of Indian suppliers is tied to ICE.
  • The Indian automotive industry has leveraged its investments in ICEs to build scale and globally competitive manufacturing as well as engineering capability.

The factors important for the transition

  • Technology transfer and joint ventures have to be encouraged to ensure indigenization of technology.
  • Customers will benefit from this transfer due to the Indian capability for cost-efficient engineering.
  • Industry must play as much a leading role in electric vehicles as it does today in ICEs to ensure employment, capability building and tax revenue.
  • Localization is vital to avoid replacement of an oil import bill with a battery import bill. The latter simply switches political dependency from the Gulf states to China.
  • Policy clarity is a must. While a number of green technologies can be pursued, the practical reality of the Indian automotive industry is that resources for investment are limited.
  • Policy consistency is equally crucial. Long-term investments are required; sudden policy changes that alter business case assumptions can drive companies into ruin.
  • Multinational corporations have technology available off-the-shelf and can relatively easy decide to engage or withdraw from the Indian market, e.g., General Motors. Indian companies are sure to lose out in unstable policy scenarios.
  • Technology risks such as liability issues around battery swapping, unstable battery technology, recycling of batteries and infrastructure requirements need to be assessed in detail.
  • Life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have to be considered when comparing battery electric vehicles with fossil fuel vehicles. GHG emissions during battery production and recycling must be reduced.  
  • Cases like rural vs metro needs, 2-/3-wheeler vs 4-wheeler applications needs to get studied in detail. As a consequence, a gradual transition towards electric mobility may be a more adequate scenario than a binary transition.
  • An industrial ecosystem can develop if local lead markets as well as an active industrial policy promoting the local champions are present.
  • In the case of India, it is in the country’s interest to champion key Indian manufacturers and their indigenous suppliers.

Way ahead

  • In an environment, where job creation is falling far short of population growth, active development of a high-paying sector is paramount for India.
  • The definite need for a transition to electric vehicles in India is undeniable.
  • Indian manufacturers and suppliers have to accept this reality and start working to pivot their product portfolios towards this new environment.
  • Indian manufacturers need to revise their strategies and re-allocate investments.
  • The full force of India’s engineering and entrepreneurial talent, however, will boom only with consistent cooperation between industry and government.
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