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9 PM for Main examination
- Health and Wellness potential of India
- National Education Policy 2020
- Political culture: against presidential system
- Regulations proposed by draft report on non-personal data
- Farmer Producer Organizations
- Community participation in lake restoration- Examples from across India
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Health and Wellness potential of India
Source: The Hindu Business Line
Syllabus: GS-2- Health
Context: India has the potential to become a health and wellness hub if she tackles the obstruction of lack of adequate infrastructure and an acute shortage of skilled human resources.
Resources and data
- Increased Focus :Government’s increased focus on health and fitness will lead to a boost in India’s health and wellness sector which is already growing at 12 per cent per annum.
- Traditional methods : In order to promote the country’s ancient and traditional healing and wellness methods, the central government has set up the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy).
- The panchakarma technique of Ayurveda has been renowned in the world for its benefits in preventive healthcare and its treatment of many chronic lifestyle disorders.
- These initiatives have made India the second-largest exporter of AYUSH and herbal products in the world today.
- MSME domination : The Indian wellness sector is dominated by micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) capturing around 80 per cent of the market share. Along with several large companies, the total estimate of the industry is around ₹49,000 crore.
Challenges to Health and Wellness industry
- Tiny share : The Indian wellness sector holds a very tiny shareas compared to the global wellness industry which is estimated to be around $4.2 trillion.
- Inadequate resources : Lack of adequate infrastructure and an acute shortage of skilled human resources is the main hindrance in unlocking the potential of this industry.
- For instance, The growing population of India would require 2.07 million more doctors by 2030.
- Low levels of funding : India spends just around 1.3 per cent of its GDP on healthcare whereas the global average GDP spend is of 6 per cent.
- Government has set a target of increasing the spending to 3 per cent of its GDP by 2022 but the funding for the sector needs to go up by 20-25 per cent for the next five years, if India aims to achieve its sustainable goals.
Changes to revamp the wellness sector
- Transforming PHCs : 5 lakh sub-health centres and primary health centres across the country are being transformed into health and wellness centres to provide all inclusive primary health care and establish a holistic wellness model.
- National Ayush Mission : Ayush Wellness Centers would be set up and strengthened under the National Ayush Mission in the next five years with the budget of ₹3,400 crore reserved for it.
- The out of pocket expenditure would fall due to the self-care model.
- There would be a reduction of the burden on the secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities, especially given the rising stress on this health infrastructure due to the on-going COVID-19 crisis.
- Integration with SDGs: According to NITI Aayog these initiatives would also help in the integration of AYUSH along with the Sustainable Development Goal of the Central Government.
Supporting government initiatives
- Promoting wellness is essential to drive productivity, efficiency and prosperity for the country and so,ASSOCHAM has been making continuous efforts to support the Government on several health and wellness initiatives.
- India should promote a healthy lifestyle through holistic measures, with a focus on a healthy diet, regular exercises through yoga, basic hygiene, and also preventive healthcare.
- Such models should be developed by the government and the industry where entrepreneurs can opt-out of their conventional businesses and grab opportunities that the wellness sector has to offer.
- India should focus on creating additional awareness on health and wellness in association with the Ministry of AYUSH.
- The country should also emphasise on initiatives like Make in India and Start-up India as it is going to give a further boost to the sector in the coming few years.
2.National Education Policy 2020
Source – Financial express
Syllabus – GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
Context – The Cabinet have set a radical departure from India’s past education paradigms by passing a transformational National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
State of Higher education
- Gross Enrolment Ratio – 26.3 %
- GER for Women – 26.4%
- GER for SC – 14.9%
- GER for ST – 5.5%
- GER for OBC – 36.3%
- GER for Minorities – 20.2%
- GER for Muslims – 5.2%
- Number of Students graduate per year– 91 lakh
How the reforms announced in NEP 2020 can make India a global education hub?
- Grant full autonomy to top 200 institutions –India must grant full academic, administrative and financial autonomy to its 200 top-ranked universities, so they can quickly expand the variety of updated course offerings to keep up with the interdisciplinary nature of global innovation.
- Establish the National Research Foundation (NRF) – India lags other major economies in research and innovation funding. Government must allocate at least Rs 5,000 crore per year on a non-lapsable basis for the purpose of funding fundamental and applied research in university laboratories and research institutions on a competitive basis.
- Increasing the number of trained PhDs – Today, India only produces about 40,800 PhDs a year, mostly of indifferent quality. It must quickly scale to 50,000 more per year to a total of 100,000 of high global standards of quality.
- Improve higher education infrastructure with long term loans from the market– The HE Finance Corporation must be authorized to raise money from markets with a government guarantee to grant long term 20-30-year loans to Indian universities to create the necessary infrastructure.
- Improving GER in low-GER districts– Many states and districts of India have a GER below 25; states like Bihar (13.6), West Bengal (19.3), and Jharkhand (19.1). The HE Finance Corporation can grant long term loans for this purpose with a goal to bring the GER of these districts and states to the national average in 10 years.
- Allow top 100 global universities to set up in India– The ministry of external affairs estimates there are 7.5+ lakh Indian students studying across 90 countries abroad spending around $20 billion a year. India must incentivize world-class universities to come to its students. While inviting these universities, the terms must be set to provide a degree on par with the parent institution while operating within India with full autonomy.
- National Scholarship Fund– The National Scholarship Fund can be modelled as a Public-Private-Partnership, with a private-sector board to oversee the organization. 50% of the funding can be raised from citizens all over India on a 100% tax exemption.
Way Forward – India is not a country where one size fits all—there is a very large differential across states and communities. The New Education Policy recognizes this fundamental differentiator, and has laid out a far-reaching vision to create learning environments that are multidisciplinary, that cater to a well-rounded education for all individuals, and has the immense potential to transform India’s human capital development.
3.Political culture: against presidential system
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS-2- Polity
Context: Recently, the debate on the parliamentary versus presidential systems that had been resting for several decades has now been reopened.
Opposition party’s stance
- “The parliamentary system produces governments focused more on politics and personal glorification rather than policy” claimed a congress MP.
- The alleged foul display in Rajasthan is evidence for the lack of interest on the part of the executive and the legislature in policy making and legislation as they are busy in retaining their power.
The causes for political unease
- Lack of ideological commitment: Defection and party-hopping are not serious political disorders but essential components of political strategy to attain or retain power.
- This is unlikely to change even if India moves to a presidential system because competitive buying of parliament members will contribute hugely to an executive-legislature deadlock.
- Caste and communal considerations: It is idealistic to assume that the president will choose his cabinet based primarily on considerations of merit when it is highly likely that same caste and communal considerations will apply in choosing a presidential cabinet that affects cabinet formation in a parliamentary system.
- Absence of a viable party structure: Electedpolitical leaders belonging to the opposition parties will be encouraged for irresponsible behaviour by the presidential system.
- The actual problem is the political culture and not the parliamentary system of the country.
- Voters’ choices: voters make their choices based on communal, caste and other primitive considerations and in response to emotional appeals rather than making informed choices about public needs and services.
- The state of India’s public health system during this pandemic is clear evidence that public health was not a consideration for the voters when casting their ballots in state and parliamentary elections.
- The root causes of the trouble in the Indian polity are the highly distorted public prioritiesand the corruptible political class.
- Voters should cast their vote responsibly keeping in mind the public needs and services.
- The political culture of the country at the popular level and at the level of the political class needs to undergo an extreme transformation and just switching to presidential system from parliamentary system will not help.
4.Regulations proposed by draft report on non-personal data
Source: Indian express
Syllabus: GS-2- Government policies and interventions aimed at development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Context: Analysing the issues in the recently released draft report on non-personal data
Background: While the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, is under scrutiny by the Parliament, The Government has formed a Committee of Experts to enact a suitable Governance Framework on Non personal Data. It has come up with a draft report on which it has sought comments.
Important provisions of the Draft
- It proposes that anyone collecting data above a certain threshold would mandatorily share the data.
- Anyone collecting or deriving benefits from non-personal data is required to get registered with another new data regulatory body
- it proposes state “beneficial ownership” of certain categories of non-personal data. It further stipulates that the government should be the beneficial owner of community non-personal data though it is collected and generated by the private sector.
- No evidence-based case for regulating non-personal data:Personal Data needs regulation as there is a possibility of misuse against individuals whereas non personal data is unrelated to individuals. Also, the draft hasn’t made any other concrete reasons for the case of regulating non personal data.
- Irrational: Despite the draft report favours regulation to control businesses from having enormous competitive advantage, it is inadequate to answer why competition law and India’s Competition Commission are inadequate, or how non-personal data regulation would be a better method for promoting competitiveness.
- Hypothetical assumptions: It assumes that anonymised non personal data could be converted to de-anonymised personal data to target individuals or groups. Even if that happens, the use of such data could be governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill.
- Speculative: Practically, evidence has shown us that expropriation of private property discourages innovation and growth whereas the draft argues that the mandated sharing of non-personal data will lead to higher innovation.
- Against international principles: Regulation of Non personal data is contrary to global property rights protections to which India has ratified.
- If implemented, it will have negative impact on innovation in Data industry.
- Volume based threshold compliance will force firms to stay small to avoid compliance similar to what we witnessed in India’s manufacturing sector
- Also, limited regulation by state has liberated India’s population from poverty in the last three decades
Conclusion: State regulation should not create interventionist bureaucracies rather it must try to identify concrete problems. The lessons learnt from the over regulation of the industrial sector must not be forgotten.
5.Farmer Producer Organizations
Source: Financial Express
Syllabus: GS-3- Agriculture
Context: There is a dire need for fostering rapid growth in the farm sector. FPO can be a game changer provided that the promotion and nurturing of FPOs is implemented in a mission mode
Need for fostering rapid growth in the farm sector:
- Declining contribution to India’s GDP: The agriculture sector’s share in GDP has significantly declined, from 59% in 1950-51 to about 14% in 2018-19.
- Limited Size of Land holding restrict access to markets and finances:In India, the average size of holding is 58 hectares. Owing to this, small farmers face numerous challenges such as lack of access to markets, finances etc.
- Incorporated new features into the e-NAM platform:
- Warehouse-based trading module based on e-NWR.
- FPO trading module to enable FPOs to sell their produce at a collection centre circumventing agricultural produce market committees (APMCs).
- Direct buying facility by bulk buyers outside the mandi premises without any licensing or registration process.
- Ordinances on agricultural reforms: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Ordinance 2020, and The Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 was promulgated to facilitate inter-state and intra-state trade of agricultural produce and to allow farmers to sell their agricultural produce at a place of their choice at a remunerative price.
FPO’s as game changer: There is a growing realisation that the constraints of the marginal and small farmers related to product and financial markets can be addressed by aggregating the farm produce by forming farmers’ groups and linking these groups to an integrated value chain.
Measures taken to augment FPO’s:
- To ensure Financial support: Credit guarantee funds were created by the NABARD and the NCDC (National Cooperative Development Corporation).
- To ensure sustainability: Equity grant fund was set up in the SFAC (Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium).
- For the development of marketing and infrastructure for FPOs: The states/UTs were enabled to avail assistance for FPOs under the Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund (AMIF).
Some suggestions for making FPOs sustainable.
- Identify experienced and credible cluster-based business organisations(CBBOs) that has prerequisite technical and administrative expertise. For example, Linking FPOs to the Krishi Vikas Kendras could help farmers by providing technical support.
- Promote Cohesiveness: regular meetings ensure success in the business, hence FPOs should have their members from within a reachable contiguous area to execute various decisions taken by the executive committee
- Create FPOs Federations at the district or the mandal level: it will ensure scalability and sustainability, and also creates mechanism for better backward and forward linkages.it will also be in line with One District, One Product (ODOP) motto.
- FPO’s needs to be limited:for better marketability FPOs need to grow only one or two varieties of a crop because lack of homogeneity of product fetches lesser price both in domestic and international markets. Example, case of milk & milk products
- FPOs should be output-centric: It should concentrate on creating and managing the whole value chain for the identified product/crop.
- Practise equal amount of shareholding for all the members:because concentration of shareholding in a few hands discourages other members to take interest in group activities as maximum gains will be reaped by shareholders.
- Start experimenting with the aggregation model: to take advantage of better price discovery. Many FPOs has not started with aggregating farm produce and bulk purchase of inputs. CBBOs should encourage FPOs to get them registered on the e-NAM platform.
- Produce crops that enjoy comparative advantage: it should not be guided by local demand.
Conclusion: FPOs have the potential to transform marginal and small farms from subsistence farming to market-oriented commercial farms. The central government’s efforts in developing and assisting FPOs is commendable. Further these efforts need to be guided with regulatory amendments, particularly those related to land and tenancy rights.
6.Community participation in lake restoration- Examples from across India
Source: Down to Earth
Syllabus: GS-3- Environment- Conservation
Context: A large number of lakes in India are threatened and in dire need of conservation and restoration. This article showcases some of the successful examples of lake restoration through community and government participation.
Community participation in lake restoration- Examples from across India
- Jakkur lake:
- Issue:It is located in northern Bengaluru. Due to urbanization and increase in population, the catchment area is highly encroached making the streams dry. Further, it was highly polluted by sewage from households nearby.
- Revival: With the effort made by the state government, local governing bodies, fishermen, citizens and lake revival groups, the lake has been revived. Contaminants were removed, wastewater treated and natural algae ponds or ecosystem were created for the lake to undergo a biophysical and chemical process.
- Khatpewadi Lake:It is located in Pune. It was built in 1972 to mitigate the drought situation in the area. The lake is also a catchment area for the rivers and lake downstream to Pune.
- Issue: shrinking and water table reducing
- Revival: Ramnadi Restoration Mission de-silted the dam and its capacity increased by 25%. Further, de-silted soil was put along the rim of the lake to restore the saucer-like shape and native plants are protected.
- Lonar Lake: It is a notified National Geo Heritage Monument located at Lonar, Maharashtra. It is the second-biggest crater in the world.
- Issue:pollution from sewage
- Revival:with joint efforts by the citizens and authorities, sewage from the villages has been stopped from entering Lonar lake water.
- Loktak Pat lake:it is located in Manipur and is famous for the phumdis
- Issue: Due to the development works of Ithai Baarage and hydro-electric power projects, the fish population reduced and gave rise to unwanted pollutants and water plant species.
- Manipur government introduced an act for the conservation of lake that included natural regeneration and protection.
- In 2019, the Centre for Conservation of Nature & Cultivation of Science, along with the state forest department, declared a section of the lake as a bird sanctuary.
- Also, a number of conservation groups have been working towards lake restoration since 2011.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
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