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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 31, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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Suggestions for Inclusive growth in India

Source: The Hindu

GS3:  Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

Synopsis: India lags behind many Human development indicators. India’s economic growth is not benefitting the poor. There is a need to create a new framework for measuring the inclusiveness of growth.

Why India’s Economic growth is not inclusive?

  1. One, Rising hunger, according to the Global Hunger Index 2020 India ranks 94th amongst 107 countries.
  2. Two, Indian citizens are amongst the least happy in the world. According to the World Happiness Report of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, India ranks 144th amongst 153 countries.
  3. Three, the Pandemic has increased the inequality gap further by pushing many poor people into poverty. According to a World Bank report, during the pandemic the very rich became even richer. Whereas the number of poor people in India (with incomes of $2 or less a day) is estimated to have increased by 75 million.
  4. Four, unsustainable economic growth. According to global assessments, India ranks 120 out of 122 countries in water quality, and 179 out of 180 in air quality.

Suggestions for more inclusive growth

  1. First, India needs a new strategy for growth, founded on new pillars. Because the older economic growth strategy of relying on Foreign capital has made “ease of living” difficult, while the “ease of doing business” improved. The new economic strategy should be based on the following two pillars,
      • One, Economic growth must no longer be at the cost of the environment.
      • Two, the benefits of Economic growth should be made equitable. Thus creating more incomes for its billion-plus citizens
  2. Second, there is a need for local solutions to measure the wellbeing of people, rather than relying on universal, standard progress measure frameworks.
      • While GDP does not account for vital environmental and social conditions that contribute to human well-being.
      • Many countries are developing universally acceptable frameworks.
      • They are trying to incorporate the health of the environment, public services, equal access to opportunities, etc. to make it universal, more scientific, and objective.
      • However, experiences have shown that this ‘scientific’ approach does enable objective rankings of countries. For example, World Happiness Report misses the point that happiness and well-being are always ‘subjective’.
      • Standard global solutions will neither make their conditions better nor make them happier. So, local communities need to find their own solutions within their countries, and in their villages and towns to measure their well-being.
  3. Third, We need to start recognizing the role of societal conditions that are responsible for the difficulties of the poor. For example, Caste system, Patriarchy, indifferent attitude towards the disabled, transgender, etc.,
      • This way of looking at things also equally contributes to the increasing Inequality.
  4. Fourth, move away from centralised Governance model towards decentralized form of governance. Because Governance of the many by a few politically and economically powerful persons may work for a few.
      • Whereas, decentralized system of governance will allow communities to find their own solutions to complex problems.

India’s growth should be measured on its sustainability and the improvements made in the lives of hundreds of millions of its citizens. It should be based on the size of GDP, the numbers of billionaires, the numbers of Indian multinationals.


Higher Education in India – Significance of Quality Faculties

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.

Synopsis: The size or location of educational institutions is not a big barrier to academic excellence. The quality and strength of faculty should improve to ensure quality higher education.

Background

  • Some experts are of the belief that there should be only 10 to 12 IITs. Furthermore, the location of these institutes should be in big urban areas, and they should focus on becoming “crown jewels”.
  • However, other experts do not favour this belief. Instead, they believe that the size or location of campuses can not be a barrier to academic excellence.
  • The success of IIT-Mandi and other international universities such as Cornell University (England) and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (Japan) favors this belief.
  • Thus, the focus should be on increasing the number and quality of faculties in higher education.  The recruitment parameters for faculties should be strengthened to ensure quality.
Significance of faculties in higher education

There are a few best practices adopted by some IITs for improving the quality of education. However, not all the IITs are able to adopt these practices due to the shortage of faculties.

  1. First, the majority of incoming students lack language and study skills. Thus, they require extra training and confidence-building measures in using the English language.
      • For this purpose, many IITs like IIT-Mandi introduced induction programs.
      • This program helps to break the ice between students and faculty, making it easy for the students to get in touch with their teachers.
      • However, this program is not mandatory in even some “crown jewel” IITs. One of the reasons for this is the increasing strength of the students without a proportionate increase in faculty members.
  2. Second, Innovative curriculums to provide students with practical work experience are very helpful in exposing students to industrial requirements.
      • For example, IIT Mandi courses from a design and innovation stream include a mandatory socio-technical practicum.
      • These kinds of innovative curriculums need effort from faculty members.
  3. Third, many IITs have scrapped the mandatory requirement to submit final year projects. But final year projects are important to test an individual’s knowledge and skills on a concrete problem. The key reason for this is that the increase in student’s strength is not in proportion to increase in faculty strength.
Issues related to the current recruitment process of faculties

There are two existing problems with recruiting and retaining faculty members.

  • First, not enough faculty members are hired. The hired faculties are burdened with additional non-academic responsibilities such as: running the canteen, managing the placement cell, etc.
  • Second, the issues in the current recruitment process.
      • One, shortlisting process is mechanical. It creates the possibility of the elimination of quality resources.
      • Second, shortlisting done on the basis of the number of papers taken and the size of grants won by faculties.
Suggestion to improve the recruitment process
  1. First, each applicant should be asked to provide their two best research publications and their two best pedagogic materials. It should be in addition to their full curriculum vitae.
  2. Second, based on the two best publications and sample pedagogic materials the external experts should prepare a shortlist. Then the local hiring committees should attempt hiring from within this shortlist.

Case Study: Remoteness will not impact Academic quality: The case of IIT Mandi

  • It has as international a resident faculty body as any other IIT.
  • It was seventh in the Atal innovativeness ranking published last year.
  • Notably, the IIT Mandi project that developed a landslide warning system won the SKOCH award

Pending Issues in India Bangladesh relations

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2: India and Neighbourhood relations

Synopsis: India Bangladesh relations is not achieving the full potential at present due to some minor issues.

Introduction:

Recently Indian PM visited Bangladesh to take part in their golden Jubilee celebrations of Independence. India also awarded Gandhi Peace Price 2020 to Bangladesh’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Both India and Bangladesh maintains a cordial relationship between them.

Significant events in the recent visit:

Apart from attending the Independence Day celebrations, PMs of both countries utilized this as an opportunity to build bilateral relations. This includes events such as,

  1. Indian Prime Minister visited the Bangabandhu (Mujib) memorial at his hometown in Tungipara.
  2. Both Indian PM and Bangladesh counterpart paid homage to the nation’s founders. Further, they paid homage to the millions massacred by the Pakistani military regime in 1971 and the people who died fighting Bangladesh freedom. This includes nearly 4,000 Indian soldiers
  3. Bangladesh PM mentioned India’s role in the creation of Bangladesh. Further, She also thanked India for its aid and protection to her when her family members (Including Mujib) were assassinated.
  4. Apart from that, the Indian PM wrote an editorial of the hope. In that, he outlined the Shonali Adhyaya (Golden Chapter) in South Asia if the Bangabandhu not get killed.

Recent Initiatives to boost India Bangladesh relations:

Both India Bangladesh took many proactive steps to improve relations. The recent steps include,

  1. Virtual meet during Pandemic: In 2020, both the countries involved in plans to improve the connectivity and infrastructure projects. Apart from that, they also signed MoUs on sports, education and disaster management.
  2. Created a sense of trust in the relationship: Bangladesh shut down anti-India terror camps operating in Bangladesh. Further, the Bangladesh government also hand over nearly two dozen criminals on India’s “most wanted” list. This improved the trust in the relationship.
  3. The signing of the Land Boundary Agreement in 2015: This is a historical foot in India Bangladesh relationship. India completely accepted the international tribunal verdict favoured Bangladesh. Further, India also went ahead and passed the Act for faster resolution of the boundary dispute. This resulted in the solving of the 40-year-old maritime dispute.

Present challenges in India Bangladesh relations:

India Bangladesh relations at present faces few challenges. This includes,

  1. Water sharing agreements are not yet signed. This includes the water-sharing arrangement between both the countries on the Teesta river and the other six rivers.
  2. The killing of Bangladeshi civilians on the Indian Border by Indian security forces also poses a challenge.
  3. There is still a misunderstanding about the sensitivities of people in India and Bangladesh. For example, During the recent visit of the Indian PM, he highlighted the need for Citizenship Amendment Act and also addressed the minority Matua Hindus. This was misunderstood by other sections of people in Bangladesh. This resulted in violent protests and the killing of at least 11 members in Bangladesh.

So the government of India and Bangladesh need to understand the sensitivities of relations. This is more important than the celebration of success. As it would improve a better India Bangladesh relations.


White Revolution in India and Women Empowerment

Source: The Hindu

Synopsis: Dairy cooperatives models adopted by India during  Operation Flood improved women development in India

Introduction: Women dairy farmers’ contribution to India’s white revolution is immense. That itself is a great reason for India to celebrate Women’s History Month in March.

What is the White revolution?

  1. Operation Flood led to the White revolution. It aimed to make India a self-dependent nation in milk production.
  2. National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) launched it in 1970. Dr Verghese Kurien is the father of the White Revolution in India.
  3. Operation Flood promoted the AMUL model. Under this model, milk is procured from farmers’ co-operatives. The excess milk is converted to skimmed milk powder and get utilized during the lean season. The milk is distributed through an organized retail network.
  4. So far operation flood is the world’s biggest dairy development program. The Operation flood made India the world’s largest producer of milk.

Role of cooperatives in Operation Flood:

In India Majority of the dairy farmers own only small landholdings(households with two to five cows). But due to the development of co-operatives under Operation Flood, they were able to improve a lot. This includes,

  1. The small dairy farmers were able to avoid middlemen.
  2. They also started getting a guaranteed minimum procurement price for milk.
  3. It enhanced the knowledge and bargaining power of small and marginal farmers.

Achievement of women dairy farmers:

Apart from the general benefits, women dairy farmers achieved many significant achievements. This includes,

  1. According to the latest data, there are more than 1,90,000 dairy cooperative societies across the country. Approximately 6 million of their members are women members.
  2. A study conducted on Women Dairy Cooperative Society (WDCS) members in Rajasthan shows certain striking development among women. Such as,
    1. 31% of the women dairy farmers in Rajasthan converted their mud houses to cement structures.
    2. 39% of women dairy farmers in Rajasthan constructed concrete sheds for their cattle
    3.  Women-led cooperatives provide fertile ground for the capacity building of rural women in a leadership position.
      For example, A woman dairy farmer who not even visited the school joined a Dairy cooperative. Now she is the main breadwinner in her family and bought 25 acres of land with the income she earned through dairy farming.
  3. Apart from that, Women dairy farmers also broke the traditional practices of patriarchal society.

All these developments are demonstrated through the testimonials on International Women’s Day. It was conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

Financial success of women-led dairy unions and companies:

  • During the early years of Operation Flood, the National Dairy Development Board worked on setting up women-led producer enterprises. This includes companies like Shreeja Mahila Milk Producer Company. The company started with 24 women, but now it has more than 90,000 members. The company now has a turnover of approximately ₹450 crores/year.
  • In 2019, Amul released a list of 10 women dairy farmers who became a millionaire by selling milk.

The women development achieved by the women dairy farmers in India is huge. They achieved this feat even without getting any formal education.

Conclusion:

A study by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) indicates that 93% of women who succeeded received both financial support and training. Instead, the success rate is only  57% if they receive financial aid alone.

So the government has to understand this and start providing training to the remaining women dairy farmers. As this will be the only way to improve women’s empowerment.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 31, 2021

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