Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 4, 2018

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Q.1) Examine the prospects and challenges of digital payments industry in India.

Answer:

Digital payments in India is currently less than $200bn but is expected to reach $1tn by 2023 according to a report by Credit Suisse.

These include bank-to-bank electronic money transfers, digital wallet payments, Aadhaar-based and electronic toll payments.

Prospects:

  1. Demonetisation led boost to digital payments
  2. Government integrating digital transactions in all its welfare programs’ transfers through Aadhaar DBT
  3. Growing use of mobile internet and cheap availability of internet
  4. GST being technology driven makes it cost effective for the firms to digitise the transactions
  5. Increasing e-market places enabling digital payments

Challenges:

  1. MDR charges are hampering spread of adoption
  2. Data localisation norms by RBI is resisted by fintech companies
  3. Cyber security issues pose a challenge in integrating new users
  4. Lack of e-literacy and financial literacy
  5. Poor financial inclusion and internet infrastructure availability
  6. cash remains the preferred mode of payment beyond urban and semi urban areas.

 

Q.2) What are the issues and challenges facing pregnant and lactating women in claiming their rights under maternity benefits in the formal and informal sector in India.

Answer:

The Maternity Benefit Act provides for a maternity leave entitlement of 26 weeks.

Challenges in formal sector:

  1. Companies do not provide ‘onboarding’ after the employee comes back from the leave. Thus the skills she didn’t acquire during this period are not bridged sufficiently. This affects her prospects of growth in employment.
  2. Companies resist from hiring young women employees quoting this leave as a reason.
  3. Absence of crèches and safe spaces for nourishing infants around the workplace.
  4. It impacts female labour force participation

Informal sector:

  1. Poor implementation of maternity benefits scheme resulting in lack of availability of money and resources to pregnant women; the application process to claim the benefits under the scheme is cumbersome and benefits are confined to first child
  2. Most of the women work in small establishments which do not even have basic facilities for their convenience, leave alone crèches for children
  3. Poor incomes often force the women to return to work without proper rest and recovery

 

Q.3  India’s #MeToo is a watershed moment in societal evolution.  In this context discuss the steps taken by government and suggest suitable remedial measures against sexual harassment.

Answer:

Significance of #MeToo:

  1. Social Media is empowering the vulnerable groups of society and giving them a voice against positions of power.
  2. It proves the limitations of the legal provisions to deal with sexual harassment.
  3. It has shown us that even the most privileged among women have not been spared from cultures of sexual harassment and exploitation.

Govt Initiatives:

  1. ‘SHe Box’ – for registering complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace of all women employees in the country, including government and private employees.
  2. Ministry of Women and Child Development has identified 223 resource institutions to provide capacity building programmes i.e. training, workshops on the issue of sexual harassment at workplace.
  3. Women and Child Development Ministry has written to the law ministry, requesting that sexual harassment complaints be allowed without any time limit.

Remedial measures:

  1. Socialisation process and education must be prioritised to build gender sensitive society.
  2. Workplace audits should be periodically held and organisations should be held accountable for actions.
  3. Law mandates that the investigation should be completed within 90 days. It should be strictly adhered to.
  4. Courts and the police should use the law imaginatively to reach a lot of women.
  5. Greater gender diversity at the workplace

 

Q.4  Describe the demands of the early nationalists in the Indian freedom struggle. Discuss how these demands were different from the nationalists who emerged later that led to Surat Split.  

Answer:

Demands of early nationalists (or) moderates:

  1. Moderates aimed at administrative and constitutional reforms.
  2. Moderates wanted more Indians in the administration and not to an end of British rule.
  3. Moderates believed in constitutional means and worked within the framework of the law. Their methods including passing resolutions, persuasion, sending petitions and appeals.
  4. Most of the moderate leaders were inspired by the ideas of western philosophers like Mill, Burke, Spencer, and Bentham. Moderates imbibed western ideas of liberalism, democracy, equity, and freedom.

Examples of moderate leaders-Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale etc.

Demands of later nationalists:

  1. Extremists aimed at nothing short of swaraj as it existed in the United Kingdom and its self-governing colonies. Tilak said, “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”.
  2. Extremists wanted to end the British rule.
  3. 3.Extremist denounced British rule and defied it. Many of them were arrested because of anti-British activities.
  4. Extremists believed in atma shakti or self-reliance as a weapon against domination.
  5. Extremist rejected British rule and held it responsible for the backwardness and poverty of the Indian people.

Examples of extremist leaders- Bala Gangadhara Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghosh.

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