Q.1) In the post corona crisis situation, India has to address many problems, of which the need for the institution of a scheme to provide minimum income support to the weak and vulnerable groups stand out. Comment (15 marks - 250 words)
Why this question? - In the post Covid economic recovery plans, providing relief to the vulnerable should be top on priority.
Intro - Mention that absence of a minimum income support system has resulted in weak and vulnerable affected worst by the pandemic.
- Options available - Universal Basic Income, NYAY, Expanding MGNREGA, Cash transfer etc.
- Discuss the pros and cons of these options and challenges in implementing them.
Way ahead - How to overcome these challenges - Raising additional revenue etc.
Conclusion - In the post-COVID-19 situation, the Indian government needs to institute schemes to provide a minimum income for the poor and vulnerable groups.
Q.2) The current pandemic is creating a lot of hurdles for the economy. 15 marks (250 words)
Why this question:
The current lockdown calls for some proactive steps in order to improve the economic potential of India.
Tell in brief about the pandemic situation.
- Like the 1965 scenario of a border challenge by Pakistan and economic constraint by monsoon failure. The situation of the day looks similar in context of China and COVID -19.
- The situation is graver than the 1991 crisis Balance of Payment Crisis which was solved majorly at the central level without a comprehensive integration of state governments.
- But today a high degree of mutual interdependence between union and states calls for state cooperation however the difficulty of attaining the same is well known.
- This was testified in the setback faced by the UDAY scheme when states did not pursue the tariff restructuring needed.
- Further there is concern between policy intent and implementation, a major reason being inter-ministerial conflicts.
- These can arise at the political level, even if the ministers in question belong to the same political party, or between senior bureaucrats, if there are turf issues at play.
- An ambitious 20 lakh crore Atma Nirbhar package has been launched but the real challenge lies in devolving such a huge amount of funds and maintaining the fiscal indicators.
- The stress on the government is further going to rise with enhanced job losses owing to rise in business shutdowns.
- Improved Centre state coordination is required as now we have another power sector reform plank in the Atma Nirbhar Programme, which will make good unpaid dues to independent power producers ( Rs. 90,000 crore) and thereby provide the banking sector relief as well.
- Since it will involve fresh borrowing with the default obligation falling on states, there remains a question mark over state cooperation in the new scheme.
- The ministers and Bureaucracy must keep aside their personal and professional grudges which will help in delivering better results.
- Front Loading of Budgetary allocation must take place so as to support intended schemes and concerned departments in effective implementation.
- While at the same time rational options of Bond issuance, Deficit financing and External Assistance must be taken into consideration for managing the promised outlay.
- Cautious optimism is shown by the new Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan that covers 116 districts in six states; and specifically targets reverse-migrant labour.
- The scheme will operate till october and has been given an outlay of 50000 crore.
- A crucial focus on MGNREGA is required as the scheme will also help in attaining other developmental objectives like improving irrigation, natural resource management, infrastructure creation etc..
- Devolution of additional 40000 crore under Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan towards it is a welcome step.
- Performance-linked incentive mechanism for manufacturing has extended to three sectors so far:
- domestic production of electronics hardware;
- medical devices including protection equipment and testing kits;
- active pharmaceutical ingredients presently imported from China.
- The need is to gradually expand it to other sectors for preventing business shutdowns.
Cooperation and Coordination among various stakeholders is required in current times of distress.
Q.3) It is high time now that SC must live stream its proceeding in ordre to augment access to justice. 10 marks ( 150 words)
Why this question:
The recent pandemic has again raised debate regarding live streaming of Supreme Court hearings.
Basic info about SC
- Give a little background that SC doesn’t allow live streaming
- Tell it has relaxed the conditions during pandemic - Giving access to Journalists of live streamings.
- Need of live streaming -
- Enhance citizen’s Faith,
- Ancestral Knowledge of lawyers,
- Currently Access is restricted for physical proceedings,
- To do parity with other countries
End with Swapnil Tripathi case wherein SC deemed live proceedings as a part of the right to access justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Q.4) Patanjali Ayurveda’s claimed cure for COVID-19 has been criticised for making unsubstantiated claims of efficacy. An integrated approach of drug testing will create a win-win situation for both ayurveda and allopathy. Discuss. (15M, 250 Words)
Why this question?
- Drug trials for the effective Covid-19 vaccine have been in the news.
Introduction to the answer:
- About Drug trial procedure
- The process of testing a new investigational drug in ayurveda: There are two aspects to the use of ayurvedic drugs for clinical use which are described in classical text and listed in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of India.
- If Ayurvedic drugs are to be used for a new condition as in the case of COVID-19, and there is some textual evidence for their efficacy, then they can progress to human trials without studies on toxicity.
- If the drug is an entirely new formula, then it has to follow the same path of toxicity, pre-clinical efficacy and subsequent clinical trials.
Concerns with drug trials:
- Absence of peer review
- The principles of science and ethics
- No critical cases for Ayurvedic drug testing
- Technological interventions: When disease reaches a certain level, you need technological interventions like, in the case of COVID-19, ventilators and pulse oximeters.
- More integration of modern methods should be integrated into the ayurvedic framework.
- A confidence has to be built in the modern medical world as well as in society that these things can be tested in those conditions as well.
- Peer review in Ayurveda: There is definitely the case that this reporting needs to be upgraded and the quality of Ayurvedic journals improved.
- Checking commercialization: Most people in our country can never afford an expensive drug. We must, at this time, de-link this nexus between pharmaceutical companies and medicine.
Conclusion: An integrated approach will create a win-win situation for both ayurveda and allopathy.
Q.5) With private trains expected to begin operations by April 2023. In this context, discuss the significance of this move in the development of Indian economy.
Why this question:
- With private trains expected to begin operations by April 2023, the Railways said the move would only benefit travellers by way of confirmed tickets and faster trains. It also allayed fears of higher fares and job losses.
- Introduce with the involvement of the private sector in railways operation.
- Discuss the significance:
- The major objectives of this project are induction of modern technology and reduction in transit time and the demand-supply deficit.
- These private trains would be run in addition to the currently available trains run by the Railways.
- In addition, the Railways would have to introduce more trains to cater for an estimated 13 billion passengers by 2030.
- It will also increase employment in Railways.
Conclude with the role railways play in overall development of the economy.