Q.1) While it is heartening to see substantial progress in the R&D sector in India, there are also areas of concern that need strengthening. Comment (15 marks - 250 words)
Why this Question? - As per the R&D Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 based on the National S&T Survey 2018, India has made substantial progress in the basic parameters of the R & D sector.
Intro - One can start with highlighting the importance of the R & D sector for Indian Economy and Society. Also, it can be started by quoting the contribution of the R & D sector to India’s GDP.
Substantial progress - India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018, India is ranked at 9th position in terms of Resident Patent Filing activity in the world etc.
Concerns need to be addressed - India spent 0.7% of its GDP on R&D in 2017-18, while the same among other developing BRICS countries was Brazil 1.3%, Russian Federation 1.1%, China 2.1% and South Africa 0.8% etc.
Initiatives to address these concerns - like Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana etc.
Conclusion: As the nature of challenges faced is changing(COVID), R&D sector needs to be finetuned with adequate public and private spending.
Q.2) The current national lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the problems of food, nutrition and livelihood security. Comment.
Why this question: Some measures have been announced, such as provision of additional rice or wheat, some pulses and oil free of cost, as well as ₹1,000 cash for the purchase of other essential commodities through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Define food security and current scenario like impact of pandemic on food security
- Components of food security: Affordability, Accessibility, etc
- Relation between Food security and job security
- Highlight the measures taken by the government
Create a fairly robust system of food and nutrition security:
- It is very critical to highlight the linkages between agriculture, nutrition and health.
- Enhance the sustainability of the production cycle.
Q.3) RBI has a key role in reviving the economic situation amidst covid 19 pandemic. Keeping this in mind, highlight on the steps taken by RBI to tackle the pandemic and tell the constraints faced by it. Comment.
Why this question:
Lockdown has been extended for two more weeks which will make the economic situation even worse.
Start by defining its role as a central bank and how it controls the monetary policy that can help revive the economy through tools like repo, reverse repo, OMOs.
- Enhanced 3 months moratorium on loans
- Reduced Cash Reserve ratio to 3 %
- Reduced Repo rate to 4.4%
- Difference between repo and reverse repo drastically reduced which disincentivise parking funds with RBI
- provided special liquidity support to non-banking finance and microfinance companies,
- eased asset classification norms, and
- facilitated increased emergency funding for state governments.
- bad loans - peaked at Rs 14 lakh crore but still large,
- inadequate competition - scheduled commercial bank numbers have hovered between 90 and 100 since 1947
- private bank governance - CEO so powerful that boards and shareholders are weak
- public sector bank governance - shareholder so powerful that boards and CEOs are weak
- the RBI’s own game - process, technology and human capital in regulation and supervision
For overall revival both the government and RBI needs to work in tandem and 1.7lakh crore fiscal stimulus by the finance ministry is a positive step in this regard.
Q.4) Legislative councils have become a backdoor entry for political party loyalists who fail to win popular mandates.In the light of the statement critically analyse the relevance of Legislative Councils.
Context of this question:
Constitutional Crisis in Maharashtra
- Briefly talk about legislative Councils, bicameral legislature
Criticism of LCs
Rationale for creation
Previous instances, SC judgements
- Take a stand- whether to abolish it or improve upon it.
- WayForward -Parliamentary committee, 2nd ARC recommendations
Q.5) Recently released Budget transparency and accountability survey places India at 53rd position out of 117 countries. In the light of this report critically comment on India’s budget transparency and accountability.
Efficient functioning of the budget is one of the key parameters needed for a country to develop in the economic sphere.
- Mention findings of the report
- Compare India with other developing countries
- Above average score of India
- Scope for improvements/Areas where India still lacks behind
Provide solutions such as enhancing public participation, transparency at the at the sub-national levels as well,Publishing a Pre-Budget Statement etc