IASCLUB Synopsis : 17 June 2019

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1. Critically analyse the positive and negative contributions 19th Century Socio-cultural reform movements during Independence struggle.                                                           (GS Paper-1, History) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

·         Brief introduction on socio-cultural reform movements

·         After that discuss positive impact of these movements

·         In last discuss negative influence of these movements like communalism

Reference- NCERT

Model Answer:

 The Indian society in the first half of the 19th century was caste ridden, decadent and rigid. The need for change was felt by some enlightened Indians like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar, Dayanand Saraswati and many others who were willing to fight and bring in reforms in society. These sociocultural reform movements had long lasting effects on India.

 Positive Influence:

  • Liberation of women from purdah, child marriage, hypergamy, dowry, Sati etc. through not only legislations but concrete social actions were also taken
  • Deepening education among the masses and especially women education taken up by activists like Pandit Eshwara Chandra Vidya Sagar, D.K Karve etc.
  • The movements emphasised the human intellect’s capacity to think and reason. A realisation of the special needs of modern times, especially in terms of scientific knowledge, and thus promoting a modern, secular and rational outlook was a major contribution of these reform movements.
  • Translation of religious scriptures into vernacular languages and emphasis on individual’s right to interpret the scriptures and simplification of rituals.
  • Creation of national awakening among the masses. These enlightened individuals went on to become the torch-bearers of our freedom movement in the 20th century and who in turn led the masses rallied behind them in the struggle.

 Negative Influence:

  • In addition to reformists movements there were also revivalist movements which encouraged mysticism and fostered pseudo-scientific thinking while exercising a check on full acceptance of the need for a modern scientific outlook. They over-emphasized on infallibility of religious textures like Vedas, Brahmana’s etc. and movements like Shuddi, Tabligh etc. have led to the erosion of the communal harmony in the next stages of our freedom struggle.
  • Undermining the secular aspects by considering the medieval rule of India as a foreign rule many of the revivalists has led to divisions among the society. Though many other factors were certainly responsible for the birth of communalism in modern times, but undoubtedly the nature of religious reform movements also contributed to it.
  • The narrow social base namely the educated and urban middle classes, is one of the main hindrances to not able to much success. Majority of the social movements could not attract masses. 

2. India’s healthcare system relies too heavily on out of pocket expenditure pushing millions into the fold of poverty. Discuss the challenges in front of healthcare system in India.        (GS Paper-2, Social Justice) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

 ·         Introduction

·         Discuss the challenges in healthcare system

·         Conclude with possible solution like universal health care

Reference– Current Affairs

Model Answer:

As India’s population has grown, health care has become one of the country’s important sectors. But, India’s healthcare system lacks quality care that is affordable and easily accessible. Such state can be attributed to various challenges it faces.

 Issues in healthcare sector:

  1. Low public investment: Expenditure on health by the Government continues to be low at around 1.3%. This is very low in comparison to developed nations like USA which spends 18% of its GDP.
  2. Rural versus Urban Divide: About 70% of hospital beds are in urban areas serving only about 31% of the population. In contrast, rural areas have no or limited access to hospitals and clinics. Consequently, the rural population mostly relies on alternative medicines.
  3. High out-of-pocket expenditure: About 70% of spending on healthcare by Indians is out-of-pocket expenditure. This pushes many individuals below the poverty line. Only 5% of Indians are covered by health insurance policies. The health insurance market is only available for the urban, middle and high income populations.
  4. Regulatory issues: Government is unable to curb malpractices in healthcare system. In contrast many institutes like MCI face from issues like corruption, over regulation etc.
  5. Weak Primary Healthcare system: Out of total healthcare budget of government, only about 30% is spent on primary care. Thus, health infrastructure in rural areas is insufficient. Urban areas command 70% of hospital beds. Due to lax regulation doctor absenteeism is high at PHCs.
  6. Low doctor to population ratio: The need for skilled medical graduates continues to grow, especially in rural areas which fail to attract new graduates because of financial reasons. Also, a sizeable percentage of the graduates go abroad to pursue higher studies and employment due to lack of opportunities domestically.
  7. Underdeveloped Medical Devices Sector: The medical devices sector is the smallest piece of India’s healthcare pie. Inverted duty structure in import of medical devices has led to underdeveloped domestic sector.

These are some of the issues faced by Healthcare sector in India which need to be addressed by implementation of Universal Health Care. The goal of Universal Health Coverage is to ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.

3.Though industry has been playing an important role in Indian economy, still the contribution of agriculture in the development of Indian economy cannot be denied. Discuss.             (GS Paper-3, Economy) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

 ·         Introduction

·         Discuss the importance of agriculture in Indian economy

·         Conclusion

Reference– NCERT

 Model Answer:

The role of agriculture can be classified as direct and indirect. Direct role of agriculture in economic development can be assessed in terms of its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment, export, supply of raw materials to agro-food industries, and savings for capital formation. Indirect role can be assessed in terms of its contribution to poverty reduction, food & nutritional security, economic stability, balancing the ecological & environmental concerns, increasing rural non-farm income and employment, etc.

Contribution to GDP

Historical evidence and empirical studies show that in the initial stages of development, agriculture contributes significantly to the GDP. As the economy grows and becomes more industrialized, the share of farm sector in the GDP gradually shrinks and that of non-farm sectors tend to increase. However, declining share of agriculture in the overall GDP does not mean that the agriculture is not growing.

Contribution to Employment

Agriculture not only provides direct employment to majority of rural workforce but also helps in generating indirect employment in rural non-farm sectors. It creates these employment opportunities through crop and livestock production and agro processing. The latter i.e. agro-processing includes: (i) expanding agribusiness activities; (ii) agricultural education, research and extension; (iii) agricultural information and communication; (iv) animal care & treatment; (v) plant protection; etc.  Agriculture absorbed around 50 percent of the total workforce.

Contribution to Exports

Agricultural sector has been a major contributor to India’s export earnings. The agro-based products, namely, tea, coffee, cotton & jute textiles, spices, tobacco, cashew, sugar, etc. accounted a major percent of the export earnings of the country.

Role in Poverty Reduction

  • A large number of poor people directly or indirectly depend on agriculture. Growth in the agricultural sector creates increased demand for basic rural non-agriculture wage goods and services. Many of these goods are mostly produced and consumed locally. A high growth in agriculture has great potential for generating employment and income in the rural non-farm sector.
  • The World Development Report (WDR 2008) argues that agricultural growth is four times as effective in reducing poverty and inequality as growth in non-agricultural sectors.
  • Inadequate accessibility of food is one of the main causes of poverty, hunger and malnutrition which is widely spread in rural India. Due to malnutrition and hunger, a worker would be physically too incapable to earn enough to feed himself and his family. An increase in agricultural production and productivity would play a key role in reducing poverty by raising agricultural wages and making food and other agricultural commodities affordable to the poor households.

Role in Food and Nutritional Security

  • Improvement in agricultural production and productivity helps to ease the problem of food security in two ways: (i) by making the food products affordable to the consumers; and (ii) by generating additional employment opportunities to rural workforce in farm and non-farm activities. Food security is not less than the national security. India cannot depend on import of food grains for maintaining food security.
  • Therefore the issue of food and nutritional security of the people in the country cannot be effectively addressed without raising the production/productivity in domestic agriculture.

 Contribution to Achieving Inclusive Growth

Agricultural development is essential for achieving inclusive growth. Being labour intensive, agricultural growth creates additional employment with low entry barriers. Increased agricultural productivity also lowers food prices for both the rural and the urban poor, who typically spend most of their income on food.

Further the linkage between the agricultural and the non-agricultural sectors imply that an increase in agricultural growth generates surplus with a multiplier effect.

 Role in Economic Stability and Safety-Net

  • Agriculture can also play an important role in maintaining economic stability by providing a safety net to workers during a period of economic slow-down. For instance, during the recent global economic and financial crisis, many workers lost their jobs. It has been observed that many of the rural migrant workers, who become unemployed at such times, temporarily return back to their villages.
  • Agriculture provides some safety-net to such workers as they get support in terms of food and shelter from their families.

 Role in Energy Security

  • Agriculture is of late being considered as a major contributor of alternative sources of energy. Agricultural biomass is being used to generate biogas and bio-fuel.
  • High oil prices in the global market have encouraged many countries to frame policies for the development of bio-fuel.
  • Brazil, being one of the largest sugarcane producers in the world, is also the largest user of ethanol fuel. In India also, the government has initiated measures to produce bio-diesel from jatropha and ethanol from molasses.

 Contribution to Ecosystem Services

Agriculture can also provide a variety of non-commodity ecosystem services such as pollution absorption, recreation, environmental protection through social and agro forestry, biodiversity, etc. This is to say, agriculture can produce both positive and negative externalities as part of the production process. On the one side, it can pollute soil and water sources through input-intensification and chemicalization. On the other, it can also generate positive externalities such as wildlife, wetland services, organic products, etc.

Thus, although the contribution of agriculture to GDP has gradually declined with the increase in overall development of economy, its extended contribution to the economy is substantial. In a broader sense, therefore, agricultural economy consists of primary agricultural production system (crop production, livestock, agro-forestry, etc.) and the agri-food system (i.e. processing, marketing, distribution of agro-products, etc.). Considering together the contribution of both the systems, the role of agriculture becomes much greater than what is projected as the share of agricultural gross domestic product (GDP).

4.What is Teleological argument according to Aristotle?                     (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)

Structure of the Answer 

·         Brief explain teleological approach

·         Discuss Teleological argument of Aristotle

Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics

Model Answer:

teleological approach to ethics is based on the concept of seeking a “telos” in ethical decision-making. Telos is a Greek word meaning “end” or “goal”; thus, teleological ethics is concerned with how choices will affect a particular desired moral outcome.

Aristotle is universally praised for inventing the concept of teleology. In Physics Aristotle declares that “nature is among the causes which act for the sake of something”. ‘For the sake of something’ is a thing’s purpose. This is the end or goal at which a thing aims. Aristotle is of this opinion that nature does nothing purposeless. The nature is not without purpose. The natural processes, according to Aristotle, are ordered to the good ends. Among the good ends, there must be a single supreme good; this supreme good must be God.

Aristotle believes that man’s ultimate aspiration is to contemplate and imitate the highest being, God. All other material beings except human person aspire to become human person, who is the best among the material beings. Human person has the character of reason which distinguishes human person from all other beings in the cosmos. So we understand there is a hierarchical order in the process of reaching the highest good. Therefore, there is a purposeful act of actualization from lower to higher.

In Aristotelian words, one might say that everything in the universe strives to actualize its potentialities or capacities. Growth leads to maturity or fullness of things. This tendency for growth is the hidden cause within the nature of that being. This completion of hidden potencies is the good at which everything aims. This purpose or teleology, therefore, rules Aristotelian ethics, although as we shall see, deontological elements, those pointing to the duties, are not absent from it. Moral obligation is only the consequence of man’s good life. Therefore in Physics he says that there is purpose in the things which come to be and are by nature.

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