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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 13



Following are the Suggested Answers for Mains Marathon, March 13:


1.Women empowerment in India needs gender budgeting. What are the requirements and status of gender budgeting in the Indian context? (GS 3)

भारत में महिला सशक्तिकरण के लिए जेंडर बजटिंग अनिवार्य है | भारतीय प्रसंग में जेंडर बजटिंग की क्या आवश्यकताए एवं स्थिति है?

SourcePrevious Year Question Paper


Background:

  • Gender budgeting (GB) is a practice that accounts budgetary measures to support gender commitments.
  • India formally adopted gender budgeting in 2005.Every Indian budget since 2005 has a statement that lists out schemes meant specifically for women.Sixteen states have also embraced gender budgeting over the past decade.

Status:

  • Greater gender equality with respect to enrollment in schools:
    • More girls are enrolling with increase in awareness.
  • Spending on infrastructurehas also increased for instance women in BPL categories are given free LPG for better health prospects.
  • Providing women with safe toilets in school especially in villages, giving free cycles for easy commutation(for eg. in Bihar), providing them with drinking water facilities are some steps in this direction.
  • Village panchayats controlled by women tend to spend more on public goods such as drinking water which are closer to the concerns of women
  • The gender budgeting has helped improve women’s economic equality.
  • Government efforts :-
    • Many government schemes like beti bacho beti padhao for bettering sex ratio and education , sukanya samridhi yojana for enhancing their economic status are launched.
    • Recently government has increased the Paid leave of women to 26 Weeks from 12 Weeks under maternity benefit act this will ensure the retention of Women in the work force.

Concerns:-

  • Gender budgeting alone is unlikely to solve the massive problem of gender inequality that not only prevents women from living a full life but also hurts economic growth.
  • For example, India has the lowest level of female participation in the labour force when compared to most other regional economies. Indian women enter the labour force only when there is economic distress while they retreat back into their homes once the situation improves a rare case of employment going down when the economy improves.
  • Social norms do prevent women from exercising these freedoms.
  • The lack of certain core public goods such as safe streets or lack of clean drinking water are more likely to hurt the economic prospects of women more than men.
    • The lack of clean drinking water on tap in effect means that women in many parts of the country spend several hours every day walking in search of water.
  • According to the Mcckinsey Global report on Gender parity, India has a score of 0.48 which compares poorly with 0.71 for Western Europe and 0.74 for North America and Oceania.It also goes onto say that investment in gender parity can result in 1.4% per year increase in GDP.

Requirements of gender budgeting :-

  • GB requires Government budgets to establish its gender specific impacts and to ensure that gender commitments are translated into budgetary commitments.
  • Gender specific grant allocations in various schemes. For example schemes like Start Up India and Stand up India allocations must be specifically earmarked for women entrepreneurs.
  • Provisions specially to attract women in the mainstream economy and targeting the section of women that hesitates to participate actively by leveraging benefits.
  • Institutionalizing GB at state govt. level must be done to increase the share and commitment on state subjects.

A gender sensitive budget helps in translating gender-specific commitments into budgetary commitments. Since women comprise approx 48% of the population of India, it becomes important for their voices to be heard.


2.“Terrorism is emerging as a competitive industry over the last few decades.” Analyse the above statement. (GS 3).

“पिछले कुछ दशकों से आतंकवाद एक प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक उधोग के रूप में उभर रहा है |” उपर्युक्त कथन का विश्लेषण कीजिए|

Source: Previous Year Question Paper


Yes,it is:

  • The current competitive market in terrorism means that groups are trying to distinguish themselves from one another through more memorable violence. They need to do so because this is the only way in which they can be heard and become popular enough to attract recruits.
  • Human Resource:
    • Competitive pay is offered to the fighters which is able to pull youth fight in terrorist organisations.
  • Globalisation:
    • This process aided the terrorist activities due to flexibility in movement of people across borders.
  • Nexus of criminals and terrorists:
    • Terrorists need finances for their activities. So, criminals colluding with terroristS is emerging as a competitive industry. For example, credit card information theft, smuggling, drug trafficking and child trafficking.
  • Due to Internet and social media, all terrorist activities like money transfer, recruitment, propaganda became easy without physical movement of people.
  • Regional conflicts: Such conflicts are benefiting the terrorism. For example sunni-shia rivalry in west Asia, India-Pakistan rivalry in South Asia.
  • Control over large tracts of land especially by ISIS .
  • Marketing:
    • Social Media and Advertisements are key methods of radicalization. Terrorist organisations run their own news channels, Twitter handles and constantly update latest changes.
  • Existence of hawala networks
  • Support of governments to terrorists due to which they have corporatised their industry and made it competitive.
  • Increased migration to Europe and East Asia causing imbalance

However despite the industry being competitive most of the people do not think it as  attractive as it is against the values and principles followed in the society,create violence etc.

By trying to educate youth and understanding their alienation the governments can strive to work towards radicalization, nab organised crime ,Implementing provisions of BEPS for throttling Hawala finance would make terrorism to be controlled effectively.


3.What are ‘Smart Cities? Examine their relevance for urban development in India. (GS 3)

‘स्मार्ट शहरों ‘ से क्या तात्पर्य है? भारत के शहरी विकास में इनकी प्रासंगिकता का परीक्षण कीजिए|

SourcePrevious Year Question Paper


Smart city:-

  • A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents.
  • In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand. They benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

Smart cities relevance for urban development are:-

  • The smart city concept necessarily emphasises the inclusion of ICT solutions as part of its entire proposal. Going forward, such a system will be robust and sustainable.MyGov.in is an excellent example of ICT integrating and increasing the efficiency of citizen engagement.
  • The core infrastructure in a smart city would include:
    • Adequate water supply
    • Assured electricity supply
    • Sanitation, including solid waste management
    • Efficient urban mobility and public transport
    • Affordable housing, especially for the poor
    • Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
    • Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
    • Sustainable environment
    • Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
    • Health and education

Concerns:

  • The citizens who live and work in these cities must be integral to the implementation process as well. The success of the Mission is firmly vested in smart citizens.
  • It was argued that smart cities may also lead to social polarisation which subsequently engenders social mistrust, violence .
  • The idea of smart cities is basically a Western concept, meant for cities driven by information technology and whether they were suitable for India needs to be considered.
  • The quantum of housing provided by the public sector is low. Housing shortage is highest among the urban poor constituting about 95 percent. Hence, being inclusive in this regard would necessitate inclusion spatially, economically and socially.
  • The integration of formerly isolated legacy systems with respect to distribution of water supplyand sanitation to achieve citywide efficiencies can be a significant challenge.
  • Annual requirement of Rs 35,000 crore. One needs to see how these projects will be financed as the majority of project need would move through complete private investment or through PPPs .
  • City development plan, which is the key to smart city planning and implementation and encapsulates all a city needs to improve and provide better opportunities to its citizens. Unfortunately 70-80 per cent of Indian cities don’t have one.
  • Financial sustainability of ULBs:
    • Most ULBs are not financially self-sustainable and tariff levels fixed by the ULBs for providing services often do not mirror the cost of supplying the same.
    • Technical constraints of ULBs:Most ULBs have limited technical capacity to ensure timely and cost-effective implementation and subsequent operations and maintenance owing to limited recruitment over a number of years along with inability of the ULBs to attract best of talent at market competitive compensation rates.
  • Smart cities should have universal access to electricity 24×7; this is not possible with the existing supply and distribution system.

What can be done ?

  • Energy saving cannot be achieved merely with smart meters in a home. In order to reduce energy consumption and save money on bills, consumers need to not only monitor their energy use but also make an effort to change the whole family’s daily energy usage behaviour.
    • This would include shifting to energy-efficient appliances, reducing TV time, and switching off electrical appliances when not in use, especially during peak periods.
  • Citizen participation ensures citizen satisfaction, which in turn ensures maximum efficiency of the proposed technology.
  • Three-tier governance: 
    • Successful implementation of smart city solutions needs effective horizontal and vertical coordination between various institutions providing various municipal amenities as well as effective coordination between central government (MoUD), state government and local government agencies on various issues related to financing and sharing of best practices and service delivery processes.
  • Providing clearances in a timely manner:
    • For timely completion of the project, all clearances should use online processes and be cleared in a time-bound manner.
    • A regulatory body should be set up for all utility services so that a level playing field is made available to the private sector and tariffs are set in a manner that balances financial sustainability with quality.
  • The ability to handle complex combinations of smart city solutions developed by multiple technology vendors becomes very significant.
  • Cities need to shift towards renewable sources and focus on green buildings and green transport to reduce the need for electricity.

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