Telegram Editorial Compilation: June 2022

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JUNE 2022

1. Women at the top

What the article is about?

  • Talks about the achievements of women in civil services and discussing the way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-II Gender equality, Social justice, Higher education; GS-IV Civil service

Women at the top:

  • Taking another step towards equity, three women, Shruti Sharma, Ankita Agarwal and Gamini Singla, secured the first, second and third ranks, respectively, in the 2021 Civil Services examinations conducted by the UPSC.
    • Considered one of the toughest examinations to crack, the girls emerged successfully at the top in their second attempt, and in the case of the second-ranker, in her third try.
    • All three women agreed that it was a long, difficult and challenging journey.
    • With 10 of the top 25 rank-holders being women, there is a lot to celebrate — and ponder over.
  • According to the latest All India Survey on Higher Education report, published by the Ministry of Education for 2019-2020, the gross enrolment ratio in higher education for the female population is 27.3%, compared to 26.9% for males.
  • In this backdrop, women comprised only 26% — or 177 — of the total of 685 candidates recommended by the UPSC for appointment to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Central Services, Group A and B.
    • This skewed statistic must change because public service offers a unique opportunity to bring about social change, and women can drive this, especially in a country where girls often have to drop out of school for a variety of reasons, from poverty, early marriage to lack of toilets.
  • It has been a hard-fought battle for women to come this far in the IAS, and sometimes a trickier road awaits them once inside the steel framework of the ad- ministrative setup.
    • If three women are at the top today, they have a lot to thank trailblazers such as Anna Rajam Malhotra (née George), the first woman to join the Indian Administrative Service in 1951, or C.B. Muthamma, the first woman to join the IFS in 1948 who fought a landmark case in the Supreme Court of India when she was looked over for a promotion for Ambassador, or even Anita Kaul who worked tirelessly to champion the Right to Education Act 2009 which made education a fundamental right for every child. 


  • The early part of a civil servant’s career is usually spent in rural or semi-urban India, giving her a vantage point over issues including women’s health, literacy, economic independence, caste and gender disparities that are in need of reforms or policy intervention but are often overlooked due to lack of a proper understanding. To achieve this, education is the key.
  • Also, if civil service has to represent all sections of the population, of which half are women, their representation in the services too must increase at all levels of the bureaucracy, starting with the highest rung. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the achievements of community-oriented health services and the way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-II Health, Social Justice

Community-oriented health services:

  • India’s one million Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) volunteers have received arguably the biggest international recognition in form of the WHO’s Global Health Leaders Awards 2022.
    • The ASHAs were among the six awardees announced at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva.
    • This award is in recognition of the work done by ASHA volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for serving as a link between communities and health systems. 

ASHAs and contributions:

  • India launched the ASHA programme in 2005-06 as part of the National Rural Health Mission.
    • Initially rolled out in rural areas, with the launch of the National Urban Health Mission in 2013, it was extended to urban settings as well.
    • Each of these women-only volunteers work with a population of nearly 1,000 people in rural and 2,000 people in urban areas, with flexibility for local adjustments.
  • Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, ASHAs have made extraordinary contributions towards enabling increased access to primary health- care services; i.e. maternal and child health including immunisation and treatment for hypertension, diabetes and tuberculosis, etc., for both rural and urban populations, with special focus on difficult-to-reach habitations.
  • Over the years, ASHAs have played an outstanding role in making India polio free, increasing routine immunisation coverage; reducing maternal mortality; improving new-born survival and in greater access to treatment for common illnesses. 


  • Among the A-A-A, ASHAs are the only ones who do not have a fixed salary; they do not have opportunity for career progression.
  • Though performance-based incentives are supplemented by a fixed amount in a few Indian States, the total payment continues to remain low and often delayed.
  • These issues have resulted in dissatisfaction, regular agitations and protests by ASHAs in many States of India. 

Way Out:

  • Indian States need to develop mechanisms for higher remuneration for ASHAs.
  • In-built institutional mechanisms are to be created for capacity-building and avenues for career progression for ASHAs to move to other cadres such as ANM, public health nurse and community health officers are opened.
  • Extending the benefits of social sector services including health insurance (for ASHAs and their families) should be considered.
  • An independent and external review of the programme needs to be given urgent and priority consideration
  • There are arguments for the regularisation of many temporary posts in the National Health Mission and making ASHAs permanent government employees.
  • Need to acknowledge that the specific functions at the village level, which ASHAs play, may not be ideally suited for a permanent position.


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the disability and barriers to feminine hygiene and way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-I Society, GS-II Social Justice, Empowerment of vulnerable section

Disability and rights:

  • In the past decade, significant progress has been made in India by government and non-governmental actors with regard to menstrual health and hygiene management (MHHM).
    • Increased awareness about MHHM, enhanced access to female friendly/ gender appropriate sanitation facilities and availability of menstrual products, in particular sanitary pads, are some of the visible outcomes of this progress.
  • According to Census 2011, nearly 27 million persons (or 2.2% of the Indian population) are disabled.
  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 specifies that a person with disabilities has “long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders [her]/his full and effective participation in society equally with others”.
    • The 2016 Act, while stipulating the rights and entitlements of persons with disability, recognised that women and children are particularly vulnerable, and that certain rights, such as reproductive rights, may be even more neglected or disregarded as compared to others.
  • In India, girls and women with disabilities from poor households and marginalised communities, bear a triple burden that exacerbates their vulnerabilities. 


  • Deeply embedded prejudices and misconceptions about the reproductive anatomy and abilities of persons with disability result in their being considered asexual, unsuitable for marriage, and incapable of having and raising children.
  • Access to sexual-reproductive health information & services are in turn compromised because of these social & physical barriers.
  • For a vast majority of women and girls and persons with gender diverse identities, menstruation is more than a mere physiological process due to preconceived notions about menstruators and menstrual blood being impure or dirty.
  • Economic and structural factors create additional hurdles to hygiene management, good health, and health-seeking behaviours. 

Way Ahead:

  • The United Nations Population Fund and WaterAid India are working together to understand the key challenges and constraints faced by persons with disability with regard to menstrual health and hygiene.
    • The aim is to identify simple and potentially scalable solutions based on insights from individuals and organisations working with persons with disability across the country.
  • Accessible and adapted Information, education and communication on menstrual health and hygiene for persons with disability based on their differential needs and capacities, and an enabling socio-cultural environment.
  • Appropriate and safe menstrual products and hygiene promotion. Fewer than two- thirds of girls and women with disabilities aged between 15 to 24 years use hygienic menstrual protection methods (National Family Health Survey 2019-20).
  • Responsive and inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, including disposal solutions in different settings.
  • Caregivers, both from within the family and institutions are vital for disability focused interventions and must be included as both participants and partners.
  • Every menstruating person has the right to menstrual health, irrespective of their gender identity, ability, or socioeconomic status.


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the progress in India’s EV policy and the way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-II Government policies and interventions, GS-III Sustainable development

EV Policy:

  • India’s push for electric vehicles (EVs) was renewed when phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric (FAME) Vehicles scheme in India, with an outlay of ₹10,000 crore, was approved in 2019.
    • This was significant since phase-I, launched in 2015, was approved with an outlay of ₹895 crore.
  • India was doubling down on its EV ambitions, focusing on cultivating demand for EVs at home while also developing its own indigenous EV manufacturing industry which could cater to this demand.
    • Initially envisioned for three years, FAME-II got a two-year extension in June 2021 owing to a number of factors including the pandemic.
    • It aims to support 10 lakh e-two-wheelers, 5 lakh e-three-wheelers, 55,000 e-four-wheeler passenger cars and 7,000 e-buses.
  • Three years into FAME-II, the numbers have been lagging far behind the original three- year target.
    • As a part of FAME-II, the government has made a push for indigenous manufacturing with a number of automakers answering the call
    • Three-wheeler EVs like e-autos and e- rickshaws account for close to 65% of all EVs registered in India.
    • In contrast, two-wheeler EVs come at a distant second with over 30% of registrations and passenger four-wheeler EVs at a meagre 2.5%.
  • Under the targets for FAME-II, e-three-wheelers have crossed over 4 lakh vehicles of the 5-lakh target since 2019.
    • The EV registrations data show that Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal account for close to 80% of all e-three-wheeler registrations, with U.P. accounting for close to 40% of all registrations.
    • Incidentally, these five States are characterised by high population density and shortage of affordable public transport. Indigenously designed and produced, e-three-wheelers like e- rickshaws have become a common sight in these States.
    • All five States provide road tax exemption of 100% and on registration fees.
    • Assam, Delhi and West Bengal have linked incentives to the battery size (in kWh) with additional benefits on interest rate on loans and scrappage incentives in some cases.
    • U.P. has gone a different way with its subsidies, offering 100% interest-free loans to State government employees for purchasing EVs in the State and 30% subsidy on the road price of EVs to families with a single girl child.
    • To promote sales of EVs manufactured within the State, U.P. exempts SGST on all such vehicles. 

Way Ahead:

  • Subsequent EV policies must therefore pay special attention to passenger safety concerns.
    • Local manufacturing enterprises often lack the necessary resources or the motivation to invest in design developments focusing on safety.
  • While the current State-level policies have been instrumental in increasing local e-three-wheeler manufacturing, they have led to an increasingly fragmented manufacturing industry with non-uniform standards akin to the formative years of motor vehicles in the early 20th century.
  • Future EV policies must therefore take into account the existing and emerging stakeholders on the demand and supply sides for effective implementation.


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the achievements and concerns of BIMSTEC , with a way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations


  • June 6 marked the completion of 25 years since the 1997 Bangkok Declaration launched a modest grouping (of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand), with the acronym, BIST-EC.
    • Three countries (Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar) joined it later to make it the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). 


  • BIMSTEC has several achievements to its credit.
    • It has crafted a new Charter for itself, spelling out the grouping’s vision, functions of its constituent parts, and has secured a legal personality.
    • It has prioritised the sectors of cooperation, reducing them from the unwieldy 14 to the more manageable seven, with each member-state serving as the lead country for the assigned sector.
    • It has, finally, taken measures to strengthen the Secretariat, although some members are yet to extend adequate personnel support to it.
    • Above all, its success lies in its survival through the turns and twists of internal tensions.
      • Rohingya refugees crisis and influx into Bangladesh, the result of oppression by the Myanmar military; the coup in Myanmar that led to its virtual boycott by a large segment of the international community; and the grave political and economic crisis afflicting Sri Lanka. 


  • A major failure relates to the continuing inability to produce a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) 18 years after the signing of the Framework Agreement.
    • Official sources concede that of the seven agreements needed to operationalise the FTA, only two are “ready” — a disappointing record.
  • The other disappointment is connectivity — in infrastructure (roads, railways, air, river, and coastal shipping links), energy, the digital and financial domain, and institutions that bring people closer together for trade, tourism and cultural exchanges.
    • Much of the connectivity established recently is the outcome of bilateral initiatives taken by India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to strengthen transport links.
    • Mega-projects aimed to improve connectivity between India and Myanmar (and Thailand) have been delayed inordinately.
  • The movement towards establishing the BIMSTEC Development Fund is minimal.
    • The grouping has talked about the Blue Economy but is yet to begin any work on it.
    • Business chambers and corporate leaders are yet to be engaged fully with the activities of BIMSTEC. 

Way Ahead:

  • An exciting destiny awaits it as it works to realise the vision of the Bay of Bengal Community (BOBC).
  • In this Indo-Pacific century, the BOBC has the potential to play a pivotal role, deepening linkages between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • It should accelerate the region’s economic development by collaborating with the newly minted Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding GST Council decisions.

Syllabus: GS-III Indian Economy, GST, Fiscal federalism

GST Council:

  • Article 279A stipulates the creation of the GST Council and its functions. The Council has to function as a platform to bring the Union and State governments together, and as a mark of cooperative federalism, the Council shall, unanimously or through a majority of 75% of weighted votes, decide on all matters pertaining to GST and recommend such decisions to the Union and State governments.
  • The purpose of GST, as a harmonised commodity tax, is to make India a single market
  • Article 246A gives powers to the Union and State governments simultaneously to legislate on the GST. In other words, the two tiers of the Indian Union can simultaneously legislate on matters of the GST (except the IGST, which is in the legislative domain of the Union government); obviously it can be inferred that neither of the legislations can supersede each other. 

Recent SC ruling:

  • In Union of India Anr. vs Mohit Minerals Pvt. Ltd., the Supreme Court of India on May 19, 2022 while deciding on a petition relating to the levy of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on ocean freight paid by the foreign seller to a foreign shipping company, ruled, “The recommendations of the GST Council are not binding on either the Union or the States…”.
  • The judges of the Supreme Court have recorded, “Since the Constitution does not envisage a repugnance provision to resolve inconsistencies between the Central and State laws on GST, the GST Council must ideally function, as provided by Article 279A(6) in a harmonised manner to reach a workable fiscal model through cooperation and collaboration.” 

Concerns associated GST:

  • It is a fact that States have not got full compensation for the shortfall in GST revenue collection during the COVID-19 pandemic period and that States wanted to extend GST compensation beyond June 2022 given the current recession and widely expected slow growth in effective revenue under the GST.
  • The Union government holds one-third weight for its votes and all States have two- thirds of the weight for their votes, gives automatic veto power to the Union government because a resolution can be passed with at least three-fourths of the weighted votes.
    • This imbalance in the voting rights between the Union and State governments, makes democratic decision-making difficult.This creates another political problem as the smaller States with lesser economic stakes can be easily influenced by interest groups. 

Way Ahead:

  • Goods and Services Tax Council shall be guided by the need for a harmonised structure of GST and for the development of a harmonised national market for goods and services.
  • The power of the recommendations rests on the practice of cooperative federalism and collaborative decision-making in the Council. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the food safety progress and way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-II Health, Government policies and interventions. 

Food Safety Index:

  • Recently, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has released the 3rd State Food Safety Index (SFSI).
    • The index is developed by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) to measure the performance of states on five significant parameters of Food Safety.
    • The parameters include Human Resources and Institutional Data, Compliance, Food Testing – Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training & Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment.
    • The Index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all States/UTs.
    • The first State Food Safety Index for the year 2018-19 was announced on the first-ever World Food Safety Day on 7th June 2019.
  • Food safety and consumer empowerment are areas in need of constant attention in India, where enforcement is often lax.
    • But in this, Tamil Nadu deserves credit for finishing at the top among 17 large States for food safety; it was ranked third in the previous edition of the State Food Safety Index.
    • That Tamil Nadu, with 82 marks, is ahead of Gujarat by 4.5 marks and Maharashtra by 12 marks, highlights its creditable showing.
    • Tamil Nadu has improved its standing in ‘human resources and institutional data’, and ‘training and capacity building’.
    • There has been incremental progress in ‘compliance’ (which measures overall coverage of food businesses in licensing and registration), and ‘food testing’ (which scrutinises the availability of adequate testing infrastructure with trained manpower in the States/Union Territories for testing food samples).
    • Kerala, which came second last time, is now at sixth spot; Karnataka has retained its ninth position; Telangana slipped from 10 to 15 and Andhra Pradesh dropped to the last slot from the penultimate slot in the previous edition when 20 States were covered, unlike the 17 now. Among Union Territories, Puducherry rose from seventh to sixth spot. 

Way Ahead:

  • In area such as food safety, States alone cannot make a big difference without the support of the Central government.
  • Liberal assistance should be provided to the States and Union Territories as far as laboratory infrastructure and improvement of manpower, both technical and non-technical, are concerned.
  • The private sector should come forward in a big way to have staff trained at their cost and where such persons are used productively for the purpose.
  • There are inspiring accounts of the participation of some information technology majors in getting surplus food distributed to the needy, of course with the help of non-governmental organisations, and this should serve as a lesson to those who are still hesitant to make their contribution. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the Indus Water Treaty, concerns associated and prospects.

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations, India and its neighbourhood

Indus Water Treaty:

  • The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960, by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistani President Ayub Khan, negotiated by the World Bank.
    • The treaty establishes a cooperative mechanism for exchanging information between the two countries regarding the use of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) allocated to Pakistan and the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej) allocated to India.
    • The treaty also underlines provisions allowing each country to use the rivers allocated to the other for certain purposes such as irrigation and hydroelectricity.
    • The Permanent Indus Commission, which has a commissioner from each country, oversees the cooperative mechanism and ensures that the two countries meet annually (alternately in India and Pakistan) to discuss myriad issues emerging from the treaty. This year, the commission met twice, in March in Islamabad, Pakistan, and then in New Delhi, in May. 


  • Both countries held different positions when Pakistan raised objections regarding the technical design features of the Kishanganga (330MW) and Ratle (850 MW) hydroelectric power plants located on the tributaries of the Jhelum and the Chenab, respectively, designated as “Western Rivers”.
    • However, under Articles III and VII of the treaty, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers (subject to constraints specified in Annexures to the Treaty).
  • Differences were also discernible when Pakistan approached the World Bank to facilitate the setting up of a court of arbitration to address the concerns related to these two projects referred to in Article IX Clause 5 of the treaty, and when India requested the appointment of a Neutral Expert referent to Clause 2.1 of Article IX on the settlement of differences and dispute of the treaty, respectively.
  • Pakistan, invoking Article VII Clause 2 on future cooperation, raised objections on the construction and technical designs of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower plants located on Marusudar river, a tributary of the Chenab, in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • India has raised concerns on issues such as Pakistan’s blockade of the Fazilka drain, which resulted in water contamination in the border areas, referent to Article II Clause 3 and Article IV Clause 4 and 6 of the treaty.

Way Ahead:

  • Notwithstanding the differences, both countries have so far endeavoured to amicably address all such issues with both sides assuring to implement the treaty in letter and spirit.
  • The treaty is an illustration of a long-standing engagement between the conflicting nations that has stood the vagaries of time.
    • The treaty, therefore, is considered one of the oldest and the most effective examples of water management cooperation in the region and the world.
  • The treaty can serve as an edifice to address the challenges of climate change. Recognising common interests and mutual benefits, India and Pakistan can undertake joint research on the rivers to study the impact of climate change for ‘future cooperation’ (underlined in Article VII). 



What the article is about?

  • Talks about the concerns and prospects of recent India-Iran interaction.

Syllabus: GS-II International relations

India-Iran relations:

  • India-Iran relations span millennia marked by meaningful interactions.
  • The two countries shared a border till 1947 and share several common features in their language, culture and traditions. India and Iran established diplomatic links on March 15, 1950.
  • India-Iran commercial ties have traditionally been dominated by Indian import of Iranian crude oil.
  • Iran has the world’s second-largest reserves of natural gas, yet it is not a major exporter.The proposed Iran-Oman-India undersea gas pipeline can help India move towards clean energy
  • Infrastructure projects like Chahbahar Port, International North South Transport Corridor will help India to bypass the overland route through Pakistan  and help in better trade relations with West and Central Asia.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian’s first visit to India this week has many implications for bilateral relations, but it is the multilateral context and timing that stand out.


  • Iran is a part of China’s ambitious Belt And Road initiative.This might come in conflict with India’s interests in Iran ,considering  the fact that India has been vociferously opposing China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • With USA pulling out of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and imposing sanctions on Iran , it will be difficult for India to continue importing Oil and Natural gas from Iran and also to operationalise the Chabahar Port  in a full fledged manner.
  • Instead of increasing Indian oil imports, investments in developing reserves, building up the Chabahar rail project and scaling up trade, India has drastically cut its Iranian engagement due to sanctions, while Iran has looked to China for more infrastructure investment.
  • Bilateral trade dropped to just over $2 billion (2020-21) from $17 billion (2017-18). Ties also appeared to have been hit by New Delhi’s surprise decision to join the Israel-India-UAE-U.S. group, portrayed as an “anti-Iran” coalition, and by perceptions of Iranian support to Yemeni Houthis behind the drone attack on a UAE oil facility where an Indian was among those killed. 

Way Ahead:

  • The recent engagement is the first visit by a member of the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, which took offence to comments made in India on the Prophet.
  • Against the backdrop of the Russian war in Ukraine, and western sanctions, Iran has also been keen to convince New Delhi to restore its crude oil purchases, which it cancelled in 2019, after threats of U.S. sanctions.
  • It’s high time that India strategically aligns with both countries on an autonomous and need based approach. For this, India has to take bold steps. As a leading power it cannot buckle under pressure of any country.
  • Short term course can be developing alternate mode of payment to Iran and promoting flexibility in investment mode.
  • Carrying out high level talks with US about the security and strategic concerns of India vis-àvis China.
  • The near-term developments in its neighbourhood are a priority for Tehran even as India tries to find a balance with his stated preference to develop closer ties with both the U.S. and Israel.



What the article is about?

  • Talks about the necessity and concerns related with the Upper House of Parliament.

Syllabus: GS-II Constitution, Council of states

Upper House (Rajya Sabha):

  • Rajya Sabha’ or the ‘Council of States’ is the second chamber of the Indian parliament, which traces its origin to the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, 1919.
    • The origin of the Rajya Sabha or the Second Chamber can be traced to the Montague-Chelmsford Report of 1918.
  • The Upper House of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha or Council of States was constituted on 3rd April 1952 and the first session was held on 13th May 1952.
  • Constituent Assembly Debates Regarding Rajya Sabha
    • Against the Rajya Sabha
      • The section in the constituent assembly who was opposed to the idea of Rajya sabha held that an Upper House was not essential and opinionated that such a chamber can prove to be a “clog in the wheel of progress” of the nation, by delaying the legislative process.
    • In favour of Rajya Sabha
      • Proponents of the Rajya Sabha held that an upper chamber would lend a voice to the states in the legislative scheme of things and check the legislation passed in haste.


  • Bicameralism is necessary for a federal constitution to give representation to the units of the federation.
  • Review and Revaluation Role: Indian constitution framers wanted to create a house that would act as a revisionary house to keep a check on the hasty legislation that could be passed by the lower house under populist pressures.
  • A Deliberative Body: Parliament is not only a legislative body but also a deliberative one which enables the members to debate major issues of public importance.
  • Representing the Vulnerable Sections: Women, religious, ethnic and linguistic minority groups are not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha (due to first past the post-election system).
  • Special powers:
    • Power to transfer a subject from the State List to Union List for a specified period (Article 249).
    • To create additional All-India Services (Article 312).
    • To endorse Emergency under Article 352 for a limited period when the Lok Sabha remains dissolved.


  • No equal Representation of states: For example, the number of seats allocated in Rajya Sabha to Uttar Pradesh alone is significantly higher than that of combined north-eastern states.
  • In some cases, ordinary bills are being passed in the form of a Money Bill, circumventing the Rajya Sabha and giving rise to the question about the very efficacy of the upper house of Parliament.
  • By way of the Representation of People (Amendment) Act, 2003, parliament has removed the word ‘domicile’ from Section 3 of Representation of People Act, 1951.
    • Once nominated, they rarely participate in the working of the house.
      • Sachin Tendulkar was appointed in 2012 and the House has met 374 days since then, but the attendance of Sachin Tendulkar is a meagre 24 days.


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the right to repair and compares with the provisions of Consumer Protection Act.

Syllabus: GS-II Government Policies and Initiatives, Rights

Right to Repair:

  • The U.S. state of New York recently passed the Fair Repair Act, which requires manufacturers to supply repair information, tools, and parts to independent repair shops and not just their own stores or partners.
    • This provides consumers with the right to repair and refurbish their purchased goods.
    • With access to relevant tools and repair manuals, independent repair shops will finally be able to compete with manufacturers.
  • When read closely, the ‘right to repair’ can be said to be implicit in Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
    • Often, manufacturers reduce the durability of the product, compelling consumers to either repurchase the product or get it repaired at exorbitant prices affixed by the manufacturers.
    • Specifically, this tramples upon the right to obtain information about the quality of the product, the right to procure products at reasonable prices, and the right to seek redress against unscrupulous practices.
    • For instance, the product liability clause under Section 84 can be amended and expanded to impose product liability concerning various reparability parameters of the product.
  • France requires manufacturers to display a repairability index on their products which consists of five parameters.
    • This helps consumers understand if the products are repairable, difficult to repair or not repairable at all.
  • The scope of the right can only be determined in the domestic context of the country. We use complex machinery as compared to the past.
    • For instance, air conditioners have largely replaced fans and coolers. An entire repair class is, in effect, denied its right to conduct business as it does not have the tools, parts, guidelines and technical know-how to repair these high-tech products.
    • Further, the lack of certification/licensing of repair workers is seen as a reflection of their lack of skills.
    • But a repair certification/licence can be allotted to those who pass certain criteria and skill tests.
  • In addition to protecting their right to livelihood, it may also prove beneficial as tech companies are required to share their repair manuals with certified technicians.
    • Making repair manuals available to certified business owners could go a long way in balancing the rights of consumers and manufacturers. 


  • The New York legislation is a reminder that it is time to not only acknowledge the right to repair of consumers but also respond to the corresponding rights of the manufacturers.
  • This warrants some expedited policy changes to recognise the ‘right to repair’, be it through amendments in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 or through a separate law. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the way to end child marriage and its correlation with increasing the age of marriage.

Syllabus: GS-I Society, GS-II Social Justice, Child marriage, Health impacts

Way to end Child marriage:

  • Several empirical studies from South Asia establish a significant association between early marriage and adverse health and educational outcomes of women and their children.
    • Studies associate early marriage of women with early pregnancy, lower likelihood of accessing ante-natal care, higher risks of maternal morbidity and mortality, poor nutritional status of women and poor nutritional and educational outcomes of children.
    • It is also abetted by structural factors, including social norms, poverty, and women’s education.
    • It is because of social norms in many regions and cultures that parents begin preparations for a girl’s marriage once she has reached menarche.
  • Equally, a large proportion of child marriages take place primarily because of poverty and the burden of the huge costs of dowry associated with delayed marriages.
  • NFHS-5 data show that about 25% of women aged 18-29 years married before the legal marriageable age of 18. The proportion has declined only marginally from NFHS-4 (28%). Expectedly, the prevalence is higher in rural than urban India (28% and 17%, respectively).
    • 39% of child marriages in India take place among Adivasis and Dalits. The share of advantaged social groups is 17% and the remaining share is of Other Backward Classes.
    • In terms of household wealth, 58% of these marriages take place among the poorest wealth groups (bottom 40%), about 40% of them take place among the middle 50% and only 2% of them take place among the top 10% of wealth groups. Only 4% of child marriages in India take place among women who have completed more than 12 years of education
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, fixes 21 years as the marriageable age for women.
    • While 27% of illiterate women who married before 18 years are underweight (Body Mass Index be- low 18.5), the proportion is 24% for illiterate women who married at the age of 21 years. A high proportion (64%) of illiterate women are anaemic, in terms of iron deficiency, irrespective of their difference in age at marriage 

Way Forward:

  • The health dividend emanating from women’s increased age at marriage is not imminent.
  • Increasing the age of marriage without a commensurate improvement in women’s education is least likely to yield better health and nutritional outcomes. Instead, it might adversely impact the poor and illiterate.
  • The fact that about one-fourth of women (18-29 years) in India have married before 18 years despite the law tells us that legally increasing the age of marriage may not fully prevent child marriages.
  • By contrast, much of the benefits can be reaped by ensuring that women complete education at least up to 12 years.
  • The case of Bangladesh shows that improving women’s education and imparting modern skills to them that increase their employability reduces child marriage and improves health and nutrition.
  • Also, schemes which ease the financial burden of marriage but the eligibility criteria of which should essentially link to educational attainment in addition to age demand attention – Janani Suraksha Yojana 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the window of economic opportunities for India and way ahead for Sri Lanka from the crisis.

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations, India and its neighbourhood

India-Sri Lanka:

  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, touched upon a less-emphasised yet significant aspect of India-Sri Lanka relations — the commonality between Sri Lanka and the southern parts of India.
  • Sub-regional integration 
    • South India-Sri Lanka sub-region as a single market that would provide more opportunities for the economic growth of both countries.
    • 5 Indian southern States, with a total population of 250 million, had a combined gross state domestic product of nearly $450 billion; with the addition of Sri Lanka’s $80 billion GDP, the sub-region would have a $500 billion economy, having an aggregate population of around 270 million – In 2016, the South Asian Diaspora Convention in Singapore
    • In the southeast Asian country, he had even referred to the tri-nation economic convergence, encompassing Singapore too.
  • The present economic crisis in Sri Lanka has pushed it closer to India for immediate relief.
    • India, as part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, has extended support to the people of Sri Lanka in the form of aid (close to $3.5 billion) to help secure Sri Lanka’s food, health and energy security by sup- plying it essential items such as food, medicines, fuel and kerosene.
    • Signing of an agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Export-Import Bank of India for a $55-million short term Line of Credit to facilitate the procurement of urea for paddy crop in the ongoing ‘Yala’ season.
    • On its part, Tamil Nadu decided to provide aid of ₹123 crore, comprising 40,000 tonnes of rice, 137 types of life-saving drugs and 500 tonnes of milk powder. 


  • Some sections of the Sinhalese still hold the view that “India has been a threat to us. It can be a threat to us in future too”.
    • This perception can be traced to history when Sri Lanka was invaded by rulers of south India who humbled the Sinhala kings. In the aftermath of the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom, the support provided by the Indian government to Tamil rebels only strengthened this perception.
  • Despite India’s open willingness to take part in the development of Sri Lanka after the civil war, the scale of its involvement has been modest
  • Rajapaksa regime unilaterally scrapped in February 2021 a tripartite agreement signed in 2019 with India and Japan for the development of Colombo’s East Container Terminal was a reflection of the historical baggage.
  • The Trincomalee oil tank farm and a couple of renewable projects, there were several proposals that envisaged India’s participation but did not see the light of day. 

Way Out:

  • Even now, there is enormous scope for collaboration between the two countries in the area of infrastructure development. The economic crisis has revived talk of linking Sri Lanka’s electricity grid with that of India.
  • India’s interests would also be served by developing the east coast of Sri Lanka, especially the Trincomalee-Batticaloa belt, whose potential for tourism, commerce, trade and industry is well known.
  • Facilitating greater people-to-people interaction, including pilgrimages by monks and other sections of Sri Lankan society to places of Buddhist importance not only in north India but also in the south (Andhra Pradesh). 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the unemployment crisis and possible way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-III Issues relating growth and development, employment

Unemployment crisis:

  • Unemployment has remained a major concern — the leaked Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in 2018 revealed that India’s unemployment rate was the highest (6.07%) in four decades.
  • The latest PLFS suggests that the numbers now are not so drastic, with the overall unemployment rate at 4.2% in 2020-21 compared to 4.8% in 2019- 20 and the labour force participation rate (LFPR) increasing to 41.6%, up from 40.1% in 2019-20.
  • In terms of the more widely used statistic internationally, the current weekly status of unemployment, the figure of 7.5% for all persons in 2020-21 is still worrying.
    • This is because the decrease, says the PLFS, has also coincided with the transfer of employment into lower productive and unpaid jobs away from salaried employment.
    • Worryingly, industrial jobs have decreased with more employment in agricultural and farm-related jobs — a trend that accelerated following the lockdown and has not reversed since then.
  • Unemployment rates among the educated (above secondary education — 9.1%) and the youth (age between 15-29 — 12.9%) have only declined marginally.
  • Wage rates have continued to remain lower for those employed in either salaried jobs or self-employed compared to the pre-pandemic period, with the increases being marginal in the year following lockdown-driven days of the pandemic.
  • It is clear that the Government must tackle unemployment and, concomitantly, the quality of employment issue, on a war footing.
  • The recent announcement that the Government will be recruiting 10 lakh personnel within the next 18 months (vacancies in the Railways, the armed forces and GST departments among others) should be seen as a step in the right direction.
    • The latest data showed that there were 8.86 lakh vacant jobs among all central government civilian posts as of March 2020.
    • This announcement was not about the creation of a large chunk of new jobs; the bulk of the promised employment is to fill up vacancies. 

Way Ahead:

  • Promoting Labour Intensive Industries such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments.
  • Drafting National Employment Policy (NEP) that would encompass a set of multidimensional interventions covering a whole range of social and economic issues affecting many policy spheres and not just the areas of labour and employment.
  • The country cannot afford to squander more years in its race to reap the benefits of its demographic dividend, and the push to provide jobs for those seeking to enter the labour force, even if belated, will help ease matters for the medium term. 


  • India’s cities can be magnets for job creation if the right policies are implemented.
  • Need national conversation on urban unemployment with all stakeholders around the table.
  • Job creation and up-skilling the youth to ensure that India’s demographic dividend is effectively utilised.


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the concerns associated with cryptocurrencies, amid the recent crisis.

Syllabus: GS-III Economy, Growth and Development; 

Bubble in the air:

  • The crash in the price of cryptocurrencies is a timely reminder to retail investors to stay far away from this highly speculative asset class.
    • Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, has lost over two-thirds of its value since its peak in November last year and has wiped out many retail investors. Other cryptocurrencies have witnessed even larger losses with some (Luna) plunging to zero.
  • Cryptocurrencies were initially touted to be alternatives to fiat currencies.
    • Since the supply of a lot of cryptocurrencies is limited by design, investing in them seemed like a good way to protect one’s wealth from inflation fuelled by central banks.
    • But as it became obvious that cryptocurrencies have had very little acceptance as money, crypto-enthusiasts began to argue a slightly different case.
  • Cryptocurrencies were now touted as an independent asset class like gold and silver that could serve as an effective hedge in times of crisis.
    • The crash in the crypto market amidst wider market correction has put to rest the argument that crypto, as an asset class, is as good a hedge as precious metals.
    • There is little reason to believe that cryptocurrencies possess any intrinsic value that can make them serve the role of widely accepted money or as a legitimate asset class such as precious metals.
  • Just as Internet stocks and tulip bulbs were the hallmarks of liquidity-fuelled bubbles in the past, cryptocurrencies are the leading symbol of the current bubble in markets.
    • But perhaps the biggest threat to their prospects has been an existential one.
    • Governments and their central banks have been largely unwilling to recognise cryptocurrencies as legitimate investment asset.
    • They are also unlikely to recognise private cryptocurrencies as they infringe on the state’s fiscal and monetary authority.
    • Moreover, this hostile attitude is at least partly to blame for the shady nature of the crypto industry at large. 


  • Retail investors looking for quick market gains have had to plunge into an unregulated space marked by scams and other pitfalls in the absence of a legal environment that can protect investor interests.
  • So, regardless of the investment prospects of cryptocurrencies, a proper regulatory framework may help in protecting retail investors, at least from outright scams. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the recent EPI and India’s status in environmental ranking and promises.

Syllabus: GS-III Environmental Conservation


  • The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) assessment, carried out by Yale and Columbia Universities with an emphasis on climate change mitigation, has become controversial for prioritising the flow of greenhouse gases from countries while reducing the emphasis on the stock of carbon dioxide from industrialised countries that is warming the globe.
    • The latest (EPI) placed India last among all 180 assessed countries.
  • The national rank of 165 on Climate Policy and score of 21.7 in this category — which overall has a 38% weightage in the calculations along with 42% for Ecosystem Vitality and 20% for Environmental Health — has particular significance.
    • Within the overall climate score, India does better in sub-metrics such as growth rates for black carbon, methane and fluorinated gases, and greenhouse gas emissions based on their intensity and per capita volumes.
    • The Index rates the country low on projected greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for mid-century, a target for Net Zero emissions.
  • The EPI report estimates that China, India, the United States, and Russia are expected to account for over 50% of global residual greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • The country has protested that the new India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 was not factored in as part of the biodiversity metric.
    • On the face of it, India scores abysmally low on some of the Ecosystem Vitality variables, such as Marine Protected Areas (0.3 of a possible 100) and Protected Areas Representativeness Index, or PARI (0.5), Terrestrial Biome Protection (TBM) – National (1.2) and TBM – Global (2.1). Wetland loss prevention is among the best scores for India, at 62.
    • The EPI-assigned rating for India in protecting biomes has led to sharp differences too. The Index assigns a ‘laggard’ rank on tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf and coniferous forests, montane grasslands and shrublands and the worst performance on deserts and xeric shrublands.
  • A second sensitive area in which India brings up the rear in the EPI is air quality. With a score of 7.8 and a rank of 179, the familiar dispute over data and reliability of several parameters has reopened.
    • Data for 2019, when economic activity was unfettered by COVID-19, attribute 1.67 million deaths during the year from air pollution.
    • In 93% of India, the amount of pollution remains well above WHO [World Health Organization] guidelines. 

Way Out:

  • What India needs to adopt is a rigorous dashboard approach to indicators, assigning high weight to the environment, modelled on the proposal made by Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz and Jean-Paul Fitoussi in their exploration of development beyond GDP.
  • This can generate good data, identify the real beneficiaries of policies, avoid serious environmental deficits and ensure intergenerational equity in the use of natural resources. It can also curb pollution.
  • Distorted rankings from external assessments would matter little. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the delay in monsoon and its impacts.

Syllabus: GS-I Indian Monsoon; GS-III Monsoon and agriculture


  • The latest IMD figures suggest that the monsoon is running an 8% deficit.
    • Central India, which has the largest swathe of land dependent on rainfed agriculture, has only got 52% of the rain that is due; the southern peninsula has a 22% deficit.
    • Only India’s east and north-eastern parts are battling the diametrically opposite problem of too much rain, with floods in Assam and Meghalaya submerging entire villages.
    • The northwest of India, where the monsoon is yet to arrive, and reeling under a series of heatwaves, is battling a rainfall deficit of 33%.
  • The monsoon rainfall is critical to kharif sowing and so a faltering June has raised concerns in several quarters.
    • June rainfall, particularly in the first fortnight, is historically patchy and contributes less than 18% of the monsoon rainfall.
  • Meteorologists maintain that there is no correlation of the timing and advent of the monsoon rainfall with its eventual performance.
    • Because of the large variance inherent in June rainfall, the IMD has historically chosen not to issue forecasts for the month, unlike for July and August.
  • Episodes of drought in India and those that are linked to agricultural failures are when the monsoon fails in these two months.
    • The June to September rainfall over the country was likely to be 103% of the Long Period Average, and central India was likely to get “above normal” rainfall as was the southern peninsula.
    • The monsoon core zone, which consists of most of the rainfed agriculture regions, too is expected to receive “above normal” rain.
    • In previous years, there has been a pattern of ‘normal’ and ‘above normal’ rains being forecast only for them to dry up for large periods in July and August, followed by a sudden surge in September.
    • This pattern may help deliver the numbers but is not always beneficial for kharif sowing.
  • The expectations of a good monsoon are premised on the persistence of a La Niña, the converse of the El Niño and characterised by a cooling of the Central Pacific waters.
    • However, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), another index of significance to the monsoon, is expected to be negative.
  • Whether the La Niña can compensate for the dampening of the IOD remains to be seen. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the high debt burden of some states and the concerns associated with it.

Syllabus: GS-III Economy, Fiscal federalism

Debt Burden:

  • A recent study by economists at the Reserve Bank of India notes that 10 states — namely, Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana — have the highest debt burden.
    • Of these, the five most fiscally stressed are Bihar, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal. All these states have a debt to GSDP ratio in excess of 30 per cent.


  • A high debt level translates to higher interest payments.
    • According to the report, the share of interest payments in revenue receipts exceeds 20 per cent for most of these states.
    • Coupled with allocations for pension and administrative payments, the share of committed expenditure for these states is at least 30 per cent of revenue expenditure.
    • With such a large share of their expenditure firmly earmarked, it restricts the fiscal space to spend on more productive avenues.
  • States have also ramped up spending on subsidies.
    • While a distinction needs to be made between merit and non-merit subsidies, politically motivated decisions such as providing free electricity or waiving of outstanding utility bills, profligate from a fiscal view, will aggravate the stress, and distort the functioning of the market.
  • The failure to turn around the financial position of power distribution companies and opting out of the new pension scheme — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have recently done so — will only exacerbate the situation.
    • Their space to manoeuvre has been restricted by slowing revenues, a rising share of committed expenditure and higher outgoes on subsidies.
    • Unless the GST Council decides otherwise, they will witness a further fall in revenues once the compensation period draws to a close.
  • Over the past few years, some states have also been pushing part of their borrowings off budget, circumventing their ceilings.
    • While there is little clarity on the extent of these obligations, the central government has now taken cognisance of this.

Way Out:

  • It has recently asked states to bring on its books all off-budget borrowing undertaken over the past two years.
    • This will bring about much needed transparency in state finances, revealing their true level of indebtedness.
  • Alongside, states also need to take measures to shore up their revenues, reduce non-merit subsidies, and bring down their debt to more manageable levels.


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the role of caste in economic transformation and analysing important factors.

Syllabus: GS-I Society, Caste; GS-II Social Justice; GS-III Economic growth and development

Jobless economic growth:

  • India has been in a phase of jobless growth for at least two decades now, coupled with rising poverty and discontent in rural areas. The ongoing protests against the Agnipath programme, agitations against farm laws a year before, and agitation for reservation by agriculture castes are all arguably an outcome simmering discontent due to this jobless economic growth.
  • Caste, which is mostly confined to politics, could be among the answers, a structural factor that impedes economic transformation in India.

Caste and Economic Transformation:

  • The link between caste and economic transformation:
    • Caste through its rigid social control and networks facilitates economic mobility for some and erects barriers for others by mounting disadvantages on them. Caste also shapes the ownership pattern of land and capital and simultaneously regulates access to political, social, and economic capital too.
    • Three ways in which caste impedes the economic transformation in India:
      • ownership and land inequality related to productivity failure within the farm sector;
      • elite bias in higher education and historical neglect of mass education, and
      • caste-based entry barriers and exclusive networks in the modern sector.
    • India has one of the highest land inequalities in the world today. Unequal distribution of land was perpetuated by British colonial intervention that legalised a traditional disparity.
      • Even the subsequent land reform that took place after India’s independence largely excluded Dalits and lower castes. It emboldened and empowered mainly intermediate castes at the expense of others in rural India.
      • Those castes that had a stake in agriculture did not benefit from the economic reforms for two reasons — historical neglect of education and the entry barriers erected by the upper castes in modern sectors
        • The recent agitations by the Jats in Haryana and Punjab, the Marathas in Maharashtra and the Patels in Gujarat, demanding, among other things, reservation for their castes in higher education and formal jobs exemplify this new trend.
    • If strong growth in productivity within the farm sector is crucial for sustained economic growth, an educated workforce is equally necessary to move to the modern sectors. India failed on both accounts. The Indian education system has been suffering from an elite bias since colonial times. British colonialists educated tiny groups of elites, largely from upper castes, for their own administrative purpose. 


  • All the nations which succeeded in achieving inclusive growth in the Global South had land reforms combined with human capital, invested in infrastructure by promoting capitalism from below and began industrialisation in the rural sector. Only India lost on all three counts.
  • Caste shaped policy outcomes, including India’s highly unequal land reform and lack of public provision of education and health, which in turn erected barriers to economic diversification. Caste also worked in building social networks. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the Istanbul Convention and its impact on Ukraine.

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations

Istanbul Convention:

  • Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, it is the most far-reaching international treaty designed to set legally binding standards for governments in Europe for the prevention, protection, and prosecution of gender-based violence.
    • Until today, Ukraine was one of the 11 countries that had signed but never ratified the Istanbul Convention.
  • Huge step forward for the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence, whether in Ukraine or abroad, could not be more timely for a number of reasons. 

Gender violence:

  • The risk of women becoming victims of gender-based violence in Ukraine has increased immensely over the course of Russia’s eight-year war.
    • In fact, the increasing number of reports that have emerged since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in late February 2022 only suggests that the Russian troops have been using rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war and an instrument of terror to control civilians.
    • Although the Russian authorities have denied alleged sexual abuse by their troops, the truth is that women in Ukraine have been disproportionately affected by the war.
  • Women’s rights activists in Ukraine have long been calling for changes:
    • For instance, domestic violence has been an administrative offence in Ukraine since 2003, which is punishable by a fine, community work of up to 60 hours or imprisonment of up to 15 days.
    • Then in 2019, systematic domestic violence was criminalised, which in practice meant that criminal charges will only be imposed if the abuser commits three offences in a year’.

Impact on Ukraine:

  • The convention’s ratification will not only expand ‘the list of abuse against women punishable by law in Ukraine — including but not limited to psychological abuse, stalking, forced marriage, physical and sexual abuse, forced abortion, sterilisation’ — but also provide the authorities with the opportunity to bring about changes in its legislation and institutional procedures.
  • In furtherance, it will also mean that Ukraine will be responsible for financing more shelters for women, training social workers to adequately handle cases of sexual violence, and increasing resources of assistance available for victims.
  • It will also help in Ukraine’s European integration. Guaranteeing human rights is the most important aspect that is considered when European Union (EU) membership is being extended to a country. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the recently launched NMMS and concerns associated with it.

Syllabus: GS-II Government Schemes and interventions; NREGA


  • In May 2021, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) launched the National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app, a new application meant for “improving citizen oversight and increasing transparency” in National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) works.
    • It is to be deployed by NREGA Mates, local women at the panchayat level who are selected and trained to monitor NREGA worksites.
    • The main feature of the app is the real-time, photographed, geo-tagged attendance of every worker to be taken once in each half of the day. 


  • In most States, NREGA wages are calculated based on the amount of work done each day, and workers do not need to commit to fixed hours.
    • This flexibility has been key to NREGA’s widespread demand. However, marking attendance on the app mandates that workers are at the worksite the entire day. This causes significant difficulty for NREGA workers.
  • NREGA has historically had a higher proportion of women workers (54.7% in FY 2021-22) and has been pivotal in changing working conditions for women in rural areas.
    • Due to the traditional burden of household chores and care work on women, the app is likely to disproportionately affect women workers.
    • The conditions for registering NREGA attendance on the app put them in a dilemma where they may end up foregoing NREGA work.
  • A stable network is a must for real-time monitoring; unfortunately, it remains patchy in much of rural India. This could lead to workers not being able to mark their attendance, and consequently lose a day of wages.
    • Workers in Kerala and Jharkhand are already facing problems in uploading their attendance on the app due to network problems.
  • The app has adversely impacted NREGA Mates as well. The role of a Mate was conceptualised as an opportunity to empower local women to manage attendance and work measurement in their panchayat.
    • But now, to be a Mate, one needs to have a smartphone. This new condition disqualifies thousands of women who do not own smartphones from becoming Mates.
  • Officials and activists confirmed these implementation errors had been evident throughout the pilot process. However, there is no information available publicly about the errors found and measures taken to address them.
    • With no physical attendance records signed by workers anymore, workers have no proof of their attendance and work done. Since there are no physical records the workers can use as evidence, they have no way of proving their attendance, and will consequently lose out on pay for two full weeks of work.

Way Out:

  • Instead of focusing on this app or introducing other complex technological reforms, we strongly believe social audits must be strengthened. 


What the article is about?

  • Talks about the MSMEs, need for integrating MSMEs with global value chain and way ahead.

Syllabus: GS-III Economy, MSMEs


  • Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) actually account for over 99% of businesses.
    • MSMEs are the largest employer in India outside of agriculture, employing over 11.1 crore people, or 45% of all workers. It is no exaggeration to call MSMEs – privately owned enterprises with less than ₹50 crore in investments in plant and machinery and turnover below ₹250 crore – the backbone of the Indian economy.
  • Potential:
    • India faces a unique moment in history, a potential demographic dividend of tremendous proportions.
    • To leverage this opportunity, India needs to create many jobs, especially for the one million young people entering the labour market every month. 
  • Concerns:
    • The disruption of the pandemic severely impacted MSMEs, especially those in the services sector.
    • Their small size and lack of access to resources meant that many were only beginning to mount a fragile recovery just when renewed war, supply shocks and soaring fuel, food and fertilizer prices presented a host of new threats.
    • And all of this comes against the backdrop of the ongoing climate crisis, the greatest disruption multiplier of all.
    • Most do not meet today’s standards on productivity, environmental sustainability, and health and safety of workers.
    • High degree of informality in the sector, with many enterprises unregistered, and both employers and workers are lacking awareness of and commitment to comply with labour and environmental laws. 


  • Development of MSME ecosystem as a top priority for achieving Atma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
  • India’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign aims to catapult the country up the manufacturing value chain to position itself as a global manufacturing hub.
  • Initiatives such as the production linked incentives (PLI) schemes and the recently launched zero effect zero defect (ZED) certification are helping to promote and boost the sector.
  • Agencies such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, IFAD and others are working with MSMEs as they navigate a rapidly changing post-pandemic economic landscape shaped by large-scale transitions, chiefly digitalisation, greening and the reorganisation of value chains.
  • Government initiatives such as the Digital Saksham and the interlinking of the Udyam, e-Shram, National Career Service (NCS), and Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee-Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portals show the promise of targeted digitalisation schemes.
  • Green measures: Together with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), UNIDO provided energy efficiency advisory services to 695 MSMEs in 23 clusters covering brass, ceramic, dairy, foundry and hand tool sectors.
    • As a result, these MSMEs invested themselves during the cash-strapped COVID period ₹157 crore to save 13,105 tonnes of oil equivalent and ₹81 crore in annual operating costs and preventing 83,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • UNIDO is spearheading the notion of manufacturing excellence. Fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation that reduces waste and increases productivity, safety and quality.
  • The Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is also creating opportunities for self-employment and micro enterprises, with over 7 lakh micro enterprises assisted in becoming economically viable. 
  •  Similarly, ILO, together with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and corporates, is supporting MSMEs in creating and retaining jobs, with over 150 MSMEs having improved productivity, aligned to international standards and integrated into global supply chains, and the Start and Improve Your Business programme helping over a lakh young people across five States launch enterprises.

Way Ahead:

  • A forward-looking mindset centres on policymakers and society at large fully recognising and supporting the central socio-economic role that MSMEs play in India, as across the world.
  • In turn, to fully unlock emerging opportunities in the rapidly changing global value chain ecosystem and maximise the demographic dividend, MSME owners need to further commit to formalising their businesses, investing in improved productivity, compliance and most of all, decent work and jobs for India’s aspiring youth.
  • As UN Secretary-General Guterres has urged, “Let us renew our commitment to leverage the full potential of MSMEs, rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and build a more prosperous and just world for all.”

23. FIVE-YEAR ITCH (GST and Cooperative Federalism )






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