Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Role of women & women’s organization
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Biz Sakhi
Mains level: Empowerment of Rural women by promoting entrepreneurship
Women constitute only 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in the country. Women in rural areas face multiple barriers to pursuing income-generating activities, with patriarchal family and societal norms being the primary hurdle.
Initiatives Improving Rural Women’s participation in workforce
The need to improve women’s participation in the economy has been a long-standing priority and is also crucial towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
In recent years, entrepreneurship has emerged as an ideal way for rural women to contribute, by taking a few hours out of their day they can engage in small businesses and bring home additional income.
There are multiple programmes which offer support to such women such as the Start and Improve Your Business Program (SIYB) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the government’s Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD).
Hero MotoCorp Ltd and the Government of Haryana too seeks to positively impact the lives of 14,000 underprivileged wome.
However, Recent data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation shows that women constitute only 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in the country.
Reasons for low participation of women in businesses
Through its pilot programmes with rural women under the Disha Programme, UNDP India has come to realise that one of the reasons for this lack of uptake is the absence of mentorship for women entrepreneurs.
Women in rural areas face multiple barriers to pursuing income-generating activities, with patriarchal family and societal norms being the primary hurdle.
Other issues include lack of awareness about opportunities, difficulty in accessing formal financing and poor customer management skills.
Positive efforts towards an inclusive workfoce through Biz Sakhis
Trained by Disha Project – a partnership between UNDP India, IKEA Foundation and India Development Foundation, the Biz Sakhis are women from rural communities who guide budding female entrepreneurs through multiple processes and provide both practical and psychological support to them.
They encourage rural women to start their own businesses by making them aware of entrepreneurship as a realistic opportunity, and, by informing them of the benefits of starting their own small businesses.
Biz Sakhis are instrumental at this point in helping them access formal banking channels for loans, by providing them information about schemes such as the Mudra Yojana Scheme of the government.
Biz Sakhis provide inputs to help women access market linkages and introduce them to a variety of business models and ideas to help them scale up.
They also work with small business owners to develop their communication skills, and to be able to persuade and negotiate with stakeholders within the ecosystem of their businesses.
The most important role that Biz Sakhis play in the lives of rural entrepreneurs, is to be the source of emotional and psychological support.
Often, family pressures and societal norms discourage women from engaging in such activities or cause them to abandon their business in the wake of community backlash. Being from the community themselves, Biz Sakhis can effectively engage with women and the community at large to counter such barriers and empower rural women to sustain their businesses.
Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers
From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Basic concepts behind of Artificial Intelligence
Mains level: Article gives a clear picture of Jobs and skilling challenges related to Artificial Intelligence
Industry 4.0 is a double-edged sword.
On one side, we have an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven $15.7 trillion game-changer that is unfolding.
On the other side, it’s this (cutting-edge technologies such as AI) that will disrupt 70% of market leaders across industries in the next 10 years.
The availability of relevant talent (or the lack of it) will decide which way industries (and nations) will go.
Countries have started to put in place national digital skills strategies, including in Asia.
Changes in Jobs due tothe advent of AI
it’s about time we put to rest the fear-mongering narrative of job losses and underpinned the real issue—the global skill crisis.
Smart machines will replace millions of jobs worldwide, but, newer jobs will be created in greater numbers.
The World Economic Forum estimates 75 million jobs may be displaced, but 133 million new roles may emerge globally in a few years.
These new jobs will be different and will require higher application of cognitive skills alongside working with deep technologies.
Is Indian IT doing enough towards re-skilling?
Many companies have their own learning platforms that are being used extensively.
Others are tapping into their partner networks and massive open online courses.
Also, as an industry, we need to have deeper engagements with academia, CoEs and research labs to reach our optimum potential.
Indian IT is taking convincing strides to sustain its position as the preferred transformational partner for global clients.
Towards this, investments of about ₹10,000 crore oave been earmarked for re-skilling.
Competition from other countries
Other nations, such as Singapore, China, France, Canada, and Egypt, have begun to invest significantly towards creating digital talent.
As many as 20 countries across the globe have adopted AI National Strategy.
Governments worldwide recognise the inevitable shift and are adopting AI, analytics, and allied technologies to deliver citizen-centric services, including rthe eal-time response.
Indian Government’s Response
The government doubled its Digital India budget to $480 million in 2018-19, which will be used for research and training in deep tech.
In the interim budget this year, the announcement of the National AI Centre, AI portal, and the identification of nine areas to be driven by technology are positive steps towards evangelisation.
Karnataka government along with Nasscom has launched a CoE for data science and AI.
Other areas that need reforms
Universities will have to re-train to ensure students are employable in the digital era.
We produce 2.6 million STEM graduates annually, but their employability is considerably low.
Investment in research is another area where we lag. Sponsored research in our top institutions is between $120-140 million annually, while comparable estimates in the American colleges are between $1-1.5 billion.
Increasingly, universities will require great access to patient capital.
This industry has never been constrained by demand. We have to ensure that we get the supply side of the equation right in real quick time, and policies and strategies must translate into immediate action.
The choice is no more about being the bigger fish —but being the faster one.
Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Idate and Renke Commission Recommendations, NCDNT
Mains level: Welfare measures for the stigmatized de-notified and nomadic tribes
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for constitution of Development and Welfare Board for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Communities (DNCs).
These communities once branded as criminals under the colonial Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, the communities were ‘denotified’ in 1952.
They continue to face stigma till this day.
To this end, the condition of the denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities merits special attention.
The communities which have not been categorised as SC/ST/OBC do not get access to any welfare schemes.
The earlier commissions — Renke and Idate — had tried to identify and list these communities but their major recommendations have not been implemented till date.
Welfare Board for DNTs
The Government has decided to set up a Development and Welfare Board under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
While most DNTs are spread across the SC, ST and OBC categories, some DNTs are not covered in any of these.
These communities are hard to reach, less visible, and therefore frequently left out.
It has, therefore, approved the setting up of a Committee under the Chairpersonship of Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog.
It will complete the process of identification of the Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs) that have not yet been formally classified.
National Commission for DNTs
The Government in July 2014 had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) for a period of three years to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to DNTs.
The Commission recommended for the setting of up a Permanent Commission for these communities.
Since most of the DNTs are covered in SC, ST or OBC, constitution of a Permanent Commission will not be very effective in implementing development programmes.
Rather it will look at grievance redressal and will therefore be in conflict with mandate of existing commissions for SCs, STs and OBCs.