Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

22 June 2021 - Tuesday



Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



The state of India’s poor must be acknowledged

The Hindu


Sulabha’s descendants

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Bt Cotton adoption in Punjab has resulted in net economic, environmental benefits: Study

SyllabusGS 3: Major crops

Analysis: –

  • Amid the perpetual debate surrounding Bt cotton’s positive and negative impacts, a recent study titled — ‘Long-term impact of Bt cotton: An empirical evidence from North India’ — has said its adoption in Punjab in the past over a decade has resulted in net economic and environmental benefits.
  • The research was funded by the Agricultural Extension Division of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research under extramural project “Impact evaluation of integrated pest management technologies”.
  • The study was jointly done by the Punjab Agricultural University at Ludhiana, the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Jammu (SKUAST) and the Noida-based Amity University, and has been recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production Elsevier.

Towards a more federal structure

SyllabusGS 2: Distribution of powers

Analysis: –

  • Preserving the unity of India was a great concern at the time of independence. The rulers of Travancore, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Bhopal and Junagadh wanted their own separate countries.
  • In October 1947, Kashmir was invaded with the backing of a very young Pakistan government. Goa was liberated from the Portuguese only in 1961.
  • It was natural that India opted to be a Union unlike the U.S. and many other countries which have federal governments.
  • The essential difference is that the Central government has more authority and power in a Union government.

Revenue distribution

  • Direct taxes are income tax and corporate tax. In the U.S., both the federal and State governments collect such taxes from individuals and corporations.
  • This is true in Switzerland and some other countries as well. However, in India, direct taxes go entirely to the Central government.
  • The Central government is supposed to distribute 41% of its gross tax revenues (reduced from 42% after the formation of new Union Territories in Jammu and Kashmir) to the State governments.
  • In the U.S., the federal government distributes about 15% of its revenues.
  • State governments get funds from the Central government according to the Finance Commission’s recommendations.
  • Though this is based on some formula, often politics intervenes and some States get less and some more.
  • Usually the Central government does not meet the 41% target. We see various States either petitioning or coming into conflict with the Central government on this issue.

Mains Analysis

The state of India’s poor must be acknowledged

Why in News?

This is ‘abject poverty’, and if the economy is to be repaired, the number of the poor has to be meticulously counted

Syllabus— GS 2- Issues relating to poverty and hunger


Background: –

  • In India, there is now, rightly, a consensus difficult for the Government to beat down that to be able to battle COVID-19 and secure India from successive waves, the exact numbers of the dead must be carefully documented.
  • Something else that needs equal attention, if the state of the decrepit Indian economy is to be repaired, is to be able to meticulously count the number of the poor and to prioritise them.
  • The World Bank $2-a-day (poverty line) might be inadequate but it would be a start and higher than the last line proposed by the C. Rangarajan committee.

An imperative

  • If the state of the decrepit Indian economy is to be repaired, is to be able to meticulously count the number of the poor and to prioritise them.
  • The World Bank $2-a-day (poverty line) might be inadequate but it would be a start and higher than the last line proposed by the C. Rangarajan committee.
  •  A survey in 2013 had said India stood at 99 among 131 countries, and with a median income of $616 per annum, it was the lowest among BRICS and fell in the lower middle-income country bracket.

There has been a slide

  • Three important data points have made it clear that the state of India’s poor needs to be acknowledged if India is to be lifted.
  1. the fall in the monthly per capita consumption expenditure of 2017-18 for the first time since 1972-73, which the Government withheld citing concerns with the quality of data collected,
  2. Fall of India in the Global Hunger Index to ‘serious hunger’ category and India’s own health census data

iii. National Family Health Survey or NFHS-5, which had worrying markers of increased malnutrition, infant mortality and maternal health.

  •  If we do not bother to know of the increased numbers sliding into poverty, there would be little possibility of moving toward a solution.
  • In 2019, the global Multidimensional Poverty Index reported that India lifted 271 million citizens out of poverty between 2006 and 2016.
  • Since then, the International Monetary Fund, Hunger Watch, SWAN and several other surveys show a decided slide.
  • The last time that ‘India reported an increase in poverty was in the first 25 years after Independence, when from 1951 to 1974, the population of the poor increased from 47% to 56%’.
  • So, India is again a “country of mass poverty” after 45 years. This has thrown a spanner in the so far uninterrupted battle against poverty since the 1970s.
  •  Urgent solutions are needed within, and the starting point of that would be only when we know how many are poor.

 Poverty line debate

  • In India, the poverty line debate became very fraught in 2011, as the Suresh Tendulkar Committee report at a ‘line’ of ?816 per capita per month for rural India and ?1,000 per capita per month for urban India, calculated the poor at 25.7% of the population.
  • C. Rangarajan Committee, which in 2014 estimated that the number of poor were 29.6%, based on persons spending below ?47 a day in cities and ?32 in villages.

Reasons why numbers count

  • Knowing the numbers and making them public makes it possible to get public opinion to support massive and urgent cash transfers.
  • The second argument for recording the data is so that all policies can be honestly evaluated on the basis of whether they meet the needs of the majority.
  • This would be possible to transparently evaluate only when the numbers of the poor are known and established.
  • It may be more realistic to expect the public debate to be conducted on the concerns of the real majority and create a climate that demands accountability from public representatives.
  • Indians must have the right to question whether there is a connection and if the massive rise in riches is not coincidental, but at the back of the misery of millions of the poor, whose ranks are swelling.
  • If billionaire lists are evaluated in detail and reported upon, the country cannot shy away from counting its poor.

See the ‘bread line’

  • The late Arjun Sengupta, as Chairman of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector in 2004, had concluded that 836 million Indians still remained marginalised.
  • The ‘bread line’ ostensibly owes its origins to the economic depression in the United States in the 1890s and charity by New York restaurants which organised soup kitchens.
  • The massive slide into poverty in India that is clear in domestic and international surveys and anecdotal evidence must meet with an institutional response.

Way forward: –

  • The Government must girdle up and unflinchingly quantify the slide from the ‘fastest growing economy’ to the country with the largest rise in the number of poor people.
  • That it is “abject poverty” we are talking about; almost a sub-human level of existence of the majority of fellow Indians we cannot continue to be blasé about.
  • Counting them would be a much-needed start to convey that each life matters.

Question: –

In India, there is now, rightly, a consensus difficult for the Government to beat down that to be able to battle COVID-19 and secure India from successive waves, the exact numbers of the dead must be carefully documented. Discuss .

Sulabha’s descendants

Why in News?

Recent remarks of TN Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Minister that woman could be appointed priests in the 35,000-odd temples in the state is long overdue.

Syllabus—GS1: Issues related to Women


Women’s Right to become Temple Priest:

  • The term “Priest” denotes a vast range of social, ritual & redemptory functions.
  • Women have already performed duties of purohits to pandas, to be a medium of divine power.
  • These duties/functions are embedded differently in different Hindu traditions.
  • In states like TN & Maharashtra, women have performed all rituals many times.
  • But for generations, the priesthood was an inherited office.
  • However, the SC in Raj Kali Kuer vs. Ram Rattan Pandey 1955, held that women have the right to succeed to the religious office.
  • Though it ruefully noted that standard codifications, disqualified women from performing certain ritual functions, But held that this disqualification was not sufficient grounds to deny women priestly office.
  • This judgment also notes that many Indian temple’s priestly offices are hereditary & hereditary is not a principle of competence.
  • So even if Women could not participate in particular rituals, that could not be grounds for denying them priestly authority.
  • But despite these precedents, Women’s participation in temple authority structures or ritual processes is very rare.

The obstacles for Women:

  • Fear of women coming in contact with men,
  • Notions of purity & pollution associated with Menstruation.
  • But the above principles are complex because of social bases & differential notions of principles of temples.
  • For instance, Tantric temples in South & Kashmir with reasonable restrictions allow Women to perform forms of worship that are prohibited elsewhere.
  • But historically, some pujas are cannot be touched even by non-menstruating women.
  • Overcoming this taboo is a mammoth task like Sabarimala Case.
  • The purpose of opening up ritual functions to women cannot just be social engineering but there also good religious grounds for opening all ritual functions to women such as
  • The authority of men or Brahmins to conduct rituals is not vested in their bodies.
  • This authority is created through a liturgy of signs & symbolic substitutions.
  • They are not pure or worthy but they are made pure or worthy through ritual.
  • The single biggest achievement of the Bhakti movement was to marginalize ritual conformism & exalt the dignity of the emotion of the bhakt.
  • Opening up all modes of worship to all people IS completing the Bhakti revolution that has been resisted for a long time by Brahmanism.
  • Finally, there is a metaphysical point in Mahabharata where a great Yogini Sulabha questions King Janaka, society being binary of gender distinctions.
  • Janaka with his realization says that if temples are to be the true gateways to something higher than the temple rituals not to socially enact our failures, attachments & limit by one’s bodies or birth.

Way Forward: –

  • The politics around a large-scale transformation of temple authorities are anxious because it will disrupt the existing monopolized franchises over the ritual power.
  • However, the situation would become tricky if a secular state involves in the reforming process because it will lead to communal politics.
  • But Hindu reforming their own practices through their own institutions will liberate religion from patriarchy without arousing any communal tensions.
  • The Same Spirit of reformation has to be followed in other religions too.

Question: –

The time has come in giving women full rights on all temple rituals. This transformation & reformation would not only be the last & final death blow to the patriarchal notion/ institution but also the foremost & spirited step for gender equality. Explain with suitable example.

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