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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | PDF Download

Date: 10 April 2019

MCQ 1

  •  Export promote councils under ministry of textiles
  1. Handloom Export Promotion Council
  2. Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council
  3. Apparel Export Promotion Council
  4. The Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council

(A) 1,2,3

(B) 2,3,4

(C) 1,3,4

(D)All

Export Promotion Councils

  • Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC)
  • Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC)
  • Cotton Textile Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL)
  • The Synthetic and Rayon Textile Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC)
  • Indian Silk Export Promotion Council (ISEPC)
  • Wool & Woollens Export Promotion Council
  • Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC)
  • Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH)
  • Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL)
  • Wool Industry Export Promotion Council

Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)

  • National Textile Corporation Ltd.. (NTC)
  • British India Corporation Ltd. (BIC)
  • Cotton Corporation Of India Ltd. (CCI)
  • Jute Corporation of India (JCI)
  • Birds Jute Exports Ltd. (BJEL)
  • National Jute Manufactures Corporation Limited (NJMC)
  • Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation (HHEC)
  • Central Cottage Industries Corporation (CCIC)
  • National Handloom Development Corporation Ltd. (NHDC)
  • UN Environment is an Implementing Agency of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. OzonAction strengthens the capacity of governments - particularly the operational focal points known as National Ozone Units - and industry in developing countries to elaborate and enforce the policies required to implement the Protocol and to make informed decisions about alternative technologies.
  • Overall goal is to enable those countries to meet and sustain their compliance obligations under the treaty.

Technology and the unhurried mind

  • The saga of the EVMs has started looking tedious to many people — abundant caution would help
  • Visiting the present office of the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) felt like a pilgrimage. The new office is in the lower Parel area of Mumbai. It is an old industrial area, with multi-floor offices and workshops huddled together. Many of the lifts are old — with a grill door and an operator sitting on a stool — going up and down all day with visitors. He manages the heavy grill, stretching its hard metal to close it for movement, then pulling it back to let the visitor out. In the lift I took, the grill puller was an old man. He told me that if I want to, I could take one of the new lifts. I decided to stick to him for my short journey to the third floor. While inside, I recalled my first visit to the EPW’s legendary editor, Krishna Raj in the early 1980s. The magazine’s office at that time was in the Fort area. Krishna Raj sat in his small room with a manual typewriter. The short letters he wrote, indicating a topic on which he wanted an article, were full of grace and humility. Receiving it was a short step before obedience to a moral authority that the EPW was. It had become a symbol of the status of debate in democratic governance.
  • Out of a time capsule
  • After an hour-long visit, I got into a taxi with a driver from eastern Uttar Pradesh. I felt I had been into a time machine adjusted to both the old and the new worlds of democratic India. My driver told me that his vote is in Mumbai, but he is in close touch with his village in Jaunpur. There are 14 castes, he said, in his village, and all are going to vote for the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate. As far as he was concerned, U.P. had only two worthwhile leaders, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. Ms. Mayawati, he said, showed what it means to control, and Mr. Yadav showed the meaning of development. Then why did he lose so badly, I asked. The answer, my taxi driver said, lay in EVMs, or electronic voting machines. Then he added, “People are more vigilant now.” A minute later he said, “But you never know what all can happen.” His voice carried a healthy mix of hope and resignation.
  • The saga of the EVM has started looking a bit tedious to many people. The Election Commission of India (ECI) itself seems frustrated with the continued suspicion of political parties in the integrity of the EVM system. As a citizen and voter, I often wonder why the EVM story has dragged on for so long. The system that the EVM has replaced was vulnerable in many ways, such as by booth capturing. Recently, when a public commentator used the term ‘election capture’, I was reminded of the days when incidents of booth capturing were common. In the era of EVMs, booth capturing has lost its value, not just its possibility. Another constraint of the pre-EVM era was the high proportion of invalid votes. Many people found it difficult to put the stamp in the allocated space. In the new set-up, the difficulty they might face in locating and pressing the right button will never be known. The EVM voter is presumed to have good sight and a dexterous finger. And if he does not fulfil these assumptions, no one will ever find out. The EVM has deleted the risk of invalidity.
  • The linking of EVMs with a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is a fine mechanical response to the suspicion that EVMs can be manipulated. This doubt-removal machine offers a seven-second long image of the symbol and name chosen by the voter.
  • One can say that a country of millions of smartphone users can be confident that its voters will look at the VVPAT screen during the given time-slot to satisfy themselves that their choice has been correctly recorded. I hope it is all right to wonder whether using a smartphone is as consequential as casting a vigilant glance at the VVPAT while waiting for the beep that announces the completion of the voting process. What the glance reveals and what can be done in case one is not satisfied are matters that can only disturb further the chain of faith that snugly surrounds the EVM system.
  • Democracy is a modern faith. Its disruption must not be entertained, even as a passing thought. This is perhaps yet another demand that modernity is making on our old nation. Never mind that nations more advanced than us on the industrial path have not agreed to use EVMs for their elections. If we emulated their caution, there are many other encounters with modern science and technology we would have avoided. They have so far worked out for us, helping us to move forward. The EVM is one more step. Having taken that step, we can afford to forget our reality and the problems it presents.

THE NEW ETHOS

  • Mystery is inbuilt into it. So is distance between what you want and what will happen. I have used the EVM just once, and I came back from the booth feeling unsure whether I had performed my civic duty properly. The long row of buttons on the body of the machine looked menacing. It demanded both clarity of vision and precision in the finger. I had neither, yet I acted and pressed the button representing my preference. There was no VVPAT at that time. A longish beep filled the room, indicating that my vote had been cast. I came away wondering whether I had pressed the right button and whether the button I had pressed had recorded my preference honestly. Ever since that day, I have read numerous articles and news items covering the debate over EVMs. Many articles discussed the rejection of EVMs in other democracies. They are technologically more advanced than India, then why did they reject EVMs? That train of thought would lead to doubt over my commitment to the nation and its progress. It is no longer a case of choice of machine or material for nation-building.
  • The new nationalist ethos has no room for debate over anything, let alone the path of progress for the nation. One must pass an ideological fitness test before seeking the right to be given attention.
  • In the context of technology, the digital kind has swept other choices aside. The philosopher of technology, the late Ursula Franklin, defined technology as ‘the way we do things here’. In our case, we have settled our mind over a narrower definition that accepts only digital machines as acceptable technology. The qualities they possess are accredited as the highest. Entertaining any doubt about their integrity is a waste of time. That, indeed, it is, considering that the decision has been taken, in every case.

Is there a problem with the 10% quota?

  • Data show that economically weaker sections in the general category are already well represented in higher education
  • Examining two aspects
  • We examine here the empirical foundation of two aspects which are central to the policy but are absent from discussions on it. The first is the rationale underlying the policy that economically weaker sections from the general category remain “excluded from attending the higher education institutions” in India “due to their financial incapacity”. Is that really the case? The second is the fact that the Bill also brings private educational institutions under its ambit. What is the representation of reserved category students in private educational institutions?
  • We try to answer these two questions by analysing data from the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF). The Ministry of Human Resource Development introduced a ranking of higher education institutions in India in 2016. A total of 445 institutions were ranked under the NIRF in 2018. The NIRF data provide the composition of ‘economically backward class’ (EBC) students and ‘socially challenged category’ (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Other Backward Classes) students. The data reveal that of the 16.09 lakh students enrolled in the 445 top institutions in 2016-17, about 28% (4.55 lakh) belonged to the EBC. The share of EBC students was about 30% in private educational institutions. If we consider institutions as the basis of analysis, the facts are self-explanatory. About 66% of the 445 NIRF-ranked higher education institutions had more than 10% of students from the EBC. Interestingly, 68% of private educational institutions also had more than 10% of EBC students. EBC students had already secured about three times the proposed quota of 10% without any reservation in top higher education institutions. This is despite the fact that the income criteria used by most of these institutions vary from ₹2 lakh to ₹5.5 lakh annually, which is far less than the proposed eligibility criterion for the reservation quota, which is ₹8 lakh.
  •  In January, the Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution Amendment Bill guaranteeing 10% quota in education and employment to economically weaker sections in the general category. Families that earn an annual income of less than ₹8 lakh and do not possess agricultural land of five acres or above are eligible for the quota. This includes 95% of Indian households. Isn’t it strange that in a country which claims to have lifted millions out of poverty, so many households fall in this category? What is more is that these households require reservation, nothing else, to enable them to be socio-economically better off. The Bill has served an unintended purpose, though: Reservation is no more the preserve of the so-called merit-less. The proposed quota has transformed cynics of the reservation policy into champions of it.

Under-representation of SCs/STs/OBCs

  • The share of ‘socially challenged category’ (SCs/ STs/ OBCs) students in these 445 institutions was 38%, only 10 percentage points more than the share of EBC students.
  • Surprisingly, the share of SC/ST/OBC students stood at only 44% in public institutions, which are mandated to implement 49.5% reservation. In private educational institutions ranked by the NIRF, their share was as low as 30%, which was similar to the share of EBC students. Here too, only 19% of private higher educational institutions ranked by the NIRF had more than 49.5% of SC/ST/OBC students. Thus, SC/ST/OBC students remained greatly underrepresented, especially in premier private educational institutions.
  • This is despite the fact that the SC/ST/OBC population constitutes about 70% of the total population of India (NSSO, 2011-12).
  • Our analysis is confined only to the top 445 higher education institutions. However, if the share of EBC students was as high as 28% in these premier institutes, their share would have likely been larger in other higher education institutions which were not ranked by the NIRF. This could be due to a number of reasons, including lower fees. The EBC students have already secured more than 10% share in these institutions without any reservation. Hence, the proposed policy seems to be empirically unfounded. By contrast, what emerges from the NIRF data is the under-representation of the ‘socially challenged category’ in premier education institutions.
  • It appears that the government is going to extend reservation for SC/ST/OBC students to private higher education institutions. This would certainly bring the much-needed diversity in premier private higher education institutions in India.