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1.Transforming rural India (Live Mint, General)

2.CCTNS digital portal launched (PIB)

3.Social progress Index (The HIndu)

1.Transforming rural India (Live Mint, General)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the recent reforms made in Agriculture sector. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Rapid agriculture growth and rapid rural employment growth were always the focus of India’s policy makers. Mahatma Gandhi envisaged India as a Nation of self-sufficient autonomous village republics. Land – the summum bonum of rural existence, and agricultural structure was the most important determinant of India’s development.

Reasons for backwardness

  • Highly skewed distribution of land was responsible for agricultural backwardness. As land was the critical income generating asset of rural India, changes in agricultural holding structures were necessary to ensure prosperity of the rural population.
  • Accordingly, India’s State policy focused on State Governments formulating and implementing Land Reforms legislations. These included the Land Ceiling Act, the Tenancy Act, the Land Revenue Act and broadly adopted the land to the tiller policy.
  • Surplus arable government lands were distributed to the poor and needy peasants for livelihoods. These policies were envisaged to promote agricultural growth and alleviate rural poverty.

Uneven development

  • After the bank nationalization in July 1969, a big push was given towards expansion of banking activities. Rapid expansion of bank branch network into rural areas and expansion of bank credit to agriculture and related activities.
  • Priority sector lending targets and interest rates were introduced as part of a social banking approach. The rural bank branch expansion significantly lowered the rural poverty and increased non-agricultural growth. However, as time progressed, divergences emerged between the levels of development in States.
  • The richer and faster growing States were better at reducing rural poverty while growth was volatile in the poorer States. The faster growing States had formulated laws for amalgamation of farm holdings into viable units for investments, productivity and growth. In the poorer States, the alienation of small and marginal farmers from their lands and subsequent conversion to landless agricultural labor made them entirely dependent on the vagaries of the market.
  • Large scale labor migration was witnessed in areas where rainfed agriculture practices were prevalent. The richer States also attracted higher investments and had better infrastructural development which resulted in higher per capita incomes as compared to the poorer States.

Reforms

  • It was in this backdrop that the Indian State implemented a series of welfare programs for the rural population. These included the Desert Development Program, the Drought Prone Area Development Program and the Watershed Development Program. These programs were taken up in a decentralized participatory developmental model.
  • The objective was to treat vast stretches of land areas with watershed treatment practices including construction of check dams, development of pastures and promotion of improved animal husbandry practices. A second crop in rainfed areas, essentially meant higher farm incomes and lower migration of farm labor.
  • The Indian State also implemented several major direct beneficiary programs for asset generation, skill development, residential housing and employment generation. The Department of Rural Development implements the major schemes of National Rurban Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU GKY) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) programs.
  • The implementation of the MGNREGA on a pan India basis with assured employment on individual and community based programs has resulted in significant employment and asset generation in rural areas. The National Rurban Mission was launched in February 2016 as a new initiative for development of a cluster of villages that preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with focus on equity and inclusiveness without compromising with the facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature.
  • The DDU GKY essentially focused on youth between 15 years and 35 years from poor families, is tasked with the objective of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and caters to the career aspirations of the rural youth.
  • Indian farmers were always concerned about the availability of adequate credit at reasonable cost in a timely manner. One of the major steps forward in this direction was financial inclusion. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana represents the National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services.
  • The Jan Dhan Yojana provided the bankers with the necessary confidence to promote credit culture across the deprived population and resulted in significant increases in credit flows to rural sector.
  • Nation of India’s size requires significant increases in food production. The year 2016-17 witnessed the highest ever food grain production of 273.38 million tons which is 6.37 percent higher than the last 5 years average production and 8.6 percent higher than 2015-16. Government introduced the Soil Health Card Scheme (SHC) in 2015 to be issued on a bi-annual basis to all land holders of the country with the objective to conduct farm level soil analysis.
  • In July 2015, Government introduced the National Agricultural Market (E-NAM) to link 585 wholesale agriculture production marketing committees across the country through a common e-platform. The portal has been made available in several Indian languages and has empowered the farmers with vast information dissemination.
  • The State continued to make rapid strides in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana covering all risks of the crop cycle and providing incentives for improved irrigation practices.

Way ahead

  • The Government’s initiatives for empowering the farmers and improving the infrastructure at the village level have been largely successful in reducing poverty and enhancing education and health care indicators. The improvement in farm incomes and the transparency in subsidy transfers would enable the creation of a 21stcentury India that is dynamic and forward looking.

Question– Throw a light on the reforms that have been initiated by the government in recent times?

2.CCTNS digital portal launched (PIB)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the CCTNS digital portal tht has beeen launched by the government. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • As crime continues to grow, and criminals turn tech-savvy, police investigators across States face a tough challenge to bring the law-breakers to justice.The situation is,however, undergoing a revolutionary change. The Digital Police Portal launched by the Government of India as part of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), in August this year, will not only help police sleuths track the criminals fast, but also help the victims seek redress online.

Food crisis induced migrations

  • The total IPC crimes in the country increased from 28.51 lakh in 2014 to 29.49 lakh 2015. According to the Union Home Ministry’s latest annual report (2016-17), the share of IPC crimes to total cognizable crimes in percentage terms was 37.2 per cent in 2011, and it increased to 40.3 per cent in 2015. The crime rate, which shows the number of crimes per one lakh population, too increased from 497.9 in 2012 to 581.8 in 2015.
  • In such a complex scenario, the Digital Police Portal, with its various features, is expected to be a game-changer. The CCTNS portal will provide investigators the complete record history of any criminal from anywhere across the country. Equipped with a Google-type Advance Search engine and ability to give analytical reports, the portal is expected to become the backbone of the country’s criminal justice system. For the State Police organisations and investigating agencies like the CBI, IB, ED and NIA, the Digital Police Portal provides a National Database of crime and criminals with facility for 11 searches and 44 reports. This will improve national security and revolutionise the way police works in the country.
  • To citizens, the Digital Police Portal offers online facility to register FIRs. There will be initially seven Public Delivery Services in 34 States & UTs, like Person and Address Verification of employees, tenants, nurses etc; permission for hosting Public Events, Lost & Found Articles and Vehicle theft. The portal will turn criminal investigationa completely citizen-friendly affair. The citizens’ reports and requests are forwarded to State and Union Territory Police without loss of time for follow-up action.
  • In 2004, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)initiated a project named- Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA) as a component of the “Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF)” project, aiming at computerization of crime records in police stations on a stand-alone basis. The need for setting up of a national database of crime records was realized later, and the MHA introduced a Central sector project of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) in 2009, with the objective of inter-linking all police Stations under a common application software for the purpose of investigation, policy making, data analytics, research and providing Citizen Services.
  • The project provided the State Police officials with a platform to enter Crime & Criminal data onto a CCTNS application, which could be accessed any time through State database at State Data Centre as well as at National Database at National Data Centre (NDC). The total approved outlay of the CCTNS project is Rs. 2000 Crore. The Central government provides funds to States and Union Territories towards hardware, CCTNS software, connectivity, system integration, data entry of legacy data, project management manpower and training. The Centre has released to States Rs 1450 crores out of which Rs 1086 crores have been spent by the States and UTs.
  • At present, the CCTNS software is deployed at 14284 Police Stations out of the 15398 Police Stations covered under the scheme. A total of 13775 Police Stations out of 14284 Police Stations are using this software to enter FIRs 100 per cent. As many as 13439 Police Stations out of the 15398 Police Stations covered by the scheme are already connected and linked with State & National database of Crime and Criminal records. The total number of FIRs registered using CCTNS leapt from less than 1.5 lakhs in March 2014 to about 1.25 crores before June, 2017, registering a jump of almost 100 times.
  • Thirty-fourStates and UTs have launched their State Citizen Service portals with key services such as reporting a crime, request for verification, permission for events etc. Thirty-five out of 36 States and UTs are sharing data with National Crime and Criminal database. The system has seven crore records for crime and criminal data including 2.5 cr FIR records and legacy data.
  • The scope of the CCTNS project has been enhanced to integrate the Police data with other pillars of the criminal justice system namely — Courts, Prisons, Prosecution, Forensics and Fingerprints and juvenile homes, and accordingly a new system — “Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS)” has been developed. The ICJS system has been developed as a dashboard approach with an advance search facility for the purpose of retrieving the desired data from the system. The ICJS project is being monitored by a Working Group chaired by a Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Madan B. Lokur.

Benefits

  • State police organisations and all investigating agencies have been greatly empowered by the Digital Police Portal. The portal provides 11 searches and 44 reports based on CCTNS National database. The advanced search is equipped with high performing search and analytics engine. The advanced search can be carried out in two ways. In the first way of search, the search engine will look for full names entered (for eg. Name and Relative Name) but will get all the records where one or both of these names exist. In the second way of searching, it also fetches records with partial matches and returns all the results.
  • There are various kinds of filters available on the portal through which data can be sorted and narrowed down. Search can be carried out through Person Name, Person and Relative Name, Person and Act/Section, free text search and exact search on FIR Regd. Number/ Mobile Number/Email. The CCTNS portal will provide investigators the complete record history of any criminal from anywhere across the country.
  • The software offers Google-type Advance Search engine and analytical reports. Recently, the software was used to trace few mentally challenged women from Tamil Nadu in Uttarakhand and reunited with their families. The CCTNS database will be later linked with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) database on vehicle registrations.
  • The “Advanced Search” allows the user to find crime correlations, crime trends, outliers (anomalies) and crime patterns by having access to CCTNS dashboard.

Way ahead

  • Since the launch of the Digital Police Portal, citizens have begun registering complaints on the portal, and requests have been made for antecedent verification of persons. The Digital Police Portal is helping the Government in the efficient delivery of citizen-centric services in a friendly manner, which is an important responsibility of a modern welfare state today.

Question–  How CCTNS will help to furthur the agenda of police reforms in India?

3.Social progress Index (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the need of a social progress index to track the development in India. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • A country that was a symbol of hunger and poverty at the time of Independence and admonished for its Hindu rate of growth during the initial decades has now transformed itself into one of the the fastest growing major economies.
  • These economic achievements are extensive, especially when considering the challenges that arose from following democratic governance after decades of oppressive colonial rule and being a multi-religious secular entity. But the potential for growth remains strong despite some slackening.

Need of a measure to evaluate social outcomes

  • The societal reach of this economic growth still remains unquantified. There have been efforts to track individual social outcomes such as health, education and safety. For instance, the National University of Educational Planning and Administration and the Government of India (Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education and Literacy) compute an Educational Development Index for primary and upper primary levels of education that compare States on different aspects on education universalisation.
  • Similarly, NITI Aayog has rolled out the health, education and water index. Apart from these individual indices, there have also been efforts to look at progress through the lens of a human development index but that does not isolate the impact of economic growth.
  • A common measure to quantify the social progress of Indian States that can pinpoint the achievements and the challenges is still missing.

Social progress index

  • A Social Progress Index could bridge this gap. We ranked States using social and environmental indicators on the basis of their capability to provide for basic needs such as shelter, water, and sanitation; a foundation for well-being with education, health, and communication facilities; analysing the prejudices that prevail in a region prohibiting people from making their personal decisions; and evaluating whether citizens have personal rights and freedom or whether they are susceptible to child labour, human trafficking, corruption, etc.
  • The study (2005-2016) helps analyse whether States, especially using social and environmental indicators, are heading in the right direction. It is also essential to help adjust policies as well as public and private investments.
  • First, the overall social progress score for the country now stands at 57.03 (on a 0-100 scale), approximately eight points higher than in 2005. The country performs better in the provision of basic human needs rather than opportunities for its citizens.
  • Therefore, creation of a society with equal opportunities for all still remains an elusive dream. But it is encouraging to note that the scores for opportunity have increased over the years followed by smaller, but important improvements in the areas of basic human needs and foundations of well-being.
  • Second, all the States have climbed the social progress ladder, with the group of States that had the worst performance in 2005 Tripura, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Bihar now showing improvement. This suggests that States with a relatively low level of social progress can improve rapidly.
  • Similarly, in States that have achieved a threshold level of social progress, driving improvements becomes more difficult. This is backed by the fact that average improvement is the lowest among the group of States that were categorised as “Very High Social Progress” in 2005.
  • The third major finding is that the greatest improvements have been in areas where social progress most often accompanies economic prosperity. On the other hand, areas where performance has declined or stagnated is where the correlation with economic development is weak. For instance, “Access to Information & Communication and Inclusion” depicts a strong relationship with per capita GDP and are the ones that have improved the most over the years. And “Health and Wellness & Environmental Quality”, that are least correlated with economic development, have eroded.
  • This suggests that States should focus on policies that target social issues. The focus on economic parameters will result in unbalanced social development.

Way ahead

  • The overall findings show that while the economy is on the right track, there is an urgent need to identify and focus on social parameters.
  • The reliance on the idea that economic development will automatically transform social conditions will hamper further improvements in social progress. Social progress needs to be stimulated by focussing on policies directly targeting social issues.

Question– What do you mean by social progress index? How it will helpful to India?