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PSIR 1B-8 Planning and Economic Development – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Functions of District Planning Committee. [2023/10m/150w/5c]

District Planning Committees (DPCs) are a crucial component of the decentralized planning process in India, particularly in the context of rural and urban development. These committees play a pivotal role in facilitating local-level planning, budgeting, and decision-making.

The primary function of a DPC is to prepare the District Development Plan. This plan outlines the development priorities, strategies, and allocation of resources for the district. It addresses various sectors, such as agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, and social welfare.

DPCs assess the specific needs, problems, and available resources within the district. It ensures that centrally sponsored and state-funded schemes and programs are integrated into the district plan. DPCs also determine the allocation of funds to different sectors and monitor the implementation of development projects and programs in the district.

Moreover, DPCs facilitate the active involvement of local elected representatives, including Panchayat members and urban local body representatives, in the planning and decision-making process. This promotes grassroots democracy and empowers local communities.

In essence, District Planning Committees are designed to ensure that development planning is responsive to local needs, participatory, and aligned with broader state and national development goals. They play a critical role in decentralizing the planning process and bringing decision-making closer to the people at the grassroots level. [207 words]

2] How does NITI Aayog as a ‘policy think tank with a shared vision’ visualize the reorganization of planning in India? Justify your answer. [2023/15m/200w/6b]

The NITI Aayog was envisioned as a modern and flexible policy think tank with a more decentralized and cooperative approach to planning and development in India.

NITI Aayog embraces the concept of cooperative federalism, which encourages collaborative and cooperative efforts between the central government and state governments. It envisions a more inclusive approach to planning, where the states have a greater say in the design and implementation of policies and development programs.

Unlike the Planning Commission, which often had a top-down approach, NITI Aayog emphasizes decentralized planning. It recognizes that states and local bodies are better positioned to understand their unique needs and challenges. NITI Aayog works to support and guide states in formulating their own development agendas.

It emphasizes flexibility and innovation in planning. It encourages experimentation, piloting of new programs, and the use of technology to address development challenges. This approach allows for quicker adaptation to changing circumstances and the evolving needs of the country.

NITI Aayog engages with stakeholders, including state governments, experts, civil society, and the private sector, in a consultative and collaborative manner. It seeks to incorporate a wide range of perspectives and expertise into policy formulation.

NITI Aayog has advocated for greater financial devolution to states, emphasizing the importance of fiscal federalism. It has played a role in the distribution of resources between the centre and states to promote equitable development.

In summary, NITI Aayog envisions a reorganization of planning in India by promoting cooperative federalism, decentralization, innovation, and data-driven decision-making. NITI Aayog strives to serve as a dynamic and responsive policy think tank with a shared vision for India’s development. [267 words]

3] Discuss the policy initiatives of the Fourteenth Finance Commission aimed towards promising and strengthening agricultural development in India. [2022/15m/200w/7c]

The Fourteenth Finance Commission of India, which operated from 2013 to 2015, was tasked with making recommendations regarding the sharing of tax revenues between the central government and the state governments. While its primary focus was on fiscal matters, the FFC also recognized the importance of agriculture and rural development.

The Fourteenth Fiscal Commission recommended an increased share of tax revenues for the states, raising their share from 32% to 42%. This transfer of resources provided states with additional funds, enabling them to invest in various sectors, including agriculture. States could allocate a higher proportion of their budgets towards agricultural development programs and initiatives.

The commission emphasized the need for greater flexibility in fund utilization by states. It recommended the establishment of a non-lapsable fund for financing critical infrastructure projects, which could include irrigation projects, rural roads, and agri-markets. This allowed states to allocate funds specifically for agricultural infrastructure, thereby strengthening the agricultural sector.

Further, the FFC recommended an increase in grants to rural local bodies, such as Panchayati Raj institutions. These grants aimed to strengthen decentralized governance and empower local bodies to play a more significant role in rural development, including agricultural initiatives at the grassroots level.

Overall, the policy initiatives of the Fourteenth Finance Commission contributed to promising and strengthening agricultural development in India by providing states with increased financial resources, flexibility in fund utilization, and incentives for agricultural reforms. [232 words]

4] What explains India’s modest improvements in social development outcomes even as the rate of growth has accelerated since the initiation of economic reforms? [2021/15m/200w/7c]

India has attracted global attention for rapid economic growth and is seen as an economic powerhouse. Yet, ranks 131 out of 188 countries on the UNDP’s Human Development Index. While several parts of the country have made tremendous progress on socioeconomic indicators, other regions are lagging behind.

Significant disparities exist in the achievement of outcomes between and within states. For instance, while the percentage of women giving birth in institutional settings (as opposed to at home) increased from 38.7% in 2005-06 to 78.9% in 2015-16 at the national level, it varied between states, from 99.9% in Puducherry to 32.8% in Nagaland.

The liberalization of the country brought in investment, but with investment came regional disparities as the private companies would not want to invest in backward, remote areas. Moreover, the opening of the market has brought tough completion for the farmers and SMEs of the country.

The uneven industrialization has given job security to only a few people. The economic reforms have not done well for agriculture and couldn’t shift the labour force to the other sectors. India can do well in the service sector but India lags in investment in human resource development which keeps the Indian youth unemployable.

Issues like the ghettoization of some communities and the caste system with its sense of purity-impurity also have a significant role in keeping the Indian society backwards. The fast and lop-sided urbanization without proper planning causes internal displacement and the worker is removed from their social and cultural spaces into an unfamiliar environment which also causes psychological trauma and a lack of security net.

In the end, it is people’s capability that should be counted not GDP to measure the achievement of the country. To overcome this inequality; the government of India has launched schemes like the Aspirational District Programme, complemented by One district one Crop, Jan Arogya Yojna, Jan Dhan Yojna and the formation of Self Help Group. Their full-fledged implementation will ensure that the developmental goals are met. [330 words]

5] ‘Liberalisation of Indian Economy has not been accompanied with adequate reforms’. Comment. [2020/15m/200w/7c]

India initiated economic liberalization in the early 1990s with the goal of opening up the economy, removing barriers to trade and investment, and promoting market-oriented policies. However, critics argue that the pace and depth of accompanying reforms in critical areas such as labour, land, and agricultural sectors have been relatively slow or insufficient.

To fully harness the potential of liberalization, structural reforms are needed to improve the ease of doing business, encourage entrepreneurship, and foster a competitive business environment. Reforms related to land acquisition, labour laws, and tax structures are often cited as areas where progress has been limited, hindering the growth potential of the economy.

Liberalization requires sector-specific reforms to promote efficiency, competitiveness, and innovation. While some sectors have witnessed significant reforms, others such as agriculture, education, healthcare, and infrastructure continue to face challenges, including inadequate investments, policy bottlenecks, and regulatory complexities.

Efficient governance and administrative reforms are essential to complement economic liberalization. Bureaucratic red tape, corruption, and lack of transparency continue to hinder the business environment and discourage investments. Strengthening institutions, streamlining regulations, and enhancing accountability are necessary to ensure a conducive environment for economic growth.

It is important to note that the assessment of “adequate reforms” is subjective, and opinions may vary on the extent of reforms needed to fully leverage liberalization. Some argue that progress has been made in certain areas, while others emphasize the need for more comprehensive reforms to ensure that the benefits of liberalization reach all sections of society. [246 words]

6] What has been the political fallout of the Green Revolution in India? Explain. [2019/15m/200w/6b]

The Green Revolution led to a significant shift in the political landscape of rural India. The increased agricultural production resulted in the emergence of a prosperous rural class of farmers who became politically influential. This shift in the balance of power influenced political dynamics and contributed to the rise of agrarian politics.

The Green Revolution played a role in the rise of regional parties that represented the interests of specific agrarian communities. Farmers’ organizations and regional political parties emerged, advocating for the rights and demands of agricultural communities. These parties gained support by addressing issues related to agricultural policies, farm prices, irrigation, and other concerns of farmers.

While the Green Revolution brought prosperity to some regions, it also led to disparities and inequalities in agricultural development. Many farmers who were unable to adopt modern agricultural practices faced challenges and felt marginalized. This led to agrarian unrest and movements demanding fair prices, loan waivers, and agricultural subsidies, among other issues.

The Green Revolution contributed to economic disparities between farmers who benefited from modern agricultural techniques and those who did not have access to them. This disparity resulted in social and economic tensions, leading to demands for land reforms, fair distribution of resources, and social justice.

The intensive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and groundwater extraction associated with the Green Revolution had adverse environmental consequences. Soil degradation, water pollution, and depletion of natural resources became significant concerns. This led to the emergence of environmental movements advocating for sustainable agricultural practices and ecological conservation.

Thus, while the green revolution brought economic prosperity and political influence to some farming communities, it also gave rise to social and economic disparities, agrarian unrest, and demands for policy reforms. The political implications of the Green Revolution continue to shape the discourse around agricultural policies and rural development in India. [302 words]

7] Examine the various causes of agrarian crisis in India. [2018/20m/250w/8a]

India has witnessed huge economic progress since independence. However, it has not been equitable and the growth in agriculture continues to be stagnated around 4%.

Agriculture in India faces several problems. Despite irrigation facilities, almost 60% of Indian agriculture still depends on the monsoon. The rains remain ever-unpredictable and play a big role in the value of the products as well as their production. India needs more climate-resilient agriculture.

Almost 86% of landowners in India are small and marginal farmers. There is also a lack of private investment in agriculture. Thus, it continues to be sustenance-based, employing traditional tools and methods. As a result, there is no change in productivity.

Indian agriculture also lacks research and development. There has not been any major breakthrough in agriculture since the green revolution. Since there is hardly any scope to increase the area under cultivation, we need to develop high variety seeds.

The illiteracy of farmers is also a big issue for the agrarian crisis. Farmer’s lack of awareness leads to improper use of fertilizers, insufficient market assessment, not making use of weather reports etc. Thus Indian farming remains uncompetitive compared to developed countries.

Apart from these, there are issues like fragmented land holdings, lack of storage facilities, distorted incentive structure etc. Around 50% of the Indian population still depends on agriculture, and there is an urgent need to change the picture. [229 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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