- The digital economy has become a compulsion rather than a choice. What are the characteristics of a digital economy and also discuss how India can secure its interests in a digital ecosystem. (150 words)
- Effective water management calls for a multidimensional approach that addresses both ecological and socio-economic concerns regarding water use and exploitation. Discuss in the Indian context. (250 words)
1. The digital economy has become a compulsion rather than a choice. What are the characteristics of a digital economy and also discuss how India can secure its interests in a digital ecosystem. (150 words)
- Digital economy refers to a broad range of economic activities that use digitized information and knowledge as key factors of production. The internet, cloud computing, big data, fintech, and other new digital technologies are used to collect, store, analyze, and share information digitally and transform social interactions.
- DIGITAL ECONOMY AS A COMPULSION RATHER THAN A CHOICE
- To realise India’s aspiration to be a leader in different global technology platforms.
- In order for India to maintain its leadership in information technology, it is vital for digital technologies to be used to improve public services, deliver financial inclusion and develop efficient trade mechanisms.
- India has provided leadership and shown promise in the use of digital technologies over the past ten years. It is now time for India to fuel and support the digital economy in order to turn it into a vital growth enabler.
- The digitalisation of the economy in entirety is a key prerequisite for some of the Government's flagship transformational programs - such as 'Make in India,' 'Startup India,' and 'Skill India'
- With a growing number of government to citizen (G2C) services reaching a wider audience, more Indians are now becoming a part of the formal/organised economy than ever before.
- India is looking to extend digital literacy to 60 million rural people by March 2020. As more people come online, tools such as JAM Trinity, a union of Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile numbers will better contribute to nation-building and overall economic progress.
- For such massive data-driven government initiatives as well as private commercial ventures to be successful in the future, they will need to be backed by a technology that combines the best of human and machine capabilities.
- CHARACTERISTICS OF DIGITAL ECONOMY
- The backbone of the digital economy is the hyperconnectivity between people.
- The digital economy acts as a catalyst for better communication between buyers, suppliers, workers and stakeholders by interlinking them.
- The economy is dependent on customer personalization to a considerable extent. Eg. Companies aim to manufacture and deliver goods and services which are as per the demand of the consumer.
- Businesses are connected with their customers as technology facilitates the exchange of information between suppliers and customers.
- HOW INDIA CAN SECURE ITS INTERESTS IN DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM
- A vibrant and open innovation policy,
- Promoting R&D in ICT sector
- The government should also identify frontier areas—such as artificial intelligence—that can significantly reshape the world
- The government also ought to tread with caution when regulating disruptive market players.
- Stricter data protection laws that govern the cross border digital flows are needed.
- Since the digital economy is heavily based on intellectual property, strict protection to patent and copyright work, whether produced in India or elsewhere, also needs to be implemented.
- We must work to close the digital divide, where more than half the world has limited or no access to the Internet. Inclusivity is essential to building a digital economy that delivers for all.
2. Effective water management calls for a multidimensional approach that addresses both ecological and socio-economic concerns regarding water use and exploitation. Discuss in the Indian context. (250 words)
- According to a Niti Aayog Composite Water Management Index Report 2018, India is currently suffering from the worst water crisis in its history with the country ranked at 120 among 122 countries in the quality of water (Water Quality Index released by WaterAid).
- Ecological and Socio-economic concerns regarding Water use and exploitation:
- The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) acknowledged that the country is suffering from the worst water crisis in history and about 45% of the Indian population suffer from high to severe water stress.
- Vast numbers of flora and fauna might be under threat due to severe water stress.
- India is an agriculture dependent economy, water stress can lead to severe impact on agriculture sector → thereby impacting millions of people
- According to ICAR the per capita availability of water is estimated to decline to 1,465 cubic meter by 2025 and 1,235 cubic meter by 2050. If it declines further to around 1,000-1,100 cubic meter, then India could be declared as a water-stressed country.
- FAO estimates that poor drainage and irrigation practices have led to waterlogging and salinization of about 10 percent of the world’s irrigated lands. These practices also contribute to the spread of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and malaria.
- Virtual water exports – the molecules of H20 embedded in exported goods, alongside those rendered unusable by the production of those goods – Examples - Rice, sugarcane, cotton, etc.
- Sociocultural implications of the crisis are far less noticed. India’s patriarchal society puts the burden of household chores on girls and women. To complete their daily tasks, they are made to travel miles each day to collect water.
- Effective Water Management for addressing Ecological and socio-economic concerns:
- Replace conventional surface irrigation (60-70% efficiency) by higher efficiency sprinkler (70-80%) and 90% efficient drip irrigation system.
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) which focuses on “more crop per drop".
- New agronomic practices like sub-surface irrigation, raised bed planting, ridge-furrow method of sowing, and precision farming etc which have the potential to reduce water-use in agriculture should also be adopted.
- Northwestern and central part of the country which is severely water stressed should stop producing water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane. Farmers should be given adequate incentives to switch to shift to crops like millets which require much less water and are climate resilient. For Example: #LetsMillet Campaign by the Karnataka government.
- Effective water management on a broader level needs strong political will and setting up the Jal Shakti Mantralaya is a step in the right direction.
- The ‘Draft Water Framework Bill 2016’, as proposed by the Water Resources Ministry, and pending for enactment, should be urgently finalised.
- Using behavioral economics and social influence techniques to promote efficient water use.
- As per the UN’s Dublin Principle (1992), water is an economic good and hence should reflect its scarcity value. The National Water Framework Bill lays down the principle of water pricing, it says that water used for commercial agriculture and industry should be priced on full economic pricing basis and for domestic use, a graded pricing system may be adopted.
- With the increasing population and dependence on water, it becomes pertinent for households to start investing in rain-water harvesting systems (RWH). Govt, both at the centre and state must take a proactive step towards making it mandatory for buildings and complexes to install Rainwater Harvesting System.
- A rapidly urbanizing and developing India needs to drought-proof its cities and rationalize its farming. Water-harvesting must be a priority, alongside mechanisms for groundwater replenishment.