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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 04 March 2022

Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 04 March 2022


Contents:

  1. Counting those who qualify as EWS
  2. Care informed by data

Counting those who qualify as EWS


Context:

The SC has sought clarification from the GoI regarding the basis for Rs 8 lakh income cutoff as a criteria to be classified as Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

Relevance:

GS-II: Indian Constitution, Judgements & Cases, Government Policies & Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Criteria to be qualified as EWS
  2. Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)
  3. Analysis of Methodology PLFS conducted between 2018 and 2019
  4. Limitations of PLFs
  5. Conclusion

Criteria to be qualified as EWS:

Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) : In 2019, the Government of India which guaranteed 10 per cent reservations in civil posts and services of the GoI to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society, who were not covered under the reservation scheme for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The Criteria for EWS  is as follows:

  1. Income: The gross family income from all sources — agriculture, business, professional, etc. — for the financial year preceding the application should be less than Rs 8 lakh.
  2. Asset: If the family owned or possessed assets, such as five or more acres of agricultural land, or residential flat of 1,000 square feet or more, or a residential plot of 100 square yards or more in notified municipalities, or a residential plot of 200 square yards or more in non-notified municipalities, then irrespective of the income criteria, the family would be excluded from the definition of EWS.
  3. The family includes those who seek the benefit, their spouse, parents, siblings, and children below 18 years.

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS):

  • The GoI conducts the PLFS to measure labour force participation, employment status, hours worked, and earnings for the usual and the current weekly status (CWS).
  • Geographical coverage of PLFS: It covers the entire country except for villages in Andaman and Nicobar Islands that are difficult to reach.
  • Sectors covered: The PLFS covers all sectors of the economy, agriculture, secondary, and tertiary.
  • Employment Status: The survey also examines the employment status, whether individuals are self-employed, have a regular wage/salaried job, or are casual workers.  
  • Socio-demographic characteristics: The data is also collected on socio-demographic characteristics of the household, such as the religious and social status of the household, whether it belonged to SC/ST/OBC or the general category.
  • In addition, it also collects data on earnings based on the CWS.
  • The ultimate stage units of the PLFS were households, where information on employment and unemployment is sought from all family members of the household.

Analysis of Methodology PLFS conducted between 2018 and 2019:

  • The survey covered 101,579 households, of which 31,796 (31 per cent) households did not belong to SC/ST/OBC.
  • Based on data on non-SC/ST/OBC, around 99 per cent of rural households and 95 per cent of urban households had monthly earnings less than Rs 66,667, which would translate to approximately Rs 8 lakh annually.
  • The median household monthly earnings in rural areas were Rs 9,000, which was about seven times less than the earnings cutoff for EWS, while in urban areas, it was Rs 15,000, which was approximately four times less than the earnings cutoff for the EWS set by the GoI.
Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 04 March 2022

Limitations of PLFs:

  • Underestimation of data:
    • The PLFS data is based on the current weekly status
    • There is a possibility that the household had positive income at other times of the year but not the week preceding the survey. Therefore, the earnings data is an underestimate.
    • More than 90 per cent of rural and urban non- SC/ST/OBC households had monthly earnings less than the cutoff set by the GoI for EWS income criteria.  
  • Limited definition of family:
    • The PLFS defines a household as a group of persons who usually stay together and take food from a shared kitchen.
    • It is hard to assess how differences in the definition of family would impact the analysis.
    • The household or family definition in PLFS is more inclusive than GoI definition of family for the EWS criteria.
    • Hence, there is likely overestimation of the distribution of household monthly earnings.

Conclusion:

The analysis reveals that more than 90 per cent of rural and urban non–SC/ST/OBC households will meet the EWS criteria.

-Source: The Indian Express


Care informed by data


Context:

Recently, the Lancet study estimated the association of COVID-19 with orphanhood. The study found that over 19 lakh children orphaned as a result of this pandemic.

Relevance:

GS-II: Indian Constitution, Issues Related to Children, Human Resource

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Lancent study
  2. What can be done to address Orphanhood?
  3. Way Forward

The Lancent study:

  • The Lancent recently conducted a study on COVID-19-associated orphanhood.
  • The study does include revised estimates for all the nations
  • Definition of Orphanhood: It was defined as the death of one or both parents; or the death of one or both custodial grandparents.
  • Estimates:
    • It found that over 19 lakh children orphaned as a result of COVID-19 in India.
    • Globally, it estimated that 52 lakh children had been rendered orphans by the pandemic.
    • The study also found that the numbers of children orphaned by COVID-19 had almost doubled in six months compared with the data after the first 14 months of the pandemic.
  • India has objected strongly to the estimate of 19 lakh, terming it as “sophisticated trickery intended to create panic among citizens”.
  • As per data collected by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and collated on the Bal Swaraj portal, the number of children orphaned during COVID-19 in India was far lower, at 1.53 lakh.

What can be done to address Orphanhood?

  • The state should proactively draw such children into the umbrella of care.
  • The Government must initiate steps to save them from numerous adversities — poverty, violence, destitution, and lack of access to education and health care.
  • Steps taken by GoI:
    • The Government of India has already announced its plan to of support for children forced into orphanhood by COVID-19.
    • A number of states have announced rehabilitation plans, including provisions for adoption, foster care, education and health care.
  • The Government needs to check the progress of the schemes, collect information on the number of cases where intervention has occurred, and where it is pending.
  • The data must be put out in the public realm.

Way Forward:

  • The message that the study is that it seeks to convey is the absolute urgency with which governments must incorporate childcare into any COVID-19 management programme.
  • As the famous saying goes-‘Well begun is half done’
  • Though the steps undertaken by the centre and the states are laudable, it requires continued efforts to bring in the real change.

-Source:  The Hindu


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