Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-1 : MSME Challenges in India

GS-3 : Economy

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the unintended consequences of reducing payment cycles for MSMEs, including the possibility of large companies canceling orders and pressuring MSMEs to deregister.

MSME Importance:

  • Key part of Indian economy
  • Significant share in manufacturing output, exports
  • Employs a large portion of workforce

MSME Hardships:

  • Lack of access to credit
  • Delayed payments – especially for micro and small enterprises

Government Initiatives:

  • Introduced Samadhaan portal to monitor outstanding dues to MSMEs
    • MSMEs can file applications and check status online
    • Provides information about pending payments from government agencies
  • Introduced provision in Union Budget 2023-24 for timely payments within 45 days

Issues with new provision:

  • Well-intentioned but unintended consequences
  • Not mentioned how to enforce 45-day payment cycle
  • Large companies may delay payments due to fear of penalties
  • This can strain MSME cash flow further

Unintended Consequences of Reducing Payment Cycles for MSMEs

  • Large companies cancelling orders: Prefer longer payment cycles offered by unregistered MSMEs.
  • Reduced tax benefits for large companies: Can’t deduct payments to MSMEs until they are actually paid.
  • Pressure to deregister: Large companies pressuring MSMEs to deregister to avoid payment cycle limitations.
  • MSME deregistration: Over 3.16 crore MSMEs registered, but some are choosing to deregister to secure orders.

Way Forward

  • Government consultations with stakeholders for solutions.
  • Seeking suggestions for ensuring timely payments to MSMEs.

Conclusion

  • Delayed payments are a long-standing issue for MSMEs.
  • Access to low-cost credit is also a challenge.
  • Timely resolution of payment cycle issues is crucial.

 

 

Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-2 : UGC NET Eligibility Change – A Confusing Move

GS-2 : Education

Revision Notes

Question : “Critically evaluate the recent UGC decision allowing graduates with 4-year degrees to appear for the NET exam. Discuss its potential impact on the quality of higher education and research in India.”

New Policy: Students with 4-year degrees can now appear for NET (National Eligibility Test) for lectureship and PhD programs.

Earlier Eligibility: Masters’ degree was required for NET.

Concerns:

  • Who will recruit these graduates to teach undergraduate courses?
  • Can someone with just a bachelor’s degree effectively teach and guide research?

Arguments for the Change:

  • Aims to replace separate university entrance exams for PhD programs.
  • Aims to dismantle the perception of PhD as an “elite qualification.”

What is a PhD?

  • A doctorate awarded after rigorous original research (2+ years typically).
  • Requires strong conceptual and methodological foundation.
  • Masters signifies specialization, PhD signifies research ability.

Why is a strong foundation crucial?

  • A PhD scholar needs to think critically, ask new questions, and explore them systematically.
  • Requires using existing tools for observation and analysis effectively.
  • Strengthening existing tools is different from building them from scratch in a short period.

The Hierarchy of Degrees:

  • Undergraduate, postgraduate, and research levels represent progressive knowledge building.
  • Confusing this hierarchy with “eliteness” undermines the academic process.
  • A strong foundation is essential, not elitist.

Maintaining Standards in NET Eligibility

  • Strong foundation crucial: Undergraduate and postgraduate levels should provide rigorous conceptual and methodological training.
  • Weakening the foundation: Eliminating MPhil and potentially postgraduate requirements weakens student preparation.
  • Misunderstanding PhD research: Separate entrances are not hurdles, but help match students with suitable advisors and resources.

Why 4-year undergrads are not ready for PhD:

  • Unequal schooling systems: Inequalities worsen over time, making the transition to PhD research challenging.
  • Shift from textbooks to critical thinking: Students need significant support to move from rote learning to analyzing complex research.
  • Social sciences require strong foundation: Active engagement with social issues and critical thinking are essential.
  • Understanding theoretical frameworks is key: These frameworks provide the language to discuss social issues.
  • New perspectives enrich research: Opportunities for those who were previously denied access to research are crucial.
  • Potential for “elitism”: Without proper preparation, only privileged students can take the financial risk of a PhD.

Conclusion

  • We need more public funding for research infrastructure and fellowships.
  • Strong standards and sustained mentorship are essential for quality research, regardless of funding sources.

 

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