The Indian Express

 

Head Line: Welcome, Robocop

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/kerala-police-robot-robocop-pinarayi-vijayan-5593558/

1) Prelims:

  • Mains Paper III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics

Why in news:

  • Kerala police has inducted an android into its ranks. Perhaps machines have lessons for more traditional law enforcement.

What is Robocop:

  • KP-Bot, India’s first robo-cop.
  • Modelled after women police personnel, the Kerala police’s newest asset is an android developed by the Kochi-based start-up, Asimov Robotics, and Cyberdome, a technology development centre of the Kerala police.
  • To begin with, KP-Bot will welcome visitors, pass out information and guide them through the services available at the police headquarters.
  • But, in the future, she will detect explosives and issue identity cards to visitors.

General Three Laws of Robotics:

  • Three Laws of Robotics:
    • A robot may not harm a human being;
    • it must follow orders;
    • and it must protect itself, so long as such protection does not conflict with the first two laws.
  • The logical loop of the Three Laws, of course, is airtight.
  • In fact, they are just about ethical enough to form guidelines for human police persons in India and beyond.

 

Head Line: What stops rural women from getting involved in entrepreneurship?

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/skill-india-rural-jobs-for-women-entrepreneurship-rural-employment-5593549/

2) Mains Paper II: Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Context:

  • Women constitute only 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in the country.
  • Women in rural areas face multiple barriers to pursuing income-generating activities, with patriarchal family and societal norms being the primary hurdle.

The need to improve women’s participation:

  • The need to improve women’s participation in the economy has been a long-standing priority and is also crucial towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, too.
  • In recent years, entrepreneurship has emerged as an ideal way for rural women to contribute, by taking a few hours out of their day they can engage in small businesses and bring home additional income.

Programmes to support women’s economic participation:

There are multiple programmes which offer support to such women such as:

  • The Start and Improve Your Business Program (SIYB) of the International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • The government’s Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD).

Reasons for women’s low participation in economy:

  • Rural women often face problems in entering the workforce due to their domestic duties.
  • In fact, on an average, Indian women spend 297 minutes daily on unpaid care work.
  • Through its pilot programmes with rural women under the Disha Programme, UNDP India has come to realise that one of the reasons for this lack of uptake is the absence of mentorship for women entrepreneurs.
  • Women in rural areas face multiple barriers to pursuing income-generating activities, with patriarchal family and societal norms being the primary hurdle.
  • Other issues include lack of awareness about opportunities, difficulty in accessing formal financing and poor customer management skills.

What more needs to be done:

  • It is clear that providing opportunities isn’t enough — these women need to be made aware and guided through the process to ensure they are successful.
  • Trained by Disha Project – a partnership between UNDP India, IKEA Foundation and India Development Foundation, the Biz Sakhis are women from rural communities who guide budding female entrepreneurs through multiple processes and provide both practical and psychological support to them.
  • As a first step, they encourage rural women to start their own businesses by making them aware of entrepreneurship as a realistic opportunity, and, by informing them of the benefits of starting their own small businesses.
  • Access to finance through schemes such as the Mudra Yojana Scheme of the government.

Biz Sakhi and their role:

  • The Biz Sakhis are women from rural communities who guide budding female entrepreneurs through multiple processes and provide both practical and psychological support to them.
  • Biz Sakhis are instrumental at this point in helping them access formal banking channels for loans, by providing them information about schemes such as the Mudra Yojana Scheme of the government.
  • Small female-run businesses often fail due to poor understanding of the market.
  • Biz Sakhis provide inputs to help women access market linkages and introduce them to a variety of business models and ideas to help them scale up.
  • They also work with small business owners to develop their communication skills, and to be able to persuade and negotiate with stakeholders within the ecosystem of their businesses.
  • However, the most important role that Biz Sakhis play in the lives of rural entrepreneurs, is to be the source of emotional and psychological support.
  • It helps these women to become more confident in their abilities and have the determination to continue with their businesses.

Way Forward:

  • Often, family pressures and societal norms discourage women from engaging in such activities or cause them to abandon their business in the wake of community backlash.
  • Being from the community themselves, Biz Sakhis can effectively engage with women and the community at large to counter such barriers and empower rural women to sustain their businesses.

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