SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 25, 2016
This is a new feature. As feedback from our side on your answers is missing, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise our synopsis and compare it with your answers. We intend to post synopsis of Secure questions every next day of posting questions on website.
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Urbanization – problems and remedies
1) “Metropolitan regions in India are being generated by default through economic forces, and not by design through supportive government policies.” Elaborate the statement and examine the consequences of urbanization that is driven by economic forces alone. (200 Words)
- As countries develop, urban areas account for an increasing share of the gross national product (GNP). The growth sectors of an economy, particularly manufacturing (including food processing) and services, are generally located in cities where they benefit from agglomeration economies, ample markets for inputs and outputs and readily available labour. These urban agglomerations are also areas where ideas and knowledge are rapidly diffused.
- For economic reasons industrialization takes place in urban areas where the agglomeration of production factors such as labour and infrastructure as well as the output of markets generate economies of scale
- Urbanization has always been closely tied to industrialization as cities developed adjacent to the sources of cheap energy, based first on water, power and then on coal and at sites where rivers, lakes or canals permitted the assembly and dispersal of bulky raw materials and finished products, a transportation pattern later reinforced by the rail roads.
- Some benefits of urbanization are economies of scale, better transportation, better opportunities for housing and education, better medical care, increased job opportunities and greater access to goods.
- Efficiency :
- Cities are often more efficient than rural areas. Less effort is needed to supply basic amenities such as fresh water and electricity.
- Research and recycling programs are possible only in cities.
- Access to education, health, social services and cultural activities is more readily available to people in cities than in villages.
- Life in cities is much more comfortable, compared to life in villages.
- Cities have more advanced communication and transport networks.
- Concentration of resources :
- Since most major human settlements were established near natural resources from ancient times, lot of resources are available in and around cities. Facilities to exploit these resources optimally also exist only in cities.
- Concentration of Educational facilities:
- More schools, colleges and universities are established in cities to train and develop human resources.
- Variety of educational choices are available offering students a wide choice for their future careers.
- Better Social integration :
- People of many castes ,groups and religions live and work together in cities, which creates better understanding and harmony and helps breakdown social and cultural barriers.
- Economic Improvement:
- High-tech industries earn valuable foreign exchange and lot of money for the country.
- Industrialization has resulted in an increase in urban population, which creates further pressure on urban land. As a result, there is a dearth of space, and consequently congestion and overcrowding occur.
- The municipal authorities are now finding it difficult to even provide the basic amenities to the migrated and the existing population of the city.
- Growth of cities:
- The result is the haphazard development of cities in all directions.
- The result is the growth of slums, vices, drug trafficking, prostitution, beggary and robbery.
- Homelessness is another disturbing feature of urban life. The housing problem in the city is very acute. Many people who are unable to pay high rents remain shelter less or squatter on public property.
- The bonds of kinship, neighbourliness and sentiments of living together for generations are absent among these people due to such diverse origin and backgrounds.
- But in todays urban centres, there is a need for dual-income families. Naturally, the function of child-rearing is then transferred to a secondary institution—the creche or baby-care centre.
- Urbanization, rapid economic liberalization, growing mass political upheaval, violent conflict and inappropriate and inadequate policy are the basis of crime in urban areas.
- Moreover, poverty and inequality caused due to the rising expectations and a sense of moral outrage that some members of the society are growing rich have contributed to higher and growing levels of crime.
- Urbanization can lead to People are drawn to urban areas in the false hope of a better standard of living, better healthcare and job opportunities.
- Urban poverty has a serious impact on the economic growth in India. Many people who come to city in search of livelihood end up in poverty. The result is beggary and prostitution.
- Urbanization involuntarily leads to trafficking of women and children. It is further exacerbated and compounded by the phenomena of poverty, unemployment, increasing urban/rural disparities, gender discrimination and migration.
- However, ethnic violence, terrorism, communal violence, and violence between different castes have become very common nowadays in almost all the cities.
- Stress caused due to competition and pressure of work, work and alcoholism have become the norm of the day in these urban centres.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure,
Non electoral performance of India’s democracy is also about ensuring the basic liberal freedoms : freedom of expression, freedom of religious practice, freedom of association etc.
India has not fared well in the non electoral performance of its democracy:-
- No protection:
- In a multi-religious society, which has had a deeply hierarchical system, some group or the other can always claim to be hurt.
- When a group claims injury, the government does not protect the writer, the artist, the speaker.
- Thus, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses was banned because the Muslim right felt injured; M.F. Husain, a leading painter, had to leave India because his paintings offended the Hindu right.
- Once an elected government takes over, it often places restrictions on basic liberal freedoms. Intellectuals, writers, artists, students and non-governmental organisations can face harassment on grounds that they hurt the sentiments of certain groups, or undermine national interest.
- Communalismhas been Indian democracy’s greatest failure. Communal riots keep propping up in different parts of the country.
- Even though Indian constitution has a neutral stand on religion,successive governments take stands which are biased towards one community or the other.For example Beef ban by government was for appeasing the hindu majority .This raises insecurity in the minority communities.
- Despite 73rd and 74 th constitutional acts enacted and panchayat raj institutions were given the power,decentralization has not been effective as state still has a major role to play and PRI are just given power for namesake.
- Reservation problem:
- Despite Indian constitution intent behind giving reservation for socio economic backward communities was genuine,this aspect has been misused by the successive governments to gain votes.
- The recent announcement of 10% reservation for forward community in Gujarat strengthens this perspective.All these alienated different communities against one another.
- Criminal justice system delay:
- Increase in the number of pendency of cases, wrong convictions,undertrials problem ,eroding quality of judges have led to excessive delay in justice system.
- Justice delayed is justice denied led to many poor people lose trust in the judicial system of the country.
- Misuse of presidents rule:
- Art 356 has been used over 100 times most often usurping the power of state legislatures.
- Decline in parliamentary discipline:
- The elected representatives disciple in assemblies and parliament has been deteriorating to a great extent as seen from the instances where violence is used,involvement in scams ,watching indecent videos etc..
- Social indicators of India especially Maternal mortality ,malnutrition,infant mortality are still alarming .
- Even after 68 years of Independence the divide between the rich and poor is increasing with poor becoming poorer rich becoming richer ,gender gaps are increasing which is very evident in the sex ratio.Also India has a very low gini coefficient.
- Because of excessive exploitation of cities and failure to plan them according have led to rapid urbanization leading to deteriorated quality of life,pollution in the cities and other environmental problems.
- Socio economic backward communities like tribals,Adivasis etc have been the worst hit.The rapid exploitation of forest resources and mining activities hit their livelihood in a very adverse way.
- Decline in values in the society where material success is given more importance than the ethics and morals of the person.
- Failure to solve the developmental issues led to rise of left wing extremism and insurgency in many Indian states.
Yes,Indian democracy has been successful:-
- The evolution of institutions like Election Commission, Supreme Court, CAG etc in upholding the values in the constitution has been phenomenal.
- The passage of laws like right to information,Social audit,Right to Education,citizen charter gave accountability and transparency to the Indian system which was lacking earlier.
- Judicial interventions in the light of public interest like the Vishakha guidelines,transgender rights gave a push to the legislature reminding it of the need for good governance in the democracy.
- Even the measures taken by governments like NREGA,PAHAL,Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana put India on the world map showcasing the efficiency in providing smart governance.
- With decentralization of powers given to PRI, local governance has given the right to the people at the bottom to demand governance and make them part of the decision making process.PESA and Forest rights act gave further thrust to this aspect.
- Minorities have not been neglected as seen from the governments attention by the programmes like 15 point program,Nai Manzil,reservation etc..
- Socio economic backward communities benefitted a lot as is seen in the rise of literacy levels in the country for these categories along with the employment benefits.
- Food security has been achieved with self sufficiency in food grains,having huge buffer stocks leading to poverty reduction which ultimately paved the way for the better health outcomes.
- Indian democracy has been largely successful in making India one of the fastest growing economies in the world ,a force to reckon with and a country that can be trusted and respected in the international arena.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
- One major purpose of Chabahar has always been to cut Pakistan out of the route between India and Afghanistan
- To reorder India’s geopolitics to the north-west of the subcontinent.
- The $500 million deal promises to lead to the development of a deep-water port,a 500-km rail line linking it to Iran’s rail network, and new aluminium and urea plants.
- The Chabahar agreement marks a new level in India’s overseas ambitions, establishing a genuinely strategic presence in one of the world’s great energy markets
- Freed of sanctions, Iran’s economy is expected to grow sharply in coming years; Indian businesses will now be in a position to capitalise on the coming boom.
- The deal will also allow India to expand its strategic presence in Afghanistan, allowing businesses in both countries to bypass a Pakistan that has proven reflexively hostile to allowing transit rights to trade between them.
- In short, the deal signals that India, like China, has big-league ambitions.
- On both security and economic grounds, therefore, the re-emergence of Iran has given India a big new card to play in its neighbourhood.The agreement signed recently has the potential to alter the geopolitical map of South and Central Asia.
- India has already said its companies will set up plants in sectors such as fertilizers, petrochemicals and metallurgy in the zone. It will also supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran to build the railway link.
- The fate of the Chabahar project will depend on successive governments showing sustained resolve in the face of geopolitical hurdles.
- relations between Tehran and the West, though vastly improved, remain fraught, with many hardliners in Iran believing the country was short-changed in the nuclear deal that paved the way for an end to sanctions. That, potentially, could lead to tensions
- Iran’s role in Syria and Afghanistan.
- Indian governments will also have to incentivise private corporations for using the Iranian route to transit goods to Central Asia, rather than the fast, cheap networks they now use through Singapore and China.
- Finally, the project can only be successful if Indian manufacturing is globally competitive
- real challenge lies in execution. India’s record in finishing big-ticket projects abroad is far from consistent.
What is needed ?
- One is that the port itself, with a relatively modest capacity, must not become a casualty of dilatory work by the Indian agencies responsible.
- The second is that ambitions must not be moderate should indeed be expanded. Not just Afghanistan, but all of Central Asia should be opened up to trade with India through Chabahar.
- India has been rightly wary of the Chinese international infrastructure investment programme that goes by the name of “One Belt, One Road”; but the extent that it plans to link Iran to eastern China through Central Asia should not be ignored in the development planning for Chabahar.
- India needs to energise its diplomacy to keep engagement with Iran on an even keel, irrespective of outside pressure.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
Yes, India needs to be part of the reconciliation process:
- Strategic significance of Afghanistan makes it imperative for India:
- Afghanistan has gone from being a landlocked country with limited options to a country at the centre of many plans.
- Projects involved increases the necessity for India to play the role:
- while the U.S. is supporting the ‘New Silk Road Initiative’ linking Afghanistan to Central Asia
- Turkey is planning the ‘Modern Silk Road’ with Georgia and Azerbaijan, not to mention the ‘Silk Wind initiative’.
- There are ancillary projects like the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, and the CASA-1000 electricity project, not to mention the SAARC dream of seamless connectivity to the east.
- A 2007 study by the Ministry of Commerce estimated that bringing Afghanistan into a possible South Asian Free Trade Agreement would alone yield benefits of $2 billion, of which $606 million would go to Afghanistan.
- And then there is the biggest plan yet, that of the Chinese ‘One Belt One Road’, combined with its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that Afghanistan joined .
- Rise of Taliban again in Afghanistan and ISIS rapidly expanding can cause havoc in India. So India needs to be very cautious especially in the light of security reasons.
- India invested hugely in Afghanistan.
- All these make imperative for an increase in role of India in Afghanistan and also make it a strong contender in the reconciliation process.
- The first is obviously the Taliban’s basic ideological opposition to India and India’s troubles with Pakistan, which houses much of the leadership.
- The second is that the process itself is in trouble, with Taliban leaders refusing to come for talks, and Afghanistan pulling most of its delegation out of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group meeting in anger with Pakistan.
- Given the atmosphere, the U.S. strike on Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour would most definitely have buried the already dying reconciliation process as well.
- Instead, the Afghan government has had more success on signing a preliminary agreement this month on its own, with the Hizb-e-Islami, than it has in all these years with the Taliban.
- Also ideological differences India and the other countries like Iran in the region have for approaching Taliban also can be a contentious issue.
India’s role in Afghanistan :
- It is no longer possible to see Afghanistan in terms of a line from Delhi to Kabul, but as a centre-point of many strands of connectivity and energy, with each strand held by a different world power or regional leader.
- This is also true of security in Afghanistan, and India needs to find its own voice and speak clearly to be heard if it is to build on the potential of the Chabahar gambit.
- While Afghanistan is no longer the Great Game, groupings such as the U.S. and allies, including non-NATO allies, and another with Russia, China and Iran, are beginning to coordinate in different ways.
- Former Afghan President suggesting an “important role” for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Afghan stability is significant in this regard.
- It is not only time but also necessary for India to clearly define where it stands on all of this.
- If New Delhi cannot be a peacemaker, it would be hard to see how it could be a peacekeeper in Afghanistan.
- Its strategic assistance to the country, in the form of helicopters and jeeps, helping finance weaponry for the Afghan Army, and training army and police officers marks the broad area in which India must continue to operate.
- In the country’s surveys, India’s popularity outranks that of every other country. Of the projects, the three biggest the highway to Iran, the Parliament, and the reconstruction of the 42MW Salma irrigation and electricity project are now complete, and the government must begin to think of next projects in Afghanistan, given their impact.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
5) “Every investment in combating non-communicable diseases is a means of promoting development.” Elaborate the statements and discuss the threats of non-communicable diseases to economy and measures needed to be taken to address these threats. (200 Words)
- Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to noncommunicable diseases, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the effects of the harmful use of alcohol.
- These diseases are driven by forces that include ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. For example, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles like unhealthy diets may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids, and obesity.
- NCDs threaten progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda.
- Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care.
- Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco or unhealthy food, and have limited access to health services.
- In low-resource settings, health-care costs for cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes or chronic lung diseases can quickly drain household resources, driving families into poverty.
- The exorbitant costs of NCDs, including often lengthy and expensive treatment and loss of breadwinners, are forcing millions of people into poverty annually, stifling development.
Threats to economy:
- Global evidence on health spending shows that unless a country spends at least 5-6% of its GDP on health, basic healthcare needs are seldom met. NCD programmes require significant fiscal resources.
- Late detection problem:
- Early diagnosis and management are the most cost-effective way of tackling NCDs. But the absence of facilities, manpower and resources make quick detection and preventive care a low priority.
- Late detection of NCDs increases the costs of treatment and management hugely across the country.
- National economies are reportedly suffering significant losses because of premature deaths or inability to work resulting from heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
- For instance, China is expected to lose roughly $558 billion in national income between 2005 and 2015 due to early deaths.
- In 2005, heart disease, stroke and diabetes caused an estimated loss in international dollarsof national income of 9 billion in India and 3 billion in Brazil.
- Mental health:
- The burden of chronic NCDs including mental healthconditions is felt in workplaces around the world, notably due to elevated levels of absenteeism, or absence from work because of illness, and presenteeism, or productivity lost from staff coming to work and performing below normal standards due to poor health.
- For example, the United Kingdom experienced a loss of about 175 million days in 2006 to absence from illness among a working population of 37.7 million people.
- The estimated cost of absences due to illness was over 20 billion pounds in the same year.
What needs to be done?
- Need a comprehensive and diverse system of healthcare financing that pools financial risk and shares the cost burden
- In fact, strategic public-private partnerships between central and state governments and private stakeholders will drive global and national attention to NCDs, attract more funds and promote the establishment of stronger policies.
- Public-private partnership will play a major role in ensuring wider healthcare coverage that serves the unique needs of diverse rural and urban populations.
- For example, a social health insurance programme designed to provide basic healthcare services for populations with limited financial means may be the answer for rural and underprivileged populations, whereas private health insurance schemes may serve employed urban groups more effectively.
- comprehensive approach is needed that requires all sectors, including health, finance, foreign affairs, education, agriculture, planning and others, to work together to reduce the risks associated with NCDs,
- Other ways to reduce NCDs are high impact essential NCD interventions that can be delivered through a primary health-care approach to strengthen early detection and timely treatment. Evidence shows that such interventions are excellent economic investments because, if applied to patients early, can reduce the need for more expensive treatment.
- Change in diets by people can act as a preventive mechanism to non communicable diseases.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy
- There can be no doubt that the reforms have eased India’s balance-of-payments constraint. India’s Forex reserves today exceed $350 billion, compared to less than $6 billion in March 1991. .
- The current account deficit has been financed comfortably, most measures of external indebtedness show an improvement
- Outsourcing led to emergence of multinational companies in India during this period which contributed significantly to the economic growth of the country .
- Indias GDP grew well which lead to increase in per capita income leading to decrease in poverty .
- Since reforms, there have been three rounds of License Grants for private banks. Private Banks such as ICICI, HDFC, Yes Bank and also foreign banks, raised standards of Indian Banking Industry.
- Similarly Insurance Industry now offers variety of products such as Unit Linked Insurance plans, Travel Insurance etc. But, in India life Insurance business is still decisively in hands of Life Insurance Corporation of India.
- Another major development is one of Stock Markets.
- After reforms, private telecom sector reached pinnacle of success. And Indian telecom companies went global.
- Foreign investment brought the latest technologies to India.
- Consequently, Growth of past decade was limited to upscale areas of the countries as almost whole service industry, operates from these areas. Majority of India got spillover or trickle down growth from here. This accelerated migration to urban areas.
- This in turned created array of social problems associated with urbanization. It fundamentally changed pattern of Indian Society
- Deregulation has resulted in Mushrooming of private engineering and Medical Colleges. But in reality, this had far reaching devastating effect on society.
- Furthermore, social policies should be improved to better reach the poor and—given the importance of human capital—the education system also needs to be made more efficient.
- Reality is that after deregulation and liberalization, government along with other sectors, pulled its hand from social sectors too.
- Governments all across the world has lost their capacity to regulate and ward of against malicious, false, sensitive information and content. Rise of Islamic State demonstrates that, IT revolution has helped development of global Terrorist links more than anything.
- Moreover, explicit content is freely available on web, to which unmatured children have unrestricted access.
- Slow growth of the agricultural sector, where half of Indians earn most of their income..Heavy dependence on agriculture sector has not decreased even now even though services sector grew well .
- High inflation
- Black money,money laundering have become a daily feature especially with the rise of tax havens post reforms.
- While the rate of growth of the economy accelerated after 1991, it had done so twice earlier, first in the 1950s and then in the late 1970s. So the reforms have only maintained an existing history with respect to economic growth.
- What of poverty?
- Absolute poverty has declined since 1991, but this has been the trend since the early 1970s. Essentially, the decline in poverty has kept pace with growth
- However, even after a quarter century of economic reforms, approximately a quarter of the country remains poor according to a poverty line that is low by international standards.
- Liberalisation cannot address all aspects of the man-made environment and now climate change threatens to change everything forever
- Highly restrictive and complex labour laws:
- In the formal sector, where these labour laws apply, employment has been falling and firms are becoming more capital intensive despite abundant low-cost labour.
- Labour market reform is essential to achieve a broader-based development and provide sufficient and higher productivity jobs for the growing labour force.
- In product markets, inefficient government procedures, particularly in some of the states, acts as a barrier to entrepreneurship and need to be improved.
- The indirect tax system needs to be simplified to create a true national market, while for direct taxes, the taxable base should be broadened and rates lowered.
- Public expenditure should be re-oriented towards infrastructure investment by reducing subsidies.
Topic: Issues relating to intellectual property rights.
- The National IPR Policy aim was to create awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
- The policy has been designed to lay stress on the need to facilitate entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development while also prioritising the need for better access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection.
- The new policy will try to safeguard the interests of rights owners with the wider public interest, while combating infringements of intellectual property rights.
- By 2017, the window for trademark registration will be brought down to one month. This will help in clearing over 237,000 pending applications in India’s four patent offices.
- It also seeks to promote R&D through tax benefits available under various laws and simplification of procedures for availing of direct and indirect tax benefits.
- Unlike earlier where copyright was accorded to only books and publications, the recast regime will cover films, music and industrial drawings. A host of laws will also be streamlined — on semi-conductors, designs, geographical indications, trademarks and patents.
- Policy will provide both domestic and foreign investors a stable IPR framework in the country. This will promote a holistic and conducive ecosystem to catalyse the full potential of intellectual property for India’s growth and socio-cultural development while protecting public interest.
- The Policyrecognizes that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilizing the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns. It reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.
- These flexibilities include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- An all-encompassing IP Policywill promote a holistic and conducive ecosystem to catalyse the full potential of intellectual property for India’s economic growth and socio-cultural development .
- Such a Policy willnurture the IP culture and address all facets of the IP system including legal, administrative and enforcement infrastructure, human resources, institutional support system and international dimensions
- It lendsstrong words against theft and misappropriation of IP rights.
- thrives in an environment where access to knowledge is real and substantial. The Indian government, as the largest funder of research in the country, has not mandated that this research be made accessible to scholars through open copyright licensing, but has chosen to abdicate this responsibility.
- While innovation is a desirable economic goal for any society, the academic consensus is that IP is not a good measure of innovation. Innovation is largely driven by forces other than IP law, and the policy shows no signs of understanding this tenuous connection.
- conflating IP with innovation can be dangerous. IP signifies activity the activity of producing IP. For this activity to be useful, it must generate value in a society, by being commercially or otherwise licensed and brought to market.
- CSIR has been lauded for the 4500 patents it holds. While It is not clear if CSIR has earned a single rupee from patenting, it has spent 74 crore over a period of 10 years on patenting.Even though on paper it is considered remarkable but in practice many see it as a wastage of public money.
- Indian patent law extols a philosophy of minimalism less is more. With the new IPR policy, this minimalism is now inexplicably shrouded in a cloak of maximalism, the lesson apparently having been revised to mean more is more.
- The IPR policy is driven by the agenda of IP maximalism, where IP owners’ rights will be maximised at the cost of public interest. This (policy) will influence courts and judges.
- The most significant achievement of the 2005 amendment to our patent law was a high bar for innovation which is neglected in the new policy.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Moral thinkers