SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 November 2016
General Studies – 1;
Topic:Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
- Jawaharlal Nehru was a great diplomat, strong leader and an ideologue who believed in addressing issues based on an ideological principles.
- He was a firm believer in constitutional values. He would have been certainly guided by the similar principles and ideology while addressing the present issues.
Some of the prominent ones are:
- Socialism vs. Capitalism: Although he was a socialist in his ideology, by adopting the approach of mixed economy, he did not wish away the fruits of capitalism. Even today, in the growing LPG era, his focus would have development through mixed economy only.
- Developing vs. Developed World: He would have taken his idea of NAM on a broader scale to provide leadership and platform for developing world to tackle inequality among countries and “take for granted” attitude by the developed nations.
- Economic policy: Being a socialist he would have not favored the current pattern of withdrawal of state from economic activities therefore though he might have addressed the issue of inequality but the growth might still be crippling.
- Middle East Crisis: As seen around the world as a champion diplomat, He would have interfered to resolve the ongoing crisis in middle east with a humanitarian, tolerant approach of taking everyone on board and would have opposed any military intervention.
- Terrorism: Much of Terrorism today is due to political backing by foreign States. This would have been effectively opposed by Nehru through diplomacy, formation of regional and international Blocs etc.
- Racial and Religious Vilification: The world can mitigate this rising concern by following Nehruvian policy of Secularism and fraternity which was evident by his emphasis on application of these preambular ideas.
- Climate change: Interest of India would have come first for him. Although, he would have supported Paris deal, he would have being vocal on developed nations to provide technological and financial help to developing nations.
- Corruption: Transparency and socio-economic equality were his ideals. He would have taken hard stand on it.
- Employment growth:
- Nehru ji was supporter of industrialization as evident from it’s emphasis on 2nd and 3rd FYP. He would have worked on increase in investment in this sector, though support to private sector is doubted.
- He would also further the new innovations and technology with a positive impact and co relation on the society’s need by involving world renowned scientists and sociologists together, what he did actually in CDP, 1952
- Kashmir Issue: Although he is held responsible for the continuance of the unresolved issue of Kashmir, Nehru always upheld the ideal of free speech and dissent for the people even in this challenging scenario and succeeded in averting any civil rebellion in Kashmir. The situation in Kashmir today needs to be seen with his prism of tolerance, free will and cooperation rather than subjugation.
- Political Criminalization: He was the strong believer in politics being the medium of change. He would have impeded criminalization of politics and would have worked to reduce the trust deficit in politicians by inculcating a culture of value oriented politics
- Although some of his policies like that on China backfired and also the circumstances are a lot different from what they were half a century ago, much of what India is today is a product of Nehru ji’s imagination and ideology
- The world too needs to follow many of his policies to bring about global peace and all round development.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Recent cordiality between India and USA has led to deepening economic, strategic, security ties as well as diaspora relations.
- Thus, the Indo-US ties will be definitely impacted under the new Donald Trump administration due to his new and unconventional approach to policy making.
- Fight against terrorism:
- The president of America is in favor of eradicating Cross-Border Terrorism from the world. This will boost India’s initiative to curb terror activities sponsored by Pakistan.
- Also his tough stance on Pakistan and China would help India to diplomatically isolate Pakistan on international stage.
- Strategic: Improvement in us-Russia relationship will ease India’s problem of balancing relationship with both the nations and this helps India to gain an upper hand over china
- Economic: Trump has mentioned India as a land of economic opportunities. Thus it may help in bringing more investment of US companies to India.
- Defense: Trump administration is likely to improve the defense ties between both the countries.
- Decrease in push for TPP: This may prove a breather for Indian trade market and less apprehension in terms of technical barriers to trade.
- Decreasing corporate tax: This may result in taking out of FDI from India, with us better profit margins scope for investors in US. Though, it will also be opportunity for India enterprises to invest in US.
- Immigration Policy: India, one of the top beneficiaries of H-1B visas needs to worry about the immigration and visa policies of the Trump regime.
- Diaspora: An environment of polarized society, with xenophobia nationalist cult on rise, racism, Islam phobia will create insecurity for India diaspora.
- US-Iran Policy: If US once again re-impose sanctions on Iran, India’s investment in development of ports, oil storing facilities in Iran may go in vain.
- Paris Agreement: Trump has openly argued for cancelling the Paris agreement. Since India had ratified Paris climate agreement, this move will be against India’s stand.
- Although he been a supporter for stronger ties with India and is likely to benefit India in many ways especially in economic, strategic and military areas.
- But India must tread a cautious path as his unconventional and often controversial approach might hamper India’s interest bilaterally as well as on other international issues.
- Indian government should start engaging in talks and clear any air of uncertainty with US.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- In a historic step, India has become the first non NPT country with which Japan has signed nuclear deal.
- Although, in 1998 Japan had opposed India for the same and had applied very hard sanctions on India.
- Recent signing of MoU between India & Japan regarding Nuclear cooperation after prolonged efforts since 2009 is a significant step towards improved strategic relationship between the two nations.
- Move towards Renewable Energy: It will be significant for India in attaining its Renewable Energy goals and moving towards clean environment.
- New Technology: It will facilitate supply of cutting edge reactor technology from Japan to India
- NSG Membership: Since its Japan’s first nuclear deal with a non-signatory nation to NPT, it will enhance India’s image as responsible Nuclear power.
- Indo-Us Nuclear Agreement: India depends on Japan for raw material and equipment used in nuclear projects. So the 123 agreement will remain only on papers without this deal.
- Trade and Defense relations will be enhanced.
- Countering China: Strengthening of India-Japan relationship will help to counter China’s increasing hegemony in the region especially in east and South China Sea
- Indian Nuclear Market: Japan will get deeper access to the growing nuclear energy market of India and due to its domino effect, it will also get further foray in other segments especially auto sector and Bullet Trains
- Deal needs to be approved by Japanese Parliament
- Both Japanese & Indian PM may face criticism for too few & too much assurances respectively regarding nuclear test ban.
- Provision of emergency suspension of deal in case of nuclear test by India will affect other trade relations.
- Impact on ties with China: Both mutual trust and trade relations will be affected and China may try to counter it by increasing investment in Pakistan & Russia.
- The future of deal depends on Japanese Parliament but once approved, this deal has several advantages for both India and Japan but it should not be done at cost of worsening relationship with China.
- Further, India needs to be cautious of the smaller details of the agreement where any mistake could result in loss of not only the nuclear agreement but other trade deals as well.
- Also, India should use it to commence its nuclear reactors as soon as possible to get the best results of the deal.
General Studies – 3
Topic:Linkages between development and spread of extremism
- Cashless economy refers to a situation where flow of cash is non-existent & all transactions are done through electronic channels such as debit cards, credit & debit cards, mobile money transfers, immediate payment services etc.
- The government along with the reserve bank has initiated policies to transform Indian economy to a cashless economy.
Readiness of India for a cashless economy:
- Partial Demonetization: It has led to upsurge in electronic transactions, especially mobile money transfers.
- Bank Accounts: Quantitative success of PMJDY campaign in opening an account for almost every household in India.
- Mobile Penetration: This has crossed over 100 million connections.
- Government Measures: Ambitious payment interfaces such as UPI & NPCI.
But the challenges to an immediate cashless economy are huge:
- Poor Cashless Payment Infrastructure: Especially in rural, Suburban and Tier 2 cities of India, most of shopkeeper, vendor, employers don’t have electronic machines to do cashless payments and they even don’t know how to operate it.
- Security Issues: Recently, the details of millions of cards have been compromised by ATM network. Poor cyber security can lead to threat to Indian economy and it is against individual ‘s interest.
- Lack of Awareness: People are not fully aware about cashless transactions that is, how to use it and what benefits are.
- Poor Internet Connectivity and Digitization: Internet connectivity is poor in rural India and some urban sectors. Private Internet companies are also not able to expand in rural India due to lower profits ineffective policy implementation.
- Black Money and Tax Evasion: People do payment in cash form in order to hoard black money and for tax evasion.
- Govt’s move towards Block chain technology to curtail paper currency is a welcome step.
- should make effective policy to digitalize incentive payments like cash back schemes and motivate people through tax rebates.
- It will be better if private players are given more incentives to operate and provide internet connectivity in rural areas as well.
- Cyber security infrastructure needs to be strengthened.
- Financial Inclusion and awareness through the JAM trinity and other schemes needs to be given a major Push.
- India is still in a nascent stage to go fully cashless but it is definitely possible as seen in the case of Sweden
- But in order to fully realize the potential of cashless economy, first an enabling environment needs to be created through the concerted efforts from all the stakeholders – Banks, Govt, State governments, civil society, and Private players & among others.
Background – A white paper on ‘black money’ by the Finance Ministry in 2012 stated that the real-estate sector in India constitutes almost 11 per cent of the GDP. A recent report by Ambit Capital said India’s ‘black economy’ stands at over Rs 30 lakh crore or about 20 per cent of the total GDP. If the ministry’s 2012 assessment holds true today, then real-estate accounts for more than 50 per cent of the current black money market. In this context, the recent move of demonetization would impact real estate sector in following ways:-
- Tax evasion will be checked – Till now, in real estate the circle rates and selling price of the land / flat never matched. Sellers used to lower the value of property on paper to avoid stamp duty. And to avoid taxes, they used to accept some percentage of money in cash and other percentage legally through check/ online transfer. This was helpful for tax evasion and investing black/illegal money into the asset. The current demonetisation will make it extremely difficult for any buyer to pay in cash.
- Bring down the prices – It will be hard for buyers to arrange cash and the seller will also not accept such money in cash. To improve demand and due to competition, the prices will automatically come down. It would be beneficial to the organised construction sector, according to the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI). Developers would be able to pass the benefit to the customers and along with it, banks may lower the interest rates of home loans.
- Will impact secondary market – Secondary market in real estate involves re-sale of the property, where much of cash rich investors come into the picture. So, demonetization will affect such dealers and investors rather than entry-level housing targeted by first-time home-buyers.
- Projects may get delayed – As per ASSOCHAM’s report, last year, over 75 per cent of the 3,540 real-estate projects, with investments worth over Rs 14 lakh crore, across the country were non-starters. The study also revealed that in Punjab, a majority of the real-estate projects were delayed by more than 36-40 months on an average. Demonetization will further create investment crunch, delaying the projects.
- Land brokers will be affected – Most of the dealers are involved in re-sale and their commission over each sale further raises the cost of the property. Demonetization will affect such dealers as it will affect resale and since the flow of cash is going to reduce, their commission will be affected, which was unaccounted legally. Gradually, this move would shift the dealing through banking channels that would weed out “middlemen” and “brokers”, who used to put the customers at ransom by raising the price of the property to exorbitant rates.
Demonetization move would result in a clean-up of the real estate sector. The demonetisation, coupled with the passing of the Real Estate Regulatory Act, REITs, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, would weed out the black money from the real estate sector. The money that was rotating had slowed and with this demonetisation, things will only slow down further. Prices are expected to fall by at least 30 to 40 percent in the coming days, as per the analysts.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics in public administration
The recent demonetization move in purportedly done in the interest of nation and for larger good of the common man. However, its suddenness and magnitude has ethical implications for the political establishment, corrupt business and people, and most importantly for the common people.
This move rewards honest citizens and punishes the corrupt. However, reward for the honesty has come at a cost by putting lives of ordinary citizens haywire. While, the corrupt are made to struggle to convert their ill gotten money into white money, the move may not impact daily life of these people adversely. This raises the ethical issue of cleansing the system at the cost of common man’s willingness to endure hardship for the betterment of society.
This move has given rise to new hopes and aspirations among honest citizens. Demonetization, if fails to live upto the expectation of honest people in bringing transparency, accountability and good governance in the administration and businesses, might cause loss of faith in political leadership and result in cynicism and disillusionment.
Demonetization might force corrupt politicians to mend their forcing them to focus more on issues to win votes than using money and muscle power. This would strengthen democracy. However, this depends on how serious is our political establishment in forcing itself to reform, rather than finding new ways to allure voters.
Major ethical implication would be the infringement of rights of people, especially of common man. A poor man and woman is forced to stand in queues against their will. It raises an important question about right of government to force citizens to act against their wills be it in the interest of nation or people themselves. But considering larger benefits, it can be argued that it’s ethical to endure transient hardships. Are rich people and politicians enduring equal amount of hardships in the interest of the nation?
Also there is an ethical issue of forcing bth public and private bank employees work overtime without providing them incentives.
Overall, it can be argued that demonetization is morally a correct move, but ethically not.
Topic: Political attitude
7) Against severe opposition by almost all sections of media and the opposition party, Donald Trump has won the US Presidential election. Do you think media and the opposition party should cooperate with the new President-elect or continue to oppose him? Justify. (150 Words)
The recently held presidential election was in the favour of Donald trump, who was gripped under many controversies. At present, few sections of Americans are opposing through “Not my president” campaign against Trump. Here, media and oppositions should cooperate with him rather than opposing due to following reasons:-
- People’s choice- Donald Trump has been democratically elected, directly by the people. This is the hallmark of the democracy and it should be respected.
- Wastage of time – Since, nothing went wrong in the election like booth capturing, voter’s bribery, etc. as found in many developing countries, thus giving legitimacy to election. Thus opposing or campaigning against Trump would be wastage of time. Rather, media and opposition parties should analyse decisions and the future plans of new president.
- Finding middle path – dialogue and co-operation are always the best way to resolve differences. Same way, the Democrats and media should engage with the new president through dialogues, so that some middle path could be found over ideologies, governance, priorities of administration, etc.
- Forgiveness – It is the best policy to forget unpleasant past and focus on nationa building. Even though this opton seems idealistic, forgiving Trump for all his insults and political immaturity would help media to focus on pressing issues at hand. Non-cooperation will harm interests of both the media and nation in the long-term.
It should be noted that the job of media is to objectively report events and empower citizens with accurate information. Manufacturing opinion and feeding it to masses is unethical as it affects behaviour and independent thinking of people. Continuing to oppose the President – elect based on selective coverage might lead to civil unrest.
The ego, political prejudice involved in opposition should be set aside and political parties should co-operate with new president for his future policies. Cooperation will weed out the distrust involved and will pave way for setting agenda for future development of America. Also, opposition (Democrats) should be calm and closely observe the moves of Trump involving partisanship and favouritism, which could be used for his impeachment, if things don’t work out in favour of Trump.
So, the right to protest peacefully against any policy decisions taken by the president that goes against the ethos of the constitution of USA should be given priority by media and oppositions parties rather than out rightly opposing the President himself.