SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 January 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment
Women across the world are the largest untapped reservoir of talent. Empowerment of this section brings a subsequent development for the whole society. The modern society has witnessed increased participation of women in various male dominated arenas like sports and businesses etc. but still this “empowered” section still faces a female/athlete paradox-in which no matter how much she achieves with her abilities she is forced to conform to the dominant notions of femininity.
In material terms, women’s unpaid care work is huge. It is estimated that women perform 75% of the world’s unpaid care work. In India, women perform 10 to 12 times the unpaid care work of men.
Crucial role of women in today’s society:-
- Since her childhood, a girl (especially in patriarchal society like India) is expected to learn and carry out all the household works just to enable her male counterparts to go out and earn the bread for the family. Without this “unpaid care work” it is quite impossible for the males to do their daily choirs of work”.
- Even if she decides to go out and employ herself in some paid work, she always hungs between choosing the most important amongst her household work and office work. Thus resulting in “double work”.
- This “unpaid work” is thereby not accounted for GDP resulting of wastage of human workforce.
The solution to this menace lies in abandoning the gender specific notion of employment. Women must be seen as equally capable of doing any kind of work and also the men must take their role in household works which will in turn enable to exploit this “untapped reservoir” of talent in the female workforce.
Ensuring minimum number of female employees in any corporation and also provide for such jobs in anganwadis and SHGs for women working from their houses.
This change of mindset is not brought about in decade or two. It is a gradual phenomenon which will take its final shape only if the society embraces itself to a shift towards a balanced ratio of both male and female equitable status.
India is ranked 7th from the bottom around the world in LFPR for females. This stats has to undergo a huge change if we have to establish a welfare and egalitarian society.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
2) “The Obama administration’s foreign policy and Donald Trump’s call for its recalibration are both inspired by the same desire to prevent any new challenge to American supremacy.” Discuss. (200 Words)
Introduction:- US foreign policy are mainly driven by securing its global supremacy, preserving hegemony in Eurasia and preserving security, democracy and prosperity globally
The similarities between Obama policy and trump recalibration are-
- Both Obama and trump have realized the economic and geopolitical significance of Asia pacific and has work on deepening ties with the ASEAN countries. The condemnation of china’s hegemony in South China Sea, stationing of US ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta, triple alliance with japan and South Korea are some examples.
- The policy of us is further directed toward countering rising energies of china so as to suppress any challenge to itssupremacy like Obama, trump doctrine also focuses engaging with ASEAN countries specifically India and ASEAN countries to retard china’s power. Asia pivot, TPP by Obama and question on one nation policy and countervailing imports by trump are steps seems to be in similar direction.
- Policies of both are characterized by maintain hegemony over Eurasia by condemning Russia Malaysian airline crash and breaching cyber space.
However, trump policy characterized by populist chauvinism and protectionist is remarkably different from his predecessor in following way.
- Trump policy seems to be deviated from the liberal global order and globalization ex- US exit from TPP.
- The much emphasized climate change policy by Obama which is also one of the negotiation ground with china has been completely Condemen by trump during his election campaigns.
- Trump is also opposing of Iran us nuclear deal.
- While Obama has taken Russia with stiff resistance, Trump wants to engage with Russia.
The foreign policy of any country have always driven by its self-interest Though the intention of both the leaders are to secure US supremacy there is a mark distinction between the path taken by both. India being a natural ally of US may not be able to left untouched with rising tides. More tactful and diplomatic engagement to secure own interest by India should be carried out.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
3) What does the Article 50 of the European Union treaty say? Recently the Britain Supreme Court ruled that without the approval of their parliament, Brexit campaigners could not trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty. Discuss significance of this ruling. (200 Words)
Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union is a part of European Union law that sets out the process by which member states may withdraw from the European Union. It has been extensively debated after the referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2016 in which 51.9% of those voting favoured the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Once Article 50 is triggered, there is a two-year time limit to complete negotiations. If negotiations do not result in a ratified agreement, the seceding country and EU would follow World Trade Organisation rules on tariffs.
This article was used for the first and so far only time by the United Kingdom on 29 March 2017.
- Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
- A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
- The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
- For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
- If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RULLING:-
- Legal-The ruling upholds rule of law and requires parliamentary endorsement of Brexit legislation, not just ministerial approval. This is necessary because withdrawal from EU will cut off EU law which is a main source of UK law.
- Democratic-The ruling ensures scrutiny of Brexit legislation by Parliament. Thus various parties can propose amendments to protect certain rights enjoyed by citizens which will be affected by Brexit.
- Institutional-The ruling clarified that the devolved legislatures of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will not be consulted on the Brexit legislation. This could mobilize public opinion in Scotland for a second referendum on independence from EU, given Scotland completely rejected Brexit in the referendum.
- Diplomatic-Since Brexit will have to be approved by British Parliament there will be greater clarity on its features. This will reduce uncertainty for prospective trade partners and businesses.
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
The nature of Political funding in a country has a direct impact in deciding the quality of leaders that debate in the Parliament & assemblies, frame laws, and formulate policies to govern and administer the country.
Issues involved in funding of Political Parties:
- Unknown Resources: 70% of Political fundings in 2005-15 is unaccounted for because contributions below 20,000 do not have to be named. Hence majority of contributions remain from anonymous donors.
- Black Money: Political funding especially during elections are major sources of Black Money
- Tax Exemptions: on income have led to proliferation of Inactive Political parties (total parties in India ~ 2000) viz are used to park unaccounted income to avoid tax returns
- Huge Expenditure: is required for contesting elections so the ordinary citizens is unable to fight elections as he cannot afford it, implying a loss in public-participation in the democratic process
The above issues called for removal of Exemptions on Pol Parties but Supreme Court justified the exemption stating that Pol parties needed money to carry out general activities like meetings, rally’s, elections and for their public role in Democratic setup, they must be able to maximum use of their funds
Implications on Governance:
- Legislature: Direct impact on law-making procedures of country as who funds Pol parties can decide the actual law-makers
- Crony Capitalism: arising from funded Pol parties can cause unsustainable Development, as seen by irreparable damage caused to Environment in recent times
- Democratic Governance: necessitates greater Transparency in Political funding
In this regard, a nuanced approach must be taken to introduce Electoral reforms as a way forward, by bringing Political parties under ambit of RTI, reducing disclosure limits from 20,000 to 2,00 per contribution, Public Funding of elections, Independent regulatory body to scrutinize political party finances and place them in public domain, and lastly give more power to Election Commission
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
5) Data shows that despite an increase in spending, educational outcomes in schools have worsened in India in the last decade. Is there something wrong with how the money on education is being spent? What course correction is needed? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Some of the educational outcomes according to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2016-
- The percentage of children in standard five who can do division has declined from 42.5% in 2007 to 26% in 2016.
- The percentage of those who can read a standard two text has worsened from 53% in 2006 to 48% in 2016.
- Only a fourth of students in standard five can read English sentences.
The more surprising fact is that this decline has happened despite enhanced spending on school education. Between 2006 and 2013, public expenditure on school education increased from 2.2% to 2.68% of GDP.
What could have went wrong in the process?
- Lack of Teacher’s training- Teachers’ training remains one of the most chaotic, neglected and deficient sectors of India’s vast education system. This needs to be changed as they virtually hold the destiny of the future generations in their hands.
- Irregularities in appointment of teaching staff including rampant vacancies and contract jobs.
- Poor monitoring of the educational institutes which are marred by absenteeism of teachers, their performance etc
- State negligence to spend on school management committees (SMC) under SSA for better functioning of schools.
- Lack of infrastructure- Majority of schools lack basic infrastructure required for schools. They lacks drinking water facilities, a functional common toilet, and do not have separate toilets for girls.
- Gender and caste issues- Traditional Indian society suffers from many kind of discrimination so there are many hurdles in education of unprivileged sections of society like women, SC, ST and minority
- Adoption of technology– Effective use of technological tools in teaching has many benefits. It will solve the many problems of infrastructure, quality and would increase the interests of students in education.
- Quality education
Education provided should meet needs of student. e.g. education provided to hearing impaired or slow learners. It should allow them to enhance their skills and get better employment options.
- PPP model
Public-Private sources and to encourage the active participation of the private sector in national development. It is more forcefully advocated when public resources are projected to be inadequate to meet needs.
An All India Education Services should be established which will decide the policies of education in consultation with educationalists
- Education policy
Educational policy need frequent update. It should cover personality development aspect of student It should also imbibe values of culture and social services
- The policymakers should focus on making education system more knowledge based rather than exam based.
- Introducing provisions for third party surveys and monitoring to maintain efficiency and to measure educational outcomes.
- Despite increase in allocation,India still lags behind most countries in terms of its education spending. At around 4% of GDP, India’s expenditure on education is behind that of comparable economies. World Bank data for 2012 shows that countries like Brazil and South Africa were spending at least 6% of their GDP on education.
Increasing government spending in education is not enough to improve educational outcomes. India’s education policy must be thoroughly revised to put in place better accountability and monitoring mechanisms to exploit the gains of increase in fiscal outlays on education.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
6) India both democracy and elections are celebrated. But in recent years, elections have become synonymous with democracy. Do you think the meaning of democracy and our celebration of it largely going to be exhausted by the importance of elections? Or are elections also an instrument of a meaning of democracy that goes beyond elections? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Impartial election process is most critical part in the effective functioning of democracy. It strengthens and consolidates democratic values among citizens. However democracy does not mean only elections and other processes related to it.
- Meaning of democracy can have various dimensions. However in primal sense, it means rule of the people, by the people, for the people. The most symbolic pronouncement of this is the periodic elections that take place. Moreover, except for the emergency, India has never failed to conduct timely elections. The fervor and enthusiasm shown is no less than a festival, marking not just the direct power in people’s hands but also, placing every adult citizen on the same pedestal, with the same power. It is a reflection of people’s choices; voter turn outs are a major indication of people’s awareness and their interests in the democratic participation, it is a measure of check and balances for political parties and lastly it is the success of a nation standing on democratic principles.
- However, this becoming synonymous with the definition of democracy puts the enormous responsibility (and blame) on the people (example – US elections). It is this phenomenon that centers democracy only on the citizens and not their representatives. Other pillars of democracy, the executive (which works under the legislature) and the judiciary (that contains over-centralizing powers) are majorly excluded in this understanding. Media, seldom held as the fourth pillar of democracy, is active throughout, but has a special role to play during the elections – how information, data and events are dispersed (surveys, bootlegging, corruption, vote banks etc).
- After the elections, people who go in deep slumber and wait for the next opportunity to make their decisions heard, and they suddenly become important again.
What we forget is that the other aspects synonymous with the definition of democracy – rights, justice, equality, republic, secularism (though being represented through elections) – remain mere words. Example, the biggest source of grass-root democracy is Panchayati Raj Instituions – but how many decisions are taken to strengthen and attend to this form?
Hence, elections, just as other dimensions, are part of the democratic system. It is only on them that the democratic structure stands, but their significance becomes insignificant the moment they are made symbolic.
The failure of the entire structure in many ways implies the need to strengthen other dimensions that have significance throughout and not just after every 5 years.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
India is moving rapidly towards the digitization and wider adoption of digital payments will invariably change the dimensions of risks, crime and security as well. Thus policymakers at this stage need to dwell into these matters and evolve policy that would ensure secure and trustworthy digital environment in India.
Velocity of digitization and technology adoption necessitate response from policymakers in following manner-
- Security- Cash has threat of pick-pocketers and digi-cash has threat of cyber thieves. Modern methods of security like hardware-and software based security should be adopted.
There are a multiplicity of stakeholders operating networks and tools that pose varying degrees of risk. This, in turn, demands differentiated security responses. In a report released in December 2016, the Union ministry of finance’s committee on digital payments suggested a hierarchical approach based on the level of “systemic risk” posed by different tools and networks. This must form the design basis going forward.
- Speedy grievance redressal- complaints should be addressed and solved speedily. This will help in improving the system as well as make people comfortable in moving towards digitization.
- An inclusive multi-stakeholder consultative process must become the norm for policymaking itself, to avoid arbitrariness. This can be done by instituting multi-stakeholder consultations that are transparent and inclusive.
- Buffer zone- it is transition phase for India and buffer zone should be provided to make digitization process easier for people which requires cash availability.
- Awareness- standardized information needs to be given to the users regarding e-wallets, e-banking, security threats etc.
- Eye on private players- People use private e-wallets like paytm as well so they cannot put outside the purview. Proper collaboration between banks and private players should be established.
It may be useful for the government to think of the digital payments ecosystem, anchored by the NPCI, as analogous to the Internet. And much like the Internet, the National Financial Switch (the infrastructure backbone of all Indian ATMs, operated by the NPCI) must acquire robust redundancies offered by private-sector partnerships in order not to be a vulnerable single point of failure—which can potentially be compromised by self-styled “legions” of hackers. The NPCI should be managed through multi-stakeholder groups that can help with standard-setting, and can ensure that the payments ecosystem serves the common citizen, making even a small transaction online.