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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 February 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.

STATIC Syllabus Timetable


General Studies – 1;


Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment

1) What are the benefits of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act to women? Also examine issues involved in using the MTP Act. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP) 1971 was enacted with the intention of reducing incidents of illegal abortions and maternal mortality rate (MMR). It clearly lays down the provision of women who are qualified to undergo abortion and under what circumstances. In it’s present form, it permits women to undergo an abortion only up to 20 weeks with the opinion of 2 doctors and up to 12 weeks with the opinion of only one doctor. The recent proposal for amendment of the act brings along with it several benefits for women.

BENEFITS TO WOMEN –

1) Ensures right to live with dignity- under Art. 21 of the Constitution allows a woman take the call for abortion by allowing her to exercise the right to reproductive freedom in case she is not in a position to raise her child with dignity.
2) Reduction in MMR due to illegal abortions- maternal deaths due to abortion account for 8% of the maternal deaths.
3) Increased availability of legal means of abortion- availability of trained mid level providers, doctors; crackdown on illegal abortion clinics, allows women to undergo the process legally.
4) Personal circumstances(humanitarian conditions) taken into account- such as rape survivor, unplanned pregnancy, divorce, death of the partner, inability of the woman to raise the child single-handedly on her own.

PERSISTING ISSUES –

1) Female foeticide – misuse of the provisions of the act for sex-selective abortions due to son-preference; skewing of sex ratio.
2) Pro-life argument- even a foetus has the right to life, abortion being a violation of the same.
3) Relevance of the 20 week period- many foetal diseases and birth defects are detected after the 20 week period, which puts into question the rationality behind the 20 week limit.
4) Power of decision making- lies with the medical practitioners and still doesn’t take into account the viewpoint of the woman.

Way forward –

1) Education- about risk to women using abortion as a means of contraception, planned parenthood.
2) Counselling services- rendered by doctors to the mother before ultrasound scan and abortion.
3) Increase time limit for abortion- proposed limit under the amendment is 24 weeks.
4) Regulation & prevent misuse- strict laws to prevent misuse of MTP act; engagement of NGOs, medical practitioners for monitoring at grass root levels.

The benefits of the MTP act are many but need to be used with utmost care and respect for the rights of an unborn human being.

Further to reap the fruits of the law, proper awareness and education regarding its provisions needs to be provides especially to the women.


General Studies – 2


Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act

2) Analyse the patterns of NOTA voting and find out how the voters have used this option of negative voting since its inception. (200 Words)

The Hindu

None of the Above or NOTA is designed to allow the voter to indicate disapproval of all candidates in an election. It was introduced in India following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India judgment. Thus, India became the 14th country to institute negative voting. However, NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’. The candidate with the maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled.

Patterns observed during elections of NOTA voting are as follows: –

  • NOTA polling figures are still small. On an average, the maximum NOTA vote share has not crossed 2.02% of the total votes polled in any election cycle.
    2) NOTA button saw its debut in the 2013 Assembly elections held in four States — Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the former Union Territory, Delhi, where NOTA constituted 1.85% of the total votes polled.
    3) The average NOTA vote share dropped to 0.95% in the 2014 Assembly elections held in eight States.

4) Bihar saw 2.49% of NOTA votes, which remains the highest NOTA votes polled so far in any State in Assembly elections.

 

Analysis of NOTA voting patterns –

1) Marginal share- share of NOTA has never crossed more than 2.02% in any of the elections.
2) Reserved constituencies- have seen a larger share of NOTA votes being polled which points to social prejudices against political reservation of SC/STs.
3) Constituencies affected by LWE- have used NOTA as a dissent against the State; a democratic display of resentment rather than boycotting polls altogether.
4) Corruption and high rates of crime- States like Bihar with high rates of criminal activity and rampant corruption register a large share of NOTA votes as a means of dissent against the persisting state of affairs; campaigning of youth for NOTA against corruption in Tamil Nadu elections.
5) Women’s representation- states like Kerela have women campaigning for NOTA in case if no women candidates in a constituency.
6) Direct contest between major political parties- causes more voters to use NOTA as lack of alternative candidates.
7) Impact on election outcome- 261 assembly constituencies and 4 Lok sabha constituencies had greater proportion of NOTA than the winning candidate.

 

To make it more effective-
1. Voters must bring back the true spirit of Representatives Democracy by making MP/MLA and their qualities and capabilities at center of making the decision for whom to vote.
2. Political parties must raise their bar and improve the quality of their candidates.

  1. Efficient use of NOTA option has potential to increase voter turn out and to make India truly representative democracy, policy makers must work towards making it a right to reject so that people will use it wisely.

CONCLUSION –

This clearly shows that NOTA is being used as a means of protesting against the prevailing conditions in the political system. However, it will become meaningful as a means of negative voting only if becomes a ‘right to reject’ rather than merely being a symbolic instrument to express resentment. The ECI must entail the voters their right to rejection in light of the recent trends introduced by NOTA.


Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3) Critically analyse nature of solar power dispute between India, USA and the WTO, and its implications for India. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Background-

WTO has awarded dispute between India and USA in favor of the latter as panel of the WTO found that India’s domestic content requirements (DCR) under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) violates its commitments under the global trading rules, specifically the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs). Recently in September 2016 India requested consultations with the U.S. under the dispute settlement system regarding alleged domestic content requirements and subsidies provided by eight U.S. states.

Nature of solar power disputes between India and USA at WTO-

  • Reciprocation- Earlier USA challenged the provision of domestic content requirement of India’s JNNSM at WTO and got the decision in favor of her. To this India responded by asking to form dispute resolution panel at WTO against 8 states in USA. This is seen as reciprocating USA’s action by India.
  • Protectionist policies- Both governments are trying to protect their domestic industries by restricting import and access to foreign players.
  • Contradictory actions- Both countries are trying to encourage development of indigenous industries by subsidizing or through provisions like India’s DCR in solar energy. At the same time they want other country to remove such incentives given to local manufacturer.
  • Quest for renewable energy- Although both governments are at loggerhead over the issue of access to market, both countries are incentivizing and encouraging use of renewable energy and to contribute to fight climate change.
  • Use of global platform rather than bilateral fighting- Both countries are making wise use of WTO platform to solve bilateral issues. Although such problems can be solved bilaterally, WTO’s decisions are binding which prevents further deterioration of bilateral ties.

Implications for India-

  • India has ambitious plans for manufacturing sector under Make in India program. WTO’s decision against India may hamper the progress of this program.
  • All the industrially advanced economies had adopted protectionist policies at their initial stage of industrialization to protect local industries from foreign competition. But India cannot avail this liberty as India is committed to WTO rules under national treatment principle. This may adversely affect the growth of local industries in time to come.
  • This would compel Indian manufacturers to be efficient, cost effective and technologically sound to compete with foreign players.
  • WTO’s decision has prompted India to take objection on subsidies given for renewable energy by 8 states of USA. This shows India’s resolve to take reciprocating action against advanced nations to resist their dominance.
  • Finally India’s reciprocative step may strain the ties between the two nations. However the other outcome of this step could be such that both the countries may come together to solve this problem amicably.

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

4) Examine the nature of and recent trends in economic ties between India and the UK. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction-

India and UK share strong economic and political bonds which are inevitable for the growth of trade and commerce between any two nations. It was reflected in the visit of UK’s international trade secretary in August 2016; Liam Fox said the UK and India’s “current trading relationship is strong but, more importantly, there is so much future potential”.

Current status on Investment and trade between the two nations

  • The UK has been the largest G20 investor in India since 2000. UK companies currently employ around 788,000 people across India—one in 20 of the total organized private sector jobs in the country. At the same time, India is the third-largest investor in the UK. Indian companies invest more in the UK than the rest of the EU combined. More than 800 Indian companies currently operate in the UK, employing more than 110,000 people.
  • The bilateral trade grew by 170% between 2004 and 2014. But India’s overall trade grew by 800% in the same period. In more recent times, UK-India trade actually fell by around 8% in 2014-15; India’s trade with Germany, Italy and France fell by even more that year.

Examining the nature and recent trends in economic ties between India and UK-

  • Regular High level ministerial visits- There has been a regular flow of ministerial visits in both directions, which have strengthened the political bonds and have been creating favorable environment for trade and commerce.
  • Optimism about India- The UK industry is enthusiastic about the positive short-term impact of GST (goods and services tax) and the medium-term impact of demonetization in creating an even more modern, transparent, and vibrant Indian economy.
  • Bilateral Investments-India is 3rd largest FDI source into UK, while UK is largest G20 investor in India and with advent of GST, stable polity and economy, investments would further improve.
  • Strong economies- Both India and UK are strong economies, thus they are set to benefit each other due to strong markets for export. At the UK-India Business Council, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Indian businesses seeking to import from the UK.
  • Need of comprehensive economic partnership agreement- investors and traders from both the countries are eager on such partnership as it would boost the trade between both the countries.

 How to improve the already strong bilateral investment relationship?

Improving the operating environment in India will make the biggest difference in accelerating FDI (foreign direct investment). UK businesses identified the four areas that would bring the greatest benefit to the Indian economy:

  • A reduction of corporate tax rates to the 25%, (which has been announced in 2015 budget and set to reduce gradually).
  • A smooth and fair implementation of GST. Businesses expect teething issues, but are confident that it will significantly simplify the ease of doing business.
  • A simpler, fairer and more predictable tax regime.
  • Medium- and long-term clarity in areas of major government expenditure, for example defence, and on plans for infrastructure development.

General Studies – 3


Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

5) The Islamic State’s puritanical, one-size-fits-all brand of Islam hasn’t found much resonance in India. Examine why. However, recent events suggest that it’s slowly making inroads into India. How can India stop it from gaining foothold in its territory?  Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Islamic state is an terrorist organization actively working in the regions of Iraq and Syria and promoting an ideology of Jihad to attract youths all over the world. It has radicalized thousands of youths and had been successful in availing their services for jihad.

After announcing Caliph in 2014, IS was able to gather strong force in support of Jihad. Even many Indians have been reported to join Islamic state. However the number of such Indians is miniscule and Islamic radicalization is largely absent in India. Reasons behind this are-

  • Multiplicity of cultures and diversity continuing from ages in India has preserved the social fabric and helped in preventing the radicalization and hate among minorities against majority.
  • Although India has witnessed partition and bomb blasts on communal lines, large sections of population both majority and minority have shared common values like toleration, non-violence which has created the environment of peace and harmony.
  • India has created strong constitutional structure and resilient democratic values. Indian constitution explicitly provides fundamental rights for freedom of religion, right to preserve culture to all minorities. This has helped in building confidence among minority communities which has restricted the spread of extremism.
  • Muslims in India have questioned the ideology propagated by ISIS. According to them true Islamic religion does not promote any kind of violence but have always propounded peace and harmony among different communities. Thus Muslims in India have not been affected by wrong propaganda of ISIS.
  • Muslims in India are equally patriotic as other communities. Any kind of violence against fellow citizen would be travesty of this value.

However some of the recent arrests of radicalized youths and intelligence report have revealed that ISIS could create its influence if India remains complacent about it. India should take following steps to prevent establishing its foothold.

  • Government needs to take help of Muslim religious leaders and preachers to make sure that youths don’t get carried away by false propaganda about Islam and Jihad. De-radicalization measures as adopted by Maharashtra and Karnataka state governments. Reach out plan towin hearts and minds at all costs.
  • Efforts should be made to make youths aware of India’s diverse culture and respect for plural values so that youths don’t get attracted towards extremist tendencies.
  • Continuous monitoring of online propaganda and directing special cyber cell to curb social media as medium to spread radicalization. Counseling centers should be opened for those who have already fallen prey for such propaganda.
  • Better coordination between different law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies is required for effective outcome. Projects likeNATGRID for centralized intelligence gathering would be implemented as early as possible.
  • Providing gainful employment and jobs to youths would help in reducing their grievances, improve their socio-economic condition thereby arresting the tendencies of radicalization.

Integrating madarasas with formal education and imparting scientific, rational education along with religious and spiritual education would reduce extremist tendencies.

 


Topic:  Infrastructure

6) “Infrastructure investment holds much promise, but to reap its benefits, policymakers in emerging economies will need to strengthen their institutional frameworks for procurement sooner rather than later.” Discuss importance of message in this statement for India. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction-

Islamic state is an terrorist organization actively working in the regions of Iraq and Syria and promoting an ideology of Jihad to attract youths all over the world. It has radicalized thousands of youths and had been successful in availing their services for jihad.

After announcing Caliph in 2014, IS was able to gather strong force in support of Jihad. Even many Indians have been reported to join Islamic state. However the number of such Indians is miniscule and Islamic radicalization is largely absent in India. Reasons behind this are-

  • Multiplicity of cultures and diversity continuing from ages in India has preserved the social fabric and helped in preventing the radicalization and hate among minorities against majority.
  • Although India has witnessed partition and bomb blasts on communal lines, large sections of population both majority and minority have shared common values like toleration, non-violence which has created the environment of peace and harmony.
  • India has created strong constitutional structure and resilient democratic values. Indian constitution explicitly provides fundamental rights for freedom of religion, right to preserve culture to all minorities. This has helped in building confidence among minority communities which has restricted the spread of extremism.
  • Muslims in India have questioned the ideology propagated by ISIS. According to them true Islamic religion does not promote any kind of violence but have always propounded peace and harmony among different communities. Thus Muslims in India have not been affected by wrong propaganda of ISIS.
  • Muslims in India are equally patriotic as other communities. Any kind of violence against fellow citizen would be travesty of this value.

However some of the recent arrests of radicalized youths and intelligence report have revealed that ISIS could create its influence if India remains complacent about it. India should take following steps to prevent establishing its foothold.

  • Government needs to take help of Muslim religious leaders and preachers to make sure that youths don’t get carried away by false propaganda about Islam and Jihad. De-radicalization measures as adopted by Maharashtra and Karnataka state governments. Reach out plan towin hearts and minds at all costs.
  • Efforts should be made to make youths aware of India’s diverse culture and respect for plural values so that youths don’t get attracted towards extremist tendencies.
  • Continuous monitoring of online propaganda and directing special cyber cell to curb social media as medium to spread radicalization. Counseling centers should be opened for those who have already fallen prey for such propaganda.
  • Better coordination between different law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies is required for effective outcome. Projects likeNATGRID for centralized intelligence gathering would be implemented as early as possible.
  • Providing gainful employment and jobs to youths would help in reducing their grievances, improve their socio-economic condition thereby arresting the tendencies of radicalization.

Integrating madarasas with formal education and imparting scientific, rational education along with religious and spiritual education would reduce extremist tendencies.

 


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 

7) As carmakers and technology entrants such as Uber and Google scramble to develop autonomous vehicles, lidar has become a highly coveted technology. Write a note on lidar and its applications. (200 Words)

Livemint

LIDAR TECHNOLOGY:-

  • Lidar(also called LIDAR, LiDAR, and LADAR) is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a laser  The name lidar, sometimes considered an acronym of Light Detection And Ranging (sometimes Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging), was originally a portmanteau of light and radar.
  • Lidar is popularly used to make high-resolution maps, with applications in geodesygeomaticsarchaeologygeographygeologygeomorphologyseismologyforestryatmospheric physicslaser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry. Lidar sometimes is called laser scanning and 3D scanning, with terrestrial, airborne, and mobile applications.
  • Lidar comprises a series of rotating, stacked lasers that shoot out at different angles. Each layer is called a channel, and is made up of two laser beams. The signal from each individual channel creates one contour line, and together, those lines generate a 3-D image of the surrounding environment. That means that, the more lasers in each stack, the higher the resolution. Velodyne, for instance, manufactures products with 16, 32 and 64 laser channels.

Key benefits of LIDAR are –
1) Efficiency – laser is a better tool than radio waves to construct the 3D structure and for a longer distance. Radio waves only work within 16 feet
2) Accuracy- Radio waves might mistake glass panes and other objects which is not with LIDAR
3) Dependability – of LIDAR is very high and is finding application in driver less cars. It creates 3D projection through step by step building contours of the scenery in front. 
4) Manual work is not needed.

Few of the applications of LIDAR includes-

  • Agriculture:- Lidar also can be used to help farmers determine which areas of their fields to apply costly fertilizer. Lidar can create a topographical map of the fields and reveals the slopes and sun exposure of the farm land.

·        Archaeology:- Lidar has many applications in the field of archaeology including aiding in the planning of field campaigns, mapping features beneath forest canopy, and providing an overview of broad, continuous features that may be indistinguishable on the ground.[28] Lidar can also provide archaeologists with the ability to create high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) of archaeological sites that can reveal micro-topography that are otherwise hidden by vegetation.

·       Autonomous vehicles:- Autonomous vehicles use lidar for obstacle detection and avoidance to navigate safely through environments, using rotating laser beams.[38] Cost map or point cloud outputs from the lidar sensor provide the necessary data for robot software to determine where potential obstacles exist in the environment and where the robot is in relation to those potential obstacles. 

·       Biology and conservation:- Lidar has also found many applications in forestryCanopy heights, biomass measurements, and leaf area can all be studied using airborne lidar systems.

·        Geology and soil science:- High-resolution digital elevation maps generated by airborne and stationary lidar have led to significant advances in geomorphology (the branch of geoscience concerned with the origin and evolution of the Earth surface topography). The lidar abilities to detect subtle topographic features such as river terraces and river channel banks, to measure the land-surface elevation beneath the vegetation canopy, to better resolve spatial derivatives of elevation, and to detect elevation changes between repeat surveys have enabled many novel studies of the physical and chemical processes that shape landscapes.

·        Atmospheric remote sensing and meteorology:- Initially based on ruby lasers, lidar for meteorological applications was constructed shortly after the invention of the laser and represent one of the first applications of laser technology. Lidar technology has since expanded vastly in capability and lidar systems are used to perform a range of measurements that include profiling clouds, measuring winds, studying aerosols and quantifying various atmospheric components.

·        Law enforcement:- Lidar speed guns are used by the police to measure the speed of vehicles for speed limit enforcement purposes.

·        Military:- Few military applications are known to be in place and are classified (like the lidar-based speed measurement of the AGM-129 ACM stealth nuclear cruise missile), but a considerable amount of research is underway in their use for imaging. Higher resolution systems collect enough detail to identify targets, such as tanks. Examples of military applications of lidar include the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) for counter-mine warfare by Areté Associates.

·        Mining:- Lidar is used in the mining industry for various tasks. The calculation of ore volumes is accomplished by periodic (monthly) scanning in areas of ore removal, then comparing surface data to the previous scan.

·        Physics and astronomy:- A worldwide network of observatories uses lidars to measure the distance to reflectors placed on the moon, allowing the position of the moon to be measured with mm precision and tests of general relativity to be done. MOLA, the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter, used a lidar instrument in a Mars-orbiting satellite (the NASA Mars Global Surveyor) to produce a spectacularly precise global topographic survey of the red planet.

·        Robotics:- Lidar technology is being used in robotics for the perception of the environment as well as object classification.[93] The ability of lidar technology to provide three-dimensional elevation maps of the terrain, high precision distance to the ground, and approach velocity can enable safe landing of robotic and manned vehicles with a high degree of precision.