SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 March 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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
1) What circumstances led to enactment of the Government of India Acts 1919 and 1935? Compare and contrast their salient features. (200 Words)
Laxmikanth, Indian Polity, Chapter – 1
The Govt. of India Acts 1919 and 1935 are milestones towards setting up responsible Govt. in the British India.
Circumstances that led to these acts –
1] The Constant demand for Home Rule and Self Govt by the Indian leaders. Subsequently in 1917 – British Govt Declaration – Its objective was to gradual introduction of responsible Govt in India.
2] NCM and CDM under the leadership of Gandhiji.
3] Simon Commission and the stiff opposition from the People of India.
4] Demand for Communal representation by other communities like Sikh and Dalits.
Comparing Features of Acts 1919 and 1935 –
1] The 1919 act provided for separate subjects for Centre and Provinces, however the Govt remained Unitary in Nature. The 1935 act provided for establishing All-India-Federation with powers divided as Federal List and Provincial List but the federation never came into existence.
2] In 1919 act Dyarchy (Reserved and Transfered Subjects – Double rule) was introduced but In 1935 Act it was abolished in provinces and was introduced at Centre but it did not come into Force.
3] 1919 act introduced the Bicameral legislature in Centre with Upper & Lower House and Direct election of majority members. 1935 Act – provincial Autonomy was introduced. Responsible Govt at Provinces – Governor to Act with Advise of Ministers responsible to provincial legislature (Bicameral).
4] 1919 Act extended Communal representation to Sikh, Indian Christians, Anglo Indians and Europeans. 1935 Act further extended separate electorate for depressed classes.
5] 1919 Act granted limited franchise and 1935 act extended it to 10% of the total population.1919 Act – first time – separated provincial budget from Central budget.
6] 1919 Act provided for establishment of Central Public Service Commission and 1935 Act both Federal and Provincial PSC were allowed to be established along with establishment of RBI and Federal Court.
Even though both the Acts were better than previous enactments they fell short of convincing Indian leaders and people. People wanted not superficial power but a real one which they experienced in 1937 provincial elections. These acts had significant provisions that even the Indian constitution draws heavily from 1919 and 1935 Acts.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;
2) Critically comment on the changes made by the union government to child and women welfare schemes during last three years. (200 Words)
The present government has taken some commendable steps in health and social sector particularly for girls. However at the same time it has performed poorly in many other respects.
Positive steps taken-
- The introduction of the ”Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” scheme was a much needed action, in order to promote the concept of gender equality, as well as ensuring the welfare and development of the girl child.
- Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a small deposit scheme of the Government of India meant exclusively for a girl child and is launched as a part of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Campaign. The scheme is meant to meet the education and marriage expenses of a girl child.
- The improved implementation of the POCSO Act, and the introduction of the system of online complaints in a simple and hassle-free manner, is being regarded as a child-friendly measure adopted by the government.
- The recent amendments to the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, in order to increase the maternity leave period for working women from 12 to 26 weeks, facilitating maternity leave for commissioning as well as adopting mothers, and of providing crèches in workplaces, allowing the mother to take care of and feed the child at work, are indeed welcome steps.
Negatives of government policies-
- Government has failed to grant maternity allowance to women which were granted under National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013. Despite high returns on maternal and infant health government has allocated insufficient amount under recent budget.
- The government has cut the budget allocation of Integrated Child Development Scheme by 50% in 2015-16 despite its good progress and outcome. The funds are even short for making salaries of anganwadi workers.
- Like ICDS, the midday meal scheme received shock treatment in the 2015-16 Budget, with an initial Budget cut of 36%. The allocation for midday meals in this year’s Budget, Rs. 10,000 crore, is still 25% lower in money terms than the corresponding allocation four years ago (in real terms, the decline would be even larger).
- Government is planning to phase out Janani Suraksha Yojana, a scheme of conditional cash transfers aimed at promoting institutional deliveries. The step has taken despite the fact that scheme was successful in increasing the institutional deliveries. There was surge in institutional deliveries in the last 10 years or so (e.g. from 39% in 2005-6 to 79% in 2015-16 according to National Family Health Surveys).
- Aadhaar is now being made compulsory for all these schemes — midday meals, ICDS, maternity benefits, JSY etc. This may leave out deserved beneficiaries.
India still lags way behind when it comes to mother and child health compared to rest of the world. There is urgent need of central and state government to increase the allocation of funds to this sector. The existing schemes should be strengthened and new schemes be implemented in right spirit.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings,
3) How was the Constituent Assembly constituted? Do you agree with some of the criticisms made against the composition and working of the Constituent Assembly? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Laxmikanth, Indian Polity, Chapter – 2
Constitution of Constituent Assembly
The constitution assembly (CA) was constituted in November 1946 under the scheme formulated by the Cabinet Mission Plan.
The total strength of CA was to be 398. Of these, 296 seats were to be allotted to British India and 93 seats to the princely states. Each province and princely states were to be allotted seats in proportion to their respective population. Seats allotted to each British province were to be decided among the three principal communities- Muslims, Sikhs and General.
The representatives of each community were to be elected by members of that community in the provincial legislative assembly and voting was to be by the method of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. The representatives of princely states were to be nominated by the heads of the princely states.
Thus CA was partly elected and partly nominated body. Moreover the members were to be indirectly elected by the members of the provincial assemblies who themselves were elected on a limited franchise.
Criticism of the CA-
- Not a representative body- the critics have argued that the CA was not a representative body as its members were not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of universal franchise.
- Not a sovereign body- the critics have maintained that the CA was created by a proposal of British government.
- Time consuming- according to critics, the CA took unduly long time to make constitution.
- Dominated by Congress- the CA was criticized as one party body in an essentially one party country.
- Lawyer-politician domination- CA was dominated by lawyers and politicians and other sections of society were not represented sufficiently.
- Dominated by Hindus- CA was criticized as Hindu dominated body.
Although the CA was not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of adult franchise, the assembly comprised representatives of all sections of Indian society- Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Anglo-Indian, Indian Christians, SC’s, ST’s etc. The CA included all the important personalities of the time with the exception of M K Gandhi and M A Jinnah.
The competent members elected to the body, exhibited tremendous zeal and initiative when it came to framing the Constitution in a comprehensive manner. At the same time, even the Congress party members and leaders allowed a lot of scope to the opposition to present their points of view, and did not ignore their recommendations or suggestions at different points.
The very fact that the Constituent Assembly finalized the Constitution in a short period of about 3 years is enough proof to highlight the fact the body had performed a phenomenal task, with all the members working tirelessly to provide a near-perfect Constitution for the world’s largest democracy. Taking that into perspective, one can sideline the criticisms, as for any action or event, a critical perspective is always present, irrespective of how good the final outcome is.
Topic:Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
4) Ever since it was announced in 2005, the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear agreement has faced one obstacle after another. What are these obstacles? Do you think nuclear energy holds same promise as it did in 2005? In the light of the delay in the Indo-US nuclear deal, what should be India’s considerations? Discuss. (200 Words)
The framework of India-United States civil Nuclear agreement was signed in July 18, 2005, by then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then U.S. President George W. Bush, under which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and to place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and, in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India. Since its inception the nuclear deal has faced many hurdles which are-
- Liability in case of accident: The responsbility and the subsequent financial liability in a case of catastrophe will be borne by the supplier or the operator became a bone of contention. It was resolved with thr liability resting with operator with a right to recourse. A part of yhe financial liability will be paid by the supplie and balance by government from an insurance pool.
- Bankruptcy of Westinghouse: Westinghouse which has the responsibility of operationalizing the 6 nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh is facing financial headwinds and is on the verge of filing bankruptcy putting brakes on further development.
- Ratification by Japanese Parliament: Westinghouse is Toshiba led and it being a Japanese company is bounded by Japanese law. Japanese parliament is facing roadblocks in signing the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement which is delaying US-India nuclear deal.
- There are many Clause Concerns which are hampering the progress of deal. For eg Nuclear Liability- Clause 6 defines the share of financial liability. It states that the liability of an operator for each nuclear incident. Clause 17- in case of a nuclear accident it allows only the operator (NPCIL) to sue the manufacturers and suppliers.
Difficulty for victims to sue culprit- Clause 18 of the nuclear liability bill limits the time to make a claim within 10 years. This is considered to be too short as there may be long term damage due to a nuclear accident.
Clause 35 – The operator or the responsible persons in case of a nuclear accident will undergo the trial under Nuclear Damage Claims Commissions and no civil court is given the authority.
- The cost of importing reactors, relative to those based on indigenous design, is another concern. Land acquisition issues and local protest still persists, along with the need for large water reservoirs for the reactors.
The nuclear disasters like Fukushima had made extensive use of nuclear energy a grave issue. Civil society concerns have rose manifold after this incident. Further Indian government is actively promoting the renewable energy resources like Solar and Wind. In fact India has formed International Solar Alliance for the promotion of solar energy. Also oil and gas prices have declined sharply in recent years making huge investment in nuclear plants unnecessary. Even at international level countries are thinking to reduce share of nuclear energy which is also affecting India’s priorities. Thus the promise held by nuclear energy in 2005 changing gradually with the passage of time.
India’s considerations to reduce the delay-
- Revisit the nuclear deal: Bankruptcy of Westinghouse, failure of Japanese Parliament to ratify the deal are beyond India’s control and should be taken up with US. It should aim at amending terms of agreement to make India immune to external exigencies.
- Diversify its nuclear suppliers:
India should expand its basket of nuclear fuel suppliers. Deals with Australia, Canada are should be concluded quickly.
- Focus on other renewable energy resources-
Solar, Wind, Biomass and tidalenergy should be explored given the improvement in technology and rise of prominence of India in world. National Solar Mission with 100 GW target, ISA, and such measures in other renewable domains should be strengthened.
- The delay in agreement has shown that India cannot rely on single energy source and should diversify its options both in terms of energy resources and contributing countries.
- Taking lessons from the Fukushima accident, India should work on securing all its existing and upcoming power plants.
Although India cannot abandon its nuclear program after investing heavily, it should be cautions in implementing it. India should work on adopting cutting edge nuclear technology to safeguard its nuclear power plants.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
5) What’s the significance of the Preamble? Is Preamble part of the constitution of India? Examine. (200 Words)
Laxmikanth, Indian Polity, Chapter – 4
The preamble embodies the basic philosophy and fundamental values –political, moral and religious on which constitution is based. It contains the grand and noble vision of constitution assembly and reflects the dreams and aspirations of founding father of constitution.
Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer said “The preamble of constitution expresses what we had thought or dreamt so long ”
According to K M Munshi a member of drafting committee “Preamble is the horoscope of our sovereign democratic republic”
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava summed up the importance of preamble as “The Preamble is the most important part of constitution. It is the jewel set in the constitution. It is the key to the constitution. It is the proper yardstick with which one can measure the worth of constitution”
Sir Ernest Barker a distinguished English political scientist described Preamble as a Key note to constitution.
M Hidayatullah a former chief Justice of India observed “Preamble resembles the Declaration of Independence of United States of America. It is the soul of our constitution which laid down the pattern of our political system. It contains a solemn resolve which nothing but a revolution can alter.”
IS PREAMBLE PART OF CONSTITUTION:-
In Berubari Union case (1960) the Supreme Court said that Preamble shows the general purpose behind the several provisions of constitution. But it specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the constitution.
In Keshavanand Bharati case (1973) the Supreme court rejected the earlier opinion and held that preamble is a part of Constitution. It is of extreme importance and the constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of grand and noble vision expressed in the Preamble.
In LIC of India case (1995) Supreme Court again held that Preamble is an integral part of the constitution
TWO THINGS TO BE NOTED:-
The Preable is neither a source of power to legislature nor a prohibition upon the powers of legislature.
It is non justiciable that is its provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
6) Why didn’t India sign bilateral investment treaties (BITs) till 1990s? Do you think today foreign investment inflows to India are dependent on BITs? Critically examine. (200 Words)
A bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is an agreement establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in another state. This type of investment is called foreign direct investment (FDI). BITs are established through trade pacts. A nineteenth-century forerunner of the BIT is the friendship, commerce, and navigation treaty (FCN)
Till the early 1990s, India didn’t sign BITs because
- Foreign investment was not considered significant in a statist India.
- India wanted to protect its domestic industries and wanted to stop or at least regulate the foreign companies intervention in Indian market
- Inspector licence raj was a prominent feature of Indian Economy till 1990s
- Most of the sector were state-owned for building up the infrastructure the future development
- India did not want to indulge in International arbitration (provision in BIT) rather focus its energy on ground level development
- Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) passed in 1974 imposed strict regulation on foreign company to convert foreign equity into minority holdings of 40% results in exit of many helpless company from India such as Coca-cola, IBM.
- In 1991, India lifted its self-imposed economic exile by starting the process of experimenting with the market and wooing foreign investors. As part of this image makeover, India started signing BITs from the early 1990s.
Foreign Direct Investment in India are not dependent on the BITs but they help in many ways to facilitate the inflow of FDI:-
- They help in mitigating regulatory risk thus encouraging investment with guarantee of international arbitration in dispute settlement, in light of dubious nature of India to do business in.
- A recent study to show impact of BIT points out that BIT signed by 15 Asian developing countries with developed countries have stronger impact on FDI inflows in these countries. A BIT signed by 15 Asian countries with developing countries didn’t have much impact on FDI inflows.
- Being a bilateral treaty can be molded and implemented easily to serve the best interest of citizens and firms of both nations rather than multilateral treaty which is time consuming and compromising for some players.
- Absence of India-Canada BIT is restricting the scope and volume of investment that Canadian pension fund can make in India.
- India’s Credit rating is BBB-(S&P) which is not good and foreign investors look for safe destinations. Signing of BIT somehow compensate it.
- India have institutionally and structurally tried to improve ‘ease of doing business’ ranking through several reforms. Even though ‘ease of doing business’ ranking didn’t improve.so need BIT to improve credibility in such situation.
However many aspects shows the obstacle in realizing the full potential of BITs:
- Indian model BIT requires foreign investors to litigate in domestic courts for 5yrs before pursuing claim under international law which is detrimental for foreign investors.
- There is a need to amend the protectionist model BIT so as to strike a balance between interests of investors and that of the host state, for example the Tribal rights are often not considered into BIT formulations but now many countries like Canada are considering them.
- India doesn’t grant MFN status to countries with whom it signs BIT. This is necessary as MFNs are a cornerstone of non-discrimination in international trade
- India’s shows reluctance to join multilateral investment court to settle investment disputes to settle state-investor disputes.
Foreign Direct Investment of countries depends on many factors like the countries approach to multilateral forums, business friendly environment present in the country, simple labor laws, single window clearances etc. BITs are part of it but a crucial part of it hence must be given due importance.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Issues relating to intellectual property rights.
7) In the light of recent Ilaiyaraaja-S.P. Balasubrahmanyam controversy, critically examine whether songwriters in India are fairly compensated for their work under the Copyrights Act? If not, what should be done? Discuss. (200 Words)
The Copyright Act, 1957 (as amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012) governs the subject of copyright law in India. India is a member of most of the important international conventions governing the area of copyright law, including the Berne Convention of 1886 (as modified at Paris in 1971), the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951, the Rome Convention of 1961 and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). But India is not a member of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).
Copyright is a bundle of rights given by the law to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. The rights provided under Copyright law include the rights of reproduction of the work, communication of the work to the public, adaptation of the work and translation of the work.
Berne Convention (1886) to which India is a signatory, lyricists and composers — jointly called songwriters — earn their livelihood through a fair remuneration for any use of their works during their lifetime and 60 years after their death. Songwriters, performing artists works are highly valued but at the same time neglected on copyright issue in India.
This has many reasons at its back:-
- Lack of awareness to both the songwriter and the song user about procedures and possible violation of copyright acts.
- Poor Intellectual Property Rights regime and Implementation of laws in India.
- Complicated procedures, registrations and permission systems in existing copyright protection system.
- Prevalence of piracy through internet and other mediums which results in loss to the songwriters and artists.
- Lack of professional regulatory authority to help the artists against such incidents domestically and internationally.
Following reforms are needed:-
- IPR regime needs to be strengthened to accommodate the changed nature of infringements like internet, social media are actively used for piracy.
- Strengthening the already established Indian performing rights society (IPRS): which acts as Performing rights organization (PRO) to authorize the public performance of their songs, to collect revenues from the users of music and distribute revenues to the original owners, enforce the law when copyright is infringed by other parties.
- This global system of royalties collection and distribution is regulated by the Paris-based not-for-profit International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC). To become a member and benefit from this global system, a PRO must conform to CISAC’s demanding standards of efficiency, fairness and transparency called The Professional Rules. Most of Indian artist are out of its preview.
- Songs must be registered in every PRO of the world. This is the responsibility of the music publisher or, in its absence, of the PRO in the country of origin of the songwriter.
Only an efficient and transparent IPRS can foster a fair and sustainable creative ecosystem for all players, big and small, newcomers and established songwriters, to take the musical talent of India to global heights.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; Conservation
8) What were the objectives of the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) which was to come up in the West Bodi Hills in Theni district in Tamil Nadu? Recently the National Green Tribunal (NGT) kept in abeyance the environmental clearance for this project. Examine why. Comment on NGT’s decision. (200 Words)
Introduction:- India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project under construction to primarily study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave under Ino Peak near Theni, Tamil Nadu, India. This project is notable in that it is anticipated to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters. The project is a multi-institute collaboration and one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India.
The INO proposal consists of creating two underground laboratory caverns with a rock cover of more than 1000 metres all around to house detectors and control equipments. An access tunnel of length 2 km (approximate) to reach the underground laboratory will be driven under a mountain to reach the laboratory caverns. The surface facilities near the portal will consist of a laboratory and some housing for the scientists, engineers and operating staff. There will be no other tunnels and hence no disturbance on top or the sides of the mountain; the only entrance to the underground cavern will be at the bottom of the mountain.
A sketch of INO facilities is shown in Fig.1.
Figure 1: A sketch of INO facilities. Shown is the laboratory cavern under the peak, access tunnel to reach the cavern. The inset shows the lab facilities and the tunnel cross section.
The objectives of INO includes:-
- INO will study only nurtrinos produced by cosmic rays in earths atmosphere
- Later it is to be used in doing underground experiments in pure science, biology
- Development of detector technology and its various applications are also included
The National Green Tribunal on March 20 placed in abeyance the environmental clearance given to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) which was to come up in the West Bodi Hills in Theni district in Tamil Nadu.
- This was in view of the objection raised by an environmentalist group regarding the distance of the project from a wildlife sanctuary. Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala was just about 4.9 km from the proposed project site and the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was just a kilometre away, making it a Category ‘A’ project.
- Ever since the INO got approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology, it has been drawing flak from activists despite repeated assurances from scientists that it is unlikely to harm the environment or affect the livelihoods of the people around the site.
- Doubts range from questions of safety to the questionable potential for application of neutrino physics. Are neutrinos likely to harm people when they strike them? Will the tunnels made for the observatory be used to store nuclear waste, given that the Department of Atomic Energy is funding the research?
- The project involves use of explosives and is critical to the ecologically sensitive western ghats.
The National Green Tribunal kept the clearance in abeyance owing to the coming of new facts into light. This shows lack of comprehensive environmental impact assessments. However nutrions are very much important in coming years the project must adhere to environmental and peoples expectations.