SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 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: Urbanization – problems and remedies
1) It is said that rental housing is a critical component of the housing response in urbanizing countries. Examine merits of rental housing and development of a vibrant rental market for urbanization in India. (200 Words)
Rental housing is system of renting the house to tenant by the land lord. It is more common in the urban area due to heavy population burden with limited resources.
The development of a vibrant rental market is important in order to take advantage of the massive spurt in demand for rental spaces due to economic growth and migration.
A regulated rental market would ensure that –
1. Interests of both renter and rentee are protected in transactions.
2. Provide verified services and protect either party from undue harassment and litigation.
3. Ensure earlier adoption of technology in the rental space (e-rental agreements, portals like magicbricks etc to find rental accommodation).
Rapidly urbanizing countries are typically infrastructure strained. This problem is particularly acute in the urban housing infrastructure sector. In order to accommodate migration due to urbanization and to provide accommodation for those without the incentive or the finances to purchase homes in urban regions, a vibrant rental housing ecosystem becomes critical to urban growth.
Since the India is on the move due to more labour mobility, what Urban India needs is the flexibility in Accommodation facilities. To this the rental housing is the best suit.
Merits of Rental Housing –
- SUITABILITY TO MIGRANTS –
It solves the housing crisis of many families, especially migrants. Rental housing fits into the economic plans of families much better than buying the houses.
It helps provide more choices for economic and spatial mobility to migrants.
- LABOUR MOBILITY –
Rental housing allows greater labour mobility – the constraints to mobility are minimized as the access to rental housing increases.
- FLEXIBILITY –
It suits the income volatility and risk profile of the workers in the Informal sector.
Majority of the people on the move are middle or low income group, renting helps them avoid maintenance costs, big down payments, real estate taxes and same time provides access to most amenities.
With Flexibility to Downsize, Fixed Rent Amount, Lower Insurance Costs, Lower Utility Costs rental housing meets the needs of most people.
- HOSTELS –
With the growing number of jobs in IT- sector , growing migration of students and other young professionals, they generally prefer hostel or dormitory for accommodation.
- INCOME PROSPECTS –
Income from Renters – provides with a direct income stream.
Income from Property Value Growth – gain from an increase in the property value over time due to changing demands in the area, even if the property doesn’t undergo any changes.
Shaky Market Creating More Renters, Decreasing Property Value affects renters substantially less.
- OPTIMUM LAND USE –
Ensures optimum use of city’s urban spaces.
- Rent Control Acts (RCAs) – have disincentivized landlords from renting out their houses. It regulates the rents and makes evictions difficult .
- Low rental yields offer little incentive to undertake the risk of renting apartments.
- When there is no investment in maintenance of the rental property they go beyond repair and become dead space.
- Lack of formalisation and regulation of rental household ecosystem and creation of system of chawls and slums.
- Prejudices, discrimination and ghettoisation of rental spaces with apprehensions against renting to foreigners, some religions especially Muslims, bachelors etc.
- Safety and security are the challenges before the government because there are no strict criteria or regulations for the process of renting.
Way forward –
- Repealing RCAs – it will incentivise landlords by making renting economically viable. Plus a fast-track court mechanism to handle eviction disputes can potentially reinvigorate market confidence in rental housing.
- Enabling Environment – To bring the vast available stock of vacant housing into the rental market, there is considerable space for the emergence of rental management companies (RMCs) that can professionally manage and rent out properties on behalf of the owners.
- Policy on protection of interest of consumer without affecting the economic interests of the Renters as well as security concerns. With Aadhaar seeding in full swing, it becomes easy for both parties to verify credentials before entering into transactions.
For India to grow at faster rate we need more fluid mobility of labour force. For this to happen there is a need for development of vibrant rental market for urban India.
Technological innovations should be used to enhance the rental ecosystem in order to achieve urban socio-economic growth.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
2) What has eight years of international human rights engagement achieved in Sri Lanka? Do you think involvement of international human rights organizations has done justice to affected local communities in Sri Lanka? Critically examine. (200 Words)
The 27-year old civil war of SL which ended in 2009, was criticized for its nature and blatant HR violations by international agencies. The Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka can be seen to be deteriorating by the day, which can be attributed to both the lacklustre initiatives of the government and less involvement of the local NGOs in improving the living conditions of the people. But some progress can be seen to have been made on international front since 2009.
The achievements made by the international organisations are as follows :
1.GLOBAL ATTENTION – They have ensured that the situation brought about by the four-decade long civil war in Sri Lanka receive sufficient global attention, in the context of the war crimes committed during the period.
- MONITORING – International forums like the UNHRC have issued periodic resolutions on the situation, and have monitored the progress achieved by the Sri Lankan government in addressing the human rights situation.
- COMMISSIONS – Their activities have ensured that the Sri Lankan government take such positive steps such as establishing an ” Office of Missing Persons”, Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the ” Truth and reconciliation Commission”.
Facilitated formation of multiple CSO’s working for HR, and led to inflow of foreign funds.
- FIGHTING MAJORITARIANISM – Gave voice to minority groups too other than main adversaries – Sinhalese and Tamils.
Progress on HR of local communities –
However, the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has not been addressed properly by them in the context of providing justice to the affected communities, for the following reasons:
1] War-torn regions- household income is one of the lowest.
2] Unemployment rate hovering at 15℅.
3] Political vision for substantive reconstruction is missing.
4] Tamils and Sinhala don’t seem to wanting a political solution. Rather they are fighting for separatism and majoritarian agenda.
5] Assimilation of minority Muslims is also a challenge after they were evicted from North by LTTE in 1990s.
6] The Problem of Caste taboo and marginal communities in North don’t have a little patch of land to avail housing grants.
7] The constitutional reform agenda for more Inclusive development Seems to be confined to some experts and parliamentarians and no people voices consulted. With all this it is bound to fail again.
8] Quest for centralisation is detrimental to meaningful devolution of power.
9] State has been rather slow to address the issue of disappearances and military land grabs, these campaigns hardly address the economic deprivation of the missing people’s families and the predicament of the landless.
10] The rights of women, fisherfolk, workers, oppressed castes and the northern Muslims seldom figure in popular human rights narratives.
11] The grievance redressal process for the people is very slow and does not address the basic concerns of the people, due to the top-down approach of what needs to be done.
12] There has been an over-emphasis on issues of Sri Lanka alone at the global human rights forum, with little groundwork being done by local communities, to improve their condition and little initiative to raise their voices against the weak government.
13] There is a shift from the locally instigated Civil Rights movements, which were active in opposing the state repression of Northern Tamils. There is no more mobilisation of people at local level and the country just tends to wait on the international verdicts to justify their own future decisions.
In short, the international human rights organisations have indeed performed a commendable task when we consider the larger political issues concerning the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of the civil war. But, what must not be forgotten is that the diverse nature of the grievances of various communities, and even ethnic and religious minorities, need separate attention, which has not been accorded to them, with their grievances being clubbed with the goal of achieving reconciliation and stability for the whole country. A greater engagement, and involvement of persecuted communities on all fronts socio-eco-political is needed to foster environment of peace and equality in Sri Lanka.
Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.
3) What are the loopholes found in effective police administration in many states in India, especially in large states such as Uttar Pradesh? How can these loopholes be plugged and by whom? Critically discuss. (200 Words)
The British, after the 1857 revolt wanted to establish a police force that would suit the purpose of crushing dissent and any movement for self government. This Police Act continues to this day in most states of India despite far reaching changes in governance and India’s transition from being a colonised nation to a sovereign republic.
Police reforms have been long-awaited as law and order conditions are still governed by colonial laws like Police Act , 1861. It has hampered police administration’s efficiency in many states especially UP , which near tops in most of the crime lists.
(a)Numeral Strength: lack of man power and staff as vacancies are not filled time to time.
(b) Recruitment process : written exams often dispensed for lower echelon and plagued by corruption and bureaucratic and political hindrance.
(c) Police station are centers of organised distortion and ill-treatment which distorts the morale of public for grievance redressal.
(d) Operational Autonomy : seldom they get and in much cases often have to look up the political machinery resulting in the tardiness and delay in response. Caste politics further leads to unfair treatment and affects quality of policing.
(e) ICT : lower coverage of CCTV surveillance cameras hinders their efficiency.
(f) Patrolling : often done in casual manner. Instead follow smart city grid approach with regular visit in critical areas.
(g) Security of Tenure of DG/IG – at the pleasure of the Chief Minister.
Closing loopholes –
[As recommended by ‘Soli Sorabjee committee’ or ‘Prakash Singh vs union of India case’ ]
- Establishing State Security Commission as a watchdog with members from Government, Judiciary and Civil society.
- A Police Establishment Board to deal with Transfers and Promotions.
- Legislations to ensure state Govt. doesn’t exercise unwarranted influence or interfere in police duties.
- Fixed tenure for DGP and Field Officers of 2 years which ensure effective functioning.
- Need for separation of Investigation and law and order units.
- Transparent recruitment policy, Increasing strength and increase Accountability.
Any new formulation of policing in India today, must ensure that the police have functional autonomy combined with high performance and strong mechanisms of accountability. Insulating the police from illegitimate political control while retaining executive oversight has to be a singular objective.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
4) Discuss the significance of the Supreme Court’s oral observations regarding the use of Aadhaar numbers by the government. (200 Words)
S.C. Bench led by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar said the government is free to “press” for Aadhaar for ‘non-welfare’ transactions or activities. These include filing income tax returns, opening bank accounts or getting a mobile phone connection. This assumes significance as the government announced two such changes recently .
- First, it included amendments to the Finance Bill of 2017, now approved by the Lok Sabha, making Aadhaar mandatory for all applications for PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards and filing of income tax returns. Earlier, following the surge in bank deposits after the demonetisation of high-value currency notes, the Income Tax Department had already asked banks to ensure that all savings bank accounts are seeded with PAN details. The only exemptions to this norm are the no-frills savings accounts such as those opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.
- And the Department of Telecommunications directed all telecom service providers to re-verify the credentials of their nearly 100 crore subscribers through an Aadhaar-based, electronically authenticated Know Your Customer process within a year.
While the Supreme Court’s observations do not amount to a judicial order, they dispel some of the ambiguity relating to the scope, even future, of Aadhaar.
With arguably controversial approach taken by the Government in going ahead with the Aadhaar Bill – of passing it as a money bill – and then mandating its use for availing of welfaristic as well as non-welfaristic schemes through notifications by the people, the Supreme Court’s stance is significant in following ways:
1] The Aadhaar not being mandatory for welfare schemes will minimize the impact on the people who are still outside the Aadhaar Bracket.
Welfare to all: No exclusion to be made for failing to produce Aadhaar card to get benefits, ensures welfare goods and services reach to all.
2] SC decision to allow use of Aadhaar for non-welfare schemes like bank account, tax returns and mobile authentication will allow transparency in financial matters.
Punitive: At the same time necessitating Aadhaar for non welfare activities like tax submission, bank accounts, mobile service, facilitates capturing malfunctionaries and will help to further increase enrollments.
3]Clarity to Aadhaar: The govt. and people could now function with clarity as the court has clarified the applicablity and flexiblity in mandating Aadhaar.
4] Will lead to more aggressive enrollment of Aadhaar by Govt. to include total population so that the exclusion errors (as stated by SC) are minimized.
1] As majority of schemes are welfare based it will act as hindrance in the path of elimination of ghost beneficiaries, plugging leakage and abolishing intermediaries.
2] Delay – SC is yet to pronounce on Right to Privacy issue. Once done will lead to further clarity.
To have thoughts of Judiciary and Executive on the same table, the govt. must act to ensure right to privacy of the citizens, 100% Aadhaar enrollment, check on misuse of Data and Cyber Security will help Govt to push-for use of Aadhaar in a more acceptable way to ensure transparency in Governance.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Security challenges and their management
5) What’s the difference between tactical nukes and strategic nuclear weapons? Critically comment on ongoing debate on India’s nuclear doctrine. (200 Words)
TACTICAL v/s STRATEGIC NUCLEAR WEAPONS –
Nuclear weapons are classified as tactical and strategic nuclear weapons, depending on its use.
- If used on specific security targets( counterforce attack) it is called tactical nuclear weapon. However, if it is used without any consideration of threat from target and attacks civil as well as security establishment(Countervalue attack) it is called strategic nuclear weapon.
- Tactical Nuclear weapons are essentially conventional short-medium range missiles fitted with a nuclear warhead. They have limited range, usually low yield and can strike limited number of targets.
Strategic nuclear weapons include ICBMs, Long Range missiles and Nuclear Cruise missiles which are capable of supersonic flights, multiple target attack and high explosive yields. They are designed to inflict massive damage.
INDIA’S NUCLEAR DOCTRINE –
India’s nuclear doctrine, designed after other countries’ apprehensions related to its nuclear tests in 1998, follows the theme of “credible minimum deterrence”. It has following provisions:-
1. No first use
2. Massive retaliation
India has traditionally held a no first use nuclear policy. This means that it would not be one to instigate a nuclear war, but if India, her citizens or forces are attacked using Nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, India would respond with a massive nuclear strike capable of wiping out the aggressor state. This policy paints India as the mature nuclear power with a stable leadership and restraint against nuclear weapons use keeping in mind her pacifist bent.
However, of late, calls have been made to revise this policy, mainly due to geo-strategic exigencies, the development of Tactical Nuclear Weapons by Pakistan and the emergence of terrorist nuclear threat. India is now under pressure to drop the no-first use stance and instead adopt a more open approach in which it would have the nuclear option when it is credibly sure that a country has armed and is close to launching nuclear attacks on India. Further, calls have also been made to define massive retaliation to amount to annihilation of adversary rather than destruction of its nuclear and conventional military capability.
As a responsible nuclear power, India should define its priorities and have clear set of goals and circumstances ready in which to exercise the nuclear option. In opting for ambiguity, there has been room left for speculation which has been used by countries like Pakistan to develop more nuclear weapons and upping tension in the region. India has to take a responsible stand on this issue and clarify her priorities, preferably to protect humans everywhere from nuclear war, but with no compromises on her national security and integrity.