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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 April 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 April 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) Discuss the causes, consequences and significance of the Royal Indian Navy’s uprising in 1946. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction:-

The Royal Indian Navy mutiny was arguably the single most important event in convincing the British government that it could no longer hold on to India. Stemmed from the demands for rights of navy soldiers it went to have consequences not even in Armed forces but on nationwide protests

Causes of Royal Indian Navy’s uprising:-

  • The naval ratings onHMIS Talwar protested against the poor quality of food and racial discrimination by British officers. 
  • There was a discontent against navy’s plan to use Royal Indian Navy in South East Asia.
  • The rising tide of nationalism had begun to affect the men in the naval forces too, apart from the general Indian populace.
  • The decision of the British to conduct the trial of the captured soldiers and officers of the INA, provided the needed spark.

Consequences:-

  • The naval mutiny affected at least 20,000 naval ratings, as well as a number of ships and shore establishments, where the naval ratings engaged in a clash with their British superiors.
  • The working classes, and the nationalists in general, also supported the naval mutiny, and struck work in places like Karachi, Calcutta, and Bombay. The cities were virtually paralyzed.
  • The British were for the first time forced to adopt a conciliatory stance, and agreed to redress a number of grievances related to working conditions of the ratings.
  • It draw a widespread support from country side and from other places like Colombo, Aden and Bahrain.

Significance:-

  • The far-reaching and widespread impact of nationalism was made amply clear.
  • In a way, it expedited the process of transfer of power, with the British understanding that the means through which they had India subjugated for close to two centuries, were now beyond their control.
  • Last, but not the least, the mutiny clearly portrayed an example of unity among the Indians, when it came to confronting the British, irrespective of whether one was a civilian or a defense personnel.

Conclusion:-

The naval mutiny of 1946 was indeed a watershed moment in the history of India’s freedom struggle, and it is our duty to remember the event as an example of supreme courage and sheer formidability, that was exhibited by the naval ratings against the authoritarian and despotic rule of the British.

 


 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

3) Recently, the President of United States signed an executive order, ostensibly promoting U.S. energy independence and economic growth. What exactly did he authorise, what are its implications, and what does it mean for India’s strategic interests in energy and climate change? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Ever since Donald Trump has come to power, he has been trying to change most of the US policies envisaged during Obama-era, with the name of fulfilling American interests. Most controversial of them being US Clean Power Plan, which aims at reducing GHG emissions. This plan was America’s climate pledge under Paris Agreement. Some of the steps taken by Trump in this direction are as follows.:-

  • Lift of ban on leasing federal land for coal mining.
  • Withdrawal of estimates of ‘Social cost of Carbon”.
  • Giving boost to oil, coal and gas production.

Implications of these Steps:-

Steps taken by Trump are likely to increase GHG emission as US GHG emission is 2nd largest of the world. This is also likely to increase burden on the other countries like India for cutting the emission.

Implications for India:- India being the 3rd largest GHG producer has a lot to gain for the with the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The reasons behind that are as follows:-

  • India’s vulnerability to Climate Change:- Geographical conditions of India make it more vulnerable to climate change, most important effect being the change in the pattern of Monsoon. 
  • Pollution Level in Several Cities:- Many cities of India have pollution level far more than the level safe for the people. Cities like Delhi have been declared as one of the most polluted cites of the world. Increase in GHG will further degrade the situation for India.
  • Effect on Temprature Increase of Agriculture:- With increase in temp, agriculture production is likely to decrease further. For a country like India with ever increasing population this will cause a serious concern in future.

Role India can play:-

At the time when US is unwilling to fulfill its commitments, India has to play a bigger role in the implementation of Paris Agreement. India is emerging as as an important player in global climate politics. China has skillfully stepped into the role of climate change. India also needs to play its part in this regard. It should insist Western world to maintain their obligations, including financial.

Conclusion:- If India skillfully plays role in the implementation of Paris Agreement, it would be huge boost to its foreign policy. It may serve as soothing element in India-China relations. If will also increase India’s significance further.

 


Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

4) Around 8-10% of India’s population lives with disabilities, with an equal number constituting the aged. How can government ensure ensure disability-inclusive development, especially in its push for digital economy? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

The number of people with disabilities in India has been estimated at 70 million. India is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, having signed the treaty on 30 March 2007 and ratified it on 1 October 2007.

  • Census 2011 tells us the percentage of disabled is 2.21 per cent; 2.41 per cent of the male population and 2.01 per cent of the female population.
  • There are higher (more than 2.5 per cent) levels of disability in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim. But even in these states, the percentage is less than 3 per cent.
  • Under the disability act, disability is defined as: One, blindness; two, low vision; three, leprosy-cured; four, hearing impairment; five, loco-motor disability; six, mental retardation; and seven, mental illness. Now it is extended up to 21 with various sub types of disability.

Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT):-

ICT have the potential to significantly impact the lives of these groups, facilitating access of services available to them and allowing them to handle a wide range of activities independently, enhancing their social, cultural, political and economic participation. Making ICT accessible no longer remains an option but has become a necessity. 

ENSURING DISABILITY INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT IN DIGITAL ECONOMY:-

  • Adherence to the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines should be made mandatory while developing websites and mobile applications.
  • Government websites and apps must be made disabled friendly.
  • The Accessible India campaign has not been converged with SMART cities Mission unlike other schemes like SBA, AMRUT,HRIDAY. This is despite the fact that 39 of SMART cities also have Accessible India Campaign as a flagship programme to be implemented.
  • Online education and government portals for students must be disabled friendly.
  • Providing the disabled with the option to complete all the transaction related to the government from their home without the need to visit personally.

 

ENSURING OLD AGED INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT IN DIGITAL ECONOMY:-

  • India must become accessible to even old age population. Like Banking and Post office – online and home services.
  • Must utilise the potential of old age population in running desk jobs to tap their potential like in Japan.
  • Their experience in various fields is valuable must be tapped and utilised.
  • The health care facilities must be designed to suit the old age people which reduces harassment and online pension approval process through video conferencing will help in this step.

Conclusion:-

Disability is not an isolated issue. It is cross-cutting and can impact everyone irrespective of caste, gender, age and nationality. Thus ensuring a disability-sensitive development agenda across all ministries, sectors and causes becomes critical if growth has to be truly inclusive.  It becomes our collective responsibility to ensure inclusive development, one that engages all stakeholders through a pragmatic and judicious combination of interventions while effectively leveraging technology to ensure truly inclusive and sustainable development.


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

5) In its order on banning sale of liquor near National and State highways, the Supreme Court asserted that the proscription would cover not just retail outlets but hotels and bars too. Critically comment on this order. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

The Supreme court verdict said that liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways will have to shut down from 1st April 2017. The verdict had come on a PIL alleging that nearly 1.42 lakh people died per year in road mishaps and that the drunken driving is a major contributor.  

The court verdict:-

  • It exempted hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas having a population up to 20,000.
  • It further modified the 500-metre cap rule for Himachal Pradesh and local areas which are alongside highways with a population up to 20,000, and said that they may have liquor vends at a distance of 220 metres from the highways.     
  • On the issue of non-extension of liquor vends’ licences beyond March 31, the apex court said the licences, which were given before December 15, 2016, will be valid till September 30 in the case of Telangana and the same would be operational till June 30 in Andhra Pradesh.     
  • The court, however, did not give relief to Tamil Nadu, represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, from the 500- metre criteria.     
  • The bench said that the count’s direction that no licences for liquor vends on highways would be renewed after March 31 would remain effective for rest of the country.  
  • It not only reiterated many of the impractical aspects of the original judgment, but went on to assert that the proscription would cover not just retail outlets but hotels and bars too. 

Positives of the move:-

  • It will reduce and may effectively curb drink and drive cases as most of the passenger generally drink on roadside hotels, bars due to their easy accessibility.
  • It may help in improving the health conditions of drivers as they are the ones who got addicted due to easy availability of liquore.

However the provision of adding hotels and bars as well in existing retail outlet has made the already harsh order now a draconian one.

  • Retail outlets can perhaps move another 500 m with minimal expense and no great loss of clientele. But established hotels and clubs enjoy no such luxury. All of a sudden, what was a great advantage of location is a major disadvantage.
  • The order does not exempt outlets in cities and towns, where most of the consumers are local residents, nor does it distinguish between hotel guests and passing drivers. 
  • If drunk driving along the highways is the provocation for the order, there can be no reason to cover clubs that serve only their members.
  • State governments face a huge loss in revenue. Smaller administrative units such as Union Territories will be the worst-hit. 

Conclusion:-

Prohibition as a policy has had a history of failure. While binge-drinking is undoubtedly a health hazard with serious social costs, bans of the sort adopted by courts and State governments such as Bihar are counterproductive. Good intentions do not guarantee good outcomes. Hence there is a need to rationalize the verdict and not to adopt one size fits all approach.


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

5) In its order on banning sale of liquor near National and State highways, the Supreme Court asserted that the proscription would cover not just retail outlets but hotels and bars too. Critically comment on this order. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

In a move to reduce instances of drunk driving, recently Supreme Court passed an order banning liquor sale near National and State highways. Although move is welcomed by different sections of society, it has also received criticism from wider sections.

Merits of such order-

  • The order may curb the incidents of drunk driving thereby reducing the road accidents which are prominent reason of premature deaths in India.
  • This may also curb the incidents of assaults and wrongdoings committed by drivers under the influence of alcohol.
  • The judgement is in line with the model policy for alcoholic beverages and alcohol prepared by the Centre more than a decade ago, which includes in paragraph 92(2), a provision suggesting no licence for sale of liquor should be granted to shops within 100 metres from a state or national highway. 

Demerits of this order-

  • The ban has been criticized as judicial policy making. The judiciary seems to have ventured into legislative domain thereby violating the constitutional principle of separation of powers.
  • The hospitality sector would be badly hit and the order would also affect the tourism sector.
  • The order does not exempt outlets in cities and towns, where most of the consumers are local residents, nor does it distinguish between hotel guests and passing drivers.  It is one thing to order the closure of shops dotting the highways, and quite another to target establishments in cities and towns, which cannot move, and which will lose their clientele to others. 
  • State governments face a huge loss in revenue. Smaller administrative units such as Union Territories will be the worst-hit.

Conclusion-

Though there is good intention behind the order, it may not reflect into good actions. To ensure strict implementation, it needs cooperation from state governments and law enforcement agencies. However within this short time some of the state governments have declared state highways as district or local roads thereby defeating the very purpose of the order. Further use of force to achieve any objective always proves counterproductive as was seen in Bihar. In Bihar after the liquor prohibition many people have turned to drugs which are easily available. Thus any such order to succeed social consensus and people’s initiatives are important which unfortunately are missing in this order.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Economic growth and development

6) Which factors determine economic growth? Examine the trend in these factors in India during last five years and their effect on India’s economic growth. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Factors determining economic growth, their trend and effect on India’s economic growth-

  • Population and Quality of Human Resource-

Population is considered as an important determinant of economic growth. In this respect population is working both as a stimulant and hurdles to economic growth. Firstly, population provides labour and entrepreneurship as an important factor service. Natural resources of the country can be properly exploited with manpower resources. With proper human capital formation, increasing mobility and division of labour, manpower resources can provide useful support to economic development.

On the other hand, higher rate of growth of population increases demand for goods and services as a means of consumption leading to increasing consumption requirements, lesser balance for investment and export, lesser capital formation, adverse balance of trade, increasing demand for social and economic infrastructural facilities and higher unemployment problem. Accordingly, higher rate of population growth can put serious hurdles on the path of economic development.

India’s high population has turned into a boon for Indian economy in last decade as it helped to drove economic growth when global economy was facing downturns. Further India is set to experience demographic dividend on account of its larger share of younger population. However due to lack of affordable educational facilities at higher level and poor health parameters, India is facing hurdles to exploit this demographic phase.

  • Natural resources and its utilization-

Availability of natural resources and its proper utilization are considered as an important determinant of economic development. If the countries are rich in natural resources and adopted modern technology for its utilization, then they can attain higher level of development at a quicker pace. However mere possession of natural resources cannot work as a determinant of economic development.

India’s economic growth is not in commensurate with its amount of natural resources. This is largely due to corruption in allocating of natural resources (Coal scam, 2G spectrum scam etc), unavailability of advanced technology, lack of funds for exploring natural resources etc. Although some steps are taken to improve this condition like formulation of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy, allocation of coal blocks, impetus to renewable energy etc.

  • Capital Formation and Capital Accumulation-

Capital plays a diversified role in raising the volume of national output through changes in the scale or technology of production. Capital accumulation is quite essential to provide necessary tools and inputs for raising the volume of production and also to increase employment opportunities for the growing number of labor force. Increase in capital accumulation at a faster rate results increased supply of tools and machinery per worker.

Government is taking various steps to increase the capital formation and capital accumulation. Steps are taken to strengthen manufacturing sector through initiatives like Make in India, Skill India etc, tax incentives are given to companies, and economy has been opened for foreign capital through FDI etc.

  • Investment rate-

As the Harrod-Domar equation puts it, the growth rate is equal to the investment rate divided by the incremental capital-output ratio. The incremental capital-output ratio (ICOR) is the amount of capital required to produce one unit of output. The higher the ICOR, the less efficient is the use of capital. Looking at Indian performance in the last five years, two facts stand out. One is a decline in the investment rate and the second is a rise in ICOR; both of which can only lead to a lower growth rate.

The Economic Survey of 2014-15 reported that there were in all 746 stalled projects, with 161 in the public sector and 585 in the private sector of a total value of Rs. 8.8 lakh crore. As of 2015-16, there were still 404 stalled projects, 162 in the public sector and 242 in the private sector with a total value of Rs. 5.5 lakh crore. In the short run, the biggest gain in terms of growth will be by getting “stalled projects” moving. 

India’s investment rate reached a peak in 2007-08 at 38.0% of GDP. With an ICOR of 4, it was not surprising that a high growth rate of close to 9.4% was achieved. But thereafter a steady decline in the investment rate has been witnessed. The decline in the rate was small initially but has been more pronounced in the last two years. According to the latest estimates, the gross fixed capital formation rate fell to as low as 26.9% in 2016-17. With this investment rate, it is simply impossible to achieve a growth rate in the range of 8 to 9%.

  • Technological Advancement:

Technological advancement is considered as an important determinant of economic environment. By technological advancement we mean improved technical know-how and its broad-based applications.

It includes, Use of technological progress for economic gains, Application of applied sciences resulting in innovations and inventions and Utilization of innovations on a large scale.

With the advancement of technology, capital goods become more productive. Accordingly, Prof. Samuelson rightly observed that “High Invention Nation” normally attain growth at a quicker pace than “High Investment Nation”.

India has witnessed steady pace in technological advancement in last decade however it falls short in the field of research and innovation. India needs to invest hugely in this sector to reduce the dependence on foreign technological help.

 


Topic:  Food security; Environmental pollution

7) A recent UN report on synthetic pesticides has stated that use of these pesticides is a short-term solution that undermines the right to adequate food and health for present and future generations. Do you agree? Critically examine. (200 Words)

Livemint

Background-

A new report issued by the UN takes a controversial stance on synthetic pesticides. The conventional wisdom is that they are essential to feed the world’s growing population. But the report’s authors call our reliance on synthetic pesticides “a short-term solution that undermines the right to adequate food and health for present and future generations”.

Benefits of synthetic pesticides in agriculture-

  • Pesticide use is one of several factors that have permitted maintenance of our food supply despite a continued increase of the population and decrease of area suitable for agriculture.
  • They protect the crop plants from diseases caused by pests, as well as humans from diseases such as plague, caused by fleas.
  • At the same time, a number of synthetic pesticides are known to protect crops from the massive destruction caused by pests such as locusts, which are very difficult to manage otherwise.

However the recent reports states that-

  • The quality of the food grown is also compromised, as many synthetic pesticides are known to be bio-accumulators.
  • They also diminish soil fertility with prolonged use, eventually affecting the yield of crops.
  • Pesticide production plants are also responsible for causing human casualties (Bhopal gas tragedy) and environmental degradation.
  • The accumulation of toxic substances from chemicals applied both in the field and in storage also contributes to the continuous decline in the quality of our natural environment—namely, our soil, water and air.
  • More than 250 studies have linked agrochemicals to several types of cancers, including cancers of the brain, breast, colon, liver, lungs, prostate and thyroid. Children, in particular, seem to be susceptible to the toxic effects of pesticides: research shows that the increased incidence of childhood leukaemia and brain cancer could be the result of early exposure. And exposure to such chemicals has been linked to a variety of birth defects.

Way forward-

FAO reports that most pesticide-poisoning cases occur in developing countries, precisely because health standards there tend to be inadequate or non-existent. The UN report found that only 35% of developing countries had regulatory guidance on pesticide use, and all of them struggle with enforcement. Thus there is need to urgently look at the problem at national and international level and consensus among countries is required to take any effective steps.

Developing countries must implement more effective mechanisms for monitoring the agrochemicals that are in circulation. They must also work to reduce the use of toxic chemicals to control pests and increase yields, especially by promoting organic alternatives that do not pose widespread health and environmental risks.

For example, organic manure can help boost crop yields, as can bio-pesticides, derived from plants. Such natural methods, which are both effective and non-toxic, should be adopted not just in developing countries, but around the world.

Synthetic pesticides may have a place in helping to feed an increasingly hungry world, especially in developing countries. But we must imagine how many unnecessary poisonings and deaths will occur unless they are deployed with the utmost care and restraint.

 


Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

8) What causes heat waves in India? How should India cope with increasing intensity and frequency of heat waves? (200 Words)

The Hindu

What is heat wave?

A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. While definitions vary, a heat wave is measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season. Temperatures that people from a hotter climate consider normal can be termed a heat wave in a cooler area if they are outside the normal climate pattern for that area.

According to National Disaster Management Authority a Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has given the following criteria for Heat Waves:

  • Heat Wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches atleast 40*C for Plains and atleast 30*C for Hilly regions
  • When normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40*C, Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5*C to 6*C and Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7*C or more.
  • When normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40*C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4*C to 5*C and Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6*C or more.
  • When actual maximum temperature remains 45*C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat waves should be declared. Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.

The World Meteorological Organization, however, defines a heat wave as five or more consecutive days during which the daily maximum temperature exceeds the average maximum temperature by five degrees Celsius.

Causes of heat wave in India?

Heat waves form when high pressure aloft (from 10,000–25,000 feet (3,000–7,600 meters)) strengthens and remains over a region for several days up to several weeks. This is common in summer as the jet stream ‘follows the sun’. 

In 2015, the heat wave was caused in large part by sparser pre-monsoon season showers, which brought less moisture than normal to the area, leaving large parts of India arid and dry. The sudden end of pre-monsoon rain showers, an uncommon trend in India, had contributed to the heat waves. Additionally, the monsoon season was delayed and further south than the normal trend. This weather pattern, coupled with the El Niño effect, which often increases temperatures in Asia, combined to create the record high temperatures. High humidity compounded the effects of the temperatures on residents. The Loo, a dry wind originating from Pakistan and northwest India, has contributed to increasing the temperature in India.

How should India cope with increasing intensity and frequency of heat waves? 

  • Timely warnings given by IMD about a possible spike in temperatures, to alert the people in advance, in collaboration with the NDMA and SDMAs.
  • Allowing sufficient provision of piped water supply for drinking to households, as well as places like schools, working places, and even public taps, for the convenience of the general public.
  • Preparing a national, state, as well as district-level action plan, in co-ordination with NDMA, SDMA and Public health authorities.
  • Providing quick treatment to the affected and spreading awareness about do and don’ts about the activities to be carried out.
  • Government and local authorities should allow for an adjustment in the timings of schools and workplaces.
  • A vigilant monitoring and review of the implementation of the action plan, or the necessary prevention guidelines, by the concerned authorities.
  • Creating green and blue urban spaces for tree shade and higher moisture.

Conclusion-

Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change. India too is feeling the impact of climate change in terms of increased instances of heat waves which are more intense in nature with each passing year, and have a devastating impact on human health thereby increasing the number of heat wave casualties. Thus India needs long term plan and aware citizens to mitigate the impact of heat waves.


 

Topic: Economic growth, resource mobilization

9) What are the sources of funds for companies other than banks? Do you think bank credit still plays an important role in funding companies? Should India should gradually move away from the dependence on banks? Discuss. (200 Words)

Livemint

A recent survey states that banks provided barely a fifth of the incremental credit extended to companies in fiscal year 2017. This has been seen as quiet structural change in Indian finance.

Sources of funds for companies other than banks are-

  • Equity market
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Corporate bond market
  • Commercial paper
  • Borrowing from non-banking finance companies.

The reason for decline in share of banks is that Banks weighed down with a growing pile of bad loans are in no position to take new risks. Companies have begun to seek other sources of funds.

Although there is decrease in share of banks in funding for companies, it still plays important role in financial market because

  • Banks are the most suitable alternative for many of the best companies to meet urgent liquidity needs.
  • Banks still play a key role in ensuring financial inclusion for the smaller enterprises and firms.
  • The consolidation achieved in the banking sector has been remarkable, as they are still one of the major sources of formal credit till date.
  • Not all enterprises have either the ability or the financial requirements to raise money through bonds.
  • India has robust banking system. But same is not true with the other financial markets like Corporate bond markets or equity market.

Should India gradually move away from dependence on the banks?

Points in favor-

  • The problem of NPAs and bad loans are increasing which is leaving banks unable to fund companies.
  • Without the burden of corporate financing, banks could refocus on its core functioning like financial inclusion.
  • It would strengthen the secondary bond market.

Points against-

  • Banks are still the pivot of Indian financial system and hence cannot be ignored.
  • While strengthening other financial market, problem of NPAs should be resolved so that banks could cater to the needs of corporate sector.
  • As banking sector is vulnerable to external conditions, so as the bonds market.

Conclusion-

Considering the current crisis in the banking sector, India must adopt steps to make alternate sources of funds more attractive, through preferential tax treatments, or by allowing fresh investment of capital in sectors such as the corporate bond market. The rising opportunities must not be frittered away.