SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 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: Role of women
1) Parental leave is an evolving concept where child-rearing is seen as a shared responsibility. Should India introduce parental leave? Discuss the significance of parental leave for gender equality. (200 Words)
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act enforcement brought many aspects of parenting and its gender relations in the general public discourse. The amended acts provides for the 26 weeks maternity leave from previous 12 weeks provision. The concept of paternal leave is new in India and needs extra mile efforts to make a statutory provision for it.
Parental leave or family leave is an employee benefit available in many countries. The term “parental leave” generally includes maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. In some countries and jurisdictions, “family leave” also includes leave provided to care for ill family members. Often, the minimum benefits and eligibility requirements are stipulated by law.
Whether parental leave contributes to gender equality depends upon
(a) Whether laws consider a child to be the responsibility of both parents and
(b) Whether the leave is equal as to the sexes.
Paternal leave in India: nuances
- The Maternity benefit (amendment) bill has increased the maternal leave that will provide huge relief for Indian woman who shares a double burden of earning and household work. The payment during leave will provide a financial assistance and social security to the woman employee.
- Though the bill has included clause on surrogacy and adoption leave it has failed to give required attention to the parental leave making men equally responsible for child rearing and care.
- This long 26 weeks leave has all the possibilities that may create negative bias towards woman workforce and many companies will choose to hire male employee than a female one. Parental leave is good solution to do away with these probable biases against woman.
- There has been an observed trend where middle class working woman are opting not to join the organization after child birth. The main reason behind this trend is rise in the standard of living and more household earning. This makes woman to opt for household job rather than the joining workforce again. Paid parental leave incentivizes labor market attachment for women both before and after birth, affecting GDP and national productivity, as the workforce is larger.
- ‘New father’: Biology and social values have historically not included child care in the main responsibilities of fathers. However, in some, mainly western, countries, politicians and social scientists argue for changing the role of the fathers, and the idea of the ‘new father’ has especially been shaped by the Nordic countries of Scandinavia. The process enables fathers to rationalize their parenting style and align this with what characterizes good care.
- There is change in family structure are families are getting more nuclear in nature. In such case the husband can provide required support to woman by his contribution towards care and moral support. Parental leave increases income at the household level, as well, by supporting dual-earner families.
Child care is still considered as a job of woman only and thus men hardy pay the required attention towards share responsibility. The laws need to be made where fathers should be granted with non-transferable paternal leave which will popularize the idea slowly. Gender equality must be taken care at level of parenting as well because family is the basic unit of Indian society and thus forms the best platform for the positive intervention by state.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
2) In your opinion, how should both judiciary and executive cooperate with each other to deal with the unacceptably high number of pending cases in the country? Have they taken any steps together in this regard? Discuss. (200 Words)
India has a parliamentary system of government with integrated independent judicial system that form a common framework for state and central government. The judicial system of country is grappled with many problems and pendency of cases is obvious result of existing inefficiencies in overall working of judiciary.
Justice – state responsibility:
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability. Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.
The cooperation between Indian executive and judiciary is need of time due to following reasons:
- The infrastructural development of lower courts can be done only by means of funding by government. The percent of GDP spent of judicial system is far less than actual requirement and existing necessities of judicial system to function with its fullest potential.
- The truce between judiciary and government over appointment is hampering the recruitment process in Indian judicial system. Supreme Court has struck down the National Judicial Commission and further process has not advanced in earliest manner. Official figures show there are as many as 437 vacancies in the High Courts alone as of March 1, 2017.
- Pendency of cases can be deal in cooperative manner as vacancies in courts is leading to burden on existing human resource and infrastructure.
As per information made available by High Courts, details of pending cases in High Courts and District and Subordinate Courts are as under:-
|Number of Pending Cases in High Courts as on 31.12.2014
|Number of Cases pending for more than 10 years in High Courts as on 31.12.2014
|Number of Pending Cases in District and Subordinate Courts as on 31.12.2014
|Number of Cases pending for more than 10 years in District and Subordinate Courts as on 31.12.2014
- Use of technology for digitalization can be done by government initiative and provision of required funds for the same purpose.
- Central and state government has to pull their efforts to make gram nyayalay and lok adalat function in order to reduce the number of case pendency. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes. This provision should be explored to enhance working efficiency of courts.
- Government is the largest litigant in Supreme Court and high court. The executives and government officials need enough courage and technical knowledge to take right decision at particular situation rather than moving to court unnecessarily.
Steps taken for judicial reforms are:
- In accordance with the National Policy and Action Plan prepared by the e-Committee, a five-year National Programme for Computerization of the Indian judiciary was launched in 2005 to be carried out in three phases.
- Establishment of lok adalat and gram nyayalays has reduced the burden of case pendency.
- The specialization of courts has been carried out through establishment of family courts and administrative tribunals.
- National judicial academies have been established by government to provide in-service training to judicial officers. These academies impart required training and skill to officers to provide litigant friendly justice.
An independent and impartial judiciary and a speedy and efficient system are the very essence of civilization. However, our judiciary, by its very nature, has become ponderous, excruciatingly slow and inefficient. Our laws and their interpretation and adjudication led to enormous misery for the litigants and forced people to look for extra-legal alternatives.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Economic growth and development
Bad loans have shot up by 135% in the last two years. They constitute 9% of total loans of Indian Banking system. The bad loan/bad debt is the amount owned by a person /entity that is considered unlikely to be paid in due. When the debtor is illiquid (going to bankruptcy) banks generally write off bad loans.
Causes of bad loans:-
- Past lending boom:- India’s banks embarked on lending boom witnessed in period 2004-08. But more than that it is the failure to resolve the bad loan problem that has exacerbated the problem.
- Serious policy errors:- The committee of P.J.Nayak argued that majority government ownership of PSB was root cause of bad loan problem as it mean political and bureaucratic interference with commercial decisions. It means factors extraneous to bank management and governance are primarily responsible.
- Operational factors:- Going beyond traditional principle of lending ,lack of transparency in borrowing and landings, evergreening and multiple restructuring of corporate loans, irrational lending without risk assessment are some of the operational factors responsible for bad loans.
- Stalled projects and unpredictable government policies:- The sectors like infrastructure, textile have many projects stalled while unpredictable government policies like ban on mining, quarrying etc affects economic interests.
- Global economic slowdown:-In starting of 1st decade of 21st century when banks suffered from bad loans global economic growth helped in recovery but now both are at their lowest point hence its difficult to recover.
Measures taken by governmnet:-
- Formation of P J Nayak committee :- It gave important recommendations like formation of bad banks and bank board bureau(BBB) which was tasked with appointing chairmen and managing directors of PSBs.
- Two persons oversight committee constituted by BBB
- Creation of stressed asset funds for recovering the bad loans by selling troubled projects.
- Public sector Assets Rehabilitation agency:-PARA is proposed to help banks to get rid of their bad loans and NPAs.
- Indradhanush plan specially emphasizes recapitalization.
However more steps like providing adequate capital to banks to cover write off and to facilitate fresh loan growth ending delays in appointing chairman and managing director, revamping boards of public sector banks are necessary in supplement to above steps.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Desalination the process that extracts minerals from saline water. Sea water is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption. Approx 1% of world population is dependent on desalination water to meet daily needs, but United Nations expects that 14% of worlds population will encounter water scarcity by 2025 hence desalination assumes importance.
Efficiency and affordability:-
- The use of expensive energy intensive methods like multi stage flash desalination, to evaporate water like multi stage flash distillation , to evaporate water by heat or the reverse osmosis, process which is less energy intensive but still require a great deal of energy to pump water through filtration membranes make it less efficient and less affordable.
- But now with new researches like Graphene Oxides (GO) membranes in which salts in seawater are strongly attracted to water molecule which increases its diameter and hence it is unable to pass through membrane used.
- Also technology indigenously developed by National Institute of Ocean Science and Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO) has been developed.
WORLD:-According to International Desalination Association around 19000 desalination plants are operating worldwide producing 86.8 mn cubic meter /day providing water for 300 mn people.
- India has a long coastline of 7500 km which is a huge amount of Sea water.
- Mostly with the advancements in technology the cost of disalination will come down eventually.
- With desalination production of salt also increases – India is already 3rd largest salt producer after China and US.
- India is a water hungry nation and with 57% area drought prone it is wise to utilise the abundant resource.
- Most island nations have adopted it and Israel is the leader in Sea water utilisation – Technology transfer.
- Producing potable water through desalination may become more efficient and less energy-intensive if use graphene oxide (GO) membranes to filter common salts in seawater on a commercial scale.
- Technology development is yet to reduce cost of desalination even more (61 Paise is still High considering the quanity of water needed – It is feasible for small islands).
- The high energy cost to evacuate disalinised water is a hurdle – India with large geographical area and population is still struggling to become energy surplus.
- Environment issues.. (1) loss of aquatic life at the intake of sea water to RO plant (2) continuous discharge of the rejected concentrated salt solution, called brine into the sea impacts marine life and (3) greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from power plant.
Topic: Basics of cybersecurity; S&T
The right to Internet access also known as the right to broadband is the view that all peole must be able to access the internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and opinion and other fundamental human rights, that states have responsibility to ensure that Internet access is broadly available. Last year UN issued a declaration which was widely interpreted as an affirmation to access to internet as basic human right.
- It will enhance the penetration and outreach of internet to the excluded poor population hence can bridge digital gap.
- An era of better service delivery, speedy procedures, instant facilities, empowerment of citizens would usher.
- It can boost economic growth as it plays vital role in todays economy through cashless economic boost according to Mckinsey Report.
- The China Taobao model suggest internet helped in boosting E commerce and tapping rural potential
- Many government of world have already made it a right
- It would burden and strain developing countries.
- It would divert resources from more important issues of the day like poverty, health etc
- It is inevitable but comes with huge infrastructural cost which makes it not so important issue of the day.
- Breach of privacy of individual, probability of more cyber-attacks, anti-social activities like fake news can’t be ruled out.
- It may lead to centralization of internet as a commodity and not take into account ground realities of localities.
Usefulness of internet cant be overstated and government should do everything possible to bridge the digital divide among its constituents. But declaring access to internet as a citizens’ right is not a defensible proposition.