SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 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: History of the world will include events from 18th century
The Six-Day War also known as the June War or 1967 Arab–Israeli War was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt (known at the time as the United Arab Republic), Jordan, and Syria.
Territory held by Israel before and after the Six Day War. The Straits of Tiran are circled, between the Gulf of Aqaba to the north and the Red Sea to the south.
Causes of the Six day War-
- The very creation of Israel in the year 1948, out of the British”protectorate”of Palestine.
- The forging of a kind of pan-Arab nationalism, with its main target being Israel.
- In January 1964 an Arab League summit, claimed that the diversion of the Jordan waters by Israel (for its national carrier program) multiplies the dangers to Arab existence and decided to deprive Israel of 35% of the National Water Carrier capacity, by a diversion of the Jordan River headwaters to the Yarmouk River. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked the diversion works in Syria in March, May, and August 1965, perpetuating a prolonged chain of border violence that linked directly to the events leading to war.
- On 23 May 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran in defiance of the guarantees given by the “maritime Powers” in 1956. In effect this operated as a blockade against all Israel shipping to the East. Israel used this as the justified cause for declaring war on the Arab alliance.
- Increased tensions and skirmishes along Israel’s northern border with Syria were the immediate cause of the third Arab-Israeli war.
- During May1967, Israel came to know about a plot being hatched against it by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, and hence it decided to initiate an attack against them from before-hand.
Consequences of the war-
- Israel came into possession of the Sinai desert up to the Suez Canal, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem including the Old City, and the Golan Heights.
- Israel announced an official policy of “territories for peace” i.e. withdrawal to secure borders to be negotiated, in exchange for “full peace” and recognition.
- Long term-
- The war has drawn permanent wage in the Arab world and Israel. It further strengthened anti-Israel sentiments among the Arab countries, and is considered by many historians as the reason for the growth of Palestinian nationalism, and the creation of PLO.
- The war led to the beginning of the up-gradation of the military apparatus and technological stature of Israel, for the purpose of its defense.
Israel made peace with Egypt following the Camp David Accords of 1978 and completed a staged withdrawal from the Sinai in 1982. However, the position of the other occupied territories has been a long-standing and bitter cause of conflict for decades between Israel and the Palestinians, and the Arab world in general.
Jordan and Egypt eventually withdrew their claims to sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza, respectively. Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994.
After the Israeli conquest of these newly acquired ‘territories’, it launched a large settlement effort in these areas to secure a permanent foothold. There are now hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in the West Bank. They are a matter of controversy within Israel, both among the general population and within different political administrations, supporting them to varying degrees. Palestinians consider them a provocation. The Israeli settlements in Gaza were evacuated and destroyed in August 2005 as a part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of that time.
Significance for India-
- India could associate herself with Israel, as she was more or less in a similar situation, surrounded by hostile neighbors like Pakistan and China at that time, with which wars had been fought in 1965 and 1962 respectively.
- The six-day war was a source of inspiration behind the magnificent and swift victory over Pakistan, in the year 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Six day war has unique place in the world history. Though Israel was swift and fast in defeating the Arab alliance, the war also raised many questions on the issues like preemptive strikes and Israel’s belligerence in vacating the occupied places. Nonetheless the war has secured rightful place for Israel among the hostile neighbors.
General Studies – 2
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
2) In recent times, cooperation between Dhaka and Delhi has been enhanced in many areas. Which are these areas? Also comment on the significance of upcoming visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister to India. (200 Words)
Areas of cooperation-
- Defence- India and Bangladesh share many common security problems and Bangladesh is seeking India’s active cooperation in making itself self-reliant in security. Thus both countries are poised to sign important defence deal in the upcoming visit of Bangladeshi PM’s visit to India.
- Energy- India has recently introduced the concept of the Regional Power Trading System which will help various regions of the country in reducing the power deficit by transferring surplus power from another region. Under the Electricity Act 2003, the Indian companies could pool power in an exchange. A consumer would be free to buy it from anyone. This concept of power pool within India can also be enlarged to cover the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal after the establishment of a sub-regional power pool and necessary inter-connections among these countries are put in place. This can ultimately form a regional power pool thereby generating a huge opportunity for power trading in the region.
- Infrastructural development-
Lines of Credit- $1 billion was given for the Padma Bridge which World Bank refused. $862 million was given to buy equipment and services from Indian entities such as BHEL, RITES, small and medium enterprises.
Small development projects- India announced a grant of nearly $10 million to Bangladesh for the implementation of various small development projects and also assured it to address trade imbalance issues.
- Terrorism- both India and Bangladesh have adopted a common stance on tackling terrorism through not only cracking down on the purveyors of terror but also keeping at arm’s length, and in fact condemning, nations regarded as sponsors of terrorism in the region.
- Health– India and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the fields of health and medical sciences that will include joint research in health and exchange of doctors and health professionals.The MoU is aimed at promoting cooperation between the two countries in the fields of health and medical sciences through exchange of scientific materials and information and joint collaboration in research in medical science.
- Trade and investment- The two-way trade is $7 billion. The trade is set to go at $10 billion by 2018 through ports. Bangladesh Cabinet has approved a revised trade deal with India under which the two nations would be able to use each other’s land and water routes for sending goods to a third country, removing a long-standing barrier in regional trade. Under the deal India would also be able to send goods to Myanmar through Bangladesh. It incorporated a provision that the deal would be renewed automatically after five years if either of the countries did not have any objection.
- Transport and communication- Efforts have been made for regular Bus and Train service for connecting West Bengal and North-East region with Bangladesh.
- Diplomacy- In terms of diplomacy in the South Asian region, both countries have had identical views on how organizations such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should be going forward in promoting cooperation among its member nations. Both India and Bangladesh pulled out of SAARC summit to be held in Pakistan for different reasons
Areas of contention-
- A major area of contention has been the construction and operation of theFarakka Barrage by India to increase water supply in the river Hoogly. Bangladesh insists that it does not receive a fair share of the Ganges waters during the drier seasons, and gets flooded during the monsoons when India releases excess waters.
- Bangladesh has consistently denied India transit facility to the landlockedNorth Eastern Regions of India.
- Illegal Bangladeshi immigration into India is one of the great impediments in improving cooperation between the two.The border is porous and migrants are able to cross illegally, though sometimes only in return for financial or other incentives to border security personnel.
- Teesta water sharing issue is yet to be solved by both the countries.
Significance of the upcoming visit of the Bangladeshi PM to India-
Despite its greater areas of cooperation, many issues of contention remain between the two countries. The upcoming visit is seen as the efforts to find solution to existing issues like Teesta water sharing, illegal migration etc and to strengthen the cooperation in areas like counter-terrorism, energy cooperation etc. The visit could help in resolving the mistrust between the two countries. The recent Bangladesh’s acquisition of two submarines from China had created jitters in the minds of Indian government.
This visit could be the starting for improving economic relations between the two countries and to realize the true potential of trade and commerce. Further India is planning to accentuate motor vehicle agreement with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Therefore the visit could fasten the process of realizing such regional connectivity projects.
Bangladesh’s diplomatic support is of great importance for India to keep its influence in regional institutions like SAARC, BIMSTEC etc. Further Bangladesh’s maritime cooperation is required for maintaining control over Bay of Bengal. Thus visit could be greatly used by India to secure Bangladesh’s support in regional political arena. At the same time Bangladesh is poised to benefit in areas like defence, energy and water sharing through this visit.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
3) Recently, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh approved a write-off on outstanding farmer loans of up to Rs. 1 lakh taken before March 31, 2016. Critically discuss implications and economic viability of such farm loan waivers. (200 Words)
Indian Agriculture is facing tough stage and several parts of India are gripped in agrarian crisis. Majority of Indian agriculture is still dependent on the monsoon rains and is badly hit by the vagaries of nature. To mitigate the impact of agrarian distress, central and state governments are taking various steps. One of the steps is waiving the farm loan which has been hailed by some sections of society while simultaneously criticized by many of others.
- It will provide sufficient cushion to farmers against unpredictable rains, unusual weather and below expectation production.
- The move may reduce the farmer’s suicides which have assumed alarming proportions in some of the states.
- The waiver could enhance the capabilities of farmers to start clean and boost production outcomes in coming years.
- This could arrest the distressed migration of farmers from rural areas to cities.
Having considered benefits of the loan waiver, it should be taken into account that such waivers have serious implications on economy and their economic viability itself is under question because-
- Such moves could increase the tendencies of violating credit discipline and reduce the possibilities of repaying loans among farmers.
- It will set negative trend as politician will promise more farm loan waiver and farmers also will envisage the same and will not pay their loans.
- Banks would become wary of extending loans to farmers in the wake of providing loan waivers to farmers by governments. So, the next time a defaulting farmer applies for a loan, he may face delay in sanctions, high collateral requirements, reduction of quantum of loans, lengthy and complex documentation requests, etc.
- This move would pressurize and compel the other states to adopt such populist measures in the wake of excited public mood.
- With the government repaying loans to banks on behalf of farmers, its expenditure books get bloated. This in turn affects the finances of the government, thus increasing its fiscal deficit.
- Many marginal and small farmers often avail informal credits, so this move may not help them at all.
- The farm loan waiver may decrease the amount appropriated for other developmental schemes resulting in skewed allotment. The funds which could have been used to meet the long-term infrastructure and development needs of the state are diverted to repay the loans of farmers. This will affect the progress of the state which resorted to farm loan waivers.
- The regular loan waivers for farmers would impede their capacity to be self-independent and strive for better agricultural outputs.
The solutions like farm loan waiver are short sighted and in no way tackles the root cause of agricultural distress. Loan waivers are great palliatives, but can’t tackle the underlying problems. In India, agriculture remains highly regulated, with inadequate linkages to markets, and opaque and unscientific pricing. And farmers lack access to and expertise in risk management tools and techniques that can help them deal with the vagaries of nature and market shocks. The crisis for Indian farmer is that he or she is not in control of the produce, unlike other businesses, and is dependent on cartel of traders to fetch a decent price. The cartel makes money in case of good or bad crop season as their margins remain intact. In fact, in case of a crop failure the trader profit margin rises whereas the farmer is in distress without remunerative price.
Government would have to relook into all the aspects of agriculture like seed procurement, availability of fertilizers, irrigation facilities, market access, and better prices for produce that impedes the progress of farmer. Thus government should work towards reforming the whole structure of agriculture rather than offering the dole to farmers and thereby making them dependent on the mercy of government.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
4) Despite the ‘red line’, a large number of countries have used chemical agents against enemies in conflict. Examine why such impunity persists. Also examine, why is killing with chemical weapons taboo, but killing with fearsome conventional weapons okay? Comment. (200 Words)
- Barack Obamaused the phrase on August 20, 2012, during the Syrian civil war in relation to chemical weapons, saying that “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”
- In the US, the phrase then became a source of contention when political opponentJohn McCain said the red line was “apparently written in disappearing ink,” due to the perception the red line had been crossed with no action.On the one year anniversary of Obama’s red line speech the Ghouta chemical attacks
- Obama then clarified “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war,” in reference to theChemical Weapons Convention.
Chemical weapons convention:-
- TheChemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control treaty that outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.
- The full name of the treaty is theConvention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and it is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, Netherlands. The treaty entered into force in 1997.
- The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention.
- The parties’ main obligation under the convention is to effect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. The destruction activities are verified by the OPCW.
- Sarin is classed as a chemical weapon of mass destruction. The use of chemical weapons is a war crime under international law and its use on a civilian population is a crime against humanity.
- Sarin is a nerve agent which attacks the central nervous system. Its effects on humans is devastating. Exposure to sarin causes immediate dysfunction of the human nervous system resulting in the nose to run, eyes to cry, the mouth to drool, vomiting, and bowels and bladder to evacuate themselves. This then moves on to convulsions, paralysis, and death within 1 to 10 minutes.
Despite ban chemical weapons are used and impunity persists because:-
- Syria IS getting support from Russia, Terrorist group like Hezbollah etc
- No fear of sanctions from west. It can be seen that Iraq used chemical weapons in 1980s.
- Some countries like North Korea, Israel etc have not signed the CWC. So formally they don’t come under the purview of OPCW.
- OPCW only undertakes these inspections on request but not suo-moto etc.
Why chemical weapons are used:-
- For implicit and explicit international protection. In Syria’s case, it sought protection from Russia and Iran.
- To strike fear in the hearts of people and to stop populations from slipping out of control.
- As a propaganda tool and to point fingers at the enemy.
- To crush dissent and deal violence with violence.
- To ‘cleanse’ rebel held towns and cities of sympathizers.
- And, due to inaction by the international community, especially UN and other bodies against countries committing such atrocities. No UNSC resolution in 6 years of war implies that world powers want to keep this strategic option as part of their arsenal.
Some advantages of chemical weapons:-
- Chemical weapons are cheap and be manufactured quickly.
- Due to low tech requirements it can be attributed to the rebels(as done by Russia)
- They do not need high technology deployment vehicles.
- Their stockpiling can be done for years under the garb of chemical feed industry.
The reasons why killing with chemical weapons, unlike with conventional ones is a red line are;
- Chemical weapons cannot be targeted to strike precisely. They rely on carpet coverage of areas killing and maiming everyone.
- They, unlike conventional weapons do not just cause death, but torture as well in the form of burns, lacerations, blindness, diseases etc.(eg: Mustard gas used by USA in Vietnam)
- Chemical weapons have the ability to cause genetic mutations and generational diseases.
- They contaminate area’s air and water and make reconstruction and rehabilitation so much more difficult.
The latest attacks on Syria must be an eye opener for the worlds power in order to take issue of chemical weapons use seriously. The real red line in Syria shouldn’t be chemical attacks in which a few hundred have lost their lives, but a war in which an estimated 500,000 are dead and almost 11.5 million have been displaced. Hence Syrian issues must be priority.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
5) An integration of HIV/AIDS interventions and primary health-care systems has taken place in India from 2010 onwards. Is this a right approach? If the goal of ending HIV/AIDS in India by 2030 is to become reality, what should India do? Discuss. (200 Words)
According to National AIDS Control Organization of India, the prevalence of AIDS in India in 2013 was 0.27, which is down from 0.41 in 2002.While the National AIDS Control Organisation estimated that 2.39 million people live with HIV/AIDS in India in 2008–09,a more recent investigation by the Million Death Study Collaborators in the British Medical Journal (2010) estimates the population to be between 1.4–1.6 million people.
There has been a stagnating and even declining trend of HIV/AIDS international financial assistance in recent years. Data show that most European donor governments have reduced their financial commitments since 2012 International funding organizations now exert a tremendous influence on the priority of health issues in the developing world.
An integration of HIV/AIDS interventions and primary health-care systems has taken place in India from 2010 onwards. For instance, six components of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP)-III merged with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2010. The integration of HIV/AIDS responses under the umbrella health system is ongoing in the NACP-IV; where all the service delivery units except the targeted interventions (TIs) have been set up within the health-care system.
In order to ensure the sustainability of the HIV/AIDS interventions, continuous integration of HIV/AIDS programmes into a larger health system is required.
The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) has taken following key steps to prevent and control the HIV epidemic in the country:-
- Revised Migrant Strategy with focus at Destination, Transit & Source and Employer-led Model to address vulnerabilities of migrant labour.
- Scale up of Opioid Substitution Therapy at Public Health settings to control HIV among IDU & sensitization of law enforcement agencies.
- For elimination of HIV infections among children, lifelong ARV to HIV positive pregnant women for prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV has been rolled out.
- In certain pockets of high prevalence states where HIV prevalence among FSW and MSM continues to be high, emphasis is given to sustain the higher coverage of targeted interventions and improve the quality of outreach.
- Scale-up of free 1st line and 2nd line Anti retroviral Treatment for People living with HIV and strengthening supply chain management of drugs.
- National Helpline was launched to facilitate easy dissemination of information related to HIV/AIDS to general public, People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), High Risk Groups (HRG) and vulnerable population in 8 Indian languages.
- Considering the fact that combination of multi-drug in a single pill is very effective, well tolerated, so once a-daily fixed dose regimen (FDC) has been rolled out in a single pill ARV drug among the 1st line treatment patients.
- Mainstreaming and partnerships is recognized as a key approach in National AIDS Control Programme to facilitate multi-sectoral response engaging a wide range of stakeholders and optimally utilize the resource available from other Ministries and Department. In this regard the NACO has identified 31 key Departments/ Ministries of Government of India for mainstreaming. 12 such Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed.
A UN report showed that “India has the third largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world and accounts for about 4 out of 10 people living with HIV/AIDS in the region”. In order to make India HIV free by 2030 still much has to be done on ground level:-
- National Aids Control Program since its inception has decreased aids BY 55-57%. The role of NACO is laudable in this. Few steps are required in order to make the gains larger like NACP need to be integrated to NRHM till 2010.
- Treatments like Anti Retro viral Therapy needs to be make available to larger chunk of population of HIV infected people
- Progressive increase in budget allocation for health sector, from current 1.4% to 5% of GDP by 2025 against 2.5% as envisaged in the New Health Policy.
- Roping in NGOs and Civil Society Organizations to undertake intensive awareness campaign to end the stigma attached and educating masses.
- Strict implementation of laws pertaining to malpractices and laxity on the part of medical practitioners and doctors.
- Integration with larger health system at location, regional national level to increase accessibility, affordability and sustainability.
Government is committed to eradicate AIDS by its provisions like empowering patients by protecting them against discrimination in employment, education, health services and access to insurance which are included in recent HIV AIDS bill and which is a promising step further.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; Prevention of money laundering
6) The government has said it would use ‘data mining’ to figure out whether the large deposits in accounts are consistent with their declared incomes. What is data mining? Do data mining help is unearthing black money? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Data mining is the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, and database systems. It is an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science.The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use.
1] Great Analytical Tool – By using previous collected data it is possible to predict the upcoming trends in transactions and Keep an eye on suspected accounts.
2] Significant Pattern Generation – Since data mining entails the collection of large data that can create indicative patterns on important factors such as Pattern of funding, distribution and storage in parts.
3] Flaw Detection – detection and identification of errors in the system – tax evasion, fraudulent transactions and systemic support to offenders.
With these advantages the data mining can be used to detect fraudulent transactions and evasion of tax with helps to curb Black money. Project Insight – is a data mining project of GoI, helps build on the capacity of the Income Tax Dept. to access information and apply technology driven-analytical tools to expose evasion, besides improving its ability to detect large cash withdrawals, or large cash transactions that enter the system. This works with PAN as the unique identifier – PAN for specified transactions above a threshold including purchase of immovable and movable property, bank deposits and financial assets and will provide an audit trail of high value transactions and curb circulation of black money.
1] Privacy Issues – Privacy concern of the large number of people’s data if sufficient checks are not put forward. Risk of Misuse of Information – technique that is not 100% accurate and suspicion may lead to wrong accusation. It can be used as political tool to target opposition leaders, etc.
2] Expensive – technology that requires skilled manpower, time and other complexities. So data mining can be expensive. Initial cost is high.
In the times of fast changing global scenario and complexity of crimes due to technology it is a good step forward to use the latest technology to fight such crimes. By addressing privacy concerns the Data mining can be a great tool to Check Black Money and Increase Tax collection and compliance.