SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 May 2016
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues; World history
1) Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Jawaharlal Nehru and Archbishop Makarios, founders of modern Turkey, India and Cyprus respectively, are being re-evaluated by the nations they founded. Do you think this re-evaluation is fair? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Mustafa Kemal Pasha, Jawaharlal Nehru and Archbishop Makarios founded the their countries Turkey, India and Cyprus on solid grounds of high ideas, values and tried to build them modern nations. However now they are being attacked by the critiques on various grounds like:-
Jawaharlal Nehru (14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as the paramount leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and ruled India from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state: a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic
- Critics of Nehru blame him for a number of problems that torment India at present — issues as diverse as economy and India-China ties.
- Nehruvian politics is increasingly viewed as lacking appeal for the aspiring masses.
- Unable to deal with Nehru’s achievements, his critics often resort to nuances and instead of blaming him they are trying to build the memory of Nehru’s opponents like Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.
- Nehru is blamed for the Kashmir dispute.
He is blamed for:-
- Political factor: During the prevailing waves of world wars and poverty at that time, he shifted the developing base of India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic which shaped the modern day peaceful India.
- Economic factor: He advocated a mixed economy and contributed to substantial industrial development but low initial income and rapid population increase – meant that growth was inadequate for any sort of catch-up with rich income nations/ miracle economies
- Social policies: When the literacy rate was hanging around 18 % (1951), took passionate ad-vocation of education for India’s children and youth (IIT, IIM, AIIMS etc) Basis of Secularism Ex. Article 44 etc.
- Foreign policies: On the international scene (backdrop of cold war), he pioneered the policy of non-alignment and co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement of nations professing neutrality
Ataturk Kemal Pasha:-
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (19 May 1881– 10 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and founder of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938.
Atatürk came to prominence for his role in securing the Ottoman Turkish victory at the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. Following the Empire’s defeat and subsequent dissolution, he led the Turkish National Movement, which resisted against the mainland Turkey’s partition among the victorious Allied powers. Establishing a provisional government in present-day Turkish capital Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies, thus, emerging victorious from what is later referred to as the Turkish War of Independence. He subsequently proceeded to abolish the Ottoman Empire and proclaimed the foundation of the Turkish Republic in its place.
- Ataturk’s critics accuse modern-day Kemalists of degrading his ideology.
- Kemalism is viewed as a highly Westernised anti-religious movement.
- Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is careful not to blame Ataturk and instead blames his followers for reducing secularism to a fetish.
- Ataturk’s blamed for his Turkish ethnocracy created the festering Kurdish question.
- Atatürk initiated a rigorous program of political, economic, and cultural reforms with the ultimate aim of building a modern and secular nation-state.
- He made primary education free and compulsory, opening thousands of new schools all over the country. Turkish women received equal civil and political rights during Atatürk’s presidency ahead of many Western countries resulted in high HDI in turkey (69/188 at 2015)
- During periods of great depression, integrated economic polices, and establishing a central bank to control exchange rates.
Archbishop Makarios :-
Makarios III, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus (August 13, 1913 – August 3, 1977) was a Greek Cypriot clergyman and politician, who served as the Archbishop and Primate of the autocephalous Church of Cyprus (1950–1977) and as the first President of Cyprus (1960–1977).
- Makarios is described either as an evil man or as a saint by different segments of Greek, Cypriot and Turkish politics.
- Makarios has faced criticism for not being fully pro-West, and for being a votary of non-alignment and solidarity among Third World countries.
- Cyprus is similarly caught between the ideology and memories of Makarios. Makarios championed non-alignment with Nehru and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, but in 2004, Cyprus dumped the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and joined the European Union (EU).
- Makarios is blamed for he failed to resolve the issue of northern Cyprus with Turkey.
- Makarios moved towards the moderate center of Cypriot politics and pursued a policy of non-alignment, cultivating good relations with Turkey as well as Greece and becoming a high-profile member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
- During the Turkish and Greek Cypriots acrimony, Makarios was forced to act to salvage the machinery of state from imminent collapse so he proposed thirteen amendments to the Constitution, which would free many public offices from the ethnic restrictions
Critics are not yet fully confident of taking on these three giants of world history who shaped the 20th century. Though the issues left are sometimes critical or exacerbated, there is very little ground for criticizing their work. Through secular governance, they placed their respective countries in the right growth path sustaining harmony and regional integrity. It is a fact that are among the greatest leaders in world history.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
Introduction :- Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food. It may be a purely commercial choice to provide extra nutrients in a food, while other times it is a public health policy which aims to reduce the number of people with dietary deficiencies within a population.
As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health”, whereas enrichment is defined as “synonymous with fortification and refers to the addition of micronutrients to a food which are lost during processing”.
Vitamins and minerals often used in flour and rice fortification and their role in health include:
- Iron, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc, and vitamin B12 help prevent nutritional anaemia which improves productivity, maternal health, and cognitive development.
- Folic acid (vitamin B9) reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects
- Zinc helps children develop, strengthens immune systems, and lessens complications from diarrhoea.
- Niacin (vitamin B3) prevents the skin disease known as pellagra.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps with metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
- Thiamin (vitamin B1) prevents the nervous system disease called beriberi.
- Vitamin B12 maintains functions of the brain and nervous system.
- Vitamin D helps bodies absorb calcium which improves bone health.
- Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness. It also diminishes an individual’s ability to fight infections. Vitamin A can be added to wheat or maize flour, but it is often added to rice, cooking oils, margarine, or sugar instead.
Food fortification offers a number of advantages over other interventions aimed at preventing and controlling MNM. These include:
- If consumed on a regular and frequent basis, fortified foods will maintain body stores of nutrients more efficiently and more effectively than will intermittent supplements. Fortified foods are also better at lowering the risk of the multiple deficiencies that can result from seasonal deficits in the food supply or a poor quality diet. This is an important advantage to growing children who need a sustained supply of micronutrients for growth and development, and to women of fertile age who need to enter periods of pregnancy and lactation with adequate nutrient stores. Fortification can be an excellent way of increasing the content of vitamins in breast milk and thus reducing the need for supplementation in postpartum women and infants.
- Fortification generally aims to supply micronutrients in amounts that approximate to those provided by a good, well-balanced diet. Consequently, fortified staple foods will contain “natural” or near natural levels of micronutrients, which may not necessarily be the case with supplements.
- Fortification of widely distributed and widely consumed foods has the potential to improve the nutritional status of a large proportion of the population, both poor and wealthy.
- Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns – which are notoriously difficult to achieve, especially in the short-term – nor individual compliance.
- In most settings, the delivery system for fortified foods is already in place, generally through the private sector. The global tendency towards urbanization means that an ever increasing proportion of the population, including that in developing countries is consuming industry-processed, rather than locally-produced, foods. This affords many countries the opportunity to develop effective strategies to combat MNM based on the fortification of centrally-processed dietary staples that once would have reached only a very small proportion of the population.
- Multiple micronutrient deficiencies often coexist in a population that has a poor diet. It follows that multiple micronutrient fortification is frequently desirable. In most cases, it is feasible to fortify foods with several micronutrients simultaneously.
- It is usually possible to add one or several micronutrients without adding substantially to the total cost of the food product at the point of manufacture.
- When properly regulated, fortification carries a minimal risk of chronic toxicity.
- Fortification is often more cost-effective than other strategies, especially if the technology already exists and if an appropriate food distribution system is in place.
Efforts by FSSAI and other players for fortified food:-
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a set of standards and a logo last year. Since then, it has focussed on awareness- and consensus-building. Now, a number of enterprises will begin adding premixes of micronutrients to launch fortified foods.
- In the next few months, General Mills India, ITC, Hindustan Unilever and Patanjali will launch wheat flour, Adani Wilmar, Marico, Borges India, and Kaleesuwari Refineries are working on oil, LT Foods, DCP Food, and KKR Food are launching rices, and in salt, other brands will join Tata, which already has a double fortified brand in the market.
- Milk cooperatives in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam and Maharashtra will fortify their products too. Targeting children, the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments have begun using fortified oil for their mid-day meal schemes.
- West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are now distributing fortified wheat flour through the public distribution system, and the Maharashtra government has started a pilot project.
- The FSSAI is also working with small local suppliers, for instance local flour grinding mills, to get them to add premixed micronutrients.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
Introduction :- North East Asia has become a hotbed of international confrontation with precarious development of nuclear arsenal by North Korea. It has not refrained shy away from using it in case the need be.
The US, in response as an ally to South Korea, has been pressing for more sanctions and military intervention for
- Deterrence: Military intervention can act as a deterrence for further proliferation of weapons by North Korea. Recent bombing in Syria will make the intentions more clear.
- Organization:By cutting out the supplies through more sanctions and throttling the supply of essential items.
This may produce ad-hoc solution, may be in the form of temporary respite but definitely won’t produce a lasting solution. Hence following should be undertaken
- Allaying fears: The US should strive to allay the fears of North Korea about the apprehension of her subversion to the advantage of South Korea.
- Demilitarization:The US military base in South Korea should be demilitarized and the THAAD system be decommissioned to send a clear message after an appropriate dialogue.
- China factor:Rather than merely using China as a means to proliferate sanction it should use her intervention to assuage North Koreas fear. Steps to dispel the notion that ‘China is dancing to the tunes of US’ should be undertaken.
Conclusion :- more sanctions or military strike by US are not a viable option to confront North Korea if we set out eyes to resolve the issue permanently. However it may act as a short term measure. It is not viable to interference with sovereignty of any country. US should loose the sanctions and invite North Korea for peace talks. China is also important stake holder in case of North Korea. Help of China would catalyse the peace process. Removal of THAAD missile from South Kora will ease the situation for both North Korea and China. US should negotiate with North Korea and give assurance to help for its development, providing it energy security, food security etc. A sense of insecurity should be eliminated.
Topic: Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
A political party is defined as an organized group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.
Political parties perform key tasks in a democratic society, such as
- Soliciting and articulating public policy priorities and civic needs and problems as identified by members and supporters.
- Socialising and educating voters and citizens in the functioning of the political and electoral system and the generation of general political values.
- Balancing opposing demands and converting them into general policies.
- Activating and mobilising citizens into participating in political decisions and transforming their opinions into viable policy options.
- Channeling public opinion from citizens to government.
- Recruiting and training candidates for public office.
There are various factors that decide the political faith of the particular party. In India the very diverse socio economic and cultural conditions of people has made the political scenario as one of the most diverse and churning arena of social setup. The factors that influence the nature and existence of political party have been varied and changing over a time and area. The case of Aam Admi party and it journey raises the question over its existence.
India since Independence has seen a number of cases where a party with a single issue was able to come to power, be it “Garibi Hatao” campaign of Indira or “Purna Kranti”-JP movement based on single ideology of ending corrupt Indira-era. The single agenda has created mass movements during these years. The social conditions were in support of Public arousal to create a mass movement.
Aam Admi party has come to the forefront as a solution to grave problem of corruption. The political conditions during phase of elections were so charged that it led to great majority for this party in NCR elections. The sustenance of the party cannot be dependent on the single issue. There are many contemporary aspects that make the political parties to diverse their agendas. The reasons are:
- Change in priorities of voter base thus makes parties based on one issue obsolete: eg today dominant farmer group e.g. Kapu, patel, gujjar, jaat demanding for quota than subsidies, in UP election overcame caste loyalties and voted for development.
- Many parties with similar ideologies e.g. in Haryana jaats being represented via several factions result division of votes.
- Such parties with clear objectives have high pressure to either perform or perish: higher chance of incumbency e.g. RLD promises for farmers remain unfulfilled, further failed to build separate identity.
- Diversity of Indian culture and multiple identities resulting from it: parties can woo other members based on regionalism, casteism, linguistic pull, son of soil theory, communalism, quota promise, development promise thus parties tries to use tap multiple identity present in voter.
- The rise in dominance of regional political parties has brought the regional sentiments to the National forum and thus diversity has been generated in National politics.
- Single idea party voters evaluate the party on very specific parameters and if those parameters are not met then they do not vote in your favor. While a broad-based development agenda party tends to score positive in some areas and negative in some other areas. Thus, voter sentiment is not hurt to a great extent.
Thus the single agenda based political parties are faced with more survival challenges as compared to broad-based agenda parties.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in the fields of space
Time travel is the concept of movement (such as by a human) between certain points in time, analogous to movement between different points in space, typically using a hypothetical device known as a time machine, in the form of a vehicle or of a portal connecting distant points in time. Time travel is a recognized concept in philosophy and fiction, but traveling to an arbitrary point in time has a very limited support in theoretical physics, and usually only connected with quantum mechanics.
A US scientist has developed a mathematical model for a viable time machine—an advance that could bring popular science-fiction closer to reality. Using math and physics, Ben Tippett, from University of British Columbia in Canada, has created a formula that describes a method for time travel. As per, Tippett the division of space into three dimensions, with time in a separate dimension by itself, is incorrect. The four dimensions should be imagined simultaneously, where different directions are connected, as a space-time continuum.
Using Einstein’s theory, the curvature of space-time accounts for the curved orbits of the planets. In “flat” space-time, planets and stars would move in straight lines. In the vicinity of a massive star, space-time geometry becomes curved and the straight trajectories of nearby planets will follow the curvature and bend around star. The general theory of relativity extends the special theory to cover gravity, illustrating it in terms of curvature in space-time caused by mass-energy and the flow of momentum. General relativity describes the universe under a system of field equations, and there exist solutions to these equations that permit what are called “closed time-like curves”, and hence time travel into the past. The first of these was proposed by Kurt Gödel, a solution known as the Gödel metric, but his (and many others’) example requires the universe to have physical characteristics that it does not appear to have. Whether general relativity forbids closed time-like curves for all realistic conditions is unknown.
Wormholes are a hypothetical warped space-time which are permitted by the Einstein field equations of general relativity. A proposed time-travel machine using a traversable wormhole would hypothetically work in the following way: One end of the wormhole is accelerated to some significant fraction of the speed of light, perhaps with some advanced propulsion system, and then brought back to the point of origin. Alternatively, another way is to take one entrance of the wormhole and move it to within the gravitational field of an object that has higher gravity than the other entrance, and then return it to a position near the other entrance.
Topic: Issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Broadly speaking, the term ‘IP’ refers to unique, value-adding creations of the human intellect that results from human ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness. An IP right is thus a legal right, which is based on the relevant national law encompassing that particular type of intellectual property right. Such a legal right comes into existence only when the requirements of the relevant IP law are met and, if required, it is granted or registered after following the prescribed procedure under that law.
The grant of a property right by the government, albeit generally for a limited period of time, over useful intangible intellectual output provides the owner of such legal property rights the right to exclude all others from commercially benefiting from it. In other words, the legal rights prohibit all others from using the underlying IP asset for commercial purposes without the prior consent of the IP right holder. The different types of IP rights include trade secrets, utility models, patents, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, layout designs of integrated circuits, copyright and related rights, and new varieties of plants.
Important highlights from India’s IPR policy-
- The Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting public interest.
- In order to have strong and effective IPR laws, steps would be taken — including review of existing IP laws — to update and improve them or to remove anomalies and inconsistencies.
- The policy is entirely compliant with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
- Special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
- India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders. The government will examine accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest, and become a signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision making process, the policy said.
- It suggests making the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for all IPR issues. Copyrights related issues will also come under DIPP’s ambit from that of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
- Films, music, industrial drawings will be all covered by copyright.
- The Policy also seeks to facilitate domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialization. It aims to promote research and development through tax benefits.
- It also says “India will continue to utilize the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement.” These flexibilities include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- The policy left the country’s patent laws intact and specifically did not open up Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, which sets the standard for what is considered an invention in India, for reinterpretation.
Role of IP in promoting Innovation-
- As there are many players involved in facilitating the market success of an innovation, the effective use of the tools of IP will play an important role in reducing risk for the players involved, who may then be able to reap acceptable returns for their participation in the process.
- IP plays an important role in facilitating the process of taking innovative technology to the market place. At the same time, IP plays a major role in enhancing competitiveness of technology-based enterprises, whether such enterprises are commercializing new or improved products or providing service on the basis of a new or improved technology.
- Intellectual property serves as the foundation of innovation in the economy. IP, particularly patents, often play a crucial role in facilitating access to business angels, providers of early stage capital, including seed capital, venture capitalists, financial institutions, and the like who/which may provide a “lifeline” for an invention to reach the marketplace.
- IP rights can also facilitate the establishment of joint ventures. SMEs facing serious financial constraints but rich with IP assets may find this form of partnership strategically useful. Ownership of patent and trade secrets may play a crucial role in attracting potential partners. Sometimes, an enterprise with patented product and/or valuable trade secrets may find it strategically beneficial to enter into a joint venture arrangement with an enterprise with a strong trademark so as to secure more sales.
- Government-granted rights incentivize discovery and creativity by providing creators with an opportunity to profit from the value of their innovative work. In exchange, the creative work is made public so that others may build on and benefit from the work of the original creator.
- Laws protecting intellectual property also reduce the transaction costs between inventors and industry by providing information about the quality of the invention without jeopardizing the ownership of the idea.
- For the entrepreneur, intellectual property in the form of patents, trademarks, and copyrights can be especially valuable. Patents, for example, have been shown to increase firm productivity and, more immediately, a firm’s market value. Patent applications held by young firms also correlate with higher valuations by investors, provided those applications are not software-based.
- Intellectual Property (IP) systems can be critical for firms to transform their innovation potential and creativity into market value and competitiveness.
- Since successful innovation includes taking a new product to market, other IP tools become very relevant. Above all, trademarks and industrial designs play an important role in the marketing process. These enable consumers to identify a product/service of a particular company and enable them to distinguish the product from other similar product.
- Intellectual property rights (IPR) allow innovators to protect their inventions. They may also have multiple other functions, such as signaling current and prospective value to investors, competitors and partners, accessing knowledge markets and networks, and preventing rivals from patenting related inventions.
- Effective IP systems can facilitate access to finance and the development of markets for technology, both of which help innovative businesses. Such systems also provide incentives to invest in R&D and innovation, and can encourage technology co-operation with firms, universities and PRIs.
Intellectual property rights can be used effectively to facilitate successful innovation. Innovative technologies stand a better chance of successfully reaching the marketplace if IP is used strategically. Gauging the importance of IP in innovation by merely focusing on patents as input and/or output of innovation, does not do justice to the significant role that can be played by the other tools of IP. A broader approach to the contribution of IP in innovation is therefore needed.
Topic: Mobilization of resources
Recently a member of NITI aayog, Bibek Debroy suggested a taxing of farming income above a threshold limit. Taxing a farm income has long been debated in India but no steps have ever been taken towards its implementation. Both its supporters and critiques have been at loggerheads and governments whether central or states, have been able to reach common ground.
Should Agricultural income be taxed?
Arguments in favor-
- The tax should be levied on the farmers only above certain threshold limit. As suggested by Kelkar panel in 2002 that around 95% of Indian farmers (mostly small and marginal) would be below such threshold level and would not be taxed. Thus it would be only rich farmers that would come under the ambit of the tax.
- There should be different slabs even within agriculture. Thus food-grains should be taxed at lower rate than the cash-crops and horticulture.
- Agriculture is used by many politicians and other rich classes to evade their taxes. In turn it is major contributor of black money by such people. Thus taxing these people would arrest evasion of taxes.
- Taxing rich and corporate farmer would also help in increasing the tax base and tax to GDP ratio in India.
- The cross subsidization of rich farmers at cost of unnecessary burden on tax payers would reduce or end.
- The proceeds from the agricultural income could be used to improve infrastructure for agriculture.
- During the period 1991 to 2016, the share of agriculture decreased from 32% to 15%. Compared with this, the workforce dependence on agriculture is still very high, at 49.7%. Given the technological and environmental constraints, the performance of the agriculture sector has not been encouraging, and consequently, the welfare of the population living in the countryside has not visibly improved.
- Tax on indebted farmers even having large farm plots would disrupt their living ways and may adversely hamper their agricultural efficiency.
- In cases of droughts, floods, hailstorms, cloud-bursts even rich farmers suffer huge damages and losses. Taxation would only add as one more calamity to farmers albeit man-made.
- The attitude and behavior of tax administrators have been arbitrary and authoritarian. Further computation of agricultural income is tricky task. Thus the possibility of harassment of farmers by tax officials cannot be ruled out.
Issues arising out of this move-
- Vote bank politics and political reluctance-
Farmers form the majority share of the population and have high political worth for political parties. Hence no political party wants to establish itself as anti-farmer.
- Difficulty in computing taxable income in agriculture-
The largely informal nature of agriculture makes it difficult to bring objectivity and transparency in taxing the agricultural income.
- Agriculture, a state subject-
Being a state subject central government cannot form uniform taxation policy for agriculture. Further different states could have differential policies could make agriculture in one state attractive and in other a discouraging.
- Low productivity and taxation cannot go hand in hand-
The case for treating agriculture on a par with other sectors is thus clear. But policymakers must also show equal care and urgency in addressing the structural issues facing the sector. This includes, among many, reforms to the broken agricultural supply chain that still leaves farmers at the mercy of middlemen cartels. Such reforms are crucial if farming is to become a sustainable enterprise in the long run. Else, a tax on high-income farmers will result only in driving resources away from agriculture into other sectors. It would make no difference to poorer farmers stuck in agriculture, merely because of the lack of opportunities.
Union and state governments first must look at improving the plight of farmers by creating sustainable agricultural infrastructure, making market condition attractive and agriculture a high return profession before taxing it.