SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 May 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Urbanization – problems and remedies
1) “As India urbanises, acknowledging the formal and informal interactions and incorporating them to understand local politics can provide valuable insights into our urbanisation trajectory.” In the light of recent elections to local bodies in Delhi and Mumbai, elaborate the statement. (200 Words)
The urban body elections are soul of democratic governance in the urban local government set up of country established by 74th amendment act 1992. The very framework of urban local governance is highly formal codified in the constitution of India. In parallel to this formal structure there exists an equally important and efficient informal setup that assists in the process of governance. The synergetic interactions between formal and informal institutions together work in the harmony to implement the welfare objective of nation.
Through democratic decentralization process power is spreader from the top to bottom. The aim of such decentralization is to expand the field of authority and specialization and to enable the people to make more and more participation in politics and administrative affairs.
To achieve these objectives, new institutions are created and the old and existing institutions are reorganized or remodeled and reformed. Many informal organisations such as NGOs and voluntary organisations play crucial role by ensuring the answerability from the government at local level.
Through this democratic decentralization a relation of closeness and co-operation is created between the governmental administrative system and the non-governmental leadership and controlled.
Right to services:
Formal and informal both types of organisations are playing their due role in ensuring the right to services in time in various states of India. The urbanisation trajectory in India closely linked with right to services.
Representation to disadvanced sections of society:
Thee 74 th amendment has made it mandatory to allocate 33% seats to woman and socially backward classes at the all levels of local governance. This provision has made India one of the highest countries in the world having woman in political power at local level.
Planning and execution
There is need to take into consideration the various suggestion usually put forth by informal organisations in the field of planning. The smart city mission has taken care of this crucial aspect by encouraging the informal sector in the implementation of the scheme.
Empowering urban local bodies and providing them with resources is a key requirement for tackling urbanization challenges in India. The role played by informal organisations needs enough attention and encouragement in order to utilize their existing potential to maximum extent.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
A head of state is the public persona that officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country’s form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a purely ceremonial figurehead with limited or no executive or concurrently the head of government.
In countries with parliamentary governments, the head of state is typically a ceremonial figurehead that does not actually guide day-to-day government activities and may not be empowered to exercise any kind of secular political authority. In countries where the head of state is also the head of government, the head of state serves as both a public figurehead and the actual highest-ranking political leader who oversees the executive branch (e.g., the President of the United States).
- The President of the Republic of India is the Head of State of India and the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. The President is indirectly elected by the people through elected members of both the houses of the Parliament of India, the Legislative Assemblies of all the states of India and the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Puducherry, as well as, the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and serves for a renewable term of five years.
- The election is held in accordance to the system of Proportional representation by means of the Single transferable vote method. The voting takes place by secret ballot system. The manner of election of President is provided by Article 55 of the Constitution. Each elector casts a different number of votes. The general principle is that the total number of votes cast by Members of Parliament equals the total number of votes cast by State Legislators. Also, legislators from larger states cast more votes than those from smaller states. Finally, the number of legislators in a state matters; if a state has few legislators, then each legislator has more votes; if a state has many legislators, then each legislator has fewer votes.
- Since the Referendum on the Direct Election of the President of the French Republic in 1962, the President has been directly elected by universal suffrage; he or she was previously elected by an electoral college. After the Referendum on the Reduction of the Mandate of the President of the French Republic, 2000, the length of the term was reduced to five years from the previous seven; the first election to a shorter term was held in 2002.
- French presidential elections are conducted via run-off voting which ensures that the elected President always obtains a majority: if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round of voting, the two highest-scoring candidates arrive at a run-off. After the president is elected, he or she goes through a solemn investiture ceremony called a “passation des pouvoirs” (“handing over of powers”)
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
The unprecedented and wide control of government over the citizens through the Aadhar is being considered or claimed as beginning of surveillance state in India. The history of evolution of Aadhar is considered as the proof of it.
Nature of evolution of Aadhar in recent years-
- The beginning was made by announcing that Aadhaar would be a voluntary facility. But by now it has become compulsory for every resident to get enrolled by law.
- One of the early objectives of Aadhar was that the purpose of Aadhaar is to help welfare schemes. The critiques of Aadhar have claimed the reversal that government has used welfare schemes to promote Aadhar by creating mass dependence on it irrespective of the consequences.
- Aadhar had also other objective of fighting against the corruption. It was claimed that Aadhar would ensure money to the right person. According to its critiques Aadhaar can prevent only some types of corruption, mainly identity fraud. If a contractor fleeces the government by over-invoicing, Aadhaar does not help. Nor does it help when a dealer gives people less than their due under the public distribution system.
- The government also claimed that Aadhar had encouraged and enabled people to save. The critiques have claimed that these saving figures have no solid base.
- Government claimed the technology used for Aadhar enabled welfare services is flawless. While it can be true for most of the cases, there have been no evidences of 100 percent success.
- There is an ambiguity about the relation between Aadhaar and citizenship. Aadhaar is for all residents, whether they are citizens or not. But then, why has enrolment been stalled in Assam? And why is Aadhaar enrolment in Assam being linked to the National Register of Citizens? Aadhaar deprivation could easily be used there as a weapon against illegal migrants, or communities branded as illegal migrants.
- The confidentiality of the identity information collected at the time of Aadhaar enrolment could be undermined. The initial draft of the Aadhaar Act, known as the National Identity Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, did protect that information. But the final version does not. On the contrary, it creates a framework that enables the government to share or sell that information, except for the core biometrics, with any “requesting entity”.
All the above arguments of critiques of Aadhar should be answered by government and legislation as important as Aadhar should be legitimized in the eyes of public. The Supreme Court should keep close vigil on the misuse of Aadhar by government regarding privacy rights and entitlement of welfare schemes.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
4) While Westinghouse Electric Co. is slated to build 6 nuclear reactors in India, several prominent voices have called for India not to enter into a contract with the bankrupt firm. In your opinion, what should India do? Substantiate. (200 Words)
Introduction :- The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was an American manufacturing company. It was founded on January 8, 1886, as Westinghouse Electric Company and later renamed Westinghouse Electric Corporation by inventor and entrepreneur George Westinghouse (1846–1914). George Westinghouse had previously founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. The corporation purchased CBS broadcasting company in 1995 and became CBS Corporation in 1997.
This US nuclear industry giant, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in March this year on account of mismanagement and billions of dollars of cost overruns for the construction of four nuclear reactors in the US states of Georgia and South Carolina.
Within days of the announcement on Westinghouse, which is slated to build six nuclear reactors in India at Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh, several prominent voices called for India not to enter into a contract with the bankrupt company.
India should not sign the deal:-
- Westinghouse going into bankruptcy causes much larger problems than just the financial consequences. With the bankruptcy filing, no creditors will come forward to lend the approximately $7 billion needed to bankroll the India project in the first phase.
- In terms of capital costs, each Westinghouse 1000 MWe reactor will cost approximately three times the cost of two 500 MWe India-designed heavy-water reactors today, and perhaps eight times the cost of equivalent coal-powered supercritical power plants.
- Not a single AP1000 Westinghouse reactor is in operation anywhere in the world today.
- In view of these difficulties, it is best to completely keep away from agreeing to purchase the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. In fact, the current status of world energy technology does not warrant the inclusion and consideration of nuclear power of any kind in the energy basket of our nation.
However similar problem had aroused with Areva. The French Areva has already been in deep financial trouble for longer than Westinghouse. Areva is in effect already bankrupt and has already stopped issuing financial statements. It has been taken over by the government, which is trying to revive it.Areva is expected to build two big 1650 MW reactors in India initially and six in total.
Many observers then thought that India would back out of the deal but they came back with renewed confidence in the collaboration.
Areva offered a bit of incentive just as they had offered the Chinese. L&T and other homegrown companies may be involved in providing some of the parts. So we will have some pieces “made in India.
Hence giving a relook to deal is necessary:-
- Contract says for establishing 6 III rd generation reactors which will be a much needed push for India’s nuclear power program. These reactors are built on AP1000 technology and are far more compact and safe than the earlier ones.
- Toshiba is willing to sell Westinghouse, if India issues a bid to buy the company while raising funds via PPP modes, it can be a out of the box and far sighting decision. Rest of the financial requirements can be met by bringing US & Japanese counterparts on to tables.
- Westinghouse is building 3rd generation reactors in other countries as UK, France, Germany etc. This will bring India at par with nuclear power countries, which is diplomatically a big step toward achieving NSG membership.
- This deal can take Indo -US relationship at new highs. As this decision may save many jobs in America. At this time when many Indian job’s in America are facing a wrath of revised visa norms this deal can be used as a bargaining instrument.
Conclusion :- Not making a bid will bring no gain and might even disrupt the India-US nuclear deal if no agreement is reached on the construction of the six reactors by the belaboured company. but India needs to be extra cautious in its negotiations for setting up nuclear power plants. Other options can be South Korea. They are building four reactors in UAE. They undercut Westinghouse and Areva in the bidding. For India, the Russians have been only reliable option right now, which is going forward strong.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Introduction :- A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that is equivalent to a brand-name product in dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, performance, and intended use. The term may also refer to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising, or to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than the brand name under which the drug is sold.
The concept of generic prescription is widely accepted in various parts of the world. Nevertheless, it has failed to gain popularity in India due to factors such as non availability and distrust on the product quality. However, since 2012, the Government of West Bengal, India, has initiated exclusive generic drug outlets called “fair price medicine shop” (FPMS) inside the government hospital premises in a “public-private-partnership” model. This study was undertaken to evaluate the experience and attitude of patients who were consuming generic drugs purchased from these FPMS.
Recently, the government has asked the doctors to prescribe generic medicines in place of branded drugs. The merits of this decisions are many, for instance-
- it will bring down drug prices and expand access to affordable health solutions. As per the latest National Sample Survey Office survey on healthcare, in 2014, medicines emerged as a principal component of total health expenses—72% in rural areas and 68% in urban areas. For a country with one of the highest per capita out-of-pocket expenditures on health
- It will free hundreds of households from the phenomena of medical poverty trap.
- The nexus between doctors and pharma companies will be disincentivized.
- With the promotion of generic drug consumption, the growth engine of indian economy in general and of generic industry in particular will keep rolling at high pace.
However, the compulsory prescription has certain demerits as well.
- Generics are found to be of substandard quality in many cases. And hence there are concerns of efficacy of such drugs.
- No more than 1% of generic drugs sold in India undergo quality tests. There is also a lack of data integrity in generic firms which makes inspection and verification of drug quality extremely difficult.
- Poor hygiene standards of the manufacturing plant of generics also restricts them from being a good substitute for branded medicines.
- The process gives a lot of power into the hands of medicine shops and thus compromises patients safety.
Though the policy perspective should be welcomed, the loopholes need to be plugged as soon as possible. Ensuring the correctness of pharmacist, making the patients literate, increasing the number of drug inspectors and ensuring the efficacy of Medical Council of India could be few supplementary steps.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian economy – growth and development
6) An ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act of 1949 has been issued to empower RBI to address NPA and other banking problems. Examine whether the ordinance is sufficient to address banking crisis in India. (200 Words)
Introduction :- The banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance 2017 amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and it makes following changes in act:-
- It inserts two new Sections (viz. 35AA and 35AB) after Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 enables the Union Government to authorize the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to direct banking companies to resolve specific stressed assets by initiating insolvency resolution process, where required.
- Section 35AA:The Central Government may by order authorise the Reserve Bank to issue directions to any banking company or banking companies to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect of a default, under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
Explanation – For the purposes of this section, “default” has the same meaning assigned to it in clause (12) of section 3 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Section 35AB: (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 35A, the Reserve Bank may, from time to time, issue directions to the banking companies for resolution of stressed assets.
(2) The Reserve Bank may specify one or more authorities or committees with such members as the Reserve Bank may appoint or approve for appointment to advise banking companies on resolution of stressed assets.
Current NPA situation :- According to RBI October to December report, the gross Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of Public Sector Banks are just under Rs. 4 lakh crore, and they collectively account for 90% of such rotten apples in the country’s banking portfolio. In terms of net NPAs, their share is even higher – at 92% of the total bad loans reported so far in the banking system.
Benefits of Ordinance:-
- This action of the Union Government will have a direct impact on effective resolution of stressed assets, particularly in consortium or multiple banking arrangements, as the RBI will be empowered to intervene in specific cases of resolution of non-performing assets, to bring them to a definite conclusion.
- The formation of such committees proposed by ordinance will help lenders take decisions without a fear of prosecution.
- The ordinance is passed at crucial time when Indian banks are suffering from mounting bad loan problem.
However, these measures are only short term in nature. We need to address the structural issues.
- Management of PSU Banks – Government should implement P J Nayak Committee recommendations in totality. Banks should have functional autonomy as well as ability to run as commercial enterprises without any government interference.
- Bond Market – India needs a robust bond market for financing long term infrastructural projects. PSU banks lack the capacity to evaluate these projects as well as their financing.
- The amount of 70,000 cr for bank recapitalization is not sufficient to meet the Basel norms. Therefore, the government should either provide more capital or facilitate alternative investment channel.
- Though the Bank Board Bureau has been established and functioning smoothly, time is ripe to consider other recommendation of P. J. Nayak committee.
- Amendment to anti-corruption law
- The government need to fix the policy-level stress affecting sectors such as telecom, power and highways.
- Reviving private investment by crowding-in impact of public investment so as to revive growth cycle which will automatically put the banking crisis on correction mode.