SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 June 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: Poverty and developmental issues
Diabetes is becoming common among people of “Low Socio-Economic Status (SES)” living in cities and towns in the more affluent states, shows an ongoing study funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the union Ministry of Health.
Extent of diabetes in India-
- Even among the urban poor, the physical activity is decreasing and calorie intake through the junk food is increasing. For eg most of them prefer to use 2-wheelers now rather than walk or cycle.
- Migrants from rural areas to cities have been found to be adopting to the urban lifestyle which promotes physical inactivity and high calorie food intake.
- A study conducted by Dr Vijay Vishwanathan, chief diabetologist at Chennai’s M V Hospital for Diabetes, found that people of lower socio-economic status in urban areas had diabetes due to an increasing sedentary life, consumption of carbohydrates, and lower intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Another factor was environmental pollution, as a majority of their homes faced the road.”
- Most of the urban poor don’t go for regular medical or health check-ups, result of which is that early symptoms of diabetes are neglected and no preventive measures are taken.
- The treatment for the diabetes is expensive one (at least Rs 40 per day) and cannot be afforded by most of the urban poor.
- It leads to the high out-of-pocket expenditure for those who decide to undergo treatment.
- It is also leading to more numbers of premature deaths among the urban poor.
- It is leading to high number of mortality rate among the urban poor compared to other urban citizens.
- The social cost due to death of a earning person by diabetes cannot even be measured as it hampers or halts the overall progress of the whole family or persons dependent on them.
Nature of intervention needed to address this issue-
- Through policy measures-
Adoption of a multi-pronged strategy that includes cheap diagnostics, free health checkups, counseling on healthy lifestyle, diet charts for fast recovery.
Cheap and subsidized treatment must be made available to those who have already affected by diabetes.
- Awareness campaigns-
Spreading awareness among urban poor for taking healthy diets and need for daily physical activity.
Importance of sports, exercises, yoga etc should be promoted and made to integrate in daily routine.
- Through school education-
Making school goers informed and aware of the diseases like diabetes, their causes and steps needs to be taken, could make great impact on reducing the occurrences of diabetes.
- Focusing on women-
In a society like India, a woman of the house controls the food habits and kind of food consumed in a family. Thus by educating the women large-scale difference can be made in efforts to control the spread of the diabetes.
Diabetes is emerging as life threatening disease not only in rich families but also in poor and low income families. Holistic approach is needed to control the spread and extent of it. Concentrated efforts by government through strengthening ground level health delivery system and active engagement of NGOs is required to resolved the menace of diabetes.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
Though India follows largely British political system, there are both similarities and difference in their election processes. These similarities and differences have been summed up as follows.
Comparing and contrasting the electoral system of India and Britain-
- The first significant difference is that in India, the Election Commission of India (ECI) decides the dates for the elections, whereas in the UK, the date was always decided by the prime minister, giving the ruling party a political advantage. This surely went against the principle of a level playing field. In 2011, therefore, the old system was changed to a fixed date election — May 7, every five years. However there is no clarity what happens to this date if mid-term election takes place.
- India’s Lok-Sabha and Britain’s House of Commons are counterparts of each-other to which voters directly elect their representatives. But the size of the house and the parliamentary constituencies differ enormously. The size of the Indian electorate is 20 times that of the UK which almost corresponds to the state of Rajasthan. Despite the small population, the House of Commons has a huge strength of 650 MPs as against 543 in India. The average number of electors for each of these MPs is about 70,000 while India has an average of 1.6 million electors. Campaign styles and logistics thus are worlds apart.
- In the UK, campaigning is much cheaper, confined to door to door visits by candidates or agents, and TV debates. Paid political advertising on TV and radio is not permitted — this is unthinkable in India where mass media, despite the exorbitant costs, is the backbone of campaigns. Paid news, which is rampant in India, is unheard of in the UK. There is a cap on election expenditure of both the candidates and the parties in the UK, whereas in India, it extends only to the candidates.
- The participation of voters in the UK was the same with a total turnout of 66.1 per cent against 66.4 per cent in India in 2014; however, over the years, it’s coming down in the UK and going up in India, which is result of the voter education programme started by the ECI in 2010.
- Youth apathy has been common to both, though the ECI’s efforts to increase youth participation have had a dramatic effect, especially since the launching of the National Voters Day, focussed on young persons, leading to an addition of nearly 120 million voters (three UKs!) between the last two elections.
- India is also one-up using electronic voting machines (EVMs) since 1998 while the demand for electronic voting in the UK has never been very audible. The clamour for internet or online voting however is gathering slow momentum in both countries.
- The biggest plus for the UK is that their system is very clean, with no violence, booth capturing, no impersonation and no rigging. For India, this is a constant struggle. Their system is very trusting: The UK is the only country in the world where no identity proof is required. No photo on the electoral rolls. No marking of fingers. There are no party agents in the booth to verify the voter’s identity. There is no police near polling stations, whereas, in India, a booth has to be secured like a fort. India is accused of killing the festival of democracy; the British are happy with quiet, civilized polling.
- A very significant difference is that poll day is not a holiday. To enable working class persons to vote, the voting hours are long — 7 am to 10 pm. They normally vote either early in the morning or late evening. Housewives and the elderly vote during the day. So, the scene is never chaotic.
- Both countries follow the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system of election, where the candidate getting the highest number of votes is declared elected. Questions are often raised about the fairness of the system. In the UK, it snowballed to the extent that a referendum was held in 2011, though it failed with 68 to 32 per cent vote (with a low turnout of 42 per cent). Many questioned the fairness of the result as the government conducted only perfunctory publicity about it. In India, the demand for replacing FPTP with Proportional Representation has become louder after the 2014 general election, when a party (the BSP) with the third largest vote share in the country ended up with zero shares in parliamentary seats.
Questions have sometimes been raised about the logistics and management of elections in the UK. In the 2010 and 2015 UK election, there were complaints about postal ballots and some polling stations, even in London, falling short of ballot papers before the poll’s end, unthinkable in India. Indian election management, despite its mind-boggling problems, like the Maoist insurgency, militancy, the constant shadow of terrorism, is quite fail-safe.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed in June 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003.These countries, except for Uzbekistan, had been members of the Shanghai Five group, founded on 26 April 1996 in Shanghai. India and Pakistan have joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Why should India take the SCO seriously?
India had long awaited for the membership of SCO. India’s membership of the SCO is a manifestation of the reality that India’s interests are as much in the Indian Ocean as the Eurasian landmass. Srinagar and Leh are nearly at the same latitude as Kabul and north of Lhasa and Kandahar.
- Inclusion in a Eurasian body will improve India’s international standing given that SAARC is a non-starter. India’s entry into the SCO would help India get greater access to regional markets and its politico-strategic dynamics.
- SCO membership will give a boost to India’s ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’, which has been on a steady path for some time now. The policy was drafted in 2012 during the first India-Central Asia Dialogue. So far, four rounds of the dialogue have taken place, with the last one held in New Delhi in 2016.
- India’s foreign policy has become visibly proactive. It is attempting to leave its mark in regions such as Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Africa, as evidenced by Prime Minister Modi having visited as many as 45 countries since 2014. Apart from bilateral ties, India has been attempting to engage countries at the multilateral level, too. Recently, for instance, India hosted the annual meet of the African Development Bank in Gandhinagar.
- India’s full membership of the grouping would extend its reach to the entire Central Asian region where India has established itself as a major stakeholder in its peace and stability. That India is poised to play a constructive role in the heart of Asia is demonstrated by its interest in joining the SCO as full member.
- The SCO summit will provide an opportunity to address the menace of terrorism which has affected the peace and stability of the entire region. Most importantly, since the SCO has a mechanism to deal with the issue of terrorism, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, it will provide India with a platform to highlight terrorism and push Pakistan to address the problem.
- SCO membership will be India’s gateway to Central Asia, which is considered as one of the resource-rich regions in the world. The membership will allow India to have greater access to the region’s resources and facilitate further cooperation with countries of the region.
How India should use SCO?
- The SCO membership offers multiple opportunities to Indian diplomacy. First, it provides a platform for India to engage Pakistan in a wider regional setting. Our ties with Islamabad are not going to be permanently frozen as they are now. In fact, the SCO platform may be a good way to unfreeze them by pushing Pakistan to enable India’s overland access to other SCO countries. It is true that Pakistan can always be counted on to cut its nose to spite its face. But some prodding by other members like China and Russia could help and it is difficult to believe that Pakistan will maintain its blockade forever.
- Second, it is an opening for India to reach out to China, bilaterally as well as to deal with Pakistan. China is seeking to promote its China-Pakistan economic corridor. But Chinese investments in Pakistan will not provide the returns they seek, unless the Pakistani economy is integrated with the larger South Asian region. China is not unaware of India’s importance as a market and as a destination of its overseas investment. It is for this reason, it has taken a fairly relaxed stance on New Delhi’s rejection of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Third, it provides India with a hedge for its maritime strategy which emphasises cooperation and developing security networks with the US, Japan, Australia and Vietnam. With the US pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its posture on the erstwhile Asian pivot uncertain, India needs to shore up its continental strategy. Even Japan is now backtracking a bit and seeking to reach out to China by supporting BRI and considering membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
- Moscow has never been too enthusiastic about China’s goals of closer integration of China, Russia and Central Asia because it considers its former republics as part of its own sphere of influence. Even today, though there is formal cooperation between the BRI and the Eurasian Union, the latter keeps Chinese trade away from Central Asia, to the extent that it can. Russia is an old friend of India because they have a congruence of interests. The SCO will now have a roughly triangular shape with China, Russia and India being three important points and given China’s growing military power and its economic strength, India and Russia may find common cause in shaping the future of Eurasia.
As India enter the SCO, it need to look at the larger context of Asian geopolitics, and the inroads China has already made and plans to make through BRI. As PM Modi hinted, India is not without options such as its Chahbahar scheme and the International North–South Transport Corridor. But this requires resolute leadership, especially since the Trump administration seems determined to rock the Iran agreement boat.
General Studies – 3
Topic: IPR related issues
4) One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) articulated by the United Nations in 2015 is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. Examine how does robust intellectual property (IP) environment will help India achieve this goal. (200 Words)
The United Nations Organisation put forward Sustainable development goals to eradicate social, economic and environmental problems and provide humane conditions for each and every individual. “Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages” is one of the 17 SDGs that will be achieved by 2030.
Globally, great progress in medicine innovation has been made. Unfortunately, the pace of biomedical innovation has not been up to expectation in India. As a result, Indian patients have not fully reaped the benefits of the unlimited potential of medical innovation and new drug discovery. The basic problem seems to be that innovation is not adequately incentivised and IP is not fully protected in India. It is crucial for innovative biopharmaceutical companies to reap the benefits provided by a robust IPR system that ensures investments in developing life-saving medicines are justified. New medical technologies and treatments are born out of proprietary inventions critical to improving patient care, spurring economic growth and strengthening an innovation economy. For the long-term benefits of improving patient health and economic growth, innovators must be able to secure and effectively enforce patents, and protect their intellectual property.
Indian scenario –
A robust intellectual property environment will ensure affordable health care, high global innovation index, meet India’s welfare objectives, reduce time to market of drugs and improve ease of doing business of the pharmaceutical sector by simplifying the business environment.
- Tax concessions- strong IPR policy environment will foster innovation by offering tax concessions in research and development of the pharmaceutical sector which is critical to medical care and public health, and foster increased private investment in healthcare.
- Evergreening of licenses , compulsory licensing – Debarring evergreening of licenses ensures that only a significant improvement in the drugs will be patented this regulates the drug pricing mechanism, compulsory licensing allows essential drugs to be available to public in developing and underdeveloped economy, thus providing affordable health care.
- Changing nature of diseases – Rise in non-communicable diseases calls for advanced medical innovations, thus a system of pre and post grant opposition ensures that only deserving patents are granted.
- Data exclusivity – DE is not specifically provided thus generic drug markets don’t have to perform separate clinical trials, this keeps a check on price of drug; however data exclusivity might act as an incentive to the pharma sector for research and development.
- Global scenario – Global drug brands led by US companies have been pushing for changes to India’s intellectual property rules for quite some time now. Big Pharma companies and their Govt. have lobbied to force India to dilute provisions. They have often complained about India’s price controls and marketing restrictions. A robust IPR policy framework that strikes a balance between international standards(TRIPS) and domestic circumstances is the need of the hour.
- The National IPR policy 2016 – It encompasses enforcement and adjudication mechanisms for combating IPR infringements attempts to treat generic drugs as spurious or counterfeit and undertake stringent measures to curb manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs.
Innovation, both in drugs that cater to unmet medical needs and in the delivery of health services, is essential for achieving the health goal. Fundamental to innovation is a world-class intellectual property system that provides the assurance needed to incentivise research and encourage sustained investment over many years in order to develop new products and technologies. It is important for India to enforce an intellectual property (IP) environment that recognises the value of medicine and rewards innovation. Thus , India’s commitment to SDG goal 3 necessitates a strong IPR framework. India is all set to become the youngest country by 2020 and a healthy workforce is a demographic asset.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
5) In the light of growing competition for IT services business from other geographies, examine the future potential of Indian IT sector and measures it should take to face this growing competition. (200 Words)
Indian IT sector is majorly known for its outsourcing Jobs and excellence in technical innovation at low cost. Due to the Global Slow down and sense of protectionism in developed nations brought a chaotic situation for Indian firms.
Why the Slowing IT industry –
- diminishing growth and profitability of IT giants
- for the first time since 2009, infosys, TCS and wipro (which account for 25% of India’s IT business) grew slower than industry average.
- profitability also took a hit. Top IT firms will lay off at least 50k engineers this year
- falling stock prices – news of gloomy future hit share prices of most IT firms
Challenges for India’s IT sector –
- rising automation in the world-developed countries lead in this area
- India is just a ‘back-office’ hub
- increasing protectionism, globally viz. H1B visa restrictions , outsourcing will decline
- other competetive economies – countries like Philippines, Taiwan, etc. are giving stiff competition to India. They provide good quality services at a lower price.
- hyper-competitive global market
Following measures can be initiated by the IT firms –
- IT is changing from manual to automation based dogma. Automation process requires high skilled personnel. So, it is better to train employees towards automation. Indian Tech giants like TCS and HCL already started to move ahead with it.
- Innovative products and On-time delivery products holds good value in the Global Market. Indian firms should invest their resources in innovating products to create new demand in the global market.
- Indian MNC’s feel hard to deal with Indian labor laws. It is right time for Indian IT giants, to push government to make a reform in labor law, which enhance their profit without the expense of Workers basic liberty.
- continual innovation and upgradation – A greater emphasis should be put on to the adapting and enhancing the newer technologies like Cloud computing, Big data, Artificial Intelligence, Automation of low end jobs at higher rate. ‘creative destruction’ is the only way to survive a hyper-competitive sector.
- create new markets – Exploring other regions around the world like in Africa, Latin America, and Asia pacific, instead of completely concentrating on the North America and European Union.
- Value chain strengthening – integrate value-chains vertically and horizontally, deepen relations with existing clients, forge new relations across the value chain.
Indeed, Indian IT firm should change their perspective towards Indian market. Indian Market is one of world’s largest consumers market. IT firms may innovate their products which suitable for local need and creation of new regional demand, would enable them to be in stable position.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
6) What were the objectives of setting up of India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO)? In the light of public opposition to INO, how do you think public support can be mobilised in favour of scientific research in India? Critically comment. (200 Words)
INDIA based neutrino observatory is a particle physics research observatory. The objective of the INO project is to study atmospheric neutrinos in a deep cavern in BODI WEST HILLS in Theni district of Tamilnadu. Neutrinos are tiny particles which can travel at near light speed and almost massless, which are born from violent atmospheric events such as exploding stars or gamma rays burst . When this project is completed, the main magnetised iron calorimeter (ICAL) experiment include the world’s most massive magnet, four times larger than the 12,500-tonne magnet in the Compact Muon Solenoid detector at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Public Opposition to INO –
- People fear that explosives used in construction are threat to environment.
- Secondly safety studies for second phase of neutrino experiment have not been done.
- since neutrino is radioactive particle it can add the additional radioactive wastes to the country.
- STUDY NEUTRINO: The observatory would conduct basic research on elementary particle called neutrino.
- DEVELOP TECHNICAL SUPERIORITY: A large number of countries are doing research in this area and India can prove its worth by being in the elite group, by conducting research on it.
- WORLD CLASS FACILITY: It would provide a platform to Indian students to pursue cutting edge research in the field of physics, while being in India.
- TECHNICAL ADVANCEMENT: By using its applications in the real world, technical advancement in real life can be achieved.
Gaining public support –
- Scientists & research scholars can organise seminars in higher educational institutions to develop interest of young minds of India towards science projects.
- NGOs can play a significant role in spreading awareness among the local masses with the help of local government.
- Training teachers to impart right information about neutrinos in schools by assigning general projects to students & organising debates.
- Spreading awareness through journals, newspapers & documentaries portraying examples of countries where project is already been under operation & what they have achieved.
As every coin has two aspects, in the same way each & every development project whether scientific or other has its pros & cons. But development is the need of hour without which India’s dream to emerge as a super power & developed economy could not be acheived. There is need to choose a mid path by establishing a balance between development & environment both. Where Government plays a significant role in boosting infrastructure financial & physical to promote more R&D. And rest responsibilities lie on local masses by providing rational support to these R&D & projects.