SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 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: Salient features of Indian society
1) Differentiate between science and faith. These days, Indian society is witnessing instances where science is used to prove faith. What are the outcomes of these instances? Do you think government should promote science over faith? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Science is a stream of knowledge that is based on logic, proof, universality and is secular in nature. Faith, on the other hand, is an inward manifestation and is non universal and often divided on various lines.
There is a thin line between logic and irrationality and between faith and science. If we believe in the existence of Ganesh, we are following a faith. The moment we try and explain him through science, we are not only misusing science but we are also putting a question mark on our faith in him. Faith does not require the reasoning of science and hence we should always keep the two at a safe distance.
Many times faith is misunderstood as religion which is absurd. Science is based on logic(experimental data) where as faith is a result of inner belief that relies on intangible sources.
But sadly science is being used in many ways to lure people in “their” faith –
- Practice of fasting as followed in religions like Islam, Jainism is advocated as scientifically proven as beneficial for health. This type of absurd practice claimed life of 13 year old Jain girl who was on a fast for 68 days.
- Some sects of Muslims are scared to take vaccines .They believe “scientifically” that taking vacccines may make them impotent. This was claimed to be scientifically proved by their religious heads( this shows the absurd reality )
- At the 102nd Science Congress various research papers were showed to prove existence of flying jets (vayuu yaan).
- Also it is being shown that Cow exhales oxygen and not carbon dioxide.
Outcome may be:
- Minority community may feel to produce similar line of thought.
- Trying to prove glory of a religion may further lead to religious fundamentalism.
- The scientific community may be divided nationally as pro or anti religion–a loss to India.
- May diverge the little resources we have towards proving religion so compromising the R &D.
WAY FORWARD – –
The government should promote science but not at the cost of faith. The government must take a balanced approach in promoting science and eliminate the social evils that are practiced based solely on beliefs. But the government shouldn’t write down faith because faith can do good too. Simply promoting science at the cost of faith can be disastrous as a seen in the world happiness report that shows USA considered to scientifically advanced in the 19th position whereas poorer countires like Nordic countries who inculcate values in their way of life in the top places in happiness index ranking.
Topic: Locational factors; Urbanization
IT industry contributes significantly in terms of economy and Bengaluru has emerged as the hub of IT in India, sometimes called the Silicon Valley of the East.
Reasons for Bengaluru to emerge as the IT hub –
- History: British had already set up their cantonment board in the area.
- Geography: When the R&D industries were looking for an ideal location for chip industry, Bengaluru was identified as a location with ideal temperature and environment for the development with least expenditure for laboratories
- Talent base: The industries are hugely attracted towards the talent that the city and country has to offer.
- Competition: With new industries forming their base, the government has enabled for a healthy competition and innovation.
- Early Start : After Independence, Bangalore became home to 6 PSU’s. In 1972, ISRO was established in the city to have a synergistic relationship with HAL.
- Start-up hub as well: With the right environment, thousands of start-ups have splurged and many mergers and acquisitions have occurred.
- Y2K problem : The Y2K problem, which had the potential to affect computers worldwide helped to bring the city into sharp focus and ride the IT boom like never before.
Transformation of Bengaluru with the growing IT industry –
- Socio-economical: The cost of living has gone up and the lifestyle has seen a transformation.
- Cultural: With the city attracting talent from all ove the country, a mix of culture and languages can be seen.
- Language barrier: As also mentioned in the Economic Survey, language does not seem to be a barrier for those choosing to move to the city.
- Psychological: People are open to new ideas, and exploring a new kind of lving hitherto unknown.
- Educational: With the IIM, IISc and the technical universities focusing on research, the policies directed at promoting innovation are being transformed into actions producing a skilled resource for the industry as well.
- Planning and building the city: It is important to know that faster growth at such speed has led to ill-planned building of the city.
- Ecological: With an enormous growth in the vehicles, the pollution has surpassed previous baselines.
Way forward –
It is important to consider planning as an important precursor to building the city and various measures have to be incorporated in the policy for planned actions.More emphasis must be laid on R&D in the industry and a mere outsourcing and services without production led growth is not desirable. Bengaluru has the chance to be a model city for other cities to follow, provided it chooses to follow a planned and a sustainable eco-friendly growth.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;
Causes of current agitation:
- Market instability: The rise of input costs, fall in output prices and decreased productivity are the major concerns.
- Monetary policy: While the policy directed at inflation target seems desirable, the impact of lower inflation (fall in prices of agricultural commodities) has to be given particular heed and analyzed accordingly.
- Demonetization: The cash crunch caused and the reliance of farmer community on delayed payments and middlemen can not be ignored.
- Increased output due to better monsoon in 2016: This has led to fall in prices (more supply) and has a role in causing distress. The return on the amount invested is much lower than expected ( eg, soyabean).
- Poll promises and higher expectations: have led to the farmers seek help from the government only to be disappointed.
- Loan waivers: The announcement of waiver in one state has led to farmers in other states expect similar concessions, at times, despite not being in distress.
Govt. has taken a no. of steps like –
- Dalwai committee on doubling farmer’s income by 2022
- Arvind Subramaniyam committee on introduction for GM pulses
- Farmer’s Index by Niti Aayog.
- Swaminathan Commission report(2006) on agriculture reforms.
The Govt has also taken significant steps on it’s poll promises. It has focused on resolving the key issues and have attempted a fresh re-look in the much neglected marginal farmers concern. Some initiatives being:
- e-NAM and APMC Act — to have better price for produce.
- Impetus in setting up Mega Food Park
- PM Fasal Bima Yojana – One Crop One Rate — with no cap on the premium and coverage on natural events – cyclone, drought etc.
- PM krishi Sinchayi Yojana – Integration on multifarious schemes – Dept of Agriculture, Land, Water Ministry to bring more cultivable area under assured irrigation – Har Khet ko Paani, Per Drop More Crop
- Soil Health Card – Inputs on NPK ratio to be maintained for particular crop
- Geo referencing to settle claims and speed up the same
- APMC reforms, land holding and consolidation reforms, extension services, storage facilities (Shanta Kumar Committee report.
- One Crop Policy of Kerela can be a model law.
- KCC loans to women on joint pattas collateral.
- Permission for Horticulture and other perishables to be sold in open market(about 40-42% get wasted)
- Shift farmers out of agriculture through skill dev. Like SANKALP,STRIVE and Mahila Haat
- Consistent export/Import policy and MSP policy for crops other than wheat and paddy.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established by G7 to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. It can impose sanctions, restrictions on certain countries, issue advisories and chart out model policy agenda to be followed by other countries.
Its objectives are to set various standards, and effectively implement the legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and to protect the integrity of the international financial system.
- Each country should take immediate steps to ratify and to implement fully the 1999 United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
- Each country should criminalize the financing of terrorism.
- Freezing and confiscating terrorist assets.
- Reporting suspicious transactions related to terrorism
- Countries should take all possible measures to ensure that they do not provide safe havens for terror financing.
- Countries should take measures to require financial institutions, including money remitters, to include accurate and meaningful originator information on funds transfers and related messages that are sent.
- The FATF monitors the countries’ progress in implementing the recommendations, by peer-views of the member countries. On the basis of the ‘scale’ of adherence, member countries get divided into ‘cooperative’ and ‘non-cooperative’ (Black list) countries.
- Countries that figure on its blacklist face significant problems accessing the international banking system because of the stringent checks that financial institutions subject their transactions to.
FATF’S IMPORTANCE IN INDIA-PAKISTAN RELATIONS:-
Its is an established fact that Pakistan sponsors terrorism to destabilize India, it runs many terrorist camps on its soil and many terrorist groups are provided safe heaven by Pakistan and its military. FATF is an international terror finance watchdog, after 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008 FATF included Pakistan in its list of “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” commonly called the ‘FATF Blacklist’ that impose enhanced surveillance on the country’s financial system. This brought some respite to India in support of its claims that 26/11 attacks were framed on Pakistan soil under its indirect support.
However , Pakistan was removed from the blacklist as it established legal and regulatory framework as complied by FATF but concerns were raised over its failure to honour its commitments to act against the financing of groups like Lashkar. Also many proxy accounts are being run openly by these groups to raise funds and are not shut by Pakistan which also proves the inefficiency of FATF to enforce the compliance over its members.
FATF needs to tight its jaws over non cooperating countries and to properly stick by the UN resolution of 1267. Once Pakistan proves its commitment to curb terrorism on its soil, its relation with India would automatically start improving.
Topic: Formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
5) Impunity with which legislators in certain states have ignored the anti-defection law points to certain weaknesses in the processes and norms laid down in it. What are these weaknesses in anti-defection law? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Introduction :- The anti-defection law was passed by parliament in 1985. The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection. A member of parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any issue in contravention to the party’s whip. Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party. Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.
The law also made a few exceptions. Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demitted that post. A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds of its party legislators voted for the merger. The law initially permitted splitting of parties, but that has now been outlawed.
Experience so far :-
In the 24 years of this law, complaints have been made against 62 Lok Sabha MPs. Of these, 26 were disqualified. It is pertinent to note that ten of these disqualifications were after the trust vote of July 2008 (over India-US civil nuclear co-operation). Four cases were made against Rajya Sabha MPs (two in 1989 and two in 2008) and all were upheld. In state legislatures, up to 2004, out of 268 complaints, 113 were upheld.
Weaknesses in anti defection laws :-
The anti-defection law raises a number of questions, several of which have been addressed by the courts and the presiding officers.
- Does the law impinge on the right of free speech of the legislators? This issue was addressed by the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1992 (Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachilhu and others). The court said that “the anti-defection law seeks to recognise the practical need to place the proprieties of political and personal conduct…above certain theoretical assumptions.” It held that the law does not violate any rights or freedoms, or the basic structure of parliamentary democracy.
- What constitutes “voluntarily” resigning from a party? Various judgements and orders indicate that a member who publicly opposes the party or states his support for another party would be deemed to have resigned from his party. News reports may be used as evidence for this purpose.
- Can the decision of the presiding officer be challenged in the courts? The law states that the decision is final and not subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court struck down part of this condition. It held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the presiding officer gives his order. However, the final decision is subject to appeal in the High Courts and Supreme Court.
Issues for consideration
- Should the law be valid for all votes or only for those that determine the stability of the government (such as the confidence and no-confidence motions)? :- The main intent of the law was to deter “the evil of political defections” by legislators motivated by lure of office or other similar considerations. However, loss of membership is hardly a penalty in cases ahead of the scheduled time of general elections. It also loses significance if the House is likely to be dissolved. On the other hand, the voting behaviour may be affected even on issues not related to the stability of the government. A member may be unable to express his actual belief or the interests of his constituents. Therefore, a case may be made for restricting the law to confidence and no-confidence motions. The Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms (1990) recommended this change, while the Law Commission (170th report, 1999) suggested that political parties issue whips only when the government was in danger.
- Should the law apply only to pre-poll alliances? :- The rationale that a representative is elected on the basis of the party’s programme can be extended to pre-poll alliances. The Law Commission proposed this change with the condition that partners of such alliances inform the Election Commission before the elections.
- Should the judgement be made by the presiding officers? :- Several MPs had raised this issue at the time of passage of the law. The Supreme Court upheld the law in the Kihoto Hollohon The Goswami Committee, the Election Commission and the Venkatachaliah Commission to Review the Constitution (2002) have recommended that the decision should be made by the president or the governor on the advice of the Election Commission. This would be similar to the process for disqualification on grounds of office of profit.
- Should there be any additional penalties on defectors? :- The Venkatachaliah Commission recommended that defectors should be barred from holding any ministerial or remunerative political office for the remaining term of the House. It also said that the vote of any defector should not be counted in a confidence or no-confidence motion.
Conclusion :- There is no ambiguity in the legality of current provisions related to these issues. Any change would require legislative action. There is, however, need for public debate on the working of the anti-defection law.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Flexible Inflation Targeting-
A committee headed by then Dy Governor of RBI, Urjit Patel had recommended formulation of Monetary Policy Committee as a part of monetary policy reforms. According to this, RBI would adopt flexible inflation targeting regime and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has to maintain CPI within the 4 +/- 2 per cent band. The primary objective of monetary policy was thus ordained as one of maintaining price stability. The framework is expected to anchor medium-term inflation expectations around the CPI midpoint and would contribute to enhanced policy credibility.
How government influences RBI’s policy?
- Three members out of six would represent the government in MPC. Thus government can play influential role through advocating its views and suggestions.
- The sole objective of targeting inflation by MPC is directly inspired by the government’s own policy of stabilization.
- The government tends to affect the RBI’s policies on the basis of the annual financial statement and its inherent principle. The fiscal policy of the government directly affects the monetary policy of the RBI.
- The government may, if it considers necessary, convey its views, in writing, to the MPC from time to time.
- The intervention of the government with respect to managing the stressed asset like the NPA’s affects the RBI’s policy of dealing with it. RBI has come up with the policies like the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Asset (S4A) based on the SARFASI Act of the government.
- Government sometimes disapproves the policies of RBI publically to compel RBI to follow different strategies than existing ones.
- RBI is ultimately accountable to the government. MPC has to explain to the government, if it could not achieve its target of inflation controlling.
Influence of IMF:
- Analytical framework for Inflation Targeting Policy was outcome of a “technical collaboration” between the RBI and the IMF.
- The RBI is bound to maintain a minimum foreign exchange reserves as defined by the monetary policy of IMF.
- It is bound to open its monetary policy is consonance to the IMF’s notification. A closed policy may lead to the violation of the IMF regulations.
As an autonomous body, RBI will always try to assert her independence vis-à-vis government. It would be irrational to not to expect any friction between the two. In fact disagreements and debates between the two, if handled properly could result into better policies and monetary framework for country.
Climate change and Agriculture have complex and intricate relationship with each other with Climate change affecting agriculture adversely and latter in turn fueling the former.
Interrelationship between Climate change and agriculture-
Agriculture contributing to climate change-
- Agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and land cover changes. Ploughing fields’ releases carbon dioxide in the soil, and rice cultivation and livestock breeding both emit large quantities of methane. Farming uses fossil fuels and fertilizers. Agriculture also involves land-use changes, including deforestation and desertification of fragile grasslands. These changes alter the earth’s ability to absorb or reflect heat and light.
- Several estimates suggest that 19% to 29% of total GHG emissions are contributed by the food system. Direct emissions from agriculture—crop cultivation and livestock—account for 10% to 12% of total GHG emissions.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past 50 years and could add an additional 30% by 2050 if more efforts to reduce them are not made.
Effects of climate change on agriculture-
- Climate change (for example, temperature, rainfall, and so on) affects agricultural productivity through physiological changes in crops.
- Water scarcity due to climate change and the timing of water availability will increasingly constrain production of agriculture goods.
- Extreme climate events (floods and droughts) are increasing and expected to amplify in frequency and severity and there are likely to be significant consequences in all regions for food and forestry production.
- Agricultural sector is most vulnerable to climate change, and Indian agriculture is no exception. This threatens the country’s food and nutrition security programme.
- Adapting agriculture to climate change is a major challenge, especially in a developing country. In India, a majority of farmers are marginal and small, less educated, and possess low adaptive capabilities, perhaps because of credit and other constraints.
How do farmers perceive climate change and its effect on them?
Recently study was conducted by Amarnath Tripathi of the Institute of Economic Growth Delhi, in the villages of Faizabad district (UP) to find out how farmers perceive climate change and its effect on them. Their key findings are-
- It was found that farmers have been perceiving changes in warming, rainfall or rainfall variability, and weather or seasonal variability over the last 20 years. However, only 4% (two of 45) of the farmers were aware that the changes constituted what is known as “climate change.” Perhaps the farmers’ lack of education was responsible, but it also highlights the lack of agricultural extension services in the villages.
- The majority of farmers reported a gradual increase in temperature or a warming trend; more erratic and less rainfall; and an increasing incidence of strong winds. There was unanimous agreement on changes to rainfall and wind patterns. However there was little confusion on what constituted a warming trend. Some of the farmers mistook sunshine and loo (hot wind) as measures of the warming trend.
- When asked whether they had noticed any changes in the weather or seasons, most farmers claimed an increase in the duration of summer and a decrease in the duration of winter. Many farmers reported an increase in both rainfall and in the intensity of the cold.
- A majority of the farmers perceived climate change had a negative effect on agriculture. They were aware that climate change decreased crop production and reduced grain quality. This could ultimately affect their livelihood.
- Many farmers reported a dependence on off-farm work (daily wages) in the face of decreased income from farming. This was particularly true of small and marginal farmers and tenants.
- Some of the farmers are taking adaptation measures. These include the (i) increased use of groundwater for irrigation; (ii) use of PVC pipes to carry water to farms; (iii) change in timing of sowing and harvesting; (iv)use of high yield variety of crops; and the (v) use of short duration cultivars, mix-cropping (intercropping), agroforestry, and crop diversification.
- Studies also found that farm households have diversified their livelihood strategies. Many of them had off-farm income through government employment or self-employment. Some were working in nearby urban centres as salesmen and security guards, while a few of them had opened shops in the village. Changes in farming practices and livelihood strategies were mainly triggered by social and economic factors.
This study made an attempt to know farmers’ perceptions on both climate change and its impact, and adapting to climate change using data collected from medium, small, and marginal farmers and tenants in eastern UP. Studies have shown that indicate that farmers are aware of changes in climate, especially increasing temperatures and variations in the seasonal pattern, and its impact, particularly declining crop productivity, increasing cost of cultivation, and livelihood insecurity. Though there are few steps taken by farmers to adapt to the climate change, farmers are slowly changing their agricultural and farming practices to deal with socio-economic changes. For a more purposeful adaptation, climate information, agriculture extension services, and capacity-building programmes will be crucial.