SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 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: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues,
Child marriage usually refers to a social phenomenon practiced in some societies in India, where a young child (usually a girl below the age of fifteen) is married to an adult man. A second form of practice of child marriage is that in which the parents of the two children (the girl and boy) arrange a future marriage. In this practice, the individuals (the boy and girl) do not meet one another until they reach the marriageable age, when the wedding ceremony is performed.
Facts and figures about the prevalence of Child marriage in India-
- Child marriage is widespread across India, with nearly half of brides married as girls . While there has been a decline in the incidence of child marriage nationally (from 54 per cent in 1992-93 to 33 per cent today) and in nearly all states, the pace of change remains slow , especially for girls in the age group 15-18 years.
- Child marriage is more prevalent in rural areas (48 per cent) than in urban areas (29 per cent) . There are also variations across different groups, particularly excluded communities, castes and tribes – although some ethnic groups, such as tribal groups, have lower rates of child marriage compared with the majority population.
- Drop out of school, have a low-paid job and limited decision-making power at home. A girl with 10 years of education has a six times lower chance of being pushed into marriage before she is 18.
- 40% of the world’s 60 million child marriages take place in India according to the National Family Health Survey. India has the 14th highest rate of child marriage in the world, according to the International Center for Research on Women.
Why the practice of child marriage still exists in India?
- Social groups follow traditions from previous eras without questioning contemporary relevance. Early marriage allows parents to waiver ‘responsibility’ of settling their children.
- Economically weak and large families encourage the practice as it helps send-off girl children early, while marriage of a boy brings an additional hand to assist in household and economic activities.
- Members of communities practicing child marriage tend to have little to no formal education. Belief in religious scriptures and the idea that these contain prescription for early marriage drive families to fulfill this “obligation.”
- Early marriage ensures full “utilization” of fertility and childbearing capacity.
- Strong caste ties limit the availability of suitable marital partners. As soon as parents identify a match, they make haste in conducting the marriage.
- Limited education opportunities, low quality of education, inadequate infrastructure, lack of transport and therefore concerns about girls’ safety while travelling to school significantly contribute to keeping girls out of school and therefore tend to favour child marriage.
- Girls are often seen as a liability with limited economic role. Women’s work is confined to the household and is not valued. In addition, there is the problem of dowry. Despite the fact that dowry has been prohibited for five decades (Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961), it is still common for parents of girls in India to give gifts to the groom and /or his family either in cash or kind. The dowry amount increases with the age and the education level of the girl . Hence, the “incentive” of the system of dowry perpetuates child marriage.
- The families and girls who might benefit from social protection programmes are not always aware of them and these schemes are often limited to providing cash transfers without the accompanying messages to address the multi-dimensional nature of child marriage.
Measures to prevent child marriages-
- Education is one of the most effective strategies to protect children against marriage. When girls are able to stay in school an attitudinal change can also occur towards their opportunities within the community.
- Gender sensitization programs: Gender training programs should be spread throughout the district for police and NGOs. Primary and secondary education for girls should be promoted.
- Government of India along with organizations like UNICEF and NGOs should make the efforts for the implementation of the convergent national strategy, which includes:
- Law enforcement: Capacity-building on laws, support mechanisms such as a child marriage telephone hotline, ‘Odisha Child Marriage Resistance Forum’.
- Girls’ empowerment: Imparting Life skills, protection skills, higher education and employment opportunities etc.
- Community mobilization: Working with influential leaders, oaths and pledges, counselling, folk and traditional media. Government’s partnerships with civil society organizations and communities are key to supporting community mobilization efforts and mindset changes and partnerships with the media are very important for raising awareness of child marriage.
- Promoting convergence of sectors at all levels, in particular with education and social protection schemes and programmes.
- Government of India has already enacted laws like Child marriage prohibition act 2006 and started many initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samridthi Yojana etc to incentivize the people to give equal treatment to their daughters as their sons.
- The Government of India is also implementing national programmes aimed at protecting and promoting the development of children, while states are supporting these initiatives through state-level schemes. However, many of the programmes focus on addressing financial vulnerability through cash transfer schemes to keep girls in school. The governments’ efforts should go beyond the financial solution and should also focus on changing mindset, creating awareness etc.
Government of India has the biggest responsibility towards ensuring better childhood of every child. Every child irrespective of socio-economic status is entitled to the quality education, health facilities and freedom and space to enjoy childhood.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States,
2) Why is dissent important in democracy? Considering ongoing events in India, examine the means adopted by governments to curb dissent in India. Also examine implications of curbing dissent on people and polity. (200 Words)
Dissent is the integral part of any vibrant democracy in the world. Throughout the history of our country, dissent has been important to bringing positive changes to our government. However there have loud noise against the some of the coercive methods of the governments that have attempted to stifle the dissent in India.
Dissent is important in democracy because-
- Dissent strengthens the democracy. Democratic institutions have greater chances of success if people are allowed to question its relevance with the contemporary standards. Without dissent social and political institutions in the democracy would become meaningless and purposeless.
- Dissent helps to grow the intellectual progress of the democracy. It helps to rectify existing issues and helps to derive the new practices in tune with the need of the time.
- Dissent keeps governance of the country citizen-centric and resists the authoritarian and despotic conditions in check.
- Dissent encourages debates and discussions and preserves the rights of the minorities and marginalized sections of the society.
- Dissent attempts to undermine existing unjust power structures so that something more just (or more truthful) can be put in its place. It is never perfect, not always successful, inherently difficult, and often traumatic, but despite this should be highly valued on two grounds. On a pragmatic level, it can succeed in producing a less unjust society. On a moral level, it satisfies an inherent human desire to be able to struggle for justice.
- A look at history shows the importance of dissent. The establishment of the modern English parliamentary system; the independence movement in India during and following the Second World War was an almighty period of dissent, largely peaceful, and hugely successful; In the US, the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Junior, amongst others, helped bring equal civil rights and social acceptance of members of any race; In South Africa, Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid dissidents were essential to bringing an end to the grossly unjust system of apartheid.
Means adopted by the government to curb the dissent in India-
At a broader level, dissent has been curbed through a combination of coercive and non-coercive means.
- These include reducing the remit of Right to Information (RTI) and curbs on foreign-funded NGOs.
- Criminalization of dissent through sedition provisions of the penal code (section 124a of IPC) and the harassing of human rights activists and civil society groups.
- Use of CBI against the political opponents and media houses.
- Use of police force and penal charges in the college/universities (JNU, FTTI) to stifle the discontent and dissent.
- Concerted effort by the government to dampen anti-regime protests either by remaining in denial and dismissing protests, or more often by using police powers to discourage people from protesting. For eg Farmers’ protest in Mandasaur, Saharanpur etc
- Branding the dissidents and protesters as anti-nationals and even naxalites.
- Resorting to frequent police force and Lathi-charge against the protesters. For eg use of police force in the mid-night on the protesters gathered at the Baba Ramdev’s rally in 2011
Implications of curbing the dissent on people and polity-
- Curbing the dissent stifles the basic rights of citizens like Freedom of speech and expression. Rather than finding the solution of the problem, curbing of dissent results into aggravation of problem. It may further alienate the masses from the government and creates trust deficit between them.
- Suppression of dissent obstructs the growth and progress of democracy as it provides no space for the improvement and reformation. Democracy stagnates and creates the anarchy.
- The suppression of the dissent may lead to silence for a while but in longer run it has potential to erupt with the greater force. Every time dissent is suppressed through violent means, dissidents resolve to fight back rises. In fact there increases the tendencies to fight the force with the force and violence with the violence among the dissidents. The extreme level of suppression may generate social unrest and even conditions for the civil wars.
Thus instead of curbing the dissent, governments must encourage the discussions and debates not only about the social practices but also about the governance and political institutions. This would pave the way for betterment and progress of the existing institutions and in turn strengthens the democracy.
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
3) The Supreme Court’s move to appoint a committee of administrators (CoA) in January this year to govern and reform cricket was expected to rescue cricket from many negative issues. Do you think CoA has been successful in reforming cricket governance in India? Critically comment. (200 Words)
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) was appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of Lodha Committee to revamp BCCI’s administration. It has already been six months since the formation of CoA but there has been no gainful outcome. Instead CoA is facing new challenges administration and reforms.
The CoA has overseen some positive reforms like-
- For the first time, steps were taken to resolve the issues of sports reforms ( e.g. transparency, accountability etc.)
- Players’ association would shortly come into existence as recommended by Lodha panel.
- CoA led to implementation of the provision that office bearer could hold nine-year terms at the BCCI and state association separately.
However, there are many key issues where the CoA has not able to bring success yet. Those are-
- There are issues being raised about CoA’s inaction or rather its inability to act in cases of rampant conflict of interest and superstar culture within Indian cricket.
- The four member CoA has itself been crippled by the resignation of one of its members and raising protest in an open letter. Further there is no guarantee that other members would work coherently.
- The CoA suffers from inherent weaknesses both due to its ill-defined powers and poor choice of members with little experience in cricket or administration barring the chairman. Even regular affairs such as organizing tours of incoming teams remain stuck waiting for approval from CoA and SC. Neither could the CoA get state boards to implement reforms in the stipulated time.
Though it would be difficult to judge the success and failure of CoA, it is facing credibility issue and needs firm resolve to cleanse the cricket administration. Instead of ambiguity about its mandate and role, the CoA needs clarity of thought and resolve, and must focus on its prime objectives — the universal adoption of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, making cricket transparent and protected from potentially harmful conflicts, and restoring cricket to its players and fans.
Topic:Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
4) Recently Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to impose a one-year prison sentence and Rs. 10,000 fine on the editors of two tabloids. Do you think this move is justified? Critically comment on the issues involved. (200 Words)
Articles 105 & 194 provide various privileges to House, Members and Committees of Parliament and State Legislatures respectively.
Recently, Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to impose a one-year prison sentence and Rs. 10,000 fine on the editors of two tabloids.
Issues involved –
- No codification : Constitution says “offence is termed as breach of privilege and is punishable by House” which is very abstract .
- No limit on Penal Action conferred.
- No Independent Committee to adjudicate the case which is assessed currently by Privilege Committee subordinate to the House to determine whether its act hampered the image / functioning of House.
- Curtail the liberty of criticism & public review.
- Hamper dignity of House and may invite public odium & protest.
To maintain healthy democracy in a large country like India it is important that all pillars of democracy should perform their responsibilities independent & unbiased manner. Codification of privileges mentioned in article 105 & 194 is need of the hour to avoid their misuse in future.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
The growth of any country is dependent on how well it provides an environment for scientific community and replicates the technology available for the social benefits. As Election Commission is facing questions on it’s role of conducting free and fair elections, EC is looking at various means including block chain technology to remain hack proof and can live up to the trust of the people.
The block chain technology is usually used in financial transactions like in Bitcoin and it ensures the secure and hack proof transaction. Recently, AICTE also conducted Hackathon event for university students to find solutions to various problems faced by he country. And EC also conducted Hackathon to ensure the trust of voters on it’s EVM machines. These events are all providing a conducive environment for the adoption of technology in various uses.
The deep penetration of cell phones and unique identification-Aadhar system along with Block chain technology could act as a practical and feasible tool to fight voter fraud and alleviate vote authentication.
Aadhaar infrastructure linking with Voter ID card seems to be a welcome step in removing duplicacy in voter list. It cannot only speed up our sluggish voter enrollment process but also make the voting system electronic. Further, with increase in cell phone penetration linking Aadhar number and Voter ID Card, casting votes has become quite fast and easier process.
- Transparency and Anonymity: This technology is a based on transparent mechanism using public ledger where all the transactions which be of any type are recorded in the database using cryptography, therefore voters will be satisfied with their secure transaction.
- Multiple database and Security of fraud: The transactions are recorded and saved in multiple location on real time synchronisation, and it is nearly impossible to delete or modify any transaction illegally, because of redundancy, and multiple saved locations, this will make voting fraud nearly to zero.
- Currently this technology in India is in research stage and this will take time to be incorporated in elections as even advance countries are not using this technology currently in major wide scale elections. But in future they are intended to do so. for example- Australia.
- Technical and Cyber security professionals: Currently the blockchain platform is in a nascent stage in India, therefore, there is a huge gap in blockchain technology and professionals.
- Layman may not be able to understand the complexity of the technology. A large population of rural India still lacks internet access. Smartphones are still beyond the reach of a large mass in India. Technological illiteracy can come in the way of proper implementation.
- High cost.
- Blockchain technology not used much for non-financial purposes.
- Infrastructure needed to be developed.
Given the benefits, the challenges can be easily handled. This has multiple benefits and will help in strengthening the democracy and will help in restoring the faith of people in the election procedure of India.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology
The scientific world is currently in a frenzied wave of exploration centered on the human brain. Former US president Barack Obama announced the US’ BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnology) Initiative in 2013, the European Union added its own Human Brain Project a couple of years later, as did China in 2016. Major centres around the world—the Karolinska Instituted in Sweden, the Riken Brain Science Institute in Japan, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, Janelia Campus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Virginia, the Blue Brain Project at IBM and the The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to name a few—are engaged in cutting-edge research.
Today’s brain research projects are the first ones in the age of social media and inter-disciplinary collaboration across institutes using modern and flexible tools of collaboration, and are likely to produce a treasure trove of insights.
ADVANCES IN BRAIN RESEARCH IN THE WORLD :-
- HUMAN GENOME PROJECT has helped in study of neurogenetics; sequencing technology has allowed understanding of the cause of neurological and psychiatric disorder. It has also helped in understanding of genetic signature of Alzheimer disease , schizophrenia, depression and autism among other.
- OPTOGENETICS has allowed scientists to turn specific neuron on and off; thus enabling in understanding of neuron specific activity. It also helped in understanding of GLIAL cell.
- A brain connected retinal implant has helped to overcome lost EYESIGHT.
ROLE OF INDIA IN BRAIN RESEARCH –
- In INDIA, basic brain research is conducted at only few places through clinical research at NATIONAL BRAIN RESEARCH CENTER in Gurugram, Haryana. So we are at the early stage of it.
- BUT our scientists and doctors are the leaders in brain science research in other countries because of lack of opportunity available at home. So we should adopt China like model of THOUSAND TALENT PLAN to bring back our scientists and Doctors home.
- Recently launched VISITING ADVANCE JOINT RESEARCH FACULTY (VAJRA) scheme by Department of S&T enables NRI and Overseas scientific community to research and development in India.
- INSPIRE (Innovation in science pursuit for inspired research) to attract youth to science.
With many countries taking up innovations in brain science, India is well equipped to take up initiatives and it is in its prudence to act soon. The welfare of its citizens are the main objectives of such understanding and this is definitely in India’s interests.