SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
Justice Bhagwati is correlated to the former PM Indira Gandhi because their legacies have endured, having engineered a populist democratisation based on radical rhetoric, but at very heavy costs to the institutions themselves.
PM Indira Gandhi displayed authoritarian tendencies and even disregarded institutional autonomy to mend the ways in her favour. Indira Gandhi nationalized the 14 major banks in 1969 with paltry compensation and next year attempted to abolish privy-purse which had constitutional guarantee. Further she enacted a 24th and 25th constitutional amendments to undone the effect of Golaknath case.
In the aftermath of Keswanand Bharti judgment, she superseded the three senior-most majority judges leading to their resignations, and appointed Bhagwati and Krishna Iyer to the Supreme Court. The infamous Emergency was declared in 1975 and, by then, eight new judges had been appointed to the Supreme Court by her government. A shocking attempt was made by Chief Justice Ray to review the Kesavananda Bharati decision by constituting another Bench of 13 judges. Thus her critics argue that by overlooking the institutions, Indira Gandhi set a new precedent in Indian political system which could prove dangerous when charismatic personality comes to power.
Justice Bhagwati is considered one of the most important faces of Indian Judiciary of the post-independence era. Some of his important rulings can be summarized as follows:
- During the tenure of Indira Gandhi, he upheld the validity of the draconian Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), and ruled the writ of habeas corpus as invalid during emergency.
- On facing criticism for his partisan judgements during the tenure of Indira Gandhi, he upheld the validity of Article 356 (President’s rule) in Congress led governments in the state.
- Another instance of favouring the incumbent government was observed when he upheld the primacy of DPSP over Fundamental Rights in the case of Minerva Mills.
- In the Judges’ Transfer case, he went on to explicitly support the appointment of judges based on their ideological predilections, i.e., court packing for a ‘committed judiciary’.
- When the constitutionality of the National Security Act, 1980, Mrs Gandhi’s successor statute to MISA, was challenged, he got another chance to somewhat undo the notoriety of the Habeas Corpus case, but he upheld this law as well.
Despite the unpopular ruling as a judge, he is being credited for his work in developing means of increasing the outreach of legal aid in the form of Lok Adalats at the local level, tribunals at the intermediate level, and PIL at the higher level.
More enduringly, instead of grounding the PIL in rules and principles, his view of legal procedure as the enemy of justice meant that all aspects of procedure in PIL cases were diluted, removing all checks on judicial arbitrariness and making it a juggernaut annihilating all procedure. The dilution of locus standi could have been grounded in some notion of ‘representation standing’. In its absence, most PILs are filed by citizens unconnected to any issue. In the Bandhua Mukti Morchacase, he diluted evidentiary standards in PIL cases to an extent that proved catastrophic in the long run. He also was the first judge to openly legislate in a PIL relating to inter-country adoptions, creating another dangerous precedent.
Justice Bhagwati is also famous for his judicial improvisations. Based on the idea that ‘arbitrariness is the antithesis of inequality’, he introduced a new test to examine violations of ‘Right to Equality’.
Even more famous is his pioneering ‘right to life jurisprudence’ in the Maneka Gandhi case. A negative right against the state’s illegal deprivation of any individual’s life or personal liberty has since been interpreted as a positive right to life, making it a receptacle for all manner of socio-economic rights.
His most enduring legacy as a role model for future judges is to think of their judicial role instrumentally as social activists and not mere jurists. A certain looseness of legal language entered Indian appellate judgments and radical rhetoric became the path to power for Indian judges. The value of careful judicial prose declined as fidelity to law no longer mattered, what mattered was the show of ideological commitment.
Justice Bhagwati has been criticized for judicial overreach and legislation. Though the actions may have seen as judicial excesses, the importance of his judgements lies in the matter that judges should not only confine themselves to the rulebook, but strive for social justice. In this way former PM Indira Gandhi and Justice Bhagwati stand apart for setting a new precedence in their roles of public service.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources
Findings of some reports regarding the educational system in India-
- The study, ‘Region and Education Around the World’, conducted by PEW research center Newyork, focuses on “educational attainment” among the major religions of the world. Its startling conclusion is that Hindus have the “lowest” level of “educational attainment” in the world, and the Indian school educational system is at the bottom of the international league, along with that in Sub-Saharan Africa. The “Christian” average is 9.3 years of schooling, 7.9 years for “Buddhists”, while Muslims and Hindus of the world undergo 5.6 years of schooling against the global average of 7.7 years.
- The findings of a 2011 study by R.J. Barro of Harvard University and J.W. Lee of Korea University are in conformity with the PEW assessment of Indian school standards.
- In 2012, PISA, the measurement standard adopted in Europe and utilised in a large number of countries, studied Indian school quality in two states. The depressing conclusion of the 110-country study was that India ranked second last — beating only Kyrgyzstan in the honours list.
- The Annual Status of Education Report conducted by Pratham, an Indian NGO with some credibility, had assessed in 2014 that 75 per cent of all children in Class III, over 50 per cent in Class V and over 25 per cent in Class VIII could not read texts meant for Class II.
- National Survey Sample results in 2015 indicated sharp decline in learning outcomes in mathematics, science and English in the secondary schools.
- Poor governance-
The main problem is the abysmal quality of governance, with politics permeating every aspect of educational administration. Factors other than merit play a significant part in the management of affairs; proper governance standards, with adequate incentives, and checks and balances, have not been put in place.
The focus of the entire structure at the Centre and the states is on the minister, secretary, and the educational regulatory institutions — not on the student, teacher, principal and school.
The system is not “inclusive” and does not give a second chance to the weaker sections.
The school-level data are unreliable. The access promised to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) has hardly been implemented.
- Lack of infrastructure-
Approximately 95.2 per cent of schools are not yet compliant with the complete set of RTE infrastructure indicators according to survey conducted in 2010.They lacks drinking water facilities, a functional common toilet, and do not have separate toilets for girls.\
- Quality variance-
The fundamentals of teacher management, teacher education and training as well as school governance and management are lacking at every step. Number of boards causes non uniformity of curriculum throughout India so maintenance of quality standard is quite difficult.
- System of education-
Education is information based rather than knowledge based. The whole focus is on cramming information rather than understanding it and analyzing it. The curriculum is rote-oriented and little practical thought has been given to pedagogy at any stage.
- Gender/Caste issues-
Traditional Indian society suffers from many kind of discrimination so there are many hurdles in education of unprivileged sections of society like women, SC, ST and minority.
- Costly higher education-
Very minimal amount of subsidy is provided for higher education so if student seeks to get chances of higher education still he misses out because of lack of economic resources.
- Inadequate government funding-
The demand for financial resources far exceeds the supply. Very small amount is available for innovative programs and ideas.
- Challenges of non-school going children–
Poverty which forces them to work, patriarchal mindset, discrimination in schools, distance between school and home.
Steps to be taken to improve education system-
- Adoption of technology
Effective use of technological tools in teaching has many benefits. It will solve the many problems of infrastructure, quality.
- Teacher training
Teachers’ training remains one of the most chaotic, neglected and deficient sectors of India’s vast education system. This needs to be changed as they virtually hold the destiny of the future generations in their hands.
- More government spending
India targeted towards devoting 6% share of the GDP towards the educational sector, the performance has definitely fallen short of expectations. Also funding is needed to be spend on building infrastructure.
- Inclusive education system
Growth in education sector should incorporate all sections of society like rural, urban poor, woman, Backward classes etc.
- Quality education
Education provided should meet needs of student. e.g. education provided to hearing impaired or slow learners. It should allow them to enhance their skills and get better employment options
- PPP model
Public-Private sources and to encourage the active participation of the private sector in national development. It is more forcefully advocated when public resources are projected to be inadequate to meet needs.
An All India Education Services should be established which will decide the policies of education in consultation with educationalists.
- Education policy
Educational policy need frequent update. It should cover personality development aspect of student It should also imbibe values of culture and social services.
We must understand that India has unique educational challenges, due to issues like poverty, patriarchy, teacher’s attitude etc. There cannot be a uniform answer to these challenges. Different sections of students have different challenges for this the measures have also to be different; however the new education policy 2016 is a ray hope for our education system.
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
- To enable Parliament to discharge functions properly the Constitution confers on each member of the Houses certain rights and immunities and also certain rights and immunities and powers on each house collectively called either Parliamentary or legislative privileges. Parliamentary privilege is an essential incident to the high and multifarious functions which the legislature is called upon to perform. While some are collective others are individual e.g. Freedom of speech in legislature.
- The Constitution recognizes the privileges of Parliament and state legislatures under Articles 105 and 194, respectively.
- Article 105, so also Article 194 subjects the powers, privileges and immunities of each House as well as all its members and all its committees not only to the laws made by the appropriate legislature but also to all other provisions of the Constitution. Both these articles far from dealing with the legislative powers of the Houses of Parliament or of State Legislature respectively are confined in scope to such powers of each House as it may exercise separately functioning as a House.
- A House of Parliament or Legislature cannot try anyone or any case directly as a court of justice can, but it can proceed quasi judicially in cases of contempt of its authority or take up motions concerning its privileges and immunities in order to seek removal of obstructions to the due performance of its legislative functions. If any question of jurisdiction arises as to a certain matter, it has to be decided by a court of law in appropriate proceedings. For example, the jurisdiction to try a criminal offence such as murder, committed even within a House vests in ordinary courts and not in a of Parliament or in a State Legislature. Also, a House of Parliament or State Legislature cannot in exercise of any supposed powers under Articles 105 and 194 decide election disputes for which special authorities have been constituted under the Representation of People Act, 1951 enacted in compliance with Article 329.
Problems of legislative privileges-
- Some codified, others vague:
Certain privileges, like the freedom of speech within the legislature, are codified under these provisions. On the others, the Constitution says that legislatures enjoy the same privileges as those of the House of Commons.
- Parliament derives power from multiple sources:
The Parliament, till now, has not made any special law to exhaustively codify all the privileges. They are based on five sources, namely,
- Constitutional provisions,
- Various laws made by Parliament,
- Rules of both the Houses,
- Parliamentary conventions, and
- Judicial interpretations.
- Usage of such powers:
The last person to be imprisoned by the British Parliament was in 1880. In India however, this power has been frequently resorted to.
- Article 105 and 194 versus Article 19:
The SC in Keshav Singh Case, the Raja Ram Pal v Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha and Ors., (2007) case and the recent Algaapuram R Mohanraj v Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 2015 case; have all upheld various articles such Articles 20 and 21 and Right to Equality as above Articles 105 and 194, but have rejected Article 19 (freedom of speech) as sacrosanct.
- Parliamentary Privileges and Fundamental Rights
In Pandit M.S.M. Sharma’s case it was also contended by the petitioner that the privileges of the House under A.194 (3) are subject to the provision of Part III of the Constitution. In support of his contention the petitioner relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Gunupati Keshavram Reddi v. Nafisul Hasan. In this latter case Homi Mistry was arrested at his B’bay residence under a warrant issued by the Speaker of U.P. Assembly for contempt of the House and was flown to Lucknow & kept in a hotel in Speaker’s custody. On his applying for a writ of habeas corpus, the Supreme Court directed his release as he had not been produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest as provided in Article 22 (2). This decision therefore indicated that Article 194 (or Article 105) was subject to the Articles of Part III of the Constitution.
In Sharma’s case the Court held that in case of conflict between fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) and a privilege under Article 194 (3) the latter would prevail. As regards Article 21, on facts the Court did not find any violation of it. In Powers, Privileges and Immunities of the State Legislature, the proposition laid down in Sharma’s case was explained not to mean that in all cases the privileges shall override the fundamental rights.
The rules of each House provide for a committee of privileges. The matter of breach of privilege or contempt is referred to the committee of privileges. The committee has power to summon members or strangers before it. Refusal to appear or to answer or to knowingly to give false answer is itself a contempt. The committee’s recommendations are reported to the House which discusses them and gives its own decision.
There is a clear demarcation as to what all rights and privileges are absolute and what are not. For example, in India Legislative Assemblies and Parliament never discharge any judicial function and their historical and constitutional background does not support their claim to be regarded as courts of record in any sense. No immunity from scrutiny by courts of general warrants issued by House in India can therefore be claimed.
Both the Parliament and State Legislatures have a duty to look carefully before making any law, so that it doesn’t harm other rights. It is also a duty of the members to properly use these privileges and not misuse them for alternate purposes that is not in the favour of general interest of nation and public at large. Thus what we must keep in mind is the fact that ?power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. For this not to happen under the privileges granted, the public and the other governing body should always be on vigil.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
4) What are the powers given to RBI under the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017? Do you think these powers could be used by RBI to fight its recent credibility crisis? Critically examine. (200 Words)
The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 was promulgated on May 4, 2017. It inserts provisions in the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 to handle cases related to stressed assets. Stressed assets are loan accounts where the borrower has defaulted in debt repayment or where the repayment schedule has been restructured.
Powers given to RBI under the Banking Regulation (Amendment) ordinance 2017-
- Initiating insolvency proceedings: The Centre may authorize the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue directions to banks for initiating proceedings in case of a default in loan repayment. These proceedings would be under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
- Issuing directions on stressed assets: The Ordinance allows the RBI to issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.
- Committee to advise banks: The RBI may specify authorities or committees to advise banks on resolution of stressed assets. The members on such committees will be appointed or approved by the RBI.
Could these powers help RBI to fight its credibility crisis?
Provisions that could boost the credibility of the RBI-
- The wide range of discretionary powers granted to RBI provides ample scope of boosting its credibility by laying out the action plan in a transparent way putting it in a public domain.
- Selecting rating agencies and requiring them to make rating process transparent and allowing public scrutiny.
- Welcoming the various views from public forum by encouraging the culture of dissent and debate.
- The ordinance fails to provide any indication on the process which the government or the RBI need to follow to arrive at a decision and presumes good faith on the part of the officers in the government and the regulator.
- Wide range of powers paves the way for mismanagement, arbitrariness and corruption too.
- A better alternative would have been promoting transparency in the decision-making process. A standard operating procedure must be developed through comprehensive stakeholder consultation and released in the public domain for arriving at decisions and for recording the rationale and process adopted. Decisions where clear rationale is absent or lacking the necessary transparent process run the risk of ruining market confidence and denting the country’s growth story.
- The RBI must use its enhanced powers under the ordinance to adopt a transformational approach to deal with bad debts, and regain trust in the regulator. This can happen only when it takes hard decisions including designing transparent decision-making process, fixing accountability, and punishing non-compliance, especially its own officers. It must encourage the culture of dissent and debate, promote public disclosures, and welcome scrutiny to regain its credibility and public confidence.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
5) In recent years there has been a greater focus on developing indigenous capabilities through technology transfers and joint production projects with international partners. How will these efforts help build a “defence industrial ecosystem” in India? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Recent instances of technology transfer and JVs-
- Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and US plane-maker Lockheed Martin Corp. signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to produce F-16 fighter jets in India.
- Reliance Defence entered into a strategic partnership with Serbia’s Yugoimport for ammunition manufacturing in India.
- Reliance Defence joined hands with France’s Thales to set up a joint venture that will develop Indian capabilities in radars and high-tech airborne electronics.
- In Moscow, defence minister Arun Jaitley and his Russian counterpart signed off on a road map for strengthening bilateral military ties.
How technology transfers and JVs help in building ‘Defence Industrial Ecosystem’?
- It will provide opportunity to build capacity, competitiveness and efficiency of Indian defence manufacturer.
- India as being a major consumer of defence sector will be a lucrative destination for major foreign key defence manufacturers.
- Major recommendations of Dhirender Singh Committee on Defence procurement policy (DPP) had been implemented in DPP 2016 along with ease in FDI in defence sector investments.
- The MoD identifying private players as strategic partner which will tie up with key foreign manufacturer to produce big-ticket platforms will catalyze the indigenous defence industry.
- A major focus on defence sector in Make in India programme to build it into an important export lever providing export and employment opportunity.
Despite such efforts, some of the major challenges are-
- Ministry of Defence (MoD) has kept a limitation on strategic partners to focus on one of the sectors for which it has been identified as strategic partner.
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) which provide niche-technology should be well integrated.
- Indian Defence Procurement Policy still tilted towards major state run PSU’s and ordinance factory.
- There is lack of structural framework to prepare Human resources for building and sustaining defence ecosystem which should be taken care by creating dedicated institutions along with modifying existing curricula to focus on defence and security sector.
- Huge investment and large gestation period required.
Government is acting moreover as facilitator to encourage private sector participation in defense manufacturing. Some Industries keen to participate even though huge investment, long gestation period involved such as Bharat Forge, TATA, Reliance etc. However to encourage full-fledge participation with vigor, enabling environment should be created by eliminating some contentious clauses. These clauses need to be revisited.
- Less flexible ‘Offset’ clause
- ‘Strategic Partnership Model’ recommended by Dhirendra Singh committee.
- The resistance faced by industries at the state levels and the inability of the lower bureaucratic levels to appreciate or understand business requirements have seen several projects stalled and caught in bureaucratic mire
Topic: Awareness in S&T
Zika virus and dengue are two illnesses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Both Zika and dengue are illnesses that are growing a problem. Although there may be many similarities between the two, they both have their own unique differences, which helps to diagnose them and determine proper treatment.
Dengue was first recognized in the 1950s when epidemics broke out in the Philippines and Thailand. Zika was first discovered in 1947 and got its name after the Zika forest in Uganda, Africa. Dengue commonly affects Asian and Latin American countries, and Zika is growing in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. As of recently, a large Zika outbreak has been seen in Brazil and cases are popping up around the world.
Difference between Zika virus and Dengue-
Both Zika and Dengue have similar symptoms which include conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, rashes, headaches and fever. The difference is that Zika symptoms last for a few days or weeks and then they subside, but as for dengue the fever can last for weeks and can lead to bleeding and bruising. The dengue hemorrhagic fever can be dangerous and even fatal, hence medical attention is needed. Zika infected people rarely get very sick to go to hospital and are unlikely to die, but those infected with dengue usually needs hospital care because of the severity of persistent symptoms.
Zika and dengue are known to be transmitted by mosquitos especially the Aedes Aegypti species. It is for this reason that mosquito reduction and protection from the bites are the major ways of protecting yourself from the diseases. However, evidence has emerged that the Zika virus can actually be transmitted through sex and blood transfusion. This is an element that has also created some difference between the two even though the sexual transmissions are still on the low. Apart from exercising mosquito related preventions, people need to exercise safer sex to reduce Zika infections.
Incubation period for Dengue is four to ten days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms last for two to seven days
Incubation period for Zika is not known well, but researchers estimate it is anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Microcephaly is the known possible Zika complication, but Dengue does not lead to such. There also seems to be a close link between Zika virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome, but this hasn’t been the case with Dengue. It means, therefore that Zika infections can have long term implications, especially for unborn babies, hence pregnant women need to be extra careful especially when living in affected areas or when travelling.
Advances made to find a cure for both Zika and Dengue-
There have been many efforts worldwide to develop vaccines.
- Scientists have identified antibodies capable of protecting against Zika – which they say is a ‘significant step’ toward developing a vaccine, as well as better diagnostic tests and possibly new antibody-based therapies. compounds are identified that could potentially be employed to inhibit the replication of virus as well as mar its ability to damage brain cells.
- A vaccine, GLS-5700, for preventing zika virus has been successfully tested on animals.
- A new predator for aedes mosquito called ‘lutzia fuscana’ has recently been discovered by Calcutta University as a potential biological control agent. India has been using ‘mosquito fish’ till now for the same.
- CEPI, of which Indian scientists are also a part of, would be developing new vaccines using the WHO priority list which includes both dengue and zika virus.
- Human Genome Project-Write worldwide initiative can also provide potential solutions for dengue, zika virus, malaria etc.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology
7) Some NGOs and activists have compared India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) with the dangers of having a nuclear power plant or radioactive material in the neighbourhood. Do you agree with this comparison? Discuss the benefits of INO. (200 Words)
India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO)-
- India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project under construction to primarily study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave under Ino Peak near Theni, Tamil Nadu, India. This project is notable in that it is anticipated to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters. The project is a multi-institute collaboration and one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India.
- The project was originally to be completed in 2015 at an estimated cost of ₹ 1,500 crores, has been cleared by the Ministry of Environment (India) for construction in the Bodi West Hills Reserved Forest in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu. Although delayed, the project is underway as of 2015.
- When completed, the main magnetised iron calorimieter (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.
INO’s comparison with the nuclear power plant-
The fears of comparing INO with having the danger of nuclear power plant or radioactive material are not true because of the following reasons-
- Since the neutrinos, whether they are naturally occurring in the atmosphere or from the sun, or are emitted by far away man made nuclear reactors and sent in beams of neutrinos with few GeV energy, are very feeble and weakly interacting particles that we can’t even see or feel without the help of an observatory.
- Beams of neutrinos are being sent to the NOvA neutrino detector in the U.S. and to the T2K neutrino detector in Japan every day.
- Moreover, being the lightest matter particles, the neutrinos do not decay into any other particles, as everything else is heavier — so they are not like uranium which decays radioactively into smaller atoms.
- All the INO would do is to provide the lens to observe neutrinos as they are too feeble or faint to be detected by the naked eye. It does not create a radiation hazard or put us in harm’s way.
- While we should ensure that the tunnel is dug with proper environmental safeguards and the project has various clearances, raising the spectacle of radiation hazards and comparing it with nuclear or thermal power plants is spreading false fears and is unscientific.
Benefits of INO-
- We get to observe fundamental laws of Physics.
- Most of the advanced countries are already working on neutrino science which includes USA, China, Japan etc. India can emerge as a key player in neutrino science.
- Neutrinos are regarded as the most mysterious particles of the universe. The potential of making path-breaking discoveries is high.
- Neutrinos may have a role to play in nuclear non-proliferation through the remote monitoring of nuclear reactors. Hence, Neutrino research can be our answer to ensure that no terror group ever acquires nuclear weapons.
- Understanding neutrinos can help us detect mineral and oil deposits deep in the earth. They may also help us to detect early geological defects deep within the earth, and thereby might be our answer to an early warning system against earthquakes.
- Neutrinos can pass right through the earth. They may open up a faster way to send data than the current ‘around the earth’ model using towers, cables or satellites.
Keeping in mind the tremendous potential of neutrino science, its importance for scientific progress and technological growth, the project should be allowed to proceed. However, it should also be ensured that the tunnel is dug with proper environmental safeguards and the project has various clearances.