SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 July 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: Social empowerment; Role of women
Introduction :- The Indian abortion laws falls under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the year 1971 with the intention of reducing the incidence of illegal abortion and consequent maternal mortality and morbidity. The MTP Act came into effect from 1 April 1972 and was amended in the years 1975 and 2002.
Pregnancies not exceeding 12 weeks may be terminated based on a single opinion formed in good faith. In case of pregnancies exceeding 12 weeks but less than 20 weeks, termination needs opinion of two doctors. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of India clearly states the conditions under which a pregnancy can be ended or aborted, the persons who are qualified to conduct the abortion and the place of implementation. Some of these qualifications are as follows:
- Women whose physical and/or mental health were endangered by the pregnancy
- Women facing the birth of a potentially handicapped or malformed child
- Pregnancies in unmarried girls under the age of eighteen with the consent of a guardian
- Pregnancies in “lunatics” with the consent of a guardian
- Pregnancies that are a result of failure in sterilisation
The draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill of 2014 seeks to amend Section 3 of the principle The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 to provide that “the length of pregnancy shall not apply” in a decision to abort a foetus diagnosed with “substantial foetal abnormalities as may be prescribed”.
NEED TO CHANGE
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in India was amended in 2003 to facilitate better implementation and increase access for women especially in the private health sector. However, unsafe abortions are widely prevalent even 40 years after the Act came into force.
The current Act does not allow abortions above the gestational age of 20 weeks. However, legal experts have argued that medical science and technology have made the 20-week ceiling redundant and that conclusive determination of foetal abnormality is possible in most cases after the 20th week of gestational age.
It is high time that restrictive abortion laws are liberalised paralleling societal changes. Irrespective of the marital status of women, access to safe abortion services and quality post-abortion care, including counselling, need to be guaranteed.
A strong recognition of women’s right to freely exercise their reproductive and sexual rights, including the right to abortion, should be there. The MTP (Amendment) Bill 2014 that, along with other amendments, talks of removing the word ‘married’ and substituting ‘husband’ with ‘partner’, should be pulled up from under the pile and enforced at the earliest.
A progressive law cannot be suppressed with the excuse that sex-selection abortions will happen more often. Preventing the misuse of law cannot happen with the suppression of another’s right.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
National Green Tribunal (NGT) is a tribunal, that was set up for dealing exclusively with environmental cases. it was established by the NGT Act, and has been functioning since 2010.
The reasons for setting it up were:
- Huge burden of cases with the judiciary, and environmental cases receiving not so much attention.
2. The need for specialized and flexible procedures for dealing with environmental cases.
The objectives of the NGT are:
- Effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection, and conservation of the environment, including forests and natural resources.
2. Enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, and protection of the rights of citizens to a safe and sound environment.
The work of the NGT done so far needs to be appreciated for the following reasons:
- The tribunal has served as an institution for the marginalized and deprived, where they have been able to get justice for violation of their environmental rights.
2. Its stance against activities such as illegal sand mining.
3. Its efforts in curbing environmental pollution and climate change, highlighted through its verdict of the banning of crop waste in the National Capital Region, and asking the government to be more clear-cut, and expeditious in its actions to contain the problem of crop waste burning.
4. Its verdict, banning the registration of diesel-run vehicles in NCT of Delhi, indicated its concern for environmental pollution over the concern for ensuring ease of doing business, and protecting the interests of private concerns.
Threats to independence and autonomy –
- In the recent Finance Act, 2017, provisions were incorporated to bring about a change in the terms of conditions and service for the members of all the tribunals, including the NGT, including the selection of its members in the future by a government committee, and not a committee headed by a Supreme Court judge.
2. Sufficient provisions have not been provided in the parent act for the enforcement of its orders.
3. Its verdicts pertaining to the pollution of the Ganga river, as well the pollution of the Yamuna floodplains were rendered ineffective through repeated violations. And in the second instance, the tribunal could not even ensure the payment of the due compensation by the organizers of the cultural event for polluting the Yamuna floodplain.
The NGT has without a doubt served as a beacon of hope, amidst rising instances of the overpowering of development and growth over that of the environment. But, attempts by the government to curtail its independence, and autonomy need to be taken note of in an urgent manner. It must be realized that the existence of such a tribunal is necessary for ensuring a balance between the needs of development and environment, and any unfavourable shift in that balance is bound to harm us in the long-run, oblivious of the underlying clash for institutional supremacy.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
A domestic worker is a person who is involved in domestic work like cleaning, washing, cooking etc. He/She plays an important role in the well being of the family but are often neglected and abused by the members of family and the society. There is absence of a robust law to ensure the protection and welfare of country’s roughly 20 million domestic workers.
Need for the law –
- Abuse and harassment-
Increased cases of sexual harassment, over work, accusation of theft etc.The law should seek to ensure the Right to life( Article 21), Right To Equality( Article 14) & Right To Freedom for domestic workers.
- No security of job-
Appointed and terminated at the will of the employer.
- Absence of minimum wage-
Wages are often denied or extended thereby imposing economic burden on the worker.
- No scope for collective bargaining by forming unions-
Workers are scattered and isolated depriving them of scope for organising for their cause.
- Vulnerable sections of society-
Most workers are from vulnerable communities like SC, ST and women and economically poor section of society. They are abused by higher section of society which are their employers.
- Economic growth-
If the domestic workers are taken as assets & human resource , their standard of living will increase if minimum wage is fixed as it is in Andhra Pradesh & Tamilnadu.
The government which is committed towards the advancement of the socially and economically vulnerable section should make responsible intervention by formulating robust policy for upliftment and safety of the domestic workers. It is also important to create awareness about the significant role played by the domestic workers in the well being of the members of family and society as a whole, thereby imparting behavioral change.
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
4) “Beholden to partisan politics and the state’s unwillingness to part with powers, local bodies have not been able to fulfil the potential envisaged for them in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. The answer lies in locating their powers and functions in the Constitution itself.” Discuss. (200 Words)
Philosophy of governance:
At the cornerstone of government policy is the understanding that local government is concerned with local democracy and the decentralisation of designated powers and responsibilities from central government to lower tier structures.
This philosophy of local governance is to deepen democracy by making the institutions of local governance effective, accountable, transparent and efficient through the active and informed participation of people, especially those from the marginalized and peripheral sections of the population.
After the 73rd and 74th Amendments the Democratic base has widened enormously enabling Horizontal Planning and Implementation of Development Programmes.
The salient features of the Act are: –
- To provide 3-tier system of Panchayat Raj for all States having population of over 20 lakh.
- To hold Panchayat elections regularly every 5 years.
- To provide reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women (not less than 33%)
- To appoint State Finance Commission to make recommendations as regards the financial powers of the Panchayat.
- To constitute District Planning Committee to prepare draft development plan for the district as a whole.
Challenges of Local governance:
1) Finance Scarcity– The one of the most common problem which is faced by the local bodies is the scarcity of finance and funds. When compared to their functions, their source of income is insignificant.
2) Multiplicity of Agencies- A huge criticism is leveled against the introduction of single purpose agencies. These are influenced by bureaucrats, which goes against the basic principle of democracy. The examples are- state transport corporation, water supply department, state electricity board etc.
3) Excessive State Control- Although the Act of 1993 guarantees higher autonomy than the pre- 1992 condition, but still the de facto relationship-control over local bodies has not changed in considerable amount, excluding corporations.
4) Low Effectiveness-In perspective of insufficient accounts, the local bodies does not possess the capacity to satisfy their necessities. Therefore, they face a continuous outcry from the government as well as public.
5) Unplanned urbanization -Urbanization is the facet of the development and it is on the ascendance. The municipal authorities are not able to cope with the increasing demands of the people, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
6) Administrative Problem-There is politicization of the local administrative units, absence of co-ordination between the prominent and bureaucratic components, absence of legitimate impetuses and promotion opportunities for regulatory work force and passionless demeanor of government servants towards improvement program and so on.
Solutions can be found in constitution through following measures:
1) Scientific distribution of functions-Local self-government plan can be made perfect through appropriation of capacities between the structures at various levels has not been made along logical lines. The mixing of development and Local self-government functions has essentially abridged the self-sufficiency of the local self-government foundations.
2) The constitutional provision of 1/3rd representation of SC/ST/Woman must be implemented in genuine manner by provision of powers they authorised to hold.
3) Finance commission must act with full effectiveness and potential in order to realise financial independence of local governance.
4) On similar lines Election commission of state must take strong measures to make elections of local self-government institutions in the spirit of democracy.
The accomplishment of vote based system relies on upon the decentralization of power. Through this arrangement of local self-government, individuals can acquire their democratic rights. Through this framework, power can be legitimately decentralized and each individual can get the degree to build up his or her identity completely and appropriately. The local self-legislative foundations are the best habitats for bestowing just considerations and instruction. Individuals incline toward local government since they need to live in a domain of equity and freedom
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
Background: What is the Panama Papers case against Nawaz Sharif?
The Panama Papers case against Sharif is related to alleged money laundering by the Pakistan PM in 1990s, when he twice served as prime minister, to purchase assets in London. The assets allegedly purchased by Sharif surfaced when Panama Papers leak last year by a consortium of international journalists, including The Indian Express, revealed the assets allegedly purchased by Sharif were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children.
The assets include four expensive flats in London.
This decision will have following possible impacts:
- Sharif has gone India’s best shot at normalising relations with Pakistan. From the 1999 Lahore Declaration to the December 2015 lunch, Sharif consistently advocated peace with India. This decision of Pakistan Supreme court has lesson to learn for India as well.
- The environment of instability may give boost to militant outfits. Such kind of situation can create challenges to internal security of India.
- The disqualification has created a political volume in Pakistan, which means there is not going to be any diplomatic talks related to various persisting issues between two countries until some new government forms.
- Political instability will further embolden the Pakistan army. The new army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had already begun asserting himself against the political class
- The Panama gate verdict will increase dominance of military over the civilian government. For India, it may not mean much in the short term as the Pakistan government has never been free of military interference in its policy towards India.
- The civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state.
- Such developments would be keenly watched by India as relations between both countries have deteriorated a lot in the last one year because of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
This decision is crucial with respect to India Pakistan relationship as the positive attitude of Nawaz Sharif will be the missing link in the overall process. This decision is also learning that the corruption must not be tolerated even though the involved person holds a very influential post.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian economy – planning
6) It is argued that India needs a mix of efficiently run PSBs and aggressive private banks to achieve growth and development along with social justice. Do you think recent merger of PSBs was a right decision? In the light of the statement, critically comment. (200 Words)
Economic growth and social justice are expected to walk hand in hand in welfare state like India. Achieving both is tight rope walk that needs dedicated service delivery with innovative approaches towards institutional functioning.
SBI’s merger should actually be viewed as an internal reorganisation and not a classical merger exercise because:
- ABs had enjoyed a common identity with SBI for long. They had shared SBI’s logo, a highly visible point of customer recall and a rallying point of group affinity.
- SBI had been exercising tight operational control of the ABs from inception. The SBI chairperson was presiding over the individual boards of the ABs, which were run by top executives of SBI sent on deputation. As a result, the banking products, operational systems and procedures and norms of business were all common.
- All ABs were operating under the same information technology platform as SBI. Since the time SBI launched massive computerisation in the mid-1990s to automate all branches, it had included the ABs in the exercise.
- The treasury operations of the ABs had been integrated with SBI for several years. This has provided valuable expertise to them, and cost advantage in fund mobilisations.
- Major loan decisions of ABs used to be vetted first by SBI under centralised control before the proposals received local approval at the concerned AB’s board. This oversight had added a valuable layer and helped steer the asset portfolios of ABs on generally prudential lines.
Role of PSBs:
The public sector banks have maintained their resilience saving the country from economic slowdown which occurred in many parts of the world in last 10 years.
PSBs have become the extension arm of government for the task of financial inclusion drive of government.
PSBs are always been the vehicle of the government pro poor schemes. PSBs are generally initial platform to launch new concepts and ideas for effective delivery of the subsidies etc.
The territorial spread of PSBs is substantially large as compared to private banking institutions. PSBs have not worked solely in a profit earning model. Because of existence of PSBs in rural areas, it has catered the banking needs of most marginalised sectors of the society from longer time.
Role of Private banks based of more profit kind of model has played a vital role in bringing the professionalism in the field of banking in country.
The international best practices have been brought by private banks.
The NPA record of these banks is appreciable and needs to be studied as a success story to be followed in other banks.
Private Banks have taken lead role in the use of information technology and digitalisation.
Balancing social justice with service effectiveness:
In order to achieve the golden mid of social justice and effective banking, merger can be good solution. The merger must result into enhancement of effective functioning of resultant structure.
The exercise of consolidating PSBs should be based on
- Sound analysis of every PSB
- A granular analysis of its assets and liabilities
- Sector-wise loan exposures
- Security back-up
- Common loans among PSBs
- Considering issue of NPA
- Current Indradhanush project
- Nayak committees recommendation for effective governance in PSB
Topic: Environmental pollution
7) Do you think it is time to for global climate policy to now move away from its sole focus on reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, which is a symptom of the problem, to discussing its causes and strategies? Discuss. (200 Words)
Focusing just on the reduction of emission of CO2 seems to bring little results on the grounds as all the nations are seeking to secure the standard of living of their citizens while pushing others to safeguard global ecological limits. Thus policy experts are also emphasizing need to discuss causes and strategies to deal with the ill consequences of the climate change.
The time has come for global climate policy to move away from its sole focus on reduction of emission of CO2 to discussing its causes and strategies because-
- The final communiqué from the recently concluded G-20 summit in Hamburg confirmed the decision of the United States (US) to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Despite being one of the largest emitter of green-house gases, the decision of USA would effectively shift the burden of reduction onto other nations.
- The just concluded round of negotiations at Bonn on the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement witnessed different interpretations on what was agreed upon at Paris. The key areas of divergence are whether the focus is emissions reduction or should include the adverse effects, finance and technology transfer.
- Recent report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that global emissions need to be reduced a further one-quarter from predicted emissions in 2030. This has brought centre-stage, the design of the new rules, the relative contribution of countries whose emissions have peaked and those whose emissions are yet to peak, as their national circumstances are different.
To find amicable solution over this issue, it needs effective strategies at global level and following well accepted principle of ‘Common but differentiated responsibilities and Respective capabilities’ in its letter and spirit.
- The post-1945 model of global governance, dividing the world into ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, as well as into donors and recipients, has come to an end with geopolitical shifts towards Asia.
The World Bank has introduced a new classification of low-medium and high-income countries which is reflected in the threefold division in the Kigali Agreement on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
- In the climate negotiations, the G-77 group of developing countries no longer operates as a bloc. The Paris Agreement had diluted earlier commitments for transfer of financial resources and technology and these have been further diluted at Marrakech. Therefore, there is need of new principles that are based on a different set of provisions of the Paris Agreement.
- For developing countries like India there is need to articulate another set of principles to determine the timing of caps, or ceilings, so as to take care of the interests of all late developers to be able to reach comparable standards of living.
The emission reduction will always remain the pivot of policies required to prevent and mitigate the impact of climate change. However changing geo-political and economic environment around the world is also demanding the focus to discuss the causes and strategies to effectively deal with the phenomenon of climate change.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function
NCERT Class XII Psychology textbook Chapter 7
Introduction :- The prisoner’s dilemma is a paradox in decision analysis in which two individuals acting in their own self-interest pursue a course of action that does not result in the ideal outcome. The typical prisoner’s dilemma is set up in such a way that both parties choose to protect themselves at the expense of the other participant. As a result of following a purely logical thought process, both participants find themselves in a worse state than if they had cooperated with each other in the decision-making process.
The morality aspects involved in prisoner’s dilemma :-
- Mutual Co operation Vs defecation :- It points out that cooperation actually leads to better and mutually beneficial results than defecation and breach of trust. In simple terms in cooperation lies the key to prosper and in separation the destruction. Indo-Pakistan bilateral relation are plagued with many issues. The Siachine is one of them. If both countries cooperate they can reduce casualties, financial investment and avoidable conflicts in the Land of Roses. Defecation and breach of trust has resulted in heavy loss of men, money on both sides.
- Selflessness, sympathy and care for others Vs selfishness, narrow mindedness :- If we become selfless and think for others we may get the same result in return. If not it displays our higher ideals in life. Selfishness leads to hatred, jealousy and deterioration of relationships. Mother Teresa worked for the needy, poor in very selfless manner and she got love, recognition, appreciation, honours in return.
- Survival competition Vs Ethical competence :- As well said by Albert Einstein that adversity introduces the man to himself and to the world. In such adverse condition of imprisonment as well if one shows ethical competence rather than a blind and immature attempt in competition for survival one can be at winning side.
Hence prisoners dilemma reveals many moral aspects and it can teach many lessons about probable behaviour of individual in adverse conditions.