SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 August 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, Diversity of India.
India has been the country of diverse creeds, castes, culture & languages. Different scholars & philosophers have held different views on various matters including the caste system. The opinions of Deendayal Upadhyay, Rajagopalachary & Dayanand Saraswati on the caste system have been in the implicit or explicit support of it.
Deendayal Upadhyay –
According to him “society is self-born’’ and forms an “organic unity” inherited from a caste-based antiquarian arrangement that should not be disturbed: “In our concept of four castes, they are thought of as an analogous to the different limbs of Virat-Purusha. These limbs are not only complementary to one another, but even further, there is individuality, unity. There is a complete identity of interest, identity of belonging”. Here he refers to the varna system as a social model and regrets that it has lost its fluidity with the multiplication of jatis.
Dayanand Saraswati –
The founder of the Arya Samaj, was the first Hindu reformer who endeavoured to rehabilitate the Vedic caste system by endowing this varnavyavastha with meritocratic dimensions. He maintained that hereditary jatis did not exist in the Vedic times but children were placed in different varnas according to their qualities. Through such reasoning, he legitimised a hierarchy imbued with anti-individualistic values — once in a varna, a man and a woman remained in it.
- Rajagopalachari claimed that jati (not varna) was “the most important element in the organisation of our society” and argued that professional mobility would destabilise the complementarity of social functions at the village-level, making economic development more difficult. When Dalit members of the Madras Legislative Council introduced a Temple Entry Bill in 1938, Rajagopalachari, the Congress chief minister, asked them to withdraw it.
The views of the above persons can be understood by keeping in view the circumstances of that period. But, Sixty years later, in spite of the Constitution, democracy and reservations, the hierarchical view of society finds expression in the defence of caste and reassertion of categories like pure and impure. One thing is certain that the bonds of caste system need to be loosened in order to create an egalitarian society with today’s changing times.
Topic: Role of women
Indian agricultural landscape is fast being feminised. Already, women constitute close to 65 per cent of all agricultural workers. An even greater share, 74 per cent of the rural workforce, is female. Despite their hard labour in the field, women are not officially counted as farmers, and are either labelled “agricultural labourers” or “cultivators”. This is because the government does not recognise as farmers those who do not have a claim to land under their name in official records.
As many as 87 per cent of women do not own their land; only 12.7 per cent of them do. There are two primary reasons for the alarmingly low number:
- land being a state subject is not governed by the constitution under a uniform law that applies equally to all citizens but rather is governed by personal religious laws, which tend to discriminate against women when it comes to land inheritance.
- The cultural aspect of the deep-rooted biases that hinder women’s ownership of land in patriarchal societies.
Providing women with access to secure land will revolutionise the rural ecosystem in following ways:
1) Women have greater tendency to spend their income for needs of their households, hence better nourishment and health indicators for her children.
2) Land owning mothers also tend to invest more in their children’s education and health.
3) Economic empowerment, Improved status of women in society especially in rural areas.
4) With women being owners of land and in a position to make decisions for their families they can prevent discrimination against their daughters in family.
5) Increased awareness regarding their rights, Reduced Domestic Violence.
According to UN, empowering rural women is a prerequisite to fulfill the vision of SDGs that aim to end poverty and hunger. Giving land ownership rights to female farmers is important part of empowering rural women. Before aiming at the goal of securing women’s land ownership rights, working toward ascertaining security of tenure for tenant farmers is a necessary first step. With security of tenure, female farmers should be provided with the three critical driving factors — the incentive, the security, as well as the opportunity — to invest in the land they harvest.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States; legislature; executive
The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2017 was introduced by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, in Lok Sabha on July 31, 2017. The Bill amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. The Act provides for the eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises in certain cases.
The features and significance of the bill are:
Residential accommodation: The Bill defines ‘residential accommodation occupation’ as the occupation of public premises by a person on the grant of a license for such occupation. The license must be given for a fixed tenure, or for the period the person holds office. Further, the occupation must be allowed under the rules made by the central, state or union territory government, or a statutory authority (such as Parliament Secretariat, or a central government company, or premises belonging to a state government).
Notice for eviction: The Bill adds a provision laying down the procedure for eviction from residential accommodation. It requires an estate officer (an officer of the central government) to issue a written notice to a person if he is in unauthorised occupation of a residential accommodation. The notice will require the person to show cause of why an eviction order should not be made against him, within three working days. The written notice must be fixed to a conspicuous part of the accommodation.
Order of eviction: After considering the cause shown, and making any other inquiries, the estate officer will make an order for eviction. If the person fails to comply with the order, the estate officer may evict such person from the residential accommodation, and take possession of it. For this purpose, the estate officer may also use such force as necessary.
Payment of damages: If the person in unauthorised occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order in any court, he will pay damages for every month of such occupation.
The 1971 Act provides for summary eviction proceedings, under which the estate officer does not have to follow an elaborate procedure for serving notice, show cause, inquiry and hearing before passing the eviction order. But this procedure is not applicable to residential accommodations. This loophole in the existing 1971 Act has been exploited by unauthorised occupants who resort to dilatory tactics or move the High Court for a stay of the eviction order.
The Amendment Bill has proposed the insertion of a new Section 3B. It proposes to extend summary eviction procedure to residential accommodations too. The unauthorised occupants would be provided a show cause notice of only three days.
Efforts to evict an unauthorised occupant are often met with resistance and years of litigation. Instead of complying with the eviction order, the tenant prefers to move court.
The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha, comes up with an answer for this problem. It proposes to insert a new sub-section (3A) in Section 7 of the 1971 Act to the effect that if an unauthorised occupant goes to court against an eviction order, he/she will be bound to pay “damages” for every month of his/ her stay in the particular residential accommodation.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
India’s relations with the West Asian countries are historical since the independence of India. India has interests in economic, political, security and strategic fields with the West Asian nations. In the post-colonial era both side work along the ideology of non-alignment. India’s ‘Look West Policy’ indicates India’s emerging economic and strategic relations with countries of West Asia in order to boost its energy security and a counterbalance to the strategic influence of other major powers in the region.
Why India and the West Asia important to each other:
The West Asian region is one of the most instable and conflicted region in the contemporary world. Multifaceted factors, including regional and international powers’ interest produced vast turmoil in the post-Arab spring era in the region. A range of Islamic terrorist groups, Civil wars and external intervention made the West Asia most horrible region. The whole West Asia is now in big socio-political, economic turmoil and boundaries are regularly fragmenting and integrating. The Islamic State and other terror groups are rapidly getting more ground in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and beyond.
The West Asia region is also in the process of re-settlement and re-alignment of regional politics due to the recent entry of Iran in the international arena through the historic nuclear deal. India’s growing relations with Iran may be a bridge in Saudi Arabia and Israel to Teheran. A trustful relation between regional powers only can bring peace and stability in the region. In the midst of these challenges, the West Asian nations and India should develop their relations in near future.
India and issue of Palestine conflict:
Historically India has supported the cause of Palestine and thus its stance has become the important component of its West Asia policy. This can be seen in:
- India voted in favour for accepting Palestine as a full member of UNESCO in 2011.
- India voted in favour of upgrading the status of Palestine to a ‘non-member state ‘in UN in 2012.
- In 2014, India supported a UNHRC resolution to launch probe into the Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
The rising importance of Iran in India’s West Asia policy can be enumerated in following points.
With the lifting of western sanctions, Iran is once again considered as a very resourceful country with greater political stability than many of its neighbours. It is also now recognised to have the largest combined oil and gas reserves in the world. The next few years are likely to be a great period for Western oil and gas companies and non-Western countries like India to invest in Iran.
Chabahar agreement represents an open door towards more future cooperation on issues such as terrorism, security, energy, trade, culture etc. India have realised that Iran is set to emerge as not only an important supplier of energy, but also as a key regional player in Central Asia and the Near East.
Current bilateral trade between the two countries is about $14bn. India’s economic progress and its global ambitions as a full-time player in international affairs have contributed to Iran’s interest in the country as a way to challenge US global hegemony.
Iran’s non-ideological approach toward India, after the election of the reformist president Muhammad Khatami, has contributed to the political and economic rapprochement between the two countries.
What India has achieved in regard to Iran through diplomacy and complexity management, rather than threats, sanctions and demonization, is to understand the Islamic republic as a vital bridge between East and East, and as the most stable, safe and inviting stop along the Silk Road.
Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Gujarat Assembly secretary’s statement that the “NOTA” option will be available on the ballot paper in the Rajya Sabha election next week, both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have sought to convince the Supreme Court and the Election Commission that MLAs should not have this option. The Supreme Court refused to stay the process to allow NOTA, saying that the provision has been in place since April 2014 after a direction by the EC.
What is NOTA:
“None Of The Above”, or NOTA for short, also known as “against all” or a “scratch” vote, is a ballot option in some jurisdictions or organizations, designed to allow the voter to indicate disapproval of all of the candidates in a voting system. It is based on the principle that consent requires the ability to withhold consent in an election, just as they can by voting “No” on ballot questions. The Section 49 (O) stood annulled after the SC cleared the NOTA provision. It gave the poll officials a chance to find out the reason behind the rejection of a candidate through the voter’s remarks in Form 17A. Through NOTA, the officials cannot find out the reason for the rejection. Moreover, it protects the identity of a voter, thus keeping the concept of secret balloting intact.
Importance of NOTA in Rajya Sabha:
The idea behind the use of NOTA is to allow the voter to register a “protest” vote if none of the candidates is acceptable to her for whatever reason. While NOTA votes are tallied, the candidate with the highest number of votes polled is declared elected irrespective of the NOTA total. In the case of the Rajya Sabha elections, the vote allows for the preferential ordering of candidates. If an MLA chooses NOTA, the vote is rendered ineffective.
In principle, the presence of the NOTA option for the legislator allows the possibility of a protest vote against the party high command for choosing candidates who are not agreeable to her, without having to choose candidates from opposing parties. The principle of a protest vote remains the same even if these are indirect elections.
Merits of NOTA in State Assembly:
- The voter must be able to register a vote of disapproval/rejection if they are of the opinion that none of the contesting candidates deserve to be voted for. Right to vote must also include the Vote of disapproval/rejection.
- This change will also reduce the incidence of bogus voting. Presently, voters who chose to abstain from voting run the risk of their votes being rigged by vested interests.
- Fundamental rights accord every citizen the right to free speech and expression. Providing a ‘none of the above’ option on EVMs only complements our existing rights.
- Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961already provides for persons to register a negative vote. However, to do so, the person must approach the presiding office. Not only does this make the process cumbersome, it also affects voter secrecy. Therefore, what has been provided for in law is now only being converted to an option on the EVM, with the additional benefit of voter secrecy.
- Negative votes will only demonstrate the popularity of the candidates, or otherwise, by giving an avenue to voters to register their disapproval.
- The whole process being open ballot, the legislatures opting for NOTA are vulnerable to being out of favor with their party leadership.
- This indirectly impinges the anti-defection provisions provided in 10th Schedule of the constitution, since there is a very high possibility of horse trading and legislators switching sides at the last moment and voting for NOTA.
- This may compromise the autonomy of political party in Rajya Sabha.
- The application of NOTA may result in the use of money and muscle power in the upper house.
All voters have their individual priorities and they take decisions based on their own criteria. The Constituent Assembly placed tremendous faith in the electorate by choosing to accord Universal Adult Franchise to the people of our country. It is something we should be proud of. We should have faith in the collective wisdom of the electorate to take the right decisions.
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.; Paper-3 Government Budgeting
6) As ‘the guardian of the public purse’, Parliament must play a greater role in budgetary governance. Do you think there is a need to establish a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) in the parliament? Discuss. (200 Words)
Development and sustenance of strong, effective and efficient democratic governance is critically dependent on the component of accountability of the political system. It is through the continuous system of accountable and responsive governance that peoples’ faith in democracy and government as well as the quality of life of the citizens is greatly impacted. Conversely, the failure of the political and administrative machinery to function and perform effectively and transparently undermines the achievement and sustainability of the goals and reforms for good governance.
As ‘the guardian of the public purse’, Parliament must play a greater role in budgetary governance. Its core functions include Budget approval, scrutiny of its implementation, and holding the government to account.
Role of Parliament in budgetary governance and linked issues:
The Parliament of India is considered to be a budget-approving body. Its involvement in budgetary matters includes several major steps: presenting the budget in the parliament; scrutiny of the budget proposal and demands for grants of various ministries; debate; consideration and approval of the budget.
To perform its functions of oversight and legislative or budgetary decision making, parliament inevitably requires the institutional, technical and analytical competence. However, the budget research capacity is negligible and almost non-existent in Indian Parliament. Consequently, Parliament is unable to perform these key functions effectively.
What is PBO?
A PBO is an independent and impartial body linked directly to Parliament that provides technical and objective analysis of Budgets and public finance to the House and its committees.
The majority of PBOs have four core functions:
- Independent and objective economic forecasts;
- Baseline estimate survey;
- Analysing the executive’s Budget proposal;
- Providing medium- to long-term analysis.
A PBO is an independent, nonpartisan budget research and analysis body that caters to the needs of parliamentarians and the parliamentary committees. It exists exclusively to support and assist legislators in their work with Budgets.
A PBO is an instrument for addressing bias towards spending and deficits and, more significantly, for enhancing fiscal discipline, promoting transparency and accountability, and generating high-quality public debate on budget policy and public finance.
Establishing a PBO will enable parliamentarians to engage more meaningfully in the budget process and its approval. Across the world, PBOs vary in terms of their design and functions. The basic function of a
A PBO can perform other tasks depending on its mandate, resources and requirements of parliamentarians or committees. These may include general economic analysis, tax analysis, long-term analysis, options for spending cuts, outlining a budgetary framework that reflects priorities of the nation, bespoke policy briefs.
There are key benefits to establishing a PBO:
- It ensures technical, objective and independent expertise to the parliament and parliamentarians to exercise their budgetary functions.
- It can improve government transparency and accountability, thereby bringing fiscal ü discipline on the public spending.
- It addresses deficit bias commonly affecting fiscal policy and discipline. It can raise quality public debate on the scrutiny of fiscal and economic policy and enhance the credibility of the budget process.
- It will reduce information asymmetries.
- It will help simplify the budget documents and can ensure timely information is available to ü all members in the parliament.
- It will ensure availability and accessibility of the information to the public as well and can ü promote citizens participation in the budget process.
- It provides institutional capacity to carry out the legislative and oversight functions of the parliament/legislatures.
Establishing a PBO in the Indian Parliament will have a positive impact on its ability to carry out its budgetary oversight and fiscal decision-making function, but it will not be an easy task. It is likely to attract the first opposition from the bureaucracy or the executive. Because, traditionally, any aspect of strengthening the parliament (or the state legislatures) has always been unwelcome and met less consideration from the executive. Strong demand from the public and political will is needed to overcome such opposition. Parliamentarians across political parties will have to take very affirmative measures to establish a PBO.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Introduction :- One of the most stinging descriptions of the dangers of mob violence never to be published (at least by the author in his lifetime) was Mark Twain’s response to a racial lynching in Missouri in 1901. He saw in it the danger of America turning into “The United States of Lyncherdom”. The secular republic of India, more than a century later, appears to be amidst the shadow of a similar fear.
Lynching is an extrajudicial punishment by an informal group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group. It is an extreme form of informal group social control such as charivari, skimmington, riding the rail, and tarring and feathering, but with a drift towards the display of a public spectacle
Need of anti lynching laws :-
- The data websiteIndiaSpendhas compiled instances of cow-linked violence from 2010 to 2017. It found that during this period, 28 people were killed in 63 such incidents. Since 2014 About 86% of those killed were Muslims. In 21% of the cases, the police filed cases against the victims/survivors. Cow-related lynchings rose sharply in 2017, with 20 attacks in the first six months. This marks a 75% increase over 2016, which had been the worst year for mob lynchings since 2010.
- The primary argument of the activists and lawyers advocating an anti-lynching law is that it fills a void in our criminal jurisprudence.
- At present there is no law that criminalises mob killings.
- It is possible, under Section 223 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), to prosecute together two or more people accused of the same offence committed in the course of the “same transaction”. But the provision falls far short of an adequate legal framework for prosecuting lynch mobs.
The groundswell of public disgust at the lynchings crystallised under the banner of the National Campaign Against Mob Lynching (NCAML), which has initiated a campaign for a law against mob lynching. Also known as ‘Masuka’, short for Manav Suraksha Kanoon (law to protect humans), a draft of the proposed legislation is currently up on the Internet, awaiting suggestions from the public.
Some shortcomings can be identified
- The provisions empowering local law enforcement officials to take pre-emptive action could easily be invoked to criminalise peaceful public assembly, especially if the gathering is of workers or members of marginalised communities agitating for their rights
- the ‘Review Committee’ that would monitor the prosecution of cases under this law is supposed to be headed by a senior police officer. Its findings would be submitted to a senior police officer. In a scenario where the police often serve as the handmaiden of the ruling dispensation, its hard to expect one member of the police force to hold another accountable
Need of a separate law which will add to other numerous laws can be eliminated with adopting some measures like :-
- Prevention of such incidences is possible with increased awareness and respect for other community, active vigilance by civil society, moral policing etc.
- In case it happens identifying the nature of lynching cases, targets, reasons and allowing the investigating agencies to do the work without politicisation of issues will be helpful.
- Engaging people especially from minorities into the process, building confidence in them, creating a cooperative environment for fearless investigations when such incidences occur is also important.
Incidences like lynching are the blot on society. They not only stains its fabric but also have potential to torn it down if not acted in cautious manner. Hence social, political, legal, moral ways and means must be adopted to curb them.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics,
What is it?
A digital currency, used to make payments of any value without fees. It runs on the blockchain, a decentralised ledger kept running by “miners” whose powerful computers crunch transactions and are rewarded in bitcoins
Who invented it?
Satoshi Nakamoto, a secretive internet user, invented bitcoin in 2008 before it went online in 2009. Many attempts to identify Satoshi have been made without conclusive proof
What’s it for?
People see value in money free from government control and the fees banks charge; as well as the blockchain, to verify transactions. Bitcoin has been seen as a tool for private, anonymous transactions, and it’s the payment of choice for drug deals and other illegal purchases
Is it worth anything?
Yes. As of July 2017, there were around 16.5m bitcoins in circulation. In March 2017, the value of a Bitcoin, at $1,268, exceeded that of an ounce of gold ($1,233) for the first time.
What is Bitcoin Cash?
In August 2017, the blockchain forked to support another cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash, which is optimised slightly differently. People who held Bitcoin received an equal value of Bitcoin Cash following this ‘hard fork’.
A hardfork is a change to the bitcoin protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid, and therefore requires all users to upgrade.
Any alteration to bitcoin which changes the block structure (including block hash), difficulty rules, or increases the set of valid transactions is a hardfork. However, some of these changes can be implemented by having the new transaction appear to older clients as a pay-to-anybody transaction (of a special form), and getting the miners to agree to reject blocks including the pay-to-anybody transaction unless the transaction validates under the new rules. This is known as a softfork, and how P2SH was added to Bitcoin.
The community supporting bitcoin has long tried to avoid a so-called “hard fork” splitting the currency in two. On Tuesday, it happened anyhow. The idea behind the change is to speed up transactions and, consequently, mainstream acceptance
It’s a good development :-
- The bigger the size of the block, the more transactions can be validated in a second. For bitcoin, with a maximum block size of 1 MB, it’s just two or three transactions per second. A bitcoin payment can take an hour to clear.
- Bitcoin’s slowness also leads to the proliferation of other cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, some of which claim higher processing speed as an advantage.
- It will help in greater proliferation and acceptance of bitcoins
- Reduction in transaction fee, competitive edge in cryptocurrency market, smoother transactions, increased use on daily basis are some of the other windfall gains.
However some concerns can be :-
- A lot of chaos, confusion, disruption, unfamiliarity in users to adapt to the changes made
- Loss of bitcoins in non updated process, division of bitcoins may hamper its credibility
- Less liquidity, discretion in hands of miner, overall low confidence in cryptocurrency by people makes it further hard to accept them
- Bitcoin technology is still in infant state and its cash use is relatively untested so its adoption and intensive use still cause concerns.
Changes, disruption, evolution is a part of any new revolutionary technology like bitcoins. Hence concepts like hardfork must be accepted and environment of learning, cooperation and subsequent necessary modifications must be sought towards it.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service; integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity
Introduction :- Aptitude and foundational values for civil services like integrity, impartiality and non partisanship, objectivity are needed to bring the attitudinal and behavioural reforms in them. Present day they need to perform multiple functions of giving suggestions to political representatives, addressing public grievances, institutionalisation of the socio economic changes, delivering goods and services hence a value committed bureaucracy is need of hour.
The following are some foundational values for civil servants
- Integrity :- It is the practice of synchronisation of thought, words and actions. It can be correlated to honesty but unlike honesty its more a professional value. Its related to institution. It advocate sacrifice of personal gains in favour of organisational objectives. In conflict between personal and organisational objectives organisation must be given importance. Financial integrity is important component. Civil servants are handling public assets they are the custodians of public money. Integrity ensures the economy of expenditure, reduction in unproductive expenditure, minimisation of corruption. hence integrity is utmost required value.
- Impartiality :- Impartiality (also called even handedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons. A civil servant should never show any kind of prejudices, biases, and preferences into their functionating.
- Objectivity :- Objectivityis a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject’s individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. It’s the quality of making the rational decisions without subjective biases, prejudices. Organisational decisions must be objective in order to make it efficient.
- Non partisanship :- Non partisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward a political party. It’s the political neutrality of a civil servant which makes her the true public servant. It will not only help in delivering services in right manner but also help in institutional continuity in functioning of bureaucracy.