SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
1) Discuss the significance of 1942 Quit India Movement. Also write a critical note on its cultural legacy. (200 Words)
Government has launched a mega campaign ’Sankalp se Siddhi’ on the 75th anniversary of Quit India movement to resolve, to come together, to persevere and work together in making of a new India.
The Quit India movement of 1942 was without a doubt one of the most important mass movements in the history of India’s freedom struggle. The motto of making the British quit India once it for all, and the enduring strength of the participants in the movement, changed the course of history for the period 1942-1947.
The significance of the movement can be highlighted as follows:
- The movement was carried forward without the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, or any other leader, all of whom were jailed on its commencement.
2. All sections of people participated in huge numbers.
3. Decentralized command was the prime significance of this movement.
4. The British began to seriously think about the issue of Indian independence after seeing the upsurge among the masses. It changed the nature of political negotiations with British empire in 1940s which ultimately paved the way of India’s independence.
5. The slogan of ‘Do or Die’ remains the most Krantikari slogan to this day.
6. It is also a symbol of political betrayal. Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) and even the undivided Communist party opposed Gandhi as well as his call for complete civil disobedience.
However, some of the drawbacks were:
- Use of violent methods by the volunteers and participants.
2. The movement was crushed in a relatively short period of time by the British.
3. Lack of leadership did not lead to well-coordinated guidance and progress of the movement, with the intensity restricted to a few pockets.
The cultural legacy of the movement:
- The symbolism conferred upon the India Gate, where the volunteers and supporters of the movement had launched a vigorous agitation and protest against the British.
2. Huge collections of literature (songs, poems, etc.) were created in Hindi as well as in regional languages.
3. Patriotism penetrated every nook and corner of India. It actually became an attribute to the socio-cultural identity of India.
Despite its importance during freedom struggle, its cultural legacy in post-independent India is diluted which can be observed due to controversies of:
- Renaming of India Gate: In 1992, the then government accepted the demand of All India freedom Fighter Association (AIFFA) to rename India gate as ‘August Kranti Park’.
2. Placing a Gandhi Statue: Debate around placing Gandhi statue in the central vista of New Delhi opposite to India Gate.
3. Issuing the One rupee coin that was started in 1992 in honor of freedom fighters. It is not in use.
However, the celebration of the golden jubilee of the movement in 1992, which had political overtones, and the constant struggle among the political parties to appropriate the credit truly deserved by the freedom fighters, is not exactly a cultural legacy we would like to preserve. To commemorate the spirit of the movement in true sense, we must focus on people’s imagination of freedom struggle and national dignity.
Topic: Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society
2) What do you understand by cultural nationalism? What ind of nationalism you would like to see among Indians? Justify. (200 Words)
Cultural nationalism is a form of nationalism in which the nation is defined by a shared culture. Intermediate position between ethnic nationalism on one hand and civic nationalism on the other. It will focus on a national identity shaped by cultural traditions and by language, but not on the concept of common ancestry or race. Such society has a sense of cultural pride where ethnically diverse people with common culture and common language live together.
Cultural Nationalism is one of the oldest form of nationalism which emerged from the writings of German scholars like Hegel and motivated people all across the world. In India it was propounded by Aurobindo Ghosh. Cultural Nationalism refers to the nationalism that is believed to have existed not due to any political, social contract but due to a shared past and cultural affinities.
India has had a long history which built her unique culture. It’s not any particular culture but unity of diverse cultures that shapes Indian identity. It is the peaceful co-existence of different identities that defines Indian nationhood. Hence, Indians should have a form of nationalism which ensures:
1. Inclusive Nationalism instead of enforced cultural nationalism: Rising cow vigilantism, making Yoga compulsory and other such decisions are manifestation of enforced cultural nationalism which is harming the inclusive nation building process.
2. Real affection instead of manufactured affection for the state. The law of sedition which penalizes any dissent should be removed to ensure freedom of speech and expression and to get rid of manufactured affection. SC clearly said in Kedar Nath Singh v the State of Bihar (1962) case that we must allow disaffection to be fully expressed unless it incites violence. In S. Rangarajan v P. Jagjivan Ram (1989), SC said that “in a democracy it is not necessary that everyone should sing the same song”.
By ensuring an inclusive nationalism where affection towards the state is true, we can put India on a progressive path.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.
3) In the light of government’s decision to scrap no-detention policy, critically analyse success and failures of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or the Right to Education Act (RTE). (200 Words)
Introduction :- The no-detention policy was introduced as a part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) under the Right to Education Act (RTE) in 2010. Under this policy, students up to class 8 are automatically promoted to the next class without being held back even if they do not get a passing grade. The no-detention policy under the RTE Act was to ensure that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school until the completion of elementary education.
The policy was path-breaking but, unfortunately, it ended up being completely opposite to its original objective. There have been plenty of arguments on both sides of this policy.
Arguments for NDP in RTI’S success:-
- the NDP may argue that the policy—successfully deployed in countries known for their high-quality education systems, such as Finland and Japan—wasn’t properly implemented in India.
- The ‘no detention’ provision is made because examinations are often used for eliminating children who obtain poor marks. Once declared ‘fail’, children either repeat grade or leave the school altogether. Compelling a child to repeat a class is demotivating and discouraging.
- There are also very strong equity considerations behind the NDP policy, especially for children from low-income families, and girls. Failure for these children implies dropping out. In fact, wastage in the schooling system due to high repetition and high dropout rates has been a major concern since the 1990s. The no-detention clause in the RTE Act seeks to address that concern.
- The objective of the policy was to keep students in school and prevent dropouts—and in that, it has succeeded.
- Besides, research evidence indicates that detention of students by a year or more does not improve learning.
Argument for NDP in RTE’S failure:-
- The latest edition of the well-regarded “Annual Status of Education Report” (Aser), which measures overall learning levels, has found, yet again, that learning outcomes remain below par. Less than 48% of children in class V can read a class II-level textbook; only 43.2% of class VIII students in rural India can do simple divisions; only one out of every four students in class V could read an English sentence.
- In practise, the CCE turned out to be a big disaster in the absence of adequate resources including number of teachers, seamless processes and a supportive ecosystem. A survey in 2015 indicated that nearly 20% of all teachers had not even heard of the CCE and where they had heard of evaluation they did not receive adequate manuals or training.
- The CCE, however, was stillborn—at least in part because teachers were never really trained in how to implement the new methods of evaluation and interpreted the policy as one that required no assessment at all.
- Without adequate checks, assessments or measurements teachers were found to be slacking off. Overall, the no-detention policy has caused a severe deterioration in learning outcomes.
RTE Act can be strengthened by the following:
- Effective implementation of existing provisions of the RTE Act is required and engagement of civil society may be further strengthened to make it more effective.
- Minimum pupil-teacher ratio should be maintained in each school as per the provisions. This will be possible by recruiting more qualifi ed and trained teachers.
- Enough funds should be allocated to develop infrastructural facilities in schools.
- In order to make RTE more effective, it is necessary to establish modality through which the RTE Act is protected and a system needs to be evolved to deal with lacunae in implementation.
- Though the RTE Act has a provision for including overage children in its ambit, in reality this is not happening; hence proper groundwork needs to be initiated with the help of civil society to meet targets.
- Achieving the goal of equitable, quality education for all requires progress along multiple dimensions such as better policy, stronger political commitment, superior implementation, and higher community involvement.
- Advocacy needs to be done by which states should ensure all sanctioned posts of teachers are filled up immediately to achieve targets.
A no-detention policy is a lame, easy-to-do method to get a quick-fix solution to a complex problem. There is evidence available that there are significant gains of keeping children in school even artificially by promoting them through multiple classes, but lack of long-term learning outcomes and mass failures in higher classes are signs that all is certainly not well. Hence scrapping the NDP is a good step to revamp RTE act.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources
4) A comprehensive new survey shows that preschools are ubiquitous in India’s villages. Does pre-schooling help children? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Preschool refers to an early-childhood educational class for 3- and 4-year-olds.
How pre schooling help children :-
- Preschool is an opportunity for growth :- For many children, preschool is their first experience in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children. It’s an opportunity to learn to share, follow instructions, and begin the foundation for learning that will occur in elementary school.
- Preschool prepares children for kindergarten:- As kindergarten becomes more academic, many parents look to preschool to launch their child on the path to success in school.
- Preschool promotes social and emotional development :- In order to learn, a young child needs to feel cared for and secure with a teacher or caregiver. A 3-year-old child is able to spend time away from parents and build trusting relationships with adults outside the family. High-quality preschool programs nurture warm relationships among children, teachers and parents. And teachers build a close personal connection with each child in their care.
- Children learn to take care of themselves and others :- Children’s sense of competence and self-worth grow as they learn to take care of themselves and help others.
- Preschool promotes language and cognitive skills :- Preschool-age children’s language skills are nurtured in a “language-rich” environment. Between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary grows from 900 to 2,500 words, and her sentences become longer and more complex
- Preschool teachers nurture a child’s curiosity :- Teachers observe, ask questions and listen to children’s ideas during these activities — “correct” answers are not the goal. To nurture their curiosity and motivation to learn, teachers use children’s interests and ideas to create activities.
- Preschool helps develop motor skills :- Physical coordination improves, allowing the child to explore her environment — and to challenge herself-in new ways. Young children are in motion for a good part of the day. High-quality preschool programs provide several opportunities daily for children to run, climb, and play active games.
However there is dark side to it as well :-
- The preschool program needs to be expertly drafted, so that child learns all the right things.
- The schools should have experienced teachers who are aware of the unique condition children going through at this particular period.
- If the curriculum is not good, it can damage child’s learning process, attention span and attitude towards classes. If the program, or the teacher, is not good enough, child’s learning and experiential knowledge will be hampered.
- If the children in the school are not closely monitored, they might take to negative habits. This is the period when child learns of the world around him. If he is exposed to bullying or fighting at this age, it will carry on to the future as well.
- Some traditional belief systems think that children can learn a lot more about the world, social interactions, manners, etc. by staying at home, with his family. There is some truth in this saying, according to many studies.
Preschooling benefits clearly outweighs the disadvantages. Hence the concerns must be addressed with family-school linkages, dialogues between parents-teachers, expert educational approach towards preschooling will help in long way to make it a life enriching experience for children.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
5) The authors of India’s Constitution took the extraordinarily bold step of giving all adult citizens the right to vote, making India the world’s first large democracy to adopt universal adult suffrage from its very inception. Discuss critically the consequences of ‘instant universal adult suffrage’ for India. (200 Words)
Democracy took a giant step forward with the first general election held in 1951-52 over a four-month period. These elections were the biggest experiment in democracy anywhere in the world. The elections were held based on universal adult franchise, with all those twenty-one years of age or older having the right to vote. There were over 173 million voters, most of them poor, illiterate, and rural, and having had no experience of elections. The big question at the time was how the people would respond to this opportunity. Many were skeptical about such an electorate being able to exercise its right to vote in a politically mature and responsible manner.
Universal adult suffrage:
India adopted universal adult suffrage in the constitution itself. Constitution makers were unanimous on the requirement of UAF in India. As a result of it under article 326 of Indian constitution it was described that no citizen of India would be denied of his right to vote except by the authority of law.Acceptance of UAF was in accordance with the democratic idea of “Governance of the people, for the people and by the people”.
Merits of acceptance Universal adult suffrage:
- It was to establish a formal and political equality in a socially diversified India. Moral reason behind this acceptance was that those who are affected by the law should be a part of the law making process.
- Prudential reason is the power should be shared unless it would create conflict and would destroy the harmony.
- The shares of voter who are from rural and marginalized section have seen a greater turnout aiming to steer the ship of governance.
- We can see a rise in women voters and universal adult franchise has served as a tool for empowerment.
- Universal adult franchise has ensured that minorities wield sufficient power so not to get neglected.
- Indian Founding father dreamed for the Independent and Republic India where everyone has Equal opportunity and not one discriminated on basis of religion, sex or Caste. UAS is basic need to full fill this dream of the founding father.
Challenges in Universal adult suffrage:
- The processes of incremental suffrage expansion in country had a major impact on the development of their political systems in India at that time.
- As new priorities arose, public institutions and capacities had to be created or overhauled to suit them. There was the huge stress on the public institutions to complete the mammoth task of general election without any kind of previous experience.
- In 1947, moreover, barely 18 percent of Indian voters were literate. People could vote, but grasping how government worked and laying out coherent demands were large early challenges.
- With so much emphasis going to national projects and the task of consolidating power at the center, governance capacities in the states suffered. Especially hard-hit were efforts to provide public goods related to education and health, for the 1950 Constitution had made the states, not the central government, primarily responsible in these areas.
As democratic nation, instant universal suffrage must form a big part of our answer to many question linked with success of democracy. Yet instant universal suffrage also must bear much of the blame for the lamentably weak capacity so long displayed by India’s public institutions, especially at the state and local level. The incremental spread of suffrage—such as occurred in most other democracies— could arguably have laid superior groundwork for a more able state. Whether the Indian state can rise to this challenge remains to be seen.
Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy
6) It is often argued that there should be a system of annual recruitment into the IAS of mid-career professionals from diverse sectors. Discuss the rationale, merits and demerits of this system. (200 Words)
Need of lateral entry induction:
The idea of lateral induction is not new. It was recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reform Commission, high level committees appointed by different governments and a plethora of think tanks. At present, the numbers to be inducted are relatively small – around 40. That may help tide over the current deficit of middle level officers in the central government but does not address a much bigger problem – the overall 20% shortfall of IAS cadre officers alone in 24 state cadres. The Baswan Committee (2016) has shown how large states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have a deficit of 75 to over 100 officers and their unwillingness to sponsor officers to go to the Centre on deputation is understandable. Lateral induction is, therefore, a small step towards essential housekeeping in central government staffing and ought to be supported.
Arguments in support of lateral entry:
- Lateral entry will bring in much-needed outside experience, buffer the talent within the administration and challenge the IAS into continuous self-improvement.
- As the Lateral entrants will come through an open competitive examination; they will be as much a part of the system as the regular entrants, giving no scope for the adversarial relationship seen with ad-hoc lateral entrants.
- Mid-career lateral entrants with proven capabilities will help bridge the existing deficiency of excellent administrators that the contemporary complex system of administration requires.
- The challenge of specialisation of services can be tackled with the induction of professionals in that particular service. The debate of generalist verses specialist can have some solution by clause of lateral entry.
- Lateral entrants could also induce competition within the system. When civil servants are made to compete with outside talent, the lethargic attitude will diminish. So the prospects of lateral entry will always propel overall efficiency.
- Civil servants should also be encouraged to move out and work for different sectors on a short-term basis to enrich their knowledge and enhance their motivation and efficiency. Therefore, lateral exit is as important as lateral entry.
- The conventional wisdom on lateral entry is that it infuses fresh energy and thinking into an insular, complacent and often archaic bureaucracy. It enables the entry of right-minded professionals and the adoption of best practices for improving governance.
- It is both a workaround for the civil services’ structural failings and an antidote to the complacency that can set in a career-based service.
- The second ARC report points out that it is both possible and desirable to incorporate elements of a position-based system where lateral entry and specialization are common.
Reasons for not allowing lateral entry
- A clash might emerge between those already in services, after going through vigorous training and hardcore competition and those who enter through lateral entry. It will hamper the deliverance of “good governance”.
- Partial selections from the private services will jeopardise the purpose of having a lateral entry.
- There is no guarantee that those who succeeded in corporate sectors, will surely succeed in the administration of law and order.
The existing civil service should also need a career oriented growth path free from being transferred by political representatives using “carrot and stick policy”. The concept of lateral entry into civil service is good and fits well in contemporary requirements, however, The existing structure also needs an overhauling to remove known stagnation.
India civil services portray all the 10 characteristics of Weberian Ideal bureaucracy. Reforms are the need of the moment, internal and external, insulation from pressure from the political executive, lateral entry and more mechanisms to ensure accountability, neutrality and transparency.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Issues of buffer stocks and food security
7) Several State governments have not met key requirements in the Food Security legislation which empower the common person in securing subsidised food. Examine the reasons and discuss why all the provisions of food security legislations should be implemented by all states. (
Role of states in implementation of NFSA:
The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) provides that every State Government shall, by notification, constitute a State Food Commission for the purpose of monitoring and review of implementation of the Act. It has been decided that in case a State decides to set up State Food Commission on exclusive basis, Central Government will provide onetime financial assistance for non-building assets for State Food Commission.
Accordingly a component viz., “Assistance to States/UTs for non-building assets for State Food Commissions” has been included under the 12th Plan Umbrella Scheme on “Strengthening of PDS & Capacity Building, Quality Control, Consultancies & Research” of the Department. Under this component, the assistance is available for non-building assets such as furniture, office equipment, computers etc. These may include computers, air-conditioners, photocopiers, Fax machines, telephones, EPABX system, tables, chairs, storage units etc. Under the scheme, assistance is not provided for any construction activity or any recurring expenses.
Only 11 States have so far operationalised the Act with 25 States “unable’’ to comply with preconditions to improve the Public Distribution System.
Non-compliance by the states and related issues:
- Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the act which require the setting up of a grievance redress mechanism and a State Food Commission with responsibility to monitor the implementation of the law, have been heeded only in name and do not function on ground.
- District-level grievance redress solely falls under the ambit of the State authority. Central government has almost no role in the establishment of the district level grievance redressal authority.
- Social audits have to be done from the local level. The onus to conduct and promote social audit falls on state governments specifically.
- Even the States which are implementing the Act are doing so “partially” as most of them have continued with the old set of beneficiaries primarily with the aim of not losing any quota of the concessional food grains under the targeted PDS.
- Many governments have so far not articulated its policy on the delay in the identification of beneficiaries on the basis of the socio-economic caste census.
- States must have political will to use whatever socio-economic caste census data is available to come out with transparent indicators and make a new list of beneficiaries.
Importance of State participation can be analysed by following points:
Identification of Households: Within the coverage under TPDS determined for each State, the work of identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs.
Nutritional Support to women and children: Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Higher nutritional norms have been prescribed for malnourished children upto 6 years of age.
Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
Women Empowerment: Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. States will have the flexibility to use the existing machinery or set up separate mechanism.
Effective implementation of NFSA would make an important contribution to food security and improved nutrition in the country. Recent experience shows that a well-functioning PDS makes a big difference to people who live on the margin of subsistence.
The Act is also an opportunity to strengthen valuable child nutrition programmes such as school meals and the Integrated Child Development Services.
Central and State governments are jointly responsible for the proper implementation of the Act.
Food Security law is definitely a boon, because it guarantees basic need, food. But the PDS system must be strengthened to avoid corruption and leakages. And procurement price must be increased. Farmers must be protected. If this law is implemented effectively, it can help in eradicating hunger and malnutrition.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
8) How does technology, especially social media, impact emotional intelligence of children? Examine. (150 Words)
Introduction :- Emotional Intelligence includes the ability to engage in sophisticated information processing about one’s own and others’ emotions and the ability to use this information as a guide to thinking and behaviour. That is, individuals high in emotional intelligence pay attention to, use, understand, and manage emotions, and these skills serve adaptive functions that potentially beneﬁt themselves and others.
Technology and emotional intelligence :-
- Daniel Goleman, author of several books on the subject, says that the expanding hours spent alone with gadgets and digital tools could lower EI due to shrinkages in the time young people spend in face-to-face interactions. Quite rightly, as technologies divert our attention away from a realistic present, there exists the danger of disconnect that decreases EI.
- Digitization and the proliferation of data is creating a new kind of self-awareness among the digital natives. The action of posting a thought on to Twitter, Facebook or some other of the myriad social networks available, could, depending on its reception by peers, cause an ego boost (bordering narcissism) or slump, more likely the latter.
- Many youngsters are ignorant of the privacy intrusions in their digital presence and of permanence of digital data, making them rash in posting stuff that might backfire at a later date, either on a personal level or on their employability.
- On the other hand, the flexibility of new digital tools undoubtedly provides students with a platform for creativity which could have a large positive impact on self awareness.
- Self-regulation, the ability to stay focused and alert, is probably the one dimension of EI that is affected most by technology. Technology-induced distractions are a common complaint among parents and teachers.
- The role of technology in motivation is one area that has elicited much controversy. Many teachers bemoan the decrease in the motivation in the classroom due to the effect of fast-paced video games and instant information at their fingertips.
- Empathy is another area of EI that could be affected by technology. Empathy is a trait normally thought of as requiring human touch, face-to-face interactions and communication through verbal as well as non-verbal cues. E-communication tools such as chat, messaging and social networking websites, while offering the possibility of breaking free of geographic confines, pose a challenge to developing empathetic relationships with another human being
Thus it seems that technology does not bode particularly well for Emotional Intelligence. That however, does not demonize technology. As an intelligent species, we have made technology cater to our “intelligence”; as emotional beings, how difficult could it be to make it serve our emotional quotient as well?