SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 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: Role of women
‘Sexual harassment’ is any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that’s offensive, humiliating or intimidating. Most importantly, it’s against the law. It is one of the most subtle forms of discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”
Measures taken by Govt. –
- The govt response to workplace harassment in India rests on two pillars –
guidelines issued by SEBI in 2012 according to which companies must file a business responsibility report annually that list details of the sexual harassment complaints.
• sexual harassment at workplace act 20132. Establishment of SHe-box recently to register online complaints of harassment.
- Instructing corporates and companies to conduct trainings within organizations regarding what constitutes sexual harassment and penal provisions.
- Awareness campaigns through Media and web portals like MyGov, Ministry of Women and Child Development etc against sexual harassment.
- Coordinating with international initiatives like CEDAW of UN and HeForShe campaigns.
The positive aspects are as follows:
- Such initiatives have led to greater education and awareness about the seriousness of the issue. Rise in the complaints registered.
- The creation of internal complaints committees will go a long way in making organizations responsible for providing better working conditions for their women personnel and staff.
- It will help in better enforcement of the guidelines given in the Vishaka case of 1997.
- Legal action can now take place within a stipulated time frame, thus ensuring a chance of obtaining justice quickly and effectively.
However, some of the issues that need to be addressed are:
- Large size of the informal sector and lack of personnel might hamper the enforcement of the laws. Sexual harassment of female shop-floor workers in the garment industry, Domestic and construction workers is prevalent. They have little recourse to institutionalized redressal mechanisms.
- ICC- The Act mandates that employers must constitute a four-member internal complaints committee (ICC) in any branch or office that employs more than 10 people of any gender. The ICC must include a member of a non-governmental organization working for women’s causes—something that may not always be easy due to a paucity of such organizations and individuals. The Act also lays the onus for sensitizing employees to sexual harassment issues, and creating awareness of redressal mechanisms, on employers.
- The issue of greater representation of women in the internal complaints committees has been overlooked.
- The attention towards pre-employment education and training to spread awareness could have been addressed through relevant acts.
- Protection from Bullying and Threatening by perpetrators.
Way forward –
Tackling workplace sexual harassment is an ethical imperative; such harassment infringes on an individual’s right to freedom of profession and occupation and undercuts the ideals of a modern democracy. And it is an economic imperative; getting and retaining more women, who are disproportionately targets of harassment, in the workforce has the potential to be a major growth driver. The government has put a suitable law in place, but to monitor its implementation and addressing the loopholes is more important. Otherwise, a well-intentioned piece of legislation, will lose relevance soon enough.
Topic: Poverty and developmental issues
Despite impressive economic growth in the last two decades, inequalities and injustices are pervasive. According to World Bank estimates (2015), there has been a decline in India’s poverty rate but this is cold comfort — 172 million citizens still live below the poverty line and constitute 24.5 per cent of the world’s poor. India’s richest one per cent now hold 58 per cent of the nation’s wealth.
A great blot on our society is the prevalence of manual scavenging despite stringent laws prohibiting it. There are about 2.6 million dry latrines across the country that require manual cleaning, a loathsome task imposed on the Dalits of all religions by social sanction.
Although elaborate laws specifically aimed at protecting Dalits are in place, there is no let-up in the atrocities against this group. According to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, there were 54,355 registered cases, including rape, murder and arson committed against Dalits in 2015 compared to 39,408 cases in 2013.
Another arena of injustice and inequality is rural India where 68 per cent of our people live. India is today self-sufficient in agriculture, is the biggest exporter of rice in the world, the biggest producer of milk and second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables. The farming community made this happen. Yet unending waves of farmer suicides are overt manifestations of an on-going human tragedy.
Extreme gender inequality and intolerance to dissent are further manifestations of a deeply polarised society.
- Economic – Failure of Trickle down theory and unequal distribution of gains of LPG reforms, Tax avoidance causing divide as mentioned by Oxfam report .
- Digital divide – as mentioned by World Development report 2016 has further increased inequality.
- Non-inclusive growth – rural , agricultural economy not strengthened, flaws in the implementation of land reforms, Economy moving from agriculture to services without realizing potential of manufacturing leading to many unskilled labour force left out of growth path.
- Vulnerable sections – Poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, ill health leading to further disadvantages.
- Social – Increasing caste culture religion prejudices and discrimination in terms of opportunities like employment, education.
- Economic inclusion – diversification of resources and employment opportunities, development and reforms of agricultural sector, infrastructure development, Equitable growth by measures like channelizing CSR funds for poverty and disease elimination, education, employment creation.
- Govt schemes for inclusive growth – PMJDY, PMKSY, Make in India, Skill India, Stand Up India, Mudra, PMAY, PMGSY, etc. Promoting digitalization and Good governance to make services cheaper. Steps like BHIM App, UPI, Aadhar enabled services are in right direction.
- Social inclusion – Checking communal, caste discriminations and promoting equality, harmony in society .
- Gender neutrality – women empowerment and participation .
Way forward –
There might be double digit growth but it is meaningful only when it is inclusive and fruits of development reach to every sector of the society, securing sabka sath sabka vikas. Promotion of Unity and integrity of India along with Equitable and inclusive growth will only help in realizing India’s global aspirations of becoming Super Power.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
The Narmada Valley Project (NVP) is made up of plans for 30 major, 136 medium and 3,000 minor dams in India. In Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the state of Gujarat and the Narmada Sagar Project (NSP) in the state of Madhya Pradesh are, at present, the NVP’s major constituents. Estimates show that the cost of the whole project would be around US $19 billion over the next 25 years.
The state governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh claim that the SSP and the NSP would irrigate 1.9 million ha and 0.14 million ha of land and generate 1,450 megawatts (mw) and 1,000 mw of power, respectively. The hydroelectric power of the SSP would be shared by the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh; the irrigation benefits would accrue to the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The controversy over large dams on the River Narmada has come to symbolise the struggle for a just and equitable society in India.
- These projects will also flood a large amount of agricultural and grazing land. Most of the agricultural land, situated close to the river Narmada, is highly fertile and produces fine yields of wheat, jowar (barley) and cotton.
- The allocation of small bits of government land to the affected families in the nearby districts of the submergence area is the result of the project. This policy would lead to serious sociocultural disruption in the life of the area’s residents.
- Out of the more than 25,000 people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat and Maharashtra, more than 90 percent of them are members of the Bhil and Tadavi tribes. Most of them are landless, and fall into two categories: traditional tribal cultivators with no land titles, and the real landless agricultural laborers found in many villages of Madhya Pradesh.
- For the forest-dwelling tribals, the most serious impact of displacement will be the separation from their natural surroundings.
- The Sardar Sarovar Project will submerge about 10,000 ha of forest land. The case of the Narmada Sagar Project is even worse: it will submerge 40,332 ha of forest land. The dependence of people on these forests needs to be taken into consideration.
- Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2003, 2005 and 2006 revealed that both in terms of capacity utilisation and villages covered, the performance vis-a-vis drinking water supply from the SSP in the districts surveyed has remained at only 29%-33% of the actual potential.
- The problem of waterlogging and soil salinity in the Narmada projects is expected to be serious because the command areas of the projects have largely black soils, which have very good water retention capacity.
- The value of the forest land has been calculated only in terms of commercial products. The analysis does not consider the loss of ecological benefits of forests. The loss of wildlife is omitted from the cost-benefit analysis. The cost of preventive measures for waterlogging is also omitted from the cost-benefit analysis.
- The interests of various states differ to large extent. Gujarat remains the greatest intended beneficiary of the Narmada project after Madhya Pradesh in terms of increased irrigation; and after Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in hydroelectricity.
- As the elections approach in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, politics over the dam is getting murkier.
- Unless all stakeholders rise above politics, the poorest of the poor will continue to remain outside the ambit of the fruits of development.
Human rights issue:
- The human rights issues are the most significant of the Narmada dam issue as the ultimate sufferers of the project are poor tribal people and small scale farmers who has no option that to migrate in search of new areas to settle.
- The woman and children are the biggest suffers due to lack of any choices and their economic dependence on someone else.
- The tribal people are badly affected due to submergence of forest land. The connection of tribal people with forest areas is directly linked with the livelihood of these people.
- The basic human right of “Right to choose” has been taken away from the people from very long time.
The large dam versus small dam issue is not new in Country. The unfortunate fact of this particular issue is the continuous ignorance shown by leading governments to the plight of affected people. The development of some areas must not be happened at the basic human rights of marginalised sections of the society.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections
The tribal population in India numerically constitutes a small segment of the total population of the country but is a significant part of the population. Most of the Scheduled tribe people lives in rural areas and their population comprise 10.4 % of the total rural population of the country. The term ‘scheduled tribes’ first appeared in the Constitution of India, to confer certain constitutional privileges and protection to a group of people who are considered disadvantaged and backward. In the Constitution of India, Article 366 (25) defines Scheduled Tribes as “such tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to the scheduled Tribes (STs) for the purposes of this Constitution.
Status of Tribal woman:
Status of tribal women are not same in all places, rather they vary according to the tribal group and the social structure. However, in tribal societies, tribal women are more important than women in any other social groups because tribal women are very hardworking and in almost all the tribal communities they participate in economic activities almost equally with men or works harder than men and the family economy and income also depend on women.
Problems of tribal woman:
- The tribal group’s health status is lower compared to that of the general population. They have high infant mortality rate, higher fertility rate, lack of awareness regarding diseases and health care, drinking water provisions, hygiene.
- Most of the tribal women work outside their homes and are engaged in various activities. They work in order to earn money for their family. The women’s work involves daily labour, agricultural work. Even young children and girls go for work along with their mothers. Most of the time they do not go to school regularly or become drop outs from school
- Work participation rate among scheduled tribe women were higher in percentage as compared to others. Poor economic condition has a direct bearing on the degree of participation. Scheduled tribe workers are engaged in agricultural sector and in non-gainful occupations. Considering the education, economic and health of the tribal women, their positions were not at all satisfactory.
- Although work participation among tribal women is higher compared to scheduled caste and general population but the livelihoods of the tribal people are neither permanent nor fixed. Most of them do not have a regular source of income, and they live below the poverty level.
- Lack of awareness about nutritional requirements mostly leaves the tribal women weak, anaemic and they suffer from various diseases. During pregnancy, special attention is required to be given to women otherwise that will affect the health of both the mother and child.
Measures taken by government:
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to provide micro-finance services to bring about the socio-economic upliftment of poor women.
National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) to strengthen the overall processes that promotes all-round Development of Women
Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers (including single mother) to provide day care facilities for running a crèche of 25 children in the age group 0-6 years from families having monthly income of less than Rs 12,000.
One Stop Centre to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence.
Adivasi mahila Sashaktikaran yojana is an exclusive concessional scheme for the economic development of eligible Scheduled Tribe Women in which NSTFDC provides Term Loan for Scheme(s)/Project(s) costing upto Rs. 50000/- per unit/profit cent.
Sabla Scheme has been launched for holistic development of adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years. This includes tribal girls as well.
Tribal women play a major role in the management of their natural, social, economic resources and agricultural development but they still remain backward due to traditional values, illiteracy, dominant roles is decision making, social evils and many other cultural factors. The participatory role of tribals in improving their living conditions by fully exploring natural endowments and alternative uses must find an appropriate place in the strategic approach.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
An Aadhaar card is a unique number issued to every citizen in India and is a centralised and universal identification number. The Aadhar card is a biometric card that stores an individual’s personal details in a government database, and is fast becoming the government’s base for public welfare and citizen services.
The government uses the Aadhar network in order to ensure that individuals who require assistance and benefits gain access to these resources directly, eliminating the need for middlemen. As part of this process, it is gradually linking all essential government services and benefits schemes to the Aadhaar network, creating a centralised database through which it can distribute and keep track of the various schemes and programmes it runs along with the beneficiaries. In this manner, it can also identify those who are receiving benefits but are not eligible for them and take corrective action.
Aadhaar was built on open architecture and designed to scale .All technical processes, technical details are considered confidential.
UIDAI system uses 2048-bit PKI encryption and tamper detection using HMAC in order to ensure that no one can decrypt and misuse the data. Resident data and raw biometrics are always kept encrypted, even within UIDAI data centres.
Benefits of Aadhar and UID can be enlisted as:
- Universal Identity Card:
The Aadhar card is a universal card that does not really have a specific purpose behind it. Unlike a voter ID card, whose sole purpose is to permit the holder to take part in the electoral process, the Aadhaar card was not created with any specific use in mind. Instead, it can be used for a number of purposes, making it a universally acceptable government-issued card, without needing to register or apply for a separate card for each of these services.
- Availing of Subsidies:
The Aadhar card permits the holder to avail of all government subsidies he/she is eligible for, without the need to register and enroll for these separately. Since the government already has all the necessary data on a particular individual, they need only produce their Aadhaar card in order to avail of the various subsidies or programmes.
- Ease of Availability:
The Aadhar card is the only government-issued document that is available anywhere, everywhere. An Aadhaar card can be applied for online. Known as an e-Aadhar, this is downloadable version of your Aadhar card and can be accessed wherever you are, whenever you require.
- Digital Life Certificate
The Jeevan Praman for Pensioners or the Digital Life certificate as it is also called, was initiated by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. The aim of the certificate was to abolish the need for the pensioner to be physically present in order to receive pension for the continuation of their scheme. Pensioners can now avail pension without having to leave their homes as their details can be digitally accessed by the agency through their Aadhar Card numbers.
- Reduction in corruption:
Aadhar linked transaction will avoid any human interference and discretion so that the possibility of corruption reduces to large extent. This measure will push country towards more advancement and transparent governance model.
Issues linked with Aadhar:
The data is to be privatized through NIUs (National Information Utilities), where once the data is stable, it would not even belong to the government but private utilities, controlling it as a monopoly. The citizen, urged by the government to create the cards is not informed about how their personal information will be used or controlled.
There is no legal basis for UID. The draft bill was rejected by a standing committee in 2010 and has never seen the Parliament ever since. Courts have ruled over and over that people cannot be forced to create Aadhaar cards and they cannot be refused their rights for the lack of Aadhaar cards, but it has no impact on a rogue government that continues to push more and more essentials into dependency on Aadhaar identification, regardless of lack of any legal authority to do so.
India seems to have spent some 2,500 per card so far, though the citizen is not required to pay anything. Much of this large cost appears to be due to the expenses involved in collecting and working with biometric data, yet the biometric data is neither collected in an efficient manner, nor used at all in verifying identification. Involvement of huge cost is the
The Aadhaar database, when matched with a database of personal information, becomes a goldmine for foreign actors to exploit and disrupt India’s digital networks.
In the future, Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems will likely be connected to Aadhaar to to a bank account. The security of IoT systems leave much to be desired, and could potentially compromise Aadhaar databases as well.
To counter these strategic threats, India’s policymakers must urgently consider:
- Designating UID databases as “critical infrastructure”.
- Crafting an encryption policy that specifically addresses encryption for Aadhaar-enabled apps.
- Security testing of all Aadhaar-enabled applications.
- Encouraging device-level encryption for mobile phones and laptop computers.
- Creating a Computer Emergency Response Team to monitor attacks on Aadhaar.
- Working with the private sector at forums like the International Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and the Internet Engineering Task Force to create interoperable security standards for platforms relying on national identity databases.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
Introduction :- The Amritsar Declaration stated that Afghanistan can act as a natural land bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic integration in the Heart of Asia region. In this very meet India and Afghanistan decided to open air corridor.
Positive outcomes and benefits :-
- The creation of the Afghanistan-India air freight corridor is clearly targeting an increase in the annual volume of trade between the two countries, which presently stands at around $700 million.
- The connectivity afforded by this corridor is a blessing for Afghanistan, a landlocked country, as it will give it greater access to Indian markets, including for Afghan farmers
- broader significance will give two messages. India is committed to Afghanistan and a message to Pakistan, that it cannot obstruct our access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
- The fact that Mr. Ghani himself developed the plan, which allowed traders to pay what they would have to transport their goods by road with the Afghan government underwriting the rest, showed Kabul’s commitment and India’s responsiveness to securing its trade links with India.
However many things have gone wrong :-
- There is lack of proper plan, infrastructure like connectivity of cargo, cold storage facilities, emergency handling measures which causes loss to the traders like in last week, when tonnes of fresh fruits, including apricots and melons, were left rotting at the Kabul airport. The flight chartered by Afghanistan’s national carrier, Ariana airlines, on July 20 failed to arrive on time, and the fruits were not moved to cold storage.
- On the Indian side, traders say they worry about clearing the perishable goods quickly through Indian customs, and the process is yet to be streamlined.
- Only four cargo flights have flown between Afghanistan and India under the scheme, carrying about 160 tonne in all.
Looking at India Afghanistan connectivity issue :-
- Despite its commitment of $2 billion in development aid to Afghanistan, there are few new infrastructure projects that the government has taken up in the past few years. The big ones, mostly planned a decade ago, have been complete, including the Zaranj Delaram highway (which connects to Iran), the Herat dam, the Doshi-Charikar power project, and the construction of Afghanistan’s parliament complex.
- In addition, India’s plans for the Chabahar port in Iran and the trilateral agreement to develop transit trade also need close attention.
- The trilateral agreement has yet to be ratified in Iran, and tenders by India Ports Global Limited to develop berths as well as the railway line connecting Chabahar to the Afghan border at Zahedan (first planned in 2011) continue to be delayed.
- Similarly, there has not been sufficient follow-through on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline after its inauguration in 2015.
- The land route, that was to be allowed by the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) of 2010, has constantly run into issues because of tensions between India and Pakistan.
Eventually, India’s dealings with both Afghanistan and Iran are not just about circumventing Pakistan. They should open up important new connectivity and commerce avenues, as well as develop markets in Central Asia, and through them to Russia and Europe. What is needed is not just more robust connectivity projects exploring land, sea and air route but their efficient implementation.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian economy – employment
Introduction :- In a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.
- Due to the large numbers of people willing to work part-time or temporary positions, the result of a gig economy is cheaper, more efficient services (such as Uber or Airbnb) for those willing to use them.
- Cities tend to have the most highly developed services and are the most entrenched in the gig economy.
What Factors Contribute to a Gig Economy?
- In the modern digital world, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to work remotely or from home. This facilitates independent contracting work, as many of those jobs don’t require the freelancer to come in to the office to work.
- Employers also have a wider range of applicants to choose from, as they don’t necessarily have to choose to hire someone based on their proximity. Additionally, computers have developed to the point that they can take the place of the jobs people previously held.
- Economic reasons also factor in to the development of a gig economy. In many cases, employers cannot afford to hire full-time employees to do all the work they need done, so they hire part-time or temporary employees to take care of busier times or specific projects.
- On the side of the employee, people often find that they need to move around or take more than one position in order to afford the lifestyle they want.
- People also tend to change careers many times throughout their lives, so the gig economy is the reflection of this occurring on a large scale.
Issues faced by formal workers :-
- Those who don’t engage in using technological services such as the Internet tend to be left behind by the benefits of the gig economy
- While not all employers tend toward hiring contracted employees, the gig economy trendoften makes it harder for full-time employees to fully develop in their careers, since temporary employees are often cheaper to hire and more flexible in their availability.
Issues faced by informal workers in technology based gig economies like Ola :-
- drivers are put under control and supervision amounting to employment, but neither do they enjoy flexible work nor receive benefits.
- Their work is organised around data, timestamps and geo-references, making it traceable and trackable
- Legal contracts that safeguard future income (preventing untimely dismissal) and future savings (provident funds) have not been available to them.
- platforms have thrown this off balance by severely changing the rules of the game for drivers.
- Agility, which is key to this business model, allows companies to experiment but makes drivers vulnerable.
- Shrinking, negligible incentives have reduced their incomes.
- Some cannot repay car loans.
- Companies restrict drivers’ access to their work data.
- They also say that their earnings don’t always add up.
- Companies are unabashedly constraining the very offerings that got drivers to join their platforms in the first place.
Gig economies showcase the changing nature of jobs, market. It has many advantages and benefits but it possess the threats, insecurities as well. Hence government intervention and regulation is necessary in order to secure the welfare of informal workers there.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
Introduction :- Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).
General positive effects Emotional Intelligence which makes it a stronger predictor to success:-
- Better social relations for adults – High emotional intelligence among adults is correlated with better self-perception of social ability and more successful interpersonal relationships while less interpersonal aggression and problems.
- Highly emotionally intelligent individuals are perceived more positively by others – Other individuals perceive those with high EI to be more pleasant, socially skilled and empathic to be around. Hence helps in team work, leading group of people.
- Better family and intimate relationships – High EI is correlated with better relationships with the family and intimate partners on many aspects so contributes in stable, balanced mindset which increases work efficiency.
- Better academic achievement – Emotional intelligence is correlated with greater achievement in academics as reported by teachers but generally not higher grades once the factor of IQ is taken into account. One needs above-average intelligence—which Goleman defines as one standard deviation from the norm or an IQ of about 115—to master the technical knowledge needed to be a doctor, lawyer, or business executive. But once people enter the workforce, IQ and technical skills are often equal among those on the rise. Emotional intelligence becomes an important differentiator.
- Better social relations during work performance and in negotiations – Higher emotional intelligence is correlated with better social dynamics at work as well as better negotiating ability.
- Better psychological well-being – Emotional intelligence is positively correlated with higher life satisfaction, self-esteem and lower levels of insecurity or depression. It is also negatively correlated with poor health choices and behavior.
If two equally competent people work together then emotional intelligence becomes the discretionary factor for one’s success over other. Ex Steve Jobs was fired from his very own company by his partners but due to his abilities and emotional intelligence he cultivated patience, self confidence and worked hard to rise again.