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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 AUGUST 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 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.

 

Topic:  History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society. 

1) In your opinion, which factors pushed North Korea to go nuclear? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The North Korea has always been in the global discourse due to its policy of using nuclear stockpile for threatening the global leaders. The every new leader of this small nation, though found irrational by world community, has historically used theory of Brinkmanship to bring negotiations to the table.

Brinkmanship (also brinksmanship) is the practice of trying to achieve an advantageous outcome by pushing dangerous events to the brink of active conflict. It occurs in international politics, foreign policy, labour relations, and (in contemporary settings) military strategy involving the threat of nuclear weapons, and high-stakes litigation. This maneuver of pushing a situation with the opponent to the brink succeeds by forcing the opponent to back down and make concessions. This might be achieved through diplomatic maneuvers by creating the impression that one is willing to use extreme methods rather than concede.

North Korea’s threats

  • North Korea has frequently employed bellicose rhetoric towards its perceived enemies.
  • In 1994 South Koreans stocked up on essentials in panic after a threat by a North Korean negotiator to turn Seoul into “a sea of fire” – one which has been repeated several times since.
  • After US President George W Bush labeled it part of the “axis of evil” in 2002, Pyongyang said it would “mercilessly wipe out the aggressors”.
  • In June 2012 the army warned that artillery was aimed at seven South Korean media groups and threatened a “merciless sacred war”.

The probable reasons for such policy can be:

  1. The small nation north Korea finds its very core strength in the nuclear stockpiles and its power to bend the other mighty world powers.
  2. Adopting a two-pronged strategy, North Korea fast-tracked its missile and nuclear programmes and expressed a willingness to negotiate with other nations in the world.
  3. North Korea has resisted against the US hegemony by portraying its nuclear strengths.
  4. The hard sanctions on North Korea are damaging its economy. The continuous policy of sanctions has alienated this nation, making it inclined towards hard policy options such as brinkmanship.
  5. One of the reason putforthes by analysts ids the doctorial regime in this nation. The lack of people say in state affairs has allowed a small group of people to take decisions.
  6. Since the Korean War ended, Pyongyang has repeatedly shown its ability to strike neighbours and foreign interests in the region, often in response to what it sees as provocation.
  7. North Korea wants to be recognised as a legitimate nuclear state by the US and establish diplomatic relations with the US. Constantly reminding the world and especially the US of their nuclear and missile capabilities is part of their regime survival calculations.

The North Korean nuclear crisis is the threat to global peace as it may lead to the irrevocable damages in case of strike. The failure of world community to diplomatically solve the Korean peninsula crisis has led us this stage of nuclear deterrence getting at the center stage of foreign policy of autocratic country. The bilateral dialogues, demilitarization of the area and inclusion of small nations in world representation can calm the tensions rising in Korean region.

 

 


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations

2) In the light of recent events, critically comment on the working of judiciary in South Asia. (200 Words)

Livemint

The judiciary in south Asia has its own peculiar characteristic. The Western philosophy of judicial establishment differs from the oriental conceptualization to larger extent. In the light of above question, it is important to know the difference between Procedure established by law and due process of law.

Due process of law

Due process of law doctrine not only checks if there is a law to deprive the life and personal liberty of a person but also see if the law made is fair, just and not arbitrary. If SC finds that any law as not fair, it will declare it as null and void. This doctrine provides for more fair treatment of individual rights.

Under due process, it is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person and laws that states enact must confirm to the laws of the land like – fairness, fundamental rights, liberty etc. It also gives the judiciary to access the fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty of any legislation.

Procedure established by law:

Procedure established by law means a law duly enacted is valid even if it’s contrary to principles of justice and equity. Strictly following procedure established by law may raise the risk of compromise to life and personal liberty of individuals due to unjust laws made by the law-making authorities. It is to avoid this situation; SC stressed the importance of due process of law.

The above said philosophy highlights the two main philosophies of the judicial establishments. The recent decisions taken by various judicial establishments in some of the south Asian countries make it important to discuss about status of Judiciary is South Asia.

  1. Judiciary in Pakistan:

The decision taken by Supreme Court of Pakistan to debar Nawaz sharif from post of Prime minister shows its decisive power. The involvement of Pakistan army in this decision has considered being the possibility. The role of Army in judiciary of Pakistan has come under critical discourse and probability of army interference in judicial decisions cannot be denied all together.

  1. Judiciary in Maldives:

The judiciary found to be biased towards the current ruling government as it stifled the efforts of opposition to impeach the speaker of Parliament. It has been known to suppress dissent, bind the opposition at several instances and thus criticised by International Commission of Jurists & Commonwealth.

  1. Judiciary in Nepal:

The first woman chief justice of the Nepalese Supreme Court, Sushila Karki, found herself close to being impeached when the members of the ruling coalition moved a motion to that effect. The step was heavily criticized as an attack on the judiciary by international organizations like the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch. The impeachment motion could not go ahead largely because opposition parties threw their weight behind her and did not allow Parliament to function.

Role of the judiciary is important than most other institutions in these countries as the democracies are getting mature with the period of time. While other institutions undergo their respective gestation periods, the judiciary can provide an anchor of stability in nascent democracies.

 


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) Do you think market-based health care is a fundamentally superior way to deliver health services to the poor? In the light of NITI Aayog’s recent proposal to privatise government hospitals, critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Health care services form the very fundamental of overall development of people in the society. Health issues are handled by the state in order to make it available to poor people. There has always been the huge criticism about the ineffective role played by government agencies in the provision of health care services. The NITI ayog has unveiled an innovative approach to deal with these lacunas through the privatization of district hospitals in Tier 1 and tier 2 cities.

Features of above said group:

  • It has developed a “model concessionaire agreement” for provision of healthcare services for cardiac and pulmonary (lung) diseases and cancers.
  • It has proposed that public facilities in district hospitals would be outsourced to private providers. They would be free to charge full treatment costs from patients not covered by government schemes (such as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) and the providers would be reimbursed by the government for treating patients.
  • The scheme also provides for an escrow account that would offset the risk to private providers posed by possible delays in reimbursement by the government.
  • Providers would also secure access to public facilities such as ambulance services, blood banks and mortuaries.
  • The district health administration will ensure referrals for treatment from primary health centers, community health centers, disease screening centers and other government health programmes and ventures are made to these private hospitals.
  • The private hospitals operating from these public hospital campuses will be able to refer complicated cases either to other government hospitals or other empanelled private hospitals. However, sending patients further to other private hospitals would require the permission of the medical superintendent of the district hospital.

Positive side of privatization of health care:

  1. It will help to enhance the culture of professionalization in the government health care institutions.
  2. There are also possibilities that, the private sector will give boost to the use of technology in district hospitals.
  3. The collaboration with private sector will bring best practices in government health care sector.
  4. By bringing more professionalism in health industry, it will attract the best talent of medical field to government hospitals.
  5. The privatization may give further Philip to the industry linked with health industry such as surgical instruments etc.
  6. It may lead to the import of high end technologies and medical services to the people who are capable of affording such services.

Negative side of privatization of health industry:

  1. As per the scheme most patients would have to pay for care even in public facilities. The promise that patients covered by government health insurance schemes would access care free of cost needs to be seen in the context of recent surveys which show that just 12-13% of people are covered by public-funded insurance
  2. Private providers will concentrate on better-off districts, leaving the poor and remote districts for the public sector to manage. This will further weaken the ability of public hospitals to attract and retain trained doctors and other health workers.
  3. Scheme will expose thousands of patients to unethical practices by private providers, compromises in quality and rationality of services and additional ‘top-up services’.
  4. Outsourcing of hospital care to private providers inevitably becomes increasingly unsustainable over time as they ratchet up demands on reimbursements and fees.
  5. There are chances that it may give a setback to the medical tourism industry of India.

The scheme is innovative and needs to be executed with due care of monitoring and regulation. If the private force becomes dominant in public institution, then the very essence of public services for health care gets eroded. Enhancing the investment in public healthcare services and training of health workers can change the existing situation towards the better results.

 

 

 


Topic:  Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. 

4) It is said that to improve ease of doing business in India, there is a need to provide viable alternatives to litigation and implement effective means for enforcement of contracts. Examine in detail why and what kind of institutional arbitration mechanism is required in India. (200 Words)

Livemint

 Ans –

Introduction –

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2017 reveals that India continues to fare badly on enforcement of contracts, with an average of 1,420 days taken for enforcement. The absence of effective means for enforcement of contracts is a serious fetter on the legal system and impedes economic growth and development.

Need for reformed institutional arbitration mechanism –

  1. India’s poor record in enforcement of contracts – high pendency of cases and endemic delays in Indian courts. Institutional Arbitration is the best alternative as it holds the promise of flexibility, speed and cost-effectiveness. However, arbitration in India is often far removed from these ideals.
  2. Problem-riddled ad hoc arbitration – The most popular form of arbitration (between 90-95%) in India is ad hoc arbitration wherein parties regulate the arbitration proceedings themselves. In India, ad hoc arbitration is riddled with problems of delayed proceedings, unprofessional arbitrators and poor quality of awards. These issues make ad hoc arbitration vulnerable to excessive court intervention at all stages of the arbitration proceedings.
  3. Poor state of institutional arbitration in India – Despite the existence of several arbitral institutions, institutional arbitration in India remains in a nascent state. Most arbitral institutions provide rudimentary physical infrastructure for arbitration hearings, outdated rules of procedure, inadequately trained staff, and poorly staffed panels of arbitrators. Therefore, parties are reluctant to approach these arbitral institutions.
  4. Misconceptions and lack of awareness regarding institutional arbitration – particularly its supposed inflexibility and high costs. This, coupled with a lack of awareness about the advantages of institutional arbitration and the existence of certain institutions, leads to parties avoiding institutional arbitration or preferring foreign arbitral institutions over Indian ones.

Reforms needed –

  1. Institutional arbitration – Institutional arbitration involves the regulation of arbitration proceedings by an institution, which applies its rules of procedure. In return for some loss of autonomy which they get in ad hoc arbitration, parties expect to benefit from the expertise of the arbitral institution, access to a panel of arbitrators usually maintained by the institution, and good quality infrastructure.
  2. Modern rules, the organized structure of proceedings, excellent administrative support and infrastructure.
  3. The expertise on their panels of arbitrators, fixed fee structures, and organized and timely conduct of arbitration proceedings.
  4. Benefit from government support and healthy competition. 
  5. The government of India, in line with its goal to make India a hub for institutional arbitration, had in January constituted a high-level committee, with the mandate of suggesting measures to promote institutional arbitration in India. The committee’s report, which was submitted to the government early this month, identifies several critical areas for improvement and reform, such as the need for minimum standards for arbitral institutions, the accreditation of arbitrators, and the creation of a specialist arbitration bar and bench. The committee has also identified specific amendments to India’s arbitration legislation aimed at promoting India’s prospects as a preferred arbitration destination.

Way forward –

  • The above suggestions for reform, if implemented effectively, can go a long way in strengthening arbitration practice in India. The creation of the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration and the Maharashtra arbitration policy are bold steps in this direction.
  • The challenge is to substantially increase awareness about institutional arbitration in India so that efforts being taken to reform institutional arbitration are supported by an increase in usage. Arbitral institutions must themselves take the lead by increasing awareness about their services and benefits. In addition, they must adopt best practices from around the world which will encourage parties to use their services over foreign arbitral institutions. The government must assist by creating state-of-the-art physical infrastructure for the conduct of arbitration.
  • The members of the bar must make the effort to increase awareness amongst their clients about institutional arbitration. They must also foster innovation among arbitral institutions to help realize the flexibility, speed and cost-effectiveness promised by institutional arbitration.

 


TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

5) Templates for an upgraded rural health system have long been finalised and the Indian Public Health Standards were issued in 2007 and 2012, covering facilities from health sub-centres upwards. Despite these measures, why do you think tragedies such as recent Gorakhpur incident repeat? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Ans –

Introduction –

The frail nature of rural India’s health systems and the extraordinary patient load on a few referral hospitals have become even more evident from the crisis at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur. The fact was again underlined after the death of several children over a short period from Japanese Encephalitis. Templates for an upgraded rural health system have long been finalised and the Indian Public Health Standards were issued in 2007 and 2012, covering facilities from health sub-centres upwards. Despite these measures, tragedies such as recent Gorakhpur incident repeat.

Possible causes of tragedies-

ECONOMIC CAUSE-

  • Low public (government) spending on healthcare as well as its mismanagement.
  • Weak medical infrastructure: number of beds, equipment for treatment and even number of hospitals are limited.
  • Weak health insurance system – out of pocket expenditures.

REGIONAL DISPARITY-

  • Unavailability of Doctors and trained staff in rural areas.
  • No accountability and monitoring of hospitals in small and remote villages.
  • Lack of health facilities- hospitals, doctors, medicines, diagnostics etc. 

FAILURE OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES –

  • Expansion of irrigation and dams resulting in increased disease transmission like Japanese encephalitis, malaria etc.
  • Improper sanitation and waste disposal practices.

POLICY FLAWS –

  • Less focus on preventive measures.
  • Weak health monitoring infrastructure.
  • Poor implementation of schemes.
  • Shortage of staff (doctors, nurses); doctor to population ratio is not as per WHO recommendation.

Way forward –

Centre has set ambitious health goals for 2020 and is in the process of deciding the financial outlay for various targets under the National Health Mission, including reduction of the infant mortality rate to 30 per 1,000 live births, from the recent estimate of 40. This will require sustained investment and monitoring, and ensuring that the prescribed standard of access to a health facility with the requisite medical and nursing resources within a 3-km radius is achieved on priority.

Such a commitment is vital for scaling up reproductive and child health care to achieve a sharp reduction in India’s deplorable infant and maternal mortality levels, besides preventing the spread of infectious diseases across States.

It is imperative for the government to recognise the limitations of a market-led mechanism, as the NITI Aayog has pointed out in its action agenda for 2020, in providing for a pure public good such as health. We need to move to a single- payer system with cost controls that make efficient strategic purchase of health care from private and public facilities possible. Bringing equity in access to doctors, diagnostics and medicines for the rural population has to be a priority for the National Health Mission.

 


Topic:  Energy

6) Critically analyse the trends in energy scenario in the Middle East. Also examine what lessons could India learn from these countries in management of energy. (200 Words)

Livemint

 

Introduction:

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt in North Africa. The Middle East generally has a hot, arid climate, with several major rivers providing irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, and most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent. Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting economically from petroleum exports.

Energy details in Middle East:

  • Energy in the Middle East describes energy and electricity production, consumption and import in the Middle East. Energy policy of the Middle East will describe the politics of the Middle East related to energy more in detail.
  • Energy export from the Middle East is around 12,228 TWh. The major exporters were Saudi Arabia 37.2%, Qatar 14.3% and Iran 12.9%.
  • Largest share of oil production was in the Middle East (24 million barrels daily, or 31 per cent of global production.
  • Middle Eastern countries possess about 41 per cent of natural gas reserves.
  • Major energy companies in the Middle East include Saudi Aramco, Qatar Petroleum, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation KPC and National Iranian Oil Company NIOC.

Analysis of energy resources in Middle East:

There has been the substantial rise in the consumption of energy in Middle East countries. In the 10 years through 2016, consumption rose by 25 billion cubic feet (Bcf) a day—much more than in both the US, despite its shale boom, and China.

Governments pursued energy-intensive industrialization, seeking to diversify their economies into sectors where they had a competitive advantage: petrochemicals, aluminum, steel and cement.

There has been huge increase in demand and inefficiency due to subsidised provision of oil and natural gas to citizens of the many gulf nations.

Relatively low oil prices have led to subdued growth, even recession in places, and expatriate populations in parts of the Gulf have shrunk as state employers are told to save money. There is less money for flashy new infrastructure.

The oil and gas price downturn has made governments aware of the exorbitant cost of their subsidies. By reducing the gap between local regulated rates and international prices, it has paradoxically made them easier to reform.

Higher natural gas prices and the shortage of domestic supply have led Middle East governments to turn to alternative sources. The UAE’s large nuclear power programme is set to begin generating soon.

Along with turning more towards nuclear source, many Middle Eastern countries are exploring the option of renewable energy.

Conclusion:

All these changes are new to the Middle Eastern region. Being the conventional hub of oil and natural gas, many economic and political factor are leading to the change in the energy policy of the many middle eastern countries. The private companies as well as trading nations must take into consideration the changing energy dynamics of this strategic region.

 

 


Topic: Employment

7) The union cabinet recently approved the Code on Wages Bill, which proposes to make minimum wages a statutory right for all citizens. Discuss merits and demerits of this Bill. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction :- The Code on Wages Bill, which proposes to make minimum wages a statutory right for all citizens has been passed. The Bill, proposes a monthly minimum wage to be set across India, which will be binding on all the states. Once it is passed, the states cannot set a minimum wage lower than the one set by the Central government.

The proposed Code on Wages will subsume four extant Acts: the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act of 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976. The Bill is aimed at reducing disparity in minimum wages across geographical regions and sectors.

Merits :-

  • The proposed wage code Bill is the first serious venture in labour law reform.
  • The Bill recognizes that a universal minimum wage across India and across different sectors does not work and proposes that the minimum wage set can be augmented based on the skill required, the arduousness of the work assigned to the worker, geographical location of the place of work and other factors which the appropriate government considers necessary. 
  • The Bill does mention that the new national minimum wage is applicable to both the organized as well as the unorganized sector.
  • Industries may opt for more mechanisation which will be good for the economy as productivity will go up, but it will also mean fall in employment. 

 

Demerits :-

  • Though the actual minimum wage is yet to be set by the Central government, there are indications that it will be significantly higher than the current wage rate. This will invariably result in either retrenchment of employees or a significant slowdown in new hiring or both.
  • Several studies conducted across the world corroborate this key insight and show that minimum wages actually lead to higher unemployment in the economy. 
  • At a time when India is facing job losses and the rate of creation of new jobs is a serious concern, a higher minimum wage will only worsen the situation.
  • Implementation of minimum wages for the unorganized sector has always been problematic and the Bill does not specify any details of how it proposes to fix the implementation gaps.
  • India uses more capital-intensive techniques of production in manufacturing than countries at similar levels of development and with similar factor endowments, including China and even the US, which is a capital-abundant country. A higher minimum wage will skew the labour-capital ratio further.
  • Given India’s labour laws are already very restrictive, imposing one more condition will only make it more difficult for companies — especially smaller ones — to function efficiently.

The proposed hike in minimum wages is a good attempt on the part of the government. But if the government really wants to help both the current crop and the future generation of employees, it should solely focus on easing labour laws, facilitating formalization of the economy, and focus on reducing regulatory hurdles for businesses.

 

 


Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

8) “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” Do you agree with Plato’s view? Comment. (150 Words)

 

Introduction :- Mahatma Gandhi, the father of free India has defined power in two forms — one is obtained by fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. According to him, power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment. However the world that we live in today has a different scenario wherein power spells authority, strength, capability and superiority.

If we walk down the history lane…we will see that all good and bad deeds by individuals or groups in the past were directed at garnering power. Be it the World Wars, political uprisings, revolutions, religious propaganda, scientific research, technological innovations, economic strategies, ethnic-cultural dominance, almost everything was aimed at being powerful or being in the seat of power.

Power has different meaning for different people, but the most common association of power is with money. That’s the reason why the rich and the powerful people in society always make headlines because of their high net-worth.

Political leaders are often seen synonymous with power. In the 21st Century, science and technology combined with marketing has also become another means of power along with media which has also emerged as a highly influential medium of power. In fact it won’t be exaggerating to say that media is one such source that affects all other powers as it can help to highlight or downplay or even destroy the power value of all the above mentioned powers.
However, in reality, these are all outer forms or sources of power and since they are based on outer reality they tend to deplete or change and perish with time and also they are unstable, unreliable and often disempowering.

Abraham Lincoln once said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Its really true to see how power changes the man. Hitler used his power for all destructive work hence labelled one of the most cruel person as while King Ashoka used his power for all constructive work hence called one of the visionary, kind person. Hence it’s clear that measure of man is what he does with power.


Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

9) “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Comment on Socrates’ view. (150 Words)

Introduction :- Education is a dynamic process, which involves the interplay of the educator, educand and the social forces to make an individual socially adjustable and responsible. The above quote by Socrates emphasises that education must be kindling of a flame :-

  • The term ‘education’ means to plunge a man’s body, mind and soul from ignorance.
  • It enhances an individual’s personality and provides him confidence to reach out to the world.
  • It involves the growth and development of the individual in relation to his environment.
  • Education is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next.
  • Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts.

 

Education should not be reduced to just filling the vessel

  • In its narrow, technical sense, education is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another.
  • It should not be just accumulation of knowledge, piling of information and making stocks of all theoretical work and not having application of it in day to day life.
  • Also todays rote learning process makes education just a painful experience of mugging up, exam oriented and more of a question answer race which is not at all the purpose of education.