SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 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: Culture and diversity of India
Cultural nationalism is a form of nationalism in which the nation is defined by a shared culture. It is an intermediate position between ethnic nationalism on one hand and civic nationalism on the other. It will, therefore, will focus on a national identity shaped by cultural traditions and by language, but not on the concepts of common ancestry or race.
Cultural nationalism encompasses the feelings of cultural pride that people have in a society. This society is typically an ethnically diverse makeup of people who have common cultural beliefs and a common language but not a common race or ancestry. An “ethnically diverse” society usually defined as one with multiple ethnic groups that each comprise a substantial percentage of the population. These societies thus have a shared culture even when they do not share the historically common characteristics of a national group.
Cultural Nationalism as a concept came up in work of German Philosopher Herder. In India during national movement, Aurobindo Ghosh and VD Savarkar were its greatest proponents.
Such kind of nationalism can be both liberal as well as illiberal. However, the fine line dividing such different approaches to cultural nationalism is to be taken note of at all times.
It is regarded to be illiberal for the following reasons:
- Focus is more on unity in universality-so lesser regard for minority rights.
- Members following a particular culture can often expect others to accept their doctrines and philosophy. Their aversion towards cultural diversity is often exemplified through the trends of majoritarianism. It can easily take violent turns, violence in any form is a blow to freedom and liberty of individuals.
- It can reduce the public rhetoric to binary terms i.e. every view can be termed as nationalist or anti nationalist.
- Opponents of cultural nationalism are often suppressed, and any kind of dissent is not tolerated if it offends their feelings. If misused it can curtail freedom of speech and expression as well.
- For a nation-state, the proponents often force the government to make concessions in their policy-making goals, in order to accommodate their cultural concerns.
Extent of it being liberal enough:
- Culture is part and parcel of our lives and no one can be totally separated from culture. Cultural nationalism might help in inculcating the notion of unity in diversity.
- Non-interference in the affairs of other cultures or faiths inculcates the values of tolerance and trust among citizens.
- It involves greater debate on sensitive topics like nationalism for general public which largely constrain themselves with bread and butter issues. It can often be used to infuse the spirit of sacrifice and hard work, for the sake of achieving greater goals.
Cultural nationalism is often perceived in negative light because it is largely misused for political gains. But all theories of nationalism has an assumption that man is rational enough to seek for what is good for him and applying reason to nationalism can bring greater good for both the individual and society. So, blind faith in culture may be harmful but logical and pragmatic form of cultural nationalism is conducive.
Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
The Indian economy, and the impact of colonialism upon it, has garnered a lot of interest in the course of study of India’s history. Eminent men in history, like Dadabhai Naoroji, R.C Dutt, had written extensively upon the nature of such an impact. Colonizers left Indian economy impoverished and exploited natural and human resources in India as much as possible. They left Indian economy with problems such as Unemployment, Poverty, Illiteracy, etc., which are so prevalent even today that we are still struggling to reduce their severity.
Devastating effect on Colonialism on Indian Economy
- De-Industrialization: Industries provide a nation with self sufficiency, employment opportunities and export capability. Britishers de-industrialized India and used raw material in India to feed industries in London. Indian textile industries were made to shut down as they were unable to compete with low cost machine made cloths of Britain. No attention was paid towards the growth of the domestic manufacturing sector.
- Unemployment: Huge number of handloom weavers got unemployed and turned towards agriculture which is already facing problems such as frequent famines and huge taxes imposed by Britishers. Stress on Agriculture increased and disguise unemployment became point of concern. Craftsmen, artists lost patronage and were deprived of their work.
- Poverty: Drain of wealth as propounded by Dadabhai Naoroji, from India to London in the form of salaries, raw material and human resource to other colonies of Britishers. This archaic measures and policies made Indian people poor and per capita income deteriorated.
- Illiteracy: Education is vital to make progress but Colonizers had made no efforts to educate the masses and instead they used education as a medium to claim western superiority over eastern people.
However, certain positive impacts observed –
- Introduction of modern methods of capitalist production, banking, manufacturing, metallurgy.
- Construction of railways and roadways on an extensive scale, introduction of telegraph, etc. that promoted economic connectivity.
- For the agricultural sector, commercial plantations of tea and coffee proved to be major export revenue earners.
The Indian economy, and the stagnation imposed upon it by British colonialism through its discriminatory and protective policies, did cause immense distress during the period of British rule. But, at the same time, the new economic principles, methods of financial administration through the system of annual budgeting, and the path towards future industrialization, came in handy after India achieved independence from colonial rule.
Topic: Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Political parties act as a link between the citizens and the government and therefore it is a given that the parties must be accountable to the public at large. Political parties are the major stakeholders in a democracy and they seek to undertake activities that are in interest of the general public. As per the records available with the Election Commission of India, there are 6 national parties and 46 recognized state parties in India. In addition to this, there are 1112 unrecognized parties in India.
Extent of corporate funding to political parties in India:
The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), which analysed details of all donations above Rs 20,000 to five national parties — BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI and CPM — found that corporate donations accounted for 89% of all known donations in these four years. Corporate houses had collectively donated Rs 956.77 crore from 2012-13 to 2015-16, as compared to Rs 378.89 crore (87% of all donations) over four years from 2004-05 to 2011-12.
Issues related to disclosure of financial statements by political parties:
- Issues related to disclosure of financial statements by political parties Sections 13A of the Income Tax Act clearly indicates that the object is to ensure that there is transparency in the process of financial functioning of the political parties.
- It has been observed that the income tax returns of political parties by filing of RTIs in the respective Income Tax department/circle has come across various instances where many state/regional parties recognized by ECI have not filed their income tax returns.
- Political parties have been exempted from paying tax, however, to claim such exemption, they have to maintain audited accounts and comply with provisions of the Income Tax Act. Some regional parties have defaulted on this account on a regular basis.
- Many of these parties are major regional parties in their respective state/region and their financial position is not known.
Issues linked with corporate donations:
- It has been observed that, there is large extent of non-transparency in financial transfer from companies to political parties. Absence of Pan Card and Aadhaar linkages is one example of such non transparent transaction.
- There are high chances that corporate donations may lead to affect the government policies, making them in favour of corporate business. In a democratic country like India, such unbiased nature of political parties will affect the true spirit of democratic state.
- There is high need of specific model for the donations to political parties and thus overall mechanism of electoral funding in country.
- Large sums of corporate donations can also be used as a mechanism for tax evasion by companies. Thus, there is need of transparent and accountable methodology for monitoring of corporate donations.
- At individual level as well, the unaccounted money may provoke immoral and corrupt behavior from Member of Parliament and Member of legislative assembly.
- Political parties are the main institutions of democracy which imbibe the culture of democracy at very root level. If political parties get corrupted and undemocratic, it will be hard for overall setup to remain unbiased and welfaristic in orientation.
Need for a strict mechanism for reporting financial information:
To ensure that there is financial transparency and accountability on the part of the political parties, there must be a strict mechanism with respect to reporting of financial information. The procedures and reporting framework must be standardized to ensure that a true picture of the financial position of the political parties is revealed to the general public. Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI) has put forward a set of recommendations on the request of the Election Commission of India (ECI). These recommendations relate to a standardized and comprehensive reporting framework of financial statements of political parties.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
4) What do you understand by de-hyphenated foreign policy? It is said that hyphenated foreign policy had handicapped our ability to forge ties that help our national interests. Do you think de-hyphenation would help Indian interests better? Discuss. (200 Words)
As India is a largest-successful and vibrant democracy having a huge population consisting of world-class intellectuals and professionals, skilled labourers, booming economy, state of the art R&D facility, advanced industries, powerful army and also being a founder-member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)- known as the largest movement of humanity- it deserves to be recognised as an emerging global power and, consequently, be designated with a responsible role in all significant international and global forums, so that it may- while working in consonance with its ancient cultural ethos- contribute towards establishing peace, prosperity and security in the world, which today bears the brunt of macabre threats of terrorism and religious fundamentalism, besides several other explosive dangers.
The De hyphenated foreign policy means the foreign policy with
- More pragmatism and more need based approach than the traditional ethos.
- Rational Public discourse on various foreign policy aspects.
- Active role of elected representatives in foreign policy.
- Efficient use of track 2 and track 3 diplomacy to meet the requirements of dialogues and foreign relations
- Use of economic strengths in relations to deal with the geo political goals
- Using soft power in foreign relations
The dehyphenated foreign policy can be beneficial in following manner:
India has also forged relationships with developing countries, especially South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico. These countries often represent the interests of the developing countries through economic forums such as the G8+5, IBSA and WTO. India was seen as one of the standard bearers of the developing world and claimed to speak for a collection of more than 30 other developing nations. Thus, pragmatic policy is requirement for representative task that India is working on.
It is very important to have a de hyphenated approach while dealing with assertive Chinese government. In order to challenge the Chinese aggressive moves with respect to border, country needs more active tracks of diplomacy to make it a successful venture.
The economic compulsions have increased to large extent when compared with the early years of independence. The ideological stand of Nehruvian days has played it role. The time has arrived to deal with geo political challenges in combinations of ideology and practical necessities.
The huge Indian diaspora can be utilised as a boon for the development of India by application of dehyphenated foreign policy by central government. The Pravasi Bhartiya Day is one such step in right direction.
The changing trend in trade and information exchange demands that the inclusive role of stakeholders in foreign policy linked decisions. There is need of more informal dealing in this sphere so that the maximum results can be gained which satisfy the Indian needs.
India’s earlier commitment for its self-imposed doctrine of non-alignment, while exercising freedom of action and independence of judgment, had served India well in the past and may do so in future. Yet for the present India’s response at various foreign policy fronts is the best that can be done given India’s own responsibility in the region.
Topic: Money-laundering and its prevention
Introduction :- There is no clear definition of shell company in India. Companies that are not in operation are commonly put in this category. However, in the US, shell company is defined as “a registrant with no or nominal operations and either no or nominal assets, assets consisting solely of cash and cash equivalents, or assets consisting of any amount of cash and cash equivalents and nominal other assets”. But there is nothing illegal if a company is not engaged in any economic activity at a given point in time.
Issues associated with shell companies :-
- Some 400 companies among identified by government were being run from the same address. These numbers give a broad sense of the scale of the problem of tax evasion through shell companies.
- Many of the listed companies under the scanner were actively traded in stock exchanges and such an action can destroy value and affect common shareholders.
- Ambiguity over purpose for their creation :- It could be done for legitimate corporate purposes, but it could also be done to evade taxes by showing bogus transactions. There could be other reasons as well, such as distancing the identity of owners.
Government actions against shell companies :-
- Government has identified 300,000 shell companies, out of which the registration of 175,000 companies has been cancelled.
- The Securities and Exchange Board of India, the capital markets regulator, directed stock exchanges to initiate action against 331 listed companies.
- In 2012, it amended the law to tax share premium in excess of fair market value.
- In 2017, the government amended the law to account for other than a quoted share sold at less than fair market value.
- The crackdown on shell companies is part of a bigger process to contain the menace of black money. The government is on the right track here. It has also been reported that the government intends to make the Aadhaar of key managerial personnel mandatory for regulatory filing. This will help track individuals indulging in illegitimate activities.
- The government also plans to use Big Data for tracking tax evaders.
Topic: Indian economy – growth and development
Introduction :- The mid Economic survey tabled in parliament has highlighted following aspects :-
- The fiscal outcome of the Central Government in 2016-17 was marked by strong growth in tax revenue, sustenance of the pace of capital spending and a consolidation of non-salary/pension revenue expenditure. This combination allowed the Government to contain the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2016-17.
- The Union Budget for 2017-18 opted for a gradual fiscal consolidation path: the fiscal deficit is expected to decline to 3.2 percent of GDP in 2017-2018. The fiscal deficit target of 3 per cent of GDP under the FRBM framework is projected to be achieved in 2018-19.
- The Budget for 2017-18 introduced a number of procedural reforms, including: the integration of the Railway Budget with the Union Budget; advancing of the date of the Union Budget to February 1, almost by a month; elimination of the classification of expenditure into ‘plan’ and ‘non-plan’; and, restructuring of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework Statement with projected expenditures (revenue and capital) for each demand for the next two financial years.
- Overshadowing these otherwise significant fiscal policy initiatives is the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax with effect from the 1stday of July 2017, encompassing a plethora of the Central and State level indirect taxes, paving the way for a dramatic transformation of the Indian markets and the economy.
Monetary Management and Financial Intermediation
- The Reserve Bank of India cut the policy rate by 50 basis points during 2016-17. However, it shifted its monetary policy stance from accommodative to neutral in February 2017. As of August 2017 Repo rate stood at 6.00 per cent and reverse repo rate at 5.75 per cent.
- Sluggish growth and increasing indebtedness in some sectors of the economy have impacted the asset quality of banks and this is a cause for concern. The gross non-performing advances (GNPAs) ratio of SCBs rose from 9.2 per cent in September 2016 to 9.5 per cent in March 2017.
- Financial inclusion is proceeding apace under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. Zero balance accounts under PMJDY has declined consistently from nearly 58 per cent in March 2015 to around 24 per cent as of December 2016.
Prices and Inflation
- Significant moderation in CPI headline inflation during the last three years. CPI inflation fell to a series low of 1.5 percent in June 2017.
- Broad based decline in all commodity groups during 2016-17, the most significant being decline in food.
- Food inflation, which was the main driver of inflation in the past, declined significantly during the year because of improvements in supply of pulses and vegetables on the back of a normal monsoon. Core inflation-indicative of underlying trends — too declined in the last few months.
- Convergence between CPI and WPI inflation in the last few months.
- Most States/UTs witnessed sharp decline in CPI inflation in 2016-17 as compared to the previous year.
- Both rural and urban inflation have declined in 2016-17 and the gap between rural and urban inflation has narrowed down in recent months.
- India’s balance of payments situation which was benign and comfortable during 2013-14 to 2015-16, further improved in 2016-17, as a result of low and falling trade and current account deficits and moderate and rising capital inflows, resulting in further accretion of foreign exchange reserves.
- Reflecting the slowly improving world economic situation, India’s exports turned positive at 12.3 per cent in 2016-17 after an interregnum of two years. This along with a marginal decline in imports by 1.0 per cent resulted in narrowing down of trade deficit to US$ 112.4 billion (5 per cent of GDP) in 2016-17 as compared to US$ 130.1 billion (6.2 per cent of GDP) in 2015-16.
Agriculture and Food Management
- The average farm size in India is small, and declining since 1970-71. The predominance of small operational holdings is a major limitation to reap the benefits of economies of scale in agriculture operations.
- The progress in agriculture needs to be evaluated in terms of outcomes such as catching up with global yields of various crops as a means to increase incomes of farmers.
- Credit is an important mediating input for agriculture to improve productivity. The predominance of informal sources of credit for farmers is a concern. There is regional disparity in the distribution of agricultural credit which also needs to be addressed.
- The key challenge that the horticulture sector faces in India are post-harvest losses, availability of quality planting material and lack of market access for horticultural produce of small farmers.
Industry and Infrastructure
- Industrial performance has shown a moderation from 8.8 percent during 2015-16 to 5.6 percent in 2016-17.
- Industrial growth as per Index of Industrial Production (IIP) new series of 2011-12 shows overall IIP growth at 5 percent in 2016-17 as compared to 3.4 percent last year.
- The Index of Eight Core Industries growth during 2016-17 was 4.8 percent as compared to 3.0 percent in 2015-16.
- The Government in 2016 introduced imposition of Minimum Import Price (MIP) to counter dumping of Steel into Indian markets. Steps taken by the government have borne fruit since imports of Steel by India have declined by 36.2 percent while exports have risen by 102 percent in 2016-17.
Critical side :-
- Overall, there is concern that the economy is in a deep hole.
- Hasty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has paralysed the informal manufacturing sector which lives on the edge, often saddled with debt. Protests in the textile hub of Surat reflect how GST is affecting medium, small and micro-scale enterprises.
- The private sector is not borrowing and the manufacturing sector is operating at a historically low capacity utilisation of 70%. The latest IIP shows a contraction of 0.1% in June 2017.
- Neither credit nor investment will increase until the government addresses the “twin balance sheets” problem.
- we are seeing job destruction! The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reports that 1.5 million jobs were lost during January-April 2017.
- Overall, the real state of India’s economy is deeply worrying. The latest RBI surveys of consumer confidence, industrial outlook, and professional forecasters point to pessimism on all fronts except inflation management.
Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
b) Categorial imperative
- a) Deontology :- Deontology(or Deontological Ethics) is an approach to Ethicsthat focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions (Consequentialism) or to the character and habits of the actor (Virtue Ethics).
Using destructive weapons and killing many people in war to establish peace in world is a wrong action by deontological ethics.
- b) Categorial imperative :- categorical imperative, sometimes called the “universalizability principle”: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
Speaking truth, practising non violence, paying legal taxes, following traffic rules are some of the examples of categorical imperatives.
- c) Utilitarianism :- An ethical philosophy in which the happiness of the greatest number of people in the society is considered the greatest good.
Welfare measures initiated by the government like National food security act, Pradhan Mantri awas yojana are some of the examples of this philosophy.
- d) Rights :- Rightsare legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rightsare the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.
Right to freedom of speech, expression, liberty, equality are some of the rights demanded by civilised society.
- e) Virtue :- Virtueis moral excellence. A virtueis a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.
Honesty, dedication, impartiality are some of the virtues human should posses
- f) Justice :- Justiceis the legal or philosophical theory by which fairness is administered.
Punishing the criminals and adhering rights of the sufferers is an act of justice Ex Nirbhaya case verdict