SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 SEPTEMBER 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.
1) What are hurricanes? The rainfall from recent Hurricane Harvey has exceeded the amount from the previous record-bearer, Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978. Examine the reasons. (200 Words)
Hurricanes are giant, spiraling tropical storms that can pack wind speeds of over 160 miles (257 kilometers) an hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) of rain a day. These same tropical storms are known as cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, and as typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean.
Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters. Sometimes they strike land. When a hurricane reaches land, it pushes a wall of ocean water ashore. This wall of water is called a storm surge. Heavy rain and storm surge from a hurricane can cause flooding.
What are the Parts of a Hurricane?
- Eye: The eye is the “hole” at the center of the storm. Winds are light in this area. Skies are partly cloudy, and sometimes even clear.
- Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms. These storms swirl around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.
- Rain bands: Bands of clouds and rain go far out from a hurricane’s eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles. They contain thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes.
What Makes Hurricanes Form?
Scientists don’t know exactly why or how a hurricane forms. But they do know that two main ingredients are needed. One ingredient is warm water. Warm ocean waters provide the energy a storm needs to become a hurricane. Usually, the surface water temperature must be 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher for a hurricane to form.
The other ingredient is winds that don’t change much in speed or direction as they go up in the sky. Winds that change a lot with height can rip storms apart.
How Are Hurricanes Named?
There can be more than one hurricane at a time. This is one reason hurricanes are named. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.
A storm is given a name if it becomes a tropical storm. That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane. (Tropical disturbances and depressions don’t have names.)
Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order. The names come from a list of names for that year. There are six lists of names. Lists are reused every six years. If a storm does a lot of damage, its name is sometimes taken off the list. It is then replaced by a new name that starts with the same letter.
What made the rain in Hurricane Harvey so extreme?
Tropical cyclones in general are very efficient rain producers, because they draw large quantities of water vapor into the atmosphere from a warm ocean. That moist air rises and the water vapor condenses, and a large fraction of that water falls as rain. Tropical cyclones can also last a long time; if their motion slows, then a particular region can experience that heavy rainfall for multiple days.
Usually, when a tropical cyclone turns poleward from the tropics toward the United States, it will interact with one or more midlatitude weather systems that will send the storm on its way after a day or two. But this time, the jet stream has been positioned well to the north of Texas, so none of these disturbances has approached, and Harvey’s center of circulation has barely moved since it made landfall.
This combination of unusually high rain rates and long duration has resulted in a very large area with 30 to 45 inches of rain in a few days.The forecasting of tornadoes in same areas in which flash flooding has taken place increased the risk to larger extent.
One reason for Harvey’s estimated record cost is the sheer amount of rain and flooding brought on by the storm. Harvey set the record for tropical cyclone rainfall measured in any one place in the U.S. over at least the past 50 years.
Because of Harvey’s flood impacts, many have compared it to Hurricane Katrina. Katrina’s devastation was a result of the failure of government flood protection systems, violent storm surges, a chaotic evacuation plan and an ill-prepared city government. Harvey, on the other hand, has caused massive flooding at a slower pace, without Katrina’s deadly surge. In this way it resembles other costly and damaging tropical cyclones of the past 30 years.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
2) It is said that abolition of instant triple talaq is the beginning of the process of reforms in Muslim personal law. What do you understand by personal laws? What more reforms are needed in Muslim personal law? Discuss. (200 Words)
An Islamic practice permitting men to instantly divorce their wives has been declared unconstitutional by India’s Supreme Court after decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims. The “triple talaq” have allowed Muslim men to dissolve marriages by pronouncing the word “divorce” three times. The Supreme Court in Delhi took up the issue last year in response to a petition from seven victims and women’s groups. A majority of the bench declared that triple talaq was “not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality”.
It is law that applies to a particular person or class of persons only wherever situated. It can be also defined as part of law that deals with matters pertaining to a person and his or her family.
The people of India belong to different religions and faiths. They are governed by different sets of personal laws in respect of matters relating to family affairs, i.e., marriage, divorce, succession, etc.
Need of reforms can be highlighted as :
Inheritance continued to be ruled by customs, often excluding women, among numerous communities of Muslims.
Under the Muslim Law, the father enjoys a dominant position in case of adoption. It also makes a distinction between guardianship and custody. For guardianship, which has usually reference to guardianship of property, according to Sunnis, the father is preferred and in his absence his executor. If not executor has been appointed by the father, the guardianship passes on to the paternal grandfather to take over responsibility and not that of the executor. Both schools, however, agree that father while alive is the sole guardian. Mother is not recognised as a natural guardian even after the death of the father.
A vast majority of Muslims in India follow Hanafi doctrines of Sunni law. Courts presume that Muslims are governed by Hanafi law unless it is established to be the contrary. Though there are many features in common between Shia and Sunni schools, yet there are differences in some respects. Sunni law regards Koranic verses of inheritance as an addendum to pre-Islamic customary law and preserves the superior position of male agnates.
Unlike Hindu and Christian laws, Muslim law restricts a person’s right of testation. A Muslim can bequeath only one-third of his estate. A bequest to a stranger is valid without the consent of heirs if it does not exceed a third of the estate, but a bequest to an heir without the consent of other heirs is invalid.
Though there is huge scope for personal laws linked with any religion in India, it must come from within the community. No imposed law or reform can become sustainable and long lasting in true spirit.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
3) Critically examine Britain’s recent visa policy towards Indian students and other various visa related issues faced by Indian students in Britain. (200 Words)
The culture of migration is not new to the country. In 21st century there are new horizons for the Indian students for purpose of academic development. Britain has been the destination for many Indian students as well as IT professional.
India has been one of the largest markets for the British universities. The United Kingdom government has announced changes in its visa policy for non-EU nationals, which will affect a large number of Indians.
Background: How does the British immigration system currently work?
- There are different ways to come to live or settle permanently in the UK. Migrants fall into five broad categories: those coming for long-term work, students, temporary workers and visitors, refugees and asylum seekers and people arriving for family reasons.
- There are different laws and policies governing each element of the system. For instance, on asylum, the UK has international obligations to provide refuge to people who have fled persecution. The most complicated part of the system is the broad criteria around economic migration. The rules for economic migration, which includes students, broadly divide migrants into two groups.
- If a migrant is a citizen from one of the European Union’s member states (or one of the other counties in the European Economic Area – EEA), then they are free to compete for jobs in the UK. They are not subject to immigration controls. If a person comes from anywhere else then system of awards points to migrants based on their skills, qualifications and experience applies. This is another area of concern for Indian students.
- Britain is continuously working on the tightening of its immigration policy from last few years. There are many uncertainties at global platform with respect to the immigration policy of United Kingdom.
- One of the issues of this debate is the argument by Britain that the Indian students overstay their visas. This kind of illegal stay needs to be curbed as per the British authorities.
- The reduction in the number of fake universities in UK has impacted negatively on the number of Indian students is the another part of this heated debate.
- As per Britain, students from outside the EEA make up 60% of the migrants whose movements can be restricted. It has been said that the government cannot meet its target by restricting workers alone. Thus non EEA students are on radar.
- The key question after Brexit is whether the government will establish an entirely new system for EU nationals that give them preferential access to the labour market, or whether they will simply be subject to the controls that all other non-EU citizens currently face.
- UK has toughened the regime in other ways, most notably by limiting the ability of students to work in Britain after their degree. Students have a maximum of four months after their degree to find a job, which has proved a major disincentive for many Indian students as well.
It has been observed that, there is huge economic contribution the foreign students make to local economies across the UK (£25 billion a year in total). This contribution must get recognised and highlighted. The issues of Indian student does not stand alone, rather it is the component of overall British immigration policy.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
4) Write a note on the findings on rural development schemes and goals for of the same in the recently released Three Year Action Agenda of the NITI Aayog. (200 Words)
What is the Agenda about?
After dismantling Planning Commission and taking its place, NITI Aayog set to create 15-year long-term vision and subsequently the seven-year policy strategy along with Three Year Action Agenda.
This set the phasing out of Five Year planning as a concept completely. But for the NITI Aayog’s initiative to be an improvement on the Five Year Plan, pragmatic moves, such as delinking planning from finance, will be required.
The NITI Aayog’s governing council, which is currently reviewing the Three Year Action Agenda, comprises all chief ministers, mirroring the erstwhile National Development Council. The Three Year Action Agenda seeks to embark on “a path to achieve all-round development of India and its people” through concerted action, outlined in seven parts covering multiple facets of the Indian economy.
About the implementation of rural development schemes:
- As a core of its finding, this three year agenda by NITI Ayog proposes that over the next three years, the government wants to focus on strengthening implementation and monitoring of existing schemes.
- The action plan proposes to update the SECC data by including information on benefits availed by the households under several government schemes. It wants the panchayats to analyse the data to understand the level of implementation.
- The document has pointed out that , number of assets under MGNREGA fall into disrepair and become unusable over time due to lack of maintenance, the government proposes to create a separate maintenance fund for community funds for this.
- The agenda finds out that human resource is the issue and lack of funds as key challenges in implementing National Rural Livelihood Mission. Thus the government plans to focus on retention of project staff at district and block level and filling up vacant posts.
- The report observes that, there is a diverse and complex set of factors, including religious and social, that influence household decision pertaining to sanitation. Thus one size does not fit all. The government wants to assess why community-led total sanitation approach has not scaled up in India. As per the action plan there will be more focus on “igniting behaviour change from within the communities”.
- Agenda mentions that , over the next three years, the government aims at brining electricity to every household in every village with a focus on “quality, reliability, affordability and legality of supply” to ensure that power actually reaches villages.
- The Aayog has suggested a series of measures to improve learning outcomes and improve skills for jobs. It has recommended changes in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act to focus on learning. Improving quality of higher education and NSDC working on achieving an 80 per cent placement target are among the other suggestions given by the think-tank, to improve education and skills of people.
- The Aayog noted that despite a numerous skill development initiatives by the government that have been undertaken till date, the country still faces a challenge of training a large workforce. According to estimates for the period 2013-14, India’s annual skilling capacity at around seven million is significantly lower than the workforce entering the market annually, while the quality of skills imparted is also a matter of concern.
In implementing this mandate, states should begin by devising their implementation indicators and planning a state-level measurement system for reports and outcomes of rural development schemes.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
5) What are the differences between brand and generic drugs? Discuss the issues and concerns regarding prescribing medicines by their generic names. (200 Words)
Introduction :- A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that is equivalent to a brand-name product in dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, performance, and intended use. The term may also refer to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising, or to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than the brand name under which the drug is sold.
Although they may not be associated with a particular company, generic drugs are usually subject to government regulations in the countries where they are dispensed.
Indian scenario :-
The Indian government began encouraging more drug manufacturing by Indian companies in the early 1960s, and with the Patents Act in 1970. The Patents Act removed composition patents for foods and drugs, and though it kept process patents, these were shortened to a period of five to seven years. The resulting lack of patent protection created a niche in both the Indian and global markets that Indian companies filled by reverse-engineering new processes for manufacturing low-cost drugs. The code of ethics issued by the Medical Council of India in 2002 calls for physicians to prescribe drugs by their generic names only.
How are generic and brand name drugs different?
- Although the active ingredients are the same, the excipients (inactive ingredients) may differ. This is only important in rare cases when a patient has an allergy or sensitivity to one of the excipients.
- The product may also be slightly different in colour, shape, or markings.
- The biggest difference is cost. Generic drugs are generally less expensive than brand name comparators.
Issues and concerns regarding prescribing medicines by their generic names.
- The issue in India is not about expensive brand name drugs versus cheaper generics, as in the West, but one of quality drugs versus suspect quality drugs. Branded generics are also generics with a brand name, plus the quality assurance from well-known companies like Cipla, Sun or Dr Reddy’s. Doctors have come to trust these companies and their brands over time.
- Indian pharma’s field force numbering nearly one million medical representatives have done a good job of building this trust in their companies and brands. It is simply not possible for doctors to transfer this trust to generics, manufactured by unknown companies.
- The entire issue of cheaper generics is based on the premise of measurable and enforceable assurance about quality through bioequivalence tests and other globally mandated parameters. In the absence of that, the generics-only diktat is a non-starter.
- Indian branded generic companies have been innovative in terms of drug delivery systems to improve absorption, reduce side-effects, thereby increasing the efficacy of the drug.
Since the issue is about quality, the government must put in place reforms that will make it mandatory for drug manufacturers in India to adhere to globally accepted standards. The government must sit down with all stakeholders to discuss the issue and roll-out a time bound plan to make generic prescriptions mandatory over the next three to five years. This will give the necessary time needed by all stakeholders from industry to doctors, retailers and patients to get used to the new system. For example, the government can roll-out a generics-only plan for one group of drugs like analgesics (pain-killers) and see how it works and learn from it and progressively roll-out for all other group of drugs.
The solution to the problem of branded versus generic lies in strengthening the existing drug regulatory and quality control structure. The strategy can be two pronged with an increase in the capacity of existing testing laboratories and opening up of new laboratories in government colleges. Pharmacology departments of existing medical colleges can play a big role in this direction.
India can also learn a lot from similar generics roll-out experiences in Europe and Latin America.
6) It is found that between 2014 and 2016, there was a 63 per cent rise in cases of poaching and confiscation of tiger parts in the country. Examine the measures taken to protect tigers in India and reasons why these measures have failed to prevent poaching. (200 Words)
Introduction :- There are 50 tiger reserves in India which are governed by Project Tiger which is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA). India is home to 70 percent of tigers in the world. In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2011 and 2,226 in 2014.The total number of wild tigers have gone upto 3891 in 2016 according to World Wildlife Fund and Global Tiger Forum.
Between 2014 and 2016, there was a 63 per cent rise in cases of poaching and confiscation of tiger parts in the country. According to a statement by former Union environment minister, the late Anil Dave, in the Rajya Sabha on April 10, there were 19 cases of tiger poaching and seizure in 2014, but the figure increased to 31 in 2016. These do not include cases that are still under scrutiny. The number of such cases was just 14 in 2014, but jumped to 42 in 2016.
The Government of India has taken certain measures to tackle the issue of tiger poaching in India.
- Project Tiger –The program was launched in 1973 by the Government of India to protect the Bengal tigers from extinction. The program provides central assistance to states that have adopted the scheme of Project Tiger for tiger reserves. It is the famous wildlife conservation project in India. After the launch of the project, there has been a increase in the number of tigers to about 2226 from around 1657.
- National Tiger Conservation Authority –It is a statutory body formed in 2005 under the Ministry of Environment, forests and climate change. It ensures protective measures and tries to reduce the dependency of local communities on the tiger reserves. The NTCA is responsible for implementing the “Project Tiger” plan in order to protect the endangered tiger species.
- Wildlife Protection Society of India –It was founded in 1994 by Belinda Wright. The WPSI has implemented a successful conservation campaign around the tiger reserve areas in Central India. The campaign was launched in April 2011.
WPSI also organizes a Secret Information Reward Scheme to collect the poaching and the wildlife crime information around the Tiger reserves in Central India. The scheme is in collaboration with the Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments.
The WPSI conducts Wildlife Law Enforcement Workshops which organizes highly active sessions and involves the active participation of everyone.
- Valmiki Tiger Conservation Project –The Wildlife Trust of India in collaboration with the Bihar Forest Department initiated the Valmiki Tiger Conservation Project in the year 2003. The aim of the project was to bring back the interest in conservation of Valmiki and to facilitate the recovery of the area as a possible tiger habitat.
- Tiger Corridor Protection program –It concentrates on the areas which covers the state of Madhya Pradesh. The program aims to collect the data related to the poaching pressure, prey base etc. They also conduct a socio-economic survey of the people living near the tiger reserve areas.
- The Corbett Foundation –TCF is a non government charitable trust founded by Mr. Dilip Dharamsey Khatau, chairman of the Khatau Group of industries. It began to function on 22 April. The foundation aims to protect the Bengal tigers and also gives compensation to the nearby people whose livestocks are destroyed by the tigers.
Although the efforts and initiatives of India to protect and improve its tiger population are undeniably remarkable, there are pressing challenges that can thwart these off.
- Poaching remains extensiveaccording to the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). Its data revealed that among the reported 274 tiger deaths between 2011 and 2014, 110 of which were due to poaching.
- “The illicit demand for bones from wild tigers for use in traditional oriental medicine, coupled with the international trade in tiger skins, continues to be the main reason for the unrelenting poaching pressure on tigers in India,” said WPSI in a statement. “There is virtually no demand for either bones or skins of tigers within India.”
- While there is a strong political will to protect and improve India’s tiger population, the economic initiatives of Prime Minster Narendra Modi are also fast becoming threats.
- The National Democratic Alliance government has been removing hurdles aimed at moderating infrastructure projects. This means exempting construction and township initiatives from environmental clearance. Furthermore, the Environment Ministry has exempted coalmines with a production capacity of less than 16 million tons a year from public hearing should they plan to expand their operations.
- There are several reports indicating different measuresaimed at improving economic growth by compromising environmental safeguards. These ongoing developments in the country are counterproductive and contradicting to the established and ongoing efforts to protect and improve India’s tiger population.
7) The Government of India aims to double the crop insurance coverage to 50% through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana by 2018. Is it a feasible target? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Introduction :- The new Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation – One Scheme theme. It incorporates the best features of all previous schemes and at the same time, all previous shortcomings / weaknesses have been removed. The PMFBY will replace the existing two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as the Modified NAIS.
· To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
· To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
· To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
· To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
Highlights of the scheme
- There will be a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%. The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
- There is no upper limit on Government subsidy. Even if balance premium is 90%, it will be borne by the Government.
- Earlier, there was a provision of capping the premium rate which resulted in low claims being paid to farmers. This capping was done to limit Government outgo on the premium subsidy. This capping has now been removed and farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
- The use of technology will be encouraged to a great extent. Smart phones will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.
- PMFBY is a replacement scheme of NAIS / MNAIS, there will be exemption from Service Tax liability of all the services involved in the implementation of the scheme. It is estimated that the new scheme will ensure about 75-80 per cent of subsidy for the farmers in insurance premium.
According to our analysis, 7.22% farmers were covered under crop insurance in 2012–13 and the average growth rate of crop insurance adoption from 2001 to 2013 was 6.48%. With this level of coverage and growth rate, less than 10% farmers would be covered in 2016–17. Thus, attaining a coverage of 50% of farmers will take a long time. According to the government, however, 23% farmers were covered under crop insurance in 2015–16 (Indian Express 2016), and around 26% farmers have been covered in 2017 so far.
Existing evidence suggests that the key issues of low spread of crop insurance are lack of awareness among farmers, delay in claim settlement, absence of adequate number of channels, and lack of information on the risk behaviour of farmers. The PMFBY has brought about lower and standardised premium rates, and emphasised the use of technology.6However, as discussed, there are some other structural constraints that may need to be tackled if the targeted coverage of crop insurance in India needs to be achieved.
Topic: Corporate governance
8) Write a brief note on theories of corporate governance and examine the ethical questions faced in corporate governance. (250 Words)
Introduction :- Corporate governance is the mechanisms, processes and relations by which corporations are controlled and directed. Governance structures and principles identify the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants in the corporation (such as the board of directors, managers, shareholders, creditors, auditors, regulators, and other stakeholders) and includes the rules and procedures for making decisions in corporate affairs. Corporate governance includes the processes through which corporations’ objectives are set and pursued in the context of the social, regulatory and market environment. Governance mechanisms include monitoring the actions, policies, practices, and decisions of corporations, their agents, and affected stakeholders. Corporate governance practices are affected by attempts to align the interests of stakeholders. Interest in the corporate governance practices of modern corporations, particularly in relation to accountability, increased following the high-profile collapses of a number of large corporations during 2001–2002, most of which involved accounting fraud; and then again after the recent financial crisis in 2008.
Theories of corporate governance :-
Agency Theory Agency theory having its roots in economic theory was exposited by Alchian and Demsetz (1972) and further developed by Jensen and Meckling (1976). Agency theory is defined as “the relationship between the principals, such as shareholders and agents such as the company executives and managers”. In this theory, shareholders who are the owners or principals of the company, hires the gents to perform work. Principals delegate the running of business to the directors or managers, who are the shareholder’s agents (Clarke, 2004). Indeed, Daily et al (2003) argued that two factors can influence the prominence of agency theory. First, the theory is conceptually and simple theory that reduces the corporation to two participants of managers and shareholders. Second, agency theory suggests that employees or managers in organizations can be self-interested.
Stewardship Theory Stewardship theory has its roots from psychology and sociology and is defined by Davis, Schoorman & Donaldson (1997) as “a steward protects and maximises shareholders wealth through firm performance, because by so doing, the steward’s utility functions are maximised”. In this perspective, stewards are company executives and managers working for the shareholders, protects and make profits for the shareholders. Unlike agency theory, stewardship theory stresses not on the perspective of individualism (Donaldson & Davis, 1991), but rather on the role of top management being as stewards, integrating their goals as part of the organization. The stewardship perspective suggests that stewards are satisfied and motivated when organizational success is attained.
Stakeholder Theory Stakeholder theory was embedded in the management discipline in 1970 and gradually developed by Freeman (1984) incorporating corporate accountability to a broad range of stakeholders. Wheeler et al, (2002) argued that stakeholder theory derived from a combination of the sociological and organizational disciplines. Indeed, stakeholder theory is less of a formal unified theory and more of a broad research tradition, incorporating philosophy, ethics, political theory, economics, law and organizational science.
Resource Dependency Theory Whilst, the stakeholder theory focuses on relationships with many groups for individual benefits, resource dependency theory concentrates on the role of board directors in providing access to resources needed by the firm. Hillman, Canella and Paetzold (2000) contend that resource dependency theory focuses on the role that directors play in providing or securing essential resources to an organization through their linkages to the external environment. Indeed, Johnson et al, (1996) concurs that resource dependency theorists provide focus on the appointment of representatives of independent organizations as a means for gaining access in resources critical to firm success. For example, outside directors who are partners to a law firm provide legal advice, either in board meetings or in private communication with the firm executives that may otherwise be more costly for the firm to secure.
Transaction Cost Theory Transaction cost theory was first initiated by Cyert and March (1963) and later theoretical described and exposed by Williamson (1996). Transaction cost theory was an interdisciplinary alliance of law, economics and organizations. This theory attempts to view the firm as an organization comprising people with different views and objectives.