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SECURE SYNOPSIS : 04 SEPTEMBER 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS : 04 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 Indian society; Role of women; Social empowerment

1) It is said that feminism could be a powerful tool that lets children shed stereotypes that they may hold and question those of others. Do you agree? Discuss how will the introduction of feminism in schools would help children shed gender stereotypes. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women.

Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women’s rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to promote bodily autonomy and integrity, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.

“It is very well said that, we are not born patriarchal; we are socialised into becoming so.” To achieve the genuine gender justice, school is the first and prime institution to work on with. Because:

  • The Indian Constitution has granted equality, freedom from discrimination based on gender or religion, and guaranteed religious freedoms. The enshrined principle of gender equality must get attention from school level itself.
  • Schools are the first places where children are exposed to and interact with people with various identities. At these abodes of learning, enforcing gendered identities and roles is detrimental to not just children but also to society as a whole.
  • The existence of stereotypes at school level makes it very difficult for innovation and reason to find space. Feminism could be a powerful tool that lets children shed stereotypes that they may hold and question those of others.
  • By employing the equality in the school through feminism, girls will be less insecure about their bodily aspects. The very rational, scientific and acknowledged education about bodily variations in gender will build the confidence among all students about physical aspects and existing variations.
  • By 2001 literacy for women had exceeded 50% of the overall female population, though these statistics were still very low compared to world standards and even male literacy within India. Efforts are still being made to improve the level of education that females receive to match that of male students. Feminism is one possible solution to educate more girls.
  • There is need of immediate reforms in personal laws of various religions as most of them are discriminatory to woman with respect to inheritance, adoption and succession. The school can imbibe the very basic principle of men woman equality among future citizens of this country.

Government efforts:

In 1986, the National Policy on Education (NPE) was created in India, and the government launched the programme called Mahila Samakhya, whose focus was on the empowerment of women. The programme’s goal is to create a learning environment for women to realise their potential, learn to demand information and find the knowledge to take charge of their own lives. Mission Purnashakti  is one such initiative for woman empowerment.

Judicial interventions:

In 1955 the Bollywood group Cine Costume Make-Up Artist & Hair Dressers’ Association (CCMAA) created a rule that did not allow women to obtain memberships as makeup artists. However, in 2014 the Supreme Court of India ruled that this rule was in violation of the Indian constitutional guarantees granted under Article 14 (right to equality), 19(1)(g) (freedom to carry out any profession) and Article 21 (right to liberty).[41] The judges of the Supreme Court of India stated that the ban on women makeup artist members had no “rationale nexus” to the cause sought to be achieved and was “unacceptable, impermissible and inconsistent” with the constitutional rights guaranteed to the citizens. In 2015 it was announced that Charu Khurana had become the first woman to be registered by the Cine Costume Make-Up Artist & Hair Dressers’ Association.

Conclusion:

The rise of liberal feminism in the West in the 1970s focused deeply on demands for equal opportunities in education and employment, as well as ending violence against women. To a large extent, the emerging feminist movement in India was influenced by Western ideals. These called for education and equal rights, but also adapted their appeals to local issues and concerns, such as dowry-related violence against women, Sati, sex selective abortion and custodial rape. Some Indian feminists have suggested that these issues are not specifically “Indian” in nature but rather a reflection of a wider trend of patriarchal oppression of women.


 

Topic:  Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

2) Critically comment on the proposed amendments to the RTI act and their likely impact on RTI activists. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Right to information is one of the watershed legislation in the history of law making in India. The very citizen centric nature of this law has been acclaimed as one of the most extensively used legislation in India. It is an Act to ensure that citizens can secure information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in their working. Informed citizenry is essential to a democracy and to contain corruption. Harmonization of conflicting interests between transparency, and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information is crucial.

Analysis of proposed amendment in RTI:

  • The draft rules propose to empower the Central Information Commission (CIC) to permit withdrawal of an appeal if an appellant makes a written request and also says that pending appeals proceedings will come to an end automatically with the death of the appellant. RTI activists have expressed concern that this may expose applicants to greater threats in the future.
  • There is also the possibility that if this proposed rule becomes law at the Centre, most other states will make similar amendments, thereby unwittingly jeopardising the life and safety of RTI users.
  • Supreme Court had ruled that the information commissions established under the RTI Act were only administrative tribunals, not quasi-judicial tribunals. So, given this understanding of RTI appeals and complaints, there is no reason why an appeal should come to an end on the death of the appellant.
  • Draft rule 8(1)(viii), (ix) and (3) and draft rule 13(1)(vi) and (3) require an appellant to serve an advance copy of all documents and written submissions to the public authority and attach evidence of having done this before submitting the appeal or the complaint. This procedure which is followed in courts is unsuited for the CIC and demanded that the rule ideally specify that the copy of the complaint/appeal should be transmitted to the public authority concerned simultaneously or after submission to the CIC.
  • Draft rule 4 continues to prescribe fees for providing information in the form of ‘diskettes and floppies’, both of which are now outdated. DoPT must recognise that information can be provided electronically through email, flash drives or CDs/DVDs.
  • The proposed amendments, without any legal basis, require that a complaint should be filed within 90 days from the date the cause of complaint arose, failing which a request for condoning the delay is required. Under the RTI Act, while the procedure of appealing to the commission is time-bound, there is no timeframe within which a complaint has to be filed.
  • The requirements in the proposed rules for filing complaints to the CIC also go beyond the law and fall foul of the diktat of the Supreme Court. In 2012, the Supreme Court in its judgment in Union of India Vs S. Srinivasan (Civil Appeal No. 3185 of 2005) cited various earlier orders in support of the principle that “a rule must be in accord with the parent statute as it cannot travel beyond it”.
  • The original RTI Act provides for filing a complaint to the information commission in cases where a PIO has not been appointed or where a PIO has refused to accept an RTI application, among others. In such matters, the complainant would not have a copy of the RTI application submitted to the PIO. Yet the proposed rules make attaching a copy of the RTI application a mandatory requirement for filing a complaint.

Conclusion:

The RTI activists not only expose corrupt practices and crimes, but also provide alternative leadership at the local level. Some of them have become community mobilisers and have been elected sarpanch. The RTI Act has offered space to young Dalits, Adivasis and members of the minorities who would have been (more) helpless otherwise. This act must be conserved with its true spirit that has served it purpose to larger extent.


 

Topic:    Functioning of Supreme Court

3) Examine the important observations made by the judges in the recent landmark right to privacy judgement. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that Indians enjoy a fundamental right to privacy that it is intrinsic to life and liberty and thus comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

The bench, led by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, pronounced a unanimous judgement even if the judges   had slightly different arguments as to how privacy is intrinsic to right to life and liberty.

The bench comprised Chief Justice Khehar and Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde, R.K. Agrawal, Rohinton Nariman, A.M. Sapre, D.Y. Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S. Abdul Nazeer.

In its 547-page judgment that declares privacy to be a fundamental right, the Supreme Court has overruled verdicts given in the M.P. Sharma case in 1958 and the Kharak Singh case in 1961, both of which said that the right to privacy is not protected under the Indian constitution. The judgment includes within it six separate judgments from different judges, though the conclusion is unanimous.

Key observations from the judgment:

  1. Life and personal liberty are inalienable rights. These are rights which are inseparable from a dignified human existence. The dignity of the individual, equality between human beings and the quest for liberty are the foundational pillars of the Indian Constitution;
  2. Judicial recognition of the existence of a constitutional right of privacy is not an exercise in the nature of amending the Constitution nor is the Court embarking on a constitutional function of that nature which is entrusted to Parliament;
  3. Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation. Privacy also connotes a right to be left alone.
  4. Personal choices governing a way of life are intrinsic to privacy.
  5. Privacy is not lost or surrendered merely because the individual is in a public place. Privacy attaches to the person since it is an essential facet of the dignity of the human being;
  6. Technological change has given rise to concerns which were not present seven decades ago and the rapid growth of technology may render obsolescent many notions of the present. Hence the interpretation of the Constitution must be resilient and flexible to allow future generations to adapt its content bearing in mind its basic or essential features;
  7. Like other rights which form part of the fundamental freedoms protected by Part III, including the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21, privacy is not an absolute right. A law which encroaches upon privacy will have to withstand the touchstone of permissible restrictions on fundamental rights.
  8. Privacy has both positive and negative content. The negative content restrains the state from committing an intrusion upon the life and personal liberty of a citizen. Its positive content imposes an obligation on the state to take all necessary measures to protect the privacy of the individual.
  9. The right of privacy is a fundamental right. It is a right which protects the inner sphere of the individual from interference from both State, and non-State actors and allows the individuals to make autonomous life choices.
  10. The privacy of the home must protect the family, marriage, procreation and sexual orientation which are all important aspects of dignity.
  11. In a country like ours which prides itself on its diversity, privacy is one of the most important rights to be protected both against State and non-State actors and be recognized as a fundamental right.

12Right of privacy cannot be denied, even if there is a miniscule fraction of the population which is affected. The majoritarian concept does not apply to Constitutional rights…

  1. Let the right of privacy, an inherent right, be unequivocally a fundamental right embedded in part-III of the Constitution of India, but subject to the restrictions specified, relatable to that part. This is the call of today. The old order changeth yielding place to new.

Conclusion:

The right to privacy in India has developed through a series of decisions over the past 60 years. Over the years, inconsistency from two early judgments created a divergence of opinion on whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right. Last week’s judgment reconciles those different interpretations to unequivocally declare that it is. Moreover, constitutional provisions must be read and interpreted in a manner which would enhance their conformity with international human rights instruments ratified by India. The judgment also concludes that privacy is a necessary condition for the meaningful exercise of other guaranteed freedoms.


 

Topic: Energy

4) It is argued that socio-political and economic realities do not favour the prospects of renewables in India. Discuss why. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Introduction:

Energy is the most important issue that is being discussed throughout the world. The key differentiating factor in the use of energy sources is environment friendliness. Growth of renewable energy (RE) in developed nations is mainly driven by environmental concerns of fossil fuel based projects. In developing nations, RE projects are adopted to decrease the demand supply-gap and to boost rural electrification and off-grid electrification. But for countries like India, an optimal energy mix of both kinds of energy sources is essential to have a sustainable energy system.

The challenges in harnessing renewable energy are:

Social acceptance of renewable-based energy system is still not very encouraging in rural India. Despite heavy subsidy being provided by the government for installation of solar water-heaters and lighting systems, its penetration is still very low.

Manpower training is another grey area. Currently, the Indian power sector is facing severe trained manpower shortage. Skill upgradation of the existing manpower and training of new professionals are essential to achieve the goal of renewable energy utilisation.

High cost associated with RE projects necessitates further research and technological developments in this area. A comprehensive policy framework is necessary for accelerated growth of renewable energy in India. 

One of the biggest challenges in RE development is the high initial cost of installation. While development of a coal based power plant requires around Rs 4 crore per MW, the investment required for wind and solar power-based plants is significantly higher.

Market barriers such as inadequate information, lack of access to capital, “split incentives” between building owners and tenants, and high transaction costs for making small purchases are some other economic and market linked challenges.

Water ranks with energy as a potential source of conflict among peoples and nations, but a number of alternative energy sources, primarily biomass-based energy, are large water consumers critically dependent on a dependable water supply.

Opportunities for renewable energy in India are:

Renewable energy certificate (REC) is also being increasingly used and traded at various power exchanges around the world. RECs are considered as important tool for renewable energy promotion. Indian power exchanges are also going to introduce trading of these certificates very soon.

Electrification of remote areas and inaccessible terrains where grid connectivity is not feasible is only possible through renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources are abundant and inexhaustible and are also import independent. Thus renewables help address energy security concerns better than conventional energy sources.

Today, climate change is the most serious concern being discussed around the world. Development of renewables is arguably one of the most effective options to mitigate climate changes. Renewable development contributes to overall development of the nation. With access to electricity, the productivity of household industries increases. India’s annual per capital electricity consumption as per CEA report is 704 kWh and to achieve set target of 1000 kWh, full-fledged exploration of renewables is necessary.

Besides, renewable project development involves local people and operation and maintenance is carried out with the help of locally available manpower. With renewed focus on renewable and clean energy development, it is a high time for seeking business and entrepreneurship opportunity in this field.

Conclusion:

Based on the present global economic growth rates, fossil fuel energy resources may last a generation or two, at the most, before they are exhausted. Therefore, the future of our energy needs lies in renewable energy resources. The use of these resources, rather than an increase in fossil fuel supplies, should be encouraged through new diplomacy that takes into account the needs and resources of all concerned. Given the vast potential of renewables in India, all it needs is comprehensive policies and a investor friendly regime to be global leader in clean and green energy.

 

 


Topic:  Indian economy – growth and development

5) What do you understand by natural capital? Discuss the benefits of investing in natural capital. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Natural capital is the world’s stock of natural resources, which includes geology, soils, air, water and all living organisms. Some natural capital assets provide people with free goods and services, often called ecosystem services. Two of these (clean water and fertile soil) underpin our economy and society and make human life possible. Of course, the vast majority of living organisms and much of the plant’s geology, contribute nothing positive to human well-being and so, technically speaking, are not “natural capital”, as they have no value to human society.

Natural resources are a critical yet often ignored part of our country’s national infrastructure. Boasting 11% of the world’s floral and faunal species, India is one of the 17 most ecologically diverse countries. Blessed with every major ecosystem, these biomes directly contribute billions of dollars to the Indian economy, annually. The financial value of India’s forests, for example, which encompass economic services such as timber and fuel wood, and ecological services such as carbon sequestration, is estimated to be $1.7 trillion.

  • With increasing economic activity, natural capital assets are on the decline, directly affecting the quality of life and potentially giving rise to future inefficiencies in the economy. ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, a figurative calendar date when humanity’s total annual resource consumption for the year overshoots the earth’s capacity to regenerate it, has advanced every year at an alarming rate. This year it was observed on August 2.
  • natural capital has the potential to optimise resources and thus maximise the net benefits of economic growth and development. There is often a chance of ignoring or undervaluing natural capital, effectively leading to projects with far higher negative externalities compared to the benefits. It is necessary that we are cognisant of the limitations of natural capital and its role as a primary support system for the economy.
  • Natural capital thinking can also create opportunities to innovate and adopt newer, more efficient technologies. One Californian fashion company demonstrated this by developing a unique waterless ozone technology to address water shortage challenges during a four-year-long drought. 

WAY FORWARD

Unlike the economic value of goods and services, the intangible nature of natural assets is mostly invisible and hence remains unaccounted for. While it may be difficult to put a price tag on nature, unchecked exploitation of scarce natural resources and an inadequate response to India’s unique climate challenges can be a very costly mistake. Making natural capital thinking the norm requires a strong policy push and the adoption of valuation frameworks such as the Natural Capital Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol. Integrating natural capital assessment and valuation into our economic system is critical to usher in a truly sustainable future for India.


 

Topic:  Indian economy – growth and development

6) The recent real growth of GDP, i.e. after removing the impact of inflation, was only 5.7%. It is said to be much lower than expected. In your opinion, what are the causes of low growth? How growth can be stimulated? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The economy of India is the sixth-largest in the world measured by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). The country is classified as a newly industrialised country, and one of the G-20 major economies, with an average growth rate of approximately 7% over the last two decades. India’s economy became the world’s fastest growing major economy in the last quarter of 2014, surpassing the People’s Republic of China.

Overall Causes of low economic growth :-

  • High Growth Rate of Population: Rate of growth of population being an important determinant of economic growth, is also responsible for slow growth of national income in India. Whatever increase in national income has been taking place, all these are eaten away by the growing population
  • Excessive Dependence on Agriculture: Indian economy is characterized by too much dependence on agriculture and thus it is primary producing. The major share of national income that is usually coming from the agriculture which is contributing nearly 34 per cent of the total national income and engage about 66 per cent of the total working population of the country. 
  • Occupational Structure: The peculiar occupational structure is also responsible for slow growth of national income in the country. At present about 66 per cent of the working force is engaged in agriculture and allied activities, 3 per cent in industry and mining and the remaining 31 per cent in the tertiary sector. 
  • Low Level of Technology and its Poor Adoption: In India low level of technology is also mostly responsible for its slow growth of national income. Moreover, whatever technology that has been developed in the country, is not properly utilized in its production processes leading to slow growth of national income in the country.
  • Poor Industrial Development: Another important reason behind the slow growth of national income in India is the poor rate of development of its industrial sector. The industrial sector in India has failed to maintain a consistent and sustainable growth rate during the planned development period and more particularly in recent years.
  • Poor Development of infrastructural Facilities: In India, the infrastructural facilities viz., transport, communication, power, irrigation etc. have not yet been developed satisfactory as per its requirement throughout the country. 
  • Poor Rate of Saving and Investment: The rate of savings and investment in India is also quite poor as compared to that of developed countries of the world. In 1996-97, the rate of gross domestic savings was restricted to 26.1 per cent of GDP and that of investment was 27.3 per cent of GDP in the same year. 
  • Socio-Political Conditions: Socio-political conditions prevailing in the country are also not very much conducive towards rapid development. Peculiar social institutions like caste system, joint family system, fatalism, illiteracy, unstable political scenario etc. are all responsible for slow growth of national income in the country.

 

HOW TO STIMULATE THE GROWTH :-

Cleaning the government :-

  • The Indian government needs to divorce itself from industries that should be private. While socialized human services like health care can have a positive impact on the economy, production tends to suffer under government control because it’s relieved of market pressure to create satisfactory products.

Overhauling Infrastructure

  • Making sure roads, rail, waterways, and airspace knit a country as large as India together efficiently is no small task, but it’s among the most important. India has significant service gaps in its infrastructure, with deterioration of existing infrastructure providing another serious problem.
  • Ensure that stalled projects, particularly in infrastructure, are resurrected and shovel-ready projects commissioned.
  • Create employment for India’s sizeable and growing workable-age population, with almost 60% of it between the ages of 15 and 54.
  • Liberalize policy to attract domestic capital investment, foreign direct investment and institutional capital.

·         Developing Progressive Trade Policies

  • India already has great economic resources in its universities and financial institutions in the form of experienced experts. Along with limited consultancy relationships with global partners, these are the people who should be working with the government to set smart economic policies. 

 

Topic:  Disasters and disaster management

7) “The root cause of man-made disasters of the type we saw in August is not merely incapacity and apathy but conscious errors of omission and commission by the state.” Comment. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction :- The month of August was a disaster-filled month for India.

Dozens of infant deaths in a government-run hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, frenzied rioting after a godman was convicted in the rape of two followers, untold deaths and millions displaced in massive floods in Bihar, a night of horrendous commutes in Mumbai following torrential rains, and the aftermath of significant flooding in the North-East— these marked only the most notable disasters during the month.

ROOT CAUSE :-

  • They are man-made, with a collapse in administration and a sharp political failure, even though at first glance they appear to be due to force majeure.
  • The Gorakhpur deaths that took place early in August were allegedly due to the lack of oxygen supply in the hospital. The district magistrate who investigated the incident confirmed the likely cause of the deaths to be insufficient oxygen supply but found only those immediately in the hospital management chain to be responsible and pronounced them guilty based on technical violations 
  • 60 or so children died of Japanese encephalitis only last week, 300 more have died since January this year, and nearly 8,000 have died in the region since the disease was first detected in 1978. Japanese encephalitis overwhelms the region due to rampant mosquito breeding consequent to annual floods in the low-lying region. The impact, particularly on the rural poor, continues year after year.
  • The reasons for Mumbai havoc are well known by now—clogged drains, illegal construction, concreted run-offs and overbuilt wetlands. State intent and capacity has been found dramatically wanting in prevention, early warning and disaster management. In fact, state complicity in illegal construction is the primary reason for the repeated collapse.
  • To this litany of woes that happens year after year, we have added a new variety. Rioting by lawless goons because the political and administrative machinery has been totally captured by godmen with a following.

The only way to return a semblance of normalcy, and reduce this capture of the state by those dealing in money and votes, is for checks and balances in the democratic system, which includes the press and civil society, to work. While we salute the election commissioner, the Supreme Court and the CBI judge this month, many more will have to speak up and act to mitigate utter disaster.


Topic:   Ethics in international relations

8) You were recently hired as CEO of a reputed company. Because of radical measures that you have taken in the interest of the company, some of the board members are unsettled and have started to talk negatively about you openly.  The chairman of the company, who is also a co-founder, has given an open statement saying that your initiatives would be detrimental to company’s growth. However, since you initiated certain reforms, the company is doing well in the share market. You also have the support of shareholders. But the founders of the company, who hold conservative views and are scared of change, are now openly issuing statements against you. 

a) What are your options in this situation? Discuss their merits and demerits. Also justify finally which course of action you would follow.

 

Introduction :- Options available in the above situation

 

Ignore the situation completely :-

Merit :- It will save the time and energy being wasted for negative propagandas.

It will also ensure the people that I am not going to be fearful for positive radical steps as I have support of the shareholders

Demerit :- I will be criticised further

 

Take a note and discuss issues with shareholders :-

Merit :- It will  show my inclusiveness regarding listening to the arguments

Demerit :- It shows defeatist attitude to bow down on even not so healthy arguments

 

Resign from the job

Merit :- It will save me from unnecessary chaotic conditions and arguments

Demerit :- It shows the escapist attitude

Cancel the reforms and accept the status quo

Merit :- It will again save my position and me from unnecessary criticism

Demerit :- It will make company to lose the profit

 

Best course of action :-

I would rather take course of engaging all at stake i.e. the shareholders, the chairmen and even the other people in company into discussion regarding the course of action and necessary changes possible.

Since the company is doing well since the reforms are initiated its also important to listen to the criticism and arguments and address them if its beneficial further.

I would convince them if there is no weight in their arguments regarding going with the reforms. Though they are radical they will help company to grow.

 

 

 

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