SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 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: Urbanization – problems and remedies
1) Among megacities—cities with the population of at least 14 million—Delhi has the worst air quality, according to a WHO report. Why does the air continues to be unhealthy in Delhi? Is it an indication of failure of existing framework used to tackle air pollution? Examine. (200 Words)
The air quality in Delhi, the capital of India, according to a WHO survey of 1600 world cities, is the worst of any major city in the world. Two other cities in India have worse air quality than Delhi: Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, and Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
Air pollution in India is estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year; it is the fifth largest killer in India. India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases and asthma, according to the WHO. In Delhi, poor quality air damages irreversibly the lungs of 2.2 million or 50 percent of all children.
What Causes Pollution in Delhi?
Air pollution in Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR) is comprised of a complex mix of pollution from human activities (vehicle emissions, industry, construction and residential fuel burning) as well as natural sources like dust and sea salt.
City activities contribute to the air pollution. The NCR generates 10,000 tons per day of municipal solid waste, much of which is eventually burned; adding particulate pollution to the air and galloping urbanization brings massive construction projects to the area.
In addition, Delhi has more than 7.4 million vehicles on its roads, with an additional 1,200 added each day and the result is a pollution “hotspot.”
The heavy concentration of particulate matter is greatly affected by meteorological conditions –in the winter, cool air causes “inversions” that stagnant the air and trap pollution close to the ground.
Air flow patterns from Afghanistan and Pakistan pick up emissions as they move over the densely urbanized regions of Punjab and Haryana where farmers burn the straw in their fields and pull this pollution into Delhi. Pre-monsoon dust storms also contribute to air pollution in the region.
Dust and soil level in the air increase in summer when temperatures are high with less rainfall. However, in winter season, when people use wood and other substances for heating, low temperature accompanied with little or no wind can lead to building-up of pollutants in the atmosphere.
Geographically, Delhi also suffers from the atmospheric dust blown in from the deserts of the western state of Rajasthan and the polluted air that makes way from the industries and burning farms of neighboring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.
The Supreme Court in 2016 had asked the Union government to prepare a graded response action plan specifically for the city—to improve their air quality. The graded response programme is described as a big step forward because for the first time there is a legal framework for coordination among Delhi’s various pollution controlling agencies and its neighbouring states.
The reasons for failure of government efforts are:
The CPCB and the state pollution control boards (SPCBs) face institutional, technical, and manpower constraints.
Delhi has 15 air pollution monitoring stations manned by the CPCB, of which only 10 are functional. The non-functioning of air pollution monitoring agencies hampers the pollution control efforts.
Delhi’s air pollution is mainly due to the burning of crop residue and it is variable and depends on the time of the year: it is about 26% during winters and 12% during the summer. The involvement of various states makes this issue more complicated.
There is need of long distance travelling to get at work place for many people; there should be some solution for this long distance travelling in city management plan.
The air pollution at capital place of country needs an immediate and serious attention by all stakeholders rather than just government agencies. The multistakeholder approach only can find long lasting and sustainable solution for this problem.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 16 years of age.
Section 375 of IPC, has echoing very archaic sentiments, mentioned as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” Section 376 of IPC provides punishment for rape. This section in dealing with sexual assault, in a very narrow purview lays down that, an offence of rape within marital bonds stands only if the wife be less than 12 years of age, if she be between 12 to 16 years, an offence is committed, however, less serious, attracting milder punishment. Once, the age crosses 16, there is no legal protection accorded to the wife, in direct contravention of human rights regulations.
How can the same law provide for the legal age of consent for marriage to be 18 while protecting form sexual abuse, only those up to the age of 16 is still a question? Beyond the age of 16, there is no remedy the woman has.
The wife’s role has traditionally been understood as submissive, docile and that of a homemaker. Sex has been treated as obligatory in a marriage and also taboo. Economic independence, a dream for many Indian women still is an undeniably important factor for being heard and respected.
The 172nd Law Commission report had made the following recommendations for substantial change in the law with regard to rape:
- ‘Rape’ should be replaced by the term ‘sexual assault’.
- In the light of Sakshi v. Union of India and Others [2004 (5) SCC 518], ‘sexual assault on any part of the body should be construed as rape.
- Rape laws should be made gender neutral as custodial rape of young boys has been neglected by law.
- Marital rape: explanation (2) of section 375 of IPC should be deleted. Forced sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife should be treated equally as an offence just as any physical violence by a husband against the wife is treated as an offence. On the same reasoning, section 376 A was to be deleted.
Marriage does not thrive on sex and the fear of frivolous litigation should not stop protection from being offered to those caught in abusive traps, where they are denigrated to the status of chattel. Apart from judicial awakening; we primarily require generation of awareness.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
3) Analyse the issues that have not allowed India and Myanmar to realise full potential of their bilateral relationship. Also examine the key areas that India should focus when Prime Minister visits Myanmar. (200 Words)
India-Myanmar relations are rooted in shared historical, ethnic, cultural and religious ties. The geographical proximity of the two countries has helped develop and sustain cordial relations and facilitated people-to people contact. Myanmar has a 1, 643 land border with India and is emerging as the gateway for India to other Southeast Asian countries. The visit of Prime minister to Myanmar is the high time to discuss about the areas to focus more in order to establish synergetic relationship between two countries.
Areas of concerns in relationship:
Despite the progress, serious challenges remain that could derail Myanmar’s democratic transition. Corruption is widespread, ethnic violence remains entrenched, economic reform is sorely needed, and, crucially, the military, or Tatmadaw, is still the most powerful political force in the country. India’s relationship with Myanmar’s erstwhile army junta was caught in the dilemma between its own democratic conscience and the need to keep Myanmar from falling into China’s sphere of influence.
India would also want the new Myanmar government to help with tackling border insurgency, and hope for its cooperation in the eradication of militant camps along the Indo-Myanmar border.
In 2015 a refugee crisis involving the Rohingyas spread panic across the region, after boats carrying hundreds of refugees were found floating in the sea. Many of these refugees also fled to India. There are an estimated 36,000 Rohingya refugees presently located in India. For India, the Rohingya problem is made further significant by the fact that many of them occupy Rakhine province – home to Sittwe.
India’s restive northeast shares a long forested border with Myanmar, used as a hideout by secessionist insurgents operating on the Indian side.
BIMSTEC- the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving a group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia. The countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. BIMSTEC member countries agreed to establish the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement in order to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in BIMSTEC at a higher level. The BIMSTEC is not working to its full capacity.
Fragile and pristine environment of the North East may be affected as the region is a biodiversity hotspot especially in the region from Paletwa to the Indian Myanmar border as land acquisitions and local displacement may be required.
Key areas that India should focus on:
Many countries esp. Japan, UK, France, US have started investing in Myanmar. Hence India needs to step up its efforts and innovativeness leveraging upon its soft skills and advantages it enjoys with the Golden country.
Indian economic outreach to Myanmar which invests heavily in that country but brings no benefits to India’s North-East will exacerbate these problems. So, domestic factors should weigh deeply in India’s mind as she engages with Myanmar. Needs to understand what Myanmar’s basic needs are: Food, Skill development, Education, University tie ups, think tanks collaborations – that have the potential to influence policy formulations.
The governance system requires inputs in management skills, taxation, law, finance, tourism, environment, parliamentary and electoral procedures, commercial regulations, etc. It is in the area of creating and maintaining capabilities that India has a competitive advantage as the largest flourishing democracy in the world.
Students exchange can help in creating a good image of India in the coming generations that are going to rule. Buddhist studies in Indian universities can be an attraction for Burmese students.
Myanmar has opened doors to support the agriculture sector and companies can tap opportunities in the entire value chain including seeds, agri-machinery, pre- and post-harvest technology.
Further, in the energy sphere, companies should look at setting up power stations, transmission and distribution lines and supply of generators. Myanmar has an estimated 283 billion cubic meters of proven gas reserves.
Both countries are fighting insurgency, sharing intelligence and cooperation in border management can improve ties between India and Myanmar. India needs to engage more through sub-regional groupings like BIMSTEC and BCIM-Economic Corridor. This will result in a holistic development of the entire region including north-eastern part of India.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs”), before the induction of South Africa in 2010.The BRICS members are all leading developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, sometimes fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional affairs; all five are G-20 members.
The BRIC countries are among the most important drivers for growth in the global economy. The expansion of their consumer markets and the rise of multinational companies coming from BRICs guarantee that BRICs will remain the center of attraction for companies facing international markets.
The Indian aspirations from BRICS are:
For more than two decades, building a multipolar world has been one of the central themes of India’s foreign policy. BRICS is an attempt to do so.
Through BRICS India aspired to have cordial geopolitical relations with the Emerging nations such as Brazil and South Africa.
The main reason for co-operation to start among the BRICs nation was the financial crises of 2008.The crises raised skepticism on the dollar-dominated monetary system. Establishment of strong economic cooperation in order to stand in case of global turmoil is one of the objectives of BRICS establishment.
The BRICS group also acts as a bridge between developed and developing countries. For example, in the WTO, the BRICS countries are trying to promote a fair order regarding agricultural policies. They are attempting to promote the liberalization of the international economic order to diminish agricultural subsidies in the United States and the European Union, which would make developing countries’ agricultural products more competitive.
The BRICS also formed an information-sharing and exchange platform that expands beyond economic cooperation to also involve educational, cultural, and environmental engagement.
BRICS countries have a shared interest in challenging the current governance of Western financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for that they have announced the establishment of the bank.
The Chinese aspect for India in BRICS:
It is China’s economic might that makes the world take notice of this formation. While BRICS needs China, China doesn’t seem to be overly excited about this formation. It has instead chosen to focus on other Chinese-led initiatives like One Belt One Road (OBOR), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and SCO. BRICS countries will need to resolve this China paradox to become a sustainable global coalition.
China’s position as the primus inter pares in this group will have some impact on Indian side. As the realist theory of international relations suggests, authority to govern will be vested in the most powerful actor, which in the BRICS case is clearly China.
The principle of justice and the conception of the common good will closely follow China’s interests. On the geo-economic side, this means that the economic order proposed by BRICS will be closer to the East Asian Model rather than the Washington consensus model.
The recent standoff at Doklam and other border related aspects has spoiled the relations to some extent that should not affect the BRICS as a group.
India should use the BRICS platform to better the relations with China as follows:
The BRICS development bank is the result of growing frustration among the BRICS nations on failure of IMF to implement 2010 IMF quota reforms. India has done long and continuous efforts for IMF reforms. The BRICS development has open new economic opportunities for cooperation between India and China.
China is one of the most important member of BRICS due to its sheer economic size it adds economic muscle to the bargaining power of the BRICS. India must gain economic and political benefits from this aspect of Chinese presence in the BRICS.
The BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) is a framework for providing protection against global liquidity pressures. This includes currency issues where members’ national currencies are being adversely affected by global financial pressures. India and China can cooperate in providing mutual protection from liquidity issues at global level.
The ongoing crisis between India and china on Doklam plateau highlights the need of political cooperation and mutual constructive dialogue. BRICS platform must come to help in such critical times as well.
This group has so far been successful in the race of approaching the aims and is also proved to be fruitful for all the members. The further motives of this group are heading to make this group meet its aim of enhancing the economies. It is always a better option to walk with others then to run alone. The path that India chose will lead India to overcome its long coming economic and political problems.
China’s dominant role is not necessarily inimical to India’s interests. In fact, it means that India can utilise BRICS to play its role as a swing power between the US and China. From a purely realist angle, India is better off being a part of BRICS than being outside it. Once inside the club, the guiding principle for India’s commitment should be based on an assessment of marginal benefits and costs as India attempts to become the most powerful member of the group.
5) What are the differences between engineering, procurement and construction, or EPC and hybrid annuity model (HAM) projects? What role these models play in government’s ambitious road development programme? Examine. (200 Words)
Introduction :- “Engineering, Procurement, and Construction” (EPC) is a particular form of contracting arrangement used in some industries where the EPC Contractor is made responsible for all the activities from design, procurement, construction, to commissioning and handover of the project to the End-User or Owner.
Hybrid annuity model :- An insurance contract that allows buyers to allocate funds to both fixed and variable annuity components. Most hybrid annuities allow the investor to choose the amount of assets to allocate to the more conservative, fixed return investments, which offer a lower but guaranteed rate of return, and what amount to allocate toward more volatile variable annuity investments, which offer the potential for higher returns.
By features the HAM is a mix between the existing two models – BOT Annuity and EPC. Hence to understand the HAM, we should know the basic features of the existing PPP models.
- The Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) Annuity Model
Under BOT annuity, a developer builds the highway, operates it for a specified duration and transfers it back to the government. The government starts payment to the developer after the launch of commercial operation of the project. Payment will be made on a six month basis.
- BOT Toll Model
In this toll based BOT model, a road developer constructs the road and he is allowed to recover his investment through toll collection. This toll collection will be over a period of nearly 30 years in most cases. There is no government payment to the developer as he earns his money invested from tolls.
- Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Model
Under this model, the cost is completely borne by the government. Government invites bids for engineering knowledge from the private players. Procurement of raw material and construction costs are met by the government. The private sector’s participation is minimum and is limited to the provision of engineering expertise. A difficulty of the model is that financial is the high financial burden for the government
What is hybrid annuity?
In financial terminology hybrid annuity means that payment is made in a fixed amount for a considerable period and then in a variable amount in the remaining period. This hybrid type of payment method is attached under the HAM.
The Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM)
In India, the new HAM is a mix of BOT Annuity and EPC models. As per the design, the government will contribute to 40% of the project cost in the first five years through annual payments (annuity). The remaining payment will be made on the basis of the assets created and the performance of the developer. Here, hybrid annuity means the first 40% payment is made as fixed amount in five equal installments whereas the remaining 60% is paid as variable annuity amount after the completion of the project depending upon the value of assets created.
As the government pays only 40%, during the construction stage, the developer should find money for the remaining amount. Here, he has to raise the remaining 60% in the form of equity or loans.
There is no toll right for the developer. Under HAM, Revenue collection would be the responsibility of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Advantage of HAM is that it gives enough liquidity to the developer and the financial risk is shared by the government. While the private partner continues to bear the construction and maintenance risks as in the case of BOT (toll) model, he is required only to partly bear the financing risk.
Government’s policy is that the HAM will be used in stalled projects where other models are not applicable.
Introduction :- According to the sixth economic census conducted during 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, 131.29 million people are employed in 58.5 million establishments in industry and services. Hence to create jobs at that rate manufacturing sector in India must grow rapidly. It also helps in reducing the pressure of population on agricultural lands and to bring about more equitable growth. The week operating condition in India is affecting the quality as well as cost in India.
Issues of manufacturing sector-
- Manufacturing sector of India suffers from funding and budgetary support. The FDI received is also not sufficient to boost it.
- Companies to evade taxes, shows the lower profit in their accounts than actually made, which leads to black money generation.
- Black money generation, by deliberately not complying with tax laws, and the attendant corruption, has an adverse impact on making India a competitive manufacturing destination.
- The process of generating black money, and sustaining it over years, necessarily involves payment of bribes. The payment of bribes, and legal proceedings that become necessary to deal with harassment, further increases the costs of production and reduces competitiveness.
- The perception that doing business in India requires giving bribes keeps away many investors, especially from abroad, which directly affects the inflow of FDI in manufacturing sector.
- Siphoning profits out of the company leads to lower balance-sheet profits and internal resource generation and, thereby, a weaker balance-sheet. The ability of such organisations to access bank loans and raise capital in the market, and make investments is impaired.
- Lower generation of internal resources also results in lower expenditures on R&D and technology up-gradation, maintenance of assets and employee welfare, due to these factors Growth and competitiveness are naturally affected.
What can be done-?
- To improve the manufacturing sector growth, the supply base needs to become capable of consistent quality and increasing volumes of production.
- It needs conducive environment with low tax rates, absence of bribery, corruption and neatly defined laws to end the harassment from the regulators.
- Investors’ confidence must be improved by creating competitive environment, which will attract much needed FDI inflows in India.
Manufacturing sector is very important to provide jobs for ever increasing job force in India, bur today manufacturing sector in India is suffering from various issues. Though governments come up with various policies like Make In India, but it need to address core problems as discussed above, then only Manufacturing sector in India will grow at the required rate and will provide jobs for ever increasing job force.
Topic: Ethics in international relations
Introduction :- The tussle between North Korea and United states has been escalated now a days. The ever new fear of nuclear warfare has also surfaced again. The recent aggressiveness shown by North Korea in testing missiles including a hydrogen bomb has been a cause of concern for not only United States but also for whole world.
Ethical issues :-
- Repeated irresponsible behaviour by North Korea in terms of testing destructive weapons
- Side-lining the bigger interest of humanity for own narrow interest of power tussle
- Impacting the neighbourhood knowingly into unnecessary warfare and fears
- Lack of emotional intelligence on part of the leaders to resolve issue rather than fuel it every time
- Threat to the peace and stability of world
- Revenge and counter revenge tendency on part of North Korea and other nations
If US wants to bomb North Korea ethical considerations it must take :-
- In its narrow agenda it may hurt the wider goals of world stability and peace.
- It may also trigger world war with alliance and counter alliance formation
- As a member of UNSC it would be very unethical and irresponsible behaviour on part of US
WAR is never a solution. The world has witnessed the disastrous impacts of two world wars before. Following the same strategy of bombing, attacking each other rather than solving the issue with negotiation would cost all of us dearly. Hence dialogue and discussion is the way out. The other countries in world and the international agencies must play active role in de escalating the tensions.