SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 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, Diversity of India. (Paper-3 – IPR)
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
GI products should be promoted because:
- The kind of products that gets GI tag shows the genuine need of the protection these products hold. Many of these products are interwoven to the culture and tradition of these regions thus needs a protection through promotion.
- A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. This provision protects the originality of the product with its unique style of manufacturing.
- In special regimes of protection approach of protection, registrations for geographical indications are not subject to a specific period of validity. This means that the protection for a registered geographical indication will remain valid unless the registration is cancelled. This surety about long duration protection is also a point of consideration.
- Products identified by a geographical indication are often the result of traditional processes and knowledge carried forward by a community in a particular region from generation to generation. Geographical indication is another form of intellectual property rights of that community.
- GI tag specifications and protection provided holds immense opportunity for rural development in remote areas of country. This development will be decentralised based on ecofriendly process.
- GI tagged products are supposed to hold a specific level of quality. This provides an opportunity for the export and revenue earning for India in international market.
- GI tagged products if promoted well, will strengthen the informal sector of economy. The issues such as lack of social and financial security can be dealt efficiently by promoting activities, based on GI tag.
- There is need to provide attention to rapid increase in GI tagging in country with post tagging quality control of the product. Post tagging quality control if not done properly, may damage the authenticity of the products.
- There is more work that is required at the legislative level to ensure credibility of the GI protection process in India.
The cultural value of various GI tagged products must be conserved in order to promote their economical values and authenticity of quality. Consumer protection through legal procedure for GI quality control must be established in order to sustain the fame GI tagged products hold in national and international market.
Legal position of Geographical indication has been mentioned in TRIPS agreement under World Trade Organisation.
Article 22 of TRIPS provide that, all WTO member governments must provide opportunity in their own laws for the owners of the GI registered products to have protection against duplication of marks that may mislead people about GI identification.
In India , legislation has been passed for registration and protection of GI products.
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999:
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) is a sui generis Act of the Parliament of India for protection of geographical indications in India.
India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Act to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004–05, since then 261 goods had been added to the list as of June 2016.
Intellectual Property Appellate Board hears appeals over the decisions of the Registrar of Geographical Indications.
According to section 2 (3)(e) of the Act, Geographical indication has been defined as:
“an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in case where such goods are manufactured goods one of the activities of either the production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be.”
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
There is the philosophy of ‘minimum government and maximum governance’ of existing government structure. The minimum government clause demands reduction in the total number of ministries in central as well as various state governments.
Reasons for rise in the number of ministries are:
- The replacement of the colonial state with the development state quite naturally led to an increase in the tasks that the government took upon itself.
- Successive governments in India have invaded the areas that have been reserved for states in our constitutional division of powers; agriculture and health are prime examples of this.
- Ministries became vehicles of political patronage in the era of coalition politics, the worst manifestation of patronage politics has been the malign practice of handing out to allies’ ministries that provide opportunities to make money.
- Over the period of time, the government is dealing with more challenges of complicated nature. This has resulted in the increase in human resource as need of specialisation also increased with time.
Less number of ministries: Analysis
- There are various ministries which work can be merged together to form a single ministry. This will increase the convergence in the administrative work.
- Rational number of ministries is as per the constitutional mandate, as Article 72 of the Constitution prescribes that the total number of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15 per cent of the number of members of the House of the People.
- Less number of ministries can reduce the expenditure cost as well.
- By use of technology and portal platforms, much work can be done/ stored online and thus number of ministries can be reduced.
- Less number of ministries will help the head of government to manage the available human resource in efficient manner.
- Along with bringing down number of ministries, clear demarcation of responsibilities also be done in order to bring more accountability in government working. Duplication of work/ authority hampers the free flow of information which is the very spirit of right to information, 2005.
Three year action agenda proposed by NITI Aayog for better governance, suggest the rationalization of number of ministries, its size and expenditure done on them. Being the highest decision making bodies, the ministries must undergo reforms to be the most capable institutions of governance.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
Modern slavery is the term that refers to a situation in which a person has taken away another’s freedom so they can be exploited. All forms of modern slavery continue to exist in India, including intergenerational bonded labor, forced child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into non-state armed groups and forced marriages.
Complicated nature of modern slavery and strategy to curb it:
- It is hard to know exactly how many people is subject to slavery, the lack of information is the very first step to deal with issue of modern slavery.
- Social security is essential need of human being. Exploitation happens due to demand of labour in low quality environment in informal sector one side and lack of basic livelihood on other. Government must intervene to push good working conditions in manufacturing units by random inspection and regulations.
- Modern slavery can be dealt effectively by improving the job profiles of the woman in society. Poverty forces many women to accept unfriendly conditions of work that leads to sexual exploitation. Labour courts must act proactively for grievance redressal in such cases.
- Under registration of manufacturing unit allows owners to take maximum labour output by forcing people into modern slavery. Online registration drive must be taken up by local governance institutions can enhance the accountability, regulation and possible damage control. Technology can play excellent role if applied with zeal.
- It appeared that bonded labour reflected debt lending practices and continuation of a feudal mindset. Financial inclusion along with awareness drive about the government facilities for economically weaker sections of the society will save people from bonded labour.
- Domestic workers are a particularly vulnerable group as work takes place in private homes and largely out of the reach of regulation. Legal provision to protect person at work place must include the domestic work category as well.
- The subsequent demand for brides, particularly in rural communities where many girls of marriageable age have migrated to cities for employment, has fuelled the trafficking of women for forced marriage. These gender specific migrations need special attention and intervention by state. Efforts of various non-state organisation , international organisations must work in symphony to change the very mindset of underage marriages.
- A number of regions in India continue to experience armed violence and conflict between state-armed forces and armed opposition groups (AOGs).There is ongoing evidence to suggest that children are forcibly recruited into AOGs in Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and many states. Efficient law and order must be implemented in order to curb this kind of specific modern slavery.
- The most effective and durable way to prevent all forms of extreme exploitation lies in the self-organisation of workers and in their efforts at collective bargaining, especially through trade unions and workers’ collectives. Government must support such budding efforts against powerful entities that forces slavery on marginalised sections of the society.
The SDG 8.7 calls for immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms. Honourable constitution of India provides fundamental right of life and liberty under article 21 that prohibit any kind of slavery.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released new global estimates of modern slavery
A group of over 40 activists and academics from different parts of the world have released a 25-point signed statement urging India to ensure a more effective implementation of labour law protections to eliminate modern slavery and forced labour in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
DIAG : Statistics
Global Slavery Index
The Global Slavery Index is an annual study of world-wide slavery conditions by country published by the Walk Free Foundation (founded by Andrew Forrest). In 2016, the study estimated a total of 45.8 million people to be in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries.
The report includes three data points for each country:
- National estimates of the prevalence of modern slavery
- Vulnerability measures
- An assessment of the strength of government responses
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
The principal of “Balance of power” and checks and balances has been ensured in legislative houses of India through the constitutional mechanism of opposition party.
Official Opposition party refers to the non-ruling party or coalition that has secured the highest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. The status of opposition party is given only when a standalone party secures at least 10 percent of the seats.
The role of opposition party in India:
- The opposition ensures that the ruling political parties have a definite programme and policy to offer to the people and who can show a progressive path by action and not just by propaganda.
- The role of the opposition party is not to oppose every decision of the ruling party. Rather, it is the duty of the opposition party to support the ruling party for the acts that are in the interest of the nation.
- The Opposition parties play a very significant role in a democracy as representatives of the people who have returned them to the House to safeguard their interests. With this view, they criticize government in case the later ignores them or conceal facts and they resort to protestation in the House and at the public level.
- Opposition parties hold the government to account for its commissions or omissions. It serves as a watchdog making sure that the government acts within the scope of the law, pointing out cases of corruption, nepotism and the like.
- In countries where there is multiparty system exists, including India, the Opposition parties try to cooperate among themselves over particular issues. Arbitrary and despotic behavior of the government is checked by the Opposition parties demanding information and debate in the House.
- Members of the Opposition parties are also included in the various committees attached to the respective ministries.
- Opposition in Parliament enjoys a good status and the members of the House has a privilege of raising such issues that are more relevant to the cause of public ; particularly when the government overlooks them or conceals the facts related to them.
- It is very clear, therefore, that the role of Opposition parties is more vital to the healthy growth of democracy and in the larger public interest.
Areas that needs reform in opposition role are :
- A well organized opposition should be able to move in and fill in that void, maintaining contact and building networks with the voter-citizen, ordinary people, the oppressed, the marginalized, the disenfranchised and demonstrating to them that democracy and politics are not limited to only casting ballots.
- The opposition should have the capacity to promote responsible and reasoned debate. Keeping issues alive and on the front burner is crucial but the opposition must be able to understand the fine line between keeping them alive and remaining non-divisive.
- Opposition parties should be able to act as some kind of training ground for future leaders. In some countries opposition parties normally form “shadow cabinets” where members of the party are designated cabinet portfolios reflecting the incumbent government.
- Opposition should present itself as a viable alternative to the incumbent government or a “government in waiting” with all the mechanisms in place to take on the reins of power.
- Opposition can strengthen the culture of democracy from within the party itself. The old adage that ‘charity starts at home’ comes to mind here. An opposition that promotes open and reasoned debate during delegates’ conferences, advocate free and fair internal party elections and ensures accountable use of party finances is more likely to carry these traits into its administration.
While in opposition political parties should endeavor to build strong party institutions with vibrant internal democracy. The goal is to deepen democracy within the party before it can become champions of national democracy and good governance. Democracy cannot thrive without a viable and vibrant opposition.
Topic: Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
How weak institutions and weak state capacity enable dynastic politics?
- When the institutions of the state are weak, there are no effective checks on the succession of dynasts even if they are undeserved. Strong institutions are must for the good governance and to check the misuse of the state power. However in their absence it becomes easy for the dynasts to tweak the rules in their favor.
- When the state is incapable of adequately utilizing resources and delivering public goods to all its citizens, breaking the rules become imperative for citizens. Acquiring political clout and influence seems to be the easiest way to get the work done and to gain privileges.
- The politics of caste is a good example of this. Blind caste loyalty is anything but a rational choice based on the utility of mobilizing as a caste group to attract a political patron who will channel state resources to the group.
Why do dynastic politics thrive in India?
- Cultural history of India has always promoted Dynastical values. From epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata to the 17th century kings like Shivaji, Maharana Pratap etc people have revered dynastical succession.
- Limited choices of the right candidates for the voters have forced voters to seek refuge at the dynastical successors.
- The former BBC journalist Mark Tully has argued that “It is India’s strong family traditions, so different to the nuclear families in the West, that justify dynasts in the eyes of voters. In India, it’s widely thought to be natural and acceptable for a father or a mother who has any form of power to want to hand it over to a son or a daughter.”
- Role of political parties-
- India’s political parties habitually give dynastic contenders a leg-up in the ticket allocation process. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, for example, all parties, taken together, renominated 75 percent of their dynastic MPs, compared to only 65 percent of their non-dynastic MPs.
- Parties favour dynastic candidates as a way to ensure loyalty. They have few formal measures they can rely on to ensure cohesiveness in their local units. When parties use dynasty as the principle of ticket allocation, the likelihood of rebellion is not eliminated, but it is reduced.
- Once their party backs a dynastic candidate, voters often fall in line and follow the party preference. The majority of Indians, as the national election surveys conducted by Lokniti group at the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies have shown us, take party affiliation into account when deciding how to vote.
- In fact, candidates who run as independents rarely win in India, and no dynastic MP in the twenty-first century parliament has won as an independent. So when dynastic aspirants, even poorly performing ones, repeatedly get a party ticket, it eventually gives them a leg-up among voters. For example, in the 2014 parliamentary elections, Poonam Mahajan, the daughter of the deceased BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, was nominated by the BJP from the Mumbai North West constituency, even though she lost the 2009 assembly polls on a BJP ticket by a margin of over 26,000 votes. Mahajan went on to win the 2014 election.
- And last, state institutions and inefficient use of the resources (as mentioned above) have failed to check the unbridled growth of the dynastical politics.
Is dynastical politics harming India?
- Theoretically Dynasts have incentive to develop their constituencies because they are in for the long haul. The benefits of the development they deliver will be reaped by their descendants in the form of continued loyalty to the dynasty. In practice, however, that is not quite how it works out. A growing body of empirical research shows that dynastic politicians consistently underperform non-dynastic politicians.
- The dynastical politics is deeply rooted in India. All the major political parties in India have more or less supported the dynastical succession at the various levels of the elections. Although there can be some exceptions of dynasts working for the welfare of the people, dynastical politics as a whole has performed poorly and has retarded the pace of growth and development.
- A recent Harvard paper, Understanding The Economic Impacts Of Political Dynasties: Evidence From India, by Siddharth George and Dominic Ponattu, analysed night-time luminosity as a measure of economic growth to find that constituencies where dynasts won grew 6.5 percentage points slower annually than constituencies where dynasts lost.
- Majority of the dynasts are elected because of their family name or any great political leader in their previous generations. Thus they owe their winnability more to dynasty rather than to people. Thus they fail to have quest for carrying out any developmental activities. This has hampered the developmental work in India on a constituency basis.
- Further dynasts are known to grant favors and work for their loyal workers and close ones (relatives) and have hostile attitude towards opponents thus limiting the benefits to certain section in the constituency. Most of the constituencies in India have been victim of such retributive tendencies of the dynasts making it difficult to work for inclusive development.
Thus dynastical politics in India is indeed proving harmful. State institutions need to strengthened and resources be used efficiently and effectively to reduce the scope of dynastical politics.
Topic: Indian economy – mobilization of resources
The recent introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is the most significant overhaul of the taxation system in India ever, also aims to achieve a unified market across the nation for the first time.
A DTAA is a tax treaty signed between two or more countries. Its key objective is that tax-payers in these countries can avoid being taxed twice for the same income. A DTAA applies in cases where a tax-payer resides in one country and earns income in another. India has signed DTAA with several nations but DTAA led to many tax disputes forcing government to bring GAAR to deal with any type of tax avoidance by the tax payers.
However both GST and DTAA have some concerns regarding clarity and transparency which has led to certain deficiencies in their implementation.
- In the recently introduced DTAA there has been a provision regarding revocation of ‘presumption of innocence’ of the taxpayers. It is now a burden ab initio on these business entities to prove that their tax mitigation techniques do not qualify as ‘impermissible avoidance arrangements’. This goes against the fundamental principle of ‘innocent unless proven guilty’.
- The GST Network will process billions of invoices every month, with its concomitant economic and fiscal impacts of technical glitches and other such situations. These snags will impact traders with genuine transactions, as the processing of their tax collections, input tax credit claims and tax refunds might get affected.
- The Central GST Bill allows the central government to set up an anti-profiteering authority by law, or designate an existing authority to carry out the functions. The authority will be responsible for ensuring that the reduction of tax rates on account of implementation of GST results in a commensurate reduction in prices. It may be argued that this may allow the government to monitor and control prices of all goods and services, which may interfere with the idea of these prices being determined based on their demand and supply in the market.
- Both GST and DTAA interfere with the tax-payers’ rights, the concept well accepted all over the world. The authoritarian tendencies and discretionary powers given to tax officials could undermine the tax-payers’ rights.
Thus there is need to bring clarity and transparency on the part of tax officials and tax administration to improve tax compliance. Some of the measures suggested by Tax Administration Reforms Committee to finance ministry in 2014 are still relevant in the current environment. TARC tried to create right balance between the taxpayers’ rights and their obligations by-
- Improvement in taxpayers’ service and thereby creating taxpayers’ friendly environment.
- Curbing the discretionary powers of the tax officials to reduce their arbitrary behavior,
- Enhanced use of information and communication technology to bring clarity and transparency in the implementation process,
- Exchange of information with other agencies to curb menace of black money and money laundering,
- Expansion of tax base by incentivizing the paying of taxes.
Also there is need of parliamentary control over executive actions taken under such laws.
There is need to revisit the provision of burden on taxpayer to prove his/her innocence under DTAA which could create more disputes than solutions.
Reforms like GST take longer time to adjust into new system. Thus government must ensure sound infrastructure and qualified personnel during initial days of the implementation to reduce the confusion among the traders and businessmen.
Government needs to incentivize the taxpayers for paying the tax voluntarily and for disclosing their real income. An honesty of the tax should be rewarded rather than punished. This would increase the compliance on part of taxpayer and also reduce the litigations for the government.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Introduction :- A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order, it allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically.
- Bitcoin is one of the use of this technology. blockchain becomes a good fit when there is a lot of data that is shared across multiple parties with no trust mechanism among the participants.
- The potential applications for blockchain technology are almost without limit. At the moment, several of these applications are still either in the development stage or in beta testing
- Blockchains have the potential to reduce systemic risk and financial fraud. They automate processes that were previously time-consuming and done manually, such as the incorporation of businesses
- Major applications of blockchain include cryptocurrencies—including bitcoin, BlackCoin, Dash, and Nxt—and blockchain platforms such as Factom as a distributed registry, Gems for decentralized messaging, MaidSafe for decentralized applications, Storj and Sia for distributed cloud storage, and Tezos for decentralized voting
- Blockchain protocols facilitate businesses to use new methods of processing digital transactions Examples include a payment system and digital currency, facilitating crowdsales, or implementing prediction markets and generic governance
Issues related to national security :-
- Blockchain allows transactions to be verified electronically over a network of computers, with no central ledger. Hence it is highly prone to cyber security threats.
- Also the anonymity provided by the blockchain technology gives the illegal activities a push like hawala, money laundering and drugs, arms trafficking.
- This technology used for recording various transactions has the potential to disrupt the financial system
Feasibility for regulation :-
- In India, an inter-ministerial committee is currently looking at how best to regulate blockchain technology, if it is allowed at all. One of the proposals is to bring it under market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
- Another option is bringing blockchain regulation under the proposed Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India. The Board is to have three members each from the central bank and the Centre.
Blockchain is the emergent technology with enormous potential in future hence regulatory steps must be taken to ensure its secure and efficient use.
Topic: Probity in Governance: Concept of public service
Introduction :- The ethics in public sector centres upon the duties of public servant towards public. It is nothing but moral justifications and considerations made while performing the duties and decision making. Ethics are an accountability standard by which the public will scrutinize the work being conducted by the members of these organizations. The question of ethics emerges in the public sector on account of its subordinate character.
On other hand Government ethics constitutes the application of ethical rules to government. It is that part of practical jurisprudence, or the philosophy of law, that governs the operation of government and its relationship with the people that it governs. It covers issues of honesty and transparency in government, dealing with matters such as bribery, political corruption, police corruption, legislative ethics, regulatory ethics, conflict of interest, avoiding the appearance of impropriety, open government, and legal ethics.
Government officials serve the people, managing the resources of others. Along with this stewardship, there is an expectation from the public that in conducting daily activities, the officials will practice fairness and equality. They are also expected to maintain openness in their workings to ensure that they are operating within the public’s perception of what is “right.”
Public sector ethics Vs governmental Ethics
- Government ethics are much broader while public sector ethics can be a branch of government ethics. Ex governments decisions not only in domestic boundaries but also in international domain will come under government ethics and public sector will deal with only ethical relation of sector with public
- Public sector ethics can be more about how the public is being served and affected means focus is on individuals while governmental ethics deals with how decisions impact society, polity, economy at large.
- While public sector ethics overlaps in part with government ethics, it can be considered a separate branch in that government ethics is only focused on moral issues relating to governments, including bribery and corruption, whilst public sector ethics also encompasses any position included in the public administration