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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 SEPTEMBER 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 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; Population and associated issues

1) Drugs problem in Punjab, like drugs anywhere else in the world, is not a supply problem, but a demand problem. Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Quint

Ans-

The Punjab drug problem has assumed the alarming proportion in the last decade. Although there are variable numbers of people addicted to drugs according to different surveys, there can be no denying that majority of youth particularly from economically weaker sections are falling prey to this menace.

Golden crescent (area comprising Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan) has been blamed for the rise in drug addiction in the Punjab state of India. It is true that drugs like Heroin, cocaine etc are sourced from across the border and this illicit trade has acquired huge proportion in the recent years. Being in the close proximity of the golden crescent, states like Punjab, Rajasthan are easy targets for drug dealers.

However there is another dimension to this problem. The cross-border supply of the drug thrived particularly in the last decade and not for the last 7 decades after the independence. Thus the main question arises why there has been sudden increase in the cross-border drug supply since the last decade or so.

Opium or doda or phukki, as it is traditionally known, has been consumed by farmers and farm workers in Punjab as also many other parts of India for decades. It’s essentially opium husk – the leftover husk of the opium plant once the milk has been extracted. At least one-third of the rural population consumes opium in Punjab. Though opium is not good for health, it also did not make much harm to the body; hence they consumed it normally to relax the bodies after the day’s hard toil.

The main source of opium to Punjab was from Rajasthan. State government in a bid to curb this drug problem clamped down on Rajasthan route in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This led to disruption in the supply of the opium but demand remained the same, creating vacuum for the opium in the Punjab.

This vacuum initially was filled by pharmaceutical drugs, and then by more potent drugs like Heroin, Cocaine from across the border. The drug exporters from the Pakistan on seeing large demand in the Punjab part of India, created supply network involving unemployed persons and youths from the weaker and less educated sections. Addicted youths to manage the cost of addiction turned to peddlers and became the part of the supply network. The whole supply network rests upon the high demand for the new drugs in the Punjab.

Thus Punjab drug menace is more of a demand problem than supply issue. The high supply has only aggravated the problem. State government while clamping down on opium, had made little efforts in creating awareness about the drug consequences, sensitization drives in schools and colleges, providing employment to youths etc that could have addressed demand side of the issue.

 


Topic:  Role of civil services 

2) Lateral Entry to the Civil Services would require changes in career progression for directly recruited professionals. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Ans-   

With the changing nature of the administration, increasing role of the private sector in the economy and increasing use of ICT in the administration there have been demands to include specialists from outside the government into the administration. A specialist can bring much needed domain knowledge, best practices of the corporate world, efficiency and different perspectives into the administration.

However such specialist may lack the ground experience, ability of personnel management, breadth of understanding of the issues and the dynamism required in the administration. Thus for any attempt of lateral entry into civil services should be accompanied by changes in career progression and specialized training to the directly recruited professionals.

  • The work environment in the public institutions and in those of private institutions differs widely. Thus the 1st step would be to acclimatize the new entrants to the new system.
  • Specialist having domain knowledge may lack the broader understanding required in the administration. Thus there must be short duration courses to give in-depth knowledge of the all facets of the administration to the lateral entrants.
  • Such courses should also imbibe into lateral entrants that government institutions do not have profit motive but the welfare of the citizens takes the highest priority.
  • The lateral entrants should be made to assist senior officers in their first posting preferably a field posting so that they understand the system in better manner.
  • Lateral entrants must be trained effectively so that they understand the lacunas of the public institutions and their inefficient ways of working. Training should help them to take bold decisions to check policy paralysis prevailing in the system.

At the same time efforts be made to specialize some of the working generalist officers.

  • Allowing specialization to emerge gradually through a process of deliberate iteration at the mid-career level. This will facilitate officers in specializing as they move up the hierarchy based on their revealed aptitude and performance record.
  • Once officers are allocated specialist positions, officers should be afforded opportunities to deepen their domain knowledge through study and training.
  • They should be allowed, even encouraged, to work outside the government, preferably in a non-governmental organization for a few years, irrespective of their area of specialization to experience governance from outside. This is bound to make them more useful and relevant civil servants.

Thus such combination where some generalization is induced into specialist officers and some specialization induced into generalist officers would strengthen the system and make it more suitable the present time.

 


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) Memory degenerative diseases often impact vulnerable sections such as the Elderly immensely. With reference to increases instances of Alzheimer’s, what role can the State play for a holistic ecosystem? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Ans-

More than 4 million in India suffer from some form of dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most common cause. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living.

While there are currently no treatments available to slow or stop the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, several medications can temporarily help improve the symptoms of dementia for some people. These medications work by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain.

Researchers continue to search for ways to better treat Alzheimer’s and other progressive dementias. Currently, dozens of therapies and pharmacologic treatments that focus on stopping the brain cell death associated with Alzheimer’s are underway.

In addition, state can create support systems and encourage the use of non-pharmacologic behavioral interventions that can improve quality of life for both people with dementia and their caregivers and families. This includes:

  • Treatment of co-existing medical conditions,
  • Coordination of care among health care professionals,
  • Participation in activities, which can improve mood,
  • Behavioral interventions (to help with common changes, such as aggression, sleep issues and agitation),
  • Education about the disease,
  • Building a care team for support,
  • Creating more numbers of Doctors and institutions providing adequate care for the patients,
  • More investment in Research and Development, medical infrastructure, medical equipment, up-gradation of primary, secondary & tertiary healthcare,
  • Creating positive relationship between patient on one side and family and society on the other.

Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia can be both rewarding and challenging. Thus State can play positive role in identifying the persons with Alzheimer’s, educating the family members of the patient and making life more comfortable to both patient and family members.

 


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

4) India must embrace social entrepreneurship to embrace socio economic transformation. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Ans-

India is witnessing highest trajectory of growth in her economic history. She is emerging economy and termed as future global economic house of the world. However increasing economic growth and GDP numbers have not able to eliminate the poverty and unemployment in India. In fact economic inequality in India is rising faster than ever and benefits of growing economy are reaped by few sections of the society. This skewed distribution of resources has created more socio-economic problems.

In such situation India needs an economic system that can take care of underprivileged, backward and weaker sections of the society, an economic system that produces inclusive and sustainable growth. Social entrepreneurship promises to be great tool that can mitigate the negative impact of the existing system and could bring the socio-economic transformation.

Social entrepreneurship offers advantages that are available neither to profit-maximizing companies nor to traditional charities. The freedom from profit pressures and from the demands of profit-seeking investors helps make social entrepreneurship viable even in circumstances where current capitalist markets fail — where the rate of return on an investment is near zero, but where the social return is very high.

And because a social entrepreneurship is designed to generate revenues and thereby become self-sustaining, it is free from the need to constantly attract new streams of donor funding to stay afloat, which drains the time and energy of so many people in the non-profit arena. The Grameen Bank initiated by Muhammad Younus in Bangladesh, SEWA by Ila Bhatt are glowing examples of this.

We are living in electronically impacted and highly digitalized era. A social business owner who devises a product or service that helps the poor or benefits society in some other way may be able to attract a wide market by using social networking and other online tools to spread the word.

Thanks to the Internet, good ideas can spread more rapidly, and proven business models can grow to scale more quickly and easily than ever. Health care, education, marketing, financial services, and many other economic arenas can be revolutionized through the combined power of social business and technology.

It is right time for India to embrace social entrepreneurship as it poised to become leading economy of the world in near future. It should recognize the uneven outcomes of the present economic system and move towards the more accommodative one where every citizen would live the life of respect and dignity. Time has come to apply the potential of social business to solving the problems of inequality, unemployment and environmental decay — all symptoms of the broken engine of capitalism.

Present Indian generations owe it to future generations to begin moving towards a world of three zeros: zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions. A new economic system in which social business plays an essential role can enable us to achieve this goal.

  


Topic: Infrastructure; Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5) Operational Efficiency is a major lacunae in Indian Railways. Do you think Privatisation can help in improving operation condition? Give reasons. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Operational efficiency is the capability of an enterprise to deliver products or services to its customers in the most cost-effective manner possible while still ensuring the high quality of its products, service and support. In case of India railways, the reforms has going on but the efficiency of service delivery is stumbling block in overall progress.  Extending many areas of work to private sector is part of proposed model.

Benefits of privatisation in railways can be:

  • In order to enhance operational efficiency, privatisation will provide competitive human resource which works in more organised manner that existing human resource in railways.
  • It has been observed that, privatisation goes parallel with competition. Healthy competition will attract the best players in certain areas of services of railways. This is the surest way to enhance operational efficiency.
  • Operational efficiency can be increased by upgradation of technology in use. Private players must be encouraged to enter with best available and suitable technologies in railways.
  • Consumer satisfaction is the core of the efficient functioning of Indian railways. Specialised private entities in services such as cleaning, catering, safety measure etc can be linked up in order to deliver best services for consumers.
  • It is noteworthy that government has taken certain measures such as commercial accounting, decentralisation etc. in order to facilitate the entry of private players in railway sector.
  • Privatisation is expected to reduce the corruption in railways due to technological interventions and balance checks in working structure.
  • As use of internet is getting better every coming day, private agency can act effectively in grievance redressal mechanism and other required communications for prompt functioning of Indian railways. Digital India initiative is already working in this direction.
  • Private players participation through disinvestment can be a win win situation for both govt and involved private agency for profit generation.
  • Private sectors efforts can be channelised to improve infrastructural capabilities such as complete electrification, station maintenance and modernisation etc.

Challenges in privatisation:

  • Privatisation is the challenge as to find out the extent of privatisation as the core philosophy of the railways is to cater the transportation needs of all sections of the society.
  • There is need of precise terms and conditions before involvement of private entities along with demarcation of responsibilities. This must be done in order to avoid unnecessary delays in litigations and grievance redressal.
  • Regulation over the private entities working in railways must be strengthened in order to keep the things as per the required standards and rules.
  • Railway is largest public sector undertaking that provides employment to large number of people. The welfare of the people who may be replaced by private agencies must be the part of privatisation drive.
  • Privatisation must include the greener practices for improving the working efficiency. As India has pledge for sustainable and eco-friendly development at international forums , green railways concept should be implemented through participation of private sector.
  • As per the Vivek Deborai committee, non-core functions should be transferred to private sector while government must have control over core areas of railways. This core and non-core separation will help to improve operational efficiency.

Conclusion:

Railways must become the vehicle for sustainable development and private players can bring working efficiency into it. The PPP models and enhanced role of state governments as well can provide the boost to modernisation of largest rail networks of the world.


Topic: Indian economy – growth and development 

6) Fiscal measures mitigate economic hassles but structural reforms instigate economic reform. Analyse. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Fiscal measures are the use of government revenue collection (mainly taxes) and expenditure (spending) to influence the economy.  The fiscal policy may take various stance such as neutral, expansionist and contractionary as per the economic conditions in domestic and international market.

Structural reforms comprises policies directed to achieve improvements in economic efficiency, either by eliminating or reducing distortions in individual sectors of the economy or by reforming economy-wide policies such as tax policy and competition policy with an emphasis on economic efficiency. Structural reforms is the wide spectrum of reforms taken by government along with various other stakeholders of the economy that results in long duration positive impacts on whole economic setup.

The wide ranges of structural reforms for economic reforms are:

  • GST is one of the biggest structural reforms that government of India has taken on its agenda. GST is not just a tax reform; it has potential to create positive effects on overall economic as well. It said India’s growth rate will improve to 7.9 per cent in 2016-17 and 8 per cent a year later. Growth in 2015-16 has been estimated at 7.6 per cent.
  • Financial inclusion is an important component of structural reforms with the purpose of extending economic benefits to all sections of the society.
  • The recent demonetization drive with the aim to remove black money and fake currencies in the market has created short term challenges in economy and further benefits are yet to be seen.
  • The food entitlement has increased with programmes like (MGNREGA) and has also given better bargaining power to labour and consequently the overall wage rates have gone up raising the demand for food. The reforms in PDS has not just satisfied the legislative promise of food security act, it has strengthen the poor people to reach better strata of economic development.
  • Government is continuously working hard for the subsidy rationalization through process of proper identification, digital and technological interventions etc.
  • Labour reforms are undergoing that needs to balance the labour welfare on one hand while attracting foreign investment on other.
  • Efforts are going on to attract FDI and to make it sustainable in country through improving ease of doing business. This is also part of structural reforms.
  • Manufacturing productivity is required to be boosted through new corporate investment in physical assets. Corruption in private-public partnership projects and other acts of political misgovernance have to keep in control in order to boost foreign investment, maintain the trade and current account deficit.
  • Deregulation, disinvestment and increasing role of private sector in various areas of economy that has traditionally been the under public sector needs better rule structure in order to reduce litigation time and timely grievance redressal mechanism. Company act is part of structural reforms in this area.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is a step ahead to deal with the issues of willful defaulters and non-performing asset in public sector banks.
  • The Basel 3 norms have brought the standard of Indian banks to international level. It is important to understand the fact that resilience of Indian banking system has absorbed the shock of international slowdown in post 2008 years.

Conclusion:

All above mentioned sectors of structural reforms holds the potential for overall economic reforms. After the post 1990 era of LPG, the structural reforms are going on continuously in country through various micro and macro policy levels. In order to get maximum benefits from these reforms, the domestic environment must be resilient enough.


Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

7) India’s new industrial policy is an opportunity to address the problems of low R&D spending and tough competition from cheap Chinese imports. Discuss. (200 Words)

Livemint

With strong macro-economic fundamentals and several path breaking reforms in the last three years, India is equipped to deploy a different set of ideas and strategies to build a globally competitive Indian industry. The industrial policy resolution of 2017 recently released highlights the issue of low research and development efforts and challenges in front of MSMe sector in the form of Chinese cheap imports.

The opportunities in new Industrial policy are :

  • The six thematic areas include Manufacturing and MSME; Technology and Innovation; Ease of Doing Business; Infrastructure, Investment, Trade and Fiscal policy; and Skills and employability for the future are under consideration in this policy.
  • A Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation has also been constituted which will provide inputs for the policy. This task force must be employed for R&D efforts that are required in contemporary conditions.
  • It is proposed that the new Industrial Policy will aim at making India a manufacturing hub by promoting ‘Make in India’. It is suitable to use this opportunity to incorporate the use of modern smart technologies such as IOT, artificial intelligence and robotics for advanced manufacturing.
  • Right models of technology transfer need adopted to ensure that the transferred technology is enhanced and customized for Indian conditions. The issue of academia – research institutions – industry linkages needs to be addressed.
  • Innovation should be promoted helping Indian firms increase their R&D spends and file high-quality patents that can be commercialized. Start-up ecosystem that plays a key role in this effort needs to be encouraged. Intellectual property rights regime must support these efforts.
  • Focus must be given for commercialisation of innovation through incubation and acceleration measures.
  • Despite foreign investments being received in the country over the last three decades transfer of technology has largely remained at assembly level. Component manufacturing, design and R&D activities have to be strengthened.
  • Right models of technology transfer need adopted to ensure that the transferred technology is enhanced and customized for Indian conditions.
  • In order to address the issue of cheap Chinese imports .New industrial policy must critically evaluate high interest rates that have led to higher capital inflows resulting in hurting domestic industry.
  • Micro small and medium enterprise must be made competitive in order to fight with the Chinese imports. The Chinese imports to India are concentrated in specific areas such as small electronic equipments. New Industrial policy should target these areas in order to counter dumping by China.

All these aspects of research and development must boost industrial sector in comprehensive manner so that challenges such as cheap imports must not become the cause of worry. The consultative process must be employed to pull best possible ideas that are to be incorporated in New Industrial policy.

 

 


Topic: International ethics

8) International Ethics is fundamentally based on acknowledgment and advancement of undisputed facts. Explain an international ethical problem the world faces today. (150 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- International ethics is an area of international relations theory which concerns the extent and scope of ethical obligations between states in an era of globalization. Schools of thought include cosmopolitanism and anti-cosmopolitanism. Realism, Liberalism, and Marxism are ethical traditions that conceptually address moral issues in international relations.

In international ethics many issues lingers which don’t have an immediate solutions. It may be about the Israel Palestinian  conflict, climate refugee crisis, genocides etc. Human rights violations and interference in  country’s sovereignty are recurring themes.

However these undisputed facts requires acknowledgement and advancement in order to maintain the smooth functioning of world communities and countries. This will make them more responsible and action oriented towards betterment of world.

One of the most important ethical issue that world faces today is that of terrorism. It is undisputed fact that it has emerged more due to the narrow self centered policies of  few countries and less due to the other problems like radicalization, jihad etc.

The promotion of terrorism by some states in world is causing havoc to humanity at large. Still the politics in international relation is restricting the world powers to take swift actions against such states. It is the moral obligation of international institutions and leader countries to unite and uproot this menace. The eradication of insurgent groups like Boko Hram, Lashkar e taiba, ISIS is possible with joint efforts, united actions and targeted policies.