SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 OCTOBER 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: Social empowerment; Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
1) Why are Dalits denied equal rights despite laws against such a denial? Examine Dr Ambedkar’s views on the limitations of the present policies and the solution he offered for protection of rights of Dalits. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Caste denotes a traditional system of rigid social stratification into ranked groups defined by descent and occupation. Caste divisions in India dominate in housing, marriage, employment, and general social interaction-divisions that are reinforced through the practice and threat of social ostracism, economic boycotts, and physical violence.
This practice relegates Dalits untouchables (known in Indian legal parlance as scheduled castes), to a lifetime of discrimination, exploitation and violence, including severe forms of torture perpetrated by state and private actors in violation of the rights guaranteed by the Convention.
Legal provisions for stopping Dalit atrocities :-
- Article 17 of Indian Constitution seeks to abolish ‘untouchability’ and its practice in any form is forbidden.
- The SC/ST Atrocities Act was passed in 1989 by the Parliament.
Denial of equal rights and pathetic conditions of Dalit people :-
Caste-motivated killings, rapes, and other abuses are a daily occurrence in India. Between 2001 and 2002 close to 58,000 cases were registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act – legislation that criminalizes particularly egregious abuses against Dalits and tribal community members. A 2005 government report states that a crime is committed against a Dalit every 20 minutes.
According to unofficial estimates, more than 1.3 million Dalits – mostly women – are employed as manual scavengers to clear human waste from dry pit latrines. In several cities, Dalits are lowered into manholes without protection to clear sewage blockages, resulting in more than 100 deaths each year from inhalation of toxic gases or from drowning in excrement. Dalits comprise the majority of agricultural, bonded, and child laborers in the country. Many survive on less than US$1 per day.
Dr Ambedkar’s view on limitations of present policies and the solution he offered for protection of rights of Dalits :-
Although B.R. Ambedkar was instrumental in developing legal and other measures to ensure equality, he was not very optimistic about the effectiveness of some of these measures and he offered alternatives.
- Ambedkar helped to enact Untouchability (Offences) Act (1955) but he was aware ofit’s limitations and said laws could be effective if violated by an individual but not when the entire community is opposed to the rights of a minority.
- He said the social and moral conscience that governs the caste system does not support equality. The social beliefs that support inequality continue to influence the behaviour of “high” caste people in the villages. This belief system is at the root of the denial of rights and the use of violent methods against Dalits.
- Ambedkar argued that the actions of people are a natural outcome of their belief in caste codes. Unfortunately, there is no engagement by the government and high-caste Hindu civil society with people who practise untouchability.
- Ambedkar was equally aware of the economic and demographic imbalance between Dalits and high castes in villages. To correct this imbalance, Ambedkar suggested a geographical and economic distance between high castes and Dalits in the villages and argued for separate settlements or villages for Dalits, with independent sources of livelihood.
- Ambedkar also advocated the gradual move of Dalits to cities. He saw the urbanisation of Dalits as a path to free them from the exploitative milieu in the villages to relatively harassment-free social spaces in cities.
- Ambedkar also argued that without securing equal rights for about one-fifth of the population — Dalits — we cannot become a true nation.
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch call on CERD to scrutinize the gap between India’s human rights commitments and the daily reality faced by Dalits. It suggested that Indian government should :
- Identify measures taken to ensure appropriate reforms to eliminate police abuses against Dalits and other marginalized communities;
- Provide concrete plans to implement laws and government policies to protect Dalits, and Dalit women in particular, from physical and sexual violence;
- Identify steps taken to eradicate caste-based segregation in residential areas and schools, and in access to public services; and,
- Outline plans to ensure the effective eradication of exploitative labor arrangements and effective implementation of rehabilitation schemes for Dalit bonded and child laborers, manual scavengers, and for Dalit women forced into prostitution.
Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
Introduction :- Ram Manohar Lohia (23 March 1910 – 12 October 1967) was an activist for the Indian independence movement and a socialist political leader. During the last phase of British rule in India, he worked with the Congress Radio which was broadcast secretly from various places in Bombay city till 1942.
Ram Manohar Lohia and Seven Revolutions :-
- He was a forceful exponent of decentralised socialism better termed as ‘New Socialism’. He said the socialist doctrine needs to be redefined in terms of the simple truth that all men are equal not only within the nation but among nations. If this is done, a decent and minimum standard of living will be assured for all men, not only within national frontiers but also in the world.
- In his view, socialism was a newer doctrine than capitalism or communism. Dr Lohia formed the concept of Sapta Kranti or seven revolutions which included (i) civil disobedience against violent revolutions, (ii) economic equality, (iii) abolition of castes, (iv) emancipation of women, (v) national independence, (vi) an end to colour discrimination, and (vii) the individual’s freedom of thought which is free from coercion from collectives of any kind.
- According to him, the attainment of ‘New Socialism’ all over the world depended upon the success of these revolutions. Lohia felt that the only country in the world which can develop evolutionary socialism is India.
As a nationalist, Lohia was a valiant fighter for Indian independence and his primary concern was to rebuild India through principled politics, approximate equality, decent standard of life, capital formation through control over wasteful expenditure and conspicuous consumerism, rightful place of Indian languages, elimination of castes and time-bound preferential opportunity for the backwards.
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;
3) A welfare scheme seeking change is only as effective as the mentality of the final beneficiary. How do you think can merging behavioural insights into policy making make its effectiveness better? Comment. (200 Words)
Introduction :- The behavioural economist Richard Thaler, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics this year went on to show that even small departures from rationality have outsized impacts, and that limitedly rational humans don’t fit neatly into classical economics. So, he helped develop a new branch of economics, behavioural economics, to study the interplay of human quirks and economic forces.
Behavioural economics and policy making :-
- A wide set of our choices are driven and limited by our cognitive ability, attention and motivation. People are habitué in missing the deadlines; they get impatient and often procrastinate. Over the last decade or so, these behavioural aspects of human behaviour have been incorporated into mainstream economics.
- Insights from behavioural economics can help us answer several important questions. They can help us understand why attendance rates remain low in schools for ex often because of poor course design, why some people choose to defecate in the open like often because they find toilets disgusting, how farmers are slow to adopt a new useful technology like often because there may not be enough know-how about this new machine or equipment.
- Development policies become measurably more effective when combined with insights into human behaviour. In example of open defecation, practised in large parts of rural India, it is practiced in spite of toilets being available on the premises of households. There could be many reasons for this like convenience, lack of awareness etc.
- A recent survey by the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics(RICE) found that 84% of the respondents had never heard of any village-level meeting on sanitation; and less than a third had ever seen a poster or any other form of message about toilets. The other possible solution that can overcome the behavioural problem is construction of better designed toilets.
Way Forward :-
Some core principles in designing a behavioural intervention must be kept in mind :-
- There is a need to design incentives for self-control can have powerful effects. For instance, consider the problem of low productivity among workers in India.
- We should find solutions to avoidable self-control problems. For instance, farmers face enormous financial distress before the harvest season because of which they borrow large sums of money.
- Small monetary incentives can bring in bigger change. Take the case of low rates of immunization in India. A study by Abhijit Banerjee and MIT students show that small incentives in immunisation drastically increased the rate of immunisation in Rajsthan.
- A large number of public programmes intended for the poor do not succeed because of poor advertisement. For ex. Open defecation
- Information should be framed or designed to fit the mental model of recipients; people often ignore those messages which do not conform to their beliefs.
Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.
Introduction :- There has been a rise of public demand for an efficient, accountable and people-centric police that steadfastly upholds the Rule of Law in all situations. Since independence, the National Police Commission as well as multiple expert committees have submitted successive reports recommending extensive reforms in the Police.
In September 2006, the Supreme Court of India, in Prakash Singh Vs Union of India passed a historic judgment directing the Central and State Governments towards operational reform and functional autonomy of the police.
Various expert bodies have examined issues with police organisation and functioning over the last few decades. Its chronology as follows-
- National Police commission 1977-81
- Rubeiro Committee 1998
- Padmanabhaiah committee 2000
- Malimath committee 2002-03
- Police Act drafting committee 2005
- Supreme Court directions in Prakash Singh vs Union of India 2006
- Second ARC 2007
- Police Act drafting committee-II 2015
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for implementation of umbrella scheme of “Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF)” for years 2017-18 to 2019-20. It has main provisions as :-
- Focus areas:Special provision has been made under the Scheme for internal security, law and order, women security, availability of modern weapons, mobility of police forces, logistics support, hiring of helicopters, upgradation of police wireless, National Satellite Network, CCTNS project, E-prison project etc.
- Budgetary support:Under the umbrella scheme, central budget outlay of Rs.10,132 crore has been earmarked for internal security related expenditure for Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern States and left wing extremism affected States.
- Special focus:Scheme of Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 35 worst LWE affected districts has been introduced with an outlay of Rs.3,000 crore to tackle the issue of underdevelopment in these district.
- Upgradation:Under the scheme, new initiatives will be introduced to provide assistance to States for upgradation of police infrastructure, forensic science laboratories, institutions and the equipment available with them to plug critical gaps in the criminal justice system.
- National database:Police Stations will be integrated to set up a national data base of crime and criminals’ records.
- Forensic labs: Theumbrella scheme also provides for setting up of a State-of Art forensic science laboratory in Amravati, Andhra Pradesh and upgradation of Sardar Patel Global Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Anti Insurgency in Jaipur and Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhi Nagar.
However Police Modernisation without an accountability upgrade only makes the reforms tangible not transformative :-
Police forces have the authority to exercise force to enforce laws and maintain law and order in a state. However, this power may be misused in several ways. To check against such abuse of power, various countries have adopted safeguards, such as accountability of the police to the political executive, internal accountability to senior police officers, and independent police oversight authorities.
The police reform to aspire for is to move beyond armour plating to accountability and the upholding of the law as measures of police effectiveness.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Introduction :- The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts and is thus the minimum age of a person with whom another person is legally permitted to engage in sexual activity. The distinguishing aspect of the age of consent laws is that the person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim and their sex partner as the offender. The purpose of setting an age of consent is to protect an underage person from sexual advances by mature age persons.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code says sex with a girl who is below 18 is rape but it has an exception, which says sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is 15 or above, is not rape even if it is without her consent.
However the recent ruling by Supreme Court which held that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is below 18 years of age, is rape is a good step in the direction of clearing legal ambiguity over age of consent.
It’s ramification on marital rape and choice :-
- The court read down Exception 2 to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which allowed the husband of a girl child — between 15 and 18 years of age — blanket liberty and freedom to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with her.
- Previously her willingness or consent was of no concern. The husband in such cases was not punished for rape.
- It reiterated the notion that a child remains a child whether she is described as a street child or a surrendered child or an abandoned child or an adopted child. Similarly, a child remains a child whether she is a married child or an unmarried child or a divorced child or a separated or widowed child.
- Earlier an unmarried girl child can prosecute her rapist, but a married girl child aged between 15 and 18 could not even do that this will change now.
- Refrained from dealing with the issue of marital rape of a woman aged above 18.
With this judgment, considered by experts as trigger to declaring child marriage void ab initio, the court ended the decades-old disparity between Exception 2 to Section 375 IPC and other child protection laws.
Topic: Food security; Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
6) Food Adulteration is pervasive, persistent, and peculiar despite dedicated laws. With references to efforts that may be made by respective state governments, how can food adulteration be removed? Discuss. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Adulteration is a legal term meaning that a food product fails to meet federal or state standards. Food adulteration is the addition or removal of any substances to or from food, so that the natural composition and quality is affected. Adulterated food is impure, unsafe and not wholesome. Food can be adulterated intentionally and accidentally. Unintentional adulteration is a result of ignorance or the lack of facilities to maintain food quality. This may be caused by spillover effect from pesticides and fertilisers. Inappropriate food handling and packaging methods can also result in adulteration
Efforts taken by state government :-
- Indian government enacted FSSA. The act brought into force in place of the PFA is the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as “FSSA”) that overrides all other food related laws. It specifically repealed eight laws which were in operation prior to the enforcement of FSSA:
- The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- The Fruit Products Order, 1955
- The Meat Food Products Order, 1973
- The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
- The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
- The Solvent Extracted Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
- The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992
- Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (in relation to food)
- The Punjab Government has framed a draft Bill for the prevention of adulteration of food which it has forwarded for the approval of the Government of India and published for general information.
Measures that are being taken and need to be taken to reduce food adulteration :-
- Refresher training programmes are being arranged for all the functionaries namely: (a) Food Inspectors, (b) Local (Health) Authorities, (c) Food (Health) Authorities, (d) Public Analyst and Chemist. Training for Analysts and Chemists are being organized in their own laboratories by trainer deputed by the Central Government. These trainers stay in one lab for six working days and first of all they setup the laboratory as per Good Laboratory Practices and thereafter, the specific training is organized.
- Sophisticated equipments are being supplied to State Food Testing Laboratories so that at least one laboratory in each State is appropriately strengthened. Efforts are being made to ensure that warranty of the equipment so supplied are for minimum 3 years along with consumables and proper trainings is provided to the analysts/chemists by the supplier for handling and running the equipment.
- Efforts are also being made to ensure that each State is linked electronically with its District Headquarters. The expenditure for this is proposed to be provided from the World Bank Assisted Capacity Building Project for food and drugs being implemented by the Central Government. This will facilitate smooth sharing of information and networking.
- Efforts are being made to provide at least one analyst from the Central Budget through the World Bank Assisted Project in each Food Testing Lab for a period of 5 years.
- Standard reference material for pesticides, listed under Rule 65 of PFA Rules, all the metals listed under Rule 57 of the PFA Rules and aflatoxin are being supplied to one lab in each State.
- Books on methods of analysis like AOAC, Pearson, Food Chemical Codex, have already been supplied to a majority of the laboratories.
- Training programme for consumers, traders, vendors and street food hawkers have been organized and will be organized in future as a consumer education programme on food safety.
- Sensitisation training programmes have been organized for Port (Health) Officers/Customs Officers/Customs House Clearing Agents and importers on various provisions of PFA Act/Rules and other provisions namely packaged Commodity Order and Customs Act, so that these officers may appropriately handle the imported food product
7) Balancing local employment interests and consumer ease is crucial to making innovative business choices. Do you think taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola threaten local drivers? Give reasons for your answer. (200 Words)
Introduction :- The tussle and competition created due to rapid penetration of cab aggregators like Ola, Uber with local drivers can be seen in many strikes, demands to regulate their functioning etc.
They threaten the local drivers :-
- Uber and Ola, in India and elsewhere, often resort to cat-and-mouse tactics with regulatory authorities. There are no regulations in place for monitoring surge pricing and the overall cab sharing services offered by the cab aggregators. This not only hampers customers but also local drivers in terms of intense competition.
- Whether existing laws have contributed to the problems in the traditional taxi businesses is unclear, but Uber and Ola were quick to exploit this confusion and the structural problems of the traditional taxi services.
- App-based cab services have always defined themselves against the image of traditional taxi services characterised by lack of convenience, overpriced rides, rickety cars and ill-mannered drivers.
- The unintended effect of this nullification is that traditional taxis are now being increasingly seen as relics from a previous generation. Even though Uber and Ola maintain that both traditional and tech-dependant services can coexist, their actions give the impression that the latter are efficient because they do not follow ‘archaic’ laws.
- By clamouring to cut down regulations since they represent stifling old-world analogue practices, they are virtually asking traditional taxi services to operate in an ‘unequal’ environment. This signals nothing but the impending decline of traditional cabs at the hands of digital players.
- They exploit the advantages of their digital technologies as well. Traditional taxi services have also been accused of running a taxi mafia that charge exorbitant prices for short distances and often refuse to go to locations that would be inconvenient for the driver.
Considering all above the need of the hour is to regulate the increasing presence of cab aggregators in Indian transportation systems. Comprehensive regulation by centre, state and even city governments will help.
Topic: Indian economy – growth and development; Inclusive growth
8) In a recent report, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) household finance committee found the average Indian household keeps just 5% of its wealth in financial assets. What measures can be taken to nudge households to invest more in financial assets? Also examine, from economy point of view, why is it important to push households to invest in financial assets. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Households’ Savings correspond to the total income saved by households during a certain period of time. Savings and investments in banks, stock markets, Post office schemes, company deposits etc., are considered as Financial Assets / Financial Savings. Investments in properties, gold, silver etc., are Physical Savings / Physical Assets.
According to RBI report the average Indian household keeps just 5% of its wealth in financial assets.
The report Indian Household Finance found many barriers faced by households to participating in the formal financial system. While some of these barriers are cultural, such as low trust in financial institutions, many are supply-side frictions. Banks’ “one-size-fits-all” products don’t account for the complexity of Indians’ financial lives, and transaction costs are high.
Some statistics :-
- From 1990 to 2000, a very high proportion of Indian households savings were invested in Financial assets when compared to Physical assets.
- From 2000 to 2007, more household savings were routed to Physical assets.
- Interestingly in 2007/08, more investments were made in Financial assets. This shows that retails/small investors participated in stock markets when their valuations are at peak. The markets eventually crashed in 2008.
- From 2008 to 2014, physical savings are preferred to financial savings.
- The total amount of Financial Savings made by households was Rs 8,194 billion in 2014. This is an increase of 18% when compared to financial savings of 2013.
- The total amount of savings in Physical Assets was at Rs 12,123 billion, a decrease of around 5% when compared to previous year’s data.
- It is very clear that households savings are routed to investments in physical assets but the gap between Financial savings and Physical assets is slowly shrinking, which is a very good sign.
Why it’s important to push household to invest in financial assets :-
- Such pushing will increase the formal economy and will boost the high household saving assets and rates into productive channels.
- It will not only help household to gain better returns but also will save government from financial crisis.
- This can be utilise to fund critical sectors of economy like infrastructure, manufacturing base, recapitalisation of banks etc.
- The gold obsession can be converted into meaningful asset generation and investment patterns considering the volume of household investment in gold.
Measures needed to nudge households to invest in financial assets :-
- While innovation is thriving in India with an active fintech landscape, regulators need to keep pace with the brand-new business models that are rapidly emerging.
- Indian investors are very sensitive to tax. A small change can result in multiple-crore Rupees moving from one instrument to another. To ensure a shift away from bank deposits, Go I has made all dividends, including those from Mutual Funds, tax free. This needs to be implemented on larger scale.
- Financial literacy, the ability to process financial information and make informed decisions about personal finance, needs to be increased and penetrated in Indian society to make people more aware about diverse options to invest.
Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration:
Introduction :- In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public sector, nonprofit and private (corporate) and individual contexts.
Responsibility may refer to: being in charge, being the owner of a task or event. Responsibility is defined as an obligation to perform or complete the assigned task. It is the duty of the subordinate to complete the delegated task adequately. It is generated out of a superior-subordinate relationship, where the junior is bound to perform the task assigned to him by the senior.
The terms responsibility and accountability are often used interchangeably by the people, due to some similarities like the flow of both of these two, is from bottom to top. Although, they are different in the sense that, in the case of responsibility, a person does what he/she is asked to do. On the other hand, in accountability, a person agrees to do, what he/she is supposed to do.
Difference between accountability and responsibility :-
The following points are noteworthy so far as the difference between responsibility and accountability is concerned:
- The state of having the duty, to do whatever it takes to complete the task, is known as responsibility. The condition, wherein a person is expected to take ownership of one’s actions or decisions, is called accountability.
- Responsibility refers to the obligation to perform the delegated task. On the other hand, answerability for the consequence of the delegated task.
- Responsibility is assigned whereas accountability is accepted.
- The origin of responsibility is the assigned authority. On the contrary, accountability arises from responsibility.
- Responsibility is delegated but not completely, but there is no such thing like delegation of accountability.
- The performance of a person is not necessarily measured when he/she is responsible. Unlike, accountability, wherein the person’s performance is measured.
- Responsibility is something, wherein a person is held responsible before or after task. In contrast to, accountability where a person can only be accountable after the task is performed or not performed satisfactorily.
After reviewing the points, it is clear that accountability makes the person accountable for the consequences of the actions or decisions made by him/her. As against this, consequences are not necessarily attached to the responsibility. Further, accountability requires a person to be liable and answerable for the things, he/she does. Conversely, responsibility expects a person to be reliable and dependable to complete the tasks assigned to him.