SECURE SYNOPSIS: 31 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.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Social empowerment,
1) The root of the problem of lack of sanitation in India lies in institutional discrimination against the scheduled castes. Comment in the light of objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. (150 Words)
- Central government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) campaign, actually make matters significantly worse by implicitly relying on this form of labour without any concern for the lives, safety and working conditions of the workers.
- The explicit aims of the SBA were fourfold: to eliminate open defecation, to eradicate manual scavenging, to bring in modern and scientific municipal solid waste management, and to effect behavioural change regarding healthy sanitation practices.
Institutional discrimination against SCs vis a vis Swachh Bharat objectives
- Eliminating open defection
- Most of the energy and resources have been concentrated on this aspect with toilet construction as the core aim.
- A lot of new toilets are being constructed but without any strategy to address how they are to be cleaned.
- They are seldom if ever linked to sewage, drainage or water facilities, and there has been little or no investment in procuring mechanised equipment for the physical removal of excreta.
2.Eradicating manual scavenging
- But toilet construction will not help the sanitation workers and will, in fact, push us back into manual scavenging, unless the entire exercise is mechanised and well thought out with proper planning.
- Manual scavenging is defined as “the removal of human excrement from public streets and dry latrines, cleaning septic tanks, gutters and sewers”.
- The practice is still widely prevalent in India, driven by class and income divides and much more by caste and patriarchy. All manual scavengers in the country are Dalits, and even among Dalit castes, such workers tend to be lower in the hierarchy, coming from some of the most marginalised and oppressed sub-castes.
- Women workers dominate in the cleaning, removal and carrying of faeces from toilets in both rural and urban areas. This work tends to be the lowest paid.
- The men clean septic tanks, gutters and sewers.
- Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 identified 1,80,657 manual scavengers across the whole of India, whereas the SKA estimates that there are more than six times that number, around 1.2 million.
- In rural areas, where people are unused to having toilets within their homes, or even within the compound, and see toilets as polluting, the danger is that “lower” caste people will be the ones employed for cleaning.
- The current Budget allocates the princely sum of Rs.5 crore for rehabilitation. So workers who cannot get other employment because of caste discrimination in what is anyway a stagnant labour market are forced to go back to manual scavenging.
- The Supreme Court ordered compensation of Rs 10 lakh for each person killed in septic tanks and sewer lines. But it did not fix responsibility.
- When the prime minister and his ministers picked up the broom, it is, in effect, romanticised the act. For the workers, the broom is a symbol of oppression and society’s inhumanity
3.Solid waste management
- In urban areas, more toilets will directly result in more septic tanks being built because most of our cities do not have an underground sewage system, though septic tanks are increasingly cleared out by suction pumps.
- In cities, make sure there are underground drainage systems. If that is not possible, completely ban and eliminate manual cleaning of sewers with or without protective gears.
Topic: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
Natural democrat would be one who shall aims to follow the tenets on democracy unfailingly, even if it leads to idealism. Pragmatist is a one who will try to optimize the outcome in a situation taking up an practical approach which may not adhere to some defined principles.
While Nehru exhibited the former, Sardar Patel manifested the later.
This can see from the following cases.
Kashmir and other consolidation measures
- Nehru did not aim to take military action in Kashmir issue, and opted for UN to get involved to resolve the issue hoping that it will enhance India’s international standing, besides invoking democratisation of international politics.
- Patel in contrast was in favour of military action to deter any military advantage to Pakistan.Similarly against Nehru wishes he went ahead with military action in Hyderabad and strong diplomacy in Junagarh.
- Nehru formulated Panchsheel with China when Tibet was invaded to reaffirm non-interference in Chinese internal affairs. Also, Nehru envisaged “Asian dream” heralded by India and China and thus probed China as a partner due to shared colonial experience and ancient civilisations.
- Patel was critical of Nehru’s approach and asked to deal China as a modern nation state with expansionist ambitions.
- Nehru advocated Fabian socialism in which state will gradually direct the society towards socialistic order. This reflects moral democratic vision.
- Patel though recognised the vices of capitalism, but was not against the profit making per se.
All India Services
- Nehru considered the service as a vestige of colonial rule and wanted to disband it in the interest of new India to be built.
- Patel however chose to retain the services by amending them according to the conditions and aspirations of Indian people.
Nehru and Sardar came to divergent thought many time but never let their conflict to overcome their common agenda of ‘India First’. Hence both characters were indispensable for the Nation Building , and it is because of them we saw today a moderned India.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- Supreme Court read down the marital rape exception for married girls between the ages of 15 and 18. The judgment is prospective in nature.
- Essentially, the court held that since sexual assault in marriage is already a crime under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), it is discriminatory and arbitrary to suspend the protection of the rape law for these underage married girls.
- Supreme Court questioned the rationality and validity of the Exception 2 under Section 375 provided in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which validates intercourse of a man with a girl who could be between the ages of 15 and 18 provided she is his wife.
- As a girl did not cease to be a child under the age of 18, Exception 2 ran contrary to the beneficial intent in Article 15 (3) of the Constitution, which enabled Parliament to make special provisions for girls and women.
- In April 2017, Karnataka inserted “sub-Section (1A) in Section 3 of the PCMA, declaring that henceforth every child marriage that is solemnised is void ab initio”, i.e., it is to be treated as invalid from the outset.
- A 2014 UNICEF report, which ranked India 6th among the top 10 countries with high rates of child marriage among women, found that the median age at first marriage was 15.4 years for women in the poorest quintile, and 19.7 years for those in the richest quintile.
- The prevalence in Rajasthan was as high as 65%, followed by Jharkhand at 63%.
- The Rapid Survey on Children commissioned by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2013-14 estimated that such marriages had declined from 47.4 per cent according to the National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-06) data to 30.3 per cent.
- As per census 2011, the percentage of child marriage in 2011 is 31.6% which was 52 % in 2001 which shows a decreasing trend.
- As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4(2015-16), the percentage of Women age 15-19 years who were already mothers or pregnant is 6.3% which was 16% in National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3(2005-06).
Reason for child marriages
In rural areas and amongst disadvantaged sections
- A stronger correlation between child marriages and poverty, indicating that the law by itself was inadequate to address the challenge unless accompanied by government interventions at multiple levels.
- The percentage of such marriages was higher than the national average among the Scheduled Castes (34.9 per cent) and the Scheduled Tribes (31 per cent).
- Child marriages were prevalent in nearly 44.1 per cent of families with a low wealth index, an indication that poverty was a dominant factor in child marriages.
Impact of child marriages
- Early marriages result in multiple child births and often are the reason for maternal mortality, infant mortality and reproductive health challenges.
- Girls between 15 and 19 were more likely to die at childbirth and pregnancy than older women, making pregnancy a leading cause of death in developing countries.
- Girls from S.C. and S.T. communities were on an average 10 per cent more likely to give birth earlier than girls from other castes.
Impact on laws
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
- There are provisions in the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006, that allow for annulment of a child marriage within two years of the minor attaining majority.
- For the order to be effective, it is important for the legislature to step in and amend the PCMA, making marriage between minors void, and not just voidable, i.e., capable of being adjudged void, as is the case now.
- As marriages in India come under the purview of personal laws, the PCMA stops short of invalidating child marriage. It holds that marriage between a boy of under 21 years and a girl under 18 years of age is voidable, at the option of the contracting parties.
- This means a child marriage, even under the secular laws, can only be annulled if a case is filed in a district court by either of the two contracting parties within two years of becoming adult, or through a guardian if still a minor.
- Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, was amended to create the PCMA in 2006, introducing more stringent punishments, including a jail term of up to two years for the 18-years-plus boy or anyone who abets/performs such a marriage
POSCO Act, 2012
- It was inconsistent with the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
- Under the POCSO Act, the rape of a married girl child would constitute a form of aggravated penetrative sexual assault, which was punishable with 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine.
UN Convention on Child Rights
- International conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child made it obligatory on the part of the government to take steps to “prevent the coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity”.
Impact on Personal laws
- Dissolution of marriage
- Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, (applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains) and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, a girl can legally seek dissolution of her marriage if she was married off before the age of 15 years — but she has to do so before she is 18 years of age (unlike the PCMA which sets the age at 20 for girls and 22 for boys).
2.Age of marriage
- The uncodified Muslim personal law considers puberty (presumed to be 15 years) as the minimum age of marriage for girls.
- The Hindu Marriage Act, while making the marriage of an under-18 girl punishable, applies the punitive measures only against the boy who is over 18 years of age, and not against the parents or guardians.
- The Indian Christian Marriage Act also in a way legitimises child marriage by stating that marriage registrars have to put up a public notice for 14 days prior to the marriage of a minor.
- Ambiguity on age of child
- While children were defined as persons under 18 in the Indian Majority Act and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, it was 18 for girls and 21 for boys in the CMRA.
- The IPC had no definition for “child.
- The petitioners pointed out that Sections 5 and 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act did not give the court the authority to declare a marriage void on the grounds that either of the parties was under age and the Exception to Section 375 exempted the husband from the charge of rape if the wife was not under 15 years of age.
- They pleaded that this was in contradiction with the CMRA, which disallowed child marriage but did not totally invalidate it.
- The petitioners said that there should be a uniform definition of a child in all laws in order to protect children from abuse.
- Marriages under 18 should be declared void as such marriages could only be “coerced and no full or informed consent could be given by a person under eighteen.
- The Law Commission report, however, said that the age of consent should be 16 for girls irrespective of whether they were married or not. The Supreme Court bench of Justices Lokur and Gupta did not make this distinction.
- The aspects relating to the prevalence of voluntary consensual sex among young people needed to be considered.
3.Very low conviction rate
- Evidence for the inefficacy of the PCMA lies in National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, only 280, 293, and 326 cases respectively were registered under the Act.
- Rajasthan registered only 5, 6, and 12 cases under PCMA in these three years, while Jharkhand saw 4 cases being registered last year and just one each in the preceding two.
- The best way to stop child marriages was to enforce the provisions of the PCMA and at the same time ensure that the rights of the girl and the children born from such marriages were safeguarded.
- The difference in the ages of marriage for men and women as 21 and 18 was not based on any scientific understanding.
- The LCI report had maintained that there was no rationale for different ages of marriage for boys and girls.
- It had recommended that marriages below 16 be made void; between 16 and 18, they be voidable at the option of either party; and the Exception to Section 375 be deleted, which would ensure that the age of consent for sexual intercourse for all girls, married or not, would be 16.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers
Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data.
Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to inter-operate within the existing Internet infrastructure.
It allows more physical world into world of internet thus automating lot of works thus reducing human intervention.
- Smart home in which all appliances like fridge, lights can be connected and controlled using phone
- Medicine applications like remote health monitoring and emergency response
- Smart traffic control, toll collection, fleet management are used in transportation sector.
- Integration of wireless sensors with mobile apps which can get real time information of humidity, rainfall which may be very useful for agriculture particularly.
- Digitisation of supply chains can usher in manufacturing efficiency.
- Creation of smart buildings can save energy, especially relevant to smart grid.
Infrastructure for IoT
Indian cellular network need to dealt with following problem like-
- While the communication between the Bluetooth device and the cellular device is limited to a few feet, it is the cellular device, in turn, that maintains the connection with the long-range telecommunications network. These “last mile” radio devices need to be charged frequently, since the radio in each device needs a considerable amount of power in order to be able to transmit and receive information at a respectable range.
- The trade-off that designers of these devices have always faced is been between battery life and device range. The longer the range you want, the more power your device needs—and the more frequently it needs to be recharged.
2.Increase the range of devices
- If the Internet of Things or IoT is to be useful, then IoT devices need to have the ability to communicate with each other over long distances.
- When this long-range communication variable is thrown into the equation, the only way is for firms to limit the battery-constrained radio communication to short distances and then switch over to the capabilities of cellular providers, on whose network they can piggy-back to send data over long distances.
- The old 2G or GPRS networks were ideal for the very low levels of data transmission that IoT-enabled devices need—often not more than just a few packets (or bytes) of data each day.
- These new cellular networks are not yet optimized for applications that only transmit small amounts of infrequent data. 2G, while sufficient for machine-to-machine communication, simply doesn’t cut it for the vast majority of human smartphone users.
- In the rush for greater data throughput for smartphones, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project or 3GPP, the international body that sets cellular standards, was slow to set out “Narrowband IoT” standards meant for machine-to-machine communications for newer cellular networks like 3G, 4G and LTE.
- The slow death of 2G and the delay of standards for deploying IoT over newer cellular networks has contributed to a welcome development. Scientists have worked on a new class of radios that would allow IoT devices to communicate over larger distances. These radio devices deliver both long-range communications and years of battery life.
- A set of technologies collectively called the “Low Power Wide Area Network” or LPWAN have been promulgated by firms such as SigFox, Ingenu, and LoRa as an alternative to the delayed Narrowband IoT from 3GPP. That said, 3GPP and telecom providers now have solutions for IoT on the newer LTE networks, called LTE-M (where M stands for Machine).
- Since there are two competing Narrowband IoT standards, one backed by Nokia and Ericsson and the other by Vodafone and Huawei. This further leads to a delay in adoption, which will allow the LPWAN device makers more time to seize the market.
Chinese ensuing dominance
- Like the smartphone space, the Chinese are hovering over all of this. Huawei is pushing one of the two standards for the alternative technology of LTE-M. Considering that they own a chip manufacturer in HiSilicon and probably can get the Chinese government to deploy millions of devices in China, they may create the eventual de facto standard.
- An Indian IT major should acquire an LPWAN player to thwart this.
- India cellular network can potentially embrace IOT if the above mentioned bottlenecks are set in order. India being second largest user of mobile phone is all set to be a good platform for IOT.
Topic: Awareness in the fields of biotechnology
- Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) therapy is a newly discovered way to fight cancer by an alteration of genes — a type of gene therapy that turns cells in the patient’s body into a “living drug” that targets and kills cancer cells
- It is for adult patients with certain types of large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), who have not responded to or who have relapsed after at least two other kinds of treatment.
- Earlier in “making the first gene therapy available in the United States”, approving Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) for certain paediatric and young adult patients (up to 25 years of age) with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), who had failed to respond to other types of treatments.
- ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, in which the body makes abnormal lymphocytes.
How exactly does gene therapy for cancer work?
- Both Yescarta and Kymriah use ‘CAR-T cells’.
- CAR-T cell therapy works by helping the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. CAR stands for “chimeric antigen receptor” — engineered receptors that are grafted on to the patient’s ‘T cells’.
- T cells are a type of lymphocytes (a kind of white blood cells) that destroy infected or cancerous cells. After their re-engineering in the lab, T cells are called CAR-T cells.
- Once they are re-introduced into the patient’s bloodstream, the army of CAR-T cells multiplies, and goes after the cancer cells.
- Each dose of Kymriah or Yescarta is a customised treatment that is created using the individual patient’s own T cells.
- Yescarta has the potential to cause severe side effects
- Among potential complications are cytokine release syndrome (CRS), a response to the activation and proliferation of CAR-T cells, which leads to high fever and neurological problems.
- Both CRS and neurologic toxicities can be fatal or life-threatening.
- Other side effects include serious infections, low blood cell counts and a weakened immune system.
- Side effects from treatment with Yescarta usually appear within the first one to two weeks, but some side effects may occur later.
- Both Yescarta and Kymriah are being allowed only gradually, and will be available with a trained set of oncology professionals.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration
- Civil servants are responsible and accountable for delivery of services. They cater to grassroot issues and should be aware of reality.
- It is true that they have to follow systematic approach but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t attach any emotion to the job.
- Recent Santoshi Kumari, 11 year child who died because of starvation is shame for all of us. She died because her ration card wasn’t linked to Aadhar card and she couldn’t avail foodgrains. In country like ours where 40% of foodgrains are rotten due to storage, such incidents are shaking.
Emergence of bureaucracy
- Bureaucracy came into being after the birth of scripts in ancient civilisation. When a large amount of administrative data was created, a system was needed to retrieve the stored knowledge, which gave rise to archiving, cataloguing and classifying. More than writing, it was this method of retrieval that led to efficiency.
- Archaeologists discover new scripts every decade, but what sets the Sumerians, Chinese and Egyptians apart were their investments in building ways of cataloguing.
- In time, this leads people to be reprogrammed to start thinking like machines, reading and retrieving data, rather than thinking like humans.
- Modern debates of objectivity make our obsession with paperwork even more brutal. Discretion and free thought are peripheral while forms and filing cabinets become central.
Why emotional bureacracy is needed in India?
- Regardless of the horrors, the trading of emotions for the order and regularity of bureaucratic life has paid off in the rich countries, but hasn’t it worked in poor societies because bureaucracy is new in developing countries.
- Also institutionally, people are not “bureaucracy-receptive”.
- For eg., the Indian villager accesses the state through a local leader. Everyone knows everyone else and independent bureaucracy cannot be executed in the web of interdependent informal relationships among the stakeholders.
- Informal networks hold society against bureaucracy for accessing services
- When the state creates a new bureaucratic framework that trumps local networks (on which informal societies such as India are built), citizens become confused and find themselves at a loss to negotiate their space.
- For example, many of our grandparents prefer to go to the bank rather than call customer care. Any new conduit of relationships makes them recede.
- Societies carry a historical burden of norms and customs. Mostly informal in nature, these institutions cannot be changed overnight.
- New laws and regulations introduced in any society must recognise the informal social norms society is predicated upon.
- In societies such as India, citizen-state interaction is historically built on patronage and personal relations; bureaucratic forms of engagement are recent.
- Western societies that are individualised, are prepared to function bureaucratically, and can successfully build independent regulatory bodies. But collectivist societies like India cannot, and may be should not, try this.
- Therefore, we should build a framework for emotional bureaucracies to emerge.
2.Bureaucracy must respond to behaviour of masses
- In diverse societies, bureaucracies have to be contextual, and therefore emotional.
- They must be designed for everyone, and not just for the urban elites. Regulations force people to change their behaviour and dynamics instantly.
- If the bureaucracy is not empathetic to those who are slow in responding, it will be hugely damaging to society as a whole.
3.Public service paramount principle
- Every civil servant has this common tenet and motivation of serving vulnerable section. We can’t expect them to fall in queue as we announce any social or technological change.
- Its easy for a bureaucrat or any advanced section of society to adapt to changes but its really difficult for vulnerable section.
- So civil servants need to show tolerance and use their discretion to provide public services.
- Civil servants are deployed to serve the society at fullest and for the same have been given several discretion and freedom for decision making. If that decision is solely propelled by intelligent quotient it may not produce desirable result.
- So due diligence of social and emotional quotient must also be attached to decision making especially when it is intended to serve vulnerable sections of society. The role of civil servant plays pivotal role for inclusive development.