SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 NOVEMBER 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: Indian geography; Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
- Water is basic necessity for existence of human race. Evolution of Indus Valley Civilisation around Indus basin is one such example.
- The evolution of the civilization can be traced back to 5000 year old small hamlets near Himalayan rivers which ultimately culminated into a full fledged civilisation.
In this respect, the impact of Himalayan rivers can be traced on the said civilisation as follows.
- Permanent settlement emerged
- Rivers helped the civilization to sustain by way of helping people to give away nomadic way of living and practicing settled occupation near the river.
- Thus a large river probably provided the genesis for the permanent settlements which developed into civilisation, as a Himalayan river is resourceful.
2.Cultural evolution with river as the centre
- Natural forces like rivers were worship by the people and thus it also lead to evolution of early religion.
- Also the Great Bath of Mohenjo Daro which was a Sacred tank in which people took ritual bath on some important occasions
3.Acted as transportation link
- River provided cheaper way of trade and thus Indus valley people had their impact throughout the subcontinent with its reach from contemporary Kashmir to Maharashtra and Balochistan to Bihar.
4.Source for irrigation for burgeoning agriculture
- Rivers were also useful when people were developing skills of agriculture and Irrigation.
- The people grew wheat, rice, barley and other different type of cereals.
5.Decline of Indus Valley
- Rivers were so important that one of the theory given behind decline was that of changed course of the river.
- However recent research also argues that today’s Sutlej River used to flow along the trace of the Ghaggar-Hakra river but rapidly changed course upstream 8,000 years ago.
- This meant that 3,000 years later, when the Indus people settled the area, there was only an abandoned large river valley occupied by seasonal monsoon river flow instead of a large Himalayan river.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Malaria is one of the biggest killer in the country. Despite the government efforts like national framework for malaria elimination death by malaria is increasing day by day.
India — due to low funding per person at risk and resistance to certain frontline insecticides — is only expected to achieve a 20%-40% reduction.
India’s abysmal condition in malaria
- India accounted for 6% of global malaria cases and 7% of deaths caused by it in 2016, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- India is unlikely to reduce its case burden beyond 40% by 2020. In contrast, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan achieved malaria-free status in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
- About 80% of the deaths were accounted for by 15 countries, namely, India and 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Why India is failing?
- Weak surveillance system
- This is a key impediment to eliminating malaria
- India and Nigeria, two major contributors to the global burden of malaria, were able to detect only 8% and 16% of cases, respectively, via the system.
2.Resistance developed to insecticides
- 51% of plasmodium vivax cases — the milder cousin of the p. falciparum — were traced in India.
- This could at least be partially explained by resistance to chloroquine, the first line treatment to p. vivax infections that has been detected in pockets of the country earlier this decade.
3.Diversification of malaria parasites happened
- For a long time, p falciparum dominated India’s case burden and, though its share has decreased, there is a slight increase in malaria cases by other parasites.
4.Low spending on healthcare
- Only 2.1% of GDP is spend on healthcare as result no appropriate funds are allocated to national malaria control program.
- Increasing population and slums in the cities – which cause pollution- breeding ground for malaria vector.
6.Capacity infirmities of local bodies
- Lack of autonomy to local institutions to chart out own efforts to control malaria.
Topic: Indian Constitution- significant provisions and basic structure.
- Net neutrality creates rules of the road for a free and open Internet. It requires that barriers should not be created by telecom and Internet service providers for user choice by limiting their power to discriminate between content providers and different classes of content.
- Through binding rules and regulations, the power of access providers to selectively price or create technical imbalances is corrected.
- TRAI has reaffirmed net netrality as the basis for open nature of internet. It is based on the recomendation of AK BHargava committe and wide public consultation.
It also upholds the values and spirit of Indian constitutionalism as follows
- Equality of Opportunity in matters of Public Employment
- As ascertained in Article 16, this principle protects entrepreneurs who work in the open space provided by free internet.
- Though they are not in the domain of public employment, but still in this process, they are also likely to intersect with government services given the evolving nature of investment models like PPP.
2.Right to Life and Liberty
- Liberty is enshrined in net neutrality concept as it provides liberal opportunities to anyone accessing it. In case of infringment of net neutrality, Article 21 would be Compromised
3.Right to express
- Internet is an important avenue to receive and impart information.
- If information sources on the internet are blocked according to the whims of telecom companies, it would be in violation of Article 19 of the constitution.
4.Control over internet
- Internet being a “natural resource”, its control by few corporations would be in violation of the socialism enshrined in the Preamble.
- Supreme Court where it has stated that the power to license spectrum and telegraphs is held by the government as a trustee of public interest.
- On the allocation of natural resources, the Supreme Court observed that, “as natural resources are public goods, the doctrine of equality, which emerges from concepts of justice and fairness, must guide the state in determining the actual mechanism for distribution of material resources.”
- The concepts of equality, reasonableness and liberty which underpin the social contract which gives rise to the Indian Constitution are not mere black letters of the law. They are more than mere limitations on state power in favour of individuals. By themselves, they are at their very best when they are put into motion by positive actions by regulators and governments.
- To achieve these objectives, there is a necessity to popularise the constitutional doctrine in ways and methods which seem immediate and cater to the daily problems of the modern world.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 flies in the face of recommendations made by a government-appointed expert committee in 2014, the Supreme Court’s judgment in 2015 and a private member’s bill unanimously passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2015, all of which displayed greater understanding of the needs of the transgender community.
- The government has rejected recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.
- Definition of Transgender
- The bill defines ‘transgender person’ means a person who is neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female or male; or neither female nor male; and whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at the time of birth, and includes trans men and trans women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.”
- That one’s sexuality is central to human development and identity and to forming a sense of self as principles have been clearly violated.
- Transgender people may or may not be intersex and vice versa.
2.Identification of transgender
- Supreme Court affirmed in the landmark National Legal Services Authority (NALSA v Union of India, 2015) judgment the right of the community to self-identify without physical screenings.
- In fact, at present transgender persons can, on the basis of an affidavit, declare the gender that they would like to be known as.
- The bill does away with this right and leaves it to district screening committees comprising a chief medical officer, a psychiatrist or psychologist among others, to decide.
3.Alternate family structures
- Bill says that no transgender shall be separated from parents or immediate family except on the order of a competent court in the interest of such a person and that if the family is unable to care for the person, the transgender should be placed in a rehabilitation centre.
- For long the transgender community has demanded that the definition of family should be expanded to include the Hijra or Aravani community elders, who adopt young transgender children and ensure that they are not put at risk, and that the Hijra family system is not criminalised.
- Similarly, the bill is silent in areas of health, affirmative action, and decriminalising activities that marginalised trans communities are compelled to undertake to eke out a living.
- There are also no penal provisions in the law to guard against the trans community being subjected to atrocities and to protect its members in prisons and juvenile homes.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in IT, computers
Cryptocurrencies in India
- Reserve Bank of India has banned transactions in India using cryptocurrencies.
- In other words, while one can buy and sell cryptocurrencies on online exchanges, they can’t be used to pay for goods and services within the country.
Why regulation of cryptocurrency needed?
- Cryptocurrency a reality now
- As cryptocurrencies are here to stay, the only way to regulate their value and quantity is for central banks to issue their own digital currencies.
2.Central bank could determine value
- While the value of digital currencies such as bitcoin are market-determined, depending on what somebody is willing to pay, a central bank-backed digital currency will have its value controlled to an extent by the central bank itself, much like any other major currency in the world.
3.Save cost of printing money
- It will save the apex bank huge expenditure on printing physical currency.
Arguments in favour
- Competition to national currencies good
- Enthusiasts argue that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are rapidly transforming into mainstream money that will offer serious competition to national currencies issued by central banks.
- Decentralised management by a community that can ensure integrity through verification of transactions over a “public”, peer-to-peer network
- Extraordinary return the digital currency has given investors as its price has witnessed a meteoric rise, from just a few cents in 2010 to hit a lifetime high of over $11,000 last week. In 2017 alone, bitcoin price has increased by over 1000%.
- Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum too have shown equally impressive gains and falls, particularly over the last year.
- Therefore they see bitcoin’s current price rise as merely a reflection of its bright future as a stateless currency.
- One advantage of the currency is that transactions involving movements of large volumes of money across space and borders can be conducted without revealing the identity of the transactor.
- Financial bubble
- Sceptics, however, have pointed to the Tulip Bubble of the 17th century and Internet stocks of the late 1990s as cautionary examples.
- Prices are clearly being driven by speculation, as there is no underlying asset to back them. Further, rising prices will attract more people to start such currencies and invest in them. This will increase the contact of virtual currencies with formal finance, and developments in this market would affect the financial system.
2.Affects investment in areas wherever required
- An increase in the use of such instruments could also affect financial intermediation, investment and growth. Therefore, it is important for policymakers to carefully evaluate the potential costs and benefits of a possible rise in the use of unregulated cryptocurrencies.
- If automated risk management, smart contracts, and similar tools are deployed across a network, cascades of rapid and hard-to-control obligations and liquidity flows could propagate across a network
- This interdependence will likely call for creative organizational thinking to address the need for governance and strong risk management.
- A central bank manages the supply and cost of money in the system to attain maximum growth with price stability. But in the world of unregulated cryptocurrencies, central banks may find it difficult to manage the level of economic activity.
4.Financial avenue for criminals due to identity security
- Criminals of various kinds have been using the currency to transfer funds.
- For example, demand for bitcoins initially rose because drug dealers were making payments with the currency on the Silk Road website. Since then there have been many reports about the links between illegal activities and the bitcoin market.
- The blockchain technology may well have some merits, as shown by increasing interest in it even among central banks and other financial institutions. Many have even started offering financial products and services centred around bitcoin.
- It is also a telling sign of the times where easy monetary policy has pushed investors starved of yield in traditional assets into highly risky assets like bitcoin.
- A prudential decision should be made by taking all the pros and cons into consideration before the central bank issues digital currency.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics in human actions
Torture refers to the use of physical force or violence in order to get conviction or some information. There is a growing demand for a law to prohibit torture.
- It damages integrity of being human. Therefore this is in essence against Article 21 of the constitution.
- It treats human life as a means to an end, than an end in itself.
- It dehumanises not only the victim but the perpetrator as well.
- It increase the general acceptance of casual violence in society.
- The torture against animals also has moral dimensions. As Gandhi asserted “Greatness of a nation and its moral progress is judged by the way it treats its animals”. Even the Constitution recognizes protection of animals as fundamental duty.
- Many nations refuse to extradite criminals to India due to lack of Torture Prevention Law and the fact that India has not yet ratified the international treaty for the same. Further, it also involves elements of soft power of a nation.
- Investigating agencies instead of properly conducting investigation rely on torture to get quick conviction and maintain good records. Sometimes, innocent gets punished due to this.
- Cases of torture while in police custody damages people’s trust and respect towards police and judicial institutions.
- Most importantly, the sociological perspective points out the lower human indices which induce crime and torture. There is indeed a need to tackle the problem at social levels as well.
Nelson Mandela said “Worth of a nation can be determined by how it treats its prisoners.” Probably, time has come for us as a nation to evolve.