SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 DECEMBER 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: Role of women; Social empowerment
1) “A woman does not mortgage herself to a man by marrying him, and she retains her identity, including her religious identity, even after she exercises her right to marry outside her community under the Special Marriage Act.’ Discuss the significance of this observation by the Supreme Court. (150 Words)
- A woman does not mortgage herself to a man by marrying him, and she retains her identity, including her religious identity, even after she exercises her right to marry outside her community under the Special Marriage Act.
- The 1954 Act is seen as a statutory alternative for couples who choose to retain their identity in an inter-religious marriage.
- The Special Marriage Act confers on her the right of choice. Her choice is sacred.
- Only a woman can choose to curtail her own identity
- Nobody could presume that a woman had changed her faith or religion just because she chose to change her name after marrying outside her community.
- Realignment of common law to separate women identity from husband
- The Bench prima facie disagreed with the widespread notion in common law that a woman’s religious identity merged with that of her husband after marriage.
2.Establishing primacy of fundammental rights over custom
- Every custom, usage, customary and statutory laws must stand the test of the principle of fundamental rights.
- Article 372 (continuance of the existing laws) of the Constitution was subject to Article 13, which mandated that laws should not violate the fundamental rights of an individual.
- Given the fact that in highly mobile society, inter-community marriages will only increase beyond the boundaries of caste or religion, it is a judgment which is time dynamic and protects the social identity of women to be subjugated under the institution of marriage.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
2) Is moving to paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines in elections a good idea? Analyse. (150 Words)
There are recent allegations by opposition parties related to tempering of EVMs in some assembly and municipal elections started new debate around use of EVMs in election and moving back to use of ballot paper. Complaints about EVMs are neither new nor unique to India. They abound in the West, too.There is requirement to address such concern.
But such decisions of using ballots have often been driven by sentiment rather than a careful weighing of evidence.
Some disadvantages of using ballot papers in election
- No scope for automation so increases manual work
- Counting takes very long time compared to EVMs
- Paper may get damaged in ballots, so impossible to retrieve votes
- Costlier to environment also due to use of paper
- Cost of expenditure is higher compared to EVM
- Easy to insert bogus paper votes in ballots by corrupt officials
Advantages of using EVMs instead of ballot paper :
- More efficiency in electoral process as less time consuming
- Analysis shows that introduction of EVMs led to a sizeable decline in electoral frauds
- It led to greater participation of women and of voters belonging to scheduled castes and tribes
- The design of the machines makes booth-capture difficult
- They run on an ordinary 6-volt alkaline battery, therefore, can be used in areas without power connections.
- They reduced the cost of conducting elections as the ECI could avoid printing of millions of ballots
- Unpleasant and illegal procedures can be minimised while using the EVMs. Since only 5 votes can be cast in a minute
Since trust of people in electoral procedure is backbone of our democracy, so use of ballots instead of EVMs is not the solution, instead EC should take the steps necessary steps to address the concerns. Use of VVPAT and increased protection of EVM would be such positive steps in this direction.
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
3) The anti-defection law works best as an insurance against violation of the people’s mandate for a party, but it cannot be made a tool to stifle all dissent. Comment on the statement and discuss the significance of the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. (150 Words)
- Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (which embodies the anti-defection law) is designed to prevent the evil or mischief of political defections motivated by the lure of office or material benefits or other similar considerations.
- It is intended to strengthen the fabric of Indian parliamentary democracy by curbing unprincipled and unethical political defections.
- It was passed by a unanimous vote by both the Houses of Parliament and hailed as ‘a proof, if any, of the maturity and stability of Indian democracy’.
Significance of 10th schedule
- Stable polity
- It provides for greater stability in the body politic by checking the propensity of legislators to change parties.
2.Ideological alignment of parties
- It facilitates democratic realignment of parties in the legislature by way of merger of parties.
3.Reduces horse trading
- It reduces corruption at the political level.
- Though the anti-defection law been hailed as a bold step towards cleansing our political life and started as new epoch in the political life of the country, it has revealed may lacunae in its operation and failed to prevent defections in toto.
Does not differentiate between disent and defection
- It does not make a differentiation between dissent and defection. It curbs the legislator’s right to dissent and freedom of conscience.
- Thus, ‘it clearly puts party bossism on a pedestral and sanctions tyranny of the party in the name of the party discipline’
- Role of presiding officer should be reviewed
- Further, Rule 7(3) of the Members of Rajya Sabha (Disqualification on Grounds of Defection) Rules clearly stipulates that a member against whom the petition has been made, has to forward his comments to the chairman within seven days of the receipt of copy of the petition.
- Rules prescribed by the Rajya Sabha show that the Chairman is required either to proceed to determine the question himself or refer it to the committee of privileges for a preliminary inquiry.
- But reference to the committee is contingent upon the Chairman satisfying himself that it is necessary or expedient to do so; it is not mandatory.
- As a matter of fact, in several cases in the past, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, whenever “the circumstances of the case” so warranted, have “determined the question” themselves, without referring it to the committee.
- The presiding should take the assistance of the privileges committee before deciding such cases.
2.Provisions to recognise dissent
- Suitable provisions should be inserted so that genuine dissent with the party “high command” is not subverted through 10th schedule.
- In a vibrant democracy, such differing opinions within a party will only enhance the intra-party democracy.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
4) What are the possible consequences of the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In your opinion, what should be India’s stance on this issue? (150 Words)
“There is No Permanent Enemy or Friend vis-a-vis Foreign Relations But Only Convergence or Divergence of Interest.”
This is discernible from India’s present foreign policy which is shifting from Non-Alignment to Strategic Alignment. The strategic Alignment is visible from India’s de-hyphenated foreign policy with Israel-Palestine.
With recent developments,the critics say that there has been a shift in India’s position with Palestine.
India’s disposition towards Israel
- The recent visit of India’s PM to Israel,declaring Israel as Strategic Partner, consolidating defense agreements particularly besides hosts of other agreements.
Impulsive Attitude of Trump Administration
- This is conspicuous from recent US stand on Jerusalem to declare it as the capital of Israel, which is a controversial issue in not only Palestine, but also the entire Muslim world.
India’s Position on Palestine
- India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.
- Along with political support, India has been contributing material and technical assistance to the Palestinian people.
- In 2016 India pledged a USD 1.25 million to the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees
- India has always been a leading partner in educational support and capacity building process
- The recent visit of India’s President to Palestine manifests India’s support to Palestine cause is still intact.
- The critics view is that Indian policy is certainly affected by US in recent times.
Why Indian Policy shouldn’t change?
- Avert Islamic terrorism
- Peace and stability in the Middle East is, perhaps, the most important imperative of Indian foreign policy, and it will be adversely affected by the dynamics that Trump’s policies will unleash.
- The US decision, against international consensus, could well stoke off further instability in the volatile region and lead to yet another bout of Islamist radicalism – all matters of direct concern for India.
2.Oil dependence on Middle East
- Some 70% of our oil comes from the region, seven million of our citizens work there. Four times in recent history, India has had to evacuate its nationals from the region; in 1990 from Kuwait, Lebanon in 2006, Libya in 2011 and Yemen in 2015.
3.Chinese diplomatic aggressions
- China like Rohingya issue in Myanmar is actively asserting its diplomatic profile to resolve issues in Israel and Palestine against the US polcies. It is favouring solutions like “Two states” as initially propounded by India.
- It will lead to ceding of space for India.
However, it would be too early to say that India has changed its pro-Arab historical stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. At the same time it can’t be denied that in recent time India have disposed from towards Israel.
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
5) Comment on the Parliament’s ability to oversee macroeconomic challenges facing the country today. (150 Words)
Parliament uses two mechanisms for monitoring the national economy. The first is a debate in the House, the second is through Parliamentary committees.
Challenges to Parliament’s ability
- Declining time for debate
- Currently, there is limited debate in Parliament on macroeconomic and monetary policy issues.
- The subject is usually brought up during the debate on the Union budget, and over the years the duration of budget discussions has been steadily decreasing.
- During Parliament’s first decade, the debate on the budget lasted for an average of 123 hours. In the last decade, this number has come down to 40 hours.
2.Quality of debate on economic issues low
- The other occasion when economic issues come up for discussion is when MPs are locking horns debating rising prices in the country. During the last decade, it is a subject which forms part of Parliament’s agenda almost every year.
- The debate on it remains inconclusive and follows a familiar pattern of ascribing blame and political rhetoric.
3.Parliamentary Committees’ limited scope
- Parliament has three finance committees — the Public Accounts, Estimates, and Public Undertakings committee.
- These committees focus on holding specific government ministries accountable. They scrutinise the finances, legislation, and working of ministries.
- Their mandate does not extend to scrutinising cross-cutting macroeconomic issues.
- For example, in the last 10 years, the governor and the deputy governors of RBI have testified at least 15 times before the committee on finance. Their testimony was always limited in scope since the committee mostly examines policy issues and legislation being dealt with by the finance ministry.
- Parliament requires a specialised committee concentrating on the broader economic issues facing the country like Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
- International lessons
- The US Congress has a committee of both Houses called the Joint Economic Committee. It reviews economic conditions and recommends improvement in policy.
- The House of Lords in the UK has an Economic Affairs Committee. Its role is to consider economic affairs and it is currently inquiring into the impact of Brexit on Britain’s labour market.
- In 2002, the national commission to review the functioning of the constitution recommended the setting up of a Nodal Standing Committee on National Economy supported with adequate resources, which would conduct an ongoing analysis of the national economy.
- It could invite the RBI Governor and other government functionaries like the chief economic adviser to testify and enrich its proceedings. .
- It was of the opinion that the findings of this committee “would help both government and parliament in orchestrating opinion on important policy issues for building a national consensus.”
General Studies – 3
Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
6) Why and how should India build a very credible underwater capability with a judicious mix of conventional and nuclear-propelled submarines? Examine. (250 Words)
- India seeks to augment in a significant manner over the next two decades when there is steadily shrinking force levels of the ‘boats’
- There will be diesel electric Scorpene-class submarines; SSBNs (nuclear-propelled submarines equipped with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile) to follow INS Arihant; and SSNs (nuclear-propelled submarines) used in an attack role.
- When all these boats are operationally inducted, India will have a very credible underwater capability with a judicious mix of conventional and nuclear-propelled submarines.
Why India should build a very credible underwater capability
- Security of the Indian Ocean
- Chinese aggressiveness in the Indian waters and the surrounding regions has become a critical issue for strategic reasons.
- Therefore it is imperative to ensure peace and security in the Indian ocean region for which underwater capaibalities need to be enhanced comprehensively.
2.Saving lives in critical situtions of the navy(wo)men
- To prepare for any exigency, every submarine-operating navy also invests in a deep submergence rescue vessel (DSRV) or has access to the same with navies that have such a capability.
- Currently the Navy does not have a dedicated DSRV and this void will be filled only in 2018. India has already lost its soldiers in absence of this, most recently in Argentine Navy’s submarine, the San Juan.
How should India proceed?
Robust policy making
- The complacency in decision-making and fecklessness in critical policy formulation have adversely impacted the growth of the Indian military profile in many ways.
- Indigenous submarine-building capability got off to an encouraging start in the mid 1980s with the West Germany yard, HDW. Two boats were acquired from abroad and two were to be built at Mazagon Dock, Mumbai, as the foundation for an indigenous submarine programme. However, allegations of financial impropriety in the HDW deal led to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi peremptorily cancelling the whole programme – and the indigenous submarine programme was set back by three decades.
- Insulating core national security interests from the vagaries of mercurial political/electoral compulsions is a matter that warrants the most serious and urgent deliberation by legislators.
- Legislative commitment and nurturing the integrity of decision-making remains an institutional void.
Stregthen defence partnerships
- Concurrently, the Navy is also invested in building conventional boats in India through partnership programmes with foreign suppliers.
- Collaboration with countries having comparative advantages in building submarines.
Develop skilled human resource for indigenous manufacturing
- India is the first country in the world to move straight to designing and building an SSBN, without moving up the scale from conventional boats and then SSNs.
- It has been possible due to the dedication and rigorous professionalism of the human resource that lies at the core of the submarine arm, from its formative years to where it is now poised.
A strong credible underwater capability is need of the hour in order to maintain peace in the region and to protect the country from the any potential attacks.
7) Exports are an important driver of economic growth and will also help create much needed jobs for India’s growing workforce. In this regard, examine the constraints being faced by labour intensive export industries in India and necessary measures needed to address these constraints. (250 Words)
Status of Indian exports
- According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), merchandise trade volume of India in 2017 is expected to grow by 3.6%, compared to 1.3% in 2016.
Importance of exports
- Exports are an important driver of economic growth and will also help create much needed jobs for India’s growing workforce. They played an important role in transforming countries such as South Korea and China in recent decades.
- Labour intensive industries in India are particularly important because of its capacity to absorb large workforce against stagnant agriculture and automatic and skilled service sector.
- Therefore, India will need to work on increasing competitiveness to expand its exports share in the world market.
- Competition from other smaller countries
- India stands to gain as labour-intensive manufacturing is moving out of China due to rising wages and an ageing population.
- But this is not happening in a big way, and India is losing out to other Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.
- India’s “revealed comparative advantage”, an indicator of competitiveness, in some of the labour-intensive sectors has actually declined over the past decade
- Indian firms in the apparel and leather sectors are smaller than those in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. The reason for this is regressive labour laws.
3.Land acquisition problem
- There is a threat of rising protectionism, India needs to be prepared to protect its interests without compromising on its open trade policy.
- India has always supported rule-based multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO.
- India needs structural changes to be able to attain higher and sustainable exports growth in the medium to long run, particularly in labour-intensive sectors.
- The government of India has taken several measures to boost exports in its midterm review of foreign trade policy 2015-20.
- Incentives for specific sectors which are labour intensive
- Apart from incentives for specific sectors such as ready-made garments and footwear, India is losing out in labour-intensive sectors like apparel and footwear, and why it is important to focus on these sectors.
- For instance, apparel is 80 times more labour-intensive than the auto sector.
2.Duty free procurement of inputs for exports
- Government is allowing duty-free procurement of the inputs needed for exports on a self-assessment basis.
3.Logistic division established
- A new logistics division has been established in the department of commerce to coordinate development in the logistics space.
4.Simplification of tax structure
- The recent changes in the goods and services tax, are likely to help the export sector.
5.Reform labour market
- The government will need to move forward with reforms in the factor market. India has a large number of small enterprises, which are not in a position to attain economies of scale and compete in international markets
- Firms in labour-intensive sectors will need more freedom to operate.
- Similarly, more flexibility in land acquisition will also help the manufacturing sector.
- It is important to keep the currency competitive.
- The RBI has done well in recent months to absorb a significant amount of the foreign exchange flow by building reserves to keep the rupee in check.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics in public administration; Ethics in human actions.
8) Perpetration of hate crimes in the name of religion or caste reflect incapacity of the state to provide its citizens basic rights. Comment. (150 Words)
Hate crime is defined as a crime which is usually violent in nature directed towards a particular group,caste, community etc which results from prejudice or intolerance based on ethnicity,colour,gender,gender identity etc
Such incidents not disturb social fabric but also hampers peace and tranquillity depriving individuals from right to live with dignity, creates stress, trauma,fear,crisis of credibility in govt machinery to stop crimes, lack of attributes of empathy , love ,compassion etc.
Right to live with dignity and without undue fear have been recognised as the fundamental rights under our constitution. The principles enshrined in UDHR-1948 run through Constitution and assure a citizen of protection of her basic human rights in all circumstances.
Hate crimes in the name of religion and caste destroy the delicate balance of social cohesion on which social harmony thrives. The State has the fundamental responsibility of maintaining peace and tranquility in society along with promoting social harmony and fraternity.
The legitimacy of State is derived from an unwritten contract between its citizen and itself that State will be the protector of their lives and property irrespective of their caste, religion, race, ethnicity and gender. The breach of this contract raises existential doubts over effectiveness and validity of State.
The State shall strive to raise public awareness that fuel bias-motivated incidents, enforce related laws forcefully to show its authority and secular character, educate citizen, run various community conflict resolution programs and mainstream the social issues for larger public debate.
Therefore state should take certain measures to stop such violence such as stringent punishment to the offenders, robust hate crimes laws,sensitising society,give more teeth to law enforcement agencies,right to freedom of speech and expression should be implemented in letter and spirit,leaders to act morally and responsibly not to spread discord for vote bank politics etc.
Hence perpetrators of hate crimes should be dealt in a harsh manner to realize the dream of vasudhaiva kutumbakam