SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 JANUARY 2018
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
Topic: Salient features of Indian Society; Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
- The violence on the 200th anniversary celebrations of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon has once again put the spotlight on violence against Dalits in India.
- Recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that the rate of crimes against Dalits has risen in recent years, even as the conviction rate for such crimes has declined.
- In 2016, an estimated 214 incidents of crimes against scheduled castes (SCs) were reported per million SC population, up from 207 in 2015 according to the NCRB data
Rising rate of crimes against Dalits :-
- Rising living standards of Dalits appears to have led to a backlash from historically privileged communities.
- In a study by Delhi School of Economics ,an increase in the consumption expenditure ratio of SCs/STs to that of upper castes is associated with an increase in crimes committed by the latter against the former
- Rising income and growing educational achievements may have led many Dalits to challenge caste barriers, causing resentment among upper caste groups, leading to a backlash.
- There is also a possibility of the rise due to high registration and recognition of such crimes
- Dalits are perceived as a threat to the established social, economic and political position of the upper caste. Crimes is a way to assert the upper caste superiority .
- Stasis in farm income over the past few years caused disquiet among predominantly agrarian middle caste groups, who perceive their dominance in the countryside to be weakening.
- The growing scramble for Dalit votes by different political actorshas only added a fresh twist to a conflict that has been simmering for some time.
- Constitutional protection given to Dalits in article 17 and other legislative provisions gave them support to fight for their rights
- With reservation policy many dalits have gained mobility.
- Dalit movements in the past like Dalit Panther movement, Kanshiram’s role made dalits aware of their strength in political power as well.
- With youth unemployment and distress migration on the rise and disillusioned young men being radicalized
- Maratha youth, who are facing unemployment and a lack of educational opportunities, are now being easily pulled into these conflicts by Hindutva organisationsthat are consequently built by invoking past Maratha glory. The violent clashes in Bhima Koregaon were an extension of the conflict in Wadhu Budruk.
- The effect of land reforms and agrarian transformation while reinforcing the hold of landed castes and communities in the countryside has pushed Dalits and social segments akin to them further to the margins.
- There is a new enslavement and recrudescence of gradation and ranking at the workplace rather than enablement and camaraderie. This triggered dalit youth to fight the hierarchy.
- The Hindutva agenda of assigning lower castes to their predestined places has further exacerbated the sense of being unwanted.
- Access to higher and professional education has enabled horizontal and vertical social and economic mobility for Dalits. This new class has started to refuse the conventional social stigmatisation and subordination of the Dalits by the upper castes.
- Protests by students at Hyderabad in the wake of the suicide of Rohith Vemula, who faced caste-based harassment, mobilisation of thousands of Dalits in Una, Gujarat ,mobilisation at the Jantar Mantar in the national capital, are examples of Dalit assertion that seem to have upset casteist sections.
- Technology :-
- The use of social media to network and communicate has proliferated awareness among the dalit youth.
- So there is a need to create employment opportunities for the youth so that they are not disillusioned and contribute towards the harmony of the society.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
2) Increasing protectionism in the West and the rise of new digital technologies pose challenges and opportunities for India’s IT services industry. How should India weather these challenges? Examine. (250 Words)
- Political developments in Western polities in the past few years show that protectionist tendencies are on rise.
- Recently US government signed the “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. Since the order, various proposals have been made, or notified, that would make hiring H-1B workers difficult for companies.
- India has been the largest beneficiary of the old system with over 60% of the revenue of the $150-billion-plus Indian IT industry is from exports to the US. The direction of recent policy would affect the Indian IT industry.
- So with the new policies of US India will be among the major losers .This would make a significant dent on the bottom-line and cost-competitiveness of these IT companies.
- Due to the rise of e-commerce, mobile computing and penetration of the internet, demand in the industry has shifted from traditional products towards new technologies. Indian companies have been lax in responding to the challenge, favouring organic growth to acquisitions.
- Only 14% of Indian companies revenue come from their business in digital services and they’re losing out on a growing market.
- Executives point out that higher salaries push up costs and could create problems for existing staff who may already be H-1B visa-holders.
- Indian companies use to get hi-tech workers into the US is the L-1 visa, which allows intra-company transfers but Indian companies face a 40% rejection rate compared to small numbers for the rest of the world.
- Indian companies have also been looking for ways to reduce their dependence on the US market. But they have not had a great deal of success. About 62% of the industry’s revenues come from the US.
- Local hiring could be a bigger concern, particularly in the US, the largest market for Indian IT.
- If protectionist policies continue beyond rhetoric and specific curbs are erected, there could be a 30-40% hit on net profit .
- Unfilled jobs in the US will be 2.4 million by 2018. Visa curbs will hurt them more in the long run.
- In order to improve its cost competitiveness, Infosys, Wipro and TCS have been using their proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms to increase productivity.
- In 2016-17, both these firms said these automation tools helped each of the firms record productivity worth work done by 12,000 engineers.
- Tightening immigration controls in the US will mean more skilled homegrown professionals looking for opportunities in the Indian market not only for employment but also in the start-up space.
- Pushing for freer movement of its skilled professionals across borders. It has been lobbying at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for multiple-entry visas on cross-border movement of services, relieving professionals on short stints from social security contributions, insurance visas, etc as a part of the Trade Facilitation Agreement for Services. But judging by the opposition to this agenda.
- The necessary transformation of the IT sector in response goes beyond evolving new business models and services. Re-skilling employees to keep pace will be essential.
- Some major Indian companies are looking at using their offices in Ireland and Mexico so they can be close to their clients in the US.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
3) A reconsideration of the flawed verdict in Suresh Kumar Koushal will not only complement Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India judgement, it will also give hope to aspirations of progressive India. Comment. (150 Words)
- In the Koushal judgement in 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises gay sex. A reconsideration of the flawed verdict in Suresh Kumar Koushal is now in prospect.
- With a curative petition in SC, there is fresh hope that the Delhi High Court judgment of 2009, which read down Section 377 to decriminalise consensual sex between adults, may be restored.
Why reconsideration of Koushal judgement is needed?
- Supreme court judges observed in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India that equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform. The right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
- Ever the National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India (2014) regarding the rights of transgender persons questioned the Koushal reasoning . There has been a body of jurisprudence that sees gender identity and sexual orientation as an aspect of privacy, personal freedom and dignity.
- The Koushal judgment exhibited a total disconnect with the expanding horizon of human rights.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- The Koushal judgment diminished the high standing of Indian human rights jurisprudence. It exhibited a total disconnect with the expanding horizon of human rights.
- In the Koushal judgement LGBTQ people are treated as unapprehended felons is a great blow to the doctrine of equality, privacy and dignity embodied in liberal judgments of Supreme Court.
- The Koushal judgment is also called out for relegating its constitutional responsibility with the claim that LGBT persons constitute a minuscule fraction of the population.
- This articulation of privacy as personal autonomy is also what might be used in dealing with the vast number of medical professionals across the country who insist on treating homosexuality as a disease, in many instances detaining queer persons in clinics and administering treatment against their will.
- A recognition that privacy is linked to autonomy and the navigation of space should allow people to think about the ways in which public spaces can be made safer for people who bear physical markers of gender nonconformity: whether it is public transport or an establishment space.
- With the Right to Privacy judgment, it is not just Suresh Kumar Koushal but also these varied structures supporting queer persecution that have received a significant challenge.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics,
- Asteroid miningis the exploitation of raw materials from asteroids and other minor planets, including near-Earth objects.key elements needed for modern industry and food production could be exhausted on Earth within 50–60 years.
- Asteroid mining in particular is regulated, among others, by the Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Agreement.
- Objective of asteroid-mining is to find water .It is also the raw material for rocket propellant.
- An asteroid-mining infrastructure could help to solve a major impending resource problem.
- Generating solar energy in space will be cheaper than generating energy on Earth through any known method. The energy might then be beamed to the ground via microwaves.
- looking for elements that are extremely scarce here on Earth. These include gold, silver, platinum, copper, indium, lead, palladium etc
- Resource that would be valuable to Earth is Helium-3, an isotope that’s a potential fuel source for nuclear fusion.
- Number of technological and economic hurdles will need to be overcome. Getting to space is still prohibitively expensive for most nations.
- Space travel prices do plummet. That still leaves asteroid mining companies the heavy lifting of building the necessary off-world infrastructure, like processing facilities that are either in orbit or on another planet.
- The technological barrier of building equipment that can handle the rigors of space for decades and perform mining operations with little to no supervision.
- The economic component of asteroid mining looms large over any venture. The cost of developing a mining program, prospecting an asteroid, building infrastructure around a chosen body and setting up an efficient operations regime to deliver materials is staggering.
- High launch and transportation costs of spaceflight
- Inaccurate identification of asteroids suitable for mining, and in-situ ore extraction challenges.
- Late last year, the US government made an attempt to update the law on space mining, producing a bill that allows companies to possess, own, transport, use, and sell extra-terrestrial resources without violating US law. The problem is that putting this into practice violates the OST.
- Recent missions by NASA and the ESA do sound out some hope for the near-term success of off-world mining. Asteroid mining technology might actually be accelerated by humanity’s collective need .
Reasons why agriculture needs overhaul in India:-
- Farm incomes are unattractive :-
- Due to the absurdity of policies features among them.
- The overriding objective of price stability has tilted farm policy in favour of the consumer, the numerically larger vote bank.
- Trade and price controls are highly restrictive and mostly anti-farmer.
- Protection afforded to the inefficient fertilizer industry ensures that input costs are high.
- Agri-markets are not free. Governments seek to influence prices. In the absence of state intervention, prices soar in bad weather years and plunge in good weather years, hurting consumers and farmers.
- MSP related issues:-
- Despite a bumper harvest, after a steep MSP hike and good rains, export controls and stocking limits for private traders were retained and a record volume of imports allowed to be shipped in. The resulting glut sent the market price down, below the MSPs, rendering it pointless. The looming losses set off farmer protests seeking even higher MSPs.
- High MSP also edged out private traders, forcing a scale-up in procurement. Wheat and rice stocks surged but were not used to dampen market prices.
- Indian MSPs of rice and wheat are less than support prices in China and other Asian countries.
- Failure of government schemes:-
- The government has had several schemes for decades now to help farmers modernise their holdings. Unfortunately, the high initial investments required, in combination with negative incentives such as input subsidies (fertiliser, pesticide, water, electricity), have meant that small farms could not reap the benefit of these schemes and remained unmechanised, without micro-irrigation, and with poor crop storage facilities.
- Small holdings continue to be unviable and the input subsidies do little to change this fact.
- It is also a myth that frequent bank loan waivers alleviate the penury of small farmers. Most small farmers have any collateral .As a result, they turn to local moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates of interest leading to farmer’s suicides.
- Dependency of Indian agriculture on monsoon and the severe depletion of groundwater in States like Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana as a result of massive exploitation of ground water for irrigation
- Weak Producer – Consumer Linkages:
- The farmer is not connected to aggregators, food processors and retail chains to help shape the nature of his produce.
- Weak Supplier Power:
- The farmer is barely empowered as a supplier. He continues to be small & marginal, inadequately resourced, ill-informed on markets and marketing, ill-equipped to manage risk, burdened with credit & debts and is dependent on traders to reach the buyers.
- Overdependence on Agriculture
- Lack of enabling infrastructure along the value chain:
- There is a staggering lack of infrastructure across the entire agricultural value chain
- Technology Starved:
- Lack of new technology solutions keeps the farmer from gaining an equal footing globally.
- Low investment in Research & Development:
- Less than 1% of the Agricultural GDP in India is spent on research. That is abysmal considering this sector is critical to food security of the country and provides livelihood to 60% of population.
- Crop insurance scheme is almost a total failure.
Efforts are being made:-
- ‘Make in India’ programme is vital. If industry and manufacturing can absorb labour, with a little regulatory help, farm holdings can grow larger and become viable.
- And the government has introduced many agro-centric initiatives like
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
- Soil health cards
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana
- National Agriculture Market (eNAM).
- Minimum Support Price (MSP) for different crops have also been enhanced regularly.
- The government also pledged to double farmers’ incomes by 2022 and this certainly makes for a rosy picture.
- A sensible policy would be to buy from farmers when market prices are depressed and sell stocks in the open market when prices are elevated.
- In the first scenario, if the MSP is pegged higher than the market price, the procurement will raise the market price, boosting farm incomes.
- In the latter, by offloading its stocks at a price lower than the market price, government can cushion consumers against excessive inflation.
- Invite technological investments in the farm sector both by the Government and the private sector. For increasing productivity, scientific innovations specially a well designed foolproof mechanism for implementation of genetically modified crops will have to be established in the country.
- The credit system needs to be revamped and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana should be utilised. The private sector agro-processing players should be given incentive to provide credit to the farmers.
- There is a need that State-specific problems and innovations be allowed and flexibility and new approach should be rewarded.
- For example the cost norm for Manipur, Tripura and Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh cannot be the same.
- Adopting a holistic and integrated approach in ensuring convergence in the management of animal husbandry, fisheries, agro-forestry, minor forest produce and agro-minor forest-based micro and medium enterprise specially in the rain-fed areas.
- There is need for immediate steps to create brooder houses in each block for the marginal farmers and landless agricultural workers and tenet farmers to augment their income and to increase the production of eggs and protein.
- Indian cows produce A2 milk which is genetically and health wise better .The Government must review its policy and revive the indigenous milk producing cow breeds like Shahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharpakar, Rathi, Kankrej, Ongole and Hariana to name a few by taking up breed improvement programmes.
- Private sector players should be invited to set up cold storages and silos to prevent damage of food grains and vegetables and fruits.
- There should be a separate Budget for agriculture considering the situation of farming sector in the country and its potential.
- A 20 Year Vision & Implementation Road Map to enable suppliers:
- Essential to this would be consolidation of farmers and their land into large groups without them losing land title. This will help in gaining collective scale and can be implemented in two ways
- Large Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) need to be properly networked and federated, regionally as well as centrally.
- Encourage Land Banks in especially hills and semi-arid areas where farming is difficult.
- State of the art infrastructure in areas like storage & transportation, knowledge & information, credit & insurance etc. needs to be established.
- A clear plan to reduce dependence on agriculture from an untenable 60% to a more sustainable 30%. Agricultural policies would do well to address the need to make agriculture more efficient and less burdened. Also, enabling supporting professions for people looking for alternate careers would go a long way.
- An assessment by the Wildlife Institute of India states that tigers in at least 26 reserves face the destructive impact of roads and traffic. Other animals also face similar situation.
Why it is important to consider about the issue and why is it necessary to act:-
- Building unsuitable roads through wildlife habitats has a terrible cost especially when species are protected.
- Good scientific advice to keep them out of wildlife corridors is mostly ignored.
- Protected areas are just 4% of the land. India is committed to such an approach under Article 14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
- Indian field research studies have documented that the spectrum of wildlife killed or injured ranges from small invertebrates, frogs, and reptile species many found nowhere else in the world to birds and large mammals such as deer, leopard, tiger, and elephant.
- Estimates from a few studies put it at around 10 animals killed per kilometre per day.
- There are also Sections 428 and 429 in the Indian Penal Code which make it illegal of main or cause injury to any animal.
- If you do injure the animal, you’re expected to pay a fine of Rs. 10.
- For road-kills, the punishment is a fine of Rs. 2000 and/or a jail term of up to five years. So there is not much consideration for animal’s life and these punishments/penalties are insignificant.
- The scientifically documented negative ecological impacts of roads through PAs are many, and include:
- Wildlife killed by speeding vehicles (Road Kills)
- Disruption of wildlife corridors
- Modification of animal behaviour, affecting natural movement patterns
Solutions needed are :-
- Although important for economic development, excessive road expansion into wildlife habitats, and roads that are poorly planned and do not integrate wildlife safety into their planning, will cause irreparable harm to wildlife. Integrated conservation planning that provides long-term solutions for reducing the impacts of linear intrusions like roads on wildlife need to be urgently developed for the country.
- The sensible response to the growing number of roadkills should be to stop road construction in wildlife habitat and reassess the impact.
- The Centre and the National Highways Authority of India have been repeatedly advised by the National Board for Wildlife, as well as independent researchers, to realign or modify sensitive roads.
- Curbs should be imposed on traffic on existing roads passing through sanctuaries. This can be done using speed restraints and by allowing only escorted convoys, with a ban on private vehicular movement at night.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority should insist on modification of existing roads to provide crossings for animals at locations identified in various studies.
- A more robust approach would be to realign the roads away from all such landscapes.
- Users can be asked to pay a small price for the protection of vital environmental features, and more areas for nature tourism can also raise revenues. This would ensure that tigers and other animals are not isolated, and can disperse strong genetic traits to other populations.
- In highways , combination of realignment and creation of long underpasses for animal movement.
- Restrictions should be applicable to religious tourism as well.
- Infra-red animal detection systems coupled to mobile messaging technology can alert train drivers and help prevent track deaths.
- Structural modification of power line heights and visibility in risk-prone areas can save elephants and birds from electrocution.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;
a)In this situation, what is the course of action you want to pursue? Justify with valid reasons.
- Options available:-
- Ban the movie considering the sensitivity of the issue and heeding to the demands of conservatives, political representatives etc.
- Clear the certification for the movie with necessary modifications.
- The latter option makes sense due to the following reasons:-
- CBFC is an independent body and my duty as a chief is to abide by the rule book and adhere to the tenets of the constitution of India. So the movie has the right to freedom of expression.
- The views of all the CBFC members will be seriously discussed but the ultimate would be to maintain a balance will be maintained in protecting the culture and respecting the fundamental right of equality.
- The movie highlights the modern issue of homosexuality but based on supreme court judgement I would oppose it but the historical issue of dalit discrimination needs urgent focus in the current Indian context so I would permit the movie to be released with an adult certificate due to the explicit scenes.
- I will involve all the stakeholders involved and try to bring a peaceful resolution.
- b) Do you think culture is influenced by motion pictures to the extent of endangering it? Critically comment.
Yes, Culture is influenced by movies:-
- Movies which degrade and show Indian culture in a bad light can be banned
- Certain movies can lead to incitement of violence in the society
- The movies which violate the article 19 and the seven grounds of restriction mentioned in the constitution can be banned.
- By censoring films at the behest of a few, we embolden fringe groups to take the law into their hands, we arm them with the power to take the law in their own hands, and to undermine the rule of law. Thus, it becomes the tyranny of the minority over the rights of the majority.
- While entertaining movies also provides education, develops a national character, and mirrors the society at large
- The ban on a film is legally justifiable only on these seven grounds, and none else.
- The censorship should be based on precise statement of what may not be subject-matter of film making and should allow full liberty to the growth of art and literature.
- The ban on films which highlight issues clearly reveals immaturity in accepting criticism
- Bans on films which raise modern issues such as Gulabi Aaina or Fire should not be banned especially when the question of the rights of the LGBT community is being debated as a constitutional issue, and as part of human rights.
- Most importantly, such prohibitions adversely affect democracy and the rule of law.
- The prohibited films are readily available on the Internet. They can be downloaded and enjoyed. Such bans thus motivate people to break the law and to dilute the rule of law.
- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan asserts that the Indian civilisation is based on assimilation rather than on extermination. Indeed, the Constitution of India is wedded to the concept of pluralism and inclusiveness. But extra-constitutional bans restrict the free flow of thoughts, of imagination, of creativity. Such bans are thus against the constitutional philosophy, against the rule of law, against democracy, and against our national interest.
c)Why do you think there exists opposition to such movies? Does it bode well for India? Comment. (300 Words)
- Movies are opposed due to many factors:-
- Conservatism and orthodoxy that people are not ready to accept change.
- It hurts the sentiments of a group
- That these movies can create divide in the society.
- Indian culture do not explicitly deal with the sexually oriented issues.
- Lack of education
- Status quoism
As far as the movie does not bode with the national integrity of the nation,unity and diversty in India it is good to fight against such movies.
It does not bode well for India:-
- Extra-constitutional bans restrict the free flow of thoughts, of imagination, of creativity. Such bans are thus against the constitutional philosophy, against the rule of law, against democracy, and against our national interest.
- Right to life and right to dignity need to be respected.