SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 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.
General Studies – 1
Topic: Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
1) What is populism and what are its consequences? Do you think it’s the common man who’s to be blamed for the rise of populism across the world? Critically analyse, especially in the light of Brexit and Climate change issues. (250 Words)
- Populismis a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against a privileged elite.
- Populism is the label political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like.
- When important concerns of the people are not addressed by the elites, the populist movements tend to form to challenge the establishment. Their ideas can rejuvenate democracy, bring new people into the political process, and adjust the political system to societal change.
- It addresses the issues of the common man
- They are often based on a crude division between “us” (the pure people) and “them” (the corrupt elites and/or the foreigners). They often claim absolute moral superiority and possession of the whole truth. That makes them reject the legitimacy of the opponent.
- It’s a movement, a revolt, that is rising throughout Europe. There is re-emergence of state egotism and nationalism.
- For many populist movements, national sovereignty is the highest good. They are thus intrinsically mistrustful of international rules and tend to adopt aggressive “zero-sum” foreign policies.
- By voting to leave the E.U., the British people showed that the integration of the West is neither inevitable nor irreversible, a message that US president’s campaign made U.S. to pull back from its commitments around the world and to focus on “America first.”
- It is a world where the international agreements of the past are up for renegotiation and the interests of the nation-state are not bound by an established global order.
- Often results in a decline in rational debate about political issues.
- Populist movements are often led by charismatic leaders and have little internal democracy and accountability. These leaders tend to develop personality cults and, when they come to power, they often turn authoritarian. There is also a high risk of corruption and abuse of power.
- Populist movements often turn against representative democracy.
- Populist parties have few convincing solutions to 21st century challenges. Many of these are intrinsically transnational in character, such as coping with climate change, migration, economic development, scientific and technological progress; and regional and global stability. None of these objectives can be achieved by pulling up the drawbridge and withdrawing to behind fences or walls.
Common man’s mistake :-
- For more than a generation, the Western elites settled into a consensus on most major issues from the benefits of free trade and immigration to the need for marriage equality. Their uniformity on these basic questions consigned dissenters to the political fringe further aggravating the sense of grievance that now threatens the mainstream.
- In U.S and Europe population groups are suffering from stagnating incomes, job losses, and social insecurity ,rising inequality ,radicalisation, immigration issue leading to leaders taking populist decisions like Mexican wall, not allowing migrants in to a country etc.
- Crisis of representative democracy. For a number of reasons the bonds between the public and their political representatives have weakened. Many people have lost trust in mainstream politics and have turned to alternative political offers.
- The 2008 financial crisis and the refugee crisis of 2015/16 acted as catalysts; they spread a sense of insecurity and loss of control that galvanized the already-present frustration and fuelled the rise of populist parties.
It’s not common man mistake :-
- Political parties and leaders:-
- Populist parties have grown by exploiting the idea that the EU is to blame for an economic crisis caused by the whims of the markets.
- Vote for Brexit reflects rising general discontent by the excluded that is driving the rise of the likes of Donald Trump in the US, as well as of Italy’s own populist Five Star Movement.
- Similarly when leaders make promises to appease a particular group but not in national interest like loan waiver issue in India, freebies during elections etc.
- Fear of their populist competitors prompts mainstream politicians to prioritize national interests and adopt EU sceptical positions, which weakens solidarity among member states.
- Populist parties are also at least partly responsible for the growing demand for referenda on EU matters, which for them are perfect instruments for mobilization.
- The speed, superficiality and interactive nature of social media make them very well suited to spread populist ideas.
- Phenomena like “post truth” and “fake news” present huge challenges to traditional representative democracy.
- The EU and its member states have to pay more attention to the consequences of inequality and social injustice, and take action to cushion the effects of global competition and asymmetric shocks on vulnerable citizens.
- Apart from providing opportunities and assistance to these people, the EU also needs to tackle inequality by promoting fairer tax systems that ensure multinationals pay their fair share, exposing tax havens, and preventing money laundering and corruption.
- Managing migration well is another crucial challenge. Europe needs immigration in view of its demographic decline, but the process needs to be handled in an orderly manner. This requires better control over the external border, better common rules in the areas of migration and asylum, and more effective institutions.
- EU institutions and the governments of member state should also explore new ways to make politics more transparent, participative, and democratic. If citizens felt more involved and consulted, they would regain confidence in their representatives and would be less attracted by the simplistic solutions of populist parties.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
2) The state cannot choose between protecting freedom of expression and preserving law and order – both are its primary responsibilities and must ensure both. In the light of the recent threat of violence and other forms of intimidation posed by certain groups to works of art and free speech, critically comment on the statement. (250 Words)
- Recently the Supreme Court passed an order staying the notifications and decisions of four States to prohibit the screening of the film Padmaavat, and directing them to ensure that law and order is maintained during its exhibition.
Both are primary responsibilities :-
- The first and foremost duty of a state is to protect lives and guard the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of its people.
- Bans on films violate the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The use of the threat of violence and other forms of intimidation cannot give the state a reason to stifle fundamental freedoms.
- The court has reiterated that the grant of a certificate by the CBFC denudes the state of the power to prevent the exhibition of a film.
- In the light of violence by Karni Sena and other fringe elements inciting violence the Supreme Court in S. Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989) said that
- The state cannot plead inability to handle the problem of a hostile audience as that would be tantamount to negation of the rule of law and a surrender to blackmail and intimidation
- It is the duty of the state to maintain law and order.
- Even after the film producers changed the name and made necessary cuts as mentioned by CBFC the fringe elements are intimidating and still resorting to blackmail. This is violation of fundamental rights for people who want to see the movie and it is advisable for the states to protect the free speech .
- By censoring films at the behest of a few, states are emboldening fringe groups to take the law into their hand
- Governance and the capacity to govern are often challenged when the state comes into conflict with collective interests.
But sometimes when public order is under threat seriously or incites violence an art piece has been banned like many movies have been banned earlier considering the sensitivity of the movie content as well .
What needs to be done ?
- A more rewarding course of action would be to provide unconditional support and police protection to cinema halls.
- State governments must disabuse themselves of the notion that right to creative expression is a utopian or elitist construct.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- The Prevention of Crimes in the Name of ‘Honour’ and Tradition Bill, 2010 was an outcome of the spate of murders and dishonourable crimes in the name of ‘honour’.
- It aims to stop honour killings and other crimes in the garb of honour.
- Endangering the liberty of a couple through social sanctions and causing harm or harassment to them can evoke imprisonment of up to 10 years along with a fine.
- According to the bill, declaring a couple who have got married or intends to marry, as brother and sister provided they are not children from the same natural parent is punishable.
- It is also punishable if their marriage is recognised by law or custom and pressure is brought on them or their families to leave the village or area of residence
- Also seeks to provide all persons, including young persons and women, the right to control their own lives, to liberty and freedom of expression, right of association, movement and bodily integrity and the right to choose their own partners in marriage or otherwise.
- Seeks to provide for protecting the right to life and liberty of consenting adults, prohibition of unlawful assemblies, criminal intimidation, harassment, violence and interference in lawful matrimonial alliances in the name of honour and tradition
- Establishes power and accountability of District Magistrates and other officials concerned to prevent such crimes.
- The bill upholds Supreme Court judgement that adults are free to marry persons of their own choice and hurting couples, or summoning them before clan members, groups, or a khap, is absolutely illegal.
- Such crimes are also in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women which provide that women should have the right to freely choose a spouse.
- These actions of honour killing are also violative of certain fundamental rights in the Constitution of India, including the right to life, and liberty which includes the right to bodily integrity, and the right to choose whom to associate with.
- The actions of the parents of the girls to stop her from exercising her choice also result in curtailment of her freedom to movement and expression.
- It gives young couples the liberty to marry out of caste and religion and also to provide them a legal framework within which to exercise their choices.
- It seeks to protect individual liberty, right of association, and the right of adults to choose their own partners in marriage.
- It makes clear that the honour killing unduly emphasise on the framework of ‘honour’ to control and regulate women’s sexuality and their marital choices.
- Making the crime of honour killing a separate offence would help bring more clarity for law enforcement agencies.
Concerns and way forward:-
- The existing penalty for the offence of murder is sufficient if they are implemented strictly and effectively.
- A new set of laws would not deter honour killings because the basic issue is social sanction for acts committed to curtail same gotra marriage, inter-caste marriage, inter-religion marriage.
- Need for creating awareness among traditional communities through education.
- Holding khap panchayats collectively accountable can be detrimental to members who do not support such killing. Also, it could be misused for vindictive agendas.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
- Non-market economy is the economy in which the government seeks to determine economic activity largely through a mechanism of central planning. Countries like China come under this. However with rising protectionism countries like US and European countries are moving towards being a non market economy.
- Indian pacific:-
- There is an increase in Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and there is the need for multilateral mechanisms to maintain peace in the region.
- China is the disruptive force in the Indo-Pacific region. The trust deficit that exists in the region should be addressed by China.
- Indian ocean:-
- China had been making increasing forays in the Indian Ocean in the name of anti-piracy and the scenario was likely to continue.
- The recent opening of its naval base in Djibouti and the signing of free trade agreement with Maldives rose India’s fear as well.
- The region was facing a deficiency of trust and fear of insecurity and called for trust between countries and transparent inter-operability.
- The CPEC corridor as part of OBOR initiative created tensions in Indo-Pak border and threatened Indian sovereignty.
- The Doklam issue heightened the insecurities of India and Bhutan to the military establishments of China in its neighbourhood.
- China iscontinuous blocking of Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar’s designation as a global terrorist by the UN.
- A lot of market economies like US and China are also practising non-market economics.
- Economic :-
- China is a non market economy as there is huge centralised planning .
- Dumping its exports like steel, electronic goods in India and other countries affects the cost competitiveness of the local products and also leads to huge electronic waste.
- Balance of trade is tilted towards China.
- China’s role in infrastructure development in African countries is also concerning India.
- The recent US protectionist policies curbing immigration and also trying to reduce the intake of H1 B employees created furore for the Indian companies and other countries.
- This policy has also affected immigrants as many jobs were lost.
- Economic :-
- China has in a way opened up the international order, which allowed India to make its presence felt.
- Certainly, for India, in some ways China has been a motivator and an example.
- India can become a better destination for foreign investment.
- Initiatives like Quad and more regional groupings would take place to try to assert their stand against Chinese dominance.
- Reforms in the United nations are needed.
- India needs to focus on Indian ocean area and its neighbourhood implementing the projects on time and gaining trust to increase its stature.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education,
- In the light of cyber crimes ,access to ICT gains relevance in the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 of the United Nations
Digital divide :-
- Digital divide is a term that refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access.
- The term digital dividedescribes a gap in terms of access to and usage of information and communication technology.
- Increasing penetration of digital technology by bridging the existing digital divides is associated with greater social progress of a country.
- Social capital
- Once an individual is connected, Internet connectivity and ICTs can enhance his or her future social and cultural capital.
- Economic disparity is created between those who can afford the technology and those who don’t.
- A direct correlation between a company’s access to technological advancements and its overall success in bolstering the economy.
- Countries with less digital gap are benefitted more than the ones with more digital gap.
- The digital divide also impacts children’s ability to learn and grow in low-income school districts.
- Without Internet access, students are unable to cultivate necessary tech skills in order to understand today’s dynamic economy
- Lack of information:-
- Almost all India’s socio-economic problems had links to the “digital divide”, which had come to stay during the era of digital revolution and then again during the era of internet revolution in India.
- Rural India suffered from information poverty. Information is controlled by a few at the top of the pyramid who restrict its percolation down to those at the bottom.
- Political empowerment and mobilisation in the age of social media is difficult when there is digital divide.
- Transparency and accountability are increased when digitalised for instance people filing taxes online ,single window mechanisms for delivery of services ensures good governance as well.
India and it’s states in digital divide :-
- Crisis of digital divide in India:-
- India, which has been appreciated globally for providing IT services, faces a huge digital divide, having a relatively low percentage of population with access to the Internet. In 2014, it had only about 18 people per 100 using the Internet (World Bank Data).
- The digital divide in India is real – illiteracy rate is 25-30 per cent and digital illiteracy is even higher. About 70 per cent of over one billion Indians lives in rural areas, and only about 400 million have Internet access.
- Southern states lead and the eastern States are backward in rural digital access.
- Similarly urban areas are more digitalised than the rural areas.
- While nationally, 63.7% of the rural youth surveyed had never used the Internet, the figures were much higher in districts in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Assam.
- Noting that digital literacy is an important force for good governance and transparency ,India has tried to bridge the digital divide gap by enacting some programmes like
- Digital India
- Trying to make India a cashless economy
- Pradhan mantri Grameen Digital Saksharata Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) aimed at spreading digital literacy among the rural population.
- The Indian telecommunication industry has created a billion mobile connections, positively impacting the lives of the people and the economy. Significant investments have gone into creating telecom infrastructure – 2G voice and data covers nearly 97 per cent of Indians, while 3G/4G services are available to 68 per cent of the population.
- About 87 per cent of the Internet-connected population accesses it on the mobile phone. Hence, mobile technology will continue to remain at the forefront of driving digital inclusion.
- To bridge the digital divide, there is a need to accelerate execution.
- Meaningful collaborations with the private sector, technological innovations and following a consistent focused approach towards the larger objective are necessary.
- Utilisation of multiple modes of transactions such as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), and Point-of-Sale (POS) machines, need to be strengthened
- India also needs easing of regulations to allow inter-operability of wallets to ensure easy transfer of funds for merchants as well as for consumers.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
6) What are the important provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act 2015? Comment on the impact of this Act on lives of SC and ST population. (250 Words)
- The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act 2015 was enacted to comprehensively amend and strengthen the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 which prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and establishes special courts for trial of such offences.
- The amendment Act adds that
- (i) intentionally touching an SC or ST woman in a sexual manner without her consent, or
- (ii) using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature, or
- (iii) dedicating an SC or ST women as a devadasi to a temple, or any similar practice will also be considered an offence
- The Act adds new offences of atrocities such as
- (i) garlanding with footwear
- (ii) compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or do manual scavenging
- (iii) abusing SCs or STs by caste name in public
- (iv) attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs or STs or disrespecting any deceased person held in high esteem
- (v) imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott.
- Preventing SCs or STs from
- using common property resources
- entering any place of worship that is open to the public
- or entering an education or health institution, has been categorized as an offence.
- In such circumstances, it prescribes that the onus to prove that he was not aware of the caste or tribunal identity of the victim, would be on the accused.
- The Amendment Act also includes in the Act, Chapter VI-A which provides for rights of victims and witnesses. Impending activities related to casting a fair vote would also be considered as an offence
- The Amendment Act further specifies that an Exclusive Special Court must be established at the district level to try offences listed under the Act. An adequate number of courts are prescribed to be established to ensure that cases are disposed of within two months. Appeals from these Courts shall lie with the High Court, and must be disposed of within a period of three months.
- It outlines the duties of public servants to enhance more accountability
- Experts said that despite its delay, the legislation is the right step forward but a lot will depend on how well it gets implemented on the ground, given the limited machinery that is accountable for its implementation.
- The successful prosecution of the murder of Dalit boy case in Tamilnadu and the appropriate punishment awarded is due to this act. So there is speedy resolution of cases.
- Also it gives these communities confidence to face the upper castes and achieve social mobility.
- Upholds fundamental rights to equality.
- Killings and other atrocities occur to the greatest extent in marriages between Dalits and non-Dalits.
- The atrocities on traditional grounds related to land, resistance to untouchability etc are still rampant.
- The indifferent attitudeof the authorities concerned with the implementation of the act has prevented from achieving the laudable object of the law.
- Despite the provisions there have been incidents of violence against dalits like Una and recent Bhima Koregaon.
- Manual scavenging is still prevalent.
- Still social discrimination and segregation is largely prevalent and equality is still a myth.
- The incidents highlight the intensity of the atrocities that have been committed not only by citizens but by the State machinery as well.
- There is constant insecurity from the dominant castes to the increasing assertiveness of their constitutional rights by the Dalits and tribals
What more is needed ?
- Appropriate schemes should be prepared for the rights and entitlements of victims and witnesses in accessing justice as required.
- Training courses should be held at different levels for police officers and other officers of the district administration.
- The Supreme court requested the National Legal Services Authority to formulate appropriate schemes to spread awareness and provide free legal aid to members of SCs and STs.
- For India to progress and not lose its freedom, it has to let go of its regressive prejudices.
General Studies – 3
Topic: e-technology in the aid of farmers
- In the light of growing challenges of food security, clean energy for sustainable development solar integrated farming is the way forward
Solar technology and agriculture :-
- Incentives for farmer :-
- There are a number of incentives that are designed to further benefit farmers who want to switch to solar power.
- Irrigation becomes much easier :-
- Where there’s solar power, remote water pumping becomes a possibility because it enables farmers to bring the energy to the equipment.
- Making additional money from solar power would ensure greater income stability for farmers.
- Solar pumps hold potential to enhance irrigation access, advance low-carbon agriculture, reduce the burden of rising electricity subsidies, and improve the resilience of farmers against a changing climate.
- Solar energy saves farmers money:-
- Case studies indicate that dairy farmers could save up to 33 percent on their electric bills by converting to solar power.
- Building a solar system now enables farmers to lock in current power rates because it gives them a way to generate some of their own energy.
- States example:-
- Maharashtra is solarising its agricultural feeders by installing solar power plants at the substation level, through competitive bidding.
- Karnataka is promoting solar pumps for existing grid-connected farmers under a net-metering regime, allowing them to generate additional income by feeding back surplus energy into the grid.
- Even China is also figuring that agriculture is the best way to increase the roll-out of solar panels. The sight of thousands of solar panels fixed to metal platforms above the rows of eggplants or giant ponds for fish and shrimp is visible in China.
However despite the diversity of approaches and significant government subsidies, only about 1,42,000 pumps have been deployed till date against a target of one million pumps by 2021.So India should move further with this technology in the following way:-
- Target marginal farmers with smaller solar pumps, particularly in areas with good groundwater development potential.
- Couple solar pump deployment with micro-irrigation and water harvesting interventions at the farm and community levels.
- Fish ponds are probably best suited to integrated solar power because they don’t have to be ploughed or tilled every growing season.
- Farmers who manage the panels will need training in the technical specifications and education on the economics of solar power.
- Coherent national policy will first have to be in place to encourage investors to install the solar panels on the farms.
- Focus on technology demonstration and deploy at least five solar pumps in each block of the country. Such efforts could have a profound effect on farmers’ willingness to adopt solar pumps and spur bottom-up demand.
- In regions with already good penetration of electric pumps, prefer feeder solarisation through competitive bidding over solarisation of individual pumps.
- In regions with prevailing local water markets, promote community-owned solar pumps.
- Encourage sharing of solar pumps among farmers through farmer extension programmes.
- More schemes like “Surya Raithu” Scheme of Karnataka where farmers can become solar power producers and sell to the grid need to be emulated.
- World Bank irrigation project in West Bengal is exploring a service contract model for solar pumps, where payments are made to the contractor depending on the amount of water delivered from the pumps. This can be monitored through inexpensive GPRS and remote sensing technologies. This business model can help put a price on the use of water and help maintain ground water levels.
- Provide interest-subsidy to farmers combined with reduced capital subsidy to enable large-scale deployment of solar pumps in a shorter span of time. Such an approach would cover a greater number of farmers, helping them reap the benefits of solar pumps sooner and increase overall returns to the economy
- Addition of solar power to a hydroponic system makes it one of the most energy-efficient, eco-friendly ways to grow food. In addition to the environmental advantages – no pesticides, reduced reliance on trucked-in food, fewer carbon emissions hydroponic systems open up a world of agricultural possibilities.
- Government should continuously improve and innovate its support mechanisms on solar for irrigation.
- India must exploit the potential of this decentralised technology to achieve the dual national targets of 100 GW of solar and doubling farmers income by 2022 and setting a world-class example of greening the economy .
General Studies – 4
Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems
- It is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.
- Equanimity allows us to keep our balance and sanity in difficult times and enables us to be with courage.
Importance in governance :-
- As a civil servant there might be many external pressures to act against public interest but having equanimity and passion towards the societal interest is necessary for effective implementation of programmes.
- As part of government machinery there are many challenges faced everyday be it protecting law and order, implementing a scheme effectively etc but equanimity provides the administrator calmness and composure needed to handle any situation.
- Elected representatives with equanimity will be more inclined towards their duty towards public and focus will be on how to improve their life .So policy formulation would be apt and practical at the same time.
- Similarly the judicial proceedings would result in impartial and rational decisions ,upholding the principle of natural justice.
- Equanimity provides the administrators and governance machineries to have emotional intelligence capable of resolving ethical dilemmas effectively and also including multiple stakeholders in governance leading to good governance in the democracy.
- Another aspect of Equanimity is accepting the possibility that things may not work out the way we hope they will. This ability to let go of attachment to outcome is an important aspect of Equanimity. But letting go also includes not holding onto our notions of what we think will happen.
- Accepting the possibility that things might not work out the way we would like does not deter us from doing what’s right. So fight for justice is never ending .
- The Buddha said that when we know our actions are in alignment with what’s wholesome, we experience a deep sense of well-being and can appropriately respond to the situation. So to have effective and efficient governance equanimous attitude is necessary.
A)The case study highlights the importance of education in imbibing values and morals in a society. As a school dropout, my brother lacks the judgement to decide what is right and what is wrong and got influenced by the gang. Even though my brother is being a responsible citizen at home, his activities outside home are :-
- Against the tenets of the constitution of as fundamental rights of equality, right to life are violated.
- Incitement of violence by taking law into his hands
- Intolerant attitude
- Violation of rule of law
- Violation of individual privacy
- Against Indian democracy which celebrates diversity.
B)Trying to change my brother’s political ideology is against his fundamental right of freedom of expression .He is free to express his ideology within the boundaries of the law of the land. I would definitely try to mend his behaviour by
- Resorting to logic and reasoning showing that human life is important irrespective of the community, religion or the caste one belongs to.
- Reason with him that empathy and compassion are necessary for mental peace . Having hate towards other communities would only instil violence and create chaos and panic in the society.
- Also explain to him how his behaviour in public and private are different.
- Also show him the instances like communal riots ,ISIS which resorted to violence and what the result is to enlighten him that violence gives nothing.
- Remembering the return of the Kashmiri footballer back from militancy due to his mother’s request ,I would also request my parents to appeal to him to follow a righteous approach .
- I would try to get him formal education so that he understands the issue himself and rectify it.