SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
The role of Subhash Chandra Bose & his Indian National Army(INA), also known as Arzi-e-Hukumat Azad Hind Fauz have been a significant part of Indian Freedom Struggle. INA was an armed force organised by Bose in South Asia.
Its contributions towards India’s freedom struggle can be understood as
- INA which comprised mainly of the Indian expatriates & prisoners from Malay peninsula in South Asia aimed at the independence of India from the control of British empire.
- With the aim to ‘unfurl Indian flag at Red Fort’, Bose gave the slogan of ‘You give me blood, I will give you freedom & instilled the patriotism among the Indians
- INA made alliance with Imperial Japan in 1943 and fought against British Indian Army at Burma, Imphal & Kohima during Second World War. The INA comprising about 1-1.5 lakh soldiers aimed to defeat British & Other Commonwealth forces & win India’s freedom.
- The Bombay mutiny in Royal Indian Navy & other mutinies in 1946 are said to have inspired by the nationalistic waves raised by the trials of INA.
- A women’s unit comprising civilian volunteers under the leadership of Lakshmi Sehgal encouraged women to take part in the armed struggle against the British forces.
Reconciliation of INA in the national mainstream
- Mountbatten was not in favour of integrating INA members in the Indian army but after independence of India in 1947, scenario got changed.
- Many of the members of INA like Lakshmi Sehgal held key political posts & others served as ambassadors in other countries.
- Though the INA soldiers are not given the status of freedom fighters but they are seen with the eyes of respect & as patriots. Even Nehru missed the presence of Bose while hosting Indian flag at Red Fort.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the INA played the role of hammering the last nail in the coffin of British rule in India, because of its nationalistic ideas & the zeal to take freedom ‘at any cost’ & sacrifice of one’s own life.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The national historic responsibility of developed countries to fund the developing countries to combat climate change is well established through Kyoto Protocol. The notion of climate justice can be attributed to the following reasons
- Industrial Revolution
- In 19th century and early 20th century, western countries were in race for industrial development which led to booming of industry which polluted environment.
- As western countries were first to get industrialised, they should provide climate reselient technology to developing countries in combating climate change.
- Infact, their technological advancment can be attributed to the early industrialisation that created global warming.
Western countries can extend help in the following forms
- Funding the climate resilient program like Solar energy, afforestation etc in developing countries through Green Climate Fund.
- They can provide technology in combating pollution to the other countries.
3.Doha amendment 2012
- Advanced countries should ratify the 2nd phase(2013-2020) of Kyoto Protocol.
4.Loss and damage
- Implimentation of loss and damage clause decided in Warsaw COP19 summit to support island countries which are severely in threat of extreme climate condition.
It is high time that develop countries fulfill their promise done to help other nation to fight climate change given that Paris treaty will soon become operational from 2020 for the following decades.
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Parliamentary system provides a higher level of responsibility on the government through daily assessment by members in the form of questions, resolutions, no-confidence motions, adjournment motions and debates on addresses.
Ambedkar felt that daily assessment was more effective in holding governments to account, and more appropriate for India.
Regular sittings important for accounting the government
- In the initial years of our Republic, Lok Sabha sat for about 125-140 days a year. The size of the country and poor connectivity meant that MPs could not make a quick dash to their constituencies and there were planned intersession gaps to enable them to split their time between Delhi and their constituencies.
- Though it is far easier to travel today, Parliament has met for just 65-75 days per year in the last couple of decades.
- A direct consequence has been less scrutiny of the government’s actions, and even that of bills and budgets.
- A clear requirement for a more effective Parliament would be more sitting dates and a clear plan of those dates.
- The Constitution specifies that Parliament will be summoned by the President; the President shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers; and there cannot be more than six months between two sittings of Parliament. Similar provisions exist for State legislatures.
- Dilute the power of government to summon the session
- One has to address the structural issue of the government deciding when to summon the legislature, and its ability to adjust the dates in response to emerging circumstances.
- That is, dilute the power of the government to be the sole decider of session dates.
- A different approach would be to allow a significant minority of members to call for a session. Pakistan’s Constitution requires a session of Parliament within 14 days if one-fourth of its membership demands one.
2.Predecided dates annually
- A simple solution is to have a calendar of sittings announced at the beginning of each year. This would help members and others plan better for the whole year.
- It will also help members in scheduling other engagements in the presence of any certainty of the parliamentary schedule.
- A variant, such as that followed by the British Parliament, is to have year-long sessions.
- This would require some minor changes in rules such as permitting no-confidence motions to be taken up multiple times in a session if a significant minority asks for it.
- The legitimacy of the government in a democracy is derived from constant scrutiny by elected representatives.
- It is time to tweak the rules to strengthen the system and ensure that key institutions such as Parliament and State legislatures are able to perform their roles more effectively.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Agriculture issues
4) The central government constituted a series of high-powered committees on farmers’ suicides. Discuss the recommendations of these committees and comment why the union government has not acted upon these recommendations. (250 Words)
The Central government has constituted several high powered committees to solve the problem of distress of farmers. The recommendations of these committees are as follows
- Ramesh Chand Committee Report of March 2015 said the Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be calculated by computing farm labour at the skilled wage rate, calculating land rent at the actual rent without any ceiling, calculating interest on working capital by including a factor relating to borrowing from non-institutional sources, calculating interest on working capital for the whole and not half the crop season, by including in the cost of cultivation post-harvest costs and by including the rate of inflation. If this is done, the MSP would rise by over 50 per cent
- National Farmers Commission headed by M.S. Swaminathan that had made a similar recommendation decades ago
- Ensure that each agricultural household is covered under the PMFBY and to make sure that each farmer gets paid in case of farm loss.
- This insurance scheme does not cover tenant farmers even though they constitute 50 per cent of farmers’ suicides in Andhra Pradesh and other states. They should be registered and given documents such as the Loan Eligibility Cards as in AP and the Bhoomiheen Kisan Credit Card or the Certificate of Cultivator so that get crop insurance, crop loss relief and other benefits.
- The insurance schemes does not cover women farmers even though the National Farmers’ Commission recommended decades ago that their names be included in the column of cultivators and concessions on registrations and stamp duty be granted to women to incentivise land transfers to them. M.S. Swaminathan had even drafted a Women Farmers Entitlements Bill, 2011
- Radhakrishna Committee (2007) on Agricultural Indebtedness: Indebtedness is the main cause for such an extreme form of distress.
- Rangarajan committee on Financial Inclusion(2008): 66% of Farmers continue resorting to informal sources of credit.
- The report of the Task Force on Credit Related Issues of Farmers (2009): hegemony of moneylenders is continuing even after the introduction of doubling of farm credit policy.
Encourage organic farming
- The central government-appointed Task Force on Organic and Non-Chemical Farming recommended in 2016 that all states should substitute chemical fertilisers with bio inputs in at least 10 per cent of the net cultivated area (up from 1 per cent today) and provide high-quality organic seeds to farmers by 2025. However, GM food giants like Monsanto have a more powerful lobby of MPs than organic farmers.
Trade policy be revised
- The government should not allow cheap agricultural imports to contain inflation which adversely impacts the domestic agricultural sector.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Smart contracts are programmable contracts that automatically execute when pre-defined conditions are met without a third party between individual participants.
Smart contracts, enabled by blockchain or distributed ledgers, have been held up as a cure for many of the problems associated with traditional financial contracts, which are simply not geared up for the digital age.
Smart contract can make banking more secure and frictionless in following ways
- Smart contract have virtually no room for breaching on the agreement unlike traditional contract.
- Smart contract operation are less time consuming and the transaction cost associated with such contracts are more.
- KYC norms of each and every individual can be shared to one bank and securely uploaded on the blockchain, thereafter shared with the other banks once the trigger is generated by the customer because of permissioned block chain.
- No delays for insurance payment like for verifiable claims like delayed flights, motor accidents or death.
- Smart contracts brings authorized third parties in a single window with insures and insured.
- Smart contracts can record the collateral information of individual with block chain, so easier for loan processing.
- In trading and settlement of syndicated loans, corporate clients could benefit from shorter settlement cycles.
- Shortage of efficient personnel for handling such technology.
- Such technology needs high gestation cost but low running cost.
- Block chain technology used in smart contracts in banking require high performance computing grid,which are very less in number in India.
Smart contracts present an exciting, transformative opportunity for the financial services industry. So we should look forward in a comprehensive manner about smart contracts in banking.
Topic: Environmental pollution
Powering Past Coal Alliance(PPCA) is an international alliance comprising of 20 countries including Canada, Britain and New Zealand which aims to phase out coal from power generation by 2030. This alliance came into existence during 23rd meeting of Conference of Parties of UNFCC held in Bonn, Germany.
Its objectives are
- To reduce the use of coal for power generation and other things.
- To promote the exchange of technology to reduce the use of coal and emission of carbon.
- Focus on the use of renewable source of energy & finding new & better alternatives to coal.
The alliance may help to deal with the climate change in the following manner
- Since coal is responsible for 40% of emission of CO2 which is a major greenhouse gas and the reduction in use of coal means less GHGs.
- Focus on renewable energy sources will help to tackle global warming & so climate change.
- There are only 20 members in thus alliance now. Some major coal using countries like India, Australia , US are not included.
- When US has withdrawn from Paris Climate deal , this alliance may be devoid of funds, technology and enthusiasm which it needs.
The commitment of PPCA to include more members, atleast 50 by the next UN climate summit to be held in Poland in 2018 sets hopes and thought the alliance is not legally binding , but it may play a vital role on the path of curbing climate change effects, if implemented effectively.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Corporate governance
Monarchial model means the succession in a company is family based like the one seen in Tatas, Ambanis and Birlas.
Custodial model is where successor is not family based and open to employees . It is found in L&T group which is headed by employees.
Custodial model (CM) incorporates following principles of good corporate governance.
- Merit based
- In this emerging age of rapid technological advancement and growing complexities around business corporations, the custodial model of governance which warrants a code of minimum qualification/experience for any individual being appointed managing director.
- The legacy succession of young family members from the promoter group carries several negative repercussions.
- Succession in CM is more merit based,just and fair compared to succession in MM which is lineage based.
- CM model offers more participatory decision making compared to personality cult based in MM
- Kotak committee has also recommended the separation of roles of chairperson and managing director, and the chairperson should be a non-executive director.
- Decision in MM are not subjected to as much scrutiny as in CM model.
- It would be advisable to begin by at least sensitizing promoters to the need to separate management from shareholding. Defining minimum criterion for being eligible for top managerial positions for companies with a certain size and scale of market capitalization is also important.
Thus CM model offers a platform for inclusive decision making protecting the interests of minority stakeholders, greater accountability which are required for corporate governace. The lack of these found in Tata-Cyrus fallout ( a MM model) vindicates this.
However, ultimately what matters in how the values are applied in letter and spirit. Lack of robust implementation in CM model may be counter productive as was seen in Murthy-Sikka case ( a CM model). Thus aim should be abide by the rules of corporate governance, be it CM or MM model, as suggested by Kotak Committee on corporate governance