SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues .
1) What were the salient features of the Indian Independence Act of 1947? Examine how the process of construction of the Indian Constitution begin. (250 Words)
Salient features of the Indian independence act of 1947 :-
- The Indian Independence Act was based upon the Mountbatten plan of 3rdJune 1947 and was passed by the British parliament in 1947.
- It provided for two dominion states : India and Pakistan
- The boundaries between the two dominion states were to be determined by a Boundary Commission which was headed by Sir Cyril Radcliff.
- It provided for partition of Punjab & Bengal and separate boundary commissions to demarcate the boundaries between them.
- Pakistan was to comprise the West Punjab, East Bengal, Territories of the Sind, North West frontier provinces, Syllhat divisions of Assam, Bhawalpur, khairpur, Baluchistan and 8 other princely states of Baluchistan.
- The authority of the British Crown over the princely states ceased and they were free to join either India or Pakistan or remain independent.
- Both the dominions of India and Pakistan were to have Governor Generals to be appointed by the British King. The act also provided for a common Governor general if both of them agreed.
- The constituent assemblies of both the states were free to make constitutions of their respective countries.
- For the time being till the constitution was made, both of them would be governed in accordance with the Government of India act 1935.
- British Government would not continue any control on any dominion.
- The Governor general was invested with adequate powers until March 1948 to issue orders for effective implementation of the provisions of the Indian independence act 1947
- Those civil servants who had been appointed before the August 15, 1947, will continue in service with same privileges.
- The Constituent Assemblies also had the power to repeal any Act of the British Parliament
How the process of construction of the Indian constitution began :-
- Nehru report-
- In response to the Simon Commission a committee was appointed with Motilal Nehru as the Chairman in 1928 to determine the principles of the constitution for India. It was an outline of a draft constitution for India. Most of its features were later included in the Constitution of India.
- The demand for a Constituent Assembly was made back in 1934. M.N. Roy, a Communist party leader, was the first to moot the idea. This was then taken up by the Congress party and the British government accepted the demand in 1940. The August offer, as it was known, allowed Indians to draft their Constitution.
- The Constituent Assembly of India came into existence as per the provisions of Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946. Its task was to formulate constitution/s for facilitating appropriate transfer of sovereign power from British authorities to Indian hands.
- The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly for the dominion of India took place on August 14, 1947. This Constituent Assembly, headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, was a sovereign and a legislative body. The seven-member drafting committee was set up on August 29, 1947, with B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairperson.
- The motion and draft constitution was declared as passed on November 26th, 1949. 284/299 members affixed their signature to the constitution.
- On the same day the people of India in the constituent assembly adopted, enacted and gave to themselves this constitution. The original constitution which was adopted on November 26th, 1949 consisted of a preamble, 395 articles and 8 schedules.
- As per the provisions in the Constitution, it formally commenced on January 1950, bringing it in force in its entirety. This date was most probably chosen to commemorate the declaration of ‘Poorna Swaraj’ (Total Independence) by Nehru at an annual session of the Congress in Lahore in 1929.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
2) What is ‘office of profit’? How do courts or EC decide whether an MP or MLA has profited from an office? What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification? Examine. (250 Words)
- One of the basic disqualifications criteria for an MP as laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191 is holding an office of profit under government of India or state government.
- Indian President accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit recently bringing the issue to the spotlight again.
Office of profit:-
- The expression “office of profit” has not been defined in the Constitution or in the Representation of the People Act, 1951. It is for the courts to explain the significance and meaning of this concept. Over the years, courts have decided this issue in the context of specific factual situations.
- But, articles 102 (1) and 191 (1) which give effect to the concept of office of profit prescribe restrictions at the central and state level on lawmakers accepting government positions. Any violation attracts disqualification of MPs or MLAs, as the case may be.
- Four broad principles have evolved for determining whether an office attracts the constitutional disqualification.
- First, whether the government exercises control over appointment, removal and performance of the functions of the office
- Second, whether the office has any remuneration attached to it
- Third, whether the body in which the office is held has government powers (releasing money, allotment of land, granting licenses etc.).
- Fourth, whether the office enables the holder to influence by way of patronage.
How do courts or EC decide whether an MP or MLA has profited from an office?
- The Supreme Court, while upholding the disqualification of Jaya Bachchan from Rajya Sabha in 2006, had said that for deciding the question as to whether one is holding an office of profit or not, what is relevant is whether the office is capable of yielding a profit or pecuniary gain and not whether the person actually obtained a monetary gain.
- If the office carries with it, or entitles the holder to, any pecuniary gain other than reimbursement of out of pocket/actual expenses, then the office will be an office of profit for the purpose of Article 102 (1)(a)
- However, a person who acquires a contract or license from a government to perform functions, which the government would have itself discharged, will not be held guilty of holding an office of profit. So, acquiring a gas agency from the government or holding a permit to ply do not amount to holding office of profit.
What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?
- Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions.
- In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.
- At the outset, it should be noted that the disqualification doesn’t relate to having any other job or profession .It refers specifically to a position with the Central government or a state/UT government.
- This is because the idea behind providing for this disqualification is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between the legislature and the executive.
- It also seeks to enforce the principle of separation of power between the legislative, the judiciary and the executive – a basic feature of the Constitution
- Unlike in India, in England whenever a new office is created, the law also lays down whether it would be an office of profit or not. India can follow similar approach as well.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
3) Our idea of human resource development is minus child development, minus child health and minus child nutrition. Critically examine how the findings of National Family Health Survey 2015-16 and the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-2017 vindicate the statement. (250 Words)
- It is well-documented that the first five years will determine a child’s physical and mental development during the rest of the child’s life however in India Among children under five years of age, one out of two is anaemic; one out of three is underweight and stunted; and one out of five is wasted.
How NFHS and ASER reports prove the apathy towards children in India:
- While there is an overall decline in child mortality, all regions in India still lag behind not just high income countries but also behind the many low and middle income countries.
- For example, Sri Lanka’s child mortality rate is 10 in 2015. The countries which faced natural calamities, internal wars, and political upheaval have done better than India.
- Sex ratio
- The states like MP, Karnataka and West Bengal, which performed better earlier, have declining sex ratios. This is a worrying factor as killing of unborn girl child might have spread to newer areas.
- Child nutrition, stunting and underweight
- The data also highlights the double burden of malnutrition in India. While there is a widespread undernourishment, there is also a sharp rise in the number of obese people.
- Decades of slow economic growth and inefficient primary healthcare in India had worse malnutrition statistics than even some of the sub-Saharan countries.
- Poorer states continued to have low levels of health and nutrition.
- While there is an improvement in immunization coverage in many states, few states have shown slight decline. There is an urgency to include new vaccines in the national programme.
- The collection of nutrition data suffers from a lack of standardization, as a result of which no two sets of data are comparable and leads to several data gaps, and experts cannot say for sure whether a particular policy was responsible for the improvements or not.
- As the number of students going to school increased, the proportion of students with foundational skills has declined.
- Agriculture could use a more educated and trained workforce considering that productivity lags far behind world’s leading nations. But there are no foundational agricultural courses on offer as alternatives to the usual bachelor’s degree courses.
However statistics show situation improved:-
- The key take away from this NFHS survey is that a large part of India has shown substantial improvement in health of its citizens over the past decade.
- There has been a gradual decline in both infant mortality rate and child mortality rate across the country. The comparison also shows that some states improved much better than other states. For example, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have two-thirds reduction, where as other states have halved.
- Regarding sex ratio, the earlier worse performing states like Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar have showed significant improvement
- The NFHS data also shows a decline in stunting among children under five from 43% to 32%. Similarly there is a decline in prevalence of underweight children under five from 39% to 29%
- Due to the launch of the programmes like National Rural Health Mission after NFHS-3, the improvements in public health systems have shown some results.
- There is a significant increase in the number of institutional deliveries in many states with more than 90% institutional births in eight of the 15 states.
- The delivery in an institution improves the post-natal care also and thus helps in reduction of infant and maternal mortality rates.
- More and more women now give birth in healthcare facilities, and rates have more than doubled in some states in the last decade.
- Due to Right to Education Act, the proportion of out-of school children has fallen to 3.1 per cent. Earlier, children were dropping out at Class V; now enrolment beyond Class V has improved dramatically
- It becomes imperative for a new policy course to provide access to nutrition and health as a right for all. To assert this right, there is a need to strengthen the schemes like Integrated Child Development Services scheme in all States, particularly those with a higher proportion of underweight and stunted children.
- Problem areas should be holistically addressed as even within the ICDS, there is a clear deficit in caring for the needs of children under three.
- Other important areas requiring intervention are access to antenatal care, reduction of high levels of anaemia among women, and immunization.
- Also, there is a need to assess the health of citizens more frequently than the current NFHS cycle of seven to 10 years allows. Data gathered at short intervals such as every two or three years would help make timely policy corrections.
- The Indian health system needs to address its structural and operational deficiencies. Millets and fortified food should be incorporated in midday meals to tackle the problem of hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiency).
- Fortification helps in enhancing the nutrients present in salt, rice, wheat, milk and so forth, and the fact that millets have higher nutrient levels than cereals should not be ignored.
Topic: Functioning of the judiciary
4) The Government of India Act of 1935 made provision for a Federal Court. How different is today’s Supreme Court in its structure, mandate and functioning compared to the then Federal Court? Examine. (250 Words)
- After the Government of India Act 1935, a Federal Courtof India was established , which was later absorbed by Supreme Court of India after independence.
Features of federal court:-
- The Government of India Act, 1935 provided for the establishment of Federal Court to interpret the Act and adjudicate disputes relating to the federal matters.
- It provided that the Federal Courts should consist of one Chief justice and not more than six judges.
- The Federal Court was given exclusive original jurisdiction to decide disputes between the Centre and constituent Units.
- The provision was made for filing of appeals from High Courts to the Federal Court and from Federal Court to the Privy Council.
- The Federal Court also had jurisdiction to grant Special Leave to Appeal and for such appeals a certificate of the High Court was essential.
- Then, the Federal Court Enlargement of Jurisdiction Act, 1948 was passed. This Act enlarged the appellate jurisdiction of Federal Court and also abolished the old system of filing direct appeals from the High Court to the Privy Council.
Differences with Supreme court:-
- Federal jurisdiction was very limited . Supreme court sits at the summit of a pyramidal and unified judicial system and is endowed with an extraordinarily wide jurisdiction.
- The subcontinent-wide federation for which federal court was to serve as the demarcator of spheres of authority had failed to materialize.
- Even constitutional interpretation can be done by Supreme court which is not the case with federal court.
- Federal court decisions were subject to review by the Privy Council which is not the case with Supreme court as its judgment is binding and final.
- SC explicitly authorized to exercise the power of judicial review and is placed in a position of central importance which was not the case with the federal court as its importance was only
- Few important questions were submitted to the Federal Court for its adjudication but SC has dealt with almost all the concerned issues of Indian society.
- The number of judges in federal court is far lesser than in the Supreme court.
- Federal Court was smaller than any of the provincial High Courts but SC is the apex court of Indian judiciary system.
- Both the courts are stable and respected institution and have tried to be independent of the executive.
- Indeed, it demonstrated all the qualities like independence, impartiality, integrity, and dignity which Indians associated even with the Supreme court
- The Federal Court had exclusive original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Central Government and the Provinces. Even Supreme court has original jurisdiction
- Both SC and federal court have appellate jurisdiction as well.
Topic: Laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
5) Write a critical note on the issue of problem of violence in childhood and measures needed to stop it across the world. (150 Words)
- The “Ending Violence In Childhood: Global Report 2017” brought compelling observations about the issue of problem of violence on children showing large number of children are not enjoying carefree, happy childhoods but enduring, often brutal, fast-track transitions to adulthood.
Issue of problem of violence in childhood :-
- Based on the above report three out of four children worldwide suffer from physically or emotionally abusive violence: from corporal punishment to bullying, neglect, rape, even murder.
- Patchy statistics, social acceptance, children’s fear and stigma of reporting abuse leads to widespread underreporting.
- In 2015, 1.7 billion children (three quarters of all children worldwide) experienced inter-personal violence in the previous year. All such acts of violence are a violation of human rights and an assault on the dignity of children.
- Children experience violence at every stage of growing up, some even before they are born.
- On average, 4-12% of women are physically abused by an intimate partner during pregnancy, and this can damage the foetus.
- Female feoticide is also prevalent in some countries.
- In early adolescence, boys and girls become vulnerable to online bullying and sexual grooming; girls between 15-19 years, in particular, are vulnerable to sexual assault.
- Violence is not the only factor keeping children out of school. Poverty, disability, early and forced marriage, child labour, social taboos
- Many vulnerable children pretend abuse isn’t happening, blame themselves, or feel unable to seek help in the face of a powerful abuser.
- Childhood violence occurs in every country, rich or poor. The impact on individual children and society can be profound, far beyond a child’s immediate fear or trauma.
- Children who experience violence are more likely to suffer depression when they grow up, turn to drugs, endure poor heath or take their own lives.
- Children who are bullied or beaten at school avoid attending, harming their education and future prospects.
- Initiatives taken:-
- Countries around the world are concerned with the magnitude of the issue and are working towards eradicating it. Childhood violence is lower in countries that are committed to a human development agenda, and that prioritize child health and education, particularly of girls.
- India has been taking measures to RTE act for free and compulsory education ,giving incentives to women during pregnancy ,strict implementation of PCPNDT act to avoid sex discrimination of the child etc.
- Ending abuse, trafficking and all forms of violence against children is one of the development targets called the Sustainable Development Goals.
Measures needed are:-
- To tackle child sexual abuse India launched Aarambh Initiative .It creates a centralized platform that partners with and demonstrates innovative ground programs on child protection especially for the underprivileged, creates and shares knowledge with individuals and groups across India, and connects experts to various stakeholders to take the movement to a tipping point
- The Global Partnership will build and sustain political will to end violence against children, promoting evidence-based strategies that will lead to significant, sustained and measurable reductions in violence.
- Governments have a duty to protect the rights of their citizens, and this includes a child’s right to live free from fear.
- Build or enhance strong data systems and sound evidence to prevent and address violence against children.
- Monitoring tools and indicators must be developed that cover all children, including boys and girls of every age and background. Universal birth registration is the first and most crucial component of an effective monitoring system.
- Building individual capacities, for example by ensuring children are given life-skills and sex education and empowering parents and caregivers to create safe, supporting, and stimulating spaces for care giving.
- Violence prevention must be embedded in social services.
- Schools must become violence-free, end corporal punishment and crack down on bullying.
- Health professionals, in particular first responders, who are likely to witness an injured child, need to know how and when to report suspected abuse.
- Governments need to find ways to avoid sending children into institutional care, where the chance of them being abused skyrockets.
- Governments must tackle the root causes of violence, which are bound up in issues of gender inequality and social norms that legitimize violence.
- Violence involving children in community settings can be prevented through
- pre-school enrichment programmes to give young children an educational head start
- life skills training.
- Leaders of governments and communities need to take this issue more seriously, implement practical policies to prevent violence, and ensure that all children enjoy the happy, peaceful upbringings they deserve
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in S&T
6) Unlike all other chromosomes, which we have two copies of in each of our cells, Y chromosomes are only ever present as a single copy, passed from fathers to their sons. What are the salient features of Y-chromosome? Who do researchers believe that Y-chromosome is heading for extinction? Examine. (150 Words)
- The X and Y chromosomes, also known as the sex chromosomes, determine the biological sex of an individual. However much research has been done on Y chromosomes raising several questions.
Salient features of Y chromosomes :-
- The Y chromosome may be a symbol of masculinity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is anything but strong and enduring.
- It carries the “master switch” gene, SRY,that determines whether an embryo will develop as male (XY) or female (XX)
- However it contains very few other genes and is the only chromosome not necessary for life.
- Women do not have it.
- Y chromosomes have a fundamental flaw. Unlike all other chromosomes, which we have two copies of in each of human cells, Y chromosomes are only ever present as a single copy, passed from fathers to their sons.
Reasons why scientists believe that it is heading for extinction are:-
- The Y chromosome has degenerated rapidly, leaving females with two perfectly normal X chromosomes, but males with an X and a shrivelled Y.
- If the same rate of degeneration continues, the Y chromosome will disappear completely in 6 m years .
- Y chromosomes are present as a single copy so it cannot undergo genetic recombination which is the shuffling of genes that occurs in each generation which helps to eliminate damaging gene mutations. Therefore Y chromosomal genes degenerate over time and are eventually lost from the genome.
However that’s not the case:-
- Despite this concerns the recent research has shown that the Y chromosome has developed some mechanisms which are slowing the rate of gene loss to a possible standstill.
- Scientists found that Y chromosome is prone to large scale structural rearrangements allowing “gene amplification” which is the acquisition of multiple copies of genes that promote healthy sperm function and mitigate gene loss.
- The Y chromosome has developed unusual structures called “palindromes” (DNA sequences that read the same forwards as backwards ) which protect it from further degradation.
- They recorded a high rate of “gene conversion events” (which is basically a “copy and paste” process that allows damaged genes to be repaired using an undamaged back-up copy as a template) within the palindromic sequences on the Y chromosome .
- Y-chromosome gene amplification is a general principle which is taking place in other species which have Y chromosomes as well. These amplified genes play critical roles in sperm production and (at least in rodents) in regulating offspring sex ratio
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
7) What are the characteristics of 5G technology? Examine what significant changes in the national spectrum policy and regulation are needed for rolling out 5G technologies. (250 Words)
- Recently the government has announced that India would roll in 5G in the time frame that has been accepted by international standardization bodies, vendors, and service providers in many
Characteristics of 5G technology :-
- Ultra-reliable, very fast speeds -Up to 10Gbps data rate – > 10 to 100x improvement over 4G and 4.5G networks
- It is also designed to provide latency at 10 times lower than 4G. Low latency is required in applications dealing with critical emergency health care, autonomous vehicles or disaster management, success of self driving cars etc
- High bandwidth mobile connectivity -1000x bandwidth per unit area
- Supports massive interconnected devices spread across wide areas -Up to 100x number of connected devices per unit area (compared with 4G LTE
- The main evolution compared with today’s 4G and 4.5G (LTE advanced) is that new IoT and critical communication use cases will require new types of improved performance – Up to 10-year battery life for low power IoT devices
- Low power consumption is what will allow connected objects to operate for months or years without the need for human assistance-90% reduction in network energy usage
- 999% availability
- 100% coverage
Challenges present not to adapt to 5G are:-
- Indian operators have far less spectrum in comparison to international operators. This increases their cost of operations.
- Many of the Indian operators are also weighed down by debt.
- Faster rounds of new technology introduction when prior technology investments have not been recouped add further complexity.
Changes needed in national spectrum policy and regulation :-
- High reserve prices need to be done away with.
- Innovative licensing arrangements, including mechanisms to share spectrum, should be worked out in the Indian context, to mitigate the effects of high auction prices
- There is a need to make spectrum available by delicensing new bands.
- As delicensed band is free, greater innovation and low cost delivery are possible. Thus, bands in which sensors transmit wirelessly may be delicensed.
- The Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing responsible for spectrum management at the national level must review its decision-making framework for efficiency and efficacy.
- It should make a large number of spectrum bands and large chunks of spectrum per operator available (which is a requirement of 5G) within this band.
- These bands need to be globally harmonized in a short span of time.
- Harmonization would allow Indian operators to exploit the benefits of lower cost of equipment and, hence, provide lower cost services for 5G.
- To make more spectrum commercially available, WPC would need to refarm spectrum for future applications from those government departments and ministries that are currently not using it.
- Mandating the switch-over from analog to digital transmission for all users will lead to lower spectrum usage for existing applications. This would increase the amount of available spectrum.
- For example, the US Federal Communication Commission had mandated digitalization of broadcasting spectrum several years ago. The spectrum released through this process has been auctioned for commercial use, while paying incentives to existing users to vacate the spectrum so released. Several other regulators across the world have also adopted a similar approach.
- The adopted road map for 5G should ensure that the existing and near-future investments in 4G can be leveraged.
- Very large capacities are required in the backhaul to cater to applications enabled through 5G. So the role of wired infrastructure, especially fibre optic cables, is critical and complementary to growth of wireless.
- There is need to accelerate the BharatNet programme for deploying fibre optic cables to gram panchayats and increasing the involvement of the private sector to exploit complementarities and efficiencies of the private sector.
General Studies – 4
Topic: ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;
- In India, freedom of the press has been treated as part of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, However, as mentioned in Article 19(2), reasonable restrictions can be placed on this right, in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. Hence, freedom of the media is not an absolute freedom.
Free expression and journalism difference :-
- The difference between the rights of the individual to expression and the rights of journalists as members of the press and media are different.
- The individual right of expression versus the institutional right of freedom of the press have a different relationship to the democratic process.
- Journalism is not free expression, it is a constrained expression as you can’t just say whatever you want to say
Elements of ethical journalism :-
- Truth and Accuracy
- Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism.
- Journalists must be independent voices. They should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural.
- Fairness and Impartiality
- Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.
- Journalists should do no harm. What they publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but they should be aware of the impact of their words and images on the lives of others.
- A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold themselves accountable.
Why India needs ethical journalism now ?
- The growth in its scale, reach and influence, however, has not been matched by corresponding sensitivity towards non-commercial and non-market dimensions.
- The media have a great responsibility to fight backward ideas such as casteism and communalism, and help the people in their struggle against poverty and other social evils.
- Convergence between news media, entertainment and telecom has meant that the demarcation between journalism, public relations, advertising and entertainment has been eroded.
- Media outlets assume importance not only for marketing and advertisement but also for the ‘soft power’ aspects of businesses, organisations, and even nations.
- Paid news:-
- With market forces at play and public investment in private companies, journalists found it sometimes lucrative to write only partially true stories of companies waiting to list on the stock exchanges.
- Blatant blackmail
- In 2012 senior editors of the television channel Zee News were arrested for allegedly demanding Rs 100 crore from Jindal Power and Steel Ltd. In return for this pay-off they offered to dilute their network’s campaign against the company in the coal scam.
- Widening legal regulatory gap as PCI cannot impose punishment
- Gandhi cautioned that “an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy.”So media should remain being the fourth estate in a democracy by playing a major role in informing the public and thereby shaping perceptions .