SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 FEBRUARY 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: Urbanisation – problems and remedies; changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
- India has emerged as one of the biggest victims of climate change.
- While natural causes like intense rainfall due to cyclones, rivers swelling in the city ,weather factors etc take their course but it is largely due to the anthropogenic factors that the frequency of Urban flooding has increased in the recent years.
Factors affecting floods including anthropogenic, Socio-political factors:-
- Trespassing on water storm drains
- The areas which were essentially created by the storm water drains to let their flood waters pass freely being tress-passed for developmental purposes result in obstruction of water flow and thus contributed immensely to the fury of floods.
- Bengaluru and Mumbai floods have been a result of this failure.
- Urbanisation :-
- It leads to paving of surfaces which decreases ground absorption and increases the speed and amount of surface flow. The water rushes down suddenly into the streams from their catchment areas leading to a sudden rise in water level and flash floods.
- Unplanned urbanisation is the key cause of urban flooding. Various kinds of depression and low lying areas near or around the cities which act as flood absorbers are gradually filled up by construction and development projects for the poor and built upon due to urbanisation pressure. This results in inadequate channel capacity causing urban flooding.
- Encroachment of the natural streams and watercourses due to rapid urbanisation as a major factor contributing to urban flooding. Encroachment, is a planning lexicon which is often equated with illegality and directed towards slum dwellers occupying waterways in cities
- This provides an opportunity to the real estate developers in the city to reclaim the riverbanks .This further results in the shrinking of the riverbed, and the destruction of the riparian zones which are important for flood absorption.
- Mumbai’s case:-
- Reclamation of land was initially carried out to link the seven islands which form Mumbai. This was followed by continuous building activity which eventually spilled over to choke waterways which allowed water to drain during monsoon.
- Mithi river has over the years been not only been encroached upon, but whatever is left is clogged with solid wastes and plastic. With perhaps the most important channel of the city’s drainage system under siege, flooding is inevitable even if the rainfall does not breach the existing record.
- Mangroves which dotted the city’s coast line have largely disappeared
- Unauthorised colonies have been developed by the local colonisers on the agriculture land, earlier being used for crop has been purchased at lucrative prices from farmers, without consideration to the city plans ,drainage, sewerage etc. and thus subjected to flooding during heavy rain falls.
- Poor Water and Sewerage Management
- Old drainage and sewerage system has not been overhauled nor is it adequate now .All the drainage and sewer system in many parts of Delhi has collapsed resulting in flooding. This can be seen during rainy seasons every year.
- Lack of attention to the nature of hydrological system :-
- In Uttarakhand floods haphazard, unregulated construction of roads and bridges was allowed on crumbling, landslide-prone ridges and steep slopes, ignoring the region’s fragile geology and high earthquake vulnerability.
- Hundreds of buildings were constructed in the flood plains of rivers, their “natural” terrain, which should be no-go areas. Riverbeds were recklessly mined for sand. As construction debris accumulated, land contours and flows of streams and rivers changed.
- Lack of flood control measures:-
- The growth in concretization of land has increased surface run off due to near lack of percolation of water into underground aquifers. This coupled with no strict laws with respect to rainwater recharge facilities an ideal flooding situation.
- Multiple authorities in a city but owning responsibility by none.
- The real estate mafia and corruption in local revenue offices are a deadly combination for converting wetlands into concrete structures. This reduces the area of lakes and may even vanish lakes out of official records.
- Lack of sufficient financial resources with the urban local bodies.
- Large areas of forests near the rivers/catchment of cities are used to make rooms for settlements, roads and farmlands and is being cleared due to which soil is quickly lost to drains. This raises the drain bed causing overflow and in turn urban flooding.
- Religious practices :-
- The religious significance of the ghats near rivers has stemmed development of hotels and dharamshalas to serve the needs of the pilgrims. This has increased the density and imperviousness of the settlement around the ghats.
- Cities are facing the cumulative impact of wrongs done over so many years. It will have to be reversed by land reclamation of wet lands which are the buffer zones of excess water.
- Sustainable city planning becomes crucial. Clearing the storm water drains and providing separate sewage lines, along with Municipal solid waste management will go a long way.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
2) As per the the 84th Amendment act, the constituency boundaries are frozen till the first census after 2026, that is, at least until after 2031. What are the implications of this amendment? Should India go back to the decadal revisions of the constituency boundaries keeping in mind the changing demographics of India? Comment. (250 Words)
- In India, the main basis for allocation of seats to various States in the Lok Sabha is populationof the state. The division of each state into the territorial constituencies is to be readjusted after the completion of a census so that the Population-Seat ratio is maintained within the state and throughout the Union. So the purpose is the Rationalization of the structure and composition of the electoral constituencies, on the principle of “ One vote and one value”.
Implications of 84th amendment :-
- It lifted the freeze on the delimitation of constituencies, as stipulated by the 42nd Constitution amendment of 1976, and allowed delimitation within States on the basis of the 1991 Census.
- It paved the way for readjustment of these seats on the basis of the 1991 Census figures, in order to achieve parity between constituencies, as far as feasible.
- However, the Delimitation Act, 2002 mandated that data from the 1971 Census was to determine the number of seats for each state in the Lok Sabha.
- This has meant a sizeable gap between a state’s share in the overall population of India and its share in the overall number of seats in the Lok Sabha.
- The gap seen above is only likely to widen over the years. Uttar Pradesh will be even more under-represented and Tamil Nadu even more over-represented in the Lok Sabha.
- This concept of delimitation is antagonistic to family planning as the states with more population will have more weightage in Lok sabha.
- The constituency boundaries are fixed without providing enough opportunity for revision and readjustment given the demographic changes taking place in major cities and states.
- Basing the 1971 Census figure of 54.81 crore to represent today’s population presents a distorted version of our democratic polity and is contrary to what is mandated under Article 81 of the Constitution.
- It does not deal with the mechanism how the Presiding Officers of the Houses/Legislatures will deal with a large number of members in the house suddenly post 2026.The sudden increase in numbers will render the task of the Speaker more difficult and onerous.
- Social indicators like migration are not taken into consideration.
Yes, India should go back to decadal revisions of constituency boundaries:-
- Realistically, it may be even longer given that the delimitation exercise took six years on the previous occasion. Though there was a 30-year gap between the third and fourth delimitation commissions, a 30-year gap in the next delimitation commission could have graver consequences.
- Decade is a good duration to assess the changing population trends
- The percentage of India’s population that lives in urban areas is increasing with every census. Increasing urbanisation and freezing of might result in the progressive disenfranchisement of urban voters. Their vote will not count for as much as the rural voter given the demographic trend. With urban areas showing lower turnouts than rural areas, this could have major implications for democratic participation in India.
- Scheduled Castes (SCs) account for 16.6% of India’s population and Scheduled Tribes (STs), 8.6%. Clause (2) of Article 330 mandates that the seats reserved for SCs and STs shall be in proportion to their population in a given state. If the state’s representation in the Lok Sabha itself does not keep pace with the changing demographics, the SC and ST representation across the nation is likely to be out of sync with the actual population across the nation.
No, delimitation need not be decadal because:-
- One of the prime reasons to freeze the readjustment of Lok Sabha/Assembly seats was to ensure uniform population growth in various states. If readjustment had to be done after each Census, states that have controlled population growth would have lost out on the number of Lok Sabha seats & also on the value of its votes in the Presidential election while the ones that did not control stand to benefit.
- If the readjustment was done after every Census, the southern states which have comparatively low decadal growth rate than northern states would have lost out on the total Lok Sabha seats for doing better on population control while the northern states would have benefitted for not controlling population.
- While freezing the readjustment till 2026 makes sense because of such uneven growth rates, it remains to be seen how the problem will be solved even after 2026.
- Not only are vast changes taking place across states, but within the states themselves like north eastern states representation need to improve. Parties which focus exclusively on a specific and narrow demographic may win disproportionately more seats than one which seeks to have a broader appeal.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Agriculture; Employment
3) In the light of the government’s initiative to double farmers’ income, examine the mechanisms and focus areas, especially from the perspective of small farmers and farm workers, through which this goal can be achieved. Also examine what India can learn from China’s similar initiative. (250 Words)
- The need to focus on farmers incomes instead of production or the growth rate in agriculture stems from the facts that there has been agrarian distress in the sector for the last two decades and a very large proportion of farming households in most of the central and eastern states live below the poverty line (BPL)
- 40% of Indian farmers disliked farming as a profession due to its low profits, high risk, and the lack of social status
Mechanisms and focus areas from small farmers and farm workers:-
- Within the farm sector, the increase in incomes can come from greater production per unit area as a result of higher yields. The increase can also come from higher cropping intensity, lower costs of production, higher prices, or a combination thereof
- Diversification towards high-value crops can help raise incomes, and are also desirable for social and environmental reasons
- Crop insurance, which still has not been effectively implemented despite the relaunch of crop insurance schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
- The mechanisms for increasing farmers’ incomes outside the farm sector include access to off-farm and non-farm employment and occupations such as dairy farming or handicrafts.
- Focus on rainfed areas:-
- This makes sense, as 43% of the population and more than 60% of the agricultural area in India is in dry or rainfed regions.
- There is a need to reorganise agriculture in terms of institutions at the local level, with farmers becoming part of collectives like cooperatives and producer companies.
- This will enable small farmers to get involved in domestic and global value chains, which can help them lower the costs of production and marketing, and achieve scale to realise higher prices and surpluses.
- This requires investment in agriculture and agribusinesses by converting subsidies into investments.
- Livestock, horticulture and agricultural wages are significant sources of income for farming households in India, especially for marginal and small farmers. It is hence important to focus on livestock sector development and public employment programmes like the MGNREGS, to create income sources other than farming.
- Even the residue of major crops like paddy and cotton, which is burnt in many states can be utilised to create a new source of income for landless and marginal farmers and other rural workers, as part of the agro-industrialisation process .
- The major activities for achieving higher income targets include:
- Expansion in issuing soil health cards
- The promotion of the system of rice intensification
- Drip and sprinkler irrigation
- Enhancement of short-term crop loans.
- The other major steps include
- linking up of markets with the national agricultural market, e-NAM
- Expanding cold storage infrastructure and storage capacity
- Building green/shed net houses
- Agri-clinics and agricultural business centres
China’s initiative and lessons to be learnt:-
- China set this objective of doubling farmers incomes in 2008, but it plans to meet it over 12 years (2008–20).
- The Chinese strategy of doubling the income of farmers involves
- Expanding channels for the generation of income
- Expanding the non-agricultural sector to shift surplus labour out of agriculture and into medium and large cities and building an integrated labour market.
- This is a part of a larger agricultural development model which focuses on
- Stable grain production
- Building and strengthening farmer cooperatives
- Expanding agribusinesses, food quality and safety, agricultural science and technology.
- Creating a new social service system for agriculture for the supply of inputs, finance, insurance and extension by non-governmental organisations, and public and large private agencies.
- It also includes subsidies for grain production and farm inputs, a minimum grain procurement price, reform of agricultural laws and regulations, and opening the agricultural sector to the world
- China’s farm success has been driven by heavy public investments in the sector. In China, the rate of growth of net capital formation in agriculture was in excess of 20% over the last decade.
- High farm growth has translated into rapid reduction in poverty as well. Several studies attribute China’s dramatic decline in rural poverty to faster farm growth.
- The manner in which China put in place incentives for small farmers and supported them through sizeable public investments in agriculture and rural electrification holds important lessons for India.
- This is a part of a larger agricultural development model which focuses on
- Given the diversity in agriculture across states, and their understanding of mechanisms to achieve it, different states would need varied strategies as they are at different levels of agricultural development in terms of growth rates and the level of farmer incomes.
4) The unemployment rate among the educated is not only higher compared to the uneducated, it also increases with higher levels of education. Examine why. Also suggest measures to reduce both educated and uneducated unemployment in India. (250 Words)
- According to world employment outlook report in India, the number of jobless is expected to increase to 18.6 million in 2018 and 18.9 million in 2019, against 18.3 million in 2017, as per the report. The unemployment rate is estimated at 3.5 per cent for all three years. This has a significant impact on the demographic dividend of India.
Reasons which show why educated unemployment increases with higher levels of education:-
- Lack of demand for workers and mismatch between the aspirations of the well-educated and the availability of suitable employment opportunities may result in employment insecurity among potential job-seekers.
- Poor educational standards which is reinforced by the latest ASER survey may also be responsible to a significant extent, for high levels of educated unemployment and underemployment.
- Low absorption capacity of the labour market in the developing countries vis-à-vis the developed countries.
- The rate of educated unemployed has increased corresponding to an increase in education levels both in rural and urban areas. And also, in both rural and urban areas, the unemployment rate among graduates and above is much higher than among those with secondary and above education.
- The educated are mostly engaged in regular salaried jobs. Educated do not take up informal
jobs such as own account work, casual wage labour, helper in household enterprises, and so on. At the same time, sufficient regular salaried jobs are also not available to absorb all of them.
- High social sector development as well as a large migration of educated people to
the developed states creates more supply of educated labour seeking higher wages than the demand in these states.
- Educated females are less exposed to the job market than educated males. In India men are still considered the principal income earners of households.
- Educated Hindus are better exposed to finding jobs than other minority religious groups
- Socially disadvantaged groups do not get enough exposure in the job market like the general castes and Other Backward Classes.
- Variables such as formal and informal vocational training, household size, gender, marital status, religion, social groups and regional factors have shown similar relationship in terms of sign and level of significance for educated unemployment and uneducated unemployment.
- Labour laws in India are complex and relatively strict. Employment protection legislation is restrictive, compared with other emerging economies and OECD countries. Thus, corporates in India tend to rely more on temporary contract labour, stay small or substitute labour for capital to avoid strict labour laws.
- Automation in most economic activities:-
- Sectors like automotive, computers, finance, transport, etc, are currently witnessing dramatic automation growth. As a result, employment opportunities are gradually sinking
Measures needed to reduce educated unemployment and uneducated unemployment:-
- Educated unemployment:-
- Besides promoting technical education, the government needs to focus more on creation of jobs and demand for workers since industries are unable to create sufficient job opportunities for all the technically educated people
- Policies should ensure that the education systems prepare young people for the skill demands of employers through outreach programmes, training, apprenticeships, and access to job-search assistance measures.
- More businesses should recognise the opportunity, and need, to invest in young people so that they can help in developing the qualities necessary for education and future employment.
- When it comes to NGOs they should engage collectively in policy advocacy on youth unemployment. They should also partner with companies to develop skills and training programmes to tackle youth unemployment.
- Singapore has launched certain programmes to establish partnerships between domestic and foreign universities to promote tertiary education. India could learn from such initiatives.
- New age sectors like defence and aerospace, education and healthcare, and burgeoning green sectors like solar energy and wind, present another massive opportunity to identify ‘upcoming jobs’ and prepare talent accordingly. India’s ambition to create more than one million new jobs in the green energy sector by 2022 is encouraging.
- Uneducated unemployment:-
- There should be clusterdevelopment to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations.
- Private sector leaders should build capacity among unskilled and semi-skilled workers to ensure sustainability of renewable energy projects and provide opportunities to rural communities. Government officials should create public training programmes to prepare the poor and less educated people especially semi-skilled and unskilled for employment in the clean-energy sector.
- People need to be made self employed by providing training in skills and latest technologies for agriculture and other avenues especially in rural areas.
- Women in rural areas who are left behind by men due to migration need to look into other sources of livelihood other than agriculture like animal husbandry etc.
- Common measures:-
- Increase public spending in education:-
- At 3.8% of GDP, public spending on education in India is lower than countries like Brazil and Malaysia.
- The focus of the government needs to shift to spending on enhancing the quality of education and vocational training.
- Similarly, allowing foreign investment in sectors like legal and accountancy services will create employment as more foreign firms will move to India.
- Infrastructure investment can also be utilised as an engine of job-creation.
- Finally, India needs to bargain hard with the US for easier work visa norms so that pressure of some unemployment can be eased out to an extent.
- Increase public spending in education:-
Topic: Energy; Agriculture
- Electricity is a major concern in rural India, especially for farmers. Instead of transmitting electricity to the farmers, the government wants farmers to use solar energy to power their irrigation pumps so this scheme ensures India adheres to Paris agreement and achieve SDG.
To achieve this, the Union Budget 2018 has allocated close to Rs. 48,000 crore to set up the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM).
- This programme will help set up more than 28 GW of combined solar capacity through these solar pumps.
- Additionally, to ensure optimal use of this solar energy, and to incentivise farmers to shift to renewable energy, the government plans to purchase the surplus power through electricity distribution companies.
- Building 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands
- Providing sops to DISCOMS to purchase the electricity produced,
- Solarising existing pumps of 7250 MW as well as government tube wells with a capacity of 8250 MW
- Distributing 17.5 lakh solar pumps.
- Government will provide 60% subsidy on solar pumps to farmers. It will be shared between Centre and States while 30% will be provided through bank loans. The balance cost will be borne by farmers.
- This proposal will almost certainly increase agricultural incomes and reduce electricity losses when transmitting power to remote rural areas. Analysts claim that losses from distribution could fall to about 12% from the current level of at least 23%.
- The advantage of this scheme is that power theft would drop significantly. Local generation of power would take care of this issue.
- KUSUM scheme will start with building 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands and providing 1.75 million off-grid agricultural solar pumps.
- It will provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
- It will help in de-dieselising the agriculture sector as India had about 30 million farm pumps that include 10 million pumps running on diesel.
- The surplus electricity generated by farmers will be bought by state electricity distribution companies (discoms). Thus it will help boost the country’s emerging green economy.
- It will promote decentralised solar power production, reduce of transmission losses of discoms as well as provide support to improve financial health of DISCOMs by reducing subsidy burden to agriculture sector.
- It will also promote energy efficiency and water conservation and provide water security to farmers.
- The feasibility of purchasing surplus solar power seems problematic.
- The solar panels will only generate electricity during daylight hours. So to maintain a consistent round-the-clock power delivery the grid operators will need to have a back-up source of power in the form of coal or oil.
- Output from solar panels can also change due to clouds.
- Issue of grid stability:-
- This balancing entails meeting the demand with adequate supply 24×7 to ensure there is no blackout.
- Variations in weather patterns make it more difficult for the grid operator to predict the balance of electrical energy that will be required to meet the demand.
- More grid stability can be achieved by integrating the grids into all-India grids.
- Expected advances in storage technology would also significantly improve grid stability.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics in public service
- There are many corrupt officers around you who have links with underworld, rowdy elements, corrupt politicians and with smugglers. Many of them openly boast about their links.
- Few good officers who wish to set things in order are immediately transferred and are given various troubles by powerful politicians and senior officers
- Some officers believe that ethics has no place in police service as they are targeted both by the criminals and public whenever they try to do the right thing
- Subordinates are ill-treated by their superiors, which in turn drives these subordinates to indulge in petty crimes
- Seniors believe that accepting gifts from the public is not wrong as long as they don’t receive them from criminals
Comment on the above statements. (25)
The purpose and objectives of police in a democratic society are prevention and detection of crime, maintenance of public order, respect for rule of law, respect for dignity of humans, respect for freedom, liberty and rights of citizens etc.But it is a paradox that the citizens of the world’s largest democracy do not trust one of the most important administrative organs of its government which is the Police. It is because corruption has infiltrated in the Indian society as a whole which is visible by the India’s rank in the corruption index.
- The duty of the police is to enforce law and uphold law and order. When some officers are corrupt this duty is compromised. Also the political neutrality which is essential for the efficiency is put behind. Boasting about the links with criminal activities shows that these officers do not respect the job and it is because of these officers people lose trust in police.
As a responsible citizen first it is my duty to report if someone is going against law and being a police officer it is my duty to uphold the law. So first I would like t collect evidence to prove this officer’s link with the criminals. Once I find concrete proof I would meet my seniors to take action immediately.
- It is often said that good people are tested more. The same is true in policing as well. As police is a state subject, there have been instances in police and other services where the upright officer is transferred so as to make him vulnerable and feel punished. But a sincere officer does good work to which ever place he is shifted to and it gives the person immense satisfaction to be efficient even in the constrained situation. In these cases generally the work done speaks volumes and upholds public trust on the system. For instance protests by people hen honest officers get transferred.
My job is to do my duty that is acting in public interest and try to ensure peace in the society .Even if I get transferred motive and motivation to work for the betterment of the society does not change.
- Police act in public interest for the benefit of the society. They are the first justice seekers when a crime takes place. Emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, transparency are necessary for the success of police. So ethics are necessary in police. It is the police officers who are bold enough to fight back criminals and took steps to protect the peace of society are often remembered by people as well.
Sometimes risk is taken to make the right thing to happen for instance traffic might be diverted by police through other road when some accident is taken place in one road. So disturbance might have been caused to people but what police did was for the greater good.
- Indian constitution insists that people need to be treated equally irrespective of status so being a subordinate also means they deserve respect and are in no way inferior to the senior officer. However there have been instances in police where subordinates are used for personal errands by senior officers this affects the self esteem of the subordinates as he/she is not performing the duty they were appointed for. Being a police officer, committing a crime is unacceptable as no one is above law.
I would try to behave with my subordinates in a compassionate manner at the same time expect them to be efficient and honest in their work giving them necessary motivation as well. However if they commit the crime I would not spare them and see that law take its due course.
- Accepting gifts from public is against code of conduct and is considered a bribe even though it is not what officer intended it to be. When gifts are received that officer is liable to the giver, so this is against treating all people equally. Doing duty honestly does not require any gifts .So it is not acceptable to accept gifts from either public or criminals.