SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 FEBRUARY 2018
SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
- Subhash Chandra Bose contribution to the Indian freedom struggle has been significant and believed in the revolutionary way of attaining freedom. His sudden demise cost India a great visionary .
What might have happened ?
- It is more than likely that Partition could have been avoided. The main reason is that Bose’s popularity among the Muslim elites surpassed that of other leaders. The Indian National Army (INA), was composed of officers and men of the British Indian Army, which was 35-40% Muslim.
- Even assuming India was divided, Bose as the nationalist par excellence but secular to the core would have been able to outflank Hindu nationalists.
- Bose’s secularism tinged with hypernationalism based on the INA’s motto Ittehad, Itemad, Qurbani (Unity, Confidence, and Sacrifice) could have prevented Hindu chauvinism from gaining traction.
- Netaji would not have shared vision of a non-aligned foreign policy: Netaji’s India would have clearly been a member of the Soviet Bloc. He believed in the modern world, independence and security of a nation cannot be assured unless it becomes militarily a strong nation. So border disputes might have found other solutions.
- He stood for communal harmony, which he demonstrated in the Indian National Army (INA), where there were Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others .Women had equal status in the INA and fought next to their fellow men.
- He made emphasis on Panchayati Raj Institutions, radical land reforms, cheap credit to the peasant and likewise development of social forestry and cultivation .This shows his determination of creating a modern and a socialist state based on economic regeneration to improve the lot of millions of down trodden masses.
- Along with illiteracy, unemployment and poverty were to him the priority areas. So India might have
- He stood for necessary attention on pro people economy and planning.
- He wanted large scale industrialization and scientific agriculture aided by the state to serve the problem of poverty and unemployment.
- Despite Bose’s absence India largely achieved his vision in terms of literacy, local governance, industrialisation and as a rising power in the world.
Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- Early poetic compositions in almost all of the Indian vernaculars centered on religious and mystical themes. This was largely due to the casting influence of the medieval socio-religious reform movements.
- The Bhakti and Sufi movements had brought the whole of the Indian Subcontinent under their sway. The Bhakti and Sufi saints lived and worked in the midst of the common people. They needed to reach out to them (common people) in order to spread their socio-religious and philosophical messages. They, therefore, chose local vernaculars for their speech and writings for the maximum impact. Such spirited enterprises gave tremendous boost to the growth of vernacular literature of India.
Rise of Vernacular Literature:-
- The Bhakti reformers adopted the common language of the people and preached in it instead of preaching either in Sanskrit or in Persian. In this way a great impetus was given to the development of the vernaculars.
- North Indian:-
- The Sufi and Bhakti saints played an important part in the evolution of the Urdu language. The Sufis realised that it was futile to preach Islam through Persian, which was not understood by the Indian masses. So, these saints made use of large number of Hindavi words in their conversation with their disciples and common people.
- The phase (1318-1643), namely the Bhaktikala, witnessed wholesome composition of Hindi verses on religious, moral and mystical themes on the lines of two dominant schools of Bhakti saints, viz., the Nirguna and Shaguna schools.
- The Hindi literature during the Bhakti Kala had saint poets of both Nirguna and Shaguna schools and Sufi mystics. They composed their verses on religious, mystical and social themes. Kabir composed a number of songs and Verses (Sakhis), which are noted for their literary excellence.
- Tulsidasa Ramacharita Manasa is an epitome of the medieval Hindu culture. Of the Krishna worshipping Shaguna group, Surdasa was the most prominent saint poet, whose Sura-Sagra is one of the masterpieces of medieval Hindi literature.
- Vidyapati, Nandadasa, Hita Harivansa, Mirabai and Rasakhana etc., were some of the other prominent saint poets of this school, whose poetic compositions also made rich contributions to the contemporary Hindi literature.
- The Sufi-mystics, on the other hand, under the influence of Persian style of poetry, wrote poetical romances based on common love tales of the Hindu and Muslim life.
- Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s Padmavat (1540), Nur Muhammad’s Indravati etc., are invaluable compositions of this category of medieval Hindi literature
- Assamese and Bengali:-
- Amongst the eastern group of languages. Bengali was used by Chaitanya and by the poet Chandidas, who wrote extensively on the theme of the love of Radha and Krishna. Ballads on events of contemporary interest composed by wandering ministers were equally popular.
- The whole of Assam passed under the sway of the strong Vaishnava movement during the fifteenth and sixteenth century A.D. Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva were the key architects of the Assamese Vaishnava movement. They made rich contributions to the development of the Assamese literature. The Kirtana-Ghosha of Sankaradeva is known as the Bible of the Assamese Vaishnava literature.
- The development of Maithili, spoken in the region of modern Bihar, was also associated with Vaishnava and Bhakti literature.
- Gnaneshwar who wrote “Gnaneshwari”, a book on Marathi grammar
- Jnanadeva’s literary skills and philosophical depth are aptly reflected in his Bhavartha-Dipika, popularly known as Jnaneshvari, and the Amritanubhava.
- The poetic compositions of other saints Eknath and Tukarama reached to common people in their own language and left deep imprint onto their thoughts and minds.
- Tukaram is particularly known for his Abhanga or short lyrical poems, which made direct appeal to the people through the intensity of their lyrical quality.
- Ramdas Samrath, the great saint preceptor of Shivaji, was another literary Stalwart of this age. His Dasabodha, reflected a combination of devotional and religious fervour and liberation and national reconstruction. The last great poet of this age was Vamana Pandita, who composed poetry in an ornate Sanskritized style
- From the 16th century onwards,Gujarat began to be swept across by powerful currents of Vaishnava Bhakti movements.
- The major strain in the literature of this period is religious and mystical. Some of the major poets of this era were Narasimha Mehta and Bhalana.Narasimha Mehta, on account of the richness of his imagination and the variety of his creative activity, is considered as the father of Gujarati poetry. Bhalana and Akho also made rich contributions to this literature with their distinct styles of poetry
- South Indian literature:-
- In contrast, the poetry of the Bhakti movement some of the first being the Nalayira Divya Prabandham (4,000 songs) of the Azhwars (Vaishnavite) and the Twelve Thirumurais (comprising 18,426 songs) of the Saivite saints have as their main theme religion and god.
- Women such as Karaikkal Ammaiyar and Andal got public recognition, just as women poets were welcomed in the courts of kings in the Sangam Age.
- Veerashaivism greatly contributed. Ex: Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi wrote several Vachanas in Kannada language.
- The Vira-Saivas contributed the most for the development of Kannada literature. Showing a predominant preference for the prose medium, this sect had over two hundred writers.
- It included many women writers as well
- Chennabasava and Mahadevi yakka invented a new type of prose composition called Vacanas (Vachanas), noted for their simplicity and use of simple Kannada.
- The period witnessed some notable changes in Kannada literature. The champu form of compositions went out of use and Shatpadi and Tripadinew meters, representing verses with six and three lines, respectively came into vogue.
- The Vaishnava Movement cast another major influence on the development of the Kannada literature
- Vaishnavism and Shaivism were the major movements in Telugu literature from the 12th to 15th century
- Vira-Savism began to exert influence on the religious life of Telugu from the twelfth century. The poets wrote either on the fundamental tenets of this sect or biographies of important Vira-Saiva leaders.
- Mallikajurna Pandit’s Siva-Tattva-Saram is an important exposition of this faith. Similarly, Pallukari Somantha wrote important Saiva texts such as the Panditaradhyacharita and Dvipada Basava Purana.
- Veerashaiva religion, inspired by a similar movement from neighbouring Kannada language was popularised by the works of Palkuriki Somanatha
- Vaishnavism was at its zenith in two poets of the 15th century; Potana, the classical poet who translated Mahabhagavata and Annamayya, the harbinger of musical literature, i.e. padakavita in Telugu.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
3) Developments following the 2G spectrum allocation and the Lok Pal issue have led to increased interest in understanding the work of Parliamentary committees. Analyse how effective the committee system has been and explore ways of strengthening it. (250 Words)
- Beyond the visible work in the two Houses, a substantial part of the work is carried out by Committees. The functions they carry are examine bills referred to them, select specific topics related to the ministries and examine implementation by the government and examine the budgetary outlays of the departments. Their performance affects the overall effectiveness of Parliament as an institution that makes laws, holds the government accountable, and gives sanction for public spending.
Effectiveness of committees:-
- These committees fulfill several objectives.
- They help Parliament manage its business better. It is easier to examine a topic in depth by a committee of 30 than by an assembly of 700.
- They enable input from experts and those who may be directly affected by a policy or legislation. For example, the DRSCs often invite comments from the public and call several people to testify before them.
- Being outside direct public glare allows members to discuss issues and reach consensus without worrying about constituency pressures.
- The anti-defection law does not apply to committees therefore, decisions are not usually made on party lines.
- These committees allow members to focus on some specific areas and build their expertise, which helps them scrutinize issues more thoroughly.
- Their reports allow for informed debate in Parliament.
- Committees also provide a forum to build consensus across party lines, help develop expertise in subjects, and enable consultation with independent experts and stakeholders.
- Over the years, these committees have examined ministerial budgets, analyse legislation and scrutinise the government’s working.
- More significantly, they function through the year. They are important forums for debate.
- If these committees work effectively, they can keep a close watch on government functioning.
- For example, the parliamentary committee on information technology had examined the issue of spectrum allocation in 2006 much before the 2G controversy derailed the entire winter session of 2010.
- The committee also offers an opportunity for detailed scrutiny of bills being piloted by the government. Currently, the rules of Parliament don’t require every bill to be referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. It comes at the cost of ineffective scrutiny by the highest law-making body.
- Reports of well-functioning committees act as an early warning system about the laxity in government functioning. But more importantly, the deliberations and scrutiny by committees ensure that Parliament is able to fulfill some of its constitutional obligations in a politically charged environment.
- low attendance of MPs at meetings
- Too many ministries under a committee
- Norms not followed by most political parties while nominating MPs to committees
- The constitution of DRSCs for a year leaves very little time for specialisations.
- The DRSC usually invites many experts while scrutinizing bills. However, this is not always the case, even for bills with wide ramifications. For example, the DRSC that examined the Right to Education Bill, 2008 did not invite any expert witness
- All bills are not referred to committees. Just 27 percent of bills introduced in the current Parliament have been so referred.
- Even a bill as important as the Constitution Amendment to enable the Goods and Services Tax was passed by Lok Sabha without reference to the DRSC.
- The recommendation of committees are not binding. It is for the government or any other member to move the relevant amendments, which may then be voted upon by the House.
- The lack of standing research support. These committees are supported by the general support staff of Parliament and do not have a dedicated set of researchers associated with them.
- A related issue is the high churn in parliamentary membership. In each of the last three Lok Sabhas, over 50 percent of the members elected were first time MPs. As several of the experienced members become ministers, only a small pool of MPs gain subject knowledge by being in a committee for a long period of time.
- Transparency of the work of committees. All committees meet behind closed doors and only the final report is published, with summary minutes.
- Nine DRSCs submitted only one report. On average, the Committees on Railways and Water
Resources took the maximum time to submit reports.
- The number of meetings of the Committee is measurable but the quality of its work is difficult to judge.
Ways to strengthen them are:-
- Parliamentary committees don’t have dedicated subject-wise research support available. However, their work could be made more effective if the committees had full-time, sector-specific research staff.
- Mandatory scrutiny of bills by parliamentary committees would ensure better planning of legislative business. This year, parliamentary committees are examining important policy issues like ease of doing business, the Indian Financial Code, smart cities and net neutrality, among others.
- The forum of parliamentary committees can also be effectively utilised in obtaining public feedback and building political consensus on contentious issues. This process also ensures any concerns with respect to a bill are addressed early and the government’s legislative agenda isn’t derailed at a late stage.
- Recommendations of NCRWC
- DRSCs should be periodically reviewed. All Bills should be referred to DRSCs. They can elicit public views and call specialist advisors.
- The Petitions Committee can be a supplement to the proposed office of the Lok Pal.
- Major reports of all Committees should be discussed in Parliament especially in cases where there is disagreement between a Committee and the government.
- The recommendations of the PACs should be accorded greater weight and they should be treated as the “conscience-keepers of the nation in financial matters”.
- Improving the transparency of input from advocacy groups.
- Many MPs call these committees “mini-parliaments” and strengthening their working will have a significant impact on Parliament’s overall effectiveness
General Studies – 3
Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism; Money-laundering and its prevention
4) The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has become the spearhead against global efforts combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). Analyse the basis for FATF’s growing effectiveness in the fight against terrorist finance and how it helps India to deal with cross-border terrorism. (250 Words)
- Over a period of time the FATF has gained perceptible credibility as a professional organisation, which has succeeded in not only increasing awareness regarding the challenges being faced by the global financial system, but also human security issues like terrorism.
How FATF has become the spearhead against financing of terrorism :-
- The FATF has been at the forefront of international efforts to fight money laundering and CFT. Its efforts have been in conjunction with relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- It has gained considerable influence over the regulatory framework that deals with financial transactions, in an attempt to make it less liable to exploitation by both profiteers and terrorists.
- Terrorist financing investigation and prosecution ensures that terrorist financing offenses and activities are investigated and persons who finance terrorism are prosecuted and subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
- This can be employed to keep a tab on the prosecution of UNSC declared terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and his organisation.
- This was also indicated by the FATF in its follow-up reporting and has become one of the major factors for Pakistan being pressurised to take requisite action against terrorists operating from its soil
- Terrorist financing preventive measures & financial sanctions require that terrorists, terrorist organisations and terrorist financiers are prevented from raising, moving and using funds, and from abusing the non-profit sector.
Basis of this effectiveness:-
- The organisation does not grant overriding voting rights to any of its members. There is no veto power that any country or organisation enjoys. The FATF follows a consensus-based model of decision making within the plenary, the highest decision-making body that meets thrice a year.
- Adopts a policy of naming and shaming :-
- The policy of the FATF has a corrective underlying principle to this approach. The fact that a country can be placed on a list and then removed thereafter on receipt of assurance from the highest political authority, along with a judgment on the progress made to implement the guidelines, has ensured an improvement in the overall CFT and AML standards.
- The basis of listing countries by the FATF is on the basis of their compliance with transparent guidelines and their effective implementation. In addition, the incentive of being removed from the list on the basis of even a gradual response, has led to desired results.
- The actions of the UN often tend to get deeply influenced by geopolitical considerations, rather than technical parameters, which are based on objective and professional analysis, as in the case of the FATF.
- The FATF gains credibility by its ability to hurt a country where it hurts the most, its economic well-being. For instance it applied this with Pakistan until 2015, neither by applying or recommending sanctions. It does so by indicating to the financial world that a country is in violation of CFT and anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines.
How it helps India to deal with cross border terrorism
- Recent proposal that Pakistan will put back in the list could affect Pakistan’s credit rating. This will adversely impact its ability to raise loans from major international financial institutions to service existing debt. This will become even more difficult as compared with the previous listing, given the adversarial relationship with the US and the latter’s influence in major financial institutions. So Pakistan will not have adequate resources to fund terrorism
- The decisions of the United Nations Financial Action Task Force (FATF)are about using the threat of economic punishment to move Pakistan away from funding terrorists operating against Afghanistan and India
- Being on the grey list would mean that Pakistan’s transactions are closely monitored. This would further cripple the country’s economy as companies across the world would hesitate from doing business with Pakistan. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank too would avoid giving loans to Pakistan.
Topic: Agriculture; Government Budgeting.
5) Critically analyse the merits and shortcomings of three new measures that were announced in the recent union budget with an aim to address agrarian distress in India. Also examine what else could have been introduced in the budget to address agrarian distress. (250 Words)
- Indian agriculture is undergoing a tough time with farmer suicides still taking place .So tackling farm distress is essential to government’s target of doubling farmers income by 2022.So it launched operation green, raised MSP, launched Gobardhan Yojana etc
1.Raise in MSP:-
- In the recent budget ,government has decided to keep MSP for all the unannounced crops of kharif at least at one and half times of their production cost .
- This decision will prove to be a ‘historic’ step towards doubling the income of farmers.
- State Cooperative Banks, District Central Cooperative Banks and PACCS would get a lot of business from farmers.
- The government decision to raise the MSP by 1.5 times for all notified crops in the coming Kharif season would help SSBs, DCCBs and PACCS get business
- If the government means C2 as cost of production then it will help increase the farmer’s profit.
- There are some doubts if the finance minister meant the entire cost of production or some reduced amount as difference between C2 which is the total cost of production and A2+FL( Only covers the partial cost of production) is substantial. The MSP has been 50% higher than A2+FL for the last ten years.
- Also, little attention has been paid towards altering the ongoing ‘high input cost and low output price’ regime.
- To develop and upgrade the existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Market. It may also be mentioned that cost plus pricing of MSPs, be it cost A2+FL or C2, is fraught with dangers as it totally ignores the demand side.
- Only a fraction of the farmers actually have access to MSP.
- There is no provision in the budget to increase the ambit of farmers who are covered by MSP and that is a problem in addition to how the MSP is calculated
- Farmers also argue that MSP is only announced for 25 crops, while for other crops they have to deal with market volatility. There is no MSP for fruits and vegetables.
- MSP often does not reach farmers as the government does not procure on time and the farmer has to make distress sales at rates lower than the MSP.
- There is no clarity on how the implementation takes place.
- There are concerns whether all states would agree with that cost
- Also as MSP and Inflation highly co-related and any increase in MSP will eventually resulted into price hike of many agricultural products
- Operation Greens wants to replicate the success of operation flood in fruit and vegetables, starting with tomatoes, onions and potatoes.
- reduce price volatility in these commodities, thereby helping farmers augment incomes on a sustainable basis. It also aims to provide these vegetables to consumers at affordable prices.
- Food processing sector is happy about the operation green scheme promoting cluster based development of agri commodities and regions . Cultivation of horticulture crops in clusters bring advantages of scales of operations and can spur establishment of entire chain from production to marketing, besides giving recognition to the districts for specific crops
- Investment in agricultural research and development (Ag R&D). This is a serious concern in view of the low annual rate of growth in agriculture in the last four years.
- The initiative has two objectives:
- To make villages clean and generate wealth and energy from cattle and other waste.
- To make the villages open defecation free this scheme will manage and convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms
- With the largest cattle population in the world, rural India has the potential to leverage huge quantities of gobar into wealth and energy. Cattle dung, kitchen waste and agricultural waste can be tapped to create biogas-based energy.
- According to a 2014 ILO study, the productive use of dung could support 1.5 million jobs nationally. For the farmer, there is a significant potential of greater income from the sale of cow dung.
- It is expected to pilot similar opportunities to convert cattle dung and other organic waste to compost, biogas and even larger scale bio-CNG units.
- It will help in improving the quality of the life in the villages by making them cleaner and healthier.
- With the implementation of this scheme farmers will be able to generate better ways of income. As the farmers just have to make use of animal waste farmers don’t need to invest amounts in purchasing basic raw materials.
- Increase institutional credit from Rs. 10 lakh crore in 2017-18 to Rs. 11 lakh crore in 2018-19. Therefore, targeting of the announced allocation to the poorer farmers and tenants in each State will go a long way in improving their purchasing power and augmenting investment, which is currently low.
Measures further needed are:-
- Government needs to analyse the recommendation of the M.S Swaminathan Report which suggested MSP over C2 .
- A hike in MSP should be supplemented with irrigation, and reduction in fertilizer cost.
- Generating wealth from waste in rural areas will require the involvement of all actors and sectors. Investments from the private sector and local entrepreneurs will be needed.
- Panchayats and village communities will have to play key roles to leverage the animal and organic waste that goes into water bodies, dumping sites and landfills.
- Operation green:-
- Link major consumption centres to major production centres with a minimal number of intermediaries.
- Farmers can be organised in farmer producer organisations (FPOs) as it will make it easy for the input companies to sell their products to farmers
- There needs to be investment in logistics, starting with modern warehouses, that can minimise wastage. Such storage facilities have to be cost effective. Large-scale investments in storage will require tweaking of the Essential Commodities Act.
- Linking the processing industry with organised retailing
- The government must extend immediate help to farmers from rampant price volatility.
- The States can implement the ‘price deficiency payment scheme’ (difference between MSP and price received) as has been started in Haryana for some vegetables, and the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh for select oilseeds.
- Technological interventions that update farmers about sowing and harvesting time and extension services can help prevent misfortunes.
- More drought and pest-resistant crops are needed, along with better irrigation technology. Farmers also require interventions in the seed sector to raise production and diversify to alternate crops to induce higher growth.
- The long-term measures to increase their income and trigger agricultural growth, as reflected in the Budget, remain to accelerate investments in irrigation, infrastructure, improved extension services and institutions fully backed by a competitive marketing system.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
Superstitions are followed everywhere. No country, no matter its scientific prowess, has conquered superstition. Superstitions are harmful and harmless for instance harmful acts like sati, tradition of tantra followed by godmen affects the lives of innocent girls show that with proper empowerment, science, and strengthening of values these can be eradicated.
Why is it so hard to remove superstitions
- In India many people link religion with superstitions. Many believe age old beliefs as the truth without necessary rational outlook.
- When some scientists and well educated person believes in superstitions it gives legitimacy to the people to follow it.
- Also In India still many are uneducated. The development and fostering of scientific temper is neglected entirely in Indian education system where reasoning is put behind.
- Moreover people tend to look for godmen to get their problems solved especially in rural areas where adequate public health infrastructure is unavailable.
- Sometimes people who are facing problems and have personal issues etc are superstitious as they want faster resolutions.
- Even hard-core cynics can occasionally fall prey to superstitions like, if the stakes are high and the effort implemented is low, many rational people say they don’t believe, but they also don’t want to take a chance.
- People prefer to take the safer route believing in superstitions in order to avoid any adversity, harm or injury. This is the reason why most superstitions are associated with fear of some harm that may strike the person if he or she does or fails to do a particular thing.
- It’s an easy way to increase the feeling you’re in control. False cause bias is the backbone of most superstitions.
- A black cat crossed Anil’s path when he was on his way to work one morning. Soon after that he met with an accident and broke his leg. As he lay dismayed in the hospital room, he was convinced that the cat caused the accident.
- The need to fill in the gaps
- Human beings have a strong desire to explain things and fill in the gaps. And when we can’t explain things with reason, we resort to superstition.
- One of these mechanisms is blaming external factors for the shortcomings that we’re personally responsible for.
- It’s a thousand times easier to blame bad luck if one fails in an endeavour than to admit that the fault lay in their own thinking or their methods
Social persuasion and ethics can remove it :-
- Awareness campaigns against dangerous superstitions along with better education and scientific outreach may have some impact but will be a slow process.
- People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others. Such a strategy may be more successful.
- Science journalists have the potential to educate the readers on developing a scientific temper.
- When making decisions, rely on common sense and a sound pattern of reasoning
However social persuasion alone would not suffice as seen below:-
- Larger efforts by the State or humongous social movements are required to eradicate superstitious practices.
- For example, practices such as sati were not eradicated by ‘persuasion’ but due to the enormous efforts put in by social reformers and ultimately by legislation.
- Persuasion’ is an excellent tool, but is limited in its scope and reach. Finally, educationists and governments must ensure that people are suitably educated to develop scientific temper and rational thinking.
- Next story 1) What might have happened to India if Subhash Chandra Bose had survived the plane crash and lived? Critically comment.
- Previous story Insights Daily Debates: Issues that Matter – 11 (The Second Cold War is more Dangerous than the Previous one in its Intensity and likely Consequences thanks to Information Warfare and Technological Advancements)