SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 MARCH 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: Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
- India is the world’s largest cutting and polishing centre of rough diamonds, and it is said that 14 out of every 15 rough diamonds in the world are polished here. Suratis the hub for cutting, polishing and processing rough diamonds and 85% of the diamonds are exported.
- Community :-
- In 18th century, the diamond cutters migrated from Africaand settled in Surat
- It is not just cheap labour that allowed India to find a niche for itself in the diamond-polishing business, but the main edge comes from the enterprising Palanpuri Jains of Gujarat who turned the very scattered cottage industry to a robust Rs.80,000 crore industry of today.
- Cheap labour:-
- Back in the 1970s, India began cutting low-quality gemstones and exporting them to the U.S. This paved the way for a robust cutting centre to thrive as labour was cheap and easily available.
- With a booming trade in diamond cutting and textile manufacturing, Surat is a melting pot for migrants from across the country seeking work and business opportunities.
- Nine-tenths of the world’s natural diamonds pass through Indian state of Gujarat, where they are cut and polished before being sold on through the trading houses.
- Mumbai and Surat are not just known for these specialised skills but are among the largest hubs for trading in the precious stone.
- Surat is the heart of India’s thriving diamond-polishing industry besides other cutting centres in surrounding areas; as well as Mumbai. India dominates the polishing business.
- With 1991 reforms the capital and technology necessary for the diamond industry to boom were brought to India
- Surat ‘s diamond cutting and polishing sector has consolidated into large professionally managed facilities using the most sophisticated and latest technology.
- Facility for trade:-
- Mumbai is the financial hub of India and also provided the port facilities .Similarly Gujarat has ports from where the polished diamonds can be traded easily.
- Government support:-
- Diamond Research and Mercantile City, also known as DREAM City, is a upcoming business district in Surat, India. The district is projected to have office space, residential areas, and facilities for these residential areas. It will be established and run by a special purpose vehicle formed by the Government of Gujarat. India’s second diamond trading centre, the Surat Diamond Bourse, will operate from DREAM City.
- The state is aiming to develop the labourers as jewellery makers in the true sense with an overall development.
- Private sector support:-
- De Beers Groupthat runs IIDGR has announced the launch its first ever education service to cover the entire diamond pipeline and support further growth in the Indian sector.
- De BeersGroup is investing in innovations to ensure India maintains its position as a global diamond hub, as well as ensuring that the sector has the skills and tools to meet the challenges of tomorrow
- Diamond jewellery demand from Indian consumers represents 8% of global demand and has enjoyed almost uninterrupted growth in the last 20 years .
- India is the third largest national consumer market for diamond jewellery sales globally, only behind the US and China in the global league table.
- Raw materials are not produced in India with much of diamond supply coming from Africa – and that makes the industry highly vulnerable to outside shocks.
- Banking issues:-
- The Punjab National Bank (PNB)-Nirav Modi scam has unfortunately cast a shadow on this flourishing sector, with questions being raised about financial backing, exports and quality checks.
- Banks often find themselves compelled to keep lending because they have very little collateral to begin with and know that stopping credit would mean risking the entire loan as a non-performing asset (NPA).
- Trade is unique in that the nature of the product cannot be valued accurately. Rather it is difficult to give a precise value to the stones unless each and every piece is verified carefully.
- Besides, the volumes are so high that both banks and traders would find it a chore to examine each stone and keep a check on the massive inventory.
- Traders benefit from the loophole in the system as they can pass off low-quality stones as high-quality ones.
- Securing bank loans for small diamond businesses may become very tough. The banks have not been very keen to give loans to small diamond units
- Risky lending:-
- Quality of collateral is the problem with the diamond industry. In most cases, the collateral is not hard assets but the inventory, and that is what makes lending a high-risk venture.
- Lending to diamond businesses is risky as most of them are unlisted companies. Their business model, in the absence of a corporate structure, is questionable. Most often, lending is based on trust and old associations.
- The polishers buy on credit, so even when demand is low they must sell, however sharp the loss. Exports in September 2017 were down by 28% year-on-year, driven partly by slowing Chinese demand for luxury goods. The lowering of the Yuan’s value will make diamonds which are all imported more expensive.
- The new competition from China is undoubtedly a huge threat to India’s diamond industry.
- Indian manufacturers sometimes misjudge the potential of the market .Projecting artificial demand, they kept buying more and more rough diamonds and increasing production. This encouraged diamond mining companies to mine more and increase the price of roughs. There was oversupply in the market, which led to the prices of polished diamonds falling and manufacturers bleeding.
- In India too, the drive against black money could be one of the reasons for the drop in demand. When people reduce buying and high value goods get stuck in inventory, the cost of production and holding goes up dramatically.
- Expected to have an impact on the approximately Rs.80,000-crore diamond industry. Bankers believe that there will definitely be a reduction in exposure now, and credit will certainly be tightened in the short term.
- Diamond traders say the pullback on credit will, in all probability, have a ripple effect on the industry.
- Diamonds are a huge foreign exchange earner. Therefore, if the company is legitimate, banks will give loans as they do in the case of any other industry.
- Doubts that polishing business will shift to Israel and Belgium.
- Stringent measures to monitor and evaluate inventory should be put in place in the long term to avoid future banking crisis linked with this sector. Also to resolve raw material issue India can frame bilateral agreements with countries with diamond resources like Russia.
Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India; Social empowerment
2) Adivasis cannot be equal citizens until they are considered holistically as a part of cultural and ecospheres with unique customs and practices, and not just as welfare recipients receiving doles. Critically comment why discrimination and atrocities against Adivasis in India continues unabated, even in states that are educationally advanced. (250 Words)
- The word adivasi carries the specific meaning of being the original inhabitants of a given region and was specifically coined for that purpose in the 1930s.But they are one of the most discriminated communities in India and are being forced to adapt to modernity even in the most developed states
Why discrimination and atrocities against Adivasis in India continues unabated ?
- Number of development-induced internally displaced people in India over 50 years between 20 and 50 million. Dispossessed, they become a part of the army of cheap, daily wage labour.
- In Kerala too, there has been a systematic expropriation of indigenous lands since the 1940s by settlers from the plains.
- The contact with mainstream society is absolutely damaging for the cultural self of the Adivasis. Their children are often traumatised because of persistent discrimination in schools.
- There cannot be a mere developmental/economic solution to the Adivasi ‘problem’. But that has been the dominant approach to mitigating their condition. For instance 5000 Crores is allotted in Kerala Government Budget along with 95000 Crores in 2018 Budget of Union Government.
- Movements have forced the Indian state to finally make radical legislations which accept the cultural and forest rights of the Adivasis, and grant self-governance to them. But these have either been poorly implemented or completely diluted in practice.
- Most tribal villages and settlements have no access to schools and medical care. Very few are connected with all-weather roads. Their forests have been pillaged and plantations and industries have come up.
- Caste system in India recognised them as second grade citizens leading to further discrimination.
- There cannot be the liberation of the Adivasi until the fundamental material issue of land alienation is addressed.
- The discourse around Adivasis must shift more towards substantive measures like reparations and restitution.
- Lessons that India can learn from New Zealand’s Maori experience of reconciliation is for indigenous people and governments to have a genuine and robust discussion at the outset of any attempt to resolve grievances.
- These communities are full of traditional wisdom on farming, forest conservation, and multiple varieties of uncultivated food that can help them reduce the persistent threats of food security.
- There’s a big opportunity for civil society, social agencies and policy makers to come together and create opportunities and initiatives respecting this unique relationship between the tribes and forests.
- Initiatives supporting community led farming, sustainable forest conservation, can not only help us protect the bio-diversity of the planet, but also provide sustainable means of forest-led occupations, reduction of absolute poverty and arrest food security and malnutrition in these communities.
Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
3) The Mughal style evolved as a result of a happy synthesis of the indigenous Indian style of painting and the Safavid school of Persian painting. It is primarily aristocratic and secular. Discuss. (250 Words)
- The origin of Mughal School is a landmark in history of Indian paintings. The school originated in the reign of Akbar. Mughal paintings were a unique blend of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles.
Synthesis of Persian and Indian styles:-
- The Mughal rulers brought Persian painters with them. At the same time they patronized Indian painters and the collaboration between these two schools of painters resulted in the synthesis.
- Some of the finest paintings are to be found in the ‘Akbarnama’ which has happy blending of both Indian and Persian arts.
- Persian artists such as Mir Sayid Ali, Abdus Samad and Farrug Beg taught the Indians the techniques of Iranian miniature painting. Indian painters were able to introduce naturalistic ideas to the purely decorative art of the Persians. This is clearly seen in the treatment of animals and landscapes.
- The flora of Persia, the shrubs, the slender cypresses, gradually gave way to the rich vegetation of India, painted over large surfaces, the leaves arranged so as to leave no empty gaps.
- While Mughal painting forsook older Persian art for a new Indian style it never entirely forgot its ancestry, as it is seen in the refinement and lightness of its brushwork, its swaying lines, the multiple resources of its palette.
Mughal style is secular:-
- Mughal paintings were secular in nature , mostly they portray day to day activities of kings, courts and other persons. As early Mughal rulers like Akbar were proponents of secularism and never imposed religious ideas over public hence the influence of their nature can be easily seen in various art forms.
- Tuti nama consists ofthe themes and stories which are derived from the 12th century Sanskrit anthology titled Śukasaptati or “Seventy Tales of Parrot”.
- Lord Krishna and Radha :
- The paintings commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar were the clear witness of a great endeavor to integrate two different cultures, the majority of population of Hindus and minority of Muslims, into one and create a great and peaceful Indian state.
- The paintings of Lord Krishna fall under this category.
- The miniature artworks of other deities of Hindu religion were the proof of the will of the great Emperor.
- It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Mughal miniature paintings are symbol of cultural and religious tolerance that had developed in India during the medieval period.
- Painters from all over India were recruited irrespective of their religion.
- In the mughal court scene paintings, the court scenes are depicted in grandeur and they were rich in variety which included portraits, events and court scenes from the court life. They depict the emperor sitting on a high throne and subjects offering him their valuable things.
- The paintings were aristocratic, individualistic and strong in portraiture where the plush court scenes and hunting expedition of royalty were depicted.
- The fascinating Mughal paintings portrays the scene of Mughal court, which are skillfully created by using multiple luscious colors.
- Dresses of busy emperors, courtiers, servants and architectural designs make the observers familiar with the reign of Mughal emperors.
- Rajasthan miniature paintings, mainly by the Jaipur school, largely due to Jaipur’s friendly alliances with the Mughals and the patronage of Akbar in the 16th century, remained rooted in the Mughal style. But the subjects had more varieties and the artists enjoyed more freedom. Therefore Mughal paintings had influence for future art forms as well.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health; Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.
- There are many examples of employers and insurers using genetic information to engage in discriminatory policies. This shows the need for a law against genetic discrimination
- Genetic discrimination occurs when people are treated differently by their employer or insurance company because they have a gene mutation that causes or increases the risk of an inherited disorder. Fear of discrimination is a common concern among people considering genetic testing.
- Genetic discrimination (GD) is understood to be differential treatment of those not showing symptoms but who are nevertheless treated differently on the basis of any real or assumed genetic characteristics.
India needs a law:-
- Discrimination in health insurance against individuals based on their genetic disposition or genetic heritage, in the absence of appropriate genetic testing and laying down of intelligible differentia, is unconstitutional.
- As advances have been made in genetic testing, however, employers and insurance companies have used it to penalize people. There have been reports of people being denied jobs or being fired because a parent had Huntington’s disease, or the worker had a BRCA1 gene that predisposed her to breast and ovarian cancer. People with family histories of certain diseases have had difficulty in buying health insurance.
- International examples :-
- In the U.S., the Genetic Information Non discrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law in 2008. GINA provides strong protection against access to genetic information and genetic discrimination in the context of health insurance and employment.
- It prohibits insurers from requesting or requiring genetic tests from an individual or members of the person’s family, or using genetic information to determine eligibility or establish premiums.
- An added benefit is that the law helps advance genetic science, which cannot conduct research without people willing to undergo testing. With the promise that their genes cannot be used against them, more people are likely to participate.
- Indian case:-
- In a country where health insurance is still at a nascent stage and out of pocket expenditure is high with genetic discrimination clauses the people would lose trust in the insurance sector.
- India too needs a law that prevents genetic discrimination. In this era of rampant genetic testing. The situation is likely to get worse as people become more accepting of predictive genetic tests and insurance companies insist on them. India need to prevent discrimination and uphold “equal treatment under the law”.
- Geneticists are not in agreement on the usefulness of genetic tests or even on their veracity. Most importantly, very few single-gene health problems exist and the vast array of common diseases is related to the functioning of networks of genes in the milieu of other central cellular components.
- Moreover, the popular notion of deoxyribonucleic acid (otherwise known as DNA) being the central and only player in cellular and genetic information and disease with a mere unfolding of characteristics is deeply flawed.
- Everyone has genes for some predisposition or the other, this being the human condition. There should therefore be no discrimination based on genetic information.
Nature of the law:-
- In a time of unprecedented demand for personal data, the Indian law is a critically important development for privacy protection similar to Canada’s anti genetic discrimination law.
- The law needs to ensure fundamental rights of equality are not violated.
- Also strict provisions are needed against making genetic testing mandatory for health insurance and employment
General Studies – 3
Topic: Economics of animal rearing
5) A recent study has raised serious concerns over the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in farm animals. Examine why rampant usage of antibiotics continues unabated in farm industry and what are its health and other risks to humans. (250 Words)
- India has been called the epicentre of the global drug resistance crisis. A combination of factors have come together to hasten the spread of superbugs.
Why rampant usage of antibiotics continues in farm industry :-
- Unregulated sale of the drugs for human or animal use accessed without prescription or diagnosis has led to unchecked consumption and misuse.
- Of tested birds destined for meat consumption, 87% had the super germs based on a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
- Farms supplying India’s biggest poultry-meat companies routinely use medicines classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “critically important” as a way of staving off disease or to make them gain weight faster, so that more can be grown each year for greater profit.
- One drug typically given this way is Colistin which is used to treat patients critically ill with infections that have become resistant to nearly all other drugs.
- In India, the poultry industry is booming. The amount of chicken produced doubled between 2003 and 2013. Chicken is popular because it can be eaten by people of all religions and affordable. Experts predict the rising demand for protein will cause a surge in antibiotic use in livestock. India’s consumption of antibiotics in chickens is predicted to rise fivefold by 2030 compared to 2010.
- Lax regulation:-
- India does not have an effective integrated policy to control the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry with a viewpoint of containing antibiotic resistance
- 2007: The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) recommends not using systemic antibiotics in poultry feed. The recommendation is voluntary and does not extend to gut-acting antibiotics, which BIS planned to cover by 2012
- 2011:The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) sets maximum residue limits for four antibiotics in sea food and prohibits the use of certain others in seafood processing units. It does not prescribe standards for domestic poultry industry. The national policy on containment of antimicrobial resistance is finalised but does not focus on antibiotic resistance emanating from the large-scale use of antibiotics in animals
- 2013:-The Directorate General of Health Services issues a circular, asking state drug controllers to ensure that the withdrawal period of drugs meant for poultry and livestock are mentioned on packet. While it talks about regulating drugs, antibiotics as feed supplement remain out of its purview.
- In 2014 the Agriculture Ministry sent an advisory letter to all State governments asking them to review the use of antibiotic growth promoters. However, the directive was non-binding, and none have introduced legislation to date.
- Even the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)on poultry waste management do not adequately address ABR.
- In India, at least five animal pharmaceutical companies are openly advertising products containing Colistin as growth promoters.
- Chickens are fed antibiotics so that they gain weight and grow fast.
- Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found residues of antibiotics in 40 per cent of the chicken samples it tested.
- In Europe, Colistin is available to farmers only if prescribed by a vet for the treatment of sick animals. In India there is no such thing.
- India, level of awareness regarding antibiotic resistance is very low.
- Antibiotics are also coming from China as the imports are not regulated
- Poultry farmers also ignore the mandatory withdrawal period, time gap between the use of antibiotics and when it is slaughtered that helps ensure that high levels of antibiotic residues do not pass on to humans.
- While many poultry farmers are aware of other options or antibiotic-free growth promoter feed supplements, their high cost is prohibitive for smaller players. Bigger farmers are less keen because there is no incentive to make antibiotic-free chickens.
Health and other risks :-
- Public health experts have suspected that such rampant use of antibiotics could be a reason for increasing antibiotic resistance in India.
- These mutated robust strains bypass toxic effects of antibiotics, making them ineffective. They can easily spread among the flock and contaminate the food chain.
- They can also alter the genetic material of other bacteria, often pathogenic ones, making them resistant to several drugs and resulting in a global pandemic.
- Antibiotic residues present in the meat can directly unleash an assault on microbes in humans.
- The mutated robust microbe strain can invade the body and cause diseases that are difficult to treat. Even mild infections require stronger dosage.
- These drug-resistant bacteria could nullify the gains of modern medicine by compromising the success of organ transplants, high-end surgeries and cancer chemotherapy.
- With drugs losing their effectiveness, the world would need newer antibiotics. Unfortunately, no new class of antibiotic has hit the market since late 1980s.
- Annual healthcare cost due to antibiotic resistance is estimated to be as high as $20 billion, with an additional productivity loss of up to $35 billion in the US.
- Treating fatal diseases like sepsis, pneumonia and tuberculosis (TB) are becoming tough because microbes that cause these diseases are increasingly becoming resistant to fluoroquinolones.
- Farmhands who handle the birds often wear open-toe shoes, providing a conduit of entry for resistant bacteria and resistance genes into the community and hospitals, where further person-to-person transmission is possible.
- Ban the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and mass disease prevention. It should only be used to cure the sick animals based on prescription of veterinarians
- Antibiotics should not be allowed in feed and feed The government should set standards for animal feed and regulate the business
- Encourage development, production and use of alternative antibiotic-free growth promoters, such as herbal supplements
- All animal antibiotics should be traceable from manufacturing site to user. Implement stringent control on import of antibiotics and feed supplements
- Good farm management practices should be followed to control infection and stress among the flock.
- Veterinarians should be trained and educated on judicious use of antibiotics and infection prevention. The government should ensure that veterinarians do not get incentives for prescribing more antibiotics
- There is a need to introduce a labelling system wherein poultry raised without use of antibiotics should be labelled through reliable certified schemes to facilitate consumer choice.
- It is necessary to create an integrated surveillance system to monitor antibiotics use and antibiotics resistance trends in humans, animals and food chain. A national-level database should be developed and kept in the public domain.
- Citizens should be educated about what they are eating, what does their food contain, and what are the consequences.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information; Challenges of corruption
6) Although the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014 was passed by the Lok Sabha, it is not yet operationalised. Analyse the importance of having a strong Whistleblowers Protection Act. Also comment a how does strong Whistleblowers Protection Act compliment right to information act. (150 Words)
Albert Einstein was once credited with saying, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
As far as India is concerned, whether it is the public or corporate private sector, it is whistle-blowers and RTI activists who have contributed the most to exposing large-scale corruption. Lack of strong protection mechanisms and a loophole-free law to protect whistle-blowers harms all citizens, the economy and the environment.
- In defining who a whistle-blower is, the law goes beyond government officials who expose corruption they come across in the course of their work. It includes any other person or non-governmental organisation.
- The importance of such progressive expansion is underlined by the fact that in the last few years, more than 65 people have been killed for exposing corruption in the government on the basis of information they obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Need for strong whistleblower protection act:-
- A strong whistle-blower protection law in India would expose financial corruption in a way that reinforces ethical business practices.
- Whistle-blower protection laws incentivise integrity to help detect and deter unethical business practices and fraud. This type of law has been very successful elsewhere.
- These laws place pressure on companies that are engaged in unethical practices to respect the law, commit to compliance, and not retaliate against whistle-blowers. After all, it is better to prevent violations than to penalise after the act.
- The case against Ranbaxy marked the triumph of Dinesh Thakur, who tapped into United States’ whistle-blower protection laws that incentivise and protect people who expose unethical business practices.
- The False Claims Act, a federal law in the US, provides private individuals protection and incentives to expose fraud. The law has helped the US recoup billions of dollars lost to fraud and corruption while protecting the identity of the whistleblower. India can take inspiration from this.
- The murder of several whistle-blowers in recent years makes it necessary to protect the whistleblowers In 2003, Satyendra Dubey was killed for exposing financial irregularities in the Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project in Bihar.
- The government should welcome whistleblowers, be their advocate, and use their unique status as insiders to guarantee the integrity of social programmes.
How does a strong whistleblower act compliment RTI:-
- The RTI law has empowered the common man to have access to information from public authorities which only government officials were earlier privy to making every citizen a potential whistle-blower.
- It helps in better governance with better transparency and accountability .
- Both the acts when complemented bring the irregularities in the government system to the public domain.