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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 APRIL 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 APRIL 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: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India; Social empowerment; Poverty and developmental issues

1) Data from NCRB highlights the plight of SCs and STs in India. Highlight its key findings. It is believed that dilution of SCs/STs prevention of Atrocities Act would only worsen their situation. Comment. (250 Words)

The Economic Times

The Indian Express

Why this question

This question comes under GS-1 (Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India) and GS-2(Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions). This topic is important in the light of recent SC judgement and subsequent agitations by SC/STs as well.

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to highlight the plight of SCs/ STs in India in terms of various atrocities committed against them and then give an opinion on the recent SC order. You have to justify the answer properly.

Directive word:

Highlight: Briefly cite key findings like conviction rates and trial pending rates under SC/ST Prevention of atrocities act.

Comment: Give your opinion on whether the recent SC order is a step in right direction or not. The answer should be properly justified.

Structure of the answer:-

Introduction- Briefly mention how the amendments made in 2015 to the SC/ST prevention of atrocities act intended to make it more stringent, have failed to serve their purpose.

The body of the answer should be divided into 2 parts. In one part, briefly cite the trial completion rates, conviction rates and trial pending rates under SC/ST Prevention of atrocities act.

In the second part, comment on the deficiencies in the implementation of the act, with special emphasis on the recent Supreme court order.

In the conclusion part, briefly write how to ensure that the act serves its desired purpose and, how its misuse can be prevented.

 

Background:-

  • Recently several states were affected by violence and clashes following Bandh call given by several SC/ST organisations protesting the Supreme court’s recent judgement on SC/ST act.The earlier amendments which tried to make the act stringent did not serve the purpose as well.

Key findings of the NCRB report :-

  • India has over 180 million Dalits. A crime is committed against a Dalit every 15 minutes. Six Dalit women are raped every day. Over the last 10 years (2007-2017), there has been a 66% growth in crime against Dalits.
  • In fact, the share of false cases under the SC/ST Act has declined over time (2009-2015).
  • A total of 40,774 cases were registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and other sections of law over alleged crimes against SCs and STs in the year 2016.
  • Of these, charge-sheets were filed in 78.3 per cent cases, and the conviction rate was 25.8 per cent.
  • Assaults on women with the intent to outrage modesty, at 7.7% (3172 cases), reported the highest number of cases of crimes/atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs), followed by rape with 6.2% (2541 cases) during 2016.
  • Uttar Pradesh in reporting the maximum number of crimes against Dalits.
  • In cities too, the trend was reflected with Lucknow reporting 88 cases of crimes against women .This accounted for more than 30% of all crimes against Dalits reported in Lucknow. More than 40 of these cases were of rape.
  • In the case of Scheduled Tribes, the number of cases stood at 6,568 in 2016. In the case of STs, Madhya Pradesh (1,823 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities at 27.8% followed by Rajasthan with 18.2% (1,195 cases) and Odisha with 10.4% (681 cases).
  • In the case of STs, there were 974 rape cases which constituted 14.8% of all crime against them, followed by assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty with 12.7% (835 cases) and kidnapping and abduction with 2.5% (163 cases).
  • Based on data it shows that it is mostly ineffective implementation of the act that is leading to atrocities rather than misuse.

Implications of supreme court judgement which diluted the SC/ST act :

  • Data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that the proportion of false cases registered under the act has actually fallenMoreover, the method of using conviction rates to evaluate whether a law is sound is fraught with danger.
  • Given the upper-caste control of the law and order machinery, conviction rates in caste-related crimes will  be low.
  • Dilution of the act  will result in increasing of atrocities against Dalits and also create a rift in the society.
  • Many incidents happen that don’t get reported under the Act because people who aren’t educated don’t even know it exists.
  • Most Dalits do not register cases for fear of retaliation by higher castes.
  • Experts say that the judgment effectively neutralises the Act which provided some sense of protection to hapless people against oppressive societal prejudices.
  • There are studies, such as one by the Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad, which have exposed how cases of atrocities result in acquittal due to the anti-Dalit attitude of the law enforcement.

Meaning behind supreme court and why this is right :-

  • Supreme court gave the judgement on the  pretext that Innocents cannot be terrorised by the provisions of the SC/ST Act and their fundamental rights need to be protected.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution equally applies to all the citizens and none of the provisions of SC/ST Act has been diluted.
  • Enough safeguards are provided so that interests of the innocents are protected from being arrested and false cases are not encouraged.
  • The reasons behind the low conviction, which is 15%, is because cases are registered without proper investigation and a simple accusation leads to an FIR which does not stand scrutiny in a court of law. This exercise is a way to harass people and is a complete waste of time  of both the police and the court.
  • More cases under the Act are filed in rural areas as opposed to urban areas where caste identities are blurred. It is easier to falsely implicate people in rural areas. So protection to all citizens is necessary.

Conclusion:-

  • The supreme court judgement need to be seen in the context of social justice rather than as partisan.

Why this question

This question comes under GS-1 (Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India) and GS-2(Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions). This topic is important in the light of recent SC judgement and subsequent agitations by SC/STs as well.

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to highlight the plight of SCs/ STs in India in terms of various atrocities committed against them and then give an opinion on the recent SC order. You have to justify the answer properly.

Directive word:

Highlight: Briefly cite key findings like conviction rates and trial pending rates under SC/ST Prevention of atrocities act.

Comment: Give your opinion on whether the recent SC order is a step in right direction or not. The answer should be properly justified.

Structure of the answer:-

Introduction- Briefly mention how the amendments made in 2015 to the SC/ST prevention of atrocities act intended to make it more stringent, have failed to serve their purpose.

The body of the answer should be divided into 2 parts. In one part, briefly cite the trial completion rates, conviction rates and trial pending rates under SC/ST Prevention of atrocities act.

In the second part, comment on the deficiencies in the implementation of the act, with special emphasis on the recent Supreme court order.

In the conclusion part, briefly write how to ensure that the act serves its desired purpose and, how its misuse can be prevented.


General Studies – 2


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

2) The debate on federalism in present India revolves around many distinct but inter- related aspects. Examine. Also discuss various contentious issues in the Terms of reference, of the 15th finance commission. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Livemint

 

Why this question

Debate around federalism in India has been evolving over time and questions with varying contexts can be asked from the topic which comes under GS-2 syllabus- (Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein).

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to trace the evolution of debates around federalism in india and further delve into the present debate and examine its various aspects. In the second part, the question wants us to briefly describe various contentious issues related to the Terms of reference, of the 15th finance commission, with special emphasis on issues affecting federalism.

Directive word

Examine- Dig deep into the current debate around federalism in India and highlight various issues, aspects and components.

Discuss- Briefly describe the main contentious issues in the Terms of reference of 15th finance commission.

Structure of the answer

In the introduction, write in 1-2 lines about the incidents/reports/ findings that depict the current scenario of federalism in India.

Body-Divide the body of the answer into 2 parts.

In one part examine the new dimensions that have evolved with time around the debate of fiscal federalism in India. Also examine the aspects that have strengthened or weakened over time and have thereby altered the current debate.

In another part discuss the main issues in terms of reference of the 15th finance commission, which have led to debates around federalism.

Conclusion- briefly mention in 1-2 lines, the need for a robust cooperative federalism which caters to the aspirations of modern India and also fulfils the task of national integration.

 

Background:-

  • India is termed as a union of states since independence but in the recent times there have been protests and demands by the states for greater autonomy.

Aspects revolving federalism  :-

  • The units of Indian federation have undergone multiple transformations since 1947. This is because Article 3 of the Constitution empowers Parliament to create new States. Such a provision can be seen as giving the Union too much power, it has arguably been central to holding India together since it allows the federation to evolve and respond to sub-national aspirations.
  • Any serious political movement around federalism should question the necessity of retaining such constitutional provisions which are vestiges of colonial rule.
    • While the flexible nature of federalism under the Constitution has served India well, the continued existence of provisions such as Article 356 (President’s rule) goes against the grain of federalism.
  • States such as Karnataka, Tamilnadu have asserted their linguistic and cultural rights in the wake of the Centre’s interventions such as a promotion of Hindi. 
  • States are  perceiving that their progress is being penalised:-
    • While the southern States contribute to the nation economically, they don’t occupy a central space politically and are further marginalised culturally.
    • States are concerned with the centre’s approach to fiscal discipline and downsizing government.
  • For a long time federalists have been demanding that the Centre cut down or totally wind up some of the ministries that deal with subjects in the State List. This is not happening.
  • The existing and largely underutilised Interstate Council, created under Article 263 and mandated to deal with coordination between States, has been totally ignored. 
  • States are unevenly equipped to engage in fair competition, since regional disparities in the provision of basic needs and social sector services are overwhelming. Moreover, there are vast differences in governance capabilities, and while special category States may have withered away with , the need for asymmetric federalism remains.
  • 14 th finance commission and Cooperative federalism:-
    • The14th Finance Commission, in 2015, recommended raising the share of States in the divisible pool of Central taxes from 32% to 42%. However, beyond this measure, the Centre has not inspired much confidence regarding its commitment to federalism.
    • The Centre directed its axe towards key centrally sponsored schemes in the social sector. Whether most of the States are sufficiently endowed with governance capabilities to absorb and effectively spend the additional resources that have come their way is a moot point.
  • Governor role being misused shows the mandate to  centralisation of power in states. For instance proclamation of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh  significantly advanced  unfinished agenda of limiting partisan federalism. 
  • Some of the instances which show that the states are demanding greater autonomy :-
    • The recent instance of unveiling of state flag by Karnataka
    • The continued existence of provisions such as Article 356 (President’s rule) are threatening states
    • Protests against Jallikattu, imposition of preferences on food, exclusion of women form the Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala.
    • So a central authority cannot draw the boundaries of cultural practice in ways that are sensitive to tradition. 
    • Inter state water disputes
    • Now, the skewed terms of reference for the 15th Finance Commission have brought the south together in making a strong case for fiscal federalism.

Contentious issues in the terms of reference of the 15th finance commission:-

  • The Centre’s direction to use the 2011 Census instead of the 1971 Census for population data has concerned the southern states. As the population in these States has stabilised, the concern is that their share of tax allocation would reduce.
  • The terms of reference for the 15th Finance Commission have brought the south together in making a strong case for fiscal federalism. 
  • Using 2011 census data will give states with the greatest increase in population an advantage in their share of revenue, relative to prior revenue allocations.
  • Using the 2011 census would mean that the policy successes is states like TN,Kerala  are punished and the policy failures of badly governed states are rewarded.
  • Taking away the resources of successful states at this crucial juncture of their development also affects their future development and welfare outcomes.
  • The use of the 2011 census in the 15th FC is merely revealing the symptoms caused by the problem of centralizing fiscal decisions.

 Way forward:-

  • Long-term solution is to foster genuine fiscal federalism where states largely raise their own revenue and face hard budget constraints, i.e. fiscal autonomy accompanied by fiscal responsibility.
  • Creating a fiscal structure where the states have greater revenue-raising authority, as well as greater decision making power on spending, implies a lower reliance on the Union government in fiscal matters as well as governance decisions.
  • India needs to move away from centralization-decentralization thinking, and embrace genuine fiscal federalism by permanently creating a fiscal power centre in the states. 

 

Why this question

Debate around federalism in India has been evolving over time and questions with varying contexts can be asked from the topic which comes under GS-2 syllabus- (Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein).

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to trace the evolution of debates around federalism in india and further delve into the present debate and examine its various aspects. In the second part, the question wants us to briefly describe various contentious issues related to the Terms of reference, of the 15th finance commission, with special emphasis on issues affecting federalism.

Directive word

Examine- Dig deep into the current debate around federalism in India and highlight various issues, aspects and components.

Discuss- Briefly describe the main contentious issues in the Terms of reference of 15th finance commission.

Structure of the answer

In the introduction, write in 1-2 lines about the incidents/reports/ findings that depict the current scenario of federalism in India.

Body-Divide the body of the answer into 2 parts.

In one part examine the new dimensions that have evolved with time around the debate of fiscal federalism in India. Also examine the aspects that have strengthened or weakened over time and have thereby altered the current debate.

In another part discuss the main issues in terms of reference of the 15th finance commission, which have led to debates around federalism.

Conclusion- briefly mention in 1-2 lines, the need for a robust cooperative federalism which caters to the aspirations of modern India and also fulfils the task of national integration.


Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

3) Critically analyse whether the process of removal of judges in India needs to be revised? Also highlight the key short-comings Of Judicial Standards and Accountability bill, 2010. (250 Words)

PRS

Why this question?

Judicial reforms are an important topic and part of the GS-2 mains syllabus under the heading-separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. It has often been in news and recently an impeachment process has been initiated against the incumbent CJI.

Key demand of the question

The question demands an analysis of the provisions regarding removal of judges, and thereof draw a conclusion, around the need for revision for these provisions. In the second part, the question simply demands that why Judicial Standards and Accountability bill, 2010 in its present form will not be successful in instating judicial accountability.

Directive word:

Critically analyse –

In one part, discuss in the light of various constitutional provisions, how impeachment of judges is susceptible to political bias and hence the process should be reviewed or not. You should provide your conclusion and justify them in the light of constitutional provisions.

Highlight- enlist key shortcomings of judicial standards and accountability bill, 2010.

Structure of the answer

In the introduction, write 2 to 3 lines on importance of judicial independence along with need for judicial accountability.

Divide the body of the answer into two parts.

Divide the first part of the answer into two subparts and, in one subpart analyse the constitutional provisions aiming to ensure judicial independence, and in another subpart analyse the provisions related to their removal.

In conclusion, mention the need to place an in-house as well as a legislative mechanism (also quote some examples), to maintain judicial accountability, without corroding judicial independence.

Background :-

  • Constitution has provided for the impeachment of judges on the grounds of proven misbehaviour. Removal of a Supreme Court or High Court judge is governed by Articles 124 (4) and (5) and 217 (1) (b) and 218 of the Constitution on the ground of proven misbehaviour or incapacity. This shows the judicial independence at the same time there is a need for judicial accountability.

Constitutional provisions related to judicial independence:-

  • The constitution of India adopts diverse devices to ensure the independence of the judiciary in keeping with both the doctrines of constitutional and Parliamentary sovereignty.
  • Article 142 provides that “the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
    • One of the important instances of application by the Supreme Court of Article 142 was in the Union Carbide case.
  • The High Courts and Supreme Court are the only institutions that can really take on the government, and hold them to account. It should therefore not be easy for these judges to be removed on the whims of the powers that be.
  • Other jurisdictions with similar legal systems have also been careful to have a difficult impeachment process for the higher judiciary to discourage the executive from freely wielding the axe on judges it doesn’t like, including the United Kingdom, which also requires addresses passed by special majority in the legislature. 

 

Process of removal of judges need to be revised :-

  • In the last two decades, there have been instances about judicial impropriety. Three notable cases concerning Justices Soumitra Sen ,P. Dinakaran Justice Ramaswamy have arisen. 
  • Comments by retired judges speaking about a high percentage of impropriety in the judiciary and reports of judges being asked to resign after an in-house review .
  • With the sheer volume of such cases rising coupled with the problem of the Information Commission in India mandating disclosure of assets of all judges, the Judiciary finds itself bearing the heat of Judicial Accountability:
  • Method pursued by the legislature in the Act of 1968 falls abysmally short of the mark as the same makes judges susceptible to a  political process of voting which may or may not impeach judges despite a 3-member committee holding the Judge guilty. Such an event is a travesty of natural justice as there is propensity for a ‘guilty’ judge to be let off on the whims of a political process of voting. 
  • Entire process concerns of a possibility of harming judicial independence. This stems from a possibility of Judges being harassed to toe the ideology of a party in majority or face their wrath in an impending motion of impeachment.
  • In regard to investigation and proof of misbehaviour alleged against Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court, a three-member committee was appointed under the Judges (Inquiry) Act. This committee unanimously found the charges levelled against Justice V. Ramaswami proved but the motion for his removal in the Lok Sabha failed because of political considerations. 
  • Major problem in the case of impeachment of High Court judged is that these measures include those of transferring errant judges to other high courts as a form of punishment. 
  • The words “misbehaviour” or “incapacity” have neither been defined nor clarified in the Constitution.
  • The process of removing a judge is too elaborate and somewhat cumbersome.

 

The judicial standards and accountability bill was brought to ensure judicial accountability however it fell short in the following issues :-

  • The key issue is whether the balance between independence and accountability is maintained by the proposed mechanism in the Bill.  The Oversight Committee has non-judicial members which might impinge on the independence of the judiciary.
  • The Bill penalises anyone who breaches the confidentiality of complaints.  It is questionable whether a penalty is needed for a frivolous complaint that remains confidential.
  • The Scrutiny Panel has judges from the same High Court.  This is different from the in-house procedure of the Supreme Court.
  • The Oversight Committee has non-judicial members.  The procedure of the Committee is not an in-house procedure of the judiciary.  It is not clear whether the power of the Oversight Committee to impose minor measures is constitutionally valid.
  • The Bill does not mention whether a judge has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against an order of removal issued by the President after Parliament finds him guilty of ‘misbehaviour’. 

Way forward:-

  • However, an in-house finding may help hasten it in flagrant cases. The possibility of getting a motion passed in Parliament is brighter, and the charge of the process being misused for partisan ends is reduced. That internal mechanisms work with due regard for institutional integrity is something that should be welcomed.
  • Most importantly, the In-House Procedure also needs to include a plan for how to deal with allegations against the CJI himself –currently the Procedure is silent on this point. 
  • Permanent body like National Judicial Commission must be set up whose composition of 5 members is shuffled every 5 year.
  • The Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, the Dinesh Goswami Committee on judicial reforms and other bodies have stressed the need for effective measures to deal with misbehaviour of judges and have also suggested various ways to check the growing evil. There is an urgent need for punitive correctives in the superior judiciary.
  • There needs to be some thought about giving more teeth to the CJI when it comes to High Court judges especially perhaps by allowing him to temporarily suspend the judge themselves (rather than relying on the Chief Justice of the relevant High Court).
    • This is not something which can be done in every instance of alleged misconduct after all, Constitution does not grant the CJI administrative powers over the High Court. However, such an order was passed in Justice Karnan’s case on the judicial side, so it is a possibility.
  • Introduce time limits for Parliament to deal with impeachment motions

Why this question?

Judicial reforms are an important topic and part of the GS-2 mains syllabus under the heading-separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. It has often been in news and recently an impeachment process has been initiated against the incumbent CJI.

Key demand of the question

The question demands an analysis of the provisions regarding removal of judges, and thereof draw a conclusion, around the need for revision for these provisions. In the second part, the question simply demands that why Judicial Standards and Accountability bill, 2010 in its present form will not be successful in instating judicial accountability.

Directive word:

Critically analyse –

In one part, discuss in the light of various constitutional provisions, how impeachment of judges is susceptible to political bias and hence the process should be reviewed or not. You should provide your conclusion and justify them in the light of constitutional provisions.

Highlight- enlist key shortcomings of judicial standards and accountability bill, 2010.

Structure of the answer

In the introduction, write 2 to 3 lines on importance of judicial independence along with need for judicial accountability.

Divide the body of the answer into two parts.

Divide the first part of the answer into two subparts and, in one subpart analyse the constitutional provisions aiming to ensure judicial independence, and in another subpart analyse the provisions related to their removal.

In conclusion, mention the need to place an in-house as well as a legislative mechanism (also quote some examples), to maintain judicial accountability, without corroding judicial independence.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

4) Despite swift improvements in literacy levels, quality of education and learning outcomes have not improved significantly. In the light of above statement, critically analyse the key proposals of SSA-2 project? What are the various impediments faced by govt and other stakeholders, in improving the quality of education. Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

Poor education outcomes have become a serious issue plaguing lower education in India. SSA project (proposals) was recently released with an aim to improve quality of education. It is hence an important topic of GS-2 and comes under the following headings.

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Key demand of the question

The question demands a thorough analysis of the SSA-2 project, and also explain why after so much efforts quality of education has not improved. You should briefly mention the different stakeholders and then discuss the issues involved in improving the quality of education.

Directive word:

Critically analyse- The SSA-2 project is to be subjected to a detailed analysis, wherein points favouring and against the given project are to be discussed.

Discuss- enlist and briefly explain the reason behind the impediments faced by govt and other stakeholders in improving the quality of education in India.

Structure of the answer-

In the introduction quote figures and figures from studies/ reports like ASER, about quality of education in India.

Divide the body into 2 parts. In one part highlight the key proposals of the SSA-2 project and write points in favour of and against these proposals.

In second part, briefly discuss the impediments faced by the government and other stakeholders in improving the quality of education in India.

In the conclusion part, briefly mention ways/solutions which can be deployed to improvise the SSA-project.

 

Background:-

  • According to the World Development Report 2018 “Learning to Realise Education’s Promise”, India ranks second from the bottom after Malawi in a list of 12 countries where some Grade 2 students were found to be unable to read a single word from a short text.
  • India also tops the report’s list of seven countries in which some Grade 2 students could not calculate simple two-digit subtractions shows the apathy of the quality in Indian education.

SSA-2 project and its proposals:-

  • Recently cabinet has approved a slew of reforms for school education in the country, which could be considered as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-2 project.
  • As per this, the Sarva shikhsha abhiyan, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher training would be integrated into a single scheme from Classes I to XII.
    • The integrated scheme will be in place from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2020, with an estimated allocation of ₹75,000-crore over the period, a 20% increase over the current allocation.
    • It aims to support the States in universalising access to school education from pre-nursery to Class 12 across the country.
  • The government would focus on educationally backward districts, disabled students and women.
  • There would be a shift to digital blackboards from Class 9 to college education in the next five years.
  • The government was also looking at basing education on learning outcomes and will provide a 20% incentive to the States for a learning-outcome based education.
  • Skill courses which are now functional from Class 9 to Class 12  would begin from Class 6 in future. This was aimed at enhancing the employability of students.
  • Demerits:-
    • Every level of education be it primary, secondary etc have their unique issues and intricacies to be dealt with. Combining the multiple schemes can dilute these.
    • The basic lack of infrastructure in schools is not effectively considered.
    • Budgetary allocation for education is still abysmal but the targets of this project are huge .So can lead to expenditure overlays.

Various impediments in improving quality of education:-

  • Government:-
    • The inexorable shift to private school education along with the Right to Education Act represents a failure of the public-school system. Government are the last choice of parents to send their children to.
    • A large number of government schools do not have full-time headmasters/principals. The lack of effective leadership has contributed to indiscipline among teachers leading to declining academic standards
    • Total educational outlays have consistently fallen short of that mark.
  • Teachers:-
    • Teacher shortages, absenteeism, corruption in recruitment and transfers
    • Lack a culture of accountability for performance for teachers as teacher absenteeism continues to plague the system,
  • Students:-
    • There has been sharp deterioration in abilities in reading, writing and other comprehensive skills.
    • Inefficient teaching methods, such as rote learning, which focuses on memorisation as opposed to critical reasoning, are still widespread at the primary and secondary school level.
  • Parents:-
    • Focus mostly on examinations and results rather than learning.

Way forward:-

  • Public-school system must be swiftly and radically revamped.
  • Teacher training institutions, of which the District Institutes of Education and Training constitute needs to be reformed .
  • Centre has also approved an increase in the outlay for making educational loans interest-free for students with modest financial means for studying in universities and colleges charging high fees. The interest subsidy will last till one year of their passing out of college. This needs to be implemented.
    • Ten-lakh students will get educational loans up to Rs. 7.5-lakh in the next three years. Students with an income below Rs. 4.5-lakh (per annum) will be eligible for it

 

Conclusion:-

  • India continues to have the largest number of young people anywhere. By ensuring they get a world-class education over the next few decades, India will be well on its way towards becoming a developed nation sooner than expected.

 

Why this question:

Poor education outcomes have become a serious issue plaguing lower education in India. SSA project (proposals) was recently released with an aim to improve quality of education. It is hence an important topic of GS-2 and comes under the following headings.

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Key demand of the question

The question demands a thorough analysis of the SSA-2 project, and also explain why after so much efforts quality of education has not improved. You should briefly mention the different stakeholders and then discuss the issues involved in improving the quality of education.

Directive word:

Critically analyse- The SSA-2 project is to be subjected to a detailed analysis, wherein points favouring and against the given project are to be discussed.

Discuss- enlist and briefly explain the reason behind the impediments faced by govt and other stakeholders in improving the quality of education in India.

Structure of the answer-

In the introduction quote figures and figures from studies/ reports like ASER, about quality of education in India.

Divide the body into 2 parts. In one part highlight the key proposals of the SSA-2 project and write points in favour of and against these proposals.

In second part, briefly discuss the impediments faced by the government and other stakeholders in improving the quality of education in India.

In the conclusion part, briefly mention ways/solutions which can be deployed to improvise the SSA-project.


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Conservation ; Environmental pollution and degradation; Environmental impact assessment

5) The goal of bringing one third of India’s geographical area under forest cover seems like a distant dream. In light of the steps suggested in Draft National Forest Policy, critically examine whether this distant dream can be made a reality? (250 Words)

Livemint

Down to Earth

 

Why this question?

Draft Policies are always important because they set the course of debate around a particular topic which remains in news. Thus it is important to examine the provisions of Draft National Forest Policy to see how successful they might be in achieving its stated objective.

Key demand of the question:

The key demand of the question is to examine whether the provisions of Draft National Forest Policy are adequate or ill conceived to enhance India’s forest cover. One also has to conclude with their own reasoning, why they feel the draft policy will be successful in achieving its objective. 

Directive Word:

Critically examine. We have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the implications if any of the provisions of the draft policy. Since the question mentions critically, we have to mention our own opinion (based on reasoning) as to whether the draft policy will succeed or not.

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, you should write about the status of forest cover in India as per the recently released Indian Forest Report. One should also touch on the need for enhancing forest cover in light of climate change, shortage of rainfall and other such impacts. Thereafter, one can mention about the aim of draft policy.

The body of this answer is pretty straight forward. We need to delve into the provisions of the forest policy and how each provision would impact forest cover. Classify provisions of the forest policy into different heads such as Finance, Governance (FRA and Gram Sabha Issue), Awareness, Administration (diversion of land etc) and examine these heads in light of the provisions of the Forest Policy.

The conclusion should mention your stand. If you feel the forest policy will be successful, mention why and what else can be done. If not, mention why and what more should be done.

 

 Background:-

  • Despite deforestation and human encroachment, the country’s forest cover has remained stable around 20% since Independence. This is because the loss of natural old-growth forests is compensated on paper by expanding monoculture plantations. This shows the challenges in achieving one third forest cover.

Steps suggested by draft national forest policy :-

 

  • National Forest Policy will be an overarching policy for forest management, with the aim of bringing a minimum of one-third of India’s total geographical area under forest or tree .
  • NFP, 2018 talks about climate change mitigation through sustainable forest management.
    • To address the issue of climate change, NFP, 2018 contributes to the forestry-related Nationally Determined Contribution Targets and by integrating, “climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in forest management through the mechanism of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) so that the impacts of the climate change is minimised”.
    • The Bonn Challenge, for instance, lays emphasis on landscape approaches a model aimed at improving the ecology of a landscape as a whole in order to benefit local livelihoods and conserve biodiversity.
    • The NDC lays emphasis not only on carbon sequestration but also adaptation to climate change through a strengthened flow of benefits to local communities that are dependent on forests and agriculture for sustenance.
    • This also reflects the spirit of India’s policy framework on forests which lays emphasis on a landscape approach to manage forest and tree cover, so that the flow of multiple ecosystem services  including food security, climate mitigation and adaptation, conservation of biological diversity and water supplies  is secured.
  • The draft policy document also talks about degraded land and how it can be improved by undertaking afforestation activities using public private partnership models. 
  • The lands available with the forest corporations which are degraded and underutilised will be managed to produce quality timber with scientific interventions.
  • Public private participation models will be developed for undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas and forest areas available with Forest Development Corporations and outside forests.
  • While the role of forests as climate change mitigation factor has been recognised, the draft NFP is vague on the issue of forests rights for forest dwelling communities.
  • The document proposes creation of a community forest management mission, bringing government, community and private land under the new proposed management system .
    • As far as community forest resources management under Forest Rights Act is concerned, the new policy will address the same under participatory forest management and the same will be addressed through the proposed community forest management mission.
  • Proposes the levy of a green tax for facilitating ecologically responsible behaviour and supplementing financial resources essential to address forestry issues
  • The policy states that forest land diversion projects related to mining, quarrying, construction of dams, roads and other linear infrastructure need to adopt special caution.
  • It states that a National Board of Forestry and State Boards of Forestry are to be established to ensure monitoring of the spread of the forest areas and management of forest cover
  • It calls for developing “sound ecotourism models” with the focus on conservation while supplementing the livelihood needs of local communities.
  • The draft policy indicates that CAMPA funds from diversion of forest land by industry are to be used for purchasing wildlife corridors from people.
  • The policy also asks for management plans for city forests, parks, garden and woodlands to nurture and sustain urban health, clean air and related benefits.
  • Telangana Haritha Haaram (THH) flagship programme of Telangana Government that envisages increasing the tree cover of the State from assumed 24% to 33% of the total geographical area.
    • It is envisaged that in 3 years a massive plantation drive of 230 crore seedlings with 120 crore in possible outside forests, 100 crore through natural rejuvenation and 10 crore in urban areas.

Concerns :-

  • Due to the rising population there is enormous pressure on forest land for extraction of forest based industries and encroachment for extension of agriculture.
  • The rising conflicts between conserving forests for generating ecosystem services and diversion for developmental project poses one of the biggest challenges in managing the forest resources. 
  • The policies adopted in the World Bank project under Joint/Community Forest Management were not sustained, as the village level Van Samrakshan Samithis (VSS) groups in rare cases took stewardship of forest conservation saw it as temporary employment.
  • The wide spread corruption have had tremendous impact on forests too.
  • Riding the wave of globalisation, market forces penetrated deep inside as forest produce were systematically looted. 

Way forward:-

  • Identify and reduce the dependency. For instance fuel wood via LPG connections and promoting fast growing timbers in forest fringes, Grazing via stall feeding or rotational grazing, controlling commercial exploitation of forests, adopt zero-tolerance to fires setting targets to reduce fires by 50%, 25% to 10% etc.
  • Increase surveillance and setup legal cell in forest department to follow-up on court cases.

Why this question?

Draft Policies are always important because they set the course of debate around a particular topic which remains in news. Thus it is important to examine the provisions of Draft National Forest Policy to see how successful they might be in achieving its stated objective.

Key demand of the question:

The key demand of the question is to examine whether the provisions of Draft National Forest Policy are adequate or ill conceived to enhance India’s forest cover. One also has to conclude with their own reasoning, why they feel the draft policy will be successful in achieving its objective. 

Directive Word:

Critically examine. We have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the implications if any of the provisions of the draft policy. Since the question mentions critically, we have to mention our own opinion (based on reasoning) as to whether the draft policy will succeed or not.

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, you should write about the status of forest cover in India as per the recently released Indian Forest Report. One should also touch on the need for enhancing forest cover in light of climate change, shortage of rainfall and other such impacts. Thereafter, one can mention about the aim of draft policy.

The body of this answer is pretty straight forward. We need to delve into the provisions of the forest policy and how each provision would impact forest cover. Classify provisions of the forest policy into different heads such as Finance, Governance (FRA and Gram Sabha Issue), Awareness, Administration (diversion of land etc) and examine these heads in light of the provisions of the Forest Policy.

The conclusion should mention your stand. If you feel the forest policy will be successful, mention why and what else can be done. If not, mention why and what more should be done.


TopicCropping pattern; Food security

6) Although Green Revolution has improved food security; it has evoked new nutritional deficiencies. In the light of the given statement, discuss the need for improving the production of coarse grains in India. Also, analyse the recent budgetary proposals initiated by the government in this regard? (250 Words)

The Hindu

The Economic Times

Reference

 

Why this question

It is an important topic of GS-3and comes under the heading-Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management; Major crops, cropping patterns in various parts of the country and issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

Key demand of the question

The question demands brief description and explanation for the emergence of new nutritional deficiencies due to changed production and consumption patterns caused by green revolution. In the second part, it demands us to analyse the strengths/benefits and limitations of the recent budget proposals in this regard.

Directive word

Discuss: Explain how green Revolution has led to distortion in production and consumption of coarse grains in India.

Analyse

Write in depth about the recent budgetary proposals and their potential, limitations in achieving the goal of increased coarse grains production.

Structure of the answer

In the Introduction part, quote a study/report which supports the fact that green Revolution has evoked new nutritional deficiencies.

Divide the body of the answer into two parts. In one part, explain how green Revolution has led to new nutritional deficiencies.

In another part enlist the key budgetary proposals initiated recently; elaborate these proposals by analysing their potential and their shortcomings.

In the conclusion part briefly mention some plausible solutions to the problem.

Background :-

  • Around 500 million people, or more than two-thirds of the Indian population, are now affected by deficiencies in protein and micronutrients.

Green revolution led to nutritional deficiencies:-

  • India’s ‘green revolution’ in the mid-1960s, which focused on wheat and rice to meet food security demands, for the decline of the area of coarse cereals. While wheat and rice received research, extension and market support, on the supply side, there was a marked shift away from coarse grains, with consequences for dietary micronutrients.
  • The consumption of millets has declined in countries that saw the Green Revolution, which gave food security through high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat even though it is very nutritious.

 

Why India needs to improve the production of coarse grains in India :-

  • Shifting away from white, polished rice to a diet that includes more wheat and coarse grains can improve how Indians deal with micronutrient deficiencies, as well as reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions associated with paddy cultivation.
  • Nutrient deficiency can be overcome within existing household budgets by diversifying diets to include coarse cereals, pulses, and leafy vegetables, and by reducing rice intake.
  • If the suggested dietary changes are made, India’s agricultural GhG emissions could be reduced by up to 25 per cent. Rice paddies are a man-made source of methane, a GhG, but one that can be controlled.
  • Millets have low glycemic value, which means they release energy slowly and, therefore, keep blood sugar levels stable. Besides, they are nutritious and in the light of the non communicable diseases they are increasingly seemed out for.
  • Chemicals and monoculture are also responsible for water scarcity, pests, social marginalization, erosion
  • Supply side moved away from coarse grains to fine grains/cash crops like soybeans/cotton causing nutritional def.
  • NSS (National Sample Survey) report said that Consumption Expenditure of 2/3rd population is protein / micronutrient deficient.

Recent budgetary proposals:-

  • With coarse grains accounting for one-third of the cultivated land in the state, there would be significant gains for farmers growing bajra, jowar, maize, pulses and oilseed, as the government would make sure that they get support prices that are one-and-a-half times the input cost.
  • Farmers who typically come under small and marginal categories and those who don’t have irrigation facilities will get the maximum benefits.
  • Farmers growing pulses such as moong, moth bean and urad would also benefit.

Why this question

It is an important topic of GS-3and comes under the heading-Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management; Major crops, cropping patterns in various parts of the country and issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

Key demand of the question

The question demands brief description and explanation for the emergence of new nutritional deficiencies due to changed production and consumption patterns caused by green revolution. In the second part, it demands us to analyse the strengths/benefits and limitations of the recent budget proposals in this regard.

Directive word

Discuss: Explain how green Revolution has led to distortion in production and consumption of coarse grains in India.

Analyse

Write in depth about the recent budgetary proposals and their potential, limitations in achieving the goal of increased coarse grains production.

Structure of the answer

In the Introduction part, quote a study/report which supports the fact that green Revolution has evoked new nutritional deficiencies.

Divide the body of the answer into two parts. In one part, explain how green Revolution has led to new nutritional deficiencies.

In another part enlist the key budgetary proposals initiated recently; elaborate these proposals by analysing their potential and their shortcomings.

In the conclusion part briefly mention some plausible solutions to the problem.


General Studies – 4


Topic: Attitude: social influence and persuasion; Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance; Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance
 

Why this question?

Freedom of press and role of press is constantly under scrutiny. Fake news has been a menace and government, news groups, ISPs etc are all brainstorming on how to check the menace of fake news.

Key demand of the question:

Your view on the quote is to be given on whether press is as critical as it is made out to be. Next, we will discuss whether laws are sufficient to check the menace or whether the problem has become so deep rooted that one has to instil attitudinal change to check fake news. Here we can discuss the effectiveness of laws, rules and regulations and how effective is their persuasive value.

Directive Word:

 Comment – you have to pick main points which are significance of press in the future of any republic whether laws are sufficient in bringing attitudinal change, also whether laws can catch up with technology. Effectiveness of laws, rules and regulations vs change in moral consciousness should also be commented upon. Associated impact on freedom of speech also needs to be commented on

Structure of Answer:

Introduction – Explain the quote and the menace of fake news

Body – Present your views with examples on the main points discussed above.

Conclusion – Your view along with way forward such as self censorship etc

 

Answer:-

Journalism is in a state of considerable flux. New digital platforms have unleashed innovative journalistic practices that enable novel forms of communication and greater global reach than at any point in human history.

 

But on the other hand, disinformation and hoaxes that are popularly referred to as “fake news” are accelerating and affecting the way individuals interpret daily developments. In addition, growing polarisation of society on ideological lines has made the job of spreading fake news easier. 

 

Stronger government action is necessary. For instance Thailand has stringent laws against fake news. Britain has announced the creation of a fake news rapid response unit to reclaim a fact-based public debate. Germany already has an anti-fake news law on its books that provides for a fine of up to 50 million euros ($61.3 million). With the exception of a few free speech extremists, these moves have largely been accepted  both in the relevant countries and in the court of international opinion as necessary and proportionate

 

Users creating hate content and sharing it can be booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). But the sheer expanse of the Internet and the anonymity it grants makes it difficult to track down people. 

 

The most important challenge here is to ensure that such state-led efforts are not used as a tool for censorship.Everyone has a responsibility to combat the scourge of fake news. This ranges from supporting investigative journalism, reducing financial incentives for fake news, and improving digital literacy among the general public.

 

Unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders.

 

Journalists can often be accused of generating fake news and there have been numerous cases of legitimate journalists being arrested or their work being subject to official scrutiny. In Egypt, an Al-Jazeera producer was arrested on charges of “incitement against state institutions and broadcasting fake news with the aim of spreading chaos.

 

Overly restrictive regulation of internet platforms in open societies sets a dangerous precedent and can encourage authoritarian regimes to continue and/or expand censorship. This will restrict global freedom of expression and generate hostility to democratic governance.

 

Governments around the world can do is to encourage independent, professional journalism. It is important for news organizations to call out fake news and disinformation without legitimizing them. Technology firms should invest in technology to find fake news and identify it for users through algorithms and crowd sourcing and strengthen online accountability.

 

An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.

 

Why this question?

Freedom of press and role of press is constantly under scrutiny. Fake news has been a menace and government, news groups, ISPs etc are all brainstorming on how to check the menace of fake news.

Key demand of the question:

Your view on the quote is to be given on whether press is as critical as it is made out to be. Next, we will discuss whether laws are sufficient to check the menace or whether the problem has become so deep rooted that one has to instil attitudinal change to check fake news. Here we can discuss the effectiveness of laws, rules and regulations and how effective is their persuasive value.

Directive Word:

 Comment – you have to pick main points which are significance of press in the future of any republic whether laws are sufficient in bringing attitudinal change, also whether laws can catch up with technology. Effectiveness of laws, rules and regulations vs change in moral consciousness should also be commented upon. Associated impact on freedom of speech also needs to be commented on

Structure of Answer:

Introduction – Explain the quote and the menace of fake news

Body – Present your views with examples on the main points discussed above.

Conclusion – Your view along with way forward such as self censorship etc