SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 JULY 2018

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 JULY 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

1) Discuss the various forms of violence faced by Dalits in Indian society? Examine whether SC’s verdict in Kashinath Mahajan case marks a death knell for Prevention of Atrocities Act?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The Article brings our attention back to this landmark SC judgment. Dalit protests has been in the news quite frequently. Also, there have been several incidents of lynching, in which Dalits have been at the receiving end, in recent times which is indicative of fault lines in our society. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The first part of the question is quite straightforward in its demand. The second part expects us to mention the judgment in Kashinath Mahajan case. The question is asking us to examine whether the judgment indicates a death knell for PoA Act. You can either agree or disagree with this statement giving reasons and mention the impact of the judgment.

Directive word

Discuss – Mention the various forms of violence faced by Dalits in Indian society

Examine – Give reasons for why or why not the judgment marks a death knell for the SC/ST (PoA) Act. Also mention what the likely impact of the judgment is going to be.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the judgment first and mention that it has led to widespread debate.

Body

  • Explain the various forms of violence against Dalits including the more recent additions like cow vigilantism, honour killing, Khap panchayats etc. Also mention discrimination in universities, jobs etc which fall under mental violence.
  • Give the constitutional provisions related to protection of Dalits which necessitated presence of an Act like PoA. Give your view on the debate of misuse of the Act vs need for a legislation to accord protection to Dalits. Examine the merits of SC making such a major change, which ideally should have been the role of Parliament etc.
  • Discuss what the likely impact of the judgment will be

Conclusion – Mention your view along with reasons and discuss how can we resolve this.

Various forms of violence faced by dalits in Indian society:-

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crime against Dalits – ranging from rape, murder, beatings, and violence related to land matters increased by 29 percent from 2012 to 2014. 
  • Untouchability:-
    • While modern Indian law has officially abolished the caste hierarchy, untouchability is in many ways still a practice.
    • In most villages in Rajasthan Dalits are not allowed to take water from the public well or to enter the temple.
  • Schools and colleges:-
    • In public schools, Dalits are not allowed to serve meals to superior castes; they often have to sit outside the classroom; and are made to clean the toilets.
    • Even in universities most of the faculty vacancies reserved for them are lying vacant and students are often discriminated.
  • Land related:-
    • Half of all atrocities committed against Dalits are related to land disputes.
  • Dalit women:-
    • Girls face violence at a younger age and at a higher rate than women of other castes. According to the National Family Health Survey by the age of 15, 33.2% scheduled caste women experience physical violence. The figure is 19.7% for “other” category women.
    • The violence continues, largely due to a sense of impunity among dominant castes.
    • Dalit women and girls are often the targets of hate crimes. Access to justice has been abysmal, with conviction rates at a measly 16.8 percent. Crimes against Dalits usually see half the conviction rate of the overall rate of conviction of crimes. Experts and activists say that low conviction rates and lack of prosecution of such cases of atrocities are the reasons why crimes against Dalits continue to rise.
  • Political power does not help:-
    • Even when Dalit women acquire political power, as when they are elected as sarpanches, there is often no protection against the social power that sanctions violence and discrimination against them.
    • In a village with a Dalit woman sarpanch, a Dalit woman was burned, but no action was taken.
  • Workplace violence:-
    • The risky workplaces compounded with a lack of labour rights protection measures render migrants dalit women more vulnerable to occupational injury.
    • Further, the emerging problem of sub-contracting short-termed labour makes it more difficult for them to claim compensation when they are injured at work places. 
    • Dalit women are most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by employers, migration agents, corrupt bureaucrats and criminal gangs.
    • The enslavement trafficking also contributes to migration of large proportion of dalit women.

SC’s verdict in Kashinath Mahajan case :-

  • Judgment is concerned with a limited aspect of the Act protecting innocent officers and employees in government and private sectors from the misuse of the Act 
  • SC stated that “liberty of the innocents cannot be allowed to be taken away. If no forum is there, then some forum in court has to be there to protect the interest of innocent citizens.”

Significance:-

  • 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 citizensand 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 arrestedand 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 areasas 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

Death knell for prevention of atrocities act:-

  • Judgment has ended up conveying a false and dangerous message that the Atrocities Act is a charter for exploitation or oppression.
  • Police apathy, the social and the economic might of the accused and the dependence of SC/STs on those accused would have resulted in acquittals. Similarly, there is no precise data on the scale and extent to which the Act has been misused by SC/ST employees. 
  • There are questions about how did the court find that the provisions in the Indian Penal Code (Sections 191 to 195), which prescribe punishment for falsifying evidence, to be inadequate in atrocities cases.
  • Data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that the proportion of false cases registered under the act has actually fallen. Moreover, 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 Actbecause people who aren’t educated don’t even know it exists.
  • Most Dalits do not register cases for fearof 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.

Measures to improve :-

  • Sensible labour laws reforms to give exit options to Dalits trapped in a system.
  • Integrating social and cultural transformation with an economic alternative is critical.
  • Huge investments will be needed in upskilling and educating dalits and government needs to create an abundance of new jobs within the formal sector and lowering barriers to job creation
  • Increased availability of stable-wage jobs for women is critical to preventing their socio-economic exploitation
  • With bridging the deep-rooted biases through sustained reconditioning:-
    • It is only possible by promoting the idea of gender equality and uprooting social ideology of male child preferability.
  • They should be given decision-making powers and due position in governance. Thus, the Women Reservation Bill should be passed as soon as possible to increase the effective participation of women in the politics of India.
  • Bridging implementation gaps:
    • Government or community-based bodies must be set up to monitor the programs devised for the welfare of the society.
  • Dalit women need group and gender specific policies and programmes  to address the issue of multiple deprivations.
  • Dalit women require comprehensive policies on health, especially on the maternal and child health
  • Make credit available by pooling the women to form self help groups. The example of Kudumbashree model of Kerala can be emulated.

Topic– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

2) “Swadeshi is that spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote.”Comment.(250 words) 

Third class in Indian railways
By Mahatma Gandhi

Reference

Why this question

Swadeshi movement and thought forms an integral and a pivotal component of India’s struggle for independence against the British. The term swadeshi has two components- self discovery, self sufficiency and resistance to foreign domination. It is important to discuss both these aspects.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the meaning of the term swadeshi as understood and explained by Gandhi Ji. The question basically wants us to bring out the essence of swadeshi not only as a tool of non-cooperation but also as a tool to self discovery and development based on indigenous values.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon. We have to support our opinion with substantial, valid and proper arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write a few lines about the significance of swadeshi movement in India’s struggle for independence.

Body-

  • Discuss the meaning of Swadeshi as understood and explained by Gandhi Ji. E.g for religion, in order to satisfy the requirements of the definition, one must restrict myself to his ancestral religion. That is the use of his immediate religious surrounding. If he finds it defective, he should serve it by purging it of its defects. In the domain of politics he should make use of the indigenous institutions and serve them by curing them of their proved defects. In that of economics he should use only things that are produced by his immediate neighbours and serve those industries by making them efficient and complete where they might be found wanting.
  • DIscuss the other aspect of swadeshi movement as a tool to challenge British supremacy in India. Discuss about the salient aspects of swadeshi and boycott movement which testify the same. E.g picketing of shops; establishment of national institutions to counter British policies and designs etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • While many Indian freedom fighters furthered the cause of Swadeshi, Mahatma Gandhi used it as a key component of the swaraj movement. The main focus area of the swadeshi movement was the boycott of Western, especially British, goods. There was picketing outside shops selling imported commodities, and people were encouraged to buy locally manufactured or produced goods instead. The movement had two-fold goals: to cripple the British economic system by boycotting British goods, and to revive indigenous industry in India.

Swadeshi as understood by Gandhi:-

  • Thus as for religion, in order to satisfy the requirements of the definition, one must restrict myself to ancestral religion. That is the use of  immediate religious surrounding.
  • In the domain of politics one should make use of the indigenous institutions and serve them by curing them of their proved defects.
  • In that of economics one should use only things that are produced by my immediate neighbours and serve those industries by making them efficient and complete where they might be found wanting. 
  • According to Gandhi , By reason of the Swadeshi spirit, a Hindu refuses to change his religion, not necessarily because he considers it to be the best, but because he knows that he can complement it by introducing reforms.
  • If people follow the Swadeshi doctrine, it would be your duty and mine to find out neighbours who can supply our wants and to teach them to supply them where they do not know how to proceed, assuming that there are neighbours who are in want of healthy occupation. Then every village of India will almost be a self-supporting and self contained unit, exchanging only such necessary commodities with other villages where they are not locally producible.

Swadeshi against British:-

  • Swadeshimovement which is part of the Indian independence movement and the developing Indian nationalism, was an economic strategy aimed at removing the British Empire from power and improving economic conditions in India by following the principles of swadeshi and which had some success.
  • Methods such as picketing of shops; establishment of national institutions to counter British policies and designs etc were used during swadeshi movement to meet the ends.

General Studies – 2


Topic– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

3) In light of the recent report of Standing Committee on Rural Development, critically analyze the performance of Swachh Bharat Mission?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article highlights the findings of the report of Standing committee which discusses some key issues with SBM. This is in contrast to the picture painted by Economic Survey this year. The Report is important for updating your notes on SBM.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss various aspects of SBM and highlight the pros and cons in terms of achievement. Our view on whether SBM has achieved its objectives needs to be provided at the end.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention details about SBM.

Body

  • Discuss the mission, vision and strategy to achieve vision of SBM
  • Discuss how SBM has indeed managed to make a dent. Highlight the findings of the Economic Survey 2017-18 – Open Defecation In Rural Areas Down 45%, established link between sanitation and economic performance, 296 districts and 3,07,349 villages across India have been declared as Open Defecation Free etc
  • Thereafter, discuss the findings of the Report. Analyse the issues related to investment in behavioural change, quality of new toilets constructed, availability of water etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the status of achievement of SBM and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • Swachh Bharat Mission is a campaign which was launched on 2 October 2014, and aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019, and is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns. Its predecessors were the “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” and before that the “Total Sanitation Campaign”.
  • Recent Parliamentary Committee report clearly says this programme is unlikely to make India open-defecation free. The rationale of the 51st Standing Committee on Rural Development reportis that even a village with 100 per cent household toilets cannot be declared open defecation-free till all the inhabitants start using them.

Success of the scheme:-

  • A sense of responsibility has been evoked among the people through the Clean India Movement. With citizens now becoming active participants in cleanliness activities across the nation, the dream of a ‘Clean India’ once seen by Mahatma Gandhi has begun to get a shape.
  • Facts:-
    • In the short span of three years, about 50 million toilets have been constructed in rural India, increasing the coverage from 39% to 69% now; another 3.8 million have sprung up in cities and towns and another 1.4 million are presently under construction
    • So far, 248,000 villages have been revived from the disgrace of open defecation; 203 districts, over one-third of the total, have banished open defecation.
  • States:-
    • Five States have declared themselves Open Defecation Free (ODF) in rural areas: Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Haryana.
  • SBM is not a campaign to just clean India, but has a much deeper significance:-
    • If successful, this campaign can transform the lives of Indian women, bringing in its scope issues of women’s safety, their access to higher education and will even challenge the caste system.

Criticism:-

  • Funds unspent:-
    • Centre has literally forgotten to spend the money earmarked to promote the use of toilets, a concern raised in the State of India’s Environment in Figure: 2018.
    • Centre has also failed to exhaust its budget for Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin. This, despite the fact, that the budget for the scheme has seen a dipover the past year. 
  • Implementation issues:-
    • Sanitation coverage figures seemed to be more on paper but the actual progress at the ground level is very lethargic. Behavioural change is still a distant reality.
  • Quality:-
    • Standing committee has also raised questions over the construction quality of toilets and said that the government is counting non-functional toilets, leading to inflated data. 
  • Unable to reach target:-
    • Access to free toilets has not helped resolve open defecation in India.The programme is unlikely to succeed in its primary task of eliminating open defecation by October 2019.
  • The rate of open defecation is not decreasing much:-
    • India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP per capita. For example, India has a higher GDP per capita than Bangladesh, but in Bangladesh only 8.4% households defecate in the open, compared to 55% in India.
  • Purity and pollution:-
    • The key reason for this is that basic latrines that need to be emptied out manually or pumped by simple machines are unacceptable to higher caste Hindus.
    • It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability. So people rather defecate in open than having a toilet at home.
    • It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste.
  • Even if the government builds free toilets without any leakage or corruption, India will at best have 80 million new toilets that a large proportion of Indians do not want to use.

Suggestions :-

  • Parliamentary Committee recommends the government to review its data time to time and delete the number of defunct toilets from the list to have a real picture of constructed and functional toilets in the country.
  • Concentrating on developing sewage system makes Swachh Bharat a success:-
    • Deeply entrenched cultural contexts must be taken into account for successful policy outcomes. India needs to change perceptions of ritual purity through education and awareness in rural areas. This can be done by investing in sewage systems.
    • Enabling local governments to construct sewage systems will solve the purity issue :-
      • A toilet that flushes away human waste into the sewage and waste management system solves the problem. If there is a functional sewage system, it is relatively low cost for households to build a toilet in every home that is connected to the sewage system. 
    • Developing proper sewage system in village would also have wider impact with water not stagnating any more, lesser vector borne diseases etc so the wider objective of sanitation will be achieved.
    • Modernising the sewer lines and septic tanks and investing money and energy on smart techniques of sanitation
  • Also it would not put stress on manual scavenging and this occupation can slowly fade away giving sense of dignity and equality to the most vulnerable sections.
  • Mohalla toilets:-
    • Villages have very small houses and much clustered places where there is no place to construct toilets. The ideal solution is to have mohalla toilets designated to each housewhere people will keep their toilet clean by seeing others. One advantage is that when the toilets are outside the home, there will be a peer pressure to keep it clean.
  • There should be a proper database about what are the requirements in a particular area because we cannot force a toilet in a house where there is no place.
  • For India constructing toilets is like a social work and not a development work. Once it is seen as a development work with country’s image, then the thrust will come and the people will realise how important it is and we should not lag behind other countries.
  • In schools it is the responsibility of the teachers and they have to be oriented to ensure that the child knows about hygienewhich also includes knowing how to use a toilet.

Conclusion:-

  • Pursuit of Swachh Bharat also requires strengthening public health services. Services such as good drainage systems, absence of swamps and ponds that are home to stagnant water, and the supply of safe drinking water all of which reduce exposure to and spread of diseases  are classic examples of public goods and require effective government intervention. 

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “ Separation of power and Indian political system”

4) Discuss whether separation of power in India, as provided by Indian constitution, is rigorous and whether it is more separation of functions rather than separation of power?(250 words) 

 

Key demand of the question

By rigorous separation of power, we mean that whether each wing of government ie executive, legislature, and judiciary function in silos or whether there are linkages between their functioning. By separation of function rather than of power, we mean the linkage between the executive and legislative where the minister derive their legitimacy from legislature. The question expects us to discuss these issues.

Directive word

Discuss – Here in your discussion, you need to explain what it meant by rigorous separation of power and separation of function rather than power. keeping  the constitution and political system of India in mind we need to provide answers to the nature of SoP in India in theory and in practice.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is the meaning of separation of power, rigorous SoP and separation of function.

Body – Discuss the nature of SoP in India. In the first part, discuss the checks and balances in practice and in theory which ensure that the three wings do not work in silos. Thus the nature of SoP in India is not rigorous. in the second part, discuss the judgment of SC in Ram Jawaya Case and mention that the executive derives its legitimacy from Parliament and are a part of Parliament. this it is more like separation of function.

Conclusion – Summarize your answer based on arguments provided above.

 

Background:-

  • Constitution of India embraces the idea of separation of powers in an implied manner. Despite there being no express provision recognizing the doctrine of separation of powers in its absolute form, the Constitution does make the provisions for a reasonable separation of functions and powers between the three organs of Government.

Separation of powers :-

  • Constitution of India lays down a functional separation of the organs of the State in the following manner:-
    • Article 50: State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive. This is for the purpose of ensuring the independence of judiciary.
    • Article 122 and 212: validity of proceedings in Parliament and the Legislatures cannot be called into question in any Court. This ensures the separation and immunity of the legislatures from judicial intervention on the allegation of procedural irregularity.
    • Judicial conduct of a judge of the Supreme Court and the High Courts cannot be discussed in the Parliament and the State Legislature, according to Article 121 and 211 of the Constitution.
    • Articles 53 and 154 respectively, provide that the executive power of the Union and the State shall be vested with the President and the Governor and they enjoy immunity from civil and criminal liability.
    • Article 361:the President or the Governor shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.
  • In India, there are three distinct activities in the Government through which the will of the people are expressed. The legislative organ of the state makes laws, the executive forces them and the judiciary applies them to the specific cases arising out of the breach of law.
  • Each organ while performing its activities tends to interfere in the sphere of working of another functionary because a strict demarcation of functions is not possible in their dealings with the general public. Thus, even when acting in ambit of their own power, overlapping functions tend to appear amongst these organs.

Separation of functions :-

  • In India, strict separation of powers is not followed as it is followed in the U.S. But a system of checks and balance has been embedded so much so that the courts are competent to strike down the unconstitutional amendments made by the legislature.
  • In India, separation of functions is followed and not of powers and hence, the principle is not abided in its rigidity. Besides the functional overlapping, the Indian system also lacks the separation of personnel amongst the three departments.
  • Judgment of SC in Ram Jawaya Case:-
    • Supreme Court of India (SC) had to deal with the question of extent of executive power and executive function in a situation where the executive was alleged to have violated the fundamental rights of the citizen vested in them by the Constitution of India without a legislative sanction. This landmark judgment delivered by our apex court in the wake of our independence is now acting as a touchstone for understanding the federal feature of the Indian Constitution through separation of powers.
    • Even years after this judgment, it becomes an important case not only in understanding separation of powers in Indian context but also worldwide as it discusses the basis for the new understanding of the doctrine of separation of powers in present times
  • Also the executive derives its legitimacy from Parliament and are a part of Parliament. So this is more like separation of function.

General Studies – 3


Topic –   Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

5) The internet and social media platforms pose an impossible challenge for government and civil society. Critically analyze.(250 words) 

epw

Why this question

Internet and social media are playing an increasingly broader and important role in our lives. It is pertinent to understand whether they can be regulated in order to control their negative implications for the society.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out the challenges posed by internet and social media and discuss why it is impossible to overcome them in the near future.

We have to form an opinion on the issue in consonance with our line of discussion after analyzing all the related aspects.

Directive word

Critically analyze- Here we have to dig deep into the issue and discuss all the relevant aspects- whether there is a need to regulate internet and social media under the present circumstances; why/ why not; if yes, then what are the difficulties involved therein

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention a few incidences which bring out the need to regulate/manage internet. E.g Facebook controversy, Google controversy, NEET data leaks etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the challenges posed by internet and social media to the government and the society. E.g terrorism, fake news, rumours triggering lynchings and riots, data snooping etc.
  • Discuss why it is difficult to overcome those challenges. E.g platform vs medium vs content; discuss why it is difficult to control any of them E.g huge and expanding no. of users; huge volume of traffic; needs of legitimate businesses and activities which disprove control of medium through frequent internet shutdowns, increased use of IT tools in all spheres of activity including governance; AI is still in nascent stages and it will take at least a decade to develop such AI which can automatically weed out harmful and unwanted content etc.

Conclusion– discuss what should the government do in such situation.

 

Background:-

  • In order to spread or be disseminated, both information and opinion need mediums and platforms. The internet is the medium; Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp are the platforms

How internet and social media platforms pose challenge to government and civil society and why its difficult to control them :-

  • Legitimate vs fake information:-
    • Challenge is how you permit what is considered legitimate content and information, and at the same time disallow the plethora of fake information as well as threats and abuse conveyed through these platforms.
    • There are questions raised whether to ban the medium or platform or content.
    • Rumours triggering lynchings and riots, data snooping etc.
  • Implementation difficulties:-
    • Ban or censorship of content is easier to legislate but almost impossible to implement. In Russia during the Stalinist era, for instance, despite strict state control of information, poems and manuscripts by dissidents were copied by hand and circulated. 
    • Unlike older media platforms, internet platforms are two way: every reader is also a reporter, an editor and an opinion maker. 
    • Today, when access to these platforms is so easy and convenient and literacy increasingly widespread, it is almost an impossible task for governments to ban comment by individuals.
  • Banning did not help :-
    • In the last few years, various state governments have stopped internet services and mobile phone services in an effort to control escalating situations. The immediate impact is on legitimate news and commercial transactions that use the same medium.
    • However, a government that is pushing “digital” onto its populace can scarcely afford to block access to the medium. Email, e-trading, e-commerce, Aadhaar, Unified Payments Interface and Bhim all need robust and continuous internet service.
  • Economic loss :-
    • A report by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations says that between 2012 and 2017, India lost around Rs.20,000 crore due to internet shutdowns.
  • Impacts democracy:-
    • Social media companies exploit the social environment. This is particularly nefarious, because these companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it. This interferes with the functioning of democracy and the integrity of elections
  • Civil society:-
    • Exacerbating the polarization of civil society
    • Rapidly spreading mis- and dis-information and amplifying the populist and illiberal wave across the globe
    • Creating competing realities driven by their algorithms intertwining of popularity and legitimacy
    • Being vulnerable to political capture and voter manipulation through enabling malevolent actors to spread dis-information and covertly influence public opinion
    • Capturing unprecedented amounts of data that can be used to manipulate user behavior
    • Facilitating hate speech, public humiliation, and the targeted marginalization of disadvantaged or minority voices
  • Personal information collected:-
    • Fundamental business model of social media companies like Facebook poses some serious concerns. Their goal is to collect as much personal information on individuals as possible and then use this information to sell highly targeted advertising to companies.  Worldwid e there is very little understanding of what exactly they collected, little regulation and little known about the consequences on democracy.
    • This level of data collection represents the concentration of enormous power in the hands of a single corporation. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has highlighted how this power can be used by a small group of people with an agenda to foster polarisation, radicalisation and undermine democratic elections.
  • Currently very difficult to control because:-
    • The number of users using social media platforms and internet are ever increasing and volume of traffic is huge.
    • AI is still in nascent stages and it will take at least a decade to develop such AI which can automatically weed out harmful and unwanted content etc.
  • Individual users are increasingly viewed as legitimate targets for mining personal and metadata. Such data can provide an intimate psychological profile including ideological preferences that together help campaign managers target communications and forecast voter behaviour.
  • Data theft and identity crisis:-
    • Data of millions are taken and used when only 270,000 people knowingly or unknowingly gave consent.
  • Individuals often share their data without being aware of it or understanding the implications of privacy terms and conditions.
  • Individuals do not have much rights over the data they shared and personal data is considered as the new oil.

Way forward:-

  • Companies claim that they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulation, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open access.
  • Recent laws directed at social media have that changing in Germany, social networks could pay up to $60 million in fines if hate speech isn’t removed within 24 hours.
  • Social networks need to enhance their own governance, continue to refine the algorithms, use more “friction” like warnings and notifications for suspicious content expand human oversight, adjust advertising, and continue to share knowledge with other networks to reach those goals.
  • India needs to have a legal framework for data protection. It will create a vital and necessary framework against which rights and responsibilities can be articulated, and digressions thereof evaluated.
    • A proper data protection law with an effective enforcement mechanism would ensure recognition for India as a trustworthy global destination for data-based businesses and privacy-conscious consumers while also protecting the Right to Privacy of the people in India.
  • Cyber law provisions need to be revised as the current approach of the Indian law is very narrow.
  • International agreements form an important node in a web of solutions needed to address security and the rule of law in cyberspace. Given India’s  vision of a Digital India and considering the surge in cybercrime, it would be beneficial for India to join Budapest Convention
  • Experts have pointed to the importance of aspects such as following basic cyber hygiene and a periodic review of the security facets of one’s profile on various web platforms, especially on social media, where users tend to share personal information.
    • When there are no legitimate security or public interest reasons, users should have the right to have their data destroyed.

Topic-  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

6) For gaining real acquisition of technology, a purposive policy intervention is required through regulatory supervision of costs and conditions negotiated in technology collaboration agreements. Discuss. (250 words)

epw

Why this question

Technology transfer has been one of the top priorities for foreign collaboration and for attracting foreign investment in the country. However, it has not been realized to the desired levels on account of various reasons, which need to be studied and discussed upon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the problems in technology transfer as faced by India under its industrial policies. It also wants us to bring out how regulatory supervision of costs and conditions negotiated in technology collaboration agreements can help India in enhancing technology transfer.

Directive word

Discuss- This s an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention the key aims of India’s industrial policy- attracting foreign investment; job creation; promotion of foreign technology transfer etc. Write in 1-2 lines that with regard to the technology transfer process via the FDI route, t the benefits of retaining investments and accessing technology have not been harnessed to the extent possible.

Body-

  • Discuss why true technology acquisition/ transfer has not been realized up to the required extent. E.g slow technology adoption capacities of the Indian economy and the absence of an appropriate model of technology transfer; the terms settled for technology imports are sometimes excessive or unfair and the pricing onerous due to unequal bargaining power existing between the two contracting parties- foreign vs domestic player; the supplier  ensures a continued control over technology by including restrictive conditions designed particularly to this effect in the contract; clauses related to “non-transferability,” “non-exclusivity,” “strict confidentiality,” and “stringent termination” requirements; excessively high cost of technology, old technology being transferred etc.
  • Discuss why a a purposive policy intervention is required through regulatory supervision of costs and conditions negotiated in technology collaboration agreements. E.g need for for a skilled negotiation policy before the entry of foreign investment. A structured policy for obtaining utmost gains from its ensuing operations in later years is required from the technology transfer perspective; Suggest some points on your own.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Apart from some significant objectives such as adequate job creation, attracting $100 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows annually in the next two decades, promotionof foreign technology transfer has been outlined as one of the foremost priorities of the proposed new industrial policy. Benefits of retaining investments and accessing technology have not been harnessed to the extent possible

Why true technology acquisition/ transfer has not been realized up to the required extent:-

  • Despite foreign investments being received in the country over the last three decades transfer of technology has largely remained at assembly level.
  • India has slow technology adoption capacities of the economy and the absence of an appropriate model of technology transfer.
  • Current policy approach to this mode of transfer is not satisfactory and needs careful re-strategising.
  • Several of the customary technology collaboration contracts clearly mention the terms “access” to technology for a “definite period” under the contract, instead of the term “acquisition” of technology.
    • The other terms depicting direct or indirect control on technology by the licensor can be noticed in clauses related to “non-transferability,” “non-exclusivity,” “strict confidentiality,” and “stringent termination” requirements 
    • These represent standard clauses used in any technology collaboration agreement in present times and the licensee (particularly from the developing world) usually has limited say in the drafting of the terms of the contract.
  • The technology has to be completely returned on the expiry or termination of the contract. This mode represents a mere “transport” of technology, instead of the much hyped “transfer” of technology. Substantial costs may be involved in such transactions as lump sum and royalty payments.
  • Unfortunately, the technology transfer process in India has largely been functioning within this very set-up over the past decades, similar to various other developing countries.
    • Technology is presumed by the policymakers as an integral part of the FDI package that gets transferred eventually, and whether such a transfer actually takes place is hardly appraised or is often overlooked.
  • Some common risks or abuses associated with this kind of technology purchase arrangements are the unreasonably high cost of technology being paid for several years by the licensee and continued technological dependence on the parent or network supplier coupled with limited or no absorption of the technology by the licensee.
    • As far as these payments happen on an intra-firm basis, the vulnerability of this transaction route to transfer mispricing for profit shifting purpose under base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) is an additional serious risk faced in recent times.
  • Continued technological dependence can inhibit the development of indigenous innovation capabilities to a considerable extent.

Policy intervention is required because :-

  • A broader policy framework for regulation of technology transfer, and on aspects of cost and restrictive conditions of foreign technological collaborations are conspicuously lacking.
  • The drafting of the terms of technology collaboration contract should be thoroughly monitored by a developing economy like India, and appropriate regulatory policy framework is needed to supervise the flow of resources in the name of technology transfer on the one hand, and to ensure genuine “absorption” or “adoption” of the technology purchased under mutually agreed and reasonable terms of collaboration contracts on the other. Both of these crucial endeavours are missing currently in the Indian policy schema, and remain principally absent in the discourse on technology transfer in the discussion paper as well.
  • Surely, a much drastic change in the basic policy approach to the FDI regime is required, which calls for a skilled negotiation policy before the entry of foreign investment.
  • A structured policy for obtaining utmost gains from its ensuing operations in later years is required from the technology transfer perspective.

General Studies – 4


Topic Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions

7) Discuss the ethics of weaponized AI and suggest what should be done in this regard?(250 words)

Reference

hindustantimes

Why this question

Drone strikes, while they are increasing in number, pose a huge question over the ethics of such strikes. Weaponized AI is behind such drone strikes and signature strikes and the ethics of making decisions which impact human life to the extent of taking it away needs to be discussed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze the utility of having weaponized AI. Thereafter, we need to discuss the ethical ramifications of using AI for signature strikes etc. We need to discuss on how can we reconcile realism with ethics. Finally, a fair and balanced view on the issue needs to be provided.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is means by weaponized AI

Body

  • Discuss why is it finding favour with countries – discuss the utility, and necessity of such technology
  • Thereafter, point out that despite its utility it raises several ethical challenges as mentioned in the articles.
  • Discuss how can we reconcile the ethics of weaponized AI with its utility. Discuss the need for a legal architecture, and greater transparency in action along with reforms in global governance architecture such as UN

Conclusion – Give your view and emphasize on the need for bringing a change in status quo in light of the huge collateral damage.

 

Answer:-

New report by the World Economic Forum lists IoT hacking and weaponized AI among what they say will be the top security threats in 2017. Powerful interests from corporations to state agencies, like the military and police are using AI to monitor people, assess them, and to make consequential decisions about their lives.

Many of the weapons  were developed to minimize the threat to human life in military conflicts.

More advanced applications of AI extend to the domains of foreign, defence and security policies. Deep learning in AI can unravel futuristic functions by augmenting decision making ability of the humans with access to the information derived from large data sets.

AI has many peace time applications as well. It can be used to train soldiers and pilots, simulate war-game, synthesize information from surveillance systems and address critical problems in optimizing logistics, fleet management and maintenance

Law enforcement or internal security requirements for detecting and recognizing individuals or criminals, with multitudes of data streaming from police databases or the network of surveillance cameras.

Ethical issues of weaponised AI:-

However Weaponised AI creates a broader attack surface for cyberattacks for those who want to steal data, disrupt business, attack industrial controls. There have been instances of US drones attacking targets whose identities are unknown in Yemen .The reason being AI software predicted them as targets despite them being innocent civilians.

Predictive policing heatmaps have amplified racial bias in our criminal justice system. Facial recognition, which the police are currently testing in cities such as London, has been wrong as much as 98% of the time. 

When machines become fully autonomous, humans won’t have a deciding role in missions that kill. This creates a moral dilemma. Experts anticipate increased malicious use of AI just as criminals, terrorists and authoritarian regimes use electricity, software, and computer networks.

As machine intelligence becomes more powerful, pervasive, and connected, embedding AI in all of our personal and industrial computing devices could be attacked and compromise the security infrastructures that protect resources, citizens, and communities.

The armed forces of US and China have already invested billions of dollars to develop these weapons intending to gain strategic and tactical advantage over each other. This runs the risks of an arms race. 

Way forward:-

  • Policymakers, technical researchers, and cyber security experts should jointly explore, prevent, and mitigate the use of artificial intelligence by hostile entities.
  • AI researchers, scientists and engineers should proactively participate in the security ecosystem surrounding artificial intelligence. These professionals should be mindful of the dual use/nature of AI, consistently integrate security features and protocols in their work, and always warn users and policymakers of the potential misuse, vulnerabilities, and risks of the products they are developing.      
  • Best practices should be defined and established for AI research, including the implementation of more effective and comprehensive methods for addressing dual-use concerns. Ethical standards and reasonable expectations should help shape these practices.
  • More people of diverse backgrounds should become stakeholders and domain experts on issues surrounding the malicious applications of AI. Meanwhile, organizations should promote a culture of responsibility when it comes to building the world’s AI security framework.