SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 JULY 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 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– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) Discuss how gender inequality came to be recognised as inequality in the Indian context, and the kinds of responses that this recognition produced.(250 words)

NCERT

Why this question

Gender inequality is an important issue and it is important to know how this issue came to be recognized in Indian society and what responses it generated from the society.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the issue of gender inequality in India and when and how it came to be recognized as inequality at the level of masses.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the existence of gender inequality in India and write about when and how it came to be publicly recognized as an inequality. It also wants us to write in detail about the kind of response it generated then.

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 – Write a few lines about the gender inequality historically prevalent in Indian subcontinent- like Sati system, Purdah system, illiteracy, lack of access to power and several religious aspects etc.

Body-

  • Mention that the women’s question arose in modern India as part of the nineteenth century middle class social reform movements and discuss the salient characteristics of these movements- e.g dominated by middle-class, western educated indians; inspired by democratic and humanistic ideals of the west as well as pride in indigenous traditions and culture; etc. Mention the name of the pioneers who fought for women equality and briefly discuss their contributions. E.g Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Jyotiba Phule;  M.G. Ranade etc.
  • Discuss the kind of responses it generated. E.g various socio-religious reform movements; intellectual debate like  M.G. Ranade’s writings entitled the The Texts of the Hindu Law on the Lawfulness of the Remarriage of Widows and Vedic Authorities for Widow Marriage etc. mention the role of women like Tarabai Shinde, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain etc.

Conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Background :-

  • Women historically have been having a respected position in India. However since the later vedic period the status of women deteriorated as is visible with the sati system, purdah system ,illiteracy, religious beliefs etc.
  • The described position of women as per Manu as women being inferior to men is still the case in present modern day social structure. Barring few exceptions here and there, women have no power to take independent decisions either inside their homes or in outside world.

Gender inequality in Indian context and response :-

  • Women’s question arose in modern India as part of the nineteenth century middle class social reform movements. They were often at once inspired by the democratic ideals of the modern west and by a deep pride in their own democratic traditions of the past. Many used both these resources to fight for women’s rights.
  • The anti-sati campaign led by Raja Rammohun Roy in Bengal, the widow remarriage movement in the Bombay Presidency where Ranade was one of the leading reformers, from Jyotiba Phule’s simultaneous attack on caste and gender oppression, and from the social reform movement in Islam led by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan are some of the examples.
  • Raja Rammohun Roy’s :-
    • His attempts to reform society, religion and the status of women can be taken as the starting point of nineteenth century social reform in Bengal. Roy undertook the campaign against “sati” which was the first women’s issue to receive public attention. Rammohun thus attacked the practice of sati on the basis of both appeals to humanitarian and natural rights doctrines as well as Hindu shastras.
  • Ranade:-
    • G. Ranade’s writings entitled the The Texts of the Hindu Law on the Lawfulness of the Remarriage of Widows and Vedic Authorities for Widow Marriage elaborated the shastric sanction for remarriage of widows.
  • Syed Ahmed Khan:-
    • Like Dayanand Saraswati of the Arya Samaj, he stood for women’s education but sought for a curriculum that included instruction in religious principles, training in the arts of housekeeping and handicrafts and rearing of children.
  • Women reformers:-
    • Stree Purush Tulana (or Comparison of Men and Women) was written by Tarabai Shinde, as a protest against the double standards of a male dominated society.
    • Apart from the early feminist visions there were a large number of women’s organisations that arose both at the all India and local levels in the early twentieth century. And then began the participation of women in the national movement itself.
  • The deplorable and unjust treatment of the Hindu upper caste widows was a major issue taken up by the social reformers.
  • In the nineteenth century reform movements, the emphasis had been on the backward aspects of tradition like sati, child marriage, or the ill treatment of widows.
  • Post independence:-
    • In the 1970s, the emphasis was on ‘Modern’ issues the rape of women in police custody, dowry murders, the representation of women in popular media, and the gendered consequences of unequal development.
  • The law was a major site for reform in the 1980s and after, specially when it was discovered that many laws of concern to women had not been changed since the 19th century.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “centre state executive relations”

2) Discuss the role that Finance Commission and Inter state commission play in improving centre state administrative relations?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to mention in brief about FC and iSC, the nature of centre state executive relations and how SC and ISC prove helpful in this regard.

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 – Mention that India is a federal country and several scholars add a unitary bias to the description. Managing centre state administrative relations has been a source of contention , and ISC and FC play a key role in this regard

Body

  • Explain briefly about the constitutional provisions related to centre state administrative relations, ISC and FC.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of how FC has impacted CS administrative relations and similarly for ISC as well.
  • Highlight the recommendations and observations of several committees formed in this regard, and how the focus on ISC as a forum to iron out issues and discuss opportunities has been regularly suggested.

Conclusion – Summarize arguments made above and give way forward.

Background:-

  • The centre collects majority of the tax revenue as it enjoys scale economies in the collection of certain taxes. States have the responsibility of delivering public goods in their areas due to their proximity to local issues and needs. Sometimes, this leads to states incurring expenditures higher than the revenue generated by them. Further, due to vast regional disparities some states are unable to raise adequate resources as compared to others. To address these imbalances, the Finance Commission recommends the extent of central funds to be shared with states.
  • It is important to note that the very first reason the Constitution gives for setting up the institution is that it will be useful when it comes to “inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between states”. The other two are to discuss subjects for which the components of the Indian union have common interests, and to figure out how to coordinate policy.

Finance commission:-

  • The Finance Commission is a constitutional body formed every five years to give suggestions on centre-state financial relations.
    • Each Finance Commission is required to make recommendations on: (i) sharing of central taxes with states, (ii) distribution of central grants to states, (iii) measures to improve the finances of states to supplement the resources of panchayats and municipalities, and (iv) any other matter referred to it.
    • Composition of transfers:-
      • The central taxes devolved to states are untied funds, and states can spend them according to their discretion.  Over the years, tax devolved to states has constituted over 80% of the total central transfers to states.
      • The centre also provides grants to states and local bodies which must be used for specified purposes.  These grants have ranged between 12% to 19% of the total transfers.
    • Over the years the core mandate of the Commission has remained unchanged, though it has been given the additional responsibility of examining various issues.  For instance, the 12thFinance Commission evaluated the fiscal position of states and offered relief to those that enacted their Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management laws.  The 13th and the 14th Finance Commission assessed the impact of GST on the economy.  The 13th Finance Commission also incentivised states to increase forest cover by providing additional grants.
    • Several other federal countries, such as Pakistan, Malaysia, and Australia have similar bodies which recommend the manner in which central funds will be shared with states.
    • The 14thFinance Commission’s recommendations ushered in a new era of fiscal federalism in India. Devolution to the states significantly went up from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. While most countries have found it difficult to finance federal transfers of about 30 per cent to the provinces, India has taken it to 42 per cent.
    • The composition of money share has changed. Now states have the autonomy to manage a significant share of the central tax pool and they will now have greater autonomy both on the revenue and expenditure fronts.
      • This is different from the earlier practice where the Centre plans the schemes and the states merely implement them. This has not been effective because India is a diverse country and every state has different needs. 
      • Will move the country toward greater fiscal federalism, conferring more fiscal autonomy on the states
    • States will now spend more on capacity buildingand concentrate on sectors that are lacking.
    • States like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, which spend a lot on infrastructure, will continue with the trend. Also Bihar, which has in the recent past increased its spending on infrastructure, will have more funds because of the devolution.
    • Based on analysing recent state finances, additional transfers toward the states as a result of the FFC will improve the overall fiscal deficit of the combined central and state government.
    • Moving from CAS to FFC transfers will increase the overall progressivity of resource transfers to the states.
    • However recently finance commission has been criticized for the:-
    • There is an upward trend in the fiscal deficits of states.
    • The inter-governmental transfer system has become overly complex with different sharing arrangements for different taxes
    • The spending autonomy of the states, combined with their ability to borrow, has obstructed efforts at consolidating public finances
    • There is little incentive for states to improve revenue performances and revenue-sharing arrangements have led to pro-cyclical policies at the state level.
    • Terms of 15 th finance commission undermine federalism:-
      • The ToR want to curtail borrowing by States from the present 3% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to 1.7% if the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Review Committee has its way with its recommendation.
      • India has just started exercising borrowing rights as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission. If this is reversed, this will severely curtail capital expenditure of States
      • The foremost objective of the Finance Commission is an equitable distribution of financial resources between the two units of the Union. The States in India today neither have the resources to fulfil their tasks as laid down in the Constitution, nor do they have the right to raise such resources due to the government policy and GST reduced states independence even further

Inter state commission:-

  • Inter State council is a constitutional body set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India by a Presidential Order in 1990 on recommendation of Sarkaria Commission. Article 263 of the Constitution envisages establishment of an institutional mechanism to facilitate coordination of policies and their implementation between the Union and the State Governments.
  • Inter-State Council is a recommendatory body and it investigates and discusses such subjects, in which some  or all of the States or the Union and one or more of the States have a common interest, for better coordination of policy and action with  respect to that subject. It also deliberates upon such other matters of general interests to the States as may be referred by the Chairman to the Council. Its duties include:
    • Inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between/among States
    • Investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States have a common interest
    • Making recommendations upon any such subject for the better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject
  • It is also different from the Finance Commission, whose members are technocrats tasked with providing a framework for the distribution of taxes.
  • Necessity of inter state council:-
    • Regional divergence could lead to further inter-state tensions and matters could get worse once the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies is unfrozen in 2026. A rejuvenated Inter-State Council will thus have an important role to play in the coming years, especially since its members are the political leaders of their respective states.
    • It can reach a consensus on role of Governor.
    • It can decide upon the use of article 356 and other such constitutional matters
    • Other grievances of states like shifting of items from state to concurrent list can be addressed.
    • Bridge trust deficit between center and states.
    • Increased accountability and enthusiasm, making executives proactive .
    • Inter state council has constitutional backing unlike NITI Aayog and other bodies.
  • Issues:-
    • Instead governments are keen on utilising platforms provided by non constituional bodies like NITI Aayog.
    • Till 1967, most states in India were under rule of a common party and it was easier to resolve inter-state disputes.
    • After 1967, other parties or coalitions than the one running at centre or neighbouring states started ruling. These governments with different opinions and political visions were unable to solve the disputes in inter-state problems.
    • Even though by November 2017 the ISC was reconstituted with the Prime Minister as its Chairman, and with membership comprising six Union ministers and all Chief Ministers, no effort has been made to widen its functions. 

Way forward:-

  • Setting up of this council was based on Sarkaria Commission recommendations. It was set up in 1990 but not a single meeting was held for long time. However, even today, the Inter-state Council has been largely under-utilized and ignored.
  • If the Inter-State Council is to emerge as the key institution to manage inter-state frictions, it first needs to have a regular meeting schedule. The council also has to have a permanent secretariat which will ensure that the periodic meetings are more fruitful.
  • The council is as yet just a discussion group, but it should have a greater say in federal coordination in the future.

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

3) Examine the opportunities and threats in India’s maritime partnership with ASEAN?(250 words) 

dnaindia

Why this question

China’s enhancement of its naval power, and its growing strategic presence in Indian ocean has led India to out special emphasis on maritime partnership with littoral countries of Indian ocean. ASEAN plays a key role in that partnership and this question wishes to explore this aspect.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to examine the overall nature of India’s maritime cooperation with ASEAN with special emphasis on the opportunities in this area which can enhance the nature of this relationship. Also, we need to discuss the threats and ways to counter that threat.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the emphasis India has put on maritime cooperation with nations both at a bilateral level and through forums like IORA etc.

Body

  • Give an overall picture of India’s strategic partnership with ASEAN, Act East Policy and what exactly is the nature of this partnership. Also discuss how this is a focus area for India in light of SAGAR.
  • Discuss the opportunities like common objectives of support for free, open and rules based Indo Pacific, threat of a hegemon, good economic relations, institutional mechanism – ADMM+, IORA, naval exercises etc
  • Discuss the threats like rise of China, lack of consensus amongst ASEAN etc
  • Discuss how such challenges can be countered

Conclusion – Discuss the importance of growing this partnership and the way forward.

Background:-

  • The maritime component of India-ASEAN goes back to the early 1990s when a series of Track 1.5 deliberations were held under the CSCAP (Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific) and many security issues were deliberated upon.
  • The December 2004 tsunami that led to considerable destruction and loss of life in parts of ASEAN saw the Indian Navy emerging as the first responder and this altered the perception of India in the extended region.
  • Enhanced maritime connectivity would therefore provide lower logistic costs, and motivate increased trade in goods and services.
  • The piracy challenge in the 2008-09 period and the Indian response as part of a global effort, once again burnished Delhi’s maritime security provider potential.

Opportunities :-

  • Recently the ‘Look East’ policy has been given greater traction as ‘Act East’ and there is a visible maritime emphasis that is subsumed under the acronym SAGAR: security and growth for all in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In the last decade, India has been able to make small but valuable contributions to the bilateral maritime engagement with individual ASEAN nations. These range from providing training to pooling resources, to dealing with lower order security challenges such as piracy, gun-running and criminality at sea.
  • Naval exercises:-
    • Bilateral naval and coast guard patrols and exercises are progressing and the India-ASEAN maritime comfort level is becoming more robust as evidenced during the Delhi Dialogue deliberations.
  • ADMM+:-
    • It has conducted a total of 12 exercises in the seven designated areas of cooperation: counterterrorism, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, humanitarian mine action, maritime security, military medicine, and peacekeeping. 
    • ADMM+ countries could consider leveraging their mutual goodwill to conduct joint maritime naval exercises in the South China Sea. ADMM+ still has the potential to stand out from the disappointments of past ASEAN initiatives and contribute substantively to regional defence.
  • Blue economy:-
    • It is an important aspect, INDIA-ASEAN maritime relations would help India to combat ecological maritime degradation by curbing plastic pollution, illegal and unregulated fishing and illicit trafficking of marine animals.
  • Forums like Indian ocean Rim association can be focused upon for improving maritime cooperation.
  • Maritime cooperation can span the bandwidth from robust engagement on apolitical issues such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).

Challenges:-

  • Chinese role:-
    • Rise of China and its assertiveness in the South China Sea (SCS) has led to considerable unease in the entire region and the rejection of the international tribunal award in relation to artificial installations has caused uneasiness in ASEAN nations.
    • The growing footprint in the Indian Ocean now extends from certain Indian Ocean islands to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
    • China is a major trading partner for ASEAN (over US $500 billion in 2017) and many ASEAN nations obtain substantive military inventory items from Beijing. Thus it is a complex and contradictory relationship that ASEAN has with China.
  • Delay of projects:-
    • India’s navy is still having limited reach and the speed of project implementation is slow.

Way forward:-

  • It could reiterate India’s commitment to a common, rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region at the Delhi Dialogue and emphasise the inclusive approach.
  • India and ASEAN can evolve a consensual way ahead in the maritime domain where the least politically discordant areas for cooperation can be advanced, thereby punctuating the Indo-Pacific in a manner that prioritises the collective ‘good order at sea’ over the individual interest.
  • Full utilisation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area and the swift conclusion of a modern, comprehensive and high quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are the next steps. 

Topic-Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

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

4) Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018  has been designed not to punish corrupt officials but to let them get away. Critically comment.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question

Corruption in India is a fact of life. We witness it in our everyday lives and there is a dire need to reduce corruption in indian society. Therefore it is important to discuss the desirability and effectiveness of any such attempt made in this direction.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill  and bring out whether it will instead of punishing corrupt officials let them get away with corruption.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon. Our opinion is to be based on a discussion which elucidates our arguments/ facts/ examples in its support.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few lines about the gravity and pervasiveness of corruption in Indian society- present a few statistics like our ranking in transparency international index etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the salient provisions of the given bill and how they will affect the level of corruption. E.g bribe giver to be similarly placed and penalized as a bribe receiver- which will decrease reporting of corruption related cases and unnecessarily punish the victims of coercive corruption; extending the immunity of arrest to officers below that of Joint Secretary- which will extend the blanket immunity to bureaucrats; etc.
  • Discuss how the bill is insufficient in dealing with corruption. E.g no special courts allocated; corruption and lack of transparency in election funding not addressed; no difference between collusive and coercive corruption etc.

Conclusion– Express your opinion as to what should be done in this regard- e.g bring out the role of technology and need to adopt best practices from other countries, empowering people and local government etc.

Background:-

  • Parliament recently passed a bill to amend the 1988 anti-graft law by seeking to punish bribe- givers for the first time along with the bribe takers.

Prevention of corruption bill 2018:-

  • Its aim was to enhance transparency and accountability of the government and also to make the provisions under the law stringent.
  • Provisions of the bill:-
    • Bribe giving:-
      • Giving bribe is a specific and a direct offence.
      • It makes a provision for providing protection to ‘coerced’ (forced to pay a bribe) bribe-giversif the matter is reported to the concerned law enforcement agencies within a week.
      • The Bill has removed the provision which protected a bribe-giver from prosecution for statements made by him/her during corruption trials.
      • The Bill covers bribe-giving commercial organisations to be liable for punishment or prosecution. However, charitable institutions have been left out of its ambit.
    • Imprisonment:-
      • Those convicted of taking bribes can be imprisoned for three to seven yearsbesides being fined under the provisions of the Bill.
      • Bribe-givers have also been included in the legislation for the first time and they can be punished with imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine or both.
    • The Bill also redefines criminal misconduct and will now only cover misappropriation of property and possession of disproportionate assets.
      • Under the amendment to the act, criminal misconduct will now include only two offences (already mentioned above):
      • Misappropriating of property entrusted to the banker
      • Amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income
    • The Billproposes a ‘shield’ for government servants, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation to take prior approval from a competent authority before conducting an enquiry against them.
      • However, it states that such permissions shall not be necessary for cases involving the arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person.
      • Another relief that the Bill provides to a public servant is that in any corruption case against him or her, the factor of “undue advantage” will have to be established.
      • According to PRS Legislative Research, the Bill provides powers and procedures for the attachment and forfeiture of a corruption-accused public servant’s property.
    • Trial:-
      • According to the Bill, the trial in cases pertaining to the exchange of bribe and corruption should be completed within two years. Further, even after reasoned delays, the trial cannot exceed four years.
    • Forfeiture of property
      • This section was introduced for the Special Court to attach and confiscate property, which was earlier done under a 1944 ordinance through civil courts.
    • Sanction for prosecution
      • A sanction is needed for prosecuting former officials for offences done while in office. The decision on sanction request is to be made under three months which may be extended by a month. Centre may notify about the guidelines.

Significance:-

  • Safeguards incorporated for Honest Officers
    • Bill had many provisions to ensure speedy trial of corruption cases, besides providing protection to bureaucrats, even after their retirement, from malicious complaints. 
    • Brought amendments so that honest performing officer does not get intimidated or his initiatives get killed.
  • Banking industry:-
    • Prevention of corruption bill (amendment) 2013 is a relief for bankers. Under it, bankers cannot be pulled under the corruption law unless they have accumulated assets more than what they could have obtained with their steady income, or have misappropriated assets entrusted to them
    • The amendment comes at a time when the bankers are facing intense scrutiny for their lending decisions which have resulted in NPAs. Bankers have argued for a long time that they should not be prosecuted for lending decisions they made honestly.
    • The amendment to the anti-corruption law aims at helping the bankers take business decisions without fear.
  • The amendment also intends to empower the public to refuse to give a bribe with provisions of punishment for those who willingly offer bribe to the government officials.
  • Forfeiture of property is believed to help avoid a fresh procedure to confiscate property obtained through corruption and to enable court conducting trial to do so itself.
  • Experts are also concerned about the pre-investigation approval rule. Also, there was no similar provision in the Act, but a rule similar to it was struck down by Supreme Court.
  • In a departure from the earlier anti-corruption law, the current law makes a distinction between collusive bribe givers and those who are forced to give.

 

Criticism:-

  • Definition narrowed:-
    • The older law had a broad definition of a corrupt public official, defining it simply as any person who, while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest.
    • The amendments narrow this definition significantly, by adding the test of intention, meaning prosecuting agencies will have to prove a conspiracy to carry out corrupt acts, rather than simply pointing to disproportionate assets or questionable actions.
  • The amendments seek to define criminal misconduct more narrowly, by including just two clauses: if the public servant dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or any property under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do or if he intentionally enriches himself illicitly during the period of his office.
    • This means that if a public servant cannot account for assets or property disproportionate to their known sources of income, then they are presumed to have intentionally enriched themselves illicitly. The changed clauses however, do not account for assets that have been illicitly procured for other people.
  • The amendment Bill has not mentioned who the concerned authority is for providing sanctions for investigating a public official. 
  • Some existing important provisions in the old law are being dropped. These new terms will take decades for getting their interpretations from the Supreme Court.
    • Sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the existing Act have been deleted and replaced by completely new provisions, with completely new definitions and words. It may now take decades before the new provisions are properly interpreted and settled by judiciary.
  • The provision under Section 13(1)(d) has been deleted. This is the provision which is used for involving senior bureaucrats and ministers in corruption cases, since direct acceptance of bribe by them was generally not possible. 
    • Further, the maximum punishment for this would now be only 7 years imprisonment as against the existing punishment for 10 years.
  • Prior permission of the Government or the competent authority will now be required for registering certain corruption offences. Previously, the provision for taking such permission was quashed and set aside by the Supreme Court in 2014 in a writ petition.
    • This permission will give immunity to corrupt Government officers.
    • Even sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants would now be needed even after their retirement, giving them one more level of immunity or protection. 
  • The offence of disproportionate assets under Section 13(1)(e) has been made much more difficult to prove and has been diluted

 


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

5) Africa is at a critical juncture and India could play many roles in its growth story. Examine the above statement and discuss the challenges for India vis a vis China?(250 words)

hindustantimes

Why this question

With PM Modi’s 3 nation Africa tour on the anvil, India Africa relations is going to dominate news . this makes it important for us to delve deeper into the relationship, understand challenges and discuss way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to mention what is it about Africa that is attracting several countries who are competing for enhancing their presence in Africa. Thereafter analyze India’s economic, cultural etc relations with Africa and analyze why China among other countries is a major competitor for India in deepening ties with Africa.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention about a brief history of the upswing in relations between India and Africa with growth of India Africa Forum Summit etc.

Body

  • Discuss why Africa is at a critical juncture – economic growth, resources, several African countries have been providing incentives to attract foreign investors and partners in growth etc
  • Discuss how India’s relations with Africa are – the nature and extent of partnerships along with areas where India can leverage it’s commonalities to create a symbiotic relationship.
  • Examine the reasons why China is posing a challenge to India and how could India counter this challenge

Conclusion – emphasize on the importance of this partnership and the way forward for India.

 

 

 

Background:-

India-Africa relations are enjoying an unprec­edented renaissance, founded on shared eco­nomic interests and longstanding historical ties.

Africa is at a critical juncture:-

  • Economic growth of the continent is estimated to be 3.2 percent in 2018.
  • It also houses six of the world’s fastest growing economies- the World Bank estimates Ethiopia will grow at 8.2 percent.
  • Several African countries have been providing incentives to attract foreign investors and partners in growth

Nature of the relationship so far:-

  • India’s Africa policy over the past few decades has oscillated between passive and reluctantly reactive at best. Strategic apathy toward the continent was obvious on many fronts.
  • Most of the countries in Africa did not feature in India’s larger foreign policy matrix, but until recently there wasn’t any significant attention paid to the continent.
  • Indian leaders seldom travelled to African nations .
  • The narrative of India’s contemporary relationship with Africa is dominated by the historicity of their interactionse..,the century old trade partnerships, socio-cultural linkages built by a thriving diaspora, nationalist movements during the Nehruvian era that supported anti-imperial struggles, and shifting geopolitical tides with the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM).
  • Beyond this rhetoric, what kept driving this relationship forward was the acquisition of critical assets by State Owned Enterprises (SOE) looking to diversify the energy basket away from West Asian nations and other commercial ventures by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Multi-National Companies (MNC).

The relationship changed and there are areas where both India and Africa can work together:-

  • Currently, India’s forte in the continent has been developmental initiatives such as Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), Team 9, and Pan Africa e-network among others are aimed at building institutional and human capacity as well as enabling skills and knowledge transfer. 
  • Conscious attempt at evoking morality to reflect an “alternate model of development” by using terms such as “win-win cooperation” to describe New Delhi’s approach to Africa.
  • One of the new trends in this relationship has also been the role played by sub-national organizations and state governments that have been crafting independent relationships with African counterparts.
    • For example, Kerala is planning on importing Cashew from African countries for its processing plants that are running low on raw material.
    • Similarly, Ethiopia and South Africa are working with Kudumbashree, a self-help group created by the Government of Kerala aimed at eradicating poverty and empowering women, to find ways to localize and adapt the model in their respective countries.
  • A unique factor that sets Indian interactions apart is that there is palpable goodwill for people of Indian origin, a sense of familiarity and cultural connection, with Bollywood movies and songs often acting as a bridge.
  • China role:-
    • Whereas India’s policy has focused on job creation in the countries it has invested in, China has tended to bring in its own labour causing resentment among the locals.
    • The Chinese model has often been criticised for creating huge debts for the nation in which it sets up projects, the Nairobi-Mombasa rail link being one example of this.
    • The $ 4 billion project has left Kenya with enormous debts and the Chinese military base in Djibouti has raised fears that Beijing is abandoning its non-interference policy in the region
  • Role of Indian businesses:-
    • Indian businesses are active across geographic spaces and sectors in Africa. Agri-business, engineering, construction, film distribution, cement, plastics, and ceramics manufacturing, advertising, marketing, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunication are only some of the sectors that have Indian players. 

Challenges to India :-

  • China:-
    • Economic:-
      • India’s lack of a consistent proactive policy towards Africa led to the Chinese stealing a march over it in terms of investment and trade. China has aggressively pushed its investments up to $ 3.5 trillion in 2015. In contrast, India will cross the $ 500 billion mark in 2020.
      • China has offered $100 million in grant aid to establish an African Rapid Response Force to cope with regional crises
      • Besides the traditional areas of military security, Beijing has taken big steps towards cooperation with the African governments on internal security, including in the areas of countering terrorism and money laundering
    • Military:-
      • China promised “comprehensive support” for the modernisation of the armed forces of African nations
      • This support includes the supply of new technologies as well as lending personnel and strategic advice
      • According to the Stockholm Institute of Peace Research, China’s arms exports to Africa have increased 55 per cent during the period 2013-17 in comparison to the preceding five years
      • India does not have much of a defence industrial base to enter the African arms bazaar.
    • Technology:-
      • Beijing collaboration with Africa on AI is mutually beneficial: It will promote social and political stability in Africa while improving the performance of China’s algorithms
    • Lack of trust:-
      • The most recent and high-profile example of the Gupta brothers charged with allegations of “state capture” stemming from their closeness to ex-president Zuma in South Africa .Also an Indian floriculture company accused of land grabs in Ethiopia or attacks against African students in India has resulted in instances of dissent toward Indians or people of Indian origin.
    • There is very little coordination between Indian State and its businesses in Africa and the role of India Inc. is limited while drafting policies. 
    • India has no coordinated Africa policy nor does there seem to be an avenue where the strengths of both actors can be leveraged. 

Way forward:-

  • New Delhi did the right thing in extending a $ 10 billion line of credit from 2015 to 2020 but it must now push to see that it is used appropriately.
  • India must play to its natural strengths and move swiftly into the education and infrastructure fields as well as IT in Africa.
  • The various government initiatives aimed at training and equipping Africa’s young demography provides a model that can be replicated by Indian companies whose ease of technology and human capital transfer are already one of its strengths.
    • Similarly, in the Gambella region of Ethiopia, for instance, Indian farmers have been able to lease land at extremely low rates, but end up spending substantially on infrastructure development and connectivity.
    • This is an opportunity for Indian developmental institutions to step in and provide funding for fledgling agricultural ventures with considerable promise in eastern Africa.

General Studies – 4


TopicEthics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

6) What do you understand by logical positivism. Discuss the association of logical positivism with the ethics.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to to simply describe the meaning and the salient aspects of logical positivism. It also wants us to write in detail about its association with the ethics- how it describes  and understands the ethics.

Directive word

Discuss- This s an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about logical positivism- its birth as a philosophy, its other names, Its primary concern and key proponents like Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the doctrine of logical positivism in detail. E.g  it developed out of Positivism and the early Analytic Philosophy movement, and which campaigned for a systematic reduction of all human knowledge to logical and scientific foundations. Thus, a statement is meaningful only if it is either purely formal (essentially, mathematics and logic) or capable of empirical verification; it denied the soundness of metaphysics and traditional philosophy; it asserted that many philosophical problems are indeed meaningless etc.
  • Discuss how the doctrine viewed and understood the ethics as a philosophy. E.g According to logical positivism, there are only two sources of knowledge: logical reasoning and empirical experience. The former is analytic a priori, while the latter is synthetic a posteriori; hence synthetic a priori knowledge does not exist; It argued that ethical principles are neither true nor false – they are expressions of feeling. Therefore a theory of ethics is impossible etc.

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

 

Logical positivism:-

  • It is also known as logical empiricism and neo-positivism, this philosophical school was born in Austria and Germany during the 1920s, and was primarily concerned with the logical analysis of scientific knowledge.
  • Among its members were Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Hans Reichenbach, Philipp Frank etc.
  • They denied the soundness of metaphysics and traditional philosophy and asserted that many philosophical problems are indeed meaningless.
  • It campaigned for a systematic reductionof all human knowledge to logical and scientific foundations. Thus, a statement is meaningful only if it is either purely formal (essentially, mathematics and logic) or capable of empirical verification.
  • Until the 1950s, logical positivism was the leading school in the philosophy of science. Nowadays, the influence of logical positivism persists especially in the way philosophy is practiced.

Association of logical positivism with the ethics:-

  • One of the main philosophical tenets of Logical Positivism are:-
  • Verifiability Principle:-According to logical positivism, there are only two sources of knowledge: logical reasoning and empirical experience. The former is analytic a priori, while the latter is synthetic a posteriori hence synthetic a priori knowledge does not exist.
  • A consequence of the Verifiability Principle is that statements about ethical principles are neither true nor false – they are expressions of feeling. Therefore a theory of ethics is impossible.
  • According to Schlick, ethics is a descriptive scientific theory. A person always prefers those conditions that do not produce pain or produce pleasure and good is whatever gives pleasure and no pain. Good is thus equivalent to beneficial.
  • A person’s actions are caused by a wish to benefit. So, the first ethical impulse is an egoistic one.
  • But the motivations to act are not static as they are subjected to the natural evolution and selection. In a society, it is possible that an altruistic way of action is more beneficial than a purely egoistic one. So, there is a contrast between the very first impulse, which suggests an egoistic behavior, and the tendency to act generated by evolution, which suggests a social behavior. This is the origin of ethical principles.

 


Topic– Ethics and Human Interface

7) Do you think politics based on identity is gaining prominence world over? How can the attitude of people be changed towards different races?(250 words)

hindustantimes

Why this question

Mesut Ozil’s retirement again brings to the forefront the simmering racial tension in European societies. Racial discrimination has dominated news headlines off late and is an issue that merits discussion from GS4 point of view.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze news of racial profiling and discrimination, issues related to immigration, the inevitability of multi racial societies etc for the first part of your answer. In the second part we need to discuss how can the attitude of people be made to change.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention some incidents of racial profiling and discrimination from around the world to emphasize the magnitude of the problem.

Body

  • Discuss status quo. Mention why such incidents are increasing. Discuss from economic, cultural, political, ethical etc point of views.
  • Examine the morality and ethics of such discrimination
  • Mention how can the attitude of people towards other races be changed

Body – Discuss the severity of the issue and the way forward.

Background :-

“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.” This statement by football player Mesut Ozil reflects the agony of dual-heritage players and shines a light on the role identity and race plays in modern-day society. Racism has been evident against other prominent sports players, hate killings in US , alarming rise in xenophobia, racism and intolerance  including anti‑Semitism and anti‑Muslim hatred etc.

Politics based on identity is gaining prominence world over :-

  • Explicit hatred and ideologies of racial superiority had moved from the fringe to the mainstream, with bigotry fuelling human rights violations and extreme violence against minorities, refugees, migrants, stateless persons and those internally displaced.
  • Racist hate rhetoric was tolerated by political leaders at the highest levels, which had led to uninhibited expressions of hatred, including targeting of the most disadvantaged segments of the population.
    • Far-right political parties and neo‑Nazi views were similarly seeing a resurgence.
  • Rise of populist nationalism is a product of widespread loss of faith in establishment politics that privilege elites
  • Manifestations of racism are an expression of a society’s hierarchy: a means for a dominant group or elite to maintain its economic and social power. When an act of racism occurs, it harms the social standing that another person or group of people enjoy. It can also harm the freedom and well-being of its target. 
  • Ethical:-
    • As the philosopher Immanuel Kantargued, the roots of bad behaviour are ingrained in human nature. 
    • It also occurs due to envy and resentment. Racial hostility can be connected with feelings that members of some groups may possess goods that one does not. It is established, for instance, that general levels of racism can be heightened during periods of economic downturn or recession. But even in more prosperous times, feelings of resentment about the perceived advantages of others can arise
    • Racism can also be the product of ignorance and arrogance. It may not necessarily be the case that those who say or do things with racist implications mean to inflict malicious harm. Sometimes the damage can be done innocently or incidentally – because one simply may not know better. This is the case with so-called casual racism, 
    • There is a withholding of sympathy or compassion. Thus, victims of racist abuse can be treated as subhuman.

How can the attitude of the people be changed towards different races :-

  • The world community, particularly children and youth, need to be taught that racism is a vice and not a value.
  • Civil society organizations, social movements, activists and the entire United Nations system must devote renewed energy and attention to tackling the structural drivers of racial inequality,
  • Hate crimes must be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted.
  • Government and State authorities need to adopt effective policies as a matter of priority, to urgently tackle the manifestations of incitement to racial violence, and to understand how they affect social cohesion.
  • Racism requires individual and collective action. So campaigns like “Racism. It Stops with Me.” can be regarded as a direct response to bystander complacency. The idea is that we can and should do something when we see a racist incident.

Any society concerned with combating racism will necessarily be interested in promoting certain dispositions among its members: tolerance and decency, respect and fairness.