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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 AUGUST 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 AUGUST 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


TopicHistory of the world  including events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

1) Fall of the communism in Eastern Europe led to surfacing of  a new range of problems in the world. Discuss.(250 words)

Mastering World History,by Norman Lowe.

Why this question

Fall of communism was one of the most important moments in the history of the modern world. Although it brought the much needed democracy to the earlier communist countries but it came with its own set of problems. It is essential to know its impact in terms of what new problems surfaced because of it.

Directive word

Discuss- This is 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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about what were the problems that arose out of the fall of communism in Europe.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention that between 1988 to 1991 a number of remarkable events ultimately led to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in the face of rising popular opposition and mass demonstrations etc. Mention that it brought the much needed end to cold-war rivalry and brought economic independence and democracy to the erstwhile communist states but it also led to surfacing of several problems.

Body-

Discuss in points, the problems that surfaced due to fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

E.g New conflicts soon arose like the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, war in Georgia and split of Yugoslavia into five nation states; in the absence of Russia and US acting as policemen,the threat of rogue or unstable or dangerous nations acquiring nuclear, chemical or biological weapons grew significantly; the problem of economic reconstruction of the Eastern Europe which in itself brought several problems like Right-wing backlash against aid from the West, selling of nuclear weapons by Russia etc; unification of Germany leading to huge refugee influx and growing uneasiness of Poland etc.

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

Background:-

  • The collapse of communism in the late 1980s marked the end of Soviet rule over the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The change was sudden and swift in most of these countries, resulting in greater social and personal freedoms, as well as economic upheaval and political chaos. 
  • The disintegration of the Soviet Union resulted from a number of different factors. Three important ones are nationalism among Soviet satellite states, democratic opposition movements, and economic crisis. Along with these elements, the role of Mikhail Gorbachev should not be discounted. 

New set of problems arised:-

  • Ethnic issues resurfaced:-
    • The end of Soviet domination also unleashed pent-up ethnic and national grievances, leading to sometimes-brutal confrontations over centuries-old borders and political supremacy.
    • There arose sectional conflicts in many parts of Russia especially in Chechnya. 
    • One of the major challenges faced by Europe in the wake of the collapse of communism has been that posed by ethnic nationalism, a problem that erupted violently in the Balkans in the 1990s.
    • Freed from Soviet control, such divisions resurfaced promptly.
    • Yugoslavia separated into multiple countries along ethnic lines, as did Czechoslovakia, which split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
    • Lesser squabbles threatened to erupt along the Hungarian-Romanian border in Transylvania, as well as on portions of the German-Poland border.
  • Political:-
    • Ethnic and religious divisions also manifested themselves in the creation of new political parties, several of which aimed to redress ages-old grievances.
    • For some countries, such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, oil and natural gas exports have created prosperity but have also enabled corruption.
    • Countries such as Lithuania and Latvia underwent dramatic transformations by quickly turning to the West, adopting Western ideals and political leanings, while other countries, such as Armenia and Tajikistan, have struggled to flourish in the post-Soviet era and many citizens remain poverty-stricken while the states and their politics remain in flux.
    • US became the dominant power
  • Transition difficulties:-
    • One of the great challenges was the difficulty of transition from communism to democracy. East European states so long had depended upon Soviet Union for central planning and guidance.
    • The process of transition to democratic government posed great problems for the people of Eastern Europe as well as Soviet Union.
  • Economic issues:-
    • The inflation was at the highest in Russia as well as in East European nations. There was rapid reduction in production as well as unemployment. All former countries of Soviet Union had faced economic depression.
    • The Eastern European states found it difficult to adjust with the capitalism
    • The problem of economic reconstruction of the Eastern Europe which in itself brought several problems like Right-wing backlash against aid from the West, selling of nuclear weapons by Russia etc
  • Immigration and the defense of human rights are two problems that now confront the United States, as well as a United Europe.
  • The threat of rogue or unstable or dangerous nations acquiring nuclear, chemical or biological weapons grew significantly

Despite issues collapse of communism spurred attempts at political democracy in all but Romania. Poland, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia in particular enjoyed a period of political openness, freedom of speech and the press and the formation of many new political parties and interest groups.


General Studies – 2


Topic–  Part of static series under the heading – “ Earth – Formation”

2) Discuss the various theories of formation of Earth? Examine how Juno mission will keep us understand the formation of Earth?(250 words)

NCERT CLASS 11 Physical Geography pg 14

Reference

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the various theories of formation of Earth and examine how would the Juno mission help us in understanding the formation of Earth.

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

Discuss the different theories like the early theory (nuclear hypothesis by Kant), binary theory, revised nebular hypothesis, big bang theory. Explain the purpose of Juno Mission and discuss how it would be useful in understanding about formation of Earth.

Various theories of formation of earth:-

Nebular hypothesis:-

  • Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher gave this theory. In 1796, a mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace reexamined it.
  • The solar nebular hypothesisdescribes the formation of our solar system from a nebula cloud made from a collection of dust and gas. It is believed that the sun, planets, moons, and asteroids were formed around the same time around 4.5 billion years ago from a nebula.
  • The hypothesis considered that the planets were formed out of a cloud of material associated with a youthful sun, which was slowly rotating.
  • As gravity condensed the gas, rotation of the gas increased, spreading the gas cloud into a rotating disk that would form the plane of the solar system as we know it today. Evidence of this can be seen because all of the planets revolve around the sun in the same plane and direction.

Binary theories:-

  • As per these theories, the sun had a companion. In 1900, Chamberlain and Moulton considered that a wandering star approached the sun. As a result, a cigar-shaped extension of material was separated from the solar surface.
  • As the passing star moved away, the material separated from the solar surface continued to revolve around the sun and it slowly condensed into planets.
  • Sir James Jeans and later Sir Harold Jeffrey supported this argument. At a later date, the arguments considered of a companion to the sun to have been coexisting. These arguments are called binary theories. 

Revised Nebular Hypothesis

  • Revised Nebular Hypothesis was propounded by Carl Weizascar in Germany and Otto Schmidt in Russia.
  • They regarded that a solar nebula surrounded the sun and that the nebula comprised of chiefly hydrogen, helium and something called dust.
  • The collision of particles and the friction caused a disk-shaped cloud to be formed and then the planets were created via the accretion process.

Big Bang Theory

  • Alternatively called the expanding universe hypothesis.
  • As per this theory, in the beginning, all matter or substance forming this universe existed at one place as a tiny ball. This tiny ball had an extremely small volume, infinite density and temperature.
  • At the Big Bang, this ball blasted fiercely and forcefully and started a substantial process of expansion which continues to this day.
  • Now it is accepted that this event took place 13.7 billion years ago.

Juno mission:-

  • Juno will improve our understanding of the solar system’s beginnings by revealing the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
  • Juno will
    • Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed)
    • Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties
    • Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure
    • Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.

How Juno mission helps in understanding the formation of Earth :-

  • Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system.
    • With a diameter of 140,000km and the mass of 318 Earths, Jupiter dominates our Solar System. In fact, its gravitational influence is so enormous that it affects the orbits of all the planets. It is thought that the planets of the Solar System originally formed in a slightly different configuration, but Jupiter’s huge mass upset the gravitational balance, causing it and Saturn to migrate inwards, while Neptune was flung further out in the Solar System. And that’s why Juno’s mission is so important as it is impossible to understand how our planetary system formed without knowing more about this colossus.
  • Jupiter took most of the mass that blew away from Sun. It has twice the combined material of the other bodies in the solar system. Studying their composition holds key to unlocking the heavy elements which are no longer in Earth’s system but were originally present.
  • Unlike Earth, the solar winds couldn’t blow away Jupiter’s hydrogen and helium- because of the distance. So, Jupiter’s atmosphere ought to have evolved from a mechanism other than ‘degassing’. This mechanism need to be studied to refine our own ideas of how Earth’s atmosphere was born and Juno mission can scientists regarding this aspect.
  • Due to extreme atmospheric pressure, Jupiter’s hydrogen turned liquid and formed large oceans. Studying this will help to know how our atmospheric gases behaved during origin of Earth.
  • Jupiter’s gravitational influence is said to be so enormous that it affects orbits of all planets. Juno Mission’s gravitational readings will refine our understanding of Earth’s annual journey around the Sun.
  • Jupiter has strongest aurora emissions in the entire solar system. Juno mission helps scientists to study them to deepen their understanding of Earth’s own northern and southern lights.
  • Effect of Jupiter’s gravity and magnetism on its moons and vice-versa- Studying these interrelations will enhance our understanding of Earth-Moon relationship. We may even arrive at a mathematical formula to shortlist the planets in entire galaxy where we can find lifeforms.

Conclusion :-

  • In our solar system, planet Jupiter has the largest surface, biggest ocean, strongest gravity, strongest magnetism.
  • This giant holds answers to aforementioned key questions regarding our own atmosphere, its gaseous composition, magnetism, orbital path and relationship with the moon.
  • Indeed, JUNO mission’s Jupiter data will thus help refining and enhancing our understanding about the origin and evolution of Earth.

General Studies – 3


Topic-  Indian Economy: Issues

3) Discuss the implementation hurdles faced by MSMEs with respect to GST? Examine the recent steps taken by GSTN in this regard?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

MSME sector is a focus area for the government, considering the potential this sector has for the benefit of Indian economy. GST is a landmark tax reform and has had a disruptive effect on many sectors including MSME sector. However, many argue that MSME sector have in fact started reaping benefits on account of GST, with much more benefits over a longer time. This question expects you to discuss such issues in detail.

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.

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 .

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the issues faced and also discuss whether any advantage has accrued to MSME sector on account of GST. Thereafter, it expects us to explain the initiatives proposed by GSTN to address the issues faced by MSME sector and the impact it would have.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that MSME sector is of special significance for the Indian government, expecting it to offer higher employment opportunities by 2020. The sector forms a key component of the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ programme.

Body – Discuss the issues faced by MSME sector with GST – acclimatization issue, problems in getting ITC, infrastructural glitches etc. Explore whether GST has had certain advantageous impact on MSMEs. Give your opinion on the full potential of GST for businesses such as – expand consumer base, take advantage of schemes like composition tax payer etc. Thereafter, highlight the steps suggested by GSTN  and its overall impact.

Conclusion – Discuss the overall impact of GST on MSME and suggest way forward.

Background :-

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll out had a significant impact on the MSME sector, which houses 63 million firms. Digital transaction trails created by dual authentication of invoices under GST will strengthen tax compliance. Additionally, a lower tax burden under GST will reduce the cost of raw materials and logistics.

Issues to MSME :-

  • Costs:-
    • India’s paradigm shift to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will increase their compliance costs and snare a majority of them into the indirect tax net for the first time.
  • For manufacturers, the reduction in the threshold for GST exemption to Rs.20 lakh from Rs. 1.5 crore means tens of thousands of unorganised MSMEs will soon be cast into the tax net
  • GST will have a marginally negative impact because of higher tax rates
  • Input Tax Credit 
    • Along with the initial confusion and infrastructure glitches that took some time to stabilize, there were reports of delays in receiving Input Tax Credit (ITC), which directly affected the MSME industry.
  • The advent of GST also affected supply chains, notably where small traders acted as suppliers of intermediates to larger manufacturing companies.
  • In addition, with most MSMEs not being listed entities, their monthly or quarterly business performance filings are also largely unavailable.
  • While the delay in trade receivables impacted all the companies in the MSME sector, the export segment took most of the hit.
    • Increased cost of compliance and an evolving refund mechanism resulted in a spike in working capital needs of exporters.
  • The transition to the GST regime affected the MSME sector more than any other, since its players lack compliance infrastructure to map their outstanding inventory with tax invoices. Furthermore, its weak credit profile and risk weightages attached to it by banks, pushed it closer to higher credit change options from the non-banking finance segment.

Benefits as well :-

  • Full potential of GST for businesses such as expand consumer base, take advantage of schemes like composition tax payer etc. 
  • A simplified tax structure and a unified market will improve operational efficiencies, especially of MSMEs with a wider reach.
  • GST is expected to provide a boost to this segment because of lower tax incidence.
  • The Government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ will also lead to continued investments, helping the sector maintain growth momentum.

Measures taken :- 

  • GSTN, took following remedial measures for companies with turnover less than 5 crore
    • The council decided that those with a turnover of up to Rs 5 crore would have to file their returns only once in a quarter, while continuing to pay their taxes on a monthly basis.2)e-Wallets to facilitate quick transfer of ITC.
      • This decision will benefit 93 per cent of traders who have a turnover of less than Rs 5 crore and they will benefit substantially from the simplification measures proposed to improve their ease of doing business. Even the large traders would find the design of the new return quite user friendly.
    • The reverse charge mechanism that asks the buyer to pay tax if goods are procured from an unregistered dealer has been deferred for one year
    • Providing compliance services at Common service centre
    • Threshold for composition dealers would be increased to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore earlier. Traders who also provide services of up to 10 per cent of their turnover can now opt for the composition scheme. 

 

Way forward:-

  • Priority lending to honest taxpayers
    • The Council should advise the government to incentivise MSMEs who pay promptly and within timelines. Adding to this, banks and associated financial organisations can introduce priority lending for honest taxpayers based on returns filing. This would improve the working capital for these businesses and have a positive impact.
  • Reducing time limit for reversal of ITC
    • ITC ought to be inverted under the CGST, in case the receiver is unable to pay to the supplier within a time period of 180 days. Ideally, for MSMEs, this time limit should be lowered to 90 days. As, being a part of the working capital and a lifeline for their business, any postponement in the payments is sure to impact business operations at all times.
  • Increasing definition of class of persons
    • The class of person definition has been raised from Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore. An additional increase of Rs 10 crore is recommended because it will then cover MSME service and industrial units, thus, amounting to benefits at large.
  • Adding services to composition scheme
  • About 48 percent of the GDP is contributed by the service sector and there are several SMEs operating service businesses. Thus, it’s vital that services are counted in the composition scheme minus any cap.
  • Adding POS solutions to ‘Digital MSME’ scheme
    • As per the recent changes, taxpayers with turnover of up to Rs 5 crore can file GSTR – 1 on a quarterly basis. The best way to tackle this is to use Point of Sale (POS) solutions that provide end-to-end assistance from generating digital invoices to payments to capturing data.
    • MSMEs with a turnover of Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore can easily use POS, along with the associated digital compliance and filing software, to maintain their data and file on time.
    • And the government can further expedite this process by subsiding POS sales. Under the ‘Digital MSME’ scheme that promotes cloud computing, POS solutions can also be introduced as one of the products.

Conclusion:-

  • As MSMEs become accustomed to a larger compliance climate, a better level of preparedness and discipline in conducting business will gradually be a part of operation. With the government’s commitment to strengthen MSMEs on all fronts, the current challenges will stabilize and gradually take a positive turn to fulfill the nation’s ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’ as well as ‘Startup India’ visions.

TopicInclusive growth and issues arising from it.

4) Bridging the gender gap in mobile ownership and digital literacy in India will hasten women empowerment and help transform their lives. Comment.(250 words)

Livemint

Livemint

Why this question

Women empowerment is a critical goal to be achieved, more so especially for a country placed like India. It has been observed that improving mobile ownership and digital literacy in women pays huge dividends in a multitude of ways, thereby empowering them economically as well as socially. Thus it is important to discuss the scope of such an intervention.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion on whether bridging the gender gap in mobile ownership and digital literacy in India will hasten women empowerment and help transform their lives.  We have present our opinion based on our arguments, which form a part of our knowledge and understanding of the issue as expressed in our answer.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines depicting the grim situation of digital gender divide in India- e.g The world today has 3.58 billion internet users. Roughly 2 billion (56%) are men and 1.57 billion (44%) are women. Of that shortfall of 430 million users, 42% comes from India. India accounts for nearly half the digital gender gap worldwide, even though we account for 12% of the internet total population etc.

Body-

Discuss the benefits that bridging the gender gap in mobile ownership and digital literacy in India, will have on women empowerment and their life in general. E.g Use of mobile based cash transfers linked to various govt schemes and welfare programs thereby economically empowering women and increase their role in decision-making in the family; by dismantling hostile norms surrounding gender- quote the study on mobile phone ownership and usage by women in India, using 2004-2005 National Family Health Survey; economic empowerment by triggering occupational and workforce changes and mention how women can be socially empowered by providing advisory services, legal and consultancy services on mobile phones etc; give the examples of m-PESA project of Kenya etc.

Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue in the form of a way forward- like giving subsidy in buying mobile phones to women; integrating the issue in Digital India programme etc.

Background :-

  • According to the latest Unesco survey, more than 70% of internet users are men in India . India’s digital gender divide is worse than countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Digital literacy and gender gap in mobile ownership:-

  • Current internet usage by women in India is quite low, especially in rural India. It deprives a considerable number of women from accessing online services including communication and information pertaining to health, education, skill development, participating in the economy etc.
  • Hence, when it comes to making the women of India digital ready, India has a twin challenge of not only increasing the gender parity, but also bridging the urban/rural inequality by means of special attention and appropriate solutions.
  • The women in rural India face multiple issues for accessing internet/gaining digital literacy, such as lack of education, awareness, accessibility and affordability and often restrictions/resistance because of their gender. 

How bridging this gap leads to women empowerment:-

  • Bridging the gender gap in mobile ownership and digital literacy in both urban and rural India may increase the agency of women and help dismantle social norms that have been holding them back for decades.
  • In fact, addressing the gender divide in digital literacy is perhaps necessary to ensure inequality of opportunity across gender does not widen in an India where the digital economy is expected to multiply by five times by 2023.
  • Study from Niger :-
    • Results show that households which received transfers via mobile phones saw a 10% improvement in diet diversity, a one-third increase in children’s meal consumption per day, and an increase in the cultivation of marginal crops that are primarily grown by women. The impact was a result of improved household bargaining power of the women beneficiaries.
    • The mobile-transfer beneficiaries were more likely to obtain the transfer on their own as opposed to relying on their husbands.
    • When women adopted mobile phone services to directly receive cash transfers, it increased their agency in household decision-making. Prioritizing digital literacy for women by combining mobile technology with the array of existing welfare programmes targeted at women can potentially lead to similar empowerment of women in rural India.
  • Case study from Kenya :-
    • M-Pesa is a service that allows users to store monetary value on their phones and transfer to others via text message. Access to M-Pesa has uplifted 2% of Kenya’s households out of poverty. The results are most compelling for female beneficiaries.
    • Impact is driven by change in financial behaviour of these women, particularly saving behaviour, that has translated into their altering occupational choices by graduating from subsistence agriculture and multiple part-time jobs to business ownership.
    • This could be a result of direct access to remittances through M-Pesa, and therefore, increased agency. This could also be because these women may have not been primary earning members in their households, and were constrained before they had access to mobile money. 
  • Integrating benefits targeted to the poorest women with mobile phones in this manner could be a promising way to plug leakages and make welfare programmes more effective.
  • Digital inclusion can empower women not only through improving their individual agency, but also by dismantling hostile norms surrounding gender.
  • Reduction of violence:-
    • Studies show that households where women had mobile phones reported lower tolerance for domestic violence and higher women’s autonomy in mobility and economic independence.
  • Monitoring:-
    • Asha workers said that they are able to access information on basic health issues that they are unfamiliar with, especially everyday health problems of adolescent girls.
  • Economic awareness:-
    • Those already skilled, such as in stitching and craft, and currently making clothes and jewellery for self-use are able to access new designs and techniques to incorporate with eye on enterprise.

Way forward :-

  • Communities or organizations are suggested to collaborate with each other, so they can expand their training or workshops to cover the variety of age and levels of women’s digital media literacy and also can increase the number of female teachers of digital media literacy.
  • Collaboration is needed among women’s empowerment programs, from government as the policy makers and infrastructure builders, non-governmental organizations as the initiators/creators of women’s empowerment actions, and from communities, as the developers to support and expand women’s empowerment directly, especially to reach out to women who live in rural areas.

Topic – Land reforms in India

5) Discuss the of land reforms carried out in India since independence? Do you think digitisation of land record is the most crucial land reform that can be undertaken in the present age?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Land Reform is a topic in GS3 which comprises mostly of understanding the nature of land reforms carried out so far. The article explain why focus must shift to the unfinished agenda of land reforms which is digitisation of land records.

Directive word

Discuss – The various land reform initiatives undertaken by the government since independence has to be explained in brief – the aims they were trying to achieve, the result, the impact etc.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain in brief the diverse nature of land reforms undertaken in our country. Your answer should cover the aims they were trying to achieve, the result, the impact etc. Thereafter, move on to establishing the need for a digitisation drive for land records, and ways we can go about it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the overall need for land reforms in a country like India. Discuss whether the issue of land reform is still relevant, so many years after independence.

Body – Explain the various land reform measure undertaken by government since independence in brief. Emphasize that digitisation of land reforms despite multiple efforts by government through programmes like DILRMP 2008 etc have been, but breakthrough has been elusive. Explain why digitisation of land record is required. Mention the steps taken by government like Andhra Pradesh towards this end, as well as the opportunity provided by blockchain technology.

Conclusion – Examine whether digitisation of land record would help in resolving the issues related to land reforms and suggest way forward.

Background:-

  • Nearly two-thirds of all pending cases in Indian courts are related to property disputes. NITI Aayog has said that such property cases take an average of 20 years to settle. The result is that millions of Indians cannot use their principal asset as collateral to borrow from the formal financial system. Hence the need for land reforms in India. The government has now pushed the year of completion to 2021.

Land reforms in India :-

  • The process of land reform after independence basically occurred in two broad phases.
    • The first phase also called the phase of institutional reforms started soon after independence and continued till the early 1960s focussed on the following features:
      • Abolition of intermediaries like zamindars, jagirdars, etc.
      • Tenancy reforms involving providing security of tenure to the tenants, decrease in rents and conferment of ownership rights to tenants
      • Ceilings on size of landholdings
      • Cooperativization and community development programmes.
    • The second phase beginning around the mid- or late 1960s saw the gradual ushering in of the so-called Green Revolution and has been seen as the phase of technological reforms.
    • Failure:-
      • The absence of adequate land records made implementation of these acts difficult.
      • Personal cultivation:
        • ‘Personal cultivation’ was very loosely defined which led to not only those who tilled the soil, but also those who supervised the land personally or did so through a relative, or provided capital and credit to the land, to call themselves a cultivator.
      • The provisions introduced to protect the small landowners were misused by the larger landlords with the active connivance of the revenue officials.
      • The long delay and the nature of the legislation, ensured that the ceilings would have a very muted impact as by the time the ceiling legislations were in place, there were barely any holdings left above the ceiling .

Earlier instances of digitisation of land records:

  • Making land records available to all, to contain/check property frauds, became one of the objectives of the government of India in the late 1980s.
  • To address the same, the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) was launched by the government of India in August 2008.
    • The main aim of the programme, was to computerise all land records, including mutations, improve transparency in the land record maintenance system, digitise maps and surveys, update all settlement records and minimise the scope of land disputes.
  • Digitisation would provide clear titles of land ownership that could be monitored easily by government officials, to facilitate quicker transactions. This will also reduce construction timelines and the overall cost for the developer, the benefits of which can be transferred to the consumer, making property prices more attractive.

However the reforms failed :-

  • Insufficient data:-
    • Although the government wants complete digitisation of land records, due to the lack of clear and sufficient data and mismanagement between the various agencies handling land records, the data registered at various government levels is not identical.
  • Statistics from the DILRMP show that in most states, the digital land record database has not been synced with the digitised land registration database.
  • Experience from states:-
    • Progress over the past decade has been uneven, with some states, such as Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, doing better than the others. However, there are challenges, even in advanced states such as Maharashtra.
  • New digitized land records do a good job in reflecting ownership of land, but less so when it comes to recording encumbrances and area of land parcels.

Reasons why digitisation of land records is a priority now:-

  • States are already focusing on these :-
    • Bhoomi Project in Karnataka led the way even before the Union government got into the act. The relevant document i.e.., the record of rights, tenancy and crops has been made available through kiosks. The need to pay bribes to get access to this basic information in government offices has been done away with.
    • The Rajasthan legislature passed the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Act. This law ensures that the state government is a guarantor for land titles in Rajasthan, and will provide compensation in case of issues of defective title. The guarantee is based on certification provided by the Urban Land Title Certification Authority, which will verify ownership of any property for a fee.
    • Andhra Pradesh :-
      • Its state government has tied up with a Swedish firm to use new blockchain technology to prevent property fraud. As in all other trades, blockchain will allow participants in a distributed ledger to check the ownership of a land parcel. 
    • Advantages of having land records digitized:-
      • Clear land titles will ease a lot of constraints from making it easier for the poor to borrow from the formal financial sector to easing commercial land acquisition for infrastructure projects instead of the misuse of eminent domain.
      • Complicated structures will become simplified:-
        • In the past, most of the land records in the country were through village maps, marking boundaries and/or paper records, which included the names of the occupants. Moreover, various types of information like property maps and sale deeds, are maintained by different departments at the village level. These departments work alone and their personnel lack training on digital access.
      • Due to the lack of maintenance of streamlined land records, there have been litigations, scams and property disputes over land ownership. A digital department, hence, has to be set up, for better maintenance of land records. 
      • Digitisation of land records, will lead to transparency and reduce the time taken to procure
      • Benefits to real estate :-
        • Registered property title documents should be provided by the government, as evidence of ownership. This will also encourage faster transactions and completion of projects in the real estate industry.
        • Development of infrastructure to support national growth, will also require litigation-free land for commercial and residential use.
        • Unclear land titles, accompanying costs due to title disputes and litigation and lack of transparency in real estate transactions, make the real estate market seem sluggish, while clear land titles will help in accelerating the pace of new projects.
        • Greater ease of doing business in the sector, by making it simpler for the developers and buyers to check the authenticity of the land or the property.
      • Resolution of land disputes have to be solved, then, digitisation of land records, vis-à-vis site plans, location, ownership details, khata details, property tax and other cesses payable on the property, is very important.
      • Digitisation of land and property records, will also directly boost the government’s Digital India mission.
      • A complete computerised compilation of land data, starting from the original owner to the present status of land, including an image of the property and the landowner for identification purposes, will reveal the total area of land owned by a person.
      • A fresh survey of every parcel of land at regular intervals, should be undertaken, to update the records. This will also help, in avoiding confusion between government land and private land. Transparency through digitisation, will make it difficult for the general public to evade property tax.
      • Digitisation can speed up the process of land acquisition, thereby, making it easier for the government to work on its Smart Cities mission or plan industrialisation.
      • For home buyers, digitisation will offer the correct details of the owner of a particular property. The buyer can also check if the land is under litigation. If a buyer wants to buy a property from a developer, he or she can check if the building has adhered to all the regulations.
      • Similarly, digitisation will help the buyer to check for transparent market-based pricing, before buying a plot of land.

Topic – Infrastructure: Railways

6) Indian Railways has often been called out for its lack of modernization. Consequently, modernization of Indian Railways is a priority area for the government. Discuss the roadmap for modernization and examine issues as highlighted by CAG?(250 words)

The hindu

pib

Why this question

CAG observation on modernization of railways had brought the focus back on this key priority area of government as highlighted in the Budget. This means that we need to prepare notes on the plan for modernization and the issues in implementation to tackle questions of this nature.

Directive word

Discuss – The modernization plan has to be explained, the issues involved to be brought out along with way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why modernization of railways is a priority.

Body – Discuss the plan for modernization – explain the focus areas  and the reasons why it is a focus area, discuss steps such as modernization of coaches, increase in speed, better facilities as well as amenities etc. Discuss the observations made by CAG – that the focus of CAG is mainly on improving the facade and passenger facilities, rather that removing bottlenecks to ensure timely movement of trains. Bring out the other areas where CAG has suggested an improvement.

Conclusion – Examine whether CAG report on modernization of railways, if paid heed to, would help in improving the status of Indian railways. Give way forward.

Background:-

  • Rail experts believe that the rail transport systems are six times more energy efficient than road and four times more economical. The social costs in terms of environment damage or degradation are significantly lower in rail.
  • Rail construction costs are approximately six times lower than road for comparable levels of traffic. Historically, the Indian railways have played a leading role in carrying passengers and cargo across India’s vast territory.
  • In the next five years, Indian railway market will be the 3rd largest, accounting to 10% of the global market and Metro rail is going to be 70% of the railway market in India.

Lack of modernization in Indian railways:-

  • Today the country’s high-density rail corridors face severe capacity constraints.
  • There is a definite need for capacity enhancement, upgradation, creation of new passenger and freight corridors.
  • Other issues plaguing the rail transport are the differential speeds of trains, inadequate connectivity to ports and mines, inability to carry longer and heavier trains and lower throughput and longer turn-around period.
  • It was reported that between 2011-12 and 2016-17, 50% of the accidents occurred due to derailments and 40% occurred due to collisions at level crossings
  • Maintenance issues:-
    • It is now well established that the conventional rail system suffers from overloading of tracks and the maintenance staff do not even get 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time for the upkeep of rail infrastructure. The non-availability of time to maintain tracks has been resulting in derailments in IR.
  • Signalling issues:-
    • Although IR has improved its signalling system enormously, it still uses a spatial signalling system, whereas developed countries have adopted in-cab signalling and automatic train stop systems. The spatial signalling system is prone to human error and reduces the throughput of the rail network

Government is focussing on it :-

  • Indian Railways had recently announced moving to the advanced European system, which would allow it to increase the train running capacity on the existing tracks.
  • India announced a $133 billion, five-year programme backed by private and public investment aimed to boost passenger and freight volumes, lay new tracks, introduce modern trains and drive growth to help meet ambitious economic targets.
  • India has taken certain very important decisions to modernise the rail transport networks by launching the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)
  • FDI:-
  • India is allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment in new rail sectors such as suburban corridors, high-speed train systems and the freight line projects implemented through public-private partnership. Foreign investors will be allowed to fully own new services in suburban areas, high speed tracks, and connections to ports, mines and power installations.
  • Modernisation of coaches:-
    • Large scale proliferation of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches
      • IR has decided to proliferate LHB coaches, which are technologically superior and have better riding and aesthetics.
    • Improvements in EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) / MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) rakes
    • Manufacture of electric train set coaches:
      • 141 Electric Train set coaches in 2018-19 and 11 in 2019-20 have been included in the Production Programme. The train sets will be semi high speed with distributed power, with quicker acceleration and contemporary passenger amenities.
    • Mid-Life-Rehabilitation (MLR) of coaches:
      • MLR work of Broad Gauge (BG) non-AC & AC coaches is carried out in three workshops, namely Parel (Central Railway), Jhansi (North Central Railway) and Bhopal (West Central Railway). The work includes complete overhauling of interiors of coaches. Considering the present scenario, around 1000 coaches per annum are likely to be given MLR during the next three years.
    • Model Rake Coaches
      • IR has planned to improve the interior of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches
      • IR has launched Project Swarn with the objective of significantly improving the passenger experience.
    • Safety and Security of railway passengers and stations:
      • Improving fire retardancy in coaches by providing fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches.
      • Safety and security in Railway stations:
        • Provision of CCTV cameras has been made over 394 railway stations.
        • Networking of Posts and Security Control Rooms of the RPF is under progress for faster dissemination of data/feedback/Complaints.
      • Catering facilities:
      • To improve the standard of food being provided to passengers, new Catering Policy has been issued wherein inter-alia Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution.

Issues highlighted by CAG:-

  • Wrong focus:-
    • Rather than removing bottlenecks to ensure timely movement of trains the focus of Railways modernisation plans for its stations is mainly on improving the façade and passenger facilities,
  • Neglected areas:-
    • Important activities such as providing platforms with adequate length for easy boarding of long trains, providing adequate facilities for stabling trains and for their maintenance in stations, and adequate yard capacity significantly contribute to timely arrival and departure of trains.
  • Infrastructure such as platforms, washing pit lines and stabling lines at the stations were not augmented to match the increase in number of trains handled in all these stations.
  • Maintenance issues:-
    • Non-availability of adequate washing pit lines and stabling lines led to movement of empty trains to other depots for maintenance purposes. This caused blockage of lines.

Way forward:-

  • CAG recommendations:-
    • Before taking up modernization/redevelopment of stations and constructing new buildings, the possibility of further expansion of the stations by adding more platforms needs to be considered.
    • The modernisation/ redevelopment of stations should also address infrastructural constraints and works such as construction of additional platforms, stabling and washing pit lines and remodelling of yards should be included in its scope.
    • It becomes imperative to locate power-efficient technology in Railway systems that will help tackle this problem as well as ecological concerns.
  • Sam pitroda report  report touched almost every area of operation and management of Indian Railways and came up with five strategic planks viz. modernisation of core assets; exploration of new revenue models; review and assessment of capital projects sanctioned and work-in-process; focus on enablers and mobilisation of resources.
  • Bibek Debroy Committee in its report on the Indian Railways recommends sweeping changes in the way the ailing organisation runs. Some of them are:
    • Transition to commercial accounting:
      • The financial statements of Indian Railways need to be re-drawn, consistent with principles and norms nationally and internationally accepted.
    • Focus on non-core areas:
      • Indian Railways should focus on core activities to efficiently compete with the private sector. It will distance itself from non-core activities, such as running a police force, schools, hospitals and production and construction units. 
    • Encouraging private entry:
      • Private entry into running both freight and passenger trains in competition with Indian railways should be allowed and private participation in various Railway infrastructure services and non-core activities like production and construction, should be encouraged by the Ministry of Railways.
    • Independent regulator:
      • The report recommends setting up a Railway Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI) statutorily, with an independent budget, so that it is truly independent of the Ministry of Railways.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic-  Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity.

7) There is a need to move from the traditional hierarchical exercise of power by the government to the new notion of a “dispersed and relational power in governance. In the light of the above statement, discuss the difference between governance and government. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Governance and the government are two interrelated concepts but have a significant difference between the two, which needs to be discussed upon.

Directive word

Discuss-This is 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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the difference between government and governance and discuss why governance based systems are better than government based systems.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- define and write a few lines about the term governance. E.g The word “governance” came from the Latin verb “gubernare,” or more originally from the Greek word “kubernaein,” which means “to steer.” Basing on its etymology, governance refers to the manner of steering or governing, or of directing and controlling, a group of people or a state.

Body-

Differentiate between government and governance and bring out e\why the later is better than the former. E.g the meaning of governance  includes, not just government actors, but also civil-society actors.Today, governance includes three sectors: the public sector (state actors and institutions), the private sector (households and companies), and the civil society (non-governmental organizations). These three sectors are said to work hand in hand in the process of governance. This new use of the term focuses on the role of “networks” in the achievement of the common good, whether these networks are intergovernmental, transnational, or international. ;  government is associated with “control and domination,” and governance with “decentralization and relational management.” On the one hand, government refers to a central institution which wields power over its subjects. It is the instrument patterned after the model of “command and control,” the government being in command over the affairs of the people. On the other hand, governance is closely associated with the concept of decentralization of power and the need for inter-sectoral management. Governance is based on the realization that the government cannot do everything for the people, so that in order to survive the state should not only rely on government but also on the other sectors of the society etc.

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

Answer :-

 

Governance is commonly defined as the exercise of power or authority by political leaders for the well-being of their country’s citizens or subjects. It is the complex process whereby some sectors of the society wield power, and enact and promulgate public policies which directly affect human and institutional interactions, and economic and social development. 

Difference between governance and government :-

Governance involves interaction between the formal institutions and those in civil society. Governance refers to a process whereby elements in society wield power, authority and influence and enact policies and decisions concerning public life and social upliftment. “Governance”, therefore, not only encompasses but transcends the collective meaning of related concepts like the state, government, regime and good government.

Government is only one arm of modern society and it derives its legitimacy and powers from its taxes, spending, laws, and regulations. Government is only one part of the governance of managing our large and complex modern society.

Governance includes three sectors: the public sector (state actors and institutions), the private sector (households and companies), and the civil society (non-governmental organizations). These three sectors are said to work hand in hand in the process of governance. 

Government is a body that comprises a person or a group of persons who run the administration of the government. This is a means in which power is exercised. On the other hand, governance refers to the process or activities of a government. Therefore it is the laws and rules made by the government that are sought to be implemented through a chosen bureaucracy which is referred to as governance. Simply put, the process of governing people or a state is called governance.

In addition, these terms ‘government’ and ‘governance’ can be characterised as follows. Originally, government’s characteristics were hierarchy, top-down control, intervention in economy and the job of government was to row, not to steer the boat. However, shift “from government to governance” is associated with the view that governments should ‘steer’ not ‘row’. Partnership, network among public sector and private sector which is non-govenment are focused on.

Government with control and domination and governance with decentralization and relational management. On the one hand, government refers to a central institution which wields power over its subjects. It is the instrument patterned after the model of “command and control,” the government being in command over the affairs of the people. On the other hand, governance is closely associated with the concept of decentralization of power and the need for inter-sectoral management. Governance is based on the realization that the government cannot do everything for the people, so that in order to survive the state should not only rely on government but also on the other sectors of the society.