SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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
Topic– Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
NCERT, Themes in Indian History- part I.
Discuss- 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 how the dark ages as mentioned in the question was a period of significant socio-cultural transformation and not really a dark age.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- Write a few lines about the polity of the ancient dark ages of India i.e the period spanning from the fall of Mauryan empire to the rise of the Gupta empire. Mention the political instability for most of the times, small divided territories except the Kanishka empire etc.
Discuss in points the salient aspects of socio-cultural transformation witnessed t=during those dark ages. E.g
Revival of Hinduism in the form of rise of cults around Shiva, Krishna and Vishnu-Vasudeva; organization of empires in a new way-large scale incorporation of local rulers, a trend that influenced India’s future polity; Indo-Kushan art, Sarnath school art; compilation of dharmashastras; internal contacts and cultural exchange- central Asia, Greeks, Southeast Asia etc.
Conclusion- Conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue. E.g the period called as dark ages was actually a precursor of the classical age etc.
- The five centuries that passed between the fall of the Mauryas and rise of the Guptas witnessed a lot of political instability and upheaval in the North of India.
- During the dark ages in ancient India for more than a century, India suffered from political disunity and disintegration. No powerful empire rose during that period.
- The main justification behind this is that the period witnessed the end of political unification of India achieved with much difficulty by the Imperial Mauryas. The period also witnessed to the rise of many new states like the Indo-Greeks, the Kushanas, the Satavahanas, and the Shungas etc.
Dark ages of ancient India were period of significant socio cultural transformation :-
- Extensive contacts:-
- The period is notable for intimate and widespread contacts between Central Asia and India.
- Arts and crafts witnessed a remarkable growth. the Mahavastu, which belongs to this period, catalogue 36 kind of workers living in the town of Rajgir, and the list is not exhaustive.
- The post-Mauryan five centuries was one of the bustling developments in the field of art. It was during this period that three schools of art emerged namely, the Gandhara School, the Mathura School and the Amravati School. It was during this period that the first images of Buddha were sculpted.
- Moreover, the stupas of Sanchi and Vidisa were renovated. The period saw the construction of many rock-cut chaityas at Bhaja and Karle. To this period is credited to have the earliest specimen of Ajanta paintings, which stands as hallmark of rich Indian painting tradition.
- Growing crafts and commerce and the increasing use of money promoted the prosperity of numerous towns during this period.
- As for Hinduism, the period witnessed the emergence of concept of trinity with Brahma as creator, Vishnu as preserver and Shiva as destroyer. Moreover, Brahmanism in course of spread assimilated many popular cults. Also, image- worship and the concept of Bhakti came to imbue the prevalent religions.
- The period, moreover, saw the introduction of Christianity in India.
- Buddhism continued to receive royal patronage. Many kings of this era were Buddhists. A major development in Buddhism was it’s splitting up in to two sects –The Hinayana and the Mahayana. This phase also witnessed the spreading of Mahayana Buddhism to south and south east Asia.
- The period was equally bright in terms of developments in language and literature.
- To this period belongs the earliest specimen of Sanskrit in Kavya style which is found in the Junagadh inscription. The bulk of the classical Sangam literature in Tamil is attributed to this period.
- The period also saw the composition of works like “Buddha-charita” by Asvaghosa, and Adadans came to be composed in Buddhist-Hybrid Sanskrit. The Mahavastu and the Divyavadana stand as important works of this genre.
- The period was equally notable for significant developments in science and technology.
- Astronomy made significant progress largely owing to Greek contact. Many Greek terms about movements of planets became part of Sanskrit texts. The Greek coins, which were properly shaped and stamped, were a great improvement on punch-marked coins.
- Notable developments were witnessed in medical ‘science.
- To this period belonged Charak and Sushruta whose works lay down cure for various ailments.
- In military technology, use of cavalry, reins and saddles were introduced and also the turban and tunic became part of Indian life.
General Studies – 2
Topic– India and its bilateral relations
Why this question
The article focuses on emphasizing on the economic potential of trade between India and pakistan, the immense economic significance it will be of for the two countries and the role that deepening economic relations between India and Pakistan will play in normalising bilateral relations. Several questions, over the past few years have been asked on India Pakistan bilateral relations and hence this question is important.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to discuss the status quo of trade between the two countries, explain areas in which the potential of trade between the two countries can be exploited for mutual advantage, the role that enhanced economic integration will play in the future if bilateral relations between the two countries.
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 – Discuss the change of government in Pakistan and how it has led to a heightened focus over India Pakistan relationship.
- Discuss the status quo of trade between the two countries. Highlight reasons why trade between the two countries is at such a deplorable level despite immense potential.
- Explain the potential areas in which trade between the two countries will boom
- Examine the hypothesis made in question that deepening economic integration will yield peace – on the flip side we can talk about why this is not true, based on empirical evidences of regions like EU, strategic reasons etc . Also we need to discuss the positive aspects of enhancing trade like more resources for development, better channels of communication and appreciation of each other’s point of view etc
Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on whether enhancing trade will help in normalising relations between the two countries, and discuss way forward.
Economic interconnection between India and Pakistan :-
- Over the last five years, the bilateral trade trajectory has been volatile. From a high of $2.70 billion in 2013-14, it fell to $2.40 billion in 2017-18. During this time, while Pakistan’s exports to India were fairly consistent, India’s exports decreased.
- Indirect trade (largely routed through a third country like the United Arab Emirates) is estimated to be up to 10 times more exemplifying the existence of a huge bilateral trade potential
- The large infrastructure of informal trade also acts as a trade barrier. Traders have invested in third country routes, have set up offices in those countries and have invested in networks for customs clearance to overcome the issue of rules of origin problems that arise.
- India’s tariff and non-tariff barriers are an impediment in the access to Indian markets.
- Apart from reasons associated with regulation and bureaucratic inertia, high transaction
costs also become barriers to trade.
- The stringent visa regime on both sides is cited as an important reason for low levels of official Pakistani exports to India in particular and bilateral trade in general. At the root of this barrier perhaps is the nature of political relations between the two countries.
- The private sector faces long-term uncertainty under such a scenario, making it difficult to take decisions related to investments in relationships and infrastructure – such as opening offices in the other country and employing its nationals for sales and marketing.
- Real stumbling block in India-Pakistan trade is the fact that Pakistan has not granted MFN status to India.
Potential areas :-
- Regional value chains provide opportunities for India and Pakistan to diversify their exports and imports and intensify their integration into the global economy. This included sectors such as textile and clothing, sports goods and surgical equipment.
- Textiles :-
- In textiles there is potential for raw materials, grey fabric, blended fabric and stitched clothes from Indian hubs such as Surat and Tiruppur to Pakistan’s major production centres.
- Similarly, from Pakistan, there is a huge demand for salwar-kameez made of lawn fabric and wedding attire given Pakistan’s expertise here. The market opportunity for these few high-demand products alone is about $2.3 billion.
- Sports goods :-
- Pakistan’s sports goods manufacturing sector is emerging as an original equipment manufacturer for major global brands.
- However, manufacturers in Sialkot require quality raw materials or semi-finished products to produce these goods. India can play a key role here in exporting raw material and semi-finished goods such as latex, rubber, and football bladders.
- In terms of finished goods, sportswear made of lycra is in demand in Pakistan. The market opportunity here is $1.1 billion.
- Value chain development in surgical instruments is another area :-
- Pakistan’s surgical instruments manufacturing industry is noted for its expertise. India has a large medical market which imports these instruments from these developed countries at high rates.
- To strengthen value chain linkages, India can potentially increase the supply of stainless steel to Pakistan, a major raw material used in instrument manufacturing, or even import semi-finished products.
- In India, dispensaries and clinics in Tier 2 and 3 cities, which are often unable to afford even re-useable surgical instruments, will benefit from the availability of cheaper and new instruments from Pakistan. The market opportunity in this sector is about $804 million.
- Why more economic cooperation is needed :-
- Expansion in the volume of trade as a result of access to a larger market will lower unit costs for Pakistani exporters, which will improve their overall competitiveness.
- Consumers in Pakistan will clearly benefit as prices of Indian imports will be lower as compared to those from the rest of the world, because of lower unit costs in India, as well as lower transportation costs.
- It will have a beneficial impact on public finance as increased trade volumes will have a positive impact on customs revenues.
- Enhanced trade is also expected to expedite India’s trade with central Asian countries, with the use of the land route via Pakistan.
- Further, in an era of increasingly open trade under the WTO regime, regional alliances serve to protect developing countries from the onslaught of developed countries unfavourable terms of trade.
However economic integration alone cannot improve relations between the two countries:-
- Long-standing geo-political conflict between the two countries has led international observers to classify this region as one of the most volatile in the world.
- Kashmir dispute :-
- It is not necessary that political disputes will be swept under the rug at the altar of economic expediency. China’s long-lasting territorial disputes with Taiwan and Japan have not been diluted because of economic relations.
- Despite EU being economically integrated there are still conflicts existing among the European countries.
Way forward :-
- Incremental steps towards bridging the gap between actual and potential trade is a must.
- It is important to alleviate fears, misconceptions and the trust deficit in the trading community.
- Business-to-business linkages need to be formed and strengthened between actual traders. While this can be initiated at the level of product-specific industry associations this must also be taken up by national chamber associations.
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) business traveller visas must be implemented in practice.
- There also needs to be focus on other issues such as key items in the textiles and clothing sector, border infrastructure and security, improved connectivity by sea and air, enhanced people-to-people contact and educational exchanges.
Topic– Indian economy – issues
Why this question
The article discusses the increasing fiscal deficit of the states, the reasons for the same and the issues that might arise out of unchecked expenditure. Economic Survey last year had also discussed the need for keeping a tab on state government finances. This question expects you to prepare an important macroeconomic issue with wider ramifications.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to analyze the situation of the states with respect to their fiscal deficit, the reasons for the worsening performance of the states over the years, the need to refocus on state government finances as highlighted in the article as well as by NK Singh committee. Finally, we need to suggest a way forward.
Analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Discuss the recommendation of FRBM Act wet state finances and why the issue of state finances has been in the news off late.
- Discuss the status quo of states wrt their fiscal performance – fiscal deficit has widened from 18% in FY12 to 44% in FY18. Consolidated state government expenditure is around 1.4 times the size of the Central government expenditure.
- Discuss the aims of FRBM Act and NK Singh committee wrt state finances
- Examine the causes behind poor performance of state wrt their finances – GST, share of state’s own revenue, rising expenditure commitment etc
- Discuss the need to refocus on state finances to ensure that the macroeconomic stability is not disturbed
Conclusion – emphasize on the need to refocus on state finances and discuss the way forward.
- There are doubts that Central government could overshoot its fiscal deficit target for FY19 as goods and services tax (GST) revenue has been falling short of target. Also the fiscal deficit on states is again becoming a cause of concern.
Increasing fiscal deficit of states :-
- As per a recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report on state government finances, the consolidated fiscal deficit of the state governments in FY18 was 3.1%, against the budget estimate of 2.7%.
- State government fiscal deficit has been widening. The share of state governments in the combined (Centre plus state) fiscal deficit has widened from 18% in FY12 to 44% in FY18.
- Consolidated state government expenditure is around 1.4 times the size of the Central government expenditure which was not the case earlier.
- While the state governments expenditure commitment has increased over time in line with the spirit of fiscal federalism, they still have limited autonomy in revenue collection.
- With the introduction of the GST, state autonomy reduces further as states do not have the power to independently decide GST rates.
- State governments had managed to keep their fiscal deficit below 3% since FY06. However, in FY16 and FY17, as state governments took over the debt of power distribution companies under the UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) scheme, the fiscal deficit breached the 3% level.
- Farm loan waivers and the pay hikes of state government employees (considered revenue expenditure) were important factors putting pressure on government finances.
- After including the cesses/surcharges, the share of states in the Centre’s gross tax revenue fell to 34.6% in FY18 (from 35.4% in FY15) even though total devolvement to states from the tax collected by the Centre has increased to 42%.
How is this a cause of concern :-
- State finances become important because of state governments increased reliance on market borrowings.
- The widening of state fiscal deficit now has more direct implications for interest rates in the economy.
- Fiscal deficit exceeded 3% in FY18 even after the termination of the UDAY scheme. The revenue deficit has also been widening.
- Recent reduction in GST rates for many items heightens concerns about revenue collection.
- State government debt-to- GDP ratio has risen from 21.5% in FY15 to 24% and is a cause of concern.
- Fiscal deficits may cause macroeconomic instability by inflating the economy as money supply rises.
- Corporate sector is crowded out as they are left with inadequate funds in the markets as the government borrowing requirements increase.
- Interest rates will be high as there is pressure on the available money in the market.
- Large deficits even if they do not spill over into macroeconomic instability in the short run will require higher taxes in the long term to cover the heavy burden of internal debt.
Way forward :-
- There is a need to implement NK Singh committee recommendations with respect to Fiscal deficit for a stable economy.
- Suggested a fiscal deviation band of 0.5%.This means that the government can deviate by 0.5% from the fiscal Deficit target if the economy is in slowdown.
- The flexibility has been allowed for the government to create space for stimulus to pump-prime the economy.
- On the other hand, when the economy is doing well, the deficit can be compressed by 0.5%.
Topic– Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Why this question
AI is a disruptive innovation that has had a huge impact so much so that it is being compared to the advent of a new Industrial Revolution. India has also stated its commitment to incorporating AI in its developmental journey. The article discusses how AI came to its present state and the future challenges that AI will have to overcome to reach its full potential.
Key demand of the question
As the question demands, first, we need to discuss how AI came to its present form starting from rudimentary systems to systems that can imitate human action. Thereafter, our focus has to shift to explaining how AI would need to evolve in light of the challenges that it faces. The first part of the question is primarily theoretical where we need to discuss the evolution of AI, whereas, the second part expects us to discuss the way forward for AI.
Discuss – Here your discussion should focus on bringing out the various stages in evolution of AI, and the challenges therein which have to be overcome.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain what AI and discuss AI is expected to usher in the era of post industrial revolution.
- Discuss the significant milestones in evolution of AI to the stage it is today – from deep blue to alpha go to self driven cars. Explain how the technology has evolved
- Discuss that AI today is performing the jobs that human perform and therefore the main focus is on ensuring that AI imitate human actions which means that several variables have to be controlled.
- Post examining the challenges, we need to highlight what the way forward is.
Conclusion – Emphasize on the role that AI is going to play in the years to come and discuss how the challenges discussed herein can be resolved.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been implemented and is delivering on its promise at least at large companies including Facebook, Google, and Netflix. Retailers are using AI-powered robots in their warehouses, Utilities use AI to forecast electricity demand,
- Automakers are using AI for autonomous cars, and Financial Services companies are using AI to better understand their customers, look for potential fraud, and to identify new products/services customers will want.
History of evolution of artificial intelligence :-
- It evolved a lot since Alan Turing did Turing test in 1950
- Deep Blue computer defeated Gary Kasparov in 1997
- Major advantages of Deep Blue lay in its memory and computation powers. It could compute faster and thereby it could analyse potential positions more accurately than a human.
- But this computer could not learn anything by itself. It just performed according to the inputs given to it.
- In 2016, AlphaGo, a Go-playing computer system defeated the world’s best Go player shows that that machines can learn, and that too possibly better than a human.
- Even higher peaks are activities such as speech recognition and language translation. Computers are already doing a fairly good job doing these activities too.
- Next level of activities are very different from activities that machines so far have done an excellent job of mastering.
- The next level activity AI hopes to master is social interactions. AI is entering the complex world of human behaviour. There are very few clear rules that govern human behaviour. More importantly, emotions are involved in all facets of human behaviour.
- Unless AI understands and incorporates emotions, it will always remain artificial.
Challenges for further development of AI:-
- Mastering human behaviour is tougher as that a vast majority of brain activities occur at a non-conscious level.
- Cost :-
- Supporting not only the initial outlays for software and costs for cloud support but the ongoing costs for training employees and continued training of the AI system when business processes change.
- AI can be just as or even more biased than humans.
- If the information trainers feed to these algorithms is unbalanced, the system will eventually adopt the covert and overt biases that those data sets contain.
- Before AI, it was relatively easy to determine whether an incident was the result of the actions of a user, developer or manufacturer. But in the era of AI-driven technologies, the lines are not as clearcut. This can become an issue when AI algorithms start making critical decisions such as when a self-driving car has to choose between the life of a passenger and a pedestrian.
- There’s also the issue of bad actors, of both governmental and non-governmental nature, that might put AI and Machine learning to ill use.
- A very effective Russian face recognition app rolled out last year proved to be a potential tool for oppressive regimes seeking to identify and crack down on dissidents and protestors
- New regulations must be put in place to clearly predict and address legal issues that will surround AI in the near future. The use and availability of the technology must also be revised and regulated in a way to prevent or minimize ill use.
- Promote investment in research and development in AI that generates public trust in new technologies, and encourage industry to invest in developing and deploying AI that supports economic growth and women’s economic empowerment while addressing issues related to accountability, assurance, liability, security, safety, gender and other biases and potential misuse.
- Policymakers should consider ways to encourage human-centered AI at work and to provide training and social welfare programs to ease the transition to what can be a more productive and humane workplace of the future.
Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “Earthquakes”
NCERT Class XI Physical geography – Pg 22
Key demand of the question
The question is self explanatory in its demand and needs to be answered accordingly.
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 – Explain what earthquakes are.
Body – Discuss the various theories wrt formation of earthquake and thereafter explain the type of waves produced in earthquakes which are P, S, L, R.
Why do earthquakes occur:-
- Earthquakes are usually caused when rock underground suddenly breaks along a fault. This sudden release of energy causes the seismic waves that make the ground shake. When two blocks of rock or two plates are rubbing against each other, they stick a little. They don’t just slide smoothly; the rocks catch on each other. The rocks are still pushing against each other, but not moving.
- After a while, the rocks break because of all the pressure that’s built up. When the rocks break, the earthquake occurs. During the earthquake and afterward, the plates or blocks of rock start moving, and they continue to move until they get stuck again.
- The spot underground where the rock breaks is called the focusof the earthquake. The place right above the focus (on top of the ground) is called the epicenter of the earthquake.
Waves of the Earthquake:-
- Seismic wavesare the waves of energy caused by the sudden breaking of rock within the earth or an explosion. They are the energy that travels through the earth and is recorded on seismographs.
Types of Seismic Waves
- Body waves
- Traveling through the interior of the earth, body waves arrive before the surface waves emitted by an earthquake. These waves are of a higher frequency than surface waves.
- P WAVES
- The first kind of body wave is the P wave or primary wave. This is the fastest kind of seismic wave, and, consequently, the first to ‘arrive’ at a seismic station.
- The P wave can move through solid rock and fluids, like water or the liquid layers of the earth.
- It pushes and pulls the rock it moves through just like sound waves push and pull the air.
- P waves are also known as compressional waves, because of the pushing and pulling they do. Subjected to a P wave, particles move in the same direction that the wave is moving in, which is the direction that the energy is traveling in, and is sometimes called the ‘direction of wave propagation’.
- S WAVES
- The second type of body wave is the S wave or secondary wave, which is the second wave you feel in an earthquake.
- An S wave is slower than a P wave and can only move through solid rock, not through any liquid medium.
- S waves move rock particles up and down, or side-to-side–perpendicular to the direction that the wave is traveling in (the direction of wave propagation).
- Surface waves
- Travelling only through the crust, surface waves are of a lower frequency than body waves, and are easily distinguished on a seismogram as a result.
- Though they arrive after body waves, it is surface waves that are almost entirely responsible for the damage and destruction associated with earthquakes. This damage and the strength of the surface waves are reduced in deeper earthquakes.
- Love waves:-
- The first kind of surface wave is called a Love wave.
- It’s the fastest surface wave and moves the ground from side-to-side. Confined to the surface of the crust, Love waves produce entirely horizontal motion.
- Surface waves
- Rayleigh waves
- The other kind of surface wave is the Rayleigh wave
- A Rayleigh wave rolls along the ground. Because it rolls, it moves the ground up and down, and side-to-side in the same direction that the wave is moving.
- Most of the shaking felt from an earthquake is due to the Rayleigh wave, which can be much larger than the other waves.
A Rayleigh wave travels through a medium. Particles are represented by cubes in this model.
TOPIC: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
Why this question
In a recent scientific research paper, it has been claimed that climate change will increase the destructive power of the tsunamis. It is pertinent under these circumstances to discuss about Tsunamis as well as the research findings.
Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to write in detail about the tsunamis and their relationship with the topography of the seafloor and how it determines the destructive power of the tsunami waves. It also wants us to discuss how this destructive power is going to increase in the future.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- Write a few lines about the nature of tsunami waves and how they are caused.
E.g Tsunami waves are huge waves – generally on oceans, but sometimes in lakes or large rivers caused by sudden motions, which displace a large amount of water like an earthquake, a volcanic eruption or underwater landslide.
- Discuss how the wavelength, speed and wave-height of tsunami waves is influenced by the depth of the water and how on coming in contact with the seafloor near the shore the wavelength is decreased and wave height increases etc.
- Discuss the impact of global warming on the destructive power of tsunami waves. Mention the sea-level rise, which will lead to more inundation of the coastal areas and hitherto untouched areas, as well as mention the higher destruction potential of much weaker tsunami waves which would increase in future etc.
Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.
- Tsunami is a seismic sea wave or tidal wave, catastrophic ocean wave, usually caused by a submarine earthquake, an underwater or coastal landslide, or a volcanic eruption. The term tidal waveis frequently used for such a wave, but it is a misnomer, for the wave has no connection with the tides.
- Sea-level rise can significantly increase the tsunami hazard, which means that smaller tsunamis in the future can have the same adverse impacts as big tsunamis would today,
Topography of the seafloor near the shore affects the power of Tsunamis:-
- Tsunami waves become dangerous only when they get close to the coast: the height of a Tsunami wave grows larger as the water becomes more and more shallow in a wave shoaling process
- An increase in wave amplitude results in “shoaling” when waves, including tsunamis, run from deep to shallow water. This is significant in coastal regions. This phenomena occurs because of the force from the seabed as it becomes shallower. This slows down the wave: the shallower the water, the slower the wave.
- Even when tsunamis have only a small amplitude (less than a meter) they can shoal up to many meters high as they hit shallow water. When a tsunami hits shallower coastal waters, the trough or base of the wave contacts the beach floor. As a consequence, the leading edge of the tsunami slows dramatically due to the shallower water, but the trailing part of the wave is still moving rapidly in the deeper water.
- The wave is compressed and its velocity slows below 80 kilometers per hour. Its wavelength diminishes to less than 20 kilometers and its amplitude is magnified many times. This piling up of tsunami energy results in growth of the wave height.
- The form of the adjacent geography to deep water (open bays and coastline), can shape the tsunami into a step-like wave with a steep braking face. The wave height as it crashes upon a shore depends almost entirely upon the submarine topography offshore. Steeper shorelines produce higher tsunami waves.
- Because of the factors of low amplitude in deep water and large wavelength, tsunamis are often not noticed in mid-ocean. As the tsunami hits shallower water, the velocity slows, wavelength decreases and the waves height (amplitude) increases.
- Small islands with steep slopes usually experience little runup – wave heights there are only slightly greater than on the open ocean. This is the reason that islands with steep-sided fringing or barrier reefs are only at moderate risk from tsunamis.
- However, this is not the case for islands such as the Hawaiian or the Marquesas. Both of these island chains do not have extensive barrier reefs and have broad bays exposed to the open ocean
General Studies – 4
Topic– Right to Information, Transparency and accountability
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 as to how information about the workings of the central and state legislatures should be made more accessible to the public.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– Write a few lines about the lack of information sharing about the workings of the legislatures in India. E.g The proceedings of the Legislatures are open to public and media and even telecast live in recent years. However, legislatures are storehouses of enormous amount of information on public policies and executive actions and a vast amount of information is not shared with the public etc.
Discuss the ways in which information can be shared in a better way. E.g all information with the legislatures needs to be indexed, catalogued and computerised, with online access to all citizens and supply on demand. This access should be provided as part of the proactive disclosure requirement under RTI Act; Parliamentary (Legislative) questions, proceedings of various committees, follow up action on the reports of CAG, action taken reports submitted by the government are a few vital mechanisms for such legislative oversight. However, except through media reports, the citizens rarely have direct access to such information. This lacuna needs to be addressed by making all such information available to the public both online (electronic) and on demand (print).; a computerised tracking mechanism, so that the legislators as well as the general public can trace the sequence of events and compliance by the executive agencies on matters like petitions, CAG reports and action taken on reports of enquiry commissions or House committees etc.
Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.
- Legislatures are storehouses of enormous amount of information on public policies and executive actions. However there are some problems in accessing information.
- The information is disaggregated and not adequately Thus, on the same subject there are several separate documents, often chronologically arranged, without sectoral linkages.
- Second, while information is available to legislators, it is very hard for citizens to access it.
How to increase information access to public:-
- Live telecast all proceedings of all state assemblies:
- Lack of accountability to citizens emanates from the high degree of opacity of proceedings of state assemblies.
- Live telecast of proceedings will ensure their performance is monitored by citizens in real time, thereby improving the quality of legislation and debates on matters of public importance.
- Citizens should collectively demand mandatory disclosure of the text of legislative debates and questions on assembly websites by all states under the RTI Act, 2005.
- A constitutional amendment:
- To fix the minimum number of days assemblies must sit (in days) in a year.
- Bilingual websites and documents:
- All government resolutions at the state-level, including assembly websites, should be translated into English and be available along with the vernacular language of the state, to ensure more readability and hence more civic and media engagement with state policies and actions.
- Involvement of various stakeholders and beneficiaries during the drafting of state laws:
- Unlike the Centre, where draft bills are often shared by ministries for public comments, the process of conceiving, deliberating and passing of state laws is rather obscure. All states must practice inclusive policy-making.
- A system of indexing and cataloguing of records of the legislatures, which facilitates easy access should be put in place. This could be best achieved by digitising all the records and providing access to citizens with facilities for retrieving records based on intelligible searches
- A tracking mechanism needs to be developed so that the action taken by the executive branch on various reports like CAG, Commissions of Enquiry and House Committees is available to legislators and public, online.
- The working of the legislative committees should be thrown open to the public. The presiding officer of the committee, if required in the interest of State or privacy, may hold proceedings in camera.
- The records at the district court and the subordinate courts should be stored in a scientific way, by adopting uniform norms for indexing and cataloguing.
- The administrative processes in the district and the subordinate courts should be computerized in a time bound manner. These processes should be totally in the public domain.