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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 SEPTEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 SEPTEMBER 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


Topic– Salient features of Indian society

1) The status of elderly in India has transformed a lot from the era gone by, in part because the society is in the throes of turbulent change. Examine and discuss the role played by Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act?(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article talks about the status of elderly people in India, the factors which have led to the change in the status of elderly, the issues plaguing them and the efforts made by the government in addressing their challenges. UPSC in the past has asked about the effect of globalisation on elderly people in India , and thus preparing this topic would bode well for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first discuss the status of elderly people in India. Thereafter, we need to examine how the changes in society has affected their status. Next, we need to highlight the issues faced by them, followed by the effort taken by the government through the mentioned Act in improving their status. Finally, way forward has to be mentioned.

Directive word

Examine – The status quo of the elderly, and the reasons for that status quo need to be discussed in this part.

Discuss – Here the focus has to be on the impact of the legislation brought in by the government and how it can be made more effective.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the status quo of the elderly. Mention that the share of the elderly in India living alone or only with a spouse increased from 9 per cent in 1992 to 19 per cent in 2006. Both the share and size of elderly population is increasing over time.

Body

  • Highlight the issues plaguing them and the changes that have taken place in society which is responsible for their current status. Discuss factors that have affected them like lack of infrastructure, changing family structure (mention that Since 1991, the number of households has grown faster than the population. Nuclear families now constitute 70 per cent of all households), lack of social support, social inequality, Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of Healthcare, economic dependency.
  • Discuss how the government through Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act made an attempt to ensure that the elderly in India do not suffer. Thereafter mention that the act made it a legal obligation for children to provide maintenance to parents in the form of a monthly allowance. In 2018, the revised Act seeks to increase the jail term for negligent children, broaden responsibility beyond biological children and grandchildren and expand the definition of maintenance to include safety and security.
  • Highlight the limitations of the Act and discuss way forward

Conclusion – Mention that the share of elderly in population is set to increase and its imperative that we act to protect their interest.

Background:-

  • The share of the elderly in India living alone or only with a spouse increased from 9 per cent in 1992 to 19 per cent in 2006.
  • The modernising forces of demographic change, growth-induced geographic mobility and a sense of individualism, have transformed society within a span of one generation.

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act :-

  • Government of India in 2007 enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, which made it a legal obligation for children to provide maintenance to parents in the form of a monthly allowance. 
  • The Act establishes the Maintenance Tribunal to provide speedy and effective relief to elderly persons. Section 19 of the act also mandates the establishment of an old age home in every district and provides for the protection of life and property of the elderly.

Constraints:-

  • Recently the amendment bill has intended to make some new changes:-
    • Definition of “children” has been expanded to include daughter-in-law and son-in-law. Even daughter-in-law and son-in-law of senior citizenswould be responsible to take care of them.
    • Seeks to increase the jail term for negligent children, broaden responsibility beyond biological children and grandchildren and expand the definition of maintenance to include safety and security. This law will ultimately safeguard the rights of those elderly who have seen abuse and help them pursue legal action.
    • The government has expanded the ambit of social security for the elderly by making distant relatives responsible for their upkeep, increased fine and imprisonmentfor abandoning parents and done away with the financial cap of Rs 10,000 for maintenance of parents.
    • Government has introduced new clauses that would make it mandatory for the government to set standards for senior citizens care centres and multi-service daycare centres.
    • The government, through agencies like Quality Control of India, would also have star ratings for centres so that an elderly person knows the standard of care to expect from a centre.
    • To protect the senior citizens from being conned into gifting their property, the government has introduced an amendment which bars a relative or a child from further selling the property of a parent without their consent.

      The legislation has done away with the financial cap on maintenance that a person has to pay. Earlier, the limit under 2007 Act was Rs 10,000. However, it was felt that while this adequate in rural areas or smaller towns, it was quite meagre in bigger cities.

    • The government has also laid down very stringent conditions for nonpayment of maintenance to parents. If a person refuses to pay maintenance despite being ordered by a tribunal, he can be imprisoned till the amount due is paid. Punishment for abandonment of a parent which attracted an imprisonment of upto three months has been made harsher.
    • It brings a much needed change to give senior citizens a life of dignity and respect by treating it as their right. 
  • Isolation and loneliness among the elderly is rising. Nearly half the elderly felt sad and neglected, 36 per cent felt they were a burden to the family.
  • The following issues are not tackled:-
    • Rise in age-related chronic illness:-
      • Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases will cause more death and illness worldwide than infectious or parasitic diseases over the next few years. In developed nations, this shift has already happened. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are expected to almost double every 20 years, as life expectancy increases.
    • Special challenges for less developed nations:-
      • Poorer countries will carry the double burden of caring for older people with chronic diseases, as well as dealing with continued high rates of infectious diseases.
    • Increasing need for long-term care:-
      • The number of sick and frail elderly needing affordable nursing homes or assisted living centers will likely increase.
    • Health care costs increase:-
      • As older people stop working and their health care needs increase, governments could be overwhelmed by unprecedented costs.
    • While there may be cause for optimism about population aging in some countries, the Pew survey reveals that residents of countries such as Japan, Italy, and Russia are the least confident about achieving an adequate standard of living in old age.
    • Elderly women issues:-
      • They face life time of gender-based discrimination. The gendered nature of ageing is such that universally, women tend to live longer than men.
      • In the advanced age of 80 years and above, widowhood dominates the status of women with 71 per cent of women and only 29 per cent of men having lost their spouse.
      • Social mores inhibit women from re-marrying, resulting in an increased likelihood of women ending up alone.
      • The life of a widow is riddled with stringent moral codes, with integral rights relinquished and liberties circumvented.
      • Social bias often results in unjust allocation of resources, neglect, abuse, exploitation, gender-based violence, lack of access to basic services and prevention of ownership of assets.
      • Ageing women are more likely to get excluded from social security schemes due to lower literacy and awareness levels.
    • Ageing individual is expected to need health care for a longer period of time than  previous generations but elderly care for a shorter period of time.
  • Concerns with 2007 act:-
    • Despite this act however, it is a fact that most people in India would rather suffer than have the family name sullied by taking their own children to court for not providing for them.
    • This need to maintain a facade is combined with a lack of knowledge of rights, the inherent inability of the elderly to approach a tribunal for recourse under the law, and poor implementation of the Act by various State governments.

Way forward:-

  • As a signatory to Mipaa, India has the responsibility to formulate and implement public policy on population ageing.
    • Issues of poverty, migration, urbanisation, ruralisation and feminisation compound the complexity of this emerging phenomenon. Public policy must respond to this bourgeoning need and mainstream action into developmental planning.
  • Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.
    • The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
    • Increasing social/widow pension and its universalisation is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
  • Renewed efforts should be made for raising widespread awareness and access to social security schemes such as National Old Age Pension and Widow Pension Scheme. Provisions in terms of special incentives for elderly women, disabled, widowed should also be considered.

Topic– Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Effects of globalization on Indian society

2) As the trends of smaller families and reductions in the cost of mobility continue, the present generation of Indians faces a unique challenge on how it approaches its filial obligations. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Directive word

Critically analyze-  Here we 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.Based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into how the trends of smaller families and reductions in the cost of mobility affect the relationship between the elderly and the young people. It also wants us to highlight the unique challenge faced by the present generation of Indians in how they approach towards their obligations towards the elderly.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about the characteristics of traditional Indian family system- joint family, primary role of elders, mutual coexistence and help etc. and mention the growing trends of smaller families and reduced costs of mobility etc.

Body

  • Discuss the trends of  smaller families and reduced costs of mobility e.g Since 1991, the number of households has grown faster than the population. Nuclear families now constitute 70 per cent of all households;  better economic opportunities mean that children are leaving home earlier than they used to, migrating not to the neighbouring town, but across states and countries;Urban living is predominantly nuclear, and only 8.3 percent of the urban elderly live in joint families etc.
  • Discuss the unique challenge faced by the present generation. E.g traditional values have withered faster than in any other generation due to growth-induced geographic mobility and a sense of individualism. On the other hand the elderly population is growing considerable and by 20150 One in every five people will be above the age of 60. Thus the present generations will either prefer modified extended families to replace joint families, or seek social support the elderly etc.

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

Background:-

  • India is a country with an ancient culture and hoary traditions, where elderly people always enjoyed a respectable place in the family and society. The traditional agrarian Indian culture has recognized old age and wisdom as synonymous, hence elder care has never been seen as a problem.
  • However, during last few decades; the fast pace of industrialization, modernization and urbanization have altered Indian socio-cultural paradigm which was rooted in our traditional institutions like family and society and affected the status of the elderly which was enjoyed earlier by them
  • The shift from a high‐mortality/high‐fertility society to a low‐mortality/low‐fertility society results in an increase in the number of living generations, and a decrease in the number of living relatives within these generations.

Changes that lead to challenges to the approach of young generation to their filial obligations:-

  • Growing life expectancy and lower fertility rates mean an increasing share of elderly in the population, putting additional pressure on a smaller number of children. Since 1991, the number of households has grown faster than the population. Nuclear families now constitute 70 per cent of all households.
  • Better economic opportunities mean that children are leaving home earlier than they used to, migrating not to the neighbouring town, but across states and countries. According to the 2017 Economic Survey, 90 lakh people, on average, migrated between Indian states for either work or education each year between 2011 and 2016. Urban living is predominantly nuclear, and only 8.3 per cent of the urban elderly live in joint families.
  • Direct or indirect exposure to the Western way of life has given this generation an alternative idea of family responsibility and how to organise care. The share of adult children who said that caring for their elderly parents was their duty fell from 91 per cent in 1984 to 51 per cent in 2001.
  • Isolation and loneliness among the elderly is rising. Nearly half the elderly felt sad and neglected, 36 per cent felt they were a burden to the family.
  • The grandchildren bond with grand parents has reduced to a large extent as nuclear families does not ensure bonds are strengthened.
  • Changes in family structure, whether it may be from having fewer children and starting families later, increased levels of marital disruption and more complex family relationships or greater geographical separation of families, may have an effect on the availability of care.
  • Due to growth of nuclear families and mobility children are mostly settled in urban areas and parents in rural areas. This phenomenon was even visible even during the Kerala floods.

Due to reduced mobility:-

  • The ability to reach parents in times of emergency has become quicker.
  • Also compulsory physical presence of children to look after their parents is not required during normal times due to increased mobility.
  • A concept of extended nuclear families has emerged where the bonds between the parents and children are still strong and children reach their parents in time of need and they even take care of their health needs.

Way forward:-

  • Combating ageism is also central to affecting real, measureable change to enable people around the globe to live both longer andbetter
  • Older individuals are not necessarily living healthier, more active lives. The WHO report shines a light on the need for governments around the world to develop policies and programs to better meet the health and social care needs of citizens throughout their lives.
  • Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.
    • The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
    • Increasing social/widow pension and its universalisation is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
  • Renewed efforts should be made for raising widespread awareness and access to social security schemes such as National Old Age Pension and Widow Pension Scheme. Provisions in terms of special incentives for elderly women, disabled, widowed should also be considered

 


General Studies – 2


Topic– India and its bilateral relations

3) The India-U.S. relationship shouldn’t be allowed to define India’s geopolitical character, strategic future or the limits of its other bilateral relationships. Discuss in light of the recent 2+2 meeting between India and USA?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

India USA 2+2 dialogue has just concluded, and the outcome of the summit needs to be prepared alongwith the overall direction in which India USA relation is heading, and the cautions that India should take going ahead. The article discusses these issues and hence needs to be analyzed in depth.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the outcomes of 2+2 dialogue, keeping in light how the outcomes of the summit affect the issues being faced in this bilateral relationship. We need to bring out the pros and cons of India making compromises to further its relations with USA. Our discussion should also yield the course of action that India should take.

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 – Bring out the overall purpose of the 2+2 dialogue, the background in which it was held, and why the dialogue holds such crucial importance.

Body

  • Discuss in brief the outcomes of the dialogue – expand their bilateral trade and economic partnership with a view to promoting investment and job creation, committed to work together on regional and global issues, including in bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral formats. The two sides further decided to establish secure communication between the Minister of External Affairs of India and the U.S. Secretary of State, and between the Minister of Defence of India and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, to help maintain regular high-level communication on emerging developments with a view to strengthen the Defense and Security Partnership etc
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the outcome of the summit in light of the concerns highlighted in the linked article. For instance, discuss why India should have full independence in pursuing foreign policy keeping domestic imperatives in mind, discuss the issues in deepening defence relationship and the impact of COMCASA etc
  • Give your view on the relationship in light of the special nature of the relationship, coupled with the geopolitical challenges being faced etc

Conclusion – Being out the cautions that India should exercise going forward in its bilateral relationship with USA.

Background:-

  • India–US relations touch the milestone of 70 years .The India-US relationship over the last few decades has significantly improved. It is far stronger, far matured despite some different opinion in some areas.
  • The recent 2+2 dialogue on COMCASA signifies the strength of this relationship.

Cons from the recent meeting :-

  • Iran:-
    • S.’s insistence that India should bring down its oil imports from Iran to ‘zero’ in deference to the restrictions imposed by its unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. also recommends that India buy American oil to make up the deficit. 
  • Russia:-
    • Washington seeks to impose the punitive provisions of a U.S. federal law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on countries dealing with Russian defence and intelligence sectors, making it difficult for India to buy the much-needed S-400 missile system. For a country with close to 60% of its weapons systems originating from Russia, this would be a huge setback. 
    • There is still no clarity on whether India’s request for a “one-time waiver” was granted by the U.S. to buy Russian weapons at the 2+2 meeting; the joint statement is silent on this. 
  • Trade:-
    • In the run-up to the 2+2 meeting, the U.S. also put considerable pressure on India to reduce the bilateral trade deficit, which is in India’s favour, by buying more American goods.
  • COMCASA:-
    • By signing COMCASA and by agreeing to reduce the purchase of Russian weapon systems (in line with CAATSA), India has implicitly accepted the extraterritorial application of U.S. law on itself.
    • COMCASA will facilitate vertical and horizontal penetration by the US of India’s most sensitive government and military communications grids, including the nuclear Strategic Forces Command which is the reason why the armed services are against signing it.
    • Russia:-
      • Signing COMCASA will enhance Russia’s fears of compromising its high-value platforms, such as the leased Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine and the Su-30MKI combat aircraft” and that it will cause trouble with Russia.
    • COMCASA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) are the two remaining pacts that were not signed due to severe criticism from within the government. It was feared that signing these agreements would mean compromising India’s age-old military ties with Russia and access to their weaponry systems.
    • Besides this, the agreement, which is largely operational with traditional US allies, does require granting periodic access to US personnel to inspect the equipment and ensure they remain secure. 
    • From an Indian perspective, COMCASA has the potential to compromise India’s operational security while protecting that of the US.
    • COMCASA may also increase pressure on India to source all of its COMSEC equipment from US vendors in the future.
    • COMCASA requires that US operators perform functions such as keying for the encryption. Indian operators will not be allowed to even participate in the maintenance of these systems. So, India might not be comfortable with the presence of US designated personnel on Indian-procured US platforms for long durations of their operational life.
    • In the COMCASA scheme of things, the US might basically end up controlling the entire communications and message flow for the sake of ‘interoperability’. Long term analysis of the message flow could end up revealing tactical doctrines adopted by Indian forces in combat.
      • Since communication devices and links currently in use with Indian Forces cannot interact with US-provided systems, it implies that any attempt to establish interoperability between a part of India’s inventory and participating US forces could actually lead to reduced ‘intra-operability’ within India’s own military.
    • COMCASA-covered equipment/platforms might become incompatible with the rest of India’s inventory. This could lead to calls to ‘overhaul’ the Indian military’s entire network to COMCASA-compliant standards through wholesale import of US systems.  
    • The fact that COMCASA could lead to the secrecy of tactical doctrines getting compromised besides imposing greater complexity costs on India’s communication systems demands that a detailed study of the ground realities and practical implications of signing COMCASA be made prior to deciding on a course of action.
  • China:-
    • Even though the Joint Statement on the Inaugural India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue did not explicitly mention China, the section on the Indo-Pacific region implicitly referred to it. While China is indeed a challenge, there is only so much India-U.S. cooperation can do to address that challenge for India.
    • India is an Asian country, with several Southern Asian security challenges, and its ability to meet those challenges with the help of an offshore (and declining) superpower is at best limited, and counter-productive at worst.
  • Other issues which need focus are:-
  • H-1B visas for Indians:-
    • Tightening of rules applying to H-1B visas and the targeting of Indian companies that are among its heaviest users.
  • Pakistan factor:-
    • Despite Washington’s claims to having de-hyphenated its relations with India and Pakistan, the United States has not been able to extricate itself from the liabilities of its complex alliance with Pakistan. 
    • More than 17 years of American presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s centrality to efforts to bring any kind of resolution to this theater of war will constrain areas of convergence between the United States and India when it comes to dealing with terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
  • Economic:-
    • There has been a marked uptick in economic frictions, with US’s sharp rhetoric and protectionist measures, including tariffs on steel and aluminium, that have added to a long list of differences over market access and intellectual property rights.
  • Climate change:-
    • US accused India of demanding billions in exchange for committing to reduce its carbon emissions as part of the Paris climate accord.
  • Intellectual property rights:-
    • India is already on the priority watch list in the Super 301 report for IPR ‘violations’; foreign exchange policies are under the scanner, and has been dragged to the WTO on export subsidies.
  • Afghanistan:-
    • More than 17 years of American presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s centrality to efforts to bring any kind of resolution to this theater of war will constrain areas of convergence between the United States and India when it comes to dealing with terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Pros of India –US relationship :-

  • During the 2+2 meeting, the two countries also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, or COMCASA. The agreement is one of three considered to be “foundational” for a viable India-U.S. military relationship.
    • While Logistics security agreement gave both militaries access to each other’s bases, COMCASA would allow them to be the same communication network
    • India has faced problems in fully exploiting the potential of US-sourced platforms because of restrictions in using compatible communication equipment. By signing the agreement this obstacle can be tackled.
    • COMCASA is meant to facilitate use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India by US to fully exploit their potential.
      • COMCASA will allow for greater access to critical communication networks to enable better interoperability between the Indian and US militaries. This will facilitate installation of high-end security gadgets on the many defence equipment and weapon systems that India is buying from the United States.
    • It essentially provides legal framework for transfer of communication security equipment from US to India that will facilitate interoperability between armed forces of both countries and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links.
    • Interoperability in this case means that there will be access to encrypted and secret technologies or communications. India is currently dependent on commercially available and less secure communication systems on high-end US defence platforms like C-130Js and P8I maritime surveillance aircraft.
    • COMCASA creates the conditions for the Indian military to receive modern secure and net-enabled weapons systems such as precision armament, air-to-air missiles, space systems and navigation systems that are critical components in platforms like fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial systems. Hitherto India has had to purchase more expensive commercial communications equipment, raising the overall acquisition price of a platform.
  • Defence and military :-
    • Over 300 joint military exercises have been undertaken
    • Advanced armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deal is on the horizon along with unprecedented offers of defence technologies and Make in India defence project
    • In 2016, India and the U.S. had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), allowing their militaries to replenish from the other’s bases.
  • Geopolitical :-
    • America’s Asia-focused military command was renamed the Indo-Pacific Command to highlight India’s centrality to regional security
    • Centrality of India in America’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy has been clearly recognized in the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy documents. 
    • The decision to rename the Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command was also a symbolic recognition of India’s importance to the evolving American worldview. 
  • The US Congress acted to provide special relief for India from being caught up in US sanctions against Russia.
  • Officials of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia also held talks to give shape to the quadrilateral alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific region free, open, and inclusive, and apparently to counter China’s rise. This change from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific is to indicate the special role of India in the region.
  • Pakistan factor:-
    • Unlike in the past, no longer does the U.S. equate India with Pakistan when regional issues are discussed. Recently U.S. has suspended $255 million in military aid to Pakistan, accusing the country of lies and deceit and providing safe haven to terrorists in return for $33 billion U.S. aid over the last 15 years.
  • China:-
    • There is alignment between the two countries on several issues pertaining to China, such as its One Belt One Road plan and the China-Pakistan economic corridor running through Pakistani-occupied Kashmir. The U.S. and India are now engaged in joint naval and army exercises. On economic relations,
  • India should play a major role in post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan
  • Technology :-
    • The US administration granted India “Strategic Trade Authorization 1” status to facilitate sensitive high technology trade and an
  • Nuclear agreements :-
    • The Civil Nuclear Agreement (2005) ended India’s nuclear isolation and also heralded a new strategic partnership between the two countries.

 


General Studies – 3


TopicIndian economy – issues

4) PSBs are currently dealing with difficult issues with no easy solutions. But the current situation is also an opportunity to undertake reforms and strengthen state-run banks. Critically analyze the recommendations of standing committee on finance in this regard?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

NPA is a huge issue being faced by banks since long. Despite several steps having already been taken place to address this issue, results have not come. In this light, the recommendations by the standing committee tries to deal with the problem holistically and needs to be studies while preparing NPA related issues for GS3.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the recommendations of the committee and do a critical analysis of the same. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the issue of NPA being faced by the PSBs and bring out the seriousness of the issue.

Body

  • Discuss the recommendations of the standing committee on finance headed by Veerappa Moily in dealing with the NPA issue – committee has questioned the capital adequacy rules imposed by RBI, particularly for banks that do not have international exposure and are under the prompt corrective action framework, committee has suggested that RBI should consider separate treatment for NPAs arising due to wilful defaults and those because of external shocks, such as policy or judicial interventions, Third, to avoid large haircuts, the committee has recommended fixing a base price for bidding of assets under the bankruptcy process, committee has noted that banks lack the resource base and expertise to engage in long-term project financing, recommended constituting a high-powered committee to evaluate the powers and authority of RBI, among other things
  • Discuss the pros and cons of these recommendations in light of the impact they would have in resolving the problem of NPA for PSBs

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the effectiveness of the recommendations and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • Indian banking sector continues to struggle with higher non-performing assets (NPAs), particularly when it comes to public sector banks (PSBs). 

Need for Banking reforms:-

  • Human resource problem
    • State-run banks are facing serious challenges on this front. A large number of senior employees will be retiring over the next five years and 95% of those at the general manager level will be out of the door by 2019-20. It will be a challenge to fill the resource gap at this scale without major changes in human resource policies.
  • Most of the recent reform efforts have focused too much on the symptoms of India’s banking crises, rather than on the sector’s underlying structural and operational weaknesses.
    • For instance, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) undertook two previous projects. One was the 2015 Asset Quality Review (AQR), which facilitated discovery and recognition of non-performing loans (NPL), and the other was the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016, which accelerated the resolution of bad loans.
    • Neither of these approaches corrected the underlying problems with risk controls, management, and supervision at public-sector banks. As a result, India has faced crisis after crisis in its banking sector, with no solution in sight.
  • All the PSBs, barring two, made losses in 2017-18 and the combined loss in 2017-18 is estimated at 85,166 crore which is more than the profits made in the last five years

Standing committee recommendations:-

  • The committee has questioned the capital adequacy rules imposed by RBI, particularly for banks that do not have international exposure and are under the prompt corrective action framework.
    • Positive:-
      • Relaxing the norms will improve their lending capacity and generate higher interest income. It is well accepted that higher lending capacity in the banking system will benefit the economy. 
    • Recommendation was criticized:-
      • However, relaxing capital adequacy norms, particularly for weaker banks, could be risky and affect financial stability. It is possible that these banks will end up accumulating more bad loans.
    • The committee has suggested that RBI should consider separate treatment for NPAs arising due to wilful defaults and those because of external shocks, such as policy or judicial interventions.
      • Criticism:-
        • This recommendation could lead to unnecessary complications. In this context, the RBI has done well by not relaxing rules for power producers. Even if some loans have become non-performing because of external factors, there is no guarantee that banks will be able to recover money by holding on to them for an extended period. In fact, it is in the interest of banks to get out of such assets in a fair and transparent manner.
      • The committee has recommended fixing a base price for bidding of assets under the bankruptcy process.
        • Criticism:-
          • This will again impede timely resolution. Fixing a floor price will affect price discovery and discourage bidders. It is important to recognize that the resolution system under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) is still at an early stage and dealing with a large volume of cases. 
        • Positive:-
          • The committee has done well to suggest that the capacity of the National Company Law Tribunal be improved.
        • The committee has noted that banks lack the resource base and expertise to engage in long-term project financing. Therefore, the architecture of specialized long-term finance institution should be reconsidered.
          • Positive:-
            • Specialized institutions will be in a better position to evaluate long-term projects. However, it will be important that they are designed well with a supportive regulatory environment.
          • Criticism:-
            • The earlier experiment with long-term finance institutions did not fully work as desired.
          • The central bank told the committee that it does not have adequate powers to control PSBs. The committee has recommended constituting a high-powered committee to evaluate the powers and authority of RBI, among other things.
            • Positive:-
              • Since questions have been raised by the regulator and other stakeholders, it would be advisable to study the issue in detail, as it will help strengthen the overall regulatory architecture.

Reforms needed:-

  • The RBI should consider loosening the policy further to encourage more applicants for the formation of banks.
    • For example, it could reduce the minimum equity threshold, remove the requirement that applicants be Indian residents, remove the demand that banks open twenty-five percent of their branches in unbanked areas.
  • Also, the RBI could also reduce the obligation for new banks to adhere to the same priority sector lending targets as all scheduled commercial banks. 
    • By introducing new banks into the system, India can reduce the systemic risk that arises from public sector banks’ current dominance of total lending. The role of state-directed lending can then be limited to advancing financial inclusion objectives.
    • Increased competition would help induce operating reforms in PSBs, because market pressures would force them to compete effectively against new, more nimble banks.
    • Issuing licenses to new domestic and foreign banks would bring new talent into the sector, facilitate knowledge transfer, and alleviate the longstanding underlying human capital shortage.
    • Decisive and urgent actions on this are necessary for not merely ensuring the stability of the banking system, but also to create conditions for sustained accelerated growth.

TopicLinkages between development and spread of extremism; Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

5) The ambiguous nature of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,1967 (UAPA)  gives unreasonable power to authorities. Examine. (250 words)

The hindu

Reference

Reference

Why this question

UAPA and AFSPA are one of the controversial legislations which have been criticized on various fronts. Recently some activists were arrested under UAPA. The move was highly criticized and so were the provisions of UAPA. It is therefore necessary to understand the controvesory and find out why UAPA gives unreasonable powers to the concerned authorities.

Directive word

Examine- Here we 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 wants us to dig deep into the provisions of UAPA, highlight its ambiguous nature and discuss why the law confers unreasonable powers on the authorities.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about UAPA- e.g The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 is India’s anti-terrorism law. The UAPA, along with the National Security Act, 1980, are the two swords of the law that are used to combat terrorism.

Body-

Discuss the ambiguous nature of the provisions of UAPA and how they give unreasonable power to the authorities.

E.g the terms terrorist activities and unlawful activities are vaguely and broadly defined  and the provisions can be used not only against criminals and terrorists but also against the academicians, journalists, lawyers etc.; No definition of membership of an unlawful or terrorist organization which gives scope of flimsy grounds of booking under the act ( briefly discuss the Arup Bhuyan case here); extended detention periods; no anticipatory bail; no bail if prima facie evidence is available etc.

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

Background :-

  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 is India’s anti-terrorism law. The UAPA, along with the National Security Act, 1980, are the two swords of the law that are used to combat terrorism. 
  • The UAPA was introduced in 1967 as a legislation to set out reasonable restrictions on the fundamental freedoms under Article 19(1) of the the Constitution, such as freedom of speech, right to assemble peacefully and right to form associations. These restrictions were meant to be used to safeguard India’s integrity and sovereignty.

UAPA Act and how it gives unreasonable power:-

  • Unlawful activities is a term referring to any action that supports or is intended to support secession of any part of India, or disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
  • Terrorist acts defined in Section 15 of the UAPA, refer to any violent acts meant to threaten the security of India, or to strike terror in people in India or abroad.
  • Indefinite Imprisonment Without Trial
    • Even if the person is eventually acquitted of the charges, the delays in conducting judicial proceedings mean the case may only get heard several years after their arrest – failure to get bail means they have to spend the entire time in jail. 
  • Being a member is a crime:-
    • The UAPA punishes the commission, funding and support of “unlawful activities” and “terrorist acts” its most controversial aspect has come to be the declaration of certain organisations as “unlawful associations”, “terrorist gangs” or “terrorist organisations”. Once any organisation has been declared by the government to fall within one of these categories, even being a member of it becomes a criminal offence.
  • Provisions of the UAPA have an extremely wide ambit, which makes it possible to use them against not just criminals and terrorists, but even authors, academics, lawyers for alleged terrorists, and human rights activists.
    • For instance, under Section 2(o) of the UAPA, questioning the territorial integrity of India is an unlawful activity.
    • Similarly, it is also an unlawful activity to cause “disaffection against India”. With no definition of disaffection in the UAPA itself, this becomes a provision that is ripe for misuse. 
  • There is no definition of membership in the UAPA, which has allowed investigating authorities to use excuses to book people as members of unlawful associations or terrorist organisations from possession of books and pamphlets, to expressing sympathy for members of the organisation or the aims of the organisation.
    • For instance, when investigating links to Naxal or Maoist groups, articles about revolutionary movements, even copies of the Communist Manifesto, have been used as “evidence”
  • Supreme court ruling was neglected:-
    • According to SC,mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence.
    • Even after this ruling, this has not meant that those charged with membership on flimsy grounds have been able to get justice from the courts.
  • The UAPA has become a weapon of choice to use against dissidents not just because of its ambiguous substantive provisions, but also its draconian procedural provisions, which allow the state to keep people in custody for extended periods of time without bail.
    • Section 43D(2) of the UAPA doubles the amount of time one can be remanded to police custody (to 30 days), and allows 90 days of judicial custody even for offences which would otherwise only allow up to 60 days.
    • If a person is charged with an offence under the UAPA, they cannot get anticipatory bail even if released by the police, and getting bail is almost impossible. This is because Section 43D(5) states that a court cannot release someone on bail if the case against them is prima facie true.
    • The bail provision is particularly problematic since it basically allows for nearly indefinite imprisonment even without conviction of the accused, without even any concrete proof – the prosecution/police/state version just needs to indicate a criminal offence on the face of it.

Way forward:-

  • The Act needs to be amended, in order to ensure a constitutional functionary who is independent from the Executive, be in charge of sanctions for prosecutions and investigations under this Act. Maybe a High Court Judge could be designated for this purpose.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Tides”

6) What are tides and explain the factors that lead to the occurrence of tides? Explain the various types of tides?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand. We need to explain the various factors that lead to the formation of tides as well as the various types of tides based on frequency and based on sun, moon and Earth’s position.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what tides are. Tide are the periodical rise and fall of the sea levels, once or twice a day, caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the sun, the moon and the rotation of the earth.

Body

  • Explain the various factors which are gravitational forces exerted by the sun, the moon and the rotation of the earth. Explain why gravitational pull of moon has a predominant effect
  • Explain the various types of tide
  • Based on frequency – semi diurnal, diurnal and mixed
  • Based on position of sun, moon and earth – spring tides and neap tides. In this also explain what happens to tides during perigee, apogee, perihelion and aphelion

Tides and factors leading to their occurrence :-

  • Tides refer to the rise and fall of oceans surfaces.
  • The relationship between the masses of the Earth, moon and sun and their distances to each other play critical roles in affecting tides:-
    • They are caused by the attractive forces of the Moon and Sun’s gravitational fields as well as the centrifugal force due to the Earth’s spin. As the positions of these celestial bodies change, so do the surfaces’ heights. For example, when the Sun and Moon are aligned with the Earth, water levels in ocean surfaces fronting them are pulled and subsequently rise.
    • The Moon, although much smaller than the Sun, is much closer. Now, gravitational forces decrease rapidly as the distance between two masses widen. Thus, the Moon’s gravity has a larger effect on tides than the Sun. In fact, the Sun’s effect is only about half that of the Moon’s.
  • The shape of bays and estuaries, geographic location and weather patterns all can affect local tidal intensity.
    • At a smaller scale, the magnitude of tides can be strongly influenced by the shape of the shoreline. When oceanic tidal bulges hit wide continental margins, the height of the tides can be magnified. Conversely, mid-oceanic islands not near continental margins typically experience very small tides of 1 meter or less.
  • Local wind and weather patterns also can affect tides.
    • Strong offshore winds can move water away from coastlines, exaggerating low tide exposures. Onshore winds may act to pile up water onto the shoreline, virtually eliminating low tide exposures.
    • High pressure systems can depress sea levels, leading to clear sunny days with exceptionally low tides. Conversely, low-pressure systems that contribute to cloudy, rainy conditions typically are associated with tides than are much higher than predicted.

Various types of tides :-

  • There are two main tides that are higher or lower than average. They occur twice monthly and are called neap and spring tides.
    • Neap tides
      • When the moon is at first and last quarter, the sun and the moon are at right angles to the earth’s centre. The attraction of the sun and that of the moon tend to balance each other. As a result, tides with the lowest amplitudes occur. These are known as neap tides
      • A neap tide happens between two spring tides and occurs twice a month when the first and last quarter Moon appears.
    • Spring tides
    • On full moon and new moon, the moon and the sun are almost in a line with the earth. Hence, they exert their combined pull on the earth. Therefore, on these two days the tides are the highest and are known as the spring tides.

  • Diurnal tide:-
    • Diurnal tide has one episode of high water and one episode of low water each day. These tides usually occur in locations when the moon is farthest from the equator. In the United States, you’ll find diurnal tides along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Semi diurnal tide:-
    • semi-diurnal tide has two episodes of equal high water and two episodes of low equal water each day. The second high tide rises to the same level it did in the first high tide and the second low tide falls to the same level it did in the first low tide. Semi-diurnal tides tend to occur when the moon is directly over the equator. This is the most common type of tidal pattern. 
  • Mixed tides:-
    • Mixed tides, like the semi-diurnal tide, can have two episodes of high water and two episodes of low water per day. However, unlike a semi-diurnal tide, mixed tides are unequal, meaning they do not rise and fall to the same levels. Mixed tides can either include both sets of unequal high and low waters, or only one set of unequal high or low waters. Mixed tides will happen when the moon is extremely far north or extremely far south of the equator. 
  • Meteorological tide:-
    • The first three tides listed are astronomical tides, meaning they are influenced by gravitational actions of the sun, moon and Earth. Meteorological tides represent all atmospherically influenced tides, such as those affected by wind, barometric pressures, rainfall, ice melting and land drying. One example of a meteorological tide is a storm surge, when wind and inverted barometric pressure combine to cause a dramatic increase in sea levels

 


General Studies – 4


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

7) What do you understand by the term ethos. Discuss. Also discuss the salient constituents of the Indian ethos.(250 words)

Reference

Wikipedia

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 the meaning of the term ethos. It also wants us to write in detail about the salient constituents of Indian ethos.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a simple definition of the term, ethos. E.g Ethos can be defined as the moral ideas and attitudes that belong to a particular group or society.

Body-

  • Explain the term further in detail. E.g th term is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence emotions, behaviours, and even morals etc.
  • Briefly discuss in points, the basic ethos of the Indian society. E.g : Indian ethos places emphasis on both spirit and matter. Both these are interlinked in holistic approach; Indian ethos emphasizes the holistic aspect between men and cosmic. There is intimate relationship between man and universe, between men and nature. This view states that all human beings and nature are interconnected and interdependent;  Indian ethos stresses on co-operation amongst other at work and otherwise etc.

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

Ethos :-

  • Ethos means “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.
  • In modern usage, ethos denotes the disposition, character, or fundamental values particular to a specific person, people, corporation, culture, or movement.
  • Ethos can be defined as the moral ideas and attitudes that belong to a particular group or society.

Indian Ethos :-

  • Indian Ethos is all about what can be termed as national ethos.The Indian ethos is the results of Hindu way of life.
  • Indian life has four fundamental goals (Purusharthas) such as Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. To fulfill these goals human life is divided into four stages namely Brahmacharya, Grahasthasrama, Vanaprastha and Sanyasrama.
  • To achieve the purusharthas, the Indian philosophy states three fundamental ways. They are Karma (Action), Bhakthi (Devotion) and Jnana (Knowledge).
  • An individual can select a particular maarga which depends upon the degree and level of his psychological and spiritual evolution, his Pravirthi, Samskara (Culture), Vasana (Passion), and his Gunas.
  • The Indian ethos consists of: 
    • Spirit and matter:
      • Indian ethos places emphasis on both spirit and mater. Both these are interlinked in holistic approach. This means that man is permitted to enjoy both internal as well as external quality of life.
    • Relationship between man and universe:
      • Indian ethos emphasizes the holistic aspect between men and cosmic. There is intimate relationship between man and universe, between men and nature. This view states that all human beings and nature are inter connected and interdependent. 
    • Co- Operation:
      • Indian ethos stresses on co-operation amongst other at work and otherwise. Excessive competition within the organization and organization to organization has destroyed many young minds and family life. Co-operation, mutual trust and respect, joint efforts and team spirit can lead an all round prosperity and success 
        to everyone. 
    • Self management:
      • Indian ethos states that man should be able to control himself before he controls others. So every manager must manage himself before controlling his  subordinates. He must know what are his strengths, weakness, dreams, goals and ambitions.
    • Meditation:
      • Excellence in work can be achieved through Yoga. Meditation helps to  concentrate and to solve many complicated problems of the organizations. Meditation results in calm mind which helps one to focus on problems in a clearer frame of mind. 
    • Dharma:
      • As per Indian philosophy Dharma means duty. It stands for all those ideals, philosophies, purposes, influences, teachings and experiences that shape our character. Every organization is required to follow its own dharma. 
    • The spirit of sacrifice:
      • Renunciation results in mental peace, inner growth and spiritual growth. It results in a higher level of consciousness.