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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 SEPTEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 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 – 2


Topic– Indian Constitution- historical evolution

1) Analyze the reasons given by the supreme court in overturning its earlier judgment in Naz foundation case 2013?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article discusses the verdict of SC in section 377 case in detail. This is an iconic case in the evolution of constitution with several remarks made by the justices helping us understand the scope of rights enjoyed us. This article would help us in preparing the verdict of SC in Section 377 case in detail.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the reasons given by SC in Naz foundation case, examine the reasons why a 5 bench constitutional bench overturned the earlier verdict of the honourable SC. Finally, we need to highlight the implications of the verdict and how it has enriched our understanding of the constitution.

Directive word

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 – Highlight the recent turn of events where SC overturned it’s verdict in Naz foundation case and declared section 377 ultra vire to the constitution.

Body

  • Discuss the rationale given by SC in Naz foundation case to overturn the verdict of Delhi HC – rights of miniscule minority too small to merit any constitutional protection, prerogative of the legislature etc
  • Explain the rationale of SC in the current verdict –  the focus on constitutional morality, primacy of the individual, constitution as a living document etc. Quote the significant portions of the verdict to embellish your answer
  • Highlight the impact of the verdict – changing social prejudices, expanded the scope of rights enjoyed under article 14, 19 and 21 etc

Conclusion – give your view on the role played by judiciary and its significance for Indian polity, as well as the way forward to ensure the SC verdict is implemented in words as well as spirit.

Background :-

  • Recently the supreme court overturned the 2013 Suresh Kumar Koushal judgement/ Naz foundation case 2013 diluting section 377 andupheld homosexuals right to have intimate relations with people of their choice, their inherent right to privacy and dignity and the freedom to live without fear. 

Reasons given by supreme court now:-

  • The message from the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment decriminalising gay sexis that social morality cannot trump constitutional morality. It is a reaffirmation of the right to love.
  • Dilution of Section 377 marks a welcome departure from centuries of heteronormative thinking. 
  • It has freed the LGBTQI communities from the yoke of a colonial law. 
  • SC’s judgment will, however, now ensure that military personnel can no longer be tried under Section 69 (civil offences) of the Army Act (or similar sections in the Navy and IAF Acts).
  • With the judgement the supreme court thrusted diversity and pluralism into the centre stage of India’s public discourse.
  • It  legitimized same-sex relationships, which also signalled an end to prejudice, which it argued has bedevilled India.
  • The judgement marks the end of the first leg of the long-drawn battle for social legitimacy by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.
  • Treating homosexuality as a disorder or disease had a severe impact on the mental health of homosexuals. The judgement can ensure this does not happen anymore.
  • The judgement also flows from an August 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court upholding the right to privacy, which laid the legal ground for a fresh interpretation of decriminalization of homosexuality.
  • This will help the community claim equal constitutional status as other citizens. It also affirms their right to claim the right to adopt, marry and have a family
  • It may also prevent social ostracism with the court declaring affirmatively that it was not a mental disorder. But something inate to a human being.
  • Verdict has opened a window for the community to seek dignity in every sphere of life.
  • People will now have a better understanding of equality and it won’t be limited to just gender and other stereotypes.
  • The judgment articulates a vision of constitutional supremacy that will guide Indian democracy well into the future. 
  • Focus on individual:-
    • The judgment has extended the cloak of constitutional protection to LGBT citizens, it has relevance to all minorities and indeed to all individuals.
    • It protects LGBT citizens under the right to equality, along with privacy and dignity.
    • Individual identity is constitutionally protected. It is this focus on the individual that leads SC to overturn Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz Foundation (2013).
  • The court has thus reiterated its commitment to its counter-majoritarian role:
    • Court has emphatically held that fundamental rights do not hinge on the number of people who claim them. Koushal’s reasoning that Section 377 should not be struck down because LGBT people constitute a “minuscule minority” has been put to rest.
  • The court has emphasised the dynamic nature of constitutional interpretation and indeed of the Constitution itself:-
    • Constitutional courts breathe life into the Constitution through their dynamic and purposive interpretation of the constitutional text. This dynamic interpretation ensures that the Constitution endures across generations.
  • Starting with Common Cause v Union of India, the court held that choice was constitutionally protected under Article 21 of the Constitution
  • Court has, finally, struck down Section 377 because it violates Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution. Performing its classic function of judicial review, the court has struck down Section 377 as being violative of Articles 14 and 15.
  • Supreme court judges have also found that Section 377 violates Article 15’s prohibition against sex discrimination, specifically noting that sex under Article 15 includes sexual orientation.
    • The judgment has struck down Section 377 to the extent that it relates to sexual relations between consenting adults.

Topic-Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

2) Implementation of the HIV/ AIDS [Prevention and Control] Act is  a positive and a much-awaited development. Discuss.(250 words) 

The hindu

Pib

Why this question

The Union Health Ministry has issued a notification to bring in force from Monday the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017. It is therefore important to discuss the provisions of the act and critically examine their implications.

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 as to what would be the positive implications of implementation of the HIV and AIDS act; how this is a positive development.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory  lines about the HIV and AIDS act. E.g The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a notification for bringing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 in force.

Body-

Discuss in detail about the notification of the act and how they are a positive development. E.g Provisions of the Act address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen existing programme by bringing in legal accountability, and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances; The Act lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited- denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to: (i) employment, (ii) educational establishments, (iii) health care services, (iv) residing or renting property, (v) standing for public or private office, and (vi) provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies). The requirement for HIV testing as a prerequisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.

Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household. The Act also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them etc.

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

 

Background:-

  • As per studies conducted in 2015, India has 2.1 million people affected by HIV, making it the third largest country in terms of population affected by the disease. 
  • To Safeguard the rights of people living with and affected by HIV, the Union Health Ministry has issued a notification to bring in force the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017.

Provisions of the Act :-

  • Treatment:-
    • The Act makes Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) a legal right for all HIV/AIDS patients. It has also adopted test and treat policy which means any person testing positive will be entitled for free treatment by the state and central government. Earlier, this was restricted by a CD4 count rate.
    • Every person in the care and custody of the State shall have the right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counselling services.
  • Confidentiality:-
    • It also provides for confidentiality of HIV-related information and makes it necessary to get informed consent for undertaking HIV tests, medical treatment and research.
  • Ombudsman:-
    • The law makes it mandatory for state governments to appoint an Ombudsman to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.
  • Penalty:-
    • If a person or an institution fails to comply with any order given by the Ombudsman within the stipulated period of time, they could be fined a maximum of Rs 10,000. A continuous failure could lead to an additional fine of up to Rs 5000 every day until the they comply.
  • Imprisonment:-
    • The Act penalises propagation of hatred against the protected person where a violator could be punished with a minimum jail term of three months to a maximum of two years and can be fined up to one lakh rupees.
  • Property rights:-
    • The new legislation has provisions to safeguard the property rights of HIV positive people. Every HIV infected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.
  • Discrimination:-
    • Act seeks to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, and prohibits discrimination against affected persons. The Act lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with the condition is prohibited.
    • These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to: employment, educational establishments, health care services, residing or renting property, standing for public or private office, and provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies). The requirement for HIV testing as a prerequisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.
  • Guardianship:-
    • Person between the age of 12 and 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his/her HIV or AIDS-affected family shall be competent to act as guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age to be applicable in matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, and care and treatment, among others.

Concerns:-

  • Provisions only protect infected individuals from prejudiced behaviour and attitudes. Communities that are vulnerable to infection, individuals who are yet to be tested and kin of those infected are still subjected to stigma and biased perspectives. 
  • Though the act has strong base for empowerment of people affected by HIV/Aids, but it does not guarantee access to anti-retroviral drugs.
  • The government’s commitment to take all measures necessary to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS is not reflected in the act in the form of the right to treatment. The law only enjoins the States to provide access, as far as possible.
  • Similarly the act does not elucidate on the legal dissonance between its provisions of non-discrimination and other acts and case-law that discriminate against sex-workers, homosexuals and transgenders.

Way forward:-

  • It would be appropriate for the Central government to initiate active public consultations to draw up the many guidelines to govern the operation of the law. 
  • There is requirement for the ombudsman to make public the periodic reports on compliance will exert pressure on States to meet their obligations and it will enhance the confidence of HIV affected people.

Topic – Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

3) Discuss the structure and functioning of the International Criminal Court. Also discuss the criticism faced by the organization.(250 words) 

The hindu

Wikipedia

Why this question

ICC has been recently in news over ts several verdicts and also due to the US threatening the organization over its decision to prosecute Americans and its allies for war-crimes in Afghanistan. In this context it is essential to know about the organization- its structure and how it functions as well as what is the criticism faced by it.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

the question wants us to write in detail about the organizational structure of the ICC, how it works and also discuss in detail about the accusations/ criticism faced by it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about ICC e.g ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC’s foundational and governing document. Currently, there are 123 states which are party to the Rome Statute and therefore members of the ICC.

Body-

  • Discuss the organizational structure of ICC. Here instead of explaining things you should draw a tree diagram to illustrate the structure and also explain each entity briefly. E.g Mention and illustrate 1)State parties -Assembly of States Parties; 2) Organs of the Court-Presidency,Judicial Divisions, Office of the Prosecutor.
  • Discuss how the ICC functions. E.g The ICC is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal systems; it prosecutes cases only when States do not are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely; ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body; thus, it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide for support, particularly for making arrests, transferring arrested persons to the ICC detention centre etc; the Court has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations. Highlight the stages of investigation- Preliminary examinations-Investigations-Pre-Trial stage-Trial stage-Appeals stage- Enforcement of sentence.
  • Discuss the criticism faced by ICC. e.g African Accusations of Western imperialism; African Union (AU) withdrawal proposal; OPCD; Limitations in demanding attendance and forcing orders etc.

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

Background:-

  • The International Criminal Courtis an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal . The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. 
  • The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Councilor individual states refer situations to the Court.
  • States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC. Currently, there are 123 stateswhich are party to the Rome Statute and therefore members of the ICC.

Structure :-

  • Assembly of states parties:-
    • The ICC is governed by an Assembly of States Parties, which is made up of the states which are party to the Rome Statute.
    • The Assembly elects officials of the Court, approves its budget, and adopts amendments to the Rome Statute.
    • The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party. Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote. The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.
    • The Assembly meets in full session once a year, alternating between New York and The Hague, and may also hold special sessions where circumstances require. Sessions are open to observer states and non-governmental organizations.
    • Article 46 of the Rome Statute allows the Assembly to remove from office a judge or prosecutor who is found to have committed serious misconduct or a serious breach of his or her duties” or is unable to exercise the functions required by this Statute.
    • The states parties cannot interfere with the judicial functions of the Court. Disputes concerning individual cases are settled by the Judicial Divisions
  • The Court itself, however, is composed of four organs: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry.
    • Presidency:
      • The President is the most senior judge chosen by his or her peers in the Judicial Division, which hears cases before the Court. The Presidencyis responsible for the proper administration of the Court (apart from the Office of the Prosecutor).  It comprises the President and the First and Second Vice-Presidents—three judges of the Court who are elected to the Presidency by their fellow judges for a maximum of two three-year terms.
      • Conducts external relations with States, coordinates judicial matters such as assigning judges, situations and cases to divisions, and oversees the Registry’s administrative work
    • Judicial divisions:-
      • The Judicial Divisions consist of the 18 judges of the Court, organized into three chambers—the Pre-Trial Chamber, Trial Chamber and Appeals Chamber which carry out the judicial functions of the Court.
      • Judges are elected to the Court by the Assembly of States Parties. They serve nine-year terms and are not generally eligible for re-election.
      • All judges must be nationals of states parties to the Rome Statute, and no two judges may be nationals of the same state.
      • Any request for the disqualification of a judge from a particular case is decided by an absolute majority of the other judges. 
    • Prosecutor :-
      • The Office of the Prosecutor is headed by the Prosecutor who investigates crimes and initiates proceedings before the Judicial Division.
      • Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is responsible for conducting investigations and prosecutions.
      • It is headed by the Chief Prosecutor, who is assisted by one or more Deputy Prosecutors.
      • The Rome Statute provides that the Office of the Prosecutor shall act independently; as such, no member of the Office may seek or act on instructions from any external source, such as states, international organisations, non-governmental organisations or individuals
    • Registry:-
      • The Registry is headed by the Registrar and is charged with managing all the administrative functions of the ICC, including the headquarters, detention unit, and public defense office.
      • The Registry is responsible for the non-judicial aspects of the administration and servicing of the Court.
      • This includes, among other things, the administration of legal aid matters, court management, victims and witnesses matters, defence counsel, detention unit, and the traditional services provided by administrations in international organisations, such as finance, translation, building management, procurement and personnel
      • The Registry is headed by the Registrar, who is elected by the judges to a five-year term.

Functioning:-

  • To prosecute those responsible for
    • genocide, crimes against humanity ,war crimes committed anywhere in the world.
    • The fourth crime falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction is the crime of aggression. It is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State
  • It is a court of last resort, intervening only when national authorities cannot or will not prosecute.
  • Preliminary examinations
    • The Office of the Prosecutor must determine whether there is sufficient evidence of crimes of sufficient gravity falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction, whether there are genuine national proceedings, and whether opening an investigation would serve the interests of justice and of the victims.
  • Investigations
    • After gathering evidence and identifying a suspect, the Prosecution requests ICC judges to issue:
      • an arrest warrant: the ICC relies on countries to make arrests and transfer suspects to the ICC; or a summons to appear: suspects appear voluntarily (if not, an arrest warrant may be issued). 
    • Pre-Trial stage
      • Initial appearance: Three Pre-Trial judges confirm suspect’s identity and ensure suspect understands the charges.
      • Confirmation of charges hearings: After hearing the Prosecution, the Defence, and the Legal representative of victims, the judges decide (usually within 60 days) if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
      • If the suspect is not arrested or does not appear, legal submissions can be made, but hearings cannot begin.
    • Trial stage
      • Before three Trial judges, the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused.
      • Judges consider all evidence, then issue a verdict and, when there is a verdict of guilt, issue a sentence. The judges can sentence a person to up to 30 years of imprisonment, and under exceptional circumstances, a life sentence.
      • Verdicts are subject to appeal by the Defence and by the Prosecutor.
      • Judges can also order reparations for the victims.
      • If there is not enough evidence, the case is closed and the accused is released.
      • Acquittals are subject to appeal by the Defence and by the Prosecutor.
    • Appeals stage
      • Both the Prosecutor and the Defence have the right to appeal a Trial Chamber’s decision on the verdict (decision on guilt or innocence of the accused) and the sentence.
      • The victims and the convicted person may appeal an order for reparations.
      • An appeal is decided by five judges of the Appeals Chamber, who are never the same judges as those who gave the original verdict.
      • The Appeals Chamber decides whether to uphold the appealed decision, amend it, or reverse it. This is thus the final judgment, unless the Appeals Chamber orders a re-trial before the Trial Chamber.
    • Enforcement of sentence
      • Sentences are served in countries that have agreed to enforce ICC sentences.
      • If a verdict of guilt is not upheld, the person may be released.
    • Punishment powers:-
      • The Court cannot impose a death sentence.
      • The maximum sentence is 30 years.
      • However, in extreme cases, the Court may impose a term of life imprisonment.
      • Convicted persons serve their prison sentences in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have indicated to the Court their willingness to accept convicted persons.
    • Complementarity
      • The ICC is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal systems. It prosecutes cases only when States do not are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.
    • Cooperation
      • As a judicial institution, the ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body; thus, it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide for support, particularly for making arrests, transferring arrested persons to the ICC detention centre in The Hague, freezing suspects assets, and enforcing sentences.
      • While not a United Nations organization, the Court has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations. When a situation is not within the Court’s jurisdiction, the United Nations Security Council can refer the situation to the ICC granting it jurisdiction. This has been done in the situations in Darfur (Sudan) and Libya.
      • The ICC actively works to build understanding and cooperation in all regions, for example, through seminars and conferences worldwide. The Court cooperates with both States Parties and non-States Parties.
    • Jurisdiction
      • The Court may exercise jurisdiction in a situation where genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes were committed on or after 1 July 2002 and:
      • The crimes were committed by a State Party national, or in the territory of a State Party, or in a State that has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court; or
      • The crimes were referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) pursuant to a resolution adopted under chapter VII of the UN charter

Criticism :-

  • It does not have the capacity to arrest suspects and depends on member states for their cooperation.
  • Critics of the Court argue that there are insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges and insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses.
  • The ICC has been accused of bias and as being a tool of Western imperialism, only punishing leaders from small, weak states while ignoring crimes committed by richer and more powerful states. 
    • This sentiment has been expressed particularly by African leaders due to an alleged disproportionate focus of the Court on Africa, while it claims to have a global mandate
    • Until January 2016, all nine situations which the ICC had been investigating were in African countries.
  • ICC’s prosecutor team takes no account of the roles played by the government in the conflict of Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. This led to a flawed investigation, because the ICC did not reach the conclusion of its verdict after considering the governments’ position and actions in the conflict.
  • ICC cannot mount successful cases without state cooperation is problematic for several reasons.
    • It means that the ICC acts inconsistently in its selection of cases, is prevented from taking on hard cases and loses legitimacy.  It also gives the ICC less deterrent value, as potential perpetrators of war crimes know that they can avoid ICC judgment by taking over government and refusing to cooperate.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Inclusive Growth and issues related to it

4) The progress on sustainable development goal impacting child malnutrition has been tardy across the world including India. Examine and suggest how to tackle this problem?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article discusses the immense challenge posed by the issue of malnutrition, examines the problem or malnutrition in India and gives suggestions based on best examples on how India can tackle this problem. Hence this article is important both from GS2 and GS3 perspective.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the progress on achieving the SDG targets related to malnutrition, of world in general and India in particular. Thereafter, we need to bring out the nature of malnutrition in India and the reasons for the same. The impact of the aforesaid problem needs to be discussed. Finally, we need to give suggestions as to how the status quo can be improved.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what SDGs were related to malnutrition and the figures on the implementation of targets for India and the world to set up the rest of your answer

Body

  • Explain the nature of malnutrition in India – India now faces a peculiar malnutrition problem—as per the latest World Hunger Index, while the prevalence of obesity amongst children under five years of age has increased drastically, the country also has the highest number of school-age children who suffer from extreme thinness.
  • Discuss the reasons for both types of malnutrition – socio economic reasons, lack of proper sanitation, unwholesome diets and unhealthy dietary preferences due to cultural reasons etc
  • Highlight the impact of unabated malnourishment among the young population – the social and the economic impacts
  • Give suggestions as to how to improve the suggestion – focussing on MDMS, Anganwadi centres, taking cues from the policies followed by developed countries like Japan etc

Conclusion – Emphasize on the magnitude of the problem and the way forward.

Background:

  • As per the latest World Hunger Index, while the prevalence of obesity amongst children under five years of age has increased drastically, India also has the highest number of school-age children who suffer from extreme thinness.
  • Even as overall undernourishment affects 14.5% of Indians, prevalence of mortality, low weight for height (wasting) and low height for age (stunting) amongst children under five is nearly 5%, 21% and 38.4%, respectively.

Child malnutrition:-

  • The number of those suffering hunger has grown from 804 million in 2016 to 821 million in 2017 a setback to the progress the world was making towards eradicating hunger, one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN.
  • Climate change effects severely impacting food security in many nations, war-torn countries like Yemen and Syria, too, are seeing widespread starvation.
  • China has an overall undernourishment prevalence of 9.6%, and under-five mortality, wasting and stunting prevalence of 1.1%, 1.8% and 6.3%.
  • In Indian context, apart from access to adequate food, lack of proper sanitation affects absorption levels amongst Indian kids in economically weaker sections, aggravates undernourishment.
  • Contrastingly, unwholesome diets and unhealthy dietary preferences amongst the better-off sections has led to the spike in obesity amongst young children.
  • Rising obesity is putting pressure on already fragile health systems in India by posing a high risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some cancers (clubbed together as non-communicable diseases, or NCDs).
    • Research shows that Indians have higher levels of body fat and lower levels of lean muscle when compared to many other populations. Therefore, the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes operates even below global thresholds for defining overweight and obesity

How to tackle the problem:-

  • Fighting global hunger may need a comprehensive approach, one that focuses on developing climate resilience as much as reducing conflict between nations.
  • Midday meal scheme:-
    • While the focus on sanitation development in communities as well as in schools could help fight malnutrition, mid-day meals, too, could be an important part of the solution.
    • Even as mid-day meal schemes across states have seen some success in tackling childhood undernourishment, they perhaps hold the key to tackling childhood obesity as well.
    • In Japan, under a government programme, school cafeterias give students elementary to senior secondary wholesome meals that are free of processed and junk food.
  • Policy responses should include agricultural systems that promote crop diversity (to enable dietary diversity) as well as regulatory and fiscal measures (to decrease the availability, affordability and promotion of unhealthy foods, while making healthy foods more accessible).
    • For example, taking the lead from a directive by the Delhi High Court, India should ban the sale of junk food in and around schools.
    • Legislators should also put into practice the results of a recent Lancet study on India. It showed that higher taxes on junk food can actually lead those on lower incomes to live healthier lives.
  • Even in clinical settings, counselling and care are needed. Instead of being downgraded as ways of managing “poor lifestyle choices”, obesity management, prevention and treatment should be provided as essential health services targeted at a condition that undermines health in many ways. This would help reverse the stigma attached to obesity even by health professionals.
  • Further, India should link obesity and undernutrition and treat them as twinned challenges to be jointly addressed under the universal health coverage umbrella.
    • Universal health coverage is encapsulated in the idea that no one should have to suffer financial hardship in order to access essential health care. By tackling obesity through prevention and early care, financially debilitating NCDs can be avoided.
  • Package of basic measures including programmess to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children for up to six months, fortifying basic foods with essential minerals and vitamins, and increased cash transfers with payments targeted at the poorest families .
    • Universal access to infant and young childcare, including ICDS and crèches, provisions to provide biannual critical nutrient supplements and programmes aimed at deworming children are needed.
  • In the area of maternal care, the strategy proposes that the government provide nutritional support in particular, the adequate consumption of iodised salt to mothers during pregnancy and lactation.

TopicIndian Economy and issues relating to growth

5) The policy of inflation targeting in India, which RBI has persisted with for quite some time now is the reason why capital intensive industries in India are suffering. Critically analyze. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article talks about the persistent policy of inflation targeting, which the author alleges has been at the altar of growth. The article examines the problems being faced by the capital intensive sector in the country and associates the causes of the woes to the policy of inflation targeting. This is a very important conceptual article which will compel you to revisit the basic concepts of macroeconomics.

Key demand of the question

The key issue that needs deeper analysis in this question is whether focussing merely on inflation has stymied growth particularly in capital intensive sectors of the economy which has led to creation of bad loans. In your answer, you must explain the capital intensive sector is under stress. Next, we need to mention the pros and cons of strict inflation targeting done by RBI and whether that has impacted growth. Post this, we need to explain what are the comprehensive n set of factors that has caused this situation, and end with a way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Start with explaining the gravity of the situation by cutting facts and figures (as done in the article) regarding the magnitude of problem in sectors such as power etc.

Body

  • Give a brief account of the policy of inflation targeting adopted by the RBI which kept interest rates high in India over the years.
  • Explain why focussing merely on inflation might have stymied the growth of economy. Highlight that the target adopted by India have been largely based on European experiences. Explain the central argument made by author that some inflation has to accompany industrialisation because it requires the diversion of a part of the income of the economy from producing consumer goods to capital goods. Give example of south East Asian countries.
  • Next, highlight how focussing on inflation has had several socio economic benefits for the country, apart from his obvious political utility.
  • Post that, explain the comprehensive set of factors that have caused the issues in capital intensive sector of the economy. Here , Raghuram Rajan’s report to the standing committee would be quite helpful.

Conclusion – Give your view on the policy of inflation targeting followed by RBI and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Seventy-eight of the largest companies in India are facing dissolution under the Indian Bankruptcy Code. Twenty have been declared insolvent and sent to the National Company Law Tribunal for dissolution. 
  • Loan defaults by small companies have also doubled in the past year, signalling an imminent crisis in that sector as well.

Policy of inflation targeting:-

  • Inflation targeting (IT) is a monetary policy strategy used by central banks for maintaining prices at a certain level or within a specific range.  Using methods such as interest rate changes, this could help guide inflation to a targeted level or range. This policy is designed to assure price stability.
  • Recently Finance ministry and Reserve Bank of India agreed to adopt flexible IT based on the recommendations of a panel headed by Urjit Patel. (To bring the inflation rate below 6% by January 2016 and to 4% by the financial year ending March 2017, with a band of +/- 2% points)
  • Price stability main goal of monetary policy 
  • Policy based on wide set of information,  including inflation forecast

Negative impact which led to adverse impact on capital intensive sector  :-

  • Created an imbalance between India’s foreign exchange debt and its reserves that has brought international hedge funds into the Indian money market.
  • According to experts some inflation has to accompany industrialisation because it requires the diversion of a part of the income of the economy from producing consumer goods to capital goods.
    • The economic miracle in South East Asia and China bears this out: South Korea had an average inflation rate of 21 per cent during the three decades in which it became an industrial powerhouse, and China has done so only with the help of stringent price controls on essentials.
  • Making price stability the first goal of policy, therefore, sacrifices growth at the altar of stability. That is what the RBI has been doing since January 2007.
  • Unrealistic :-
    • Economy will react and be influenced by thousands of factors and it is not possible to always counter so many influencing elements. Hence, in an attempt to target a certain inflation rate or to keep it within a certain limit, central banks and governments take measures that prove to be wrong. Many a time in the past and in developed nations, governments and the central banks have not only failed to contain inflation but their attempts have led to more problems.
  • Against development:-
    • It is not entirely possible to keep the inflation in check at all times. Even today, there are places in every country where inflation targeting simply doesn’t work.
  • Side Effects:-
    • Inflation targeting can be hazardous for a country in the long term. It can render various industries to become uncompetitive. The governments may take up too much of the onus or the financial burden of keeping inflation under check. This can lead to higher fiscal deficits, poor welfare policies or stimulus packages and eventually the economy may cease to remain as free flowing as is needed.
  • Increases in inflation are not necessarily coupled to any factor internal to a country’s economy and strictly adjusting interest rates will potentially be ineffectual and may restricts economic growth.
  • It neglects output shocks by focusing solely on the price level and it may leads to potential instability in the event of large supply-side shocks.
  • It may leads to restricted ability of the central bank to respond to financial crises or unforeseen events.
  • Due to interest Rate high, Borrowing cost became high inside country
  • Capital intensive industries like infrastructure , power can not sustain high interest rate to check inflation .
  • Policy of inflation targeting by RBI made borrowing in the Indian market very costly for industrial borrowers, thus increasing their exposure to currency volatility

Positives of inflation targeting :-

  • Balancing Predictability and Expectations
    • Inflation targeting instills predictability. If one was to take a broader view of the world, then situations will appear to be relatively predictable. 
  • Preventing Bubbles and Fuelling Sustainable Growth
  • Preventing Economic Collapse
    • Without inflation targeting, costs can skyrocket.
  • It allows monetary policy to focus on domestic considerations and to respond to shocks to the domestic economy.
  • It facilitates well-informed decision-making by households and investors, reduces economic and financial uncertainty, and increases the effectiveness of monetary policy.
  • An explicit numerical inflation target increases a central bank’s accountability and it can also insulate the bank from political pressure to undertake an overly expansionary monetary policy.
  • In emerging markets Inflation targeting appears to have been associated with lower inflation, lower inflation expectations and lower inflation volatility relative to countries that have not adopted it.

However blaming the inflation targeting for the stress on capital intensive sector is not totally correct as there are other factors which contributed as well :-

  • There has been a lack of management of distribution and investment of capital
  • Global market has been slowing down
  • Other reasons are over-optimism of promoters and banks, delay in statutory approvals, loss of interest in delayed projects and malfeasance among bankers and frauds.
  • Rupee depreciation has also contributed to this situation.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Ocean deposits”

6) Discuss the major resources that can be obtained from ocean deposits and the reasons why their extraction is limited?(250 words)

Reference

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the major types of resources that can be obtained from ocean deposits and the issues and impediments that make their commercial extraction difficult.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion should focus on explaining the major resources that can be obtained from ocean deposits and challenges faced in their commercial extraction

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what ocean deposits are. Mention that ocean beds are rich in potential mineral and organic resources. Much of these resources, however, are not easily accessible, so their recovery involves technological challenges and high cost.

Body

  • Highlight the major types of ocean deposits found – energy, sand and gravel, evaporative salts and manganese modules and crust. Explain them wherever needed
  • Mention that Increasing world demand for minerals, plus technological advances, have combined to make deep-sea mineral extraction a possibility right now.
  • Discuss the issues involved in their extraction – ecological challenges, lack of consolidated deposits, need for detailed site-specific and broader regional information about directions and strengths of current flow, and about where the new biological recruits come from (the source populations) and where they go (the sink populations). Because vent sites may act like “stepping stones” for dispersal of animals along a ridge, it is crucially important to understand the impact of mining activity at each site, the issues involved in issuance of licenses by International seabed authority etc

Conclusion – Highlight the immense economic potential of this resource but also the need to proceed with caution.

 

Background:-

  • International seabed authority by now has opened up a vast 1.2 million square kilometres of seabed one-third the size of India for exploration of mineral deposits under 26 licences issued since 2001.

Resources from ocean deposits:-

  • The vast repository of minerals, including the precious cobalt, zinc, manganese and rare earth materials that are needed for smart phones, laptops and hybrid cars, are present in three forms of ore :-
    • Polymetallic manganese nodules that remain strewn across the ocean floor
    • Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts that cover the seamounts
    • Massive polymetallic sulphide deposits around hydrothermal vents 
  • Typically, an ore from seabed deposit is seven times enriched with minerals than that mined from land
  • Energy
    • The main energy resources associated with marine sediments are petroleum and gas hydrates.
    • Petroleum products account for 95% of the economic value of the ocean beds. This mainly includes the oil produced from offshore regions.
      • Today major offshore reserves exist in the Persian Gulf, in the Gulf of Mexico, off Southern California and in the North Sea.
    • Gas hydrates  are unusually compact chemical structures made of water and natural gas. They form only when high pressures squeeze chilled water and gas molecules into an ice like solid.
      • Although hydrates can contain a variety of gases including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and larger hydrocarbons such as ethane and propane, methane hydrates are by far the most common hydrates in nature.
      • Gas hydrates occur beneath Arctic permafrost areas on land and under the ocean floor. In deep-ocean sediments, where pressures are high and temperatures are low, water and natural gas combine in such a way that the gas is trapped inside a lattice like cage of water molecules
    • Sand and Gravel
      • The offshore sand and gravel industry is second in economic value only to the petroleum industry.  These include the rock fragments that are washed out to sea and shells of marine organisms, is mined by offshore barges  using a suction dredge. This material is primarily used as aggregate in concrete, as a fill material in grading projects, and on recreational beaches.
    • Evaporative Salts
      • When seawater evaporates, the salts increase in concentration until they can no longer remain dissolved, so they precipitate out of solution and form salt deposits. The most economically useful salts are gypsum and halite i.e, common salt.
    • Manganese Nodules and Crusts
      • Manganese nodules are rounded, hard, golf- to tennis-ball-sized lumps of metals that contain significant concentrations of manganese, iron, and smaller concentrations of copper, nickel, and cobalt, all of which have a variety of economic uses.

Why their extraction is limited :-

  • The areas that have been licensed recently hold hydrothermal vents. Several kinds of microbes that thrive in harsh environments are found here.
  • Ocean beds are rich in potential mineral and organic resources. Much of these resources, however, are not easily accessible, so their recovery involves technological challenges and high cost.
  • Ecological challenges, lack of consolidated deposits, need for detailed site-specific and broader regional information about directions and strengths of current flow, and about where the new biological recruits come from (the source populations) and where they go (the sink populations).
  • Many geologists suspect that gas hydrates play an important role in stabilizing the seafloor. Drilling in these oceanic deposits could destabilize the seabed, causing vast swaths of sediment to slide for miles down the continental slope. Evidence suggests that such underwater landslides have occurred in the past (see sidebar), with devastating consequences.
  • There are issues involved in issuance of licenses by International seabed authority etc.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic–  Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7) It would be difficult, if not impossible, to count the number of political attitudes that a person develops throughout his lifetime. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding about political attitudes express over opinion on,” whether or not, there are a number of political attitudes that a person develops throughout his lifetime. We have to support our answer by presenting valid and proper facts/ arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about political attitude. For example political attitudes can be broadly defined as the opinions and values individuals hold about political issues, events, and personalities.

Body-

Write in detail about political attitudes and discuss how  there are many political attitudes. E.g discuss how political attitudes are formed and reformed- due to ideology or shift in ideology; values and change in values/ value system; political figures, groups, government policies and policy proposals etc.

Discuss the influence of values on political attitude. Discuss about the old politics values vs the new politics values.

Take the help of the articles provided with the question to frame your answer.

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

Answer:-

  • Political attitudes and value orientations are central components of people’s belief systems. They also play a central role in explaining political behaviour, notably as intermediate variables between social structure and political behaviour.
  • Political attitudes are the approaches of people to the areas of public life covered by political psychology such as views on nationalism, political conservatism, political liberalism, and political radicalism. Political attitudes fall on a range between extremely liberal and extremely conservative.
  • These attitudes were seen as including knowledge and skills about the operation of the political system positive and negative judgments about the system. These attitudes decide how people participate, whom they vote for and which political parties they support. The factors which make attitudes are family, gender, religion, race, ethnicity and region. 
  • Political values and political attitudes include ‘Old Politics’ orientations such as economic left-right and religious/secular values, and ‘New Politics’ orientations such as materialist/post-materialist values, libertarian/authoritarian values, ecology versus economic growth, and immigration orientations
  • There are multiple factors that shape political attitude:
    • Family:Family is generally the first and most persistent factor which influence on young people’s mind for shaping political opinion.
    • Religion:Religious principles often affect the way people vote.
    • Economic pressures:Many scholars affirmed that economic pressures are prime stimulus for choosing a particular political position, and, indeed, this does appear to be an important factor. 
    • Psychological factor:Some people are also more psychologically suitable for liberalism or conservatism than others. To be a liberal, one must have a comparatively high tolerance for disorder.
    • Nature of People:This is determining factor in shaping political attitude. If person believes that people are essentially bad, selfish, and aggressive, then one is likely to lean to the right of the spectrum.
    • Due to ideology or shift in ideology
  • Political attitude formulation is continuing process and it is achieved through several institutions and agents. Individuals pass through several stages before they completely get socialized.
  • Political attitude formulation is a learning process by which an individual attains orientations, beliefs, values and norms and behaviour patterns in political system. Political attitude formulations decide the pattern of socio-political behaviour
  • Over the period of one’s lifetime the wants of an individual also take many transitional forms and on the basis of it he or she select their representatives and demand for the Welfare as per their requirements.
  • There have been significant changes in political attitudes in India as well since independence as initially the nationalistic feeling slowly gave rise to regionalism which was further followed by communalistic feeling for some . In the similar fashion secular nature started to imbibe in the people of India with fraternity strengthening. These change in political attitudes impacted the growth of India as a nation as well.