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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 OCTOBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 OCTOBER 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, Diversity of India.

1) Living in harmony with nature has been an integral part of Indian society. Elaborate.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Elaborate- Here we have to add more details concerning what has already been said.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail as to how living in harmony with nature has been an integral part of Indian culture. We have to support our answer with proper facts and relevant examples here.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Indian society. E.g Living in harmony with nature has been an integral part of Indian society and its culture. This has been abundantly reflected in a variety of traditional practices, religious beliefs, rituals, folklore, arts and crafts, and in the daily lives of the Indian people from time immemorial.

Body-

Discuss the reverence for environment showed by ancient and medieval Indian societies. E.g For the people of India, environmental conservation is not a new concept. Historically, the protection of nature and wildlife was an ardent article of faith, reflected in the daily lives of people, enshrined in myths, folklore, religion, arts, and culture. Some of the fundamental principles of ecology-the interrelationship and interdependence of all life-were conceptualized in the Indian ethos and reflected in the ancient scriptural text, the Isopanishad, over 2000 years ago; The oldest visual image of the human fascination, love, and reverence for nature in India can be found in the 10,000 year-old cave paintings at Bhimbetka in Central India depicting birds, animals, and human beings living in harmony;  The Indus Valley civilization provides evidence of human interest in wildlife, as seen in seals depicting images of rhino, elephant, bull, etc.; Sacred groves and sacred plants and animals etc.

Discuss the changes in Indian society brought out by the growth in population, urbanization, globalization which has led to erosion of traditional respect and reverence for environment etc.

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

Background:-

  • Living in harmony with Nature has been an integral part of Indian culture. This has been abundantly reflected in a variety of traditional practices, religious beliefs, rituals, folklore, arts and crafts, and in the daily lives of the Indian people from time immemorial.

 

Living in harmony with Nature has been an integral part of Indian society:-

  • Historical:-
    • For the people of India, environmental conservation is not a new concept.
    • Historically, the protection of nature and wildlife was an ardent article of faith, reflected in the daily lives of people, enshrined in myths, folklore, religion, arts, and culture.
    • Some of the fundamental principles of ecology-the interrelationship and interdependence of all life-were conceptualized in the Indian ethos and reflected in the ancient scriptural text, the Isopanishad, over 2000 years ago.
      • Each individual life-form must, therefore, learn to enjoy its benefits by forming a part of the system in close relation with other species.
    • Practical evidence:-
      • The oldest visual image of the human fascination, love, and reverence for nature in India can be found in the 10,000 year-old cave paintings at Bhimbetka in Central India depicting birds, animals, and human beings living in harmony.
      • The Indus Valley civilization provides evidence of human interest in wildlife, as seen in seals depicting images of rhino, elephant, bull, etc.
      • Historically, conservation of nature and natural resources was an innate aspect of the Indian psyche and faith, reflected in religious practices, folklore, art and culture permeating every aspect of the daily lives of people.
      • Scriptures and preachings that exhort reverence for nature and relate to conservation can be found in most of the religions that have flourished in the Indian subcontinent.
        • Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam and others place great emphasis on the values, beliefs, and attitudes that relate to the cross-cultural universality of respect for nature and the elements that constitute the universe.
      • Emperor Ashoka decreed that it was a king’s duty to protect wildlife and the trees of the forests. He got edicts inscribed on rocks and iron pillars throughout his kingdom, prohibiting the destruction of forests and the killing of various species of animals.
    • The worship of trees, animals, forests, rivers, and the sun, and considering the earth itself as Mother Goddess, were part of the Indian tradition.
      • Sacred groves :-
        • One of the finest examples of traditional practices in India based on religious faith which has made a profound contribution to nature conservation has been the maintenance of certain patches of land or forests as “sacred groves’ dedicated to a deity or a village God, protected, and worshipped.
        • These are found all over India, and abundantly along the Western Ghats, the west coast, and in several parts of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu amd Maharashtra.
      • There are also examples of sacred ponds attached to temples in many parts of India. Some of these have been responsible for the protection of certain endangered species of turtles, crocodiles, and the rare fresh water sponge.
      • Sacred plants and animals :
        • Many plants and animals have from historcial times been considered sacred in India by various communities. The most outstanding examples are the peepal tree,the banyan tree 
        • Such traditional cultural attitudes, though based on religious faith, have made significant contribution in the protection and propagation of various species of trees and plants in India.
        • Many animals are considered sacred and worshipped by several Hindu and other communities, and have thus received protection for centuries. The peafowl, sacred to lord Karttikeya is never hunted, the blue rock pigeon is considered sacred to Saint Hazrat Shah lalal and is protected in the Bengal region.
        • In Buddhist mythology, the Jatakas or the stories of the Buddha’s previous life are replete with several incarnations of the Bodhisattvaas an animal. Among the Jains, eighteen of the twenty-four Tirthankaras have an animal as their cognizance.
      • Nature in Indian art and scriptures:-
        • Indian painting, sculpture, architectural ornamentation, and the decorative arts is replete with themes from nature and wildlife reflecting love and reverence, and therefore the ethics of conservation.
        • A wide range of images of forests, plants, and animals are to be found in Indian miniature paintings and sculpture.
        • The theme of the Hindu god Krishna’s life depicted in miniature paintings underlines an appreciation of ecological balance.
      • Other specific contributions to conservation 
        • The love for nature has been handed down the ages, becoming an integral part of the Indian psyche.
        • This long tradition and belief in the conservation of nature is also vividly alive in contemporary times.
        • One of the most successful conservation movements in India today is the Chipko movement spearheaded by the womenfolk in the Himalaya. Commercial felling of trees was effectively stopped by them by hugging the trees when lumbermen arrived to cut them.
      • However despite such strong historical jurisprudence towards environment conservation India is still facing environmental concern today which include
        • Deforestation
        • Degradation of land resources
        • Pollution of air and water
        • Threat to natural living resources – wildlife, fisheries, etc
        • Problems associated with urbanization – slums, sanitation, pollution.

Conclusion:-

  • India obviously needs a new strategy of resource use and a new common belief system to hold the society together and put strategies remembering the legacy towards conservation of environment.

Topic -Effects of globalization on Indian society

2) In the context of India, globalization has impacted upon the education system in complex and conflicting ways. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference

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 how globalization has impacted the Indian education system.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  globalization and its historical association with India.

Body-

Discuss how globalization has affected Indian education system. E.g There is an increased emphasis on preparing global citizens who are ready to face the highly competitive world. There is a huge upsurge in the demand for learning English language, growing popularity of international schools, need for curriculum restructuring and inclusion of ICTs etc. globalisation has put an extra pressure on the education system to create ‘winners’ who are ready to battle in the race for the survival of the fittest. It has led to the preparation of a curriculum that has to be internationally acceptable. There is also a huge demand for learning English language, schools with an international appeal with unconventional syllabi that focus on overall development of personality instead of rote learning, newer means of teaching learning pedagogy etc.

Take the help of the article attached to the question and other relevant material to frame your answer.

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

Background :-

  • Education holds the key to India’s growth and socio-economic development. This has assumed greater importance over the last decade with India positioning itself as a knowledge economy in a fast globalizing world.

Benefits of globalization for Indian education system

  • Academic Advantages 
    • Aims at enhancing the overall core values in terms of research and technological advancements. 
    • Helps in enhaching the outlook and the horizon of perceiving and problem solving. 
  • Personal Growth & Professional Growth 
    • Students typically return home with increased self-confidence and enhanced personal growth
  • Intercultural Knowledge and Skills 
    • Through cultural immersion, students who participate in global education programs are able to gain a greater depth of knowledge about and appreciation for new cultures. This often includes acquiring advanced language skills
  • Changes in school systems across the world ideas, values and knowledge are changing the roles of students and teachers, and producing a shift in society from industrialised to an information-based society.
  • Education is becoming a lifelong learning and training process, developing transferable skills and knowledge that can be applied to competitive markets where knowledge and information is being traded as a commodity.
  • Enhanced Global Perspective 
    • By experiencing the differences and similarities between their host country and their home country, student will enhance their global perspectives and obtain a greater awareness of global affairs, including political, educational, societal, and economic issues
  • There is an increased emphasis on preparing global citizens who are ready to face the highly competitive world.
  • There is a huge upsurge in the demand for learning English language, growing popularity of international schools, need for curriculum restructuring and inclusion of ICTs etc.
  • School facilities have also  come under the scanner as there is a demand for quality in available
    infrastructure
    that can aid in preparing a different class of people who are ready for a global world.
  • With the advent of globalisation the Indian higher education system has made considerable progress in terms of capacity creation and enrolment especially in the last decade yet it lags significantly in terms of “global relevance and competitiveness”. But soon India will fill these gaps with impact of globalization.
    • Low employability of graduates, driven by several factors including outdated curricula, shortage of quality faculty, high student-teacher ratios, lack of institutional and industry linkages, and lack of autonomy to introduce new and innovative courses. 
    • Low impact research output and patents filed given relatively low government and corporate spending on research, insufficient doctoral students, missing research focus and culture in most institutions, and lack of international research collaborations 
    • Limited focus on entrepreneurship on campus as reflected in the fact that there are few institutes that offer programs in entrepreneurship and have active incubation / entrepreneurship cells.

How globalization adversely affects Indian education system :-

  • While the basic aims of education are to enable children develop their potentials, define and pursue a meaningful purpose globalisation has put an extra pressure on the education system to create ‘winners’ who are ready to battle in the race for the survival of the fittest.
  • It has led to the preparation of a curriculum that has to be internationally acceptable.
  • In the contemporary context, students are seen as customers as well as partners in the process of learning.
  • Commercial institutions offering specialized education have come up everywhere. In view of 
    globalization, many corporate universities, both foreign and Indian, are encroaching upon
    government institutions.
  • Globalization poses challenges like 
    • Faculty Shortage 
    • Quality of education
    • Incentive structures.
  • The Indian universities will face a stiff competition with the foreign universities and will struggle to attract more number of prospective students.
  • Its effect is reflected on culture and brings about a new form of cultural imperialism. 

How to make Indian education system in tune with global standards:-

  • Entrepreneurial Training :-
    • Entrepreneurship training is considered a valuable tool for inspiring motivation, creativity and innovation. In addition, entrepreneurial skills are expected to equip Technical Education graduates with the ability to generate employment opportunities through the creation of new businesses.
    • In a rapidly evolving work environment, educational and vocational guidance and counseling are critical and must constitute an integral part of Education programme as they contribute to enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of training. 
  • Counselling:- 
    • Counselling is necessary to understand and appreciate the talents of students and trainees, and to help them explore career alternatives.
    • Guidance and counselling must define career development as a systematic process during which individuals develop their vocational awareness, employability and maturity. 
  • Reducing the teacher student ratio focusing more on quality education rather than quantity. 
  • Infrastructure 
    • Improvement in the educational infrastructure must take priority. University courses scheduled must be available on the internet, automated telephone course registration for every term must be available to students, payments of fees by credits card should be of a standard option, classrooms, libraries, dormitories and sport facilities should be of international standards.
    • Off campus housing arrangements must be facilitated through the private sector for faculty, staff.
    • Practical Knowledge should be taken as of prime importance rather than curriculum based and subjective approach. 
  • Appraisal System 
    • Steps have to be taken to hold great promises for reforming faculty preparatory programmes and to change of mind set and attitude among faculty 
      • Institute –Industrial partnership should be increased so as to give the future workforce a glimpse of global standards and working environment. 
      • International affiliations should be promoted to escalate technology flow aiming at increasing and modifying young minds.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Salient features of Indian society and diversity”

3) India is known across world for its diversity. Discuss the reasons why India happens to be so diverse and whether India’s diversity is serving India well?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the nature of diversity found in India. Thereafter, we are expected to explain the reasons why India is such a diverse country. Next, we need to debate whether this diversity of India is creating challenges to the growth of our country, or whether it is a source of strength for us. Finally we need to provide a fair and balanced conclusion.

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 – Briefly comment on the nature and extent of diversity found in India in terms of religion, language, ethnicity, geography etc.

Body

  • Discuss the reasons why India is so diverse
    • Historical reasons such as the presence of multiple small kingdoms, invasions by foreigners etc
    • Geographical reasons which allowed for the development of distinct culture etc
  • Discuss the disadvantages that India has had to face due to its diversity
    • Problem of governance
    • Social tensions and conflicts
    • Secessionist tendencies etc
  • Discuss the advantages that India has due to its diversity
    • A modern, secular, democratic state despite its diversity is a source of India’s soft power and reflection of its rich heritage and culture
    • Diversity of culture translates into diversity of ideas and innovations
    • Rich heritage and culture as a result of diversity etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the debate and include a quote on india’s diversity by Nehru, Guha etc

Background:-

  • India is one of the most diverse lands found anywhere else in the world. From language to dressing-style, the country has been hailed as one of the most complex amalgamation of various cultural identities.
  • The large number of different cultures, knitted together in such a close and perfect manner, make India’s diversity one of the wonders of the world.

Diversity of India is visible through:

  • RELIGION
    • India is also known by the name of land of many religions.
  • DANCES
    • There are close to 111 various dance forms in the country.
  • LANGUAGES
    • India is one of the most multi-lingual places in the entire world. According to 2011 census of India, there were close to 1,635 languages being spoken across the length and breadth of the country. Majority of these languages can be identified as dialects.
  • ETHNICITY
    • The Indian sub-continent is not inhabited by people from single ethnicity, but has seen a series of migrations from all across the globe. There are many different ethnic groups who have migrated to India over the course of centuries. 
  • GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY
    • India can be divided into five physiographic regions.
  • Caste Diversity:
    • India is a country of castes with more than 3,000 Jatis in India.
  • Festivals:-
    • So many festivals each with its unique identity and history, no country in the world would be celebrating so many festivals and that too together.

Reasons which led to diversity in India:-

  • India has seen many kingdoms and Empiresin the past. These include the Rajputs, Mauryas, Dravids, Bengalis, Marathas, Mughals and many many more. Each of those have some culture imbibed in today’s India.
  • Intermingling of different religions, their customs, traditions culture which happened as a result of coming of different invaders to India especially from west Asia.
  • The infusion of different values from the east and the west which later got impetus from the establishment of British rule in India.
  • The message and different sermons preached by social reformers and messengers of peace from different religions helped in the development of composite culture in India and the development of a feeling of oneness.

India’s diversity is serving India well:-

  • Independence:-
    • One best thing about Indian diversity is the motto to live peacefully, which has also helped India to gain its independence. This happened due to active participation from people of different religion, caste, creed and community thinking they are Indians first. People from different background and culture participated in India’s struggle for freedom.
  • Secularism:-
    • Being a multireligious society, the idea of ‘unity in diversity’ has rested on the concept of secularism. It believes in religious harmony or “sarva dharma sambhav”.
    • Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to freedom of conscience along with the rights to preach, practice and profess one’s own religion. To protect minorities religious freedom constitution guarantees several safeguards like article 29 and 30.
  • Tourism: 
    • It is the world-renowned unity in diversity and diverse cultures in practicing religion, traditions, cuisines, manners and clothing that attract all the visitors and tourists from globe to India.
    • Tourists visit India to understand the different spiritual practices, to meet scents, Yogis and follow the rich heritage and culture of different religions have perished in all these years.
  • National Integration: 
    • Although there is diversity in cultures, preaching and practices, often these things are treated separately when any matter of special grievance develops in the country.
    • Recent issue of anti corruption movement started by Shri Anna Hajare has witnessed the strong national integration in Indian civilization despite of caste, religion, social status, age and place.
  • Rich Heritage:
    • Every participant in diversifying the Indian culture has strengthened and enriched the cultural heritage of India in many ways either with the religion practices or with the ancient traditions. For years, these traditions and practices are preserved from generation to generation and will be preserved by coming generations in near future.
  • Rich Flora and Fauna:
    • Due to diversity in India, many advantages as differential soil providing rich agricultural beds in different crops according to soil variety. This has led to development in sugar industries, wheat industries, tea industry, fruit industry and industries depending on the cash crops of the subsequent crops.
  • Differential Breed of Profession:
    • Certain areas in India are engaged in enriching its culture and ethnicity, as more number of software engineers is from South India whereas many classical musicians haul from Western India. Similarly North and East India has provided some of the brilliant literature pundits and scientists to the country.

Issues remain:-

  • Unfortunately the peace and understanding among different communities has been endangered lately. The biggest of these is the problem of communalism.
    • Religious fundamentalism and communal fanaticism have raised their ugly heads which vitiate the atmosphere of peace and tranquility of the nation. The ugliest manifestation of this trend is the occurrence of communal riots with a disconcerting frequency in some parts of the country.
    • There has been a steady rise in the number of communal incidents in India since independence.
  • People are being lynched on suspicious grounds. These communal elements and their presence in society now are being used by political parties and politicians for their vested interests.
  • Sectarianism:
    • Sectarianism poses another threat to national integration because it creates a further gulf among various sects of the people belonging to the same religion.
    • For example, there is a tussle and strife between Sunnis and Shias of Muslim community on the one hand and Kabir-panth and Gorakhpanth or Nirankaris and the Alkali Sikhs of the Sikh community on the other hand.
  • Casteism:-
    • More and more power is getting concentrated in the hands of the dominant castes and the latter resent the attempts made by the lower castes to move up. This has resulted in inter-caste rivalries and tensions.
    • Reservaion issue has further intensified the differences between various castes 
  • Linguism:-
    • Controversy over ‘official language’ had triggered off serious law and order problems in southern belts.
  • Regionalism:
    • Regionalism presents a serious threat to national integration. 
    • Cultural diversity, economic and social disparities, religious and linguistic differences, economic imbalances and uneven regional development are the root causes of the growth spurt of regionalism.
    • The recent attacks in Gujarat on migrants from other states shows that regionalistic feelings precede over the Indian feeling.
  • Corruption and Illiteracy:
    • Due to Indian diversity and previous traditions, politics is limited to certain families carrying out the legacy.  This has increased overall corruption in India and due to nervousness of these politicians to look after poor and disabled in turn increased illiteracy rate.
  • Lack of Urbanization in Some states: 
    • Only because of diversity, still there are many states with underdeveloped infrastructures where there is no electricity and no proper roads for transportation. On the other hand, some states are developing with rapid pace to compete with some of the biggest commercial cities in the world.

Conclusion :-

  • Despite the diversity in terms of race, religion, Language, caste and culture India is still a strong nation tied together with integration and unity in both politico-geographic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Along with diversity and various such aspects, India is on its way of growth and development and it is worth mentioning that it has one of the string and stable economies in the world.

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “Salient features of Indian society and diversity”

4) Examine the role British played in aiding Sanskritization and how the situation has changed in post independence India?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what is meant by Sanskritization. Next, we need to explain the role played by British in aiding and abetting the process of Sankritization in India. Finally, we need to examine how the situation reversed with the affirmative action policies in the constitution and political developments in post independence India i.e. how we moved towards desanskritization.

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 Sanskritization and desanskritization. Sanskritization is a term coined by the famous Sociologist, Dr M.N. Srinivas. It refers to the process by which castes lower in the hierarchy emulate the rituals and practices of upper castes, thereby seeking upward mobility. The basic premise of Dr Srinivas was to show that the caste system was not rigid but rather very fluid.

Body

  • Explain that British did not ‘invent’ the caste system but what they did do was to make it the primary basis of social classification. When the British started taking the census, from 1882 onwards, caste was the basic unit of organizing society that they considered. When caste is your identity then you have an incentive in figuring out ‘how many’ people belong to your caste and when you organize politically or economically you do so along these lines.
  • Also highlight that for the British officers under the East India Company and even later under the Crown the caste system was an ideal way to control society. Mention that according to some sociologists the British aided the process of Sanskritization during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as it served their interests.
  • Highlight the changes brought about in the process of Sanskritization with the introduction of reservation and the result of Mandal Commission. Discuss how green revolution led to political mobilization of intermediate caste which led to them climbing up the social ladder. Discuss the rise of caste-based parties which claimed to speak on behalf of one or all backward castes which led  to de-Sanskritization’: it was no longer beneficial to be an upper caste and so attempts were made to re-claim any lower or backward caste roots.

Conclusion – Discuss about the situation in India at present.

Background:-

 

  • Sanskritisation  is a particular form of  social change found in India. It denotes the process by which castesplaced lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility by emulating the rituals and practices of the upper or dominant castes.
  • Lower castes in order to raise their position in the caste hierarchy adopted some customs and practices of the Brahmins and gave up some of their own which were considered to be impure by the higher castes. For example they gave up meat eating, drinking liquor and animal sacrifice to their deities. They imitiated Brahmins in matters of dress, food and rituals. By this they could claim higher positions in the hierarchy of castes within a generation. The reference group in this process is not always Brahmins but may be the dominant caste of the locality.
  • Sanskritization has occurred usually in groups who have enjoyed political and economic power but were not ranked high in ritual ranking.

Role of Britishers in aiding sanskritisation :-

  • The caste system had been a fascination of the British since their arrival in India. Coming from a society that was divided by class, the British attempted to equate the caste system to the class system. British saw caste as a way to deal with a huge population by breaking it down into discrete chunks with specific characteristics.
  • British believed that caste was the key to understanding the people of India. Caste was seen as the essence of Indian society, the system through which it was possible to classify all of the various groups of indigenous people according to their ability, as reflected by caste, to be of service to the British.
  • Caste was seen as an indicator of occupation, social standing, and intellectual ability. It was, therefore necessary to include it in the census if the census was to serve the purpose of giving the government the information it needed in order to make optimum use of the people under its administration. 
  • British did not ‘invent’ the caste system but what they did do was to make it the primary basis of social classification. When the British started taking the census, from 1882 onwards, caste was the basic unit of organizing society that they considered.
  • The British aided the process of Sanskritization during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as it served their interests.

Sanskritisation in post independence India :-

  • Sanskritization has strengthened over the years and caste has permeated into other fields such as education and politics which have increased caste consciousness and kept caste relevant in contemporary Indian society.
  • For thousands of years, the higher castes were identified with the customs that they followed. Since Sanskritization involves lower castes emulating the higher castes and their customs, the distinction between the two became less pronounced.
    • Over generations, some lower castes were able to closely adapt the customs of the higher castes in the regions and were gradually accepted as being higher castes themselves.
    • Sanskritization results in mobility but no structural change. Green revolution led to political mobilization of intermediate caste which led to them climbing up the social ladder.
    • This awareness only increased caste identity and consciousness. Indeed, Sanskritization is sustaining the continuance of caste system in contemporary India.
  • Caste has permeated into the political arena with castes representing easily identifiable vote banks. Through politics, it has seeped into education as well, in the form of reservation for the lower castes. 
  • The most conspicuous rule among the caste rules regarding purity was that of commensality or rules regarding eating and drinking with or accepting food and water from other castes. Earlier, due to a stagnant occupational and social setup in the village, these rules were applied stringently. Post-independence, industrialisation, education and urbanisation, amongst other factors made the applicability of some of these rules unfeasible.
  • Different castes worked alongside in large factories and shared food and water, students of different castes, unaware of commensality rules freely ate with each other in school and at large public gatherings such as marriages, inter-caste mingling happened without commensality rules being adhered to.
  • Marriage rules are an important component of caste system. In India, these rules are very stringent, intricate and closely dependent on caste rules.
    • Earlier, partners would be matched not just due to caste but according to sub-caste, or even sub-sub-caste. Increased education has resulted in weakening of certain marriage rules. Inter-caste marriages have become fairly common in urban areas and towns.
    • However, caste endogamy still persists as is evident by the large number of caste matrimony associations and websites.
  • The very base for caste’s existence which is occupations based on caste, has started to weaken.
    • More and more youngsters in the current generation have opted out of their family and caste occupation for better opportunities.
  • Caste customs have endured but are carried out mainly during ceremonial occasions and don’t permeate as much into everyday life.
  • It was no longer beneficial to be an upper caste and so attempts were made to re-claim any lower or backward caste roots which is visible in the demand for reservation by the dominant and landholding castes recently.

General Studies – 2


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

5) Strategic ambivalence is not an answer to the situation that India’ faces with US and Russia today. Critically analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

India has recently signed a huge defence deal with Russia, which has alienated US from India to some extent. In this context it is essential to analyze why strategic ambivalence is not an answer to the situation that India’ faces today.

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 analyze the Indian foreign relations with US and Russia in the present times. It wants us to bring out as to why strategic ambivalence is not an answer to the situation that India’ faces with US and Russia today. Based on our discussion we have to form our personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent India-Russia defence deal despite clear expression of resentment against the deal by US.

Body-

  1. Discuss the main outcomes of the recent defence deal e.g  S-400 missiles; signing of to a document to expand civil nuclear energy cooperation and agreed on a second site for Russian nuclear reactors; memorandum of understanding on a joint programme in the field of human space-flight; The two countries also agreed on the virtues of a regional security architecture to provide security to all countries in Asia and in the regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This seemed to demonstrate a clear ‘mutuality of interests’ etc.
  2. Discuss the relationship with US in terms of defence. E.g The 2+2 Dialogue; COMCASA etc.
  3. Mention the other important facets of the relationship between the three countries. E.g The underlying theme of the 2+2 Dialogue, notwithstanding all this, seems however, aimed at forging a possible containment of China strategy, with India partnering the U.S. in this effort; Russia is essentially seeking to cement a relationship with India that has existed for several years. It was not insisting on any exclusivity as far as relationships go. The U.S. wants India to view foreign policy perspectives largely through a U.S. prism, and thereafter make a choice etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.  E.g India should not reject, without due consideration, what is in its best interest. Its decision needs to be dictated by the cold logic of circumstances. Strategic integrity and autonomy, and mature strategic judgment are required in a world where disruption is the order of the day.

Background :-

  • Relations with Russia are a key pillar of India’s foreign policy, and Russia has been a longstanding time-tested partner of India. Traditionally, the Indo-Russian strategic partnership has been built on five major components: politics, defence, civil nuclear energy, anti-terrorism co-operation and space.
  • Similarly 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.

India Russia :-

  • Main outcomes of the recent defence deal with Russia are:-
    • The two sides signed an agreement for the purchase of the advanced S-400 Triumf air defense systems worth more than $5 billion.
    • Both the countries also signed eight pacts, including on cooperation on India’s ambitious human space mission project Gaganyaan.
    • Signing of to a document to expand civil nuclear energy cooperation and agreed on a second site for Russian nuclear reactors
    • Memorandum of understanding on a joint programme in the field of human space-flight
    • The two countries also agreed on the virtues of a regional security architecture to provide security to all countries in Asia and in the regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This seemed to demonstrate a clear ‘mutuality of interests’ etc.

India- US:-

  • 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.

Despite the strong relations there have been instances where India-US- Russia have been skeptical about the trust in the relationship. This is due to the following factors:-

  • 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.
    • After the Ukraine crisis in 2014, the Russia-China relationship has become stronger, with important implications for India and other rising powers. 
    • Sino-Russian relationship has grown to an extent where the two are now participating in joint military exercises such as the recently concluded, Vostok-2018, underscoring the rapidly evolving nature of this relationship and a fluid global strategic environment
    • Russia’s sale of Su-30 and especially the Su-35 fighter puts India’s security at some risk. Russia’s sale of advanced Kilo-class submarines is another instance.
    • The Russia-China oil and gas deals over the last few years also is a testament to this new closer partnership.
    • Russia had proposed a Russia-India-China (RIC) forum. India is hesitant about this because of the∙ unresolved issues with China.
  • Pakistan:-
    • Russia is also reaching out to Pakistan despite Indian reservations
    • In a significant development, the joint declaration issued at the end of the first-ever six-nation Speaker’s Conference in Islamabad held in 2017 supported Pakistani line on Kashmir. This declaration signed by Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey underscored that for ensuring global and regional peace and stability.
  • 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. 
  • India was threatened CAATSA sanctions by US if India went ahead with Russian defence deal.
  • US:-
    • There was a growing perception in the Russian establishment that India was growing closer to the United States
    • Moscow remains anxious about India’s changing strategic orientation, particularly its relationship with the United States, and India’s defense trade diversification policy, among other issues.
    • India is most concerned about the open hostility between United States and Russia on various issues.
    • Russia’s position on areas of tension in the world, whether it is Ukraine, Georgia, West Asia, Afghanistan or North Korea, appears to openly challenge U.S. predominance. This tension catches India between its growing strategic partnership with the United States and its dependence on Russia for defence technological needs.

Way forward:-

  • Russia:-
    • Both India and Russia need to explore other avenues of cooperation, beyond defence technical cooperation to strengthen this relationship.
    • Areas to be worked upon by both India and Russia :-
      • From the Indian perspective, there is scope for improvement in trade between Russia and India if the international North-South corridor through Iran, and the Vladivostok-Chennai sea route can be operationalised.
      • India can benefit from hi-tech cooperation with Russia in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, outer space and nanotechnology. It can also cooperate with Russia on upgrading its basic research and education facilities.
      • There is scope for growth in the energy sector, beyond mutual investments. Mutual benefits in trade of natural resources such as timber, and agriculture can also be harnessed.
    • Both have to revitalize their earlier agreement on sharing intelligence for a joint strategy on terrorism. Indian and Russian anxieties on terrorism need to converge and bring about some positive outcome.  
    • India needs to deepen its scientific and technological relations with Russia since a base for this already exists.  
    • India can use some creative means to build a Russia-India-China (RIC) alliance.
  • US:-
    • Similarly with US in order to realise the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (2015), both US and India will have to nurture the habit of talking and working together to diminish some of the prickliness in the partnership.
    • In the present geopolitical situation, India and US can be the two pillars of a rules-based world order
    •  Both sides must work together towards entry of India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
    • New Delhi must work with Washington in the next few months to ensure that the benefits from the 2+2 dialogue don’t add up only on the other side.

Conclusion:-

  • India, on its way to become a global power, will likely have to follow a zigzag course, balancing between American demands, long-term friendship with Russia and its own strategic necessities in the neighbourhood and beyond.

General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian Economy : Issues

6) Evaluate whether India is well placed to benefit from the new face of globalisation which is trade and technology driven?(250 words)

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Why this question

The article discusses the changing nature of globalisation and how well placed India is in taking advantage of the changed scenario, and the kind of policy changes required. The question would enable us to understand the changing nature of globalization and enhance our understanding of why we need to reap our demographic dividend.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to examine the changing nature of globalisation in India and discuss how prepared India is likely to be impacted by this. We need to discuss the changes in trade, technology and capital flows and also the lacunae in India’s ability to adjust to these changes. Finally, we need to provide suggestions in terms of changes in policy which are required.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Briefly explain what do we mean by the changing nature of globalisation.

Body – Discuss the changes in trade, technology and capital flows and how India is geared to adjust to those changes. Discuss the gaps which would prevent India from reaping full benefit of the favourable situation that India finds itself in. Next, we need to discuss the changes in policy required such as the need for human capital development etc in order to adjust and reap its demographic dividend.

Conclusion – Give your view on how well India is placed to reap benefit and discuss the way forward

Background :-

  • Globalization itself is evolving, with changes in global trade flows, capital flows, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Trade flows and technological changes have attracted more attention than capital flows as drivers of globalization.

New face of globalization :-

  • Technology has enabled services to be digitized and transported long distances at low costs without compromising on quality.
  • The internet has enabled firms to sell services without crossing national borders, and dramatically increased the size and the scope for exploiting cost differentials in services compared to trade in goods.
  • Data and information technology is now the lifeblood of the global economy, fuelling ideas for new products and services, and advancing the transnational flow of trade, capital, and ideas

India is well placed with the new globalisation driven by trade and technology:-

  • Services:-
    • Unlike China, India’s global trade has been spearheaded by exports of modern services. Global service trade also tends to be more resilient compared with the goods trade during global downturns.
  • Investment destination:-
    • Many long-term investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, which are ideally suited for human and physical infrastructure investments, see India as an important investment destination.
    • There is increasing interest from global investors in solar power, water management, waste management, affordable housing and much more.
    • Policy makers have many options to attract more remittances inflows, issue non-resident Indian (NRI) bonds, and attract NRI investors from countries with which India has a double-taxation agreement.
  • There is also increasing interest, both from philanthropic and private foundations, in promoting public private partnerships and maximizing finance for welfare development
  • India provides a potentially huge market access.
  • There is the very appealing demographic dividend with Indian youth representing approximately 20% of the global workforce by 2020. With more than 50 per cent of its population is under the age of 27, India can play a pivotal role in shaping the global fourth Industrial revolution in a responsible, scalable and inclusive manner.
  • There is a rising middle class
  • India is expected to become the fifth largest consumer market in two decades. Within this context, any form of consumption, entrepreneurship, startup or industry, can be viewed as a scaling opportunity.
  • The subcontinent has already taken steps to become an e-government. For example, the government has made efforts to enrol its citizens into a national database. Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometrics database, with 1.2 billion Indian residents enrolled so far.
  • India also wants to become an AI hub with the government recently announcing its National Programme on AI to encourage the development of AI-related technology in the country.
  • India is also quickly rising up the ranks in terms of innovation. Last year, the country moved up five spots on the Global Innovation Index, ranking 57th out of 125 countries. In the category of ICT service exports, India was ranked first.
  • India also has a robust start-up scene, which reportedly has more firms than anywhere else in the world except for the US and the United Kingdom (UK).
  • With one of the youngest labour forces in the world, a sizeable technical aptitude, the second largest number of internet users on mobile devices and the second largest English speaking population, India is well positioned to enhance its global leadership in a post fourth industrial revolution era.
  • With the right mix of accelerators – including regulatory frameworks, educational ecosystems and government incentives – India can lead the fourth industrial revolution, while simultaneously enhancing the quality, equity and sustainability of its own growth and development outcomes

Issues remain:-

  • Some capital flow tends to be more volatile than others. Remittances, which tend to be more resilient, have been the dominant form of capital inflow into India. Given that global migration trends are not increasing, remittances are not enough, and new policy instruments are needed to attract more long-term capital inflows to invest in India’s human and physical infrastructure.
  • Latecomers to development, like India, face a bigger challenge compared to the US and UK, on how to capitalize on their comparative advantage, benefit from new technology, and create more jobs.
  • India needs to dramatically scale up investments in human infrastructure.
  • Technological progress is placing a higher premium on skills, and any failure of countries to lay the groundwork for their citizens to lead productive lives will not only carry high cost, it will also generate more inequality and conflict. 
  • Around 80 percent of the rural population is involved in the farming sector. At present, farming is non-remunerative and needs to be completely overhauled to make it attractive

Way forward :-

  • Scaling up investments in human capital to promote growth and prevent digital divide is an easy call for the policy makers.
  • The enablers to actualise India’s sustainable transformation to fourth industrial revolution includes:-
    • Creation of an enabling ecosystem through incubators and accelerators to develop and scale innovations in ‘Future Now’ Cleantech sectors like clean energy, climate-smart agriculture, circular economy, green buildings and e-mobility is critical from the Indian context, to achieve transformative goals.
    • Proactive initiatives and policies to build on the positive aspects of the new industrial revolution and preventing further widening of the inequality gap are necessary. The Government of India, through its unique initiatives like Digital India, Startup India and Make in India Initiative is bolstering the opportunities for industry 4.0 and green entrepreneurs.
      • Participation of relevant ministries (like MoEFCC, MNRE) and Government-led coalitions (like International Solar Alliance) must be leveraged to champion this on-going movement.
      • World Economic Forum, in partnership with the Government of India has set up the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution India to design and pilot practical tools for specific technologies. Such platforms and coalitions must be leveraged to assess the feasibility and scale innovative business models
    • Access to finance commensurate with maturity of the business model and beginning stage of the start-up lifecycle is extremely important to scale innovations. While Government-led initiatives like Start-Up Sangam will play a key role in crowding capital, private sector participation through grants, seed funding, equity capital and mainstream debt is necessary to scale innovations
    • Corporates will have a key role in championing this on-going movement, leveraging the ART Model – Alliances, Relationships enabled through Technology.
    • India is currently at a cusp of technovation revolution and the transition to a sustainable and inclusive growth trajectory will be accelerated by path-breaking innovations, enabling policies and availability of finance. These developments will lead to the emergence of ‘new-Gen’ business models, characterised by DICE – Design, Innovation and Creativity led Entrepreneurship to create social, environmental and economic positive impact.

General Studies – 4


Topic– strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance

7) Suppose you are presented with a problem which involves ethical decision making i.e adherence to the principles of ethics, while arriving at a decision. What steps would you follow in order to arrive at the decision. Discuss. Also create a hypothetical situation where those steps could be implemented. (250 words)

Reference

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 brainstorm and write in detail as to what should be the broad framework followed in order to make ethical decisions. It wants us to form a step wise procedure in this regard. Then we have to give an example of a hypothetical situation where our step by step process could be applied.

Structure of the answer

  1. Introduction– write a few lines about the need to follow ethical principles in public administration and briefly mention the role of code of conduct rules etc.

Body-

Mention that it is not possible to formulate a process which covers all situations where questions of ethics may arise. Form your answer in the form of a step by step process and give a brief explanation for each step. E.g you can take the help of Michael Davis’ seven-step guide to ethical decision-making. Be creative and critical enough to modify the guide for the challenges involved in public administration.

Seven-step guide to ethical decision-making (Davis 1999)

  1. State the problem.
  2. Check the facts.
  3. Identify relevant factors.
  4. Develop a list of options.
  5. Test the options.
  6. Make a choice based on steps 1-5.
  7. Review steps 1-6.
  1. Form an example where this guide can be followed.

Background:-

  • Ethics are the rules that define moral conduct according to the ideology of a specific group. Moreover, ethics in public administration are important for good business conduct based on the needs of a specific town, state or country.
  • Ethics provide accountability between the public and the administration. Adhering to a code of ethics ensures that the public receives what it needs in a fair manner. It also gives the administration guidelines for integrity in their operations. That integrity, in turn, helps foster the trust of the community.

Steps needed for ethical decision making:-

  • Seven-step guide to ethical decision-making
    • State the problem.
    • Check the facts.
      • Many problems disappear upon closer examination of the situation, while others change radically.
      • For example, persons involved, laws, professional codes, other practical constraints
    • Identify relevant factors.
    • Develop a list of options.
      • Be imaginative, try to avoid dilemma
    • Test the options. Use some of the following tests:
      • Harm test: questioning whether a particular alternative creates harm to others.
      • Defensibility test: Whether the made choice can be defended before any committee of peers
      • Reversibility test: Whether I would want to change my decision
      • Colleague test: Getting opinion of collegues.
    • Make a choicebased on above steps.
    • Review above steps and assess whether I would stick to the same decision again etc.

Example :-

As a public administrator there might be many instances where one has to look forward for ethical decision making for instance when a widow wants to know why welfare measures are denied to her due to technical issues related to Aadhar. In this case the following steps can be undertaken:

  • The problem is the lady is being denied the services
  • Get confirmation whether what she is saying is truth or false
  • Once facts are checked assess why she has been denied for instance her fingerprints were not recognised etc.
  • Have a list of multiple options and test them :-
    • To ensure that she gets the services of the welfare schemes or find out the issues involved in ensuring she gets the services or
  • Based on the above steps come to the conclusion.