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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 NOVEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 NOVEMBER 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– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay’s works point to different facets of her interest in the people of Asia and Africa. Discuss. (250 words)

The hindu

 

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 Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and her works  and bring out her role in presenting and depicting the Asian and African problems of the time.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. E.g Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay has long been recognised in India as the person chiefly responsible, after Independence, for the revival of the country’s variegated crafts traditions and for drawing critical attention to ‘tribal art’.

Body-

Discuss in detail about her works and their relation to Asia and Africa. E.g She is generally viewed as an authority on Indian handicrafts, but Chattopadhyay played no less a role in nurturing craftspersons and shaping the cultural institutions that in independent India would be charged with promoting dance, drama, theatre crafts, music, puppetry, pottery and textiles; At the International Session of the League against Imperialism in Frankfurt, she found a platform to discuss the common problems of subjugated people; it was her abiding interest in creating solidarity among the colonised people which makes her an especially inspirational figure; Chattopadhyay’s writings on Asia, Africa and the Global South in the 1940s point to different facets of her interest in the people of Asia and Africa and their histories. ‘The Struggle of Vietnam against French Imperialism’ (1947, Modern Review) shows her grasp over the history of colonialism in Vietnam. Chattopadhyay was never seduced by the idea that the European Left stood for progressive policies with respect to the question of empire, and her piece is clear in its critique of the failure of the Left in France to ally itself with Vietnamese nationalists agitating for independence. But she was equally unsparing towards the Japanese. ‘The Awakening of Asia’ (1947, At the Crossroads) warns against Japan’s attempts to position itself as the vanguard of pan-Asianism etc.

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

Background:- 

  • Kamaladevi was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter. She was most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, hand looms, and theater in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operation.

 

Contribution:-

  • Crafts:-
    • Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay has long been recognised in India as the person chiefly responsible, after Independence, for the revival of the country’s variegated crafts traditions and for drawing critical attention to ‘tribal art’.
    • She is generally viewed as an authority on Indian handicrafts, but Chattopadhyay played no less a role in nurturing craftspersons and shaping the cultural institutions that in independent India would be charged with promoting dance, drama, theatre crafts, music, puppetry, pottery and textiles.
    • She stressed the significant role which handicrafts and cooperative grassroot movements play in the social and economic upliftment of the Indian people.
  • It was her abiding interest in creating solidarity among the colonised people which makes her an especially inspirational figure.
    • She continued not only to represent India as an emissary but also offered a prescient articulation of the idea of the Global South.
    • Chattopadhyay’s writings on Asia, Africa and the Global South in the 1940s point to different facets of her interest in the people of Asia and Africa and their histories. ‘The Struggle of Viet Nam against French Imperialism’ shows her grasp over the history of colonialism in Vietnam.
    • Chattopadhyay is clear in its critique of the failure of the Left in France to ally itself with Vietnamese nationalists agitating for independence.
    • She was equally unsparing towards the Japanese. ‘The Awakening of Asia’ warns against Japan’s attempts to position itself as the vanguard of pan-Asianism.

General Studies – 2


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

2) The decision to introduce a legislative amendment to force content owners to share live sports signals deemed to be of “National QImportance” with the public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati is akin to market intervention in licensee era. Critically examine.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article focuses on the decision of the government to make it mandatory for content owners to share it with Prasar Bharti in the name of public interest and the impact that it would have. Such a move would have wider ramifications and the article discusses these. The question would help you to prepare this issue in detail.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the proposed decision by I&B ministry and examine the pros and cons of the decision to understand its impact and relevance. Post examining the pros and cons, need is to come it with a fair and balanced conclusion and way forward.

Directive word

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the issue which is under discussion here.

Body

  • Discuss the legislative framework which would allow the government to undertake such a step – Sports Broadcasting Signals Act, 2007 (“the Act”) which the MIB wishes to amend, was promulgated to make sports-broadcasts of “national importance” available to low-income homes. Simultaneously, all distributors are mandated to carry Doordarshan channels by an older law governing private networks
  • Discuss the SC decision which clarified the obligation of content owners as being limited to sharing of sports signals for re-transmission only over Prasar Bharati’s networks and the fact that MIB wishes to bypass this judicial interpretation, in order “to ensure access to the largest number of viewers”
  • Discuss the pros and cons of such a move taking cues from the points mentioned in the article and your wide reading. Here highlight the economic impact it would have on broadcasters and examine whether actually public interest would be served.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • The Ministry proposes to ensure that viewers who do not have access to its terrestrial networks or its DTH Network – DD FreeDish – can also watch sports events of national importance through Doordarshan channels.
  • Under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007, all private broadcasters are required to share live broadcasting signals of sporting events of national importance with Prasar Bharati simultaneously, to enable the public broadcaster to re-transmit the same on its terrestrial networks and its direct-to-home (DTH) network.
  • Now the Ministry proposes to amend the Act to ensure that it can share the feed it gets from private sports broadcaster on DD channels that are carried by other television distribution platforms.

This move was necessary:-

  • Currently, viewers who do not have DD FreeDish or Doordarshan’s terrestrial network, are either unable to watch these sporting events or are compelled to watch them on highly priced sports channels, defeating the objective of the Sports Act. This move will help Prasar Bharti and leads to a wider reach.
  • Will benefit the lower income families who could not have afforded private broadcasters

 

Criticism of the move :-

  • Today, licensing is reminiscent of a bygone era of acute market scarcities. Additionally, the internet has rapidly democratized consumer access to content markets globally, outside of any such licensing paradigm. Yet, the move shows that MIB has a persistent bias towards licensing-inspired interventions to stay relevant.
  • This rulemaking initiative may permanently distort the market for sports broadcasting in India.
  • In August 2017, the Supreme Court clarified the obligation of content owners as being limited to sharing of sports signals for re-transmission only over Prasar Bharati’s networks.
    • The MIB now seeks to bypass this judicial interpretation, in order “to ensure access to the largest number of viewers” by amending the SBS Act
  • Loss of revenue:-
    • If live signal is carried simultaneously on both paid and free TV, advertisers would naturally pay less for their time slots on private networks, eroding the margins of businesses which own the underlying content.
  • Forcibly acquiring private IP for profit
    • Re-transmitting the IP owned by others will perpetuate culture of handouts rather than stimulate any impetus towards creating quality public-service content.

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for wider discussion from multiple stakeholders before taking the decision by the government.

Topic-  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3) India has a central role in the Washington’s “Indo-Pacific” policy. Do you agree. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article provides critical and  valuable insights into India’s position and role as envisaged by the Indo-pacific policy of the US.

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 of the Indo-Pacific policy of the US and thereupon form an opinion as to whether India has a central role in it or not. We have to back up our opinion with proper and valid arguments and facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Indo-Pacific policy of the US.

Body-

Discuss the role India is envisaged to play in the policy. E.g The NSS 2017 views the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and APEC as “centerpieces of the Indo-Pacific’s regional architecture”; The Indo-Pacific, as described in the NSS, represents the most populous and economically dynamic part of the world and “stretches from the west coast of India to the western shores of the United States”; That strategic vision does not cater to India’s interests. The NSS 2017 has omitted some of India’s most vital interests, including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Also left out is the Strait of Malacca, which links the Indian and Pacific Oceans and is India’s gateway to trade with Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea; China is the main security threat to U.S. primacy in Asia. It also has a long-standing border dispute with India. That gives India and the U.S. a shared interest in countering China’s growing military power and territorial revisionist tendencies etc.

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

Background :-

  • In recent years, the Indo-Pacific strategy and the Quad concept have been introduced and advocated by various countries at various points in time.

What is Indo pacific policy of US :-

  • Indo-Pacific used by US means that India, the United States, and other major Asian democracies, especially Japan and Australia, will join in curbing China in the new framework of growing “Cold War” influence.
  • Chinese scholars believe that the geopolitical changes brought about by China’s rise are the main reason Washington is devoting efforts to boost Indo-Pacific alliances, and the Indo-Pacific strategy is intended to hedge against China’s foreign and security policy behaviour. 
  • As such, changes in the geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific region are the fundamental causes motivating the creation of the Indo-Pacific strategy.
  • Against the backdrop of the relative weakening of the United States dominant position and the increasing shift of geopolitical and economic gravity to the Indo-Pacific, the aim is to reshape alliances and partnerships to respond to China’s rise.
  • It (Indo-Pacific) captures the importance of the maritime free commons that allow security and prosperity to continue .

India has a central role in this policy :-

  • The Indo-Pacific, as described in the National security strategy, represents the most populous and economically dynamic part of the world and stretches from the west coast of India to the western shores of the United States.
  • India has always been a country with great national ambitions and is one of the most important advocates of the concept of ” Indo-Pacific Strategy“.
  • India can take this opportunity to promote the justification and rationalization of its interests in Southeast Asia, expand its presence in East Asia, strengthen its political, economic and military cooperation with the United States and its allies, and comprehensively increase India’s influence in international affairs.
  • The National Security Strategy (NSS) 2017 views the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and APEC as “centerpieces of the Indo-Pacific’s regional architecture”.
  • China is the main security threat to U.S. primacy in Asia. It also has a long-standing border dispute with India. That gives India and the U.S. a shared interest in countering China’s growing military power and territorial revisionist tendencies etc.

Concerns for India:-

  • India-Russia relationship:-
    • India’s recent decision to buy the S-400 missile system from Russia puts a question mark about the future of India-U.S. cooperation in the Indo-Pacific for the following reasons.
      • Washington perceives Russia as a security threat.
      • It stresses interoperability with U.S. armed forces.
    • The NSS 2017 has omitted some of India’s most vital interests, including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Also left out is the Strait of Malacca, which links the Indian and Pacific Oceans and is India’s gateway to trade with Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea
    • China:-
      • US wants India to offer more investment to Asian countries. But India needs Chinese investment to upgrade its own infrastructure and is nowhere near competing successfully against China as an investor in Southeast Asia
      • This strategy has a strong military stance against China. At the very least, it is re-dividing Asia-Pacific with Cold War thinking.
    • It is understandable that India wants to keep its sphere of influence as an emerging power, but this shouldn’t come at the cost of its domestic development. Indulging in the game of military balance will only consume India’s strength 
    • India’s simultaneous efforts to cultivate good relations with the U.S., Russia and China highlight the conceptual differences between US and India on the Indo-Pacific and on how best to counter China in Asia.
    • India-U.S. ties could also be encumbered by India’s need for greater economic strength, its red tape and its trading methods.

Conclusion:-

  • The future effectiveness of the Indo-Pacific strategy is uncertain, not least as  the United States, Japan, India and Australia have yet to improve coordinating and joint adoption of policies and strategies.
  • India’s message is clear: it sees itself as no pawn in the game the United States seems to be shaping up to play against China or compliant partner in a US-led political–security order that would put at risk the development of its important relationships with China and others in the region.

Topic -Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

4) It has been argued that Inactivated Polio Vaccine needs to be compulsorily introduced in India. Examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

There have been several cases of vaccine derived polio cases across the world, including India. It is therefore vital to understand the importance of introducing IPV to prevent such cases and at the same time fight the disease from wild strains.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out as to why there is an urgent need for India to switch to IPV from the OPV regime, currently in use today.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  IPV and OPV. Briefly mention the difference between the two.

Body-

Discuss in points/ paragraphs as to why India should introduce IPV in its anti polio drive. E.g With wild polio virus strains reduced by 99.9% since 1988, the world is inching towards eradicating polio. But unfortunately, more children today are affected by the live, weakened virus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that is meant to protect them. The weakened virus in the vaccine can circulate in the environment, occasionally turn neurovirulent and cause vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) in unprotected children; While circulating VDPV strains are tracked, and outbreaks and cases are recorded and shared, little is known about vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) cases, particularly in India. VAPP occurs when the virus turns virulent within the body of a recently vaccinated child and causes polio. The frequency of VAPP cases varies across countries. With high-income countries switching to the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) that uses dead virus to immunise children, the VAPP burden is concentrated in low-income countries which continue to use the OPV; The IPV is essential for post wild-type poliovirus eradication, to get rid of VDPV and VAPP. The globally synchronised switch from trivalent to bivalent OPV in mid-2016 was accompanied by administering a single dose of the IPV prior to administering the OPV. “A single dose of the IPV given before the OPV prevents VAPP cases etc.

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

Background:-

  • India introduced IPV in the mandatory immunization programme on 1 December in six states. For the time being, IPV will be given in addition to the existing OPV.

Why IPV needs to be introduced in India:-

  • More children today are affected by the live, weakened virus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that is meant to protect them.
    • The weakened virus in the vaccine can circulate in the environment, occasionally turn neurovirulent and cause vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) in unprotected children. 
  • Experiences from other countries:-
    • In the high-income countries switching to the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) that uses dead virus to immunise children helped. The VAPP burden is concentrated in low-income countries which continue to use the OPV.
  • In India, the VAPP cases can be avoided once the government stops using the OPV to immunise children. India ignored the problem of VAPP until their numbers were counted.
  • Benefits of IPV:-
    • IPV produces humoral immunity (involving antibodies in body fluids) so the immunised child does not get paralysis, but it can’t stop the circulation of wild polio viruses.
    • When you give a vaccine, you must ensure that the child doesn’t get polio. Only the IPV can do that. A child has to be given several doses of the OPV. Even then, the OPV doesn’t fully protect the child.
    • IPV is essential for post wild-type polio virus eradication, to get rid of VDPV and VAPP.
    • A single dose of the IPV primes the immune system and the antibodies against the polio virus, seen in more than 90% of immunised infants, notes a paper in The Lancet.
    • The vaccine produces antibodies in the blood to all three types of poliovirus. In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis.
  • WHO experience:-
    • IPV given through an injection contains inactivated virus, considered to be safer than OPV that contains live virus. WHO has been advocating IPV over OPV as part of its global endgame strategy on polio eradication.

The following issues need to be tackled to make IPV a success:-

  • IPV induces very low levels of immunity in the intestine. As a result, when a person immunized with IPV is infected with wild poliovirus, the virus can still multiply inside the intestines and be shed in the faeces, risking continued circulation.
  • IPV is over five times more expensive than Oral Polio Vaccine. Administering the vaccine requires trained health workers, as well as sterile injection equipment and procedures

Topic – Issue related to development of social sector services including health.

5) Discuss the challenges that lie ahead for India as it embarks on a mission to end TB by 2025?(250 words)

Livemint

Financial express

Why this question

The article discusses the two major health reforms that India has embarked upon and the challenges that lie ahead for India as it tried to eradicate TB. TB is a significant health burden for India and an attempt to eradicate it needs to be understood in detail and the challenges therein examined.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the strategy that the government intends to follow to eradicate TB. Post that, we need to highlight the challenges that are likely to emerge and how we are planning to tackle them. Finally, we need to provide a forward looking view discussing the possibility of eradication of TB.

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 – Highlight the huge burden of TB that India faces and that eradicating TB would enable India to enhance its image and influencing power in global health diplomacy networks.

Body

  • Give details in brief about TB such as it is airborne etc
  • Give a brief introduction to the TB control programme – RNTCP
  • Discuss the challenges in successful completion of the programme – financial constraints, lack of health infra etc
  • Discuss the ways in which these challenges can be overcome

Conclusion – highlight that the road ahead for India in eradicating TB would be tough but we can take cues from our success in tackling polio and eliminate TB as well.

Background:-

  • India accounts for 27% of the world’s tuberculosis burden and it had set its own target at the End-TB Summit in Delhi earlier this year: TB Free India by 2025. 
  • With an estimated 10 million new cases of tuberculosis and 1.6 million dying from the disease globally in 2017, the world still has a long way to go.

Challenges faced by India to tackle tuberculosis:-

  • Under-reporting of tuberculosis cases has been a perpetual issue hampering efforts at estimating, controlling and treating the disease.
    • India alone accounts for 26% of the 3.6 million global gap in the reporting of tuberculosis cases.
  • Issues with Nikshay:-
    • India had set up Nikshay which is an online tuberculosis reporting system for medical practitioners and clinical establishments, with the aim to increase the reporting of tuberculosis, especially from the private sector.
    • In the years since it was launched, Nikshay has faced many roadblocks on the ground, such as unawareness of the system, unwillingness to report due to misconceptions about it, inconsistency in reporting, and lack of incentives for those reporting cases.
  • While the reporting of cases has increased, the corollary reporting on treatment outcomes has not been robust.
    • In 2016, of all the tuberculosis cases notified, the treatment outcome data for 22% had not been reported.
    • If there is no consistent follow-up of treatment regimens and outcomes, tuberculosis patients can easily slip through the cracks, resulting in cases of relapse, and multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis.
    • There is currently little to no follow up of patients in government hospitals or community clinics once they are discharged, or if they stop turning up to take their medicine.
  • Treatment of vulnerable sections:-
    • The coverage and prophylactic treatment of vulnerable populations, such as children under five living in households with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS patients, has been even slower.
    • While TB affects everyone, it is widely known as a disease of poverty. The poorer the community, the greater the likelihood of people becoming infected and developing disease.
  • Undernutrition:-
    • Of the five risk factors for tuberculosis mentioned in the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018 – alcohol, smoking, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and undernutrition ,it is undernutrition that poses the gravest risk in India, as it does in other poor, developing nations, especially among children.
    • The prevention and successful treatment of tuberculosis is closely linked with the overall improvement in nutrition and health indicators, poverty, and access to healthcare. 
  • Data constraints:-
    • Data on the disease with which experts are working in India is more than 60 years old now, with the last national-level survey on tuberculosis having been conducted in 1955. 
  • New technologies:-
    • The development and spread of new methods and technologies to detect the different modes of this disease, new vaccines, and new drugs and shorter drug regimens have been slow, as compared to other such diseases like HIV/AIDS. 
    • The method most commonly used to diagnose TB in India, is sputum smear microscopy which is nearly 100 years old and it misses up half the cases.
  • Governance failure:-
    • TB is continuing to devastate lives because of the government’s inability to regulate an exploitive private health sector, and to fill gaps in the supply of live-saving medicines.
    • Doctors, NGOs, survivors and advocates warn that India almost certainly will not meet the target because of a lack of disease prevention, delays in correctly diagnosing patients, inadequate treatment and the growing epidemic of drug resistant TB.
    • Logistical problems common in TB clinics.
    • Staff report delays in patients receiving their diagnosis from the local hospital and delays in obtaining key lab equipment.
    • The government does provide free TB drugs, but they often arrive late, sometimes with only a few weeks before they are due to expire. 
    • In April 2018 the Indian government introduced a subsidy of 500 rupees a month to every TB patient so they can buy the food they need, as nutrition is so important in fighting the disease.
      • However, only newly diagnosed patients can currently claim the subsidy.
      • Reports in the Indian press said only 12% of eligible patients had received it, two months after it was announced.
    • Lack of awareness:-
      • Not completing the full course of medication which takes at least six to eight months for uncomplicated TB leads to drug resistance, making the infection more difficult to treat.
      • Stopping treatment midway is a major reason why around 3 lakh people in India die each year from this respiratory infection.
      • There can be a lack of education around symptoms of illness in poor communities like Burari.
      • Factors such as the cost of travel, fear they will lose out on their daily income or the perception doctors might look down on them all mean that people in poor communities can be less likely to seek healthcare. Without access to good quality healthcare there are longer delays between diagnosis and cure.
    • Multisectoral approach not done:-
      • TB cannot be addressed as a disease with drugs, but also the other social issues: housing, food, out of pocket expenses.
    • One of the biggest barriers to elimination in India, is that the condition is still seen as shameful.
      • Women who suffer TB are regularly divorced, or fear for their future marriage prospects.
      • Around 100,000 women a year are abandoned by their families to die of disease and starvation because they have TB, according to a 2008 government report.

Way forward:-

  • In March 2018, in a gazette notification, the Indian government put in place provisions penalising the non-reporting of tuberculosis cases, along with making it mandatory for pharmacists/chemists to report tuberculosis cases and maintain records of the drugs dispensed to patients, allowing for self-reporting by tuberculosis patients, and providing cash incentives to those reporting cases. Thid needs better implementation.
  • Counselling for patients to start treatment, to keep taking their medicines, to deal with any side effects and to combat shame is the only way India will eliminate TB.
    • Having people go to patients homes and explain to their whole families the importance of taking the medications, of good nutrition and to talk about any side effects they might be experiencing is very effective and means fewer patients stop treatment,
  • Ensuring patients complete the full course of the treatment becomes mandatory to cure the disease.
  • One of the most important pillars of eliminating TB is timely diagnosis, as each undiagnosed patient can transmit the disease to others. A study by the Global Coalition of TB Activists found it took between a month and more than two years for patients to get a proper diagnosis. This needs change.
  • Sputum smear tests should be replaced by a faster and more accurate molecular test, called GeneXpert or CBNAAT. CBNAAT is highly sensitive, takes only two hours to produce a result, and tells doctors the patient has a drug resistant form of the disease.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment”

6) Why do economies strive for fiscal consolidation and examine whether fiscal exapnsion during slowdown is advantageous?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the advantages of fiscal consolidation. Thereafter, we need to discuss the debate between fiscal consolidation and expansion and examine which of the two during a phase of slowdown would be more advantageous.

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 do you understand by fiscal consolidation and expansion.

Body – Discuss the advantages that are accrued as a result of fiscal consolidation such as peps up market sentiment, helps keep inflation in check etc. Discuss that keeping in view these advantages FRBM act was brought it. Thereafter, move to the next part of the question and examine the phases such as post 2008 crisis and currently when expansion has taken place and the impact of such fiscal expansion.

Conclusion – Give your view on the usage of fiscal expansion as a tool during recession and comment on the recent breaches of FRBM Act.

 

Fiscal consolidation and why economies strive for it :-

  • Fiscal consolidation is defined as concrete policies aimed at reducing government deficits and debt accumulation. The goal of fiscal consolidation in any setting is to improve financial stability by creating a more desirable financial position.
  • Fiscal consolidation is a process where government’s fiscal health is getting improved and is indicated by reduced fiscal deficit.
  • Improved tax revenue realization and better aligned expenditure are the components of fiscal consolidation as the fiscal deficit reaches at a manageable level.
  • Fiscal consolidation is required to ensure fiscal discipline in an economy. This has a significant impact on inflation management, stock market, investor confidence etc.
  • To achieve the above targets Indian government enacted FRMB Act in 2003. However, during economic recession in 2008 government had to do fiscal stimulus so as to bail out the economy from the spiralling trap.

Fiscal expansion :-

  • Fiscal expansion is generally defined as an increase in economic spending owing to actions taken by the government. Fiscal expansion, also known as fiscalstimulus, is one common way a government can affect economic growth.
  • Why fiscal expansion during slowdown is advantageous :-
    • During times of economic stagnation, fiscal expansionenables the government to encourage growth by changing the levels of spending or taxation.
    • The primary advantages of fiscal expansion are increased economic stimulus and expanded demand for goods and services. Theoretically, fiscal expansion enables companies to increase their output and hire more workers.
    • Fiscal expansion is sometimes used to jump-start a stagnant economy and increase the productivity of private businesses.
  • Concerns :-
    • A potential problem of expansionary fiscal policy is that it will lead to an increase in the size of a government’s budget deficit.
    • Higher borrowing could:-
      • Financial crowding out. Larger deficits could cause markets to fear debt default and push up interest rates on government debt.
      • Resource crowding out. If private investors buy government bonds, they have less to use for private sector investment.

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment”

7) A strict inflation targetting regime without any concern for growth is not the right approach for holistic development management. Critically analyze.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to discuss the positive as well as negative aspects of inflation targeting and how it affects development of the country. Based on our discussion we have to form a substantive conclusion on the issue. This is to be done in the context of a strict Inflation targeting approach of the RBI, which has been criticized for various reasons with restricting development opportunities being the most important of them

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few lines about the mandate of RBI to restrict inflation to 4 +/- 2%. Also mention RBI’s recent monetary policy changes like hike in repo and reverse repo rates.

Body

  • Discuss the positive aspects of such a targeting approach on development.  E.g fosters stable macroeconomic conditions; stable inflation rates and expectations- linked to such domestic and business decisions; generates high investment confidence etc. 
  • DIscuss the negative aspects. E.g restricts development opportunities, inadequate allocation of public funds for social sectors; propagates social inequality; is insufficient as a measure because of strong association of inflation in India with the supply side etc.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion form a conclusion as to what should be done in this regard. Your opinion should be supported by further arguments in case needed.

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.

 Negative impact which led to adverse impact :-

  • Created an imbalance between India’s foreign exchange debt and its reserves that has brought international hedge funds into the Indian money market.
  • 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.
  • Policy of inflation targeting by RBI made borrowing in the Indian market very costly for industrial borrowers, thus increasing their exposure to currency volatility.
  • It is insufficient as a measure because of strong association of inflation in India with the supply side.

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.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic– Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery

8) “Citizens’ Charters” initiative is a response to the quest for solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with the organisations providing public services. 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 about the meaning, objectives and the elements of the citizen’s charter.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Citizen’s Charter. E.g The concept of Citizens’ Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.  The concept was first articulated and implemented in the United Kingdom by the Conservative Government of John Major in 1991 as a national programme with a simple aim: to continuously improve the quality of public services for the people of the country so that these services respond to the needs and wishes of the users.

Body-

  1. Discuss the objectives of a citizen’s charter. E.g The basic objective of the Citizens’ Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery. The principles of the Citizens’ Charter movement are : (i) Quality : Improving the quality of services; (ii) Choice : Wherever possible; (iii) Standards :Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met; (iv) Value: For the taxpayers’ money;    (v) Accountability : Individuals and Organisations; and  (vi) Transparency : Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances etc.
  2. Discuss the elements of a citizen’s charter. E.g The Charters are expected to incorporate the following elements :-(i)  Vision and Mission Statement; (ii)  Details of business transacted by the organisation; (iii) Details of clients; (iv) Details of services provided to each client group; (v)  Details of grievance redress mechanism and how to access it; and (vi)  Expectations from the clients.

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

Answer :-

A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.  

The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

The main objective of the exercise to issue the Citizen’s Charter of an organisation is to improve the quality of public services. This is done by letting people know the mandate of the concerned Ministry/ Department/ Organisation, how one can get in touch with its officials, what to expect by way of services and how to seek a remedy if something goes wrong. The Citizen’s Charter does not by itself create new legal rights, but it surely helps in enforcing existing rights. 

Six principles of the Citizens Charter movement as originally framed, were:

  • Quality : Improving the quality of services
  • Choice : Wherever possible
  • Standards :Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met
  • Value: For the taxpayers’ money
  • Accountability : Individuals and Organisations
  • Transparency : Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances.

The Charters are expected to incorporate the following elements :-

  • Vision and Mission Statement
  • Details of business transacted by the organization
  • Details of clients
  • Details of services provided to each client group
  • Details of grievance redress mechanism and how to access it
  • Expectations from the clients.

 

The citizen’s charter on successful implementation was expected to have the following features:

  • Improved service delivery
  • Greater responsiveness of officials towards the public
  • Greater public satisfaction with the services offered.