Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JANUARY 2019


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.


Topic – India and its bilateral relations.

1) India’s strategic interests are better served through a continuity in USA’s foreign policy. Evaluate.(250 words)

Reference

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article discusses the impact of changes and continuity in US foreign policy on the strategic interests of India. The articles discusses the impact on a range of issues from peace in Afghanistan to crackdown on pakistan, all of which fall within core strategic interests of India. Hence this question would enable us to develop a perspective on India USA bilateral relations.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what we understand by continuity in USA’s foreign policy. Thereafter, we need to bring out why continuity in USA’s foreign policy is important for India and its impact on India’s core strategic interests. Finally, we need to provide our view and discuss way forward.

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 – Explain about the change in guard at the helm of USA’s foreign establishment and mention that it can have several bearings for India and her foreign policy.

Body

  • Explain what you understand by a continuity in USA’s foreign policy.
  • Discuss the impact on India’s core strategic interests as a result of USA’s foreign policy
    • Talk about the implications of USA’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and how it it would affect India’s strategic interests
    • Discuss about how change or continuity in USA’s foreign policy wrt Pakistan can have a bearing on India’s core strategic interests
    • Examine the impact of USA’s policy in Asia Pacific on India’s strategic interests in the region
  • Discuss what should be India’s strategy to deal with such variables

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion on how important continuity in USA’s foreign policy is for India and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

American president Donald Trump has got elected with the slogan of ‘America First’ ‘Making America great again’ etc and may sideline interests of other nations for that of America’s. He has shown different policy aptitude than his predecessor and could change the direction of America’s foreign relations with India.

The constant changes in the top bureaucracy, pulling out of International deals like Paris Agreement, Trans-Pacific Partnership shows the radical changes in USA’s foreign policies. James Mattis, who was great advocate of better India-US relations was recently removed from the job also adding to changes in policies.

Body:

  • USA’s foreign policy towards India:

India and USA relations is on a rising trajectory. The substantiation for the same can be seen through the following

  • The two countries had moved the security partnership forward like the signing of Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA),LEMOA, General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA in 2002) starting from the civil nuclear deal.
  • New Delhi has also been pleased with the Trump administration’s decision to cut off assistance to Pakistan for its unwillingness to end its support for terror in Afghanistan.
  • The naming of India as a strategic partner and rechristening of Asia-Pacific as Indo-Pacific shows the importance given to India-USA relations.
  • The Quad dialogue of India and USA along with Japan and Australia to provide net security in Indo-Pacific region and to keep China’s aggressiveness at check.

 

  • Impact on India’s core strategic interest as a result of USA’s changing Foreign Policy:

Implications of USA’s withdrawal from Afghanistan:

  • US President Donald Trump decided to pull out about 7,000 American troops from Afghanistan. The decision to slash the number of troops by half has provoked varied reactions in the region and in the United States.
  • With USA’s withdrawal, India’s policy of “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled,” process with participation of the Afghan government can take a back step as other foreign powers back Pakistan’s involvement in Afghan Peace process.
  • An expanded Pakistani footprint in Afghanistan would threaten India’s hard-won gains.
  • The US pulling out troops from Afghanistan will have implications in the Kashmir Valley as terrorist outfits there may feel emboldened.

 

Implications due to change or continuity in USA’s foreign policy with respect to Pakistan:

  • With constant radical changes in the bureaucracy, the lack of policy experience and lack of knowledge of regional security issues is likely to prove consequential, especially in South Asia.
  • The current blockade of aid based on Pakistan’s poor track record to fight against home-grown terrorism could be reversed leading to more attacks on Indian soil.

 

Other implications:

                Security:

  • The recent unilateral legislations of USA like “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)” can affect India’s defence deals with other countries. g.: purchase of S-400 Triumf missile air defence systems from Russia.
  • Constant changes in USA’s policy towards West Asian countries has led to instability, thereby affecting the Indian diaspora g.: Operation Rahat in Yemen.

Trade and Economy:

  • The pulling out of USA from Joint ComprehensivePlan of Action affects the energy security of India as we import significant amount of oil from Iran.
  • The reduced interest of USA in the Asia Pacific region can lead to China’s domination in the region significantly affecting our “Act East” Policy and freedom of navigation in the region.
  • The Protectionism policy of USA has affected the Indian MNC’s and prospects of many skilled engineers, this inturn can affect on our remittances.

 

  • India’s strategy to deal with variables of USA’s foreign policy:
  • India must take support of other regional organisations like SCO, Heart of Asia conference and bilateral relations with Afghanistan to deal with Afghan issues.
  • India must focus on bilateral relations with other nations like Russia, China which would ensure her strategic interests are better served.
  • Use of Global forums like UNO to isolate Pakistan on international stage.
  • Indian foreign policy must seek to leverage India’s strategic autonomy in order to safeguard sovereign rights and promote national interests within a multi-polar world.

Conclusion:

Considering the possible implications on India’s core strategic interests, India needs to ensure that her interests don’t hinge on USA’s policies completely. The continuity of USA’s foreign policy definitely benefits India but the alternatives must be kept ready.


Topic – India and its bilateral relations

2) The recent political results in Bangladesh will provide a fillip to India Bangladesh bilateral relations. Comment(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question

The recent elections in Bangladesh will have a bearing on the relationship between India and Bangladesh as has been seen earlier. It is important to understand how the recent elections impact India Bangladesh relations.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out how the election result in Bangladesh would impact the bilateral relations between the two countries and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

Comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Your opinion may be for or against, but you must back your argument with evidences.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Talk about the results in Bangladesh national elections. Mention that in case of Bangladesh we have seen that the relationship with India has historically been dependent on who is in power there.

Body

  • Discuss the impact of election result in bilateral relations between the two countries. You should discuss the impact by classifying them into strategic , economic and geopolitical impacts.
    • steadfast partner in the fight against counter-terrorism, connectivity initiatives, and sub-regional cooperation, Hasina is poised to play a major role in Delhi’s initiatives in Bay of Bengal and Northeast amid China’s massive inroads in South Asia. Stability in Bangladesh like Bhutan is imperative for India amid political uncertainties in certain other parts of neighbourhood that includes Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, according to experts’ familiar with Delhi’s South Asia strategy.
    • staunch ally in Dhaka further assists Delhi against Pak Army & ISI’s designs to foment cross-border extremism in the region
    • Bangladesh that is all poised to emerge as a middle-income country opens up a huge market for Indian investors etc
  • Discuss about the fact that erstwhile Khaleda Zia regime in Bangladesh had strong reservations against granting connectivity and transit to the neighbours on the pretext that it would infringe on the sovereignty of Bangladesh. It was the Sheikh Hasina-led government that realized that granting connectivity and transit was a win-win situation for Bangladesh.

Conclusion – Give your view on the future prospect of India Bangladesh relations in light of these factors.

Introduction:

India’s courteous relationship with Bangladesh has been vision from the time ofBangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The recent general elections was won by the Awami League (founded by the latter), which has been Pro-India in the geopolitical arena of South Asia vis-à-vis the Bangladesh National Party.India’s links with Bangladesh are civilizational, cultural, social and economic.

Body:

The impact of the electoral win of Awami league on India can be studied under the following heads.

  • Strategic
    1. A steadfast partner in the fight against counter-terrorism.
    2. Awami League is poised to play a major role in Delhi’s initiatives in Bay of Bengal (g BIMSTEC, SASEC) and Northeast India amid China’s massive inroads in South Asia.
    3. Stability in Bangladesh like Bhutan is imperative for India amid political uncertainties in certain other parts of neighbourhood that includes Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, according to experts’ familiar with Delhi’s South Asia strategy.
    4. A staunch ally in Dhaka further assists Delhi against Pak Army & ISI’s designs to foment cross-border extremism in the region, according to persons familiar with South Asian politics.

 

  • Economic
    1. Bangladesh is all poised to emerge as a middle-income country opens up a huge market for Indian investors.
    2. Bangladesh has already emerged as major source for remittances for Indians after the Gulf region.
    3. Bangladesh is the highest recipient of India’s concessional Line of Credit that almost amounts to eight billion USD.
    4. Connectivity between Bangladesh and neighbouring countries including India have received great boost during the last ten years from Hasina’s pro-active stance on enhancing connectivity in South and Southeast Asia.
    5. Major initiatives like the Kaladan Multimodal project, BBIN road project, Bus & train services between Kolkata and North Eastern states are at various stages of construction and operation.
    6. Currently, four border haats are operational along the India-Bangladesh border. Two border haats are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat and two are located in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
    7. Regional connectivity between Bangladesh and its neighbours is expected in implementation of the planned concept of ‘Blue Economy’ now that Bangladesh is in receipt of new marine territories as a result of the maritime verdict wins through arbitration against India and Myanmar.
  • Geopolitical
    1. Bangladesh’s location is a strategic wedge between mainland India and Northeastern seven states of the Indian Union. Each of these states is land-locked and has shorter route to the sea through Bangladesh.
    2. Bangladesh is a natural pillar of “Look East Policy”. A friendly Bangladesh that ensures no anti-India terror or insurgent activities can be carried out from its soil unlike in the past will substantially assist India in handling security problems in some of its restive north-east States.
    3. The navigable rivers in India’s Northeast that could connect West Bengal or Orissa ports pass through Bangladesh. The only entry to and exit from the Northeastern region of India is through the Siliguri Corridor that is close to the Chinese border and within striking distance of Bangladesh. The Siliguri Corridor is the most sensitive ‘choke point’ for the Indian Union.
    4. The 100th Constitutional Amendment Act of India which involved exchange of the enclaves between India and Bangladesh can act as model for other issues like the Teesta river water sharing.

Areas which need to be worked upon:

  1. A major area of contention has been the construction and operation of the Farakka Barrage by India to increase water supply in the river Hoogly. Bangladesh insists that it does not receive a fair share of the Ganges waters during the drier seasons, and gets flooded during the monsoons when India releases excess waters.
  2. There have also been disputes regarding the transfer of TeenBigha Corridor to Bangladesh.
  3. Terrorist activities carried out by outfits based in both countries, like BangaSena and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. Recently India and Bangladesh had agreed jointly to fight terrorism.
  4. Illegal Bangladeshi immigration into India. The border is porous and migrants are able to cross illegally, though sometimes only in return for financial or other incentives to border security personnel. Bangladeshi officials have denied the existence of Bangladeshis living in India and those illegal migrants found are described as having been trafficked.
  5. Continuous border killing of Bangladeshi people by Indian border guards, aiding illegal immigrants, helping in armed dacoity, fake money transfer and illegal drug trades by both Indian and Bangladeshi people are the major problems between Bangladesh and India.

Conclusion:

Bangladesh as a neighbour, a close partner for regional development, security and cooperation, is a central pillar in India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy. An economically strong, secular and democratic Bangladesh is integral to New Delhi’s interests and also of the subcontinent as a whole.


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

3) Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana has a number of challenges to contend with as it seeks to improve the status of healthcare in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Financial express

 

Why this question

The article delves deep into the challenges that are likely to come before PMJAY as it tries to address the issue of out of pocket expenditure in healthcare. This question would help you understand the challenges that lay before this scheme and how to overcome them.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain about PMJAY and thereafter, bring out the likely challenges before the scheme. We need to explain these challenges in detail and bring out the ways through which we can address them. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced opinion regarding the possibility of PMJAY becoming a success and discuss the way forward.

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 – Explain about PMJAY.

Body

  • Bring out the various challenges involved for the future of the scheme
    • How the programme propose to level the playing field between the public and private hospitals, as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support
    • Issues over how lower-middle class and middle-class households are brought under the fold in this programme etc
  • Discuss about the ways through which these challenges can be addressed going forward.

Conclusion – Mention that it is important to make longer-term commitments and resolve programme uncertainties, especially with regard to the inclusion of the APL and discuss the way forward.

 

Introduction:

Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PM-JAY), introduced under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat, aims to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services was conceived.

        It will have offer a benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year data (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries). PM-JAY will cover medical and hospitalization expenses for almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures.

Body:

The program certainly has a good intent of giving the best of the medical services at lowest prices to the economically weaker, deprived sections of the society. The program is fraught with many challenges that can hinder its outcome.

 

Finance: At about 1.3% of the national income, India’s public healthcare spending between 2008 and 2015, has virtually remained stagnant. It is a herculean task to implement a scheme that could potentially cost Rs 5 lakh per person and benefit 53.7 crore out of India’s 121 crore citizenry, or roughly about 44% of the country’s population. Because inflation in healthcare expenses has been known to increase faster than general inflation, the problem is likely to get worse in the future.

 

Doctor-Density Ratio: The WHO reports the doctor-density ratio in India at 8 per 10,000 people. To achieve such access, merely increasing the number of primary and secondary healthcare centres is not enough. Access should be equitable. Infrastructure creation and quantity of healthcare centres should go hand-in-hand.

 

Populist measures of the government: The idea of bringing the Above Poverty Line (APL) population in the unorganised sector under ambit of scheme has been a bone of contention. A sizeable part would remain uninsured—mostly lower-middle class and middle-class households whose income-earning members work in the unorganised sector. The high cost of insurance as compared to PMJAY would deter this section from being insured.

 

Lack of level playing field between the public and private hospitals: This has been a major concern as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support. This would dissuade the private players from actively participating in the scheme.

 

Additional incentives to the private players: The setting up hospitals in the underserved areas by private players can happen when there are incentives from the State. Lack of this would maintain status quo of last mile medical care which is in shackles.

 

Improper support infrastructure of IT: The programme is being rolled out hurriedly, even before the necessary systems and processes have been developed fully and tested for their robustness. This has led to continued Out of Pocket Expenditure for the poor pushing many into poverty.

 

Other Concerns:

  • The crucial determinant of PMJAY’s success lies at the state government level as public health is a state subject.
  • The experience from previous centrally-sponsored schemes is that line ministries have often created too many requirements and required excessive standardisation, thereby stressing on top-down approach.

 

Way Forward:

  • The APL population need not be included immediately but, say, in a couple of years.
  • Focus on health insurance penetration for the APL for time-beng.
  • The budgetary support being granted to public hospitals can be given as incentives to private players in underserved areas.
  • The National Health Authority set up as an independent authority should provide for less interference from the government, thereby encouraging private players to participate.
  • A binding policy commitment is imperative so as to reduce policy uncertainty and enable investments in hospital infrastructure.

 

Conclusion:

PM-JAY seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG3).


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

4) The era of specialisation has its own achievements but it has also created narrow reductionist viewpoints on environment and nature. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Specialization of fields of education and profession is an ever-growing phenomena. The article discusses what it entails for the society in terms of technological and economic progress and what are its effects in terms of our interaction towards nature.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding about the pros and cons of specialization that we have witnessed since the onset of modern economies and express our opinion as to how it affects our understanding as well as response towards nature.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  growing importance of specialization like in the fields of medicine, management, research etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss why specialization has occurred in the modern society.e.g  With greater and deeper development of various fields of science, technology and even the social sciences, specialisation is inevitable and even necessary in the contemporary world. This has yielded many important, even life-saving results etc.
  2. Discuss the perils of specialization. E.g it leads members of the knowledge industry to see little beyond their bulwarks; The world views of highly specialised domains are often so distinct that they have created not only disparate paradigms but distinct worlds; It, therefore, becomes difficult or impossible for an economist to appreciate the importance and value of biodiversity or why its loss is a major casualty (unless he or she tries to monetise it), or for an engineer to understand why decentralised solar power that allows greater democratisation among local communities is an opportunity to be grabbed instead of installing large solar parks by mega-corporations; corporate interests, personal promotion, careerism and pandering to their own vested interests create elite networks of corruption etc.

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

 

Introduction:

Polymaths are people who have excelled in diverse pursuits, and several of those polymaths left us with some very practical advice on how to succeed.With a focus on expertise, polymaths are becoming rare in the 21st century. Specialisation in various fields like medicine, management, sports etc. has led to ivory towers in each field which has led to least concern for externalities of specialisation.

        People like Leonardo da Vinci (artist and helicopter designer), Benjamin Franklin (founding father, inventor, and all-around lady-killer), Paul Robeson (scholar, athlete, actor, and civil rights activist), and even Steve Jobs (engineer, businessman extraordinaire, and marketing mastermind) are few examples of Polymaths.

 

Body:

 

We live in an age where deep-specialization is highly encouraged. The more deeply you specialize, the wealthier your prospects are is the common belief.

 

Specialisation and its achievements:

  • They have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.
  • They can allocate all of their attention and focus on one field.
  • They are regarded as experts in the field, and can act as consultants.
  • g: The achievements in the field of medicine like vaccines against Epidemics, minimum invasive surgeries, cadaver transplantations has helped save many lives.
  • g: Engineers have helped developed technologies which helped world see many industrial revolutions and currently at the cusp of IR 4.0

 

Perils of Specialisation on Environment and Nature:

  • It leads members of the knowledge industry to see little beyond their bulwarks.
  • They’ve been taught to focus so narrowly that they can’t look at a problem from different angles.
  • With increasing specialisation, there are experts who do not understand the connections between knowledge systems and ways of knowing. This leads to lack of ability to see big picture solutions.
  • The lust for power could see how specialised intellectuals as accomplices of political elites are prone to confuse their private interest with public interest.
  • In a developing country like India, there is a need for welfare state, and if specialists are policymakers, it can further impoverish the poor.
  • g: for a specialised engineer to understand why decentralised solar power that allows greater democratisation among local communities is an opportunity to be grabbed instead of installing large solar parks by mega-corporations becomes difficult.
  • g: The case of 3- Parent baby or Designer baby: It also makes it near impossible for a molecular biologist to understand that more targeted and improved ways to cut and paste DNA is not the point being made by those concerned about genetically modified organisms. It is about ownership, biodiversity, science and soils — cross-cutting domains that super-specialists will not be able to see.
  • g: Renewable energy experts call for more biomass plantations, others worry about the displacement of farmers, the reduction of food production and the loss of biodiversity.

 

Way Forward:

Need for Polymaths:

  • There is a need to look into cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge rather than silo views.
  • His/Her many spheres of knowledge can create a syncretic world view that contributes to a broad perspective.
  • An easy ability to see connectedness among multiple domains of knowledge of the natural world and human interaction.
  • Spreading knowledge little around can be a great path to innovationwh

Case Study:Biomimicry looks to nature for solutions to modern problems — after all, Mother Earth has had 3.8 billion years to work out all the design kinks. Biomimetics requires practitioners to be more than engineers, more than biologists, more than ecologists, more than designers, and more than inventors. In true polymathic fashion, they must inhabit the mindframe of all of the above. And incredible innovation has come out of the field: a burr stuck in a dog’s fur became the design inspiration for velcro; the brilliantly-hued blue wings of a Morpho butterfly inspired a better television display; fabrics and paint that dramatically cut down drag were inspired by shark skin.

        Francis Crick, who discovered the structure of DNA, was originally a physicist; he claimed this background gave him the confidence to solve problems that biologists couldn’t.

Conclusion:

Although the world needs specialists, there is a need to make them specialised generalists.


Topic-Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

5) Repeated loan waivers may be in the interest of political parties but are not in the interest of farmers. Critically examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Farm loan waivers introduced recently by several state governments have been criticized time and again on many accounts. It is therefore necessary to analyze the perils of such schemes and what could be the best strategy to address the issue holistically.

Directive word

Critically examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deeper into the issue, bring out the pitfalls and deficiencies of farm loan waiver schemes and express our opinion on the issue as to what should be done in this regard.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  farm loan waivers introduced recently as well as in the recent past in many states of India. Mention that The NSSO Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households (2013) shows that 52% of farming households are indebted, with rates as high as 89-92% in some States.

Body-

  1. Discuss how farm subsidies are not enough to address the farmers’ woes. E.g
  • A loan waiver is only an element of immediate relief. It is an acknowledgment that farmers have been pushed into debt due to the systemic failures of the government.
  • The burden on farmers on account of just three items (lack of compensation during drought and disasters, the failures of the crop insurance scheme, and the deficit due to prices falling below the announced Minimum Support Prices) runs to tens of thousands of crores every season.
  • Farm loan waiver does not cater to the vast small and marginal farmers who don’t have access to formal credit and are indebted to local money lenders etc.
  1. Discuss what should be the line of action to address the agriculture distress in a sincere and holistic manner. E.g
  • Guarantee access to institutional credit to not only big farmers but also small and marginal farmers, sharecroppers, tenants, adivasi and women farmers, and animal-rearers;
  • Registration of all cultivators and providing them Kisan credit cards
  • establish farmers’ distress and disaster relief commissions at the national and State levels, based on the model of Kerala Farmers’ Debt Relief Commission.
  • In addition to reforming the credit system, agriculture should be made profitable by ensuring fair remunerative prices, lowering the cost of cultivation, and promoting viable farmer collectives and sustainable models of agriculture.

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

 

Introduction:

Farm loan waiver is the practice of writing off the loans given to farmers owing to their inability to pay them back due to reasons like calamity, disaster, political policies etc.Since 2014, there have been similar moves in Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh which are States run by various parties. The loan waivers has become a big political tool in hands of political parties that has ruined capital status of Indian agriculture economics.

        The NSSO Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households (2013) shows that 52% of farming households are indebted, with rates as high as 89-92% in some States.

 

Body:

 

Farm loan waiver are necessary for farmers’ welfare:

  • Agriculture in India has been facing many issues — fragmented land holding, depleting water table levels, deteriorating soil quality, rising input costs, low productivity. Add to this vagaries of the monsoon.
  • Output prices may not be remunerative. Farmers are often forced to borrow to manage expenses. Also, many small farmers not eligible for bank credit borrow at exorbitant interest rates from private sources.
  • When nature rides roughshod over debt-ridden farmers in the form of erratic monsoon and crop failures, they face grim options. Indebtedness is a key reason for the many farmer suicides in the country.

Loan waivers are not sufficient for farmers’ welfare rather it’s in interest of Political Parties:

  • Loan waiver is generally declared by political parties for electoral gains. The very purpose of waiving is unjustified and the needs a review of overall waiving process.
  • Farm loan waivers have become electoral weapons for parties, but it’s the small businesspersons and traders who are bearing the burden of loans that banks give them at high-interest rates.
  • Farm loan waiver does not cater to the vast small and marginal farmers who don’t have access to formal credit and are indebted to local money lenders. A study by RythuSwarajyaVedika in June 2018 showed that 75% of farmer suicides in Telangana are by tenant farmers, who have no or least access to formal credit.
  • Farm loan waivers are at best a temporary solution and entail a moral hazard even those who can afford to pay may not, in the expectation of a waiver.
  • Such measures can erode credit discipline and may make banks wary of lending to farmers in the future. It also makes a sharp dent in the finances of the government that finances the write-off. Ex- RBI chiefs like Urjit Patel and Raghuram Rajan have also expressed similar views of ‘Moral Hazard’
  • Also a recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute reveals that at the national level, 48% of agricultural households do not avail a loan from any source. Among the borrowing households, 36% take credit from informal sources.
  • A negative relationship between the size of farm and per capita consumption expenditure (a proxy for income) further underscores the importance of formal credit in assisting marginal and poor farm households in reducing poverty hence farm loan waivers fail to result into farmers welfare.

What needs to be done?

  • Credit, finance and Insurance:
    • A functional institutional credit system which is accessible and accountable to all cultivators.
    • This covers not only land-owning farmers but also sharecroppers, tenants, adivasi and women farmers, and animal-rearers.
    • Credit products for agriculture need to be tailor-made based on cropping and rain cycle, specific to a particular region. The regional offices of commercial banks should contribute in this exercise. Registration of all cultivators and providing Kisan credit cards.
    • The period of crop loan should be extendable to four years, given that, on average, every second or third year the spatial distribution of rain pattern is erratic in India.
  • Input Costs:
    • It is more important to make agriculture sustainable by reducing input costs of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs.
  • Remunerative Prices:
    • Extending reach of minimum support price which has been dedicated to few crops and in a narrow geographical area is important.
    • Set up of Futures and Trade markets, tie up of farmer and private companies for procurement should be looked into as alternative methods against distress sale.
  • Agro- Produce Marketing and Processing:
    • The agro-processing industry and warehousing needs to expand so that agricultural produce can be stored when prices plunge.
    • Promoting viable farmer collectives to act as a “collective voice of marginal and small farmers”.
    • Legislations on the basis of NITI Aayog’snew model law — Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitating) Act (APLM) should be enacted in all states.
  • Technology:
    • Use of technology to aid farmers like drip and sprinkler irrigation.
    • Precision agriculture, GM Crops should be encouraged drought prone areas.
    • Space technology and Mobiles should act as “Eyes and Ears” of the farmers to assist in farming.
  • Distress Management:
    • Establish farmers’ distress and disaster relief commissions at the national and State levels, based on the model of Kerala Farmers’ Debt Relief Commission.

 

Conclusion:

Waiving of loans should be done only in the most exceptional circumstances. The challenge before political parties and governments is to deliver on the institutional solutions demanded by farmers as against temporary solutions of loan waivers.


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

6) A small cohort of technology firms now guards the door to the modern economy. Discuss why information technology markets of today are highly concentrated. Also discuss the need to adapt our regulatory policies to new business models.(250 words) 

Livemint

Why this question

MNCs, especially those based on IT platforms have grown at a tremendous rate owing to their inherent strengths. However as can be easily observed their growth has been highly concentrated and at the same time the regulatory environment has not adapted itself to the rapidly evolving business models. The article looks into those issues in detail.

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 reasons as to why the information technology markets of today are highly concentrated and also discuss at length the need to adapt our regulatory policy in line with the newly emerging business models.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about the multi-national, multi-billion IT companies representing the modern economy- Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss why information technology markets of today are highly concentrated. E.g
  • network externality: We need to be on the same network as the person with whom we want to interact.
  • The dominant firms benefit from economies of scale
  • There are exceptions, of course. Economies of scale and network externalities have not played a paramount role in the markets for digital music and movies, where there are a number of platforms but these services are differentiated by their degree of interaction with the user etc.
  1. Discuss why there is a need to adapt our regulatory policy in line with the newly emerging business models. E.g
  • the reasoning behind traditional competition measures is no longer valid. It is now common for a platform like Google or Facebook to set very low prices—or provide a service for free—on one side of the market and very high prices on the other side.
  • And yet, even small digital firms and startups now practice this kind of asymmetric pricing: consider, for example, free online newspapers that are funded wholly by advertising.
  • Two-sided markets are prevalent in the digital economy, and a regulator who does not adequately account for this unusual business model could incorrectly declare low pricing to be predatory, or high pricing to be excessive, even though such price structures have also been adopted by the smallest platforms entering the market.
  • Regulators, then, will need to refrain from mechanically applying traditional principles of competition policy. When it comes to multi-sided platforms, these principles simply are not applicable in many cases.

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

 

Introduction:

Large  corporations  are  an  economic,  political,  environmental,  and  cultural  force  that  is  unavoidable in today’s globalized world. The world’s largest corporations like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple etc. are clearly huge organizations which has a major effect on Modern Economy. Around 1/4thof the world economy is controlled by big MNCs and their sales are estimated to be higher than combined worth of economies around 182 countries.

 

Body:

 

Information technology markets of today are highly concentrated:

 

  • Network Externality: The business models are so created that a person need to be on the same network as the person with whom he wants to interact. E.g: Facebook, Twitter etc. This increases the platform dependency and concentration of people in single entity.
  • Economies of Scale: Some services require large technological investments which the dominant firms can afford to spend due to their brand value, user reach and confidence of the user in the firm. E.g.: Search engine designing will cost roughly the same regardless of whether it attracts two thousand or two trillion search requests per year. What will not be the same is the value of the user data that is generated. The search engine that receives two trillion requests can charge advertisers far more, and scale up far more quickly.
  • Market Domination:a single company dominates a given market leaving very little or no space to local enterprises or companies. This leads to a lopsided market. E.g: Flipkart’s struggle against global eCommerce giant Amazon in Indian market.

 

However, there are exceptions too. Economies of scale and network externalities have not played a paramount role in the markets for digital music and movies, where there are a number of platforms, including Amazon Prime, Apple’s iTunes, Deezer, Spotify, Pandora, and Netflix. But these services are differentiated by their degree of interaction with the user.

 

Need to adapt our regulatory policy in line with the newly emerging business models:

 

There is clearly a need to adapt the regulatory policy as the digital economy is highly dynamic and can affect the entire economy.

 

Asymmetric pricing:The reasoning behind traditional competition measures is no longer valid. The form of market predation that is meant to weaken or kill off a smaller competitor is on a high. E.g: platform like Google or Facebook to set very low prices—or provide a service for free—on one side of the market and very high prices on the other side.

        Even small digital firms and startups now practice this kind of asymmetric pricing. E.g.: free online newspapers that are funded wholly by advertising.

 

Competition:

The cases of buyout of smaller, new entrants by larger firms has to be watched. If a newcomer has a single original product that is better than what the incumbent offers, the incumbent might want to block it from gaining even a partial foothold in the market. To ensure productive competition in the digital sector is to approach these questions on a case-by-case basis. Regulators must deploy rigorous analysis, and they must do so with alacrity to keep up with the pace of change.

 

Labour Law:

Gig- Economies started by the tech giants are a challenge to the existing labour laws. Classification as employee or not, Hiring and Firing, Temporary employment etc. cannot be moulded into the existing labour laws of countries. The priority should be to ensure competitive neutrality. The state must promote the health-care and social-security rights of gig workers like, say, Uber drivers. At the same time, it should avoid policies that would make the digital platforms unviable, even if they are unfamiliar and disruptive.

 

Privacy:

With internet acting as backbone of majority of these tech giants, User’s data is at the mercy of private players and State. The recent incidents of Facebook Analytica and multiple data leaks shows the issue of Data Privacy. State Surveillance is another possibility thereby risking individual’s privacy. Global Data protection laws like The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation amounts to only a small first step toward protecting us from such threats.

 

Taxation:

The internet has no borders; countries will increasingly need to cooperate on taxation, both to prevent tax competition and simply to derive some revenues from a huge swath of the economy. E.g.: the 2015 agreement within the European Union to end tax competition on online purchases offers a promising model.

 

Conclusion:

To achieve an economics for the common good in this new world, we will have to address a wide range of challenges, from public trust and social solidarity to the ownership of data and the effects of technological diffusion. Success will depend, in particular, on whether we can develop viable new approaches to antitrust, labour law, privacy, and taxation.


Topic-Part of static series under the heading – “Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service”

7) Many civil servants have left a huge impact in the areas they have worked in. What do you think are the qualities which enable such civil servants to excel? Give an example of a civil servant who inspires you and how he imbibes the qualities described above?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first talk about the qualities that help a civil servant to excel in the discharge of his duties. In the next part of your answer, discuss about a civil servant whose work, conduct etc has impressed you and enumerate the qualities that such civil servant possesses.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that the office of a civil servant is an office of trust and thus requires the civil servant to display a range of qualities to be worthy of that trust.

Body – In the first part of your answer, discuss about the various qualities that a civil servant should possess which would enable him to excel in his job. Talk about qualities such as integrity, uprightness, objectivity, impartiality etc and how they help a civil servant. Next, we need to give an example of a civil servant we consider our role model and the qualities that make him/her so.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the difficult nature of the job of a civil servant and the need of qualities discussed above for success of civil servant.

Introduction:

A civil servant is an important link between the government and the common people. Hence certain qualities have strong significance for a civil servant.

Body:

Integrity:

  • A state of wholeness when thoughts and values matches and a high standard of behaviour.
  • The value system is consistent irrespective of the situation.
  • It represents a state of uncorruptiveness, Uprightness, Honesty, Straightforwardness.

Transparency:

  • All decisions are taken in a fair manner following all the rules.
  • Administration should not only be fair but must also appear to be fair.
  • Rules and regulations should be simple and easily understood by all.

 

Accountability

  • Decisions are not made in a random fashion but must have some reason behind them.
  • A civil servant must be able to justify all the decisions he takes.
  • This will put adequate limits and controls on discretionary powers.
  • Ethical conduct and prevents corruption.

Impartiality, Objectivity and Just

  • Decisions should be made on the merit.
  • People get their fair due.
  • No discrimination of any sort should happen.
  • Apolitical and non- prejudiced behaviour.

Courage of Conviction

  • There are decisions which have to be taken to ensure effectiveness and efficiency for the public welfare, but with dilemma of different orders or interests. In that particular situation, the courage should be shown by the civil servant to face the uncertainty of future.
  • Civil Servants therefore should not be deterred by the fear of failure. Since so many are counting on you, so can’t afford fear to influence you.

Spirit of Service

  • A civil servant works not for monetary benefits, promotion or easy postings but for the chance to work for the public welfare is a prize in itself.
  • It will help him keep motivated and focused towards his ultimate goal.
  • Without this value, a civil servant will be a machine working in the system. He should have feeling towards the downtrodden and poor citizens.
  • Spirit of service will awake a power in him to transform the lives of million people living in poverty.

Examples of your own can be added for the last part of the question.

Conclusion:

All these qualities are fundamental to a civil servant. They will ensure that a civil servants delivers good-governance to the people.


Topic– Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

8) What is empathy and why is it important in public services. How can we increase empathy among civil servants. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

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 and importance of empathy as a value and also discuss in detail as to how empathy can be increased among civil servants.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– define empathy. E.g Empathy is the ability to share and understand the emotions of others.

Body-

  1. Discuss the three ways of looking at empathy. E.g
  • Affective empathy- the ability to share the emotions of others.
  • Cognitive empathy- the ability to understand the emotions of others.
  • Emotional regulation- the ability to regulate one’s emotions
  1. Discuss the importance of empathy. E.g
  • It helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation.
  • It is typically associated with social behaviour
  • Empathy is an interpersonal skill that can be viewed as part of emotional intelligence
  • Empathy can however also inhibit social actions, or even lead to immoral behaviour.
  1. Discuss how empathy can be inculcated/ increased among civil servants. E.g
  • Some people are genetically inclined to be highly empathic or not.
  • it is possible to increase cognitive, emotional and behavioural empathy through formal training
  • instruction about the benefits of showing empathy, how to identify emotions in others, how to feel those emotions and how to comment appropriately on them.
  • providing models of a person showing empathy in response to something another has said or done.
  • practice at showing empathy etc.

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

Introduction:

Empathy is about being able to accurately hear out and understand the thoughts, feelings and concerns of others, even when these are not made explicit.

Body:

The different ways of looking at empathy are

  • Affective empathy: The ability to share the emotions of others. E.g : People who feel scared or feel others’ pain strongly within themselves when seeing others scared or in pain.
  • Cognitive empathy: The ability to understand the emotions of others. E.g.: A psychologist who understands the emotions of the client in a rational way, but does not necessarily share the emotions of the client in a visceral sense.
  • Emotional Regulation: The ability to regulate one’s emotions. E.g: surgeons need to control their emotions when operating on a patient.

Public Servants are the glue between the State and the people. Empathy is important for public services due to the following reasons:

  • Understands Unspoken content
  • Demonstrates active listening skills (such as asking probing questions, notinterrupting)
  • Picks up signals when                others  are not feeling  comfortable and displays consideration.
  • Has concern for Others –
    • Open to diversity of opinion.
    • Probes to understand   people’s issues,                unspoken thoughts, andfeelings
  • Expresses concern for Others –
    • Demonstrates empathy by correctly understanding reactions oremotions of others.
    • Builds trust by demonstratingrespectforother’s point of view.
  • Acts as a Rolemodel –
    • Makes a balanced assessment of a person’s strengths and weaknessesbased on a deeper understanding of the individual
  • Creates and provides an environment of Respect–
    • Creates a culture of mutual trust and respect.

The various ways in which empathy can be inculcated/ increased among civil servants are

Within administrative structure:

  • It is possible to increase cognitive, emotional and behavioural empathy through formal trainings, workshops etc.
  • To inculcate empathy, T-group or sensitivity training can be utilized.
  • Participatory decision making by respecting, listening to peers, juniors and keeping aside the Weberian hierarchical structure.

Interactions with public:

  • More participation in the local self-governments to understand the grass roots reality.
  • Making use of tools like Social audit to understand impact of the policies.
  • Working with the civil society organizations to understand the people better.

Empathy thus acts as a ground rule for public services.