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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 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–  Events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization,

1) Why do you think the League of Nations failed to preserve world peace. Discuss.(250 words)

Norman Lowe; WORLD HISTORY; League of Nations

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 League of Nations (LoN) and bring out the reasons as to why it failed to preserve world peace and another world war.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  LoN. e.g It was formed in 1920 on the same day as the treaty of Versailles was signed. Its aim was to settle international disputes before they got out of hand, and so prevent war from ever breaking out again.

Body-

Discuss the reasons as to why the LoN failed to preserve world peace and prevent another war. E.g

  • It was too closely linked with the Versailles Treaties.
  • It was rejected by the USA
  • Germany was not allowed to join until 1926 and the USSR only became a member in 1934 (when Germany left). So for the first few years of its existence the League was deprived of three of the world’s most important powers.
  • The gathering of leading ambassadors was only intended to function until the League machinery was up and running, but it lingered on, and on several occasions it took precedence over the League.
  • The world economic crisis began in 1929.
  • Japan’s invasion of Manchuria etc.

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

Introduction:

                Woodrow Wilson’s 14 point program had envisaged creation of an international agency that would work for maintenance of world peace. The League of Nations was set up after the 1st World War in 1920 with the following two main aims

  • Settle international disputes to prevent war in future. This was to be achieved through the principle of collective security. The maintenance of international peace and security was the primary goal of the League.
  • Economic and Social work: The League of Nations was to seek international cooperation for socio-economic development across the world.

Body:

The failures of league of nation were  

  1. The “Versailles Treaty” had an upper hand where the Victors of 1st World War dictated terms of League of Nations as well as on other countries.
  2. Toothless Tiger: League of Nations lacked enforceable rights. It did not have military force of its own. The League failed to implement its decisions in disputes, where the verdict of the League was against a major power. Aggressive regimes like Japan, Italy and Germany defied the League. Britain and France did not do much to give teeth to the League.
  3. Germany was not allowed to join until 1926 and the USSR only became a member in 1934 (when Germany left). India which was not even an independent country was made a member. USA which played the leading role did not join it.
  4. Failure of collective responsibility: In 1930s when many countries resorted to aggression, the League was ignored or defied. It did not come forward in case Japanese attack on Manchuria in 1931 & Italy attack on Ethiopia in 1936.
  5. It recognized the division of spoils of the war and most of the colonies were transferred as mandates not to be annexed thus undermining the very ideals with which it was formed.
  6. The Conference of Ambassadors undermined League’s authority. The Conference of Ambassadors overruled the League’s decisions. Example: in case of the Corfu incident (1923) involving Mussolini’s Italy and Greece.
  7. Failure of Disarmament: Security concerns lead to a race for armament. The World conference on Disarmament in 1932-34 was a failed effort of League of Nations as the major powers disagreed to disarm. This further strengthened Hitler’s fascist agenda in Germany.
  8. Economic Crisis of 1929 led to poverty and unemployment and consequently, right wing governments came to power across the world. These governments were more aggressive and violated the League Covenant.

 

However in the socio-economic development context, it had its fair share of successes.

The League of Nations set up some of the organisations like International Labour Orgranisation, International court of justice which is still relevant even today.

ILO took some reforms like

  • Fixed maximum working days and minimum wages.
  • Started old age pensions.
  • Took actions in the area of welfare of the workers.

The Refugee Organization reforms:

  • It helped the Prisoners of War in Russia to their homes outside Russia.
  • In 1933, it helped the Jews, who were fleeing to escape Nazi persecution, to resettle in different countries where they would be safe.

Resolution of minor International disputes by LoN:

  • Solved the dispute of smaller countries like Finland, Poland, Albania and Czechoslovakia.
  • The League solved a territorial dispute between Peru and Columbia.
  • Also in 1921, when there was a dispute regarding Upper Silesia (an industrial region) between Germany and Poland, the League successfully made both the parties reach a settlement and Upper Silesia was partitioned between the two.

Conclusion:

League of Nations did important work for the socio-economic development across the world.  However, it failed with respect to its aim of being a leading forum for resolution of international disputes and ensuring a peaceful world. These failures lead to the disastrous Second World War.


Topic– Redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization,

2) What led to the Yom-Kippur war of 1973 and what were the outcomes of the war. Discuss.(250 words)

Norman Lowe; WORLD HISTORY; Conflict in Middle-East

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 Yom-Kippur war. We have to discuss at length about the factors that led to the war and also what were the outcomes of the war.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Yom Kippur war. E.g the Yom Kippur war began was fought in 1973 between Arab states- Egypt and Syria on one side and Israel on the other. Mention the earlier wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 fought between Israel and several Arab states.

Body-

  1. Discuss the factors that led to the war. E.g
  • Pressure was brought to bear on the Arab states by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under its leader Yasser Arafat, for some further action. When very little happened, a more extreme group within the PLO, called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), embarked on a series of terrorist attacks to draw world attention to the grave injustice being done to the Arabs of Palestine.
  • Anwar Sadat, the president of Egypt since Nasser’s death in 1970, hoped to win American support for the Arabs, so that the Americans would persuade the Israelis to agree to a peace settlement. However, the Americans refused to get involved.
  • Sadat, together with Syria, decided to attack Israel again, hoping that this would force the Americans to act as mediators.

 

  1. Discuss the outcomes of the war. E.g
  • After some early Arab successes, the Israelis, using mainly American weapons, were able to turn the tables and was successful in in hanging on to all the territory they had captured in 1967 and even crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt.
  • Both the USA and the USSR decided it was time to intervene to try to bring about a peace settlement. Acting with UN cooperation, they organized a ceasefire, which both sides accepted.

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

Introduction:

                Yom Kippur War, also called the October War, the Ramadan War, or the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was a damaging, inconclusive war and the fourth of the Arab-Israeli wars. The war was initiated by Egypt and Syria on October 6, 1973, on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur and during Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islam, and it continued until October 26, 1973. The war, which eventually drew both the United States and the Soviet Union into indirect confrontation in defence of their respective allies, was launched with the diplomatic aim of convincing a chastened—if still undefeated—Israel to negotiate on terms more favourable to the Arab countries.

Body:

The attack by Egypt and Syria was a surprise to Israel after Israel conquered the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights from Egypt in 1967. Egypt’s army entered the Sinai Peninsula to retrieve their land from Israel.

The territories occupied by Israel in 1967 are shaded in brown (SINAI,WEST BANK and GOLAN HEIGHTS). The causes that led to the Yom-Kippur war are

6-Day War of 1967:

  • The conditions that shaped the 1973 War were established six years.
  • In 1967, Israel launched attacks on Egypt, Jordan and Syria, unleashing the June War, that resulted in the Israeli occupation of what remained of historic Palestine, as well as the Egyptian Sinai desert, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
  • In a matter of six days, the Israeli army delivered a huge setback to the forces of three Arab countries and occupied territory that was three and a half times its size.

Politics of the Cold War:

  • In the background, the politics of the Cold War between the Soviets – who supplied the Arab countries with weapons – and the US – which backed Israel – played out and inflamed the war.

Secret agreement between Egypt and Syria:

  • Under Egyptian and Syrian former presidents Anwar Sadat and Hafez al-Assad, the two Arab nations concluded a secret agreement in January 1973 to unify their armies under one command.
  • Aware that his country’s weapons were dated and that it lacked the ability to liberate the Sinai in its entirety in a military operation, just four months after taking power, Sadat had offered the Israelis a peace deal if they would withdraw from Sinai. Golda Meir, the then Israeli prime minister, rebuffed the offer.

Plans of a limited – war:

  • Sadat, on the other hand, had sought a limited war to focus the minds of the world’s superpowers, and to jump-start the stalled peace process.

Immediate cause:

  • The Egyptian and Syrian armies, with advanced Soviet weapons, launched a two-front offensive on Israel, from the north and the south.
  • Under “Operation Badr” the Egyptian military forces managed to cross the Suez Canal and capture the Bar Lev Line – a fortified sand wall on the east bank of the canal.
  • This initial military success, which came to be known to Egyptians as “the crossing,” served as a sign of victory after 25 years of defeat.
  • On the northern front line, three Syrian infantry divisions crossed the 1967 ceasefire line known as the Purple Line.
  • And, two hours into the war, the Syrians gained their first significant victory when they captured ‘Israel’s Eye’ – a key Israeli vantage point 2,000m above sea level on top of Mount Hermon.

Consequences of the war:

Immediate:

  • Both the Arabs and Israel declared victory in the war. The Arab countries managed to salvage their defeats after repeated losses in the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars with Israel.
  • This brought the two blocs (USA and USSR) to the brink of military conflict for the first time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Oil Embargo: In response to U.S. support of Israel, the Arab members of OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, decided to reduce oil production by 5% per month.
  •  Saudi Arabia declared an embargo against the United States, later joined by other oil exporters and extended against the Netherlands and other states, causing the 1973 energy crisis.

Long-Term:

  • The war has drawn permanent wedge between the Arab world and Israel. It further strengthened anti-Israel sentiments among the Arab countries, and is considered by many historians as the reason for the growth of Palestinian nationalism, and the creation of PLO.
  • Camp David Accords: With USA as mediator, Israel made peace with Egypt following the Camp David Accords of 1978 and completed a staged withdrawal from the Sinai in 1982.
  • Forty-five years since the October war in 1973, Israel still occupies Palestinian territories and Syrian Golan Heights.
  • Jordan and Egypt eventually withdrew their claims to sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza, respectively. Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994.
  • For Syria, the Yom Kippur War was a disaster. The unexpected Egyptian-Israeli cease-fire exposed Syria to military defeat, and Israel seized even more territory in the Golan Heights. In 1979, Syria voted with other Arab states to expel Egypt from the Arab League

Significance for India:

  • India could associate herself with Israel, as she was more or less in a similar situation, surrounded by hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China at that time, with which wars had been fought in 1965 and 1962 respectively.
  • The reduction in oil production and supply led to major price hikes around the world, causing oil-shocks to India.

Conclusion:

                The Yom Kippur War upset the status quo in the Middle East, and the war served as a direct antecedent of the 1978 Camp David Accords. The war also had global repercussions especially in the cold-war and also strengthened the position of OPEC countries.


Topic– capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

3) The form of capitalism practised in the last 50 years is no longer tenable. Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the issues with the practice of capitalism in the current era where the contradictions highlighted by Marx in capitalist society is coming to the fore. As a result there is a need to have a discussion and form an opinion on the form of capitalism being practiced.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to debate the nature of capitalism in our modern world, examine its pros and cons, discuss its impact and give our view on its future.

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 – Give an overview of the major issues arising out of capitalism such as concentration of wealth, destruction of forests etc and suggest that in this light, tenability of capitalism seems doubtful.

Body

  • Explain the form of capitalism being practiced in the world today where the dominating strand is neoliberalism with states taking a back seat.
  • Highlight the issues with this model
    • Concentration of wealth and glaring inequality
    • Scant regard for the needs of the environment
    • Pursuit of wealth sole motive etc
  • Discuss what sort of course correction is required

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        Currently, neoliberalism is most commonly used to refer to market-oriented reform policies such as “eliminating price controls, deregulating capital markets, lowering trade barriers”, and reducing state influence on the economy, through privatization and austerity. However, this has given rise to issues such as concentration of wealth in a few hands, destruction of forests in the name of development.

 

Body:

Neoliberalism, sometimes referred to as the “Chicago school” of economics and named after the University of Chicago, rose to prominence in response to the breakdown of the international money system and the fiscal contradictions viewed as inherent in the welfare system.

This includes extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society. These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980. The implementation of neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 2007–08 as one of the ultimate results.

However, the IMF paper (2016) entitled “Neoliberalism: Oversold?”  was also critical of some neoliberal policies, such as freedom of capital and fiscal consolidation for “increasing inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion.” The report contends the implementation of neoliberal policies by economic and political elites has led to following disquieting conclusions.

  • Increase in corporate power: The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.
  • The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal Promotes exploitation and social injustice.
  • Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects. Neoliberal policies result in an expanding carceral state and the criminalization of poverty.
  • Labour-Market at mercy of Corporates: Deregulation of the labour market produces flexibilization and casualization of labour, greater informal employment, and a considerable increase in industrial accidents and occupational diseases.
  • Anti-Democratic: Globalization can subvert nations’ ability for self-determination. Some scholars contend that neoliberalism undermines the basic elements of democracy.
  • The replacement of a government-owned monopoly with private companies, each supposedly trying to provide the consumer with better value service than all of its private competitors, removes the efficiency that can be gained from the economy of scale.
  • Environmental Impacts: Trade-led, unregulated economic activity and lax state regulation of pollution lead to environmental impacts or degradation. “The era of neo-liberalization also happens to be the era of the fastest mass extinction of species in the Earth’s recent history.”
  • Consumers instead of Citizens: Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. Neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life, and promotes asocial Darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs.

 

Way Forward:

  • Positive intervention by Government for equitable and sustainable economic development and not complete separation of state and market.
    • Example: Requirement of financial regulators such as SEBI in economies to safeguard interests of the common people. i.e. Control on secondary market and chit fund schemes (artificial demand creation).
  • The market needs the state, more than the other way around. The market needs internal regulation, in order to function: the state, in the form of the legal system, ensures contracts are enforced.
    • Example: In the form of the police, it prevents theft and fraud. It establishes uniform systems of weights and measures, and a uniform currency.
  • Adopting a system that is flexible to change with the need of the time and enable the government to pitch in whenever necessary will help.

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

Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

4) The amendments proposed by the government in relation to POCSO act, 2012, will undermine the right to life enshrined in the Indian constitution. Discuss.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The Cabinet of the central government has recently given its nod to introduce certain amendments to the POCSO Act, 2012. POCSO act is a stringent act aimed to address child sex abuse and the proposed amendments have made it more so. However, the amendments have been criticized on various fronts by several activists and other people.

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 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), its proposed amendments  and it also want us to bring out how these amendments would affect the right to life as manifested in the constitution.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the recent amendments to the POCSO act. E.g The Union Cabinet has approved amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), to introduce the death penalty as a punishment for certain offences.

Body-

  1. Discuss the recently proposed amendments in the POCSO act. E.g
  • Death penalty has been prescribed for offences of penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault (Sections 4, 5 and 6).
  • Cases of sexual assault by police officers, members of the armed forces, public servants, gang-penetrative sexual assault, and relatives are treated as “aggravated” cases, as are cases where the survivor is less than 12 years old.
  1. Discuss how the amendments would affect the right to life as enshrined in the constitution. E.g
  • POCSO is already a stringent act. Under POCSO there is a presumption that a person who is prosecuted for an offence has actually committed the offence, unless the contrary is proved (Section 29).
  • It is especially difficult for the poor or disadvantaged groups to overturn these presumptions.
  • Under Article 21 of the Constitution, a person can only be deprived of their life or liberty in accordance with the procedure established by law. This procedure must be just, fair and reasonable.
  • Without quality legal representation, it is virtually impossible for an accused to overcome the presumption of guilt. Imposing death penalty in an offence with a presumption of guilt cannot be a just or fair procedure etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        POCSO or The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was established to protect the children against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography. It was formed to provide a child-friendly system for trial underneath which the perpetrators could be punished. The Union Cabinet has approved amending the POCSO Act, to introduce the death penalty as a punishment for certain offences.

 

Body:

        The POCSO Act has been in force since 2012. Although it has acted as a deterrent, there are some instances of child abuse. Example: Gang rape cases in Kathua, J&K; Unnao in Bihar in 2018. The Central Government has decided to make the law stricter and proposed the following amendments to POCSO Act.

 

  • Introduction of the death penalty as a punishment for offences of penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault (Sections 4, 5 and 6).
  • Cases of sexual assault, by following, will be treated as “aggravated offence”.
    • police officers
    • members of the armed forces
    • public servants
    • gang-penetrative sexual assault and
    • relatives
    • where the survivor is less than 12 years old
  • Attempt to inject hormones in children to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.
  • A hefty fine would be imposed for not deleting, not destroying child pornographic material or not reporting child pornography.

The proposed amendments have been debated at great lengths due to the following concerns

  • Guilty till proved innocent:
  • Instead of “innocent until proven guilty”, the court assumes that the accused is guilty once the prosecution lays the foundation of the case.
  • The Act also presumes that the accused person had a sexual intent when touching the child (Section 30).
  • Burden of proof:
  • Usually, in criminal cases, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution, and the guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
  • Under POCSO, however, there is a presumption that a person who is prosecuted for an offence has actually committed the offence, unless the contrary is proved (Section 29).
  • Thus, POCSO is already a stringent act. The amendments don’t try to make any changes in above sections.
  • Affects Right to Life:
  • Under Article 21 of the Constitution, a person can only be deprived of their life or liberty in accordance with the procedure established by law. This procedure must be just, fair and reasonable.
  • Imposing death penalty in an offence with a presumption of guilt cannot be a just or fair procedure.
  • Without quality legal representation, it is virtually impossible for an accused to overcome the presumption of guilt.
  • Against the poor:
  • Legal process requires high-quality lawyering, which is highly expensive.
  • Economic vulnerability impacts the experience of the prisoner during the investigation and trial.
  • For daily-wage earners, the legal process means loss of income as well.
  • If the accused is in jail, their family will have to collect evidence and find witnesses.
  • Neighbours or employers may not readily give evidence for migrant workers.
  • About half of the sample of 383 prisoners spoke about lack of access to lawyers. (Death Penalty Project Report, 2016)
  • Reports and Recommendations overlooked:
  • The 262nd Law Commission Report has recommended universal abolition of the death penalty, except in terror cases.
  • Even Justice Verma committee decided against recommending the death penalty for rape.
  • Death penalty has not proved to be a deterrent against commission of such heinous acts.
  • The Death Penalty Project Report also revealed that Death row prisoners are typically overwhelmingly poor, lower caste, or religious minorities.
  • About 76% of death row prisoners were from backward classes and religious minorities.
  • Provision of death penalty in rape cases will only make matters worse by slowing the administration of justice. Besides, when victim is the sole witness, as in most sexual assault cases, it will induce murder of rape victims by the perpetrators of the crime to destroy the evidence.

The following issues need to be looked into instead of enforcing death penalty for effective implementation of laws like POSCO:-

  • The appalling lack of infrastructure and manpower in the criminal justice system.
  • Most districts continue to try cases of child sexual abuse in regular sessions courts, designated as special courts for the sake of compliance
  • Investigations are regularly botched up by an understaffed, poorly trained, overburdened police force which has little to no forensic support.
  • The fact that the ordinance reduces the time given to the police to file a charge sheet, and to the court to decide appeals against sentencing, displays a complete lack of understanding about the issues on the ground.
  • Given the unavailability or unreliability of age-related documents in most parts of the country, reliance is placed on ossification tests to prove the age of the victim in cases under the POCSO.

Way Forward:

  • The Supreme Court has ruled in Bachchan Singh case that death penalty should be awarded in the “rarest of the rare”
  • Fast track courts and Special trial courts (already in provision of POCSO Act) to provide justice at the earliest to the victims. Instead of death penalty, a combination of heavy financial penalty, life imprisonment with no provision of parole can act as deterrent.
  • Reformative justice instead of Retributive justice, along with counselling to get back into the society as a reformed human being.
  • Providing sex-education to children, which is neglected in India. This makes them more aware of the various protective laws like POCSO, good touch-bad touch etc.

Topic – mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

5) There is scant focus on improving the situation with respect to bonded labour in India despite it being unconstitutional. Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Close to 80 years since the constitution came into being, the prevalence of bonded labour is a stark reminder that we still need to get rid of many such socially inappropriate practices. This question would enable you to discuss the magnitude of the problem and think of ways of handling such problem.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the status of bonded labour in India, discuss the legal framework to curb bonded labour, explain the reasons why bonded labour in India still continues and discuss the way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is meant by bonded labour

Body

  • Discuss the status quo with respect to bonded labour in India – The Global Slavery Index 2016 estimated there to be 1.8 crore Indians in modern slavery, including bondedness, while the International Labour Organisation said there were 1.17 crore bonded labourers in 2014.
  • Explain the legal and constitutional protections against bonded labour – practice was abolished under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 etc
  • Discuss the reason why bonded labour still persists – government relies on rescue and rehabilitation only, a multi pronged approach focussing on conducting a survey and enforcement of the law is required

Conclusion – Highlight that continuation of bonded labour reflects poorly on India’s track record on social justice and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        Bonded Labour, also known as debt slavery or Debt Bondage, is the pledge of a person’s services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where the terms of the repayment are not clearly or reasonably stated, and the person who is holding the debt and thus has some control over the labourer, does not intend to ever admit that the debt has been repaid.

        The International Labour Organisation estimates that around 50% of victims of forced labour in the private economy are affected by debt bondage – around 8 million people worldwide. In South Asia it still flourishes in agriculture, brick kilns, mills, mines and factories.

 

Body:

Bonded   labour   arises   through   a   confluence   of   complex   inter-linked   factors. The root of the problem lies in the social customs and economic compulsions which is mentioned below

Social Causes:

  • Extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition in rural regions.
  • Immediate  “triggers”  such  as  health  emergencies,  religious  ceremonies,  dowries,  food  shortages  or  the  sudden  loss  of  a  job  or  an  income  earner
  • Worker Illiteracy and lack of access to information.
  • Discrimination and social exclusion based on religion, ethnicity or caste.
  • Dominance of Social Elites.
  • Bonder labour is inter-generational; the debts pass on from one generation to next.

 

Economic Causes:

  • Impoverished workers  seek  loans  or  advance  from  an  employer  or  labour  They land in a vicious cycle of debt which the loanee can’t repay.
  • Non-availability and accessibility issues of formal credit system to the lowest strata of society.
  • Employer monopolies on local financial and labour markets.
  • Large presence of private money-lenders who lend at exorbitant rates.

 

Situation of bonded labour in India:

  • The Global Slavery Index 2016 estimated there to be 1.8 crore Indians in modern slavery, including bondedness.
  • The International Labour Organisation said there were 1.17 crore bonded labourers in 2014.
  • India has the most slaves in the world, according to Global Slavery Index.
  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveals that more than 8,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016. More than half the victims i.e. 54 percent were trafficked for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation.
  • There has been no government-led nationwide survey since 1978, despite each district having been given Rs. 4.5 lakh for such surveys.
  • Traffickers continue to source labour in socio-economically backward districts, an example being Bolangir in Odisha. Tribals and Dalits remain vulnerable.

 

Various protections against bonded labour:

 

Constitutional: Article 23 of Indian constitution prohibits forced labour (begar) and other similar forms of forced labour.  Any contravention of this provision will be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

 

Legal: Parliament has enacted Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act in 1976 to curb bonded labour.  To further strengthen the employee’s rights, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 were enacted. However, the latter are applicable to organized sector of economy. Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code also gives teeth to fight bonded labour.

        Recently, the Trafficking of Persons (prevention, protection and Rehabilitation) bill, 2018 was introduced in the Parliament to provide a holistic protection to victims of Bonded Labour.

Way Forward:

  • Three Pronged Strategy of ministry of Labour for the abolition of the bonded labour system:
  • The Bonded labour Act, 1976 empowers executive magistrates to exercise powers of judicial magistrate of first or second class for trial of offences.
  • Vigilance committees at the district and sub-divisional levels have been prescribed to identify and rehabilitate bonded labourers.
  • A centrally-sponsored plan — Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour — is under implementation since 1978 under which the Centre and states contribute Rs 10,000 each for cases of rehabilitation.
  • Regulatory attention must focus on trafficking rings and sectors.
  • Inter-state coordination mechanisms for migrant workers, including workplace improvements and linking them to social security schemes. Example: PM Jandhan Yojana for financial inclusion.
  • A broad nation-based survey is needed to find out the extent of Bonded labour. To create a database of bonded labourers, the help of NGO’s, Gram Panchayats can be taken at the grassroots level.
  • Creating micro-financial access for vulnerable communities/vulnerable districts could help. Example: micro-loans as given in SHGs, Grameen Bank model of Bangladesh can be emulated.
  • Vulnerable families  also  need  non-financial  support:  services  like  adult  literacy training, subsidized health care and child care; support for sending their children to schools;  and  awareness-raising  on  social  issues  and 

 

Conclusion:

Bonded labour is a scourge on India, which exists even after 70 years of Independence. There is an urgent need to take measures which are bold and holistic response to a socioeconomic problem of labour exploitation and this can help India realise SDG 8.7.


Topic– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes.

6) Ujjwala scheme is a novel initiative which needs to iron out its implementation issues. Discuss(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article does a critical analysis of the achievements and limitations of Ujjwala scheme and will enable you to develop your perspective on the achievements made under the scheme.

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.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the Ujjwala initiative, highlight the achievements of the scheme, bring out the critical implementation gaps that serve as a hindrance. Finally, we need to give our view on the success of Ujjwala scheme and discuss way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about Ujjwala scheme.

Body

  • Discuss the achievements made under the scheme
    • The program has gained traction and its ambit expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of ₹4,800 crore.
    • The clean fuel protects users from inhaling smoke and also helps the poor avoid going to unsafe areas to collect firewood.
    • LPG coverage has touched 90%, with a significant increase in eastern states, with 48% of the beneficiaries being SC/STs
  • Explain the concerns in implementation of the scheme
    • There have been a lacklustre approach of people towards refilling of cylinders
    • logistics of issuing the connections also have kinks that require ironing out.
    • Aadhar seeding also faces issues caused by data discrepancies, especially where the spelling of names is concerned as a result of which applicants can find themselves unable to register for the scheme.
  • Discuss how the government is dealing with such implementation challenges

Conclusion – Give your opinion on the success of the scheme and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. It aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.

       

                           

 

Body:

India is home to more than 24 Crore households out of which about 10 Crore households are still deprived of LPG as cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung – cakes etc. as primary source of cooking.   The PMUY has helped the spread of LPG cylinders predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas with the coverage mostly in middle class and affluent households.

The achievements of PMUY are       

Expansion in Coverage:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved expanding the scope of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to cover poor families not having LPG connections and not covered under the existing beneficiary categories. This raises the scope to 8 Crore beneficiaries.
  • While previously the connections were given based on the 2011 Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), the list was later expanded to include providing free cooking gas connection to all SC/ST households, forest dwellers, most backward classes, inhabitants of islands, nomadic tribes, tea estates and beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Antyodaya Yojana. Now, it has been extended to all poor.
  • LPG coverage has touched 90%, with a significant increase in eastern states, with 48% of the beneficiaries being SC/STs.
  • The government reports show that around 80% of the beneficiaries have been refilling cylinders, with average per capita consumption being 3.28 cylinders.

Reduced Drudgery and Health Benefits:

  • According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh deaths in India alone due to unclean cooking fuels. Most of these premature deaths were due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses in young children. According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.
  • PMUY reduces these ill-effects by providing clean fuel and cutting out on drudgery. Increased use of cooking gas will shrink the incidence of tuberculosis in India, based on the statistics from the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) on TB prevalence.

Boost to Employment:

  • PMUY has resulted in an additional employment of around 1 Lakh and provide business opportunity of at least Rs. 10,000 Crore in last 3 Years to the Indian Industry.
  • The scheme has also provided a boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic.

Women Empowerment:

  • PMUY has helped in reducing the drudgery.
  • Women who are usually the victims of such drudgery are now saved from danger of collecting firewood by hiking long distances.
  • The time saved can be used in socio- economically productive activities like Self-Help Group activities.

Global Recognition:

  • The World Health Organisation hailed PMUY as decisive intervention by the government to facilitate the switch to clean household energy use, thereby addressing the problems associated with Indoor Household Pollution.

 

However, given the scale of the scheme there are some implementation shortcomings of the scheme

 

Cost issues:

  • Consumers were paying market price for refills till the loan repayment for stove and first refill was made. This led to some consumers not going in for such refills.
  • Economic Burden: The increased monthly expenditure has shied many consumers away from LPG and lured them back to firewood and cow-dung cakes.
  • The CEEW study across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha found people were unwilling to pay upfront Rs.900-1,000 for a 14 kg refill.
  • A CRISIL Study shows that of those surveyed, 86% said they had not shifted from biomass to LPG because the price of installing a connection was too high. Almost the same number – 83% – said the price of refills was too high.

Administrative issues:

  • The government claims that around 80% of the beneficiaries have been refilling cylinders, with average per capita consumption being 3.28 cylinders. But there are implementation issues with the scheme in Madhya Pradesh, for instance.
  • Aadhar seeding also faces issues caused by data discrepancies, especially where the spelling of names is concerned as a result of which applicants can find themselves unable to register for the scheme.

Logistic issues:

  • Lack of LPG cylinder bottling plants near rural areas and connectivity issues especially in the tribal areas.
  • Last-mile connectivity and delivery still poses a great challenge.

Safety and Behavioural issues:

  • Safety has been another concern about distribution of LPG connection, especially to BPL families. Lack of awareness and safety amenities in beneficiary households have increased the likelihood of accidents.
  • Cow-dung cakes lying around the house all the time. Hence, LPG cylinders are used on special occasions or during some kind of emergency or when it’s entirely too hot to burn wood.
  • The CRISIL report also noted that 37% of households in rural areas procure cooking fuel or free.
  • Agency: Most rural women do not have a say in determining when a refill is ordered, even though the connection is in their name.

 

Way Forward:

  • Increase Affordability: A case in point is state-run fuel retailers introducing a 5kg refill option to make purchases affordable.
  • Increase Accessibility: Gas Agencies should be set up within 10km radius, especially in the rural and remote areas to increase accessibility.
  • Increase Availability: Alternatives like Gas-grid and piped connections in cities and areas near the bottling plants can free up the cylinders for other areas.
  • Promote ‘Give it up’: The initiative of the government to persuade the well-off to give up the LPG subsidies has added to the corpus of PMUY. Similar initiatives can be promoted.
  • Encourage Private Players to set up LPG franchises at rural areas.
  • Sensitization and Education of safe use of LPG though LPG Panchayats, NGO’s etc.

 

Conclusion:

        PMUY is a novel scheme having twin benefits of women empowerment as well as environmental conservation. Ironing out the implementation issues can reap the envisioned benefits and lead to a sustainable future in energy consumption.


Topic– India and its neighbourhood.

7) The new electricity guidelines released by Ministry of power are a first step towards creating a true regional market in South Asia. Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Regional integration in South Asia has never taken off. Bhutan in the past had rued issues with pricing of electricity. The new guidelines would do well to alleviate such issues and also lead to greater connectivity at least for BBIN nations.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the recent electricity guidelines of the ministry and explain how it would boost the regional market in South Asia and discuss the benefits that it would pass on to India in terms of economic benefits and better relations with neighborhood.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss about the lack of integration in South Asia.

Body

  • Explain the recent guidelines by the ministry
  • Discuss the benefits that will be accrued as a result of these guidelines
    • Bhutan and Nepal were coaxing India to relax the non tariff barriers and these guidelines would lead to better relations
    • Highlight that a vision to ensure connectivity in electricity sector of South Asia was dreamt with SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation , however the issues with SAARC came in the way
    • Discuss how it would be economically beneficial for India and also from the point of view of electricity security

Conclusion – Give your view on why these guidelines would help in building greater connectivity in the region and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        The South Asian region is the least politically and economically integrated region in the world. The poor show of SAARC vis-à-vis ASEAN, European Union is a point in case for the same. The Union Ministry of Power issued a seemingly anodyne memo that set the rules for the flow of electricity across South Asian borders.

Body:

The guidelines given by the ministry are as below.

  • Agreements for Trade: Any cross border transactions between India and neighbouring country shall be guided though bilateral agreements.
  • Institutional Framework: The Cross border trade shall be regulated and facilitated by rules and regulations. Central Electric Regulatory Commission (CERC) is the designated body and the regulations so framed will be binding on all parties.
  • Co-operation with Neighbouring countries: The designated authority shall co-ordinate with the neighbouring country’s nodal agency to facilitate trade, planning, monitoring and co-ordinating, Maintaining Grid Safety, security and operation etc. The cross border trade of electricity shall be governed by the policies of respective countries.
  • Tariff: The tariff shall be decided based on Government to Government Negotiations.
  • Dispute Resolution: between the countries through Singapore International Arbitration centre or as mutually agreed. Disputes within Indian Territory as per provisions of Electricity Act, 2003.

Previous Efforts:

The vision to ensure connectivity in electricity sector of South Asia was dreamt with The SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation and the India-Nepal Power Trade Agreement was signed in 2014. However issues like agreements imposed only few restrictions on trade, private sector participation and to facilitate market rationality in electricity commerce cropped up.

The efforts continued and in 2016, the Union Ministry of Power released certain guidelines. They imposed a slew of major restrictions on stakeholders involved in cross-border electricity trade. These seemed to be a reaction to perceptions of increased Chinese investment and influence in the energy sectors of South Asian neighbours.

The benefits that will be accrued as a result of these guidelines are multifold.

Energy Security:

  • A liberal trading regime in electricity is in India’s national interest.
  • A seamless SAARC power grid can secure the energy needs of India and its neighbours.
  • The diversifying of energy sources is a need to secure Energy interests of India
  • With bountiful energy, the prices of the electricity will reduce and stabilize. This will help fight the poverty across South Asian countries.

Diplomatic ties:

  • India now recognises that economic interdependency created by such arrangements have the political benefit of positioning India as a stable development partner.
  • The Regulations of the guidelines would allay the fears of the perceived ‘Big Brother’ notion of the neighbours of India.
  • With better trade ties, other issues can be ironed out easily like BBIN road network, Fishermen issue with SL etc.
  • This is a crucial move towards the evolution of complex, multi-country market arrangements.

Renewable Energy Goals:

  • As India transitions to a power grid dominated by renewables, regional trade could prove useful in maintaining grid stability.
  • India’s INDC goals of 40% of energy to be sourced from Renewables by 2030 could be met.
  • Example: hydropower from the Himalayan nations Nepal and Bhutan, is instrumental for a greener grid. Wind Energy from Srilanka.

SAARC Growth:

  • It’s a tentative first step towards the creation of a true regional market in which generators across the subcontinent compete to deliver low-cost, green energy to consumers.
  • This would soften the hard borders of South Asia; it is essentially a political vision.
  • The guidelines allow tripartite trading arrangements, where power generated in a country is routed over the territory of a neighbour to be consumed in a third.
  • This is a crucial move towards the evolution of complex, multi-country market arrangements.

Reduced Chinese influence:

  • The concern that India was enabling the incursion of foreign influence into neighbouring power sectors is addressed.
  • The Chinese Hegemony in the neighbours of India can be reduced to a decent extent.

Boost to ‘Make in India’:

  • India can cater to the needs of the equipments like solar panels, wind mill blades and export it to the neighbours. This could give an imminent boost to “Make in India”.

Conclusion:

In an atmosphere of regional intrigue and mistrust, it is a rare and recent example of political pragmatism. It is important not only because it leads South Asian electricity trade in progressive directions but is also a concession to India’s neighbours in an area of political and economic importance.


Topic– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

8) As India transitions to renewable energy, it needs to articulate a credible economic future for the coal belt. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

India is one of the largest CO2 emitting nations in the world and this trend is going to increase for a certain period of time. Coal is a cheap and fairly abundant source of energy but it has its own problems which call for phasing out its production and use. However, the coal belt of India is highly dependent on coal and there is a need to chalk out a strategy for this coal belt in anticipation of phasing out coal in India.

Directive Word

Critically analyze-  here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out the reasons as to why there is a need to enhance the coal quality & economic future of the country.Based on our discussion we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  growth of renewable energy in India. E.g mention a few key statistics presenting India’s current energy mix and renewable energy installed capacity etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss the problems associated with coal and the need to phase it out of the energy mix. E.g Pollution; costly imports of higher grade coal; pressure from international and domestic environmental organizations to phase out coal etc.
  2. Discuss the need to bring out a credible economic future of the coal belt of India. E.g
  • Roughly 15-20 million people in the coal belt are dependent on the coal industry, either directly or indirectly, for their livelihood.
  • While companies like Coal India face no immediate threat to either coal demand or their market power, in a multi-decadal time-frame both these concerns will become real.
  • Not surprisingly, many coal-bearing states are also in the bottom third by income per capita (Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal in ascending order). But one of the big benefits of public investments is that they can be guided.
  • PSUs like Coal India have built up considerable social and political capital in these regions and this social and political capital be used to pivot towards other activities etc.
  1. Discuss the strategy envisaged by you. E.g Ultimately, an Indian “coal commission” needs to be formed which should articulate a credible economic future for the coal belt and the companies that exist there.

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

 

Introduction:

         India has its goal of achieving 175GW from renewable energy sources. In the INDC goals submitted under Paris Deal, it aims to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030.

      

Body:

        India’s thermal coal base, which still provides over 60 per cent of the country’s overall electricity generation, is still growing. However, extraction and usage of coal leads to severe environmental problems within India and also contributes to climate change inducing green-house gas emissions. Indian coal is mostly bituminous and we import higher grade coal which is expensive. India is the third largest emitter of green house gases – around 2.3 Giga tons annually. This has lead to pressure from international (UNFCCC) and domestic environmental organizations to phase out coal.

Need to bring out a credible economic future of the coal belt of Central India:

  • Huge Dependency:
  1. Individual level:
  • Roughly 15-20 million people in the coal belt are dependent on the coal industry, either directly or indirectly, for their livelihood.
  • Jobs in the renewable energy sector will not be coming to the coal belt in large numbers.
  1. Industry level:
  • Over 50 power plants in the country are dependent on the coal from Central India belt.
  • According to the Integrated Energy Policy prepared by the Planning Commission of India, even under a least coal usage scenario, coal will supply more than 40% of the primary commercial energy even in 2031-32.
  • Industries under threat:
  • While companies like Coal India face no immediate threat to either coal demand or their market power, in a multi-decadal time-frame both these concerns will become real.
  • The government has now allowed private companies to mine the fossil fuel for commercial use. This indirectly puts in a lot of investment at stake and could lead to continuation of ‘TWIN BALANCESHEET PROBLEM’.
  • Developing Regions:
    • Not surprisingly, many coal-bearing states are also in the bottom third by income per capita (Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal in ascending order).
    • High incidences of poverty, starvation deaths, presence of large number of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes are seen in the Central India. With unemployment and lack of alternative livelihoods, there can be severe repercussion on human development, if no proper planning is done.
  • Other determinants at play: A Study commissioned by Coal India gave the report “Coal Vision 2030”, to assess the future demand scenario for the coal sector in India up to 2030. The other determinants at play are
  • COP21 (Paris agreement) commitments by India.
  • Apparent shrinkage in global coal consumption.
  • Apparent downward revision of the economic growth projections of India.
  • Tepid response to recent tranches of coal block auctions.
  • NPA (non-performing asset) crisis, especially in the steel and power sector that are two major consumers of coal and important sectors linked to economic growth.

Way Forward:

  • An Indian coal commission based on the model of Germany can be devised to chalk out a plan for credible future of Central India coal belt region.
  • As the previous Economic Survey has shown, the divergence in economic performance and incomes between India’s states has intensified over the last decade, and public spending and investment have become increasingly necessary in poorer states to keep them afloat.
  • Alternative jobs can be created by taking financial surpluses from both the NTPC and Coal India to invest in solar power, fertiliser plants, and other areas far from the core business areas of these companies.
  • PSUs like Coal India have built up considerable social and political capital in these regions and this social and political capital be used to pivot towards other activities.
  • The North-Eastern region also huge reserves of coal, diversion of people for time-being can solve their unemployment problem. This can also solve the problem of illegal rat-hole mining by legitimising and finding newer technologies to mine coal in NE India.

Conclusion:

The latest COP in Katowice (Poland’s coal capital) delivers another disappointing outcome; it is clear that international financing for such projects is an unrealistic expectation. Instead, if the Indian state can engage in some good old long-term planning it can anticipate and prevent the large-scale economic distress which will be experienced in eastern India with the decline of the coal industry.