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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 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– Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1) Discuss the different theories explaining the formation of Coral Islands.(250 words)

Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong; Islands and Coral Reefs

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 simply write in detail about the theories trying to explain the formation of Coral Islands across the world.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-Mention that the subject of the origin of coral reefs has been debated for our one and a half centuries and several theories have been put forward but none has been universally accepted.

Body-

  1. Discuss the theory put forward by Charles Darwin- subsidence theory. E.g
  • This theory assumes that all coral reefs began as fringing reefs around and Island are the topmost portions of extinct volcanoes that stood above ocean bed. Due to the general down-wrapping of the earth’s crust, the islands gradually subsided but the corals continue to grow upwards to keep pace with the subsidence etc.
  1. Discuss the theory put forward by R.A Dally- Glacial control theory. E.g
  • This theory believes that during the height of Ice Age the water was too cold for any Coral growth take place but with the return of warmer climate water locked Up in ice sheets melted. Consequently, there was a rise in sea levels and columns begin to grow @ around 1 foot in a decade to keep pace with the rising water level etc.

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

Introduction:

                A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water.

They occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean area, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species. They are also known as “rainforests of the ocean”.

Body:

                The subject of origin of coral reefs has been studied and debated for over one and half centuries.

Darwin’s theory of subsidence:

Figure 1: Transition from fringing to Barrier Reef

Figure 2: Transition of an island from barrier reef to atoll.

According to Darwin, coral would grow along the edges of a newly formed volcanic island, thereby forming a fringing reef (Figure 1).  Due to a general down warping of earth’s crust, the islands gradually subsided. The corals continued to grow upwards to keep pace with the subsidence. The growth was more vigorous at the outward edge than the landward edge because of the more favourable living conditions for the corals, so the encircling reef widened. It then formed a barrier reef, with a lagoon between the island and the reef. Eventually, when the land completely submerged, only the outer rims of the reef were seen, forming an atoll (Figure 2). The submerged island was covered by a layer of sediment so that the characteristic circular lagoon is generally shallow. Thus atolls mark the position of the former islands.

R.A Daly’s glacial control theory:

                               

                Daly noticed a close relationship between glaciations and the development of coral reefs. He believed that during the heights of the Ice Ages, the water was too cold for any coral growth to take place. With the absence of a coral barrier, marine erosion was able to attack and lower the islands. With the return of the warmer climate, the water that was locked up in the ice sheets melted. Consequently, there was a rise in the sea level which in some cases submerged these lower islands. On these wave-planed platforms, corals began to grow upwards at the rate of a foot in a decade to keep pace with the rising water level. Coral Reefs, where islands still project above sea level, and atolls were thus formed.

Conclusion:

                Recent evidences of boring through Coral formations seem to favour Daly’s explanation of a change in sea level and consequent erosion of the Islands. However the deepest borings reveal basaltic rocks this corresponds to the subsided islands envisage by Darwin. Thus, a combination of the two theories accounts for all the important features of coral reefs and atolls.


Topic- Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2) The Cool Temperate Continental Climate of the world is home to a flourishing lumbar industry. Examine.(250 words)

Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong; Cool Temperate Continental (SIberian)  Climate

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.

The question wants us to write in detail about the Cool Temperate Continental Climate of the world and its flourishing lumbar industry- why such climate supports lumbar industry and the features of such climate as well as the industry.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the Cool Temperate Continental Climate/ Siberian climate. E.g It is only experienced in the Northern Hemisphere where the continents inside the high latitudes have a large east-west spread, unlike the southern hemisphere.

Body-

  1. Mention that the predominant vegetation in this climate is coniferous forests, which stretches in a vast continuous stretch across North America, Europe and Asia.
  2. Discuss further, about coniferous forests in such climate. E.g no other trees are adapted to survive such hostile climates as the conifers.
  3. The conifers of Eurasia and N. America are the richest sources of softwood, used in building construction, pulp, matches, furniture, paper, rayon manufacturing etc.
  4. US leads in wood pulp while Canada tops in newsprint.
  5. The trees are present in pure strands and only a few species exist, which makes them highly advantageous for commercial exploitation.
  6. Conifers have moderate density, grow uniform and straight and tall, and are well spaced from each other.
  7. Snow Cover is exploited to transport/ haul the cut trees from one place to another etc.

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

Introduction:

        The cool temperate Continental climate is experienced only in the Northern hemisphere where the continents within the high latitudes have a broad east west spread. The Siberian climate is conspicuously absent in the southern hemisphere because of the narrowness of the southern continents in the high latitudes and the strong oceanic influence which reduces the severity of winter.

        The predominant vegetation of this sub arctic type of climate is evergreen coniferous forest. The greatest single band of the coniferous forest is the Taiga in Siberia.

Body:

                               

                The economic activity involving felling, hauling, logging of timber is known as lumbering. It is well developed in the coniferous forest belt of the cool temperate lands. The factors responsible for its development are:

  • Homogeneous forests: Tree species in temperate region are more or less homogeneous. Single species overwhelmingly dominate in separate regions —that helps immensely to locate and extract the trees. Besides, absence of undergrowth, bush or epiphytes makes extraction much easier. Absence of branches and shorter tress are other favourable factors which make lumbering in temperate regions more lucrative. Example: Pine, fir, spruce – northern forests; Larch- warmer south
  • Climate: Climate in temperate region is conducive to lumbering. As the temperature is cool and pleasant, workers can continue their activities longer without much tiredness.
  • Easy transportation: As trees are un-branched, shorter and lighter, transportation is easier. Customarily, extraction is done during winter, when the labour is cheaper and woods remain in the frozen river beds. During summer, when rivers melt, logs are automatically transported to the sawmills—without much cost.
  • Mechanization: For cutting and felling of the logs, machines are used instead of manual labour. In this way, productivity can be raised and cost of production can also be minimized.
  • Cheaper power: Power—particularly hydro-electric power—is cheaper in this region —an incentive to sawmills.
  • Steady -demand: Demand of soft conifer wood is increasing day by day. For the preparation of pulp in paper industry and cellulose for synthetic textile industry, demand of softwood is increasing faster.
  • Development of Forest Management: Unlike tropical world —where forest is unpro­tected and unmanaged — temperate forest management is scientific and careful. Afforestation is done along with preventive measures against soil erosion and forest fire.
  • Other products: Temperate forests provide ample products other than woods, Example: gums, fruits, oils etc. — these are making lumbering more, profitable. They are used for making wood pulp, paper, newsprint, synthetic fabric, and sports goods; packing boxes, match sticks, rayon manufacturing etc
  • Ready market: The adjacent countries of temperate coniferous forest are, by and large, highly developed and industrially prosperous. Their purchasing power and great requirement of wood accelerated lumbering industry in this part of the globe. Finland, Sweden, Norway, U.S.A. and Canada earn sizeable revenue to their national exchequer from export of lumbering products.
  • Government policies: Governments are playing crucial role to increase environmen­tal awareness through proper forest management and also giving assistance to forest research projects. Example: US leads in wood pulp while Canada tops in newsprint

Conclusion:

                Nearly 80% of lumbering products are obtained from temperate coniferous forest spread over North America and Europe. Here, lumbering industry is integrated, coordinated, well-organized and well-managed. The scale of operation and number of people involved in this industry is massive. Various geographical, socio-economic and cultural factors have contributed significantly for its origin and development.


Topic – Salient features of world’s physical geography.

3) Explain the formation of thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the formation of these islands with detailed explanation of the processes entailed therein.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what archipelago is. Highlight that Indonesia and Philippines constitute two of the five main archipelagos in the world, with Indonesia being the largest archipelagic state in the world, in terms of area and population.

Body – Explain the geography of the region like the fact that it falls at the boundary of continental plates. Explain the reasons for the formation of these island. Both Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos are a result of a combination of volcanic activity and tectonic plate movement. Both islands have been hotbeds of volcanic and seismic activity due to the convergence of continental plates. Explain the physical processes involved in the formation of these islands.

Conclusion – highlight that the region is prone to volcanoes and tsunamis.

 

Introduction:

        An archipelago is a group of islands closely scattered in a body of water. Most archipelagos are made of oceanic islands. This means the islands were formed by volcanoes erupting from the ocean floor. An archipelago made up of oceanic islands is called an island arc.

 

Body:

        Indonesia and Philippines constitute two of the five main archipelagos in the world, with Indonesia being the largest archipelagic state in the world, in terms of area and population.

Indonesian Archipelago is made up of approximately 17,500 islands out of which more than 6,000 are populated. It has 60 tiny archipelagos and five core islands. Out of 400, about 150 are active volcanoes.

 

Geographic Location:

                       

  • It falls at the boundary of continental plates.
  • Indonesia sits between the world’s most active seismic region, the notorious Pacific Ring of Fire , and the world’s second most active region — the Alpide belt.

 

 

Formation:

                      

 

  • Both Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos are a result of a combination of volcanic activity and tectonic plate movement. It is a result of Oceanic-Oceanic Convergent Boundary.
  • Both islands have been hotbeds of volcanic and seismic activity due to the convergence of continental plates.
  • The islands are initially caused by the volcanoes, and later the shifting of tectonic plates (Eurasian plate, Philippines plate) results in their consolidation as a grouping of small islands in a relatively small area.
  • Underwater volcanoes lead to seepage of magma onto the sea, thereby creating rock formation. Continual release of magma causes these rock formations to emerge onto the surface of the sea, thus creating an island.
  • The shifting tectonic plates and existence of subduction zone in the area where the Indonesian and Philippines Islands are located causes the formation of an island arc or archipelago.

Importance for India:

  • The fact that Indonesia and Philippines Archipelago is in the Pacific Ring of Fire, they are prone to multiple earth-quakes and volcanic eruptions.
  • These can in turn trigger Tsunamis which has the potential to affect India’s vast coastline as seen during 2004 Tsunami.
  • Further, the presence of Mallaca strait, Sunda strait and other straits in the proximity can affect the sea lanes of communication.
  • Air traffic disruption due to eruption of volcanoes is a possibility.

       

Way Forward:

        Being sandwiched between such seismicity has meant the islands experience some of the strongest earthquakes and most powerful volcanic eruptions known on Earth. Thus, it is important to understand the geology to reduce the destruction to man and material.


       

Topic–  Indian polity issues

4) The policy of reservation has transformed from an affirmative action policy to an anti poverty measure. Critically examine. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The recent decision of the government to introduce 10% reservation for economically weaker section in general category marks another chapter in the never ending reservation saga and needs to be analyzed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the policy of reservation and examine whether the policy has transformed from a policy meant to provide a level playing field for those suffering from historical discrimination and those who are weaker sections of the society to a policy meant as a dole for those sections of society who are are poor and lack jobs.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the recent measure to introduce 10% reservation for economically weaker section in general category.

Body

  • Explain in detail the measures taken by the government
    • Those who have an annual salary of less than ₹8 lakh per year and possess less than 5 acres of land will be able to avail themselves of reservation in educational institutions and jobs.
    • A Constitution Amendment Bill was approved by the Cabinet in this regard.
    • The Bill will also cover those from the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities.
    • The quota will be over and above the existing 50% reservation to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  • Examine whether the policy is in contravention to the Indra Sawhney judgement and what the judgement says regarding reservation for economically weaker section
  • Examine whether the policy has transformed from a policy meant to provide a level playing field for those suffering from historical discrimination and those who are weaker sections of the society to a policy meant as a dole for those sections of society who are are poor and lack jobs.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        The President of India has given his assent to the bill providing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category. The legislation will be known as the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 and it shall come into force on such date as the Centre notifies.

       

Body:

The key measures taken by the government in this act are

  • It provides reservation for:
  • People who have an annual income of less than Rs.8 lakhs.
  • People who own less than five acres of farm land.
  • People who have a house lesser than 1,000 sq feet in a town.
  • Residential plot below 100 yards in notified municipality.
  • Residential plot below 200 yards in non-notified municipality area.
  • The Bill will also cover those from the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities.

Impacts of the Act:

The act is in conflict with many provisions of the constitution as well as Supreme Court judgements.

 

  • Legal Scrutiny:
    • The SC has held that in general conditions the special provision should be less than 50% (M R Balaji and Ors v. State of Mysore).
    • The Supreme Court has ruled multiple times against exceeding its 1992 formula of a maximum of 50% reservation (Indira Sawhney v. Union of India).
    • It also defined that a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion.
    • It may be a consideration or basis along with, and in addition to, social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion.

 

  • Violation of Basic Structure Doctrine:
    • The 10% reservation will be in addition to the existing cap of 50% reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60%.
    • This would leave other candidates with just 40% government jobs or seats, amounting to violation of Article 14 (Right to Equality), which is a part of Basic Structure.
    • In Kesavananda Bharati (1973), the Supreme Court held that Parliament can amend the Constitution but does not have power to destroy it — no amendment can change its “basic structure”.
    • The judgment held that constitutional amendments which offended the basic structure of the Constitution would be ultra vires.
    • The 60% reservation will also lead to “sacrifice of merit”.

 

  • Violation of DPSP:
    • The Article 46, which is a non-justiciable Directive Principle, says that the state shall promote educational and economic interests of “weaker sections”, in particular SCs and STs, and protect them from “social injustices” and “all forms of exploitation”.
    • While the 124th Amendment mentions Article 46 in its statement and objects, it seems the government overlooked the fact that upper castes neither face social injustice nor are subjected to any form of exploitation.
    • Moreover, the Constitution makes provisions for commissions to look into matters relating to implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Castes (Article 338), Scheduled Tribes (338A) and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (339), but has not created any commission for the economically backward classes.

 

  • Against Spirit of Reservation:
    • Constitution outlines special provisions for only four classes – SCs, STs, Backward Classes and Anglo Indians in the Articles 330-342 under Part 16.
    • The provision is clearly mentioned as reservation is explicitly for ‘social exclusion and discrimination’. Notably, the “socially and educationally backward classes” was the target group in quotas for OBCs.
    • Thus, the quota for the economically poor among the upper castes has been seen essentially as a poverty alleviation move dressed up as reservation.
    • The policy has transformed from a policy meant to provide a level playing field for those suffering from historical discrimination and those who are weaker sections of the society to a policy meant as a dole for those sections of society who are poor and lack jobs.

 

Way forward:

Spread the benefits: about Alternative Strategies:

  • First strategy may be to try and spread the benefits of reservations as widely as possible within the existing framework:
    • Ensure that individuals use their reserved category status only once in their lifetime.
    • This would require that anyone using reservations to obtain a benefit such as college admission must register his/her Aadhaar number and she would be ineligible to use reservations for another benefit (e.g. a job) in the future.
    • This would require no changes to the basic framework but spread the benefits more broadly within the reserved category allowing a larger number of families to seek upward mobility.
  • A second strategy might be to recognise that future economic growth in India is going to come from the private sector and entrepreneurship:
    • In order to ensure that all Indians, regardless of caste, class and religion, are able to partake in economic growth, we must focus on basic skills.
    • We have focused on admission to prestigious colleges and government jobs, but little attention is directed to social inequality in the quality of elementary schooling.
    • The IHDS shows that among children aged 8-11, 68% of the forward caste children can read at Class 1 level while the proportion is far lower for OBCs (56%), SCs (45%) and STs (40%).
    • This suggests that we need to focus on reducing inequalities where they first emerge, within primary schools.

Conclusion:

        The policy for reservation despite the constitutional provisions and Supreme court Judgements shows that it is more of a poverty alleviation scheme than an affirmative policy. The government rather needs to focus on job generation, improving education system and relooking at the existing reservation criteria so that the benefits reach true beneficiaries.


Topic– India and its neighborhood- relations.

5) Faith based diplomacy has several limitations and may prove costly for India’s national interests in the long run. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question

India has been at the forefront of religious diplomacy as can be gauged from conducting Yoga sessions and enlightening the world about Ayurveda to high profile visits to/ from foreign countries to important religious sites. In this context it is essential to look into the issue and find whether religion based diplomacy should be pursued or not.

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 recent efforts by India to capitalize on faith based diplomacy and bring forth an opinion as to whether it may/ may not prove costly for India’s national interests in the long run.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about some of the recent diplomatic moves of the government which involved or emphasized religion. E.g Sri Lanka officials visit to Bodh Gaya; Citizenship Bill,  Visits of high level Indian officials including the PM to several foreign shrines etc.

Body-

Discuss the flaws in such approach and why it can be dangerous for India. E.g

  • It can trigger a backlash from communities and countries hostile to any particular religion.
  • Such an approach which focuses on a single or a few religions undermines India’s rich cultural and religious heritage.
  • It also undermines India’s secular foundations.
  • It can cause deep rifts between countries disfavouring any particular religion being promoted and India etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        Faith based diplomacy or “Religious diplomacy” means using faith to bring people and nations together. It is a form of multi-track diplomacy that seeks to integrate the dynamics of religious faith with the conduct of international peacemaking and statecraft.

 Indian government has used this as a part of its foreign policy since 2014 in its outreach to the neighbouring countries in the Subcontinent and beyond. The recent Kartarpur corridor, a 5-km visa free corridor, in Punjab connecting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is one of an example.

                                       

Body:

        The other Instances include the efforts to rebuild the long-neglected Buddhist bridge to the world by inviting Srilankan delagates (top military brass) to Bodh Gaya in2018. Efforts with Nepal to forge a Hindu religion based civilization ties etc.

                        Several foreign relation experts have opined that there are many inherent flaws in such approach and it can be dangerous for India.

  • Secularism:
    • India has declared herself as a secular country.
    • Faith based diplomacy undermines India’s secular foundations.
  • Diversity:
    • India also believes in “Unity in Diversity”.
    • We have seen major religions take birth in India like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and people from all faiths live in India.
    • Such an approach which focuses on a single or a few religions undermines India’s rich cultural and religious heritage.
  • Diplomatic Setbacks:
    • It can cause deep rifts between countries disfavouring any particular religion being promoted and India.
  • National Security:
    • It can trigger a backlash from communities and countries hostile to any particular religion.
    • Further, it can lead to polarization of societies and lead to communalism and increased radicalisation.
    • Religious and linguistic minorities can feel insecure, thus affecting their morale. This could lead to civil wars as seen in Srilanka.
  • Soft power:
    • Indian Diaspora across countries has accepted multiple faiths over generations.
    • This can reverse the India’s soft power gains achieved through International Yoga Day, Ayurvedic researches.

 

Conclusion:

        Mixing personal faith with bilateral diplomacy makes for good optics when all goes well, but when bilateral ties suffer, it gets personal all too quickly. In the longer run, the non-secular foreign policy initiatives of trade, commerce, defence and soft-power will sustain the relationship between countries. Faith based diplomacy can complement it rather than being mainstream.


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

6) The Gujarat model which focuses on megaprojects at the expense of SMEs is not the solution for India. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The plan to introduce reservation in jobs for economically weaker sections of the upper castes in India points out the growing concerns about employment growth in India. In this context it is important to analyze the Gujarat model of development and see whether it offers the required solutions.

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 Gujarat model of development and bring forth its positive as well as negative points. Based on our discussion we have to form an opinion on whether this model should be emulated across India, given the present pressing concerns of the economy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Gujarat model of development. E.g mention what exactly it refers to- which period of Gujarat story it relates to and mention that it is being hailed as role model for other states to emulate.

Body-

  1. Discuss the positive points of Gujarat model. E.g It ensured a high growth rate and attracted foreign investment; It led to substantial economic growth of the state and created a positive business friendly image among the investors; It made governance simpler and business easy to be done; A large number of industries were exempted from obtaining No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pollution Control Board. They were allowed relatively easy and quick possession of land through the ‘urgency’ clause, as well as a simplification of the administrative processes to release agricultural land for industrial use etc.
  2. Discuss the flaws in such model. E.g  it was more about business-friendliness than market-friendliness, as evident from the non-market prices some companies paid for their land. While market-friendly economies minimize interventions by the state, in business-friendly economies, politicians (and “their” bureaucracies) intervene in favour of the companies they seek to favour; by focusing on “mega-projects”, the “Gujarat model” has relied on big companies that have boosted the growth rate but have not created many good jobs, not only because the rules pertaining to job creation have been relaxed, as mentioned above, but also because big companies are very capital intensive etc.
  3. Discuss the importance of job creation for India and link it with people’s agitations, recent reservation plans for economically weaker higher castes etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        Gujarat model refers to a period from 2002-03 to 20011-12 during which Gujarat experienced a quantum jump in its growth rate. The driving force was the neoliberal policies.

The growth strategy had three major components:

  • quantum jump in infrastructure to facilitate inflow of corporate investment.
  • quantum jump in governance to address the requirements of corporate units.
  • unprecedented rise in incentives and subsidies on investments to the corporate sector to attract investments.

Infrastructure development focused on roads, airports and power – and through reforms, 24-hour availability of power. The Gujarat model is hailed as role model for other states to emulate.

 

Body:

Bibek Debroy summarized the state’s economic policy as follows: “What is the Gujarat model then? It is one of freeing up space for private initiative and enterprise and the creation of an enabling environment by the state”.

 

The Gujarat model of Growth has positives like

  • Ease of FDI flow:
    • It ensured a high growth rate and attracted foreign investment. The concerned departments were aggressive in expediting the procedures to facilitate investment flows.
  • Quick Environmental Clearances:
    • A large number of industries were exempted from obtaining No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pollution Control Board.
  • Swift Land Acquisition:
    • They were allowed relatively easy and quick possession of land through the ‘urgency’ clause, as well as a simplification of the administrative processes to release agricultural land for industrial use.
  • Ease of Doing Business:
    • Governance focused on quick disposal of investment proposals with a single window, easy access to bank credit and if required, other escort services to corporate units and their core staff.
    • It led to substantial economic growth of the state and created a positive business friendly image among the investors.
  • Tax Incentives:
    • The incentives to corporate investment included mainly sales tax subsidies till 2006-07 (till the Centre banned it).
    • Forty percent of the revenue from sales tax – the main source of revenue for state governments – was forgone.
  • Subsidies:
    • The government introduced subsidies on capital, interest, and infrastructure as well as heavy subsidies on land, water supply and natural resources.
    • The rates of subsidies were larger for larger investments.
    • For mega industries, there was no fixed rate and each case was assessed separately.

 

Case Study: Tata-Nano got totally Rs 30,000 crores subsidies (like Suzuki, Hyundai etc). Land was acquired from common grazing land, denotified protected areas, national parks and from irrigated fertile lands. The price started from Re 1 per acre, and increased during the last years of the model but still was less than the market price.

 

The negatives of Gujarat model were

 

  • Capital intensive:
    • The growth has been highly capital intensive MEGA Projects due to the chase for the “state-of-the-art” technology.
    • Example: The petrochemical industry and the chemical industry are cases in point. They have been so dynamic that they represent, respectively, 34% and 15% of the industrial output, but they are not labour intensive at all.
    • Automation is also gaining momentum in large factories.
    • The employment elasticity of growth has nose-dived for productive sectors.
    • One of the greatest challenges for the state is creating massive productive jobs with decent incomes for the youth.
  • Sidelining of MSME sector:
    • The engines of growth- MSMEs are sidelined. Their credit lending is poor, labour laws are pro-industry leading to death knell for MSMEs.
    • According to the Union ministry of MSMEs, the number of sick units jumped from 4,321 in 2010-11 to 20,615 in 2012-13 and 49,382 in 2014-15—a figure second only to Uttar Pradesh. Between 2004 and 2014, 60,000 MSMEs shut down in Gujarat.
    • The cooperatives and SMEs have not continued to benefit from the traditional attention of the state, and this evolution has affected the labour market—where jobs have been few and where wages have not increased.
  • Poor social infrastructure:
    • After the huge incentives to corporate units, the government is left with limited funds for education, health, environment and employment for the masses.
    • Gujarat spends less than 2% of its income on education (the norm is 5-6%) with the result that 45% workers in Gujarat are illiterate or studied up to the fifth standard with the quality of education very poor.
  • Environmental Externalities:
    • Though 40-45% households in Gujarat depend on natural resources for their livelihoods (farming, animal husbandry, dairy, forestry, fishery etc), the depleted and degraded resources, along with heavy pollution, have reduced their productively and incomes in these sectors and raised their vulnerability.

 

                        Many economists have opined that India is known to be undergoing a “jobless growth”. In 2015, youth of a particular upper caste demonstrated in order to have access to government jobs quotas. This massive protest showed that good jobs had become an acute need. The strikes and agitations have shown clear indication of the crisis the peasants, the artisans, and the cottage industry are facing. The plan to introduce reservation in jobs for economically weaker sections of the upper castes in India points out the growing concerns about employment growth in India.

 

Conclusion:

        The focus should be on development rather than growth. MSMEs have proved over time how they are labour intensive and generate the much needed jobs. The neoliberal, business friendly policy of Gujarat should include and focus on the MSMEs too. The problem of jobless growth must be tackled with development in the social infrastructure, promotion of MSMEs. “Kerala Model” of development can be seen as an alternative.


Topic– Disaster and disaster management.

7) The disaster in Meghalaya shows that lives of people matter little in India. Examine.(250 words)

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Why this question

The article highlights the apathy shown by policymakers towards the weaker sections of the society who keep on dying in accidents or tragedies one after the other. These instances remain in public memory for some time and thereafter, it ceases to bother one. The recent Meghalaya tragedy was one such incident which could have been averted but wasn’t because no one was paying attention. Hence this question

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first discuss the reasons behind the tragedy in Meghalaya, and underline the causes why the disaster happened. Thereafter, we have to bring out that such disasters are a lack of proactive steps taken by the government and in certain cases, downright negligence. We have to give our opinion and discuss way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight about the recent incident in Meghalaya and other such incidents where a number of people have died in totally avoidable circumstances.

Body

  • Explain the causes behind the disaster in Meghalaya
    • Highlight the tardy response response of the Centre and the State which has exposed the extraordinary indifference in government to labour welfare and the law.
    • Highlight that such mines were being operated despite ban by NGT which again highlights the apathy of the state.
    • Explain that Justice B.P. Katoki committee appointed by the NGT had warned about the continued operation of the illegal mines. However, Meghalaya government failed to act and take appropriate actions.
  • Discuss about the other such incidents such as death caused during demonetization, death due to hunger in Jharkhand etc which necessitated to enquiries and no corrective measures highlighting that lives of common people matter little and shows governmental apathy
  • Explain how the situation can be improved

Conclusion – Highlight that such incidents reflect utter neglect on the part of the state and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

        The collapse of a coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, trapping at least 15 workers who are still missing and are feared dead, has thrown the spotlight on a procedure known as “rat-hole mining”. Although banned by the National Green Tribunal in 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court, it remains the prevalent procedure for coal mining in Meghalaya. The poor implementation of the orders, state’s inefficiency for quick disaster management lead to many such avoidable tragedies.

Body:

The causes behind the disaster in Meghalaya are

Loopholes in the law:

  • The ban has been rendered meaningless by the Supreme court-sanctioned permission to transport “already-mined” coal till January 2019. Mine owners have used this loophole to continue mining operations illegally.
  • The State of Meghalaya has promulgated a mining policy of 2012, which does not deal with rat-hole mining, but on the contrary, deprecates it.
  • Meghalaya comes under the 6th Schedule of Constitution. The provisions allow for community ownership of land and autonomy over its use. However they are taken over by private players and tribals are left helpless.

Lack of Political and Executive will:

  • The unholy nexus of Politicians and Contractors: About 33% of political candidates have stakes in coal mining and transport companies, thus lobbying against the ban order.
  • A committee (headed by Retired Justice P. Katoki) appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has blamed poor implementation of NGT order by executive.

Lack of Alternate Sources of Livelihood:

  • The tardy response of the Centre and the State which has exposed the extraordinary indifference in government to labour welfare and the law.
  • It is a cheap method for the mine owners to extract coal and presence of abundance of Migrant labour.

Much like the Meghalaya tragedy, other disasters—some driven by policy and others where policymakers look away—show how little the lives of the poor matter in India.

  • Over the past year, at least 17 people are likely to have succumbed to hunger in Jharkhand. The inability to link Aadhar card with the ration cards of PDS is the reason.
  • The botched demonetization exercise in 2016: More than a 100 people are estimated to have died either while standing in queues for long hours or for failing to provide new banknotes while getting treated in hospitals.
  • An uncounted number of labourers who are paid a pittance continue to die because of silicosis after inhaling stone dust while working in quarries in states such as Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • In NCR region, more than 20 labourers have died in the past year alone from inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning sewers and sewage treatment tanks,

The above incidents reflect utter neglect on the part of the state. Ceremonial enquiries and lack of corrective measures highlights that lives of common people matter little and shows governmental apathy.

Way Forward:

  • Co-ordinated working of Centre, State and Local Governments to achieve the true objective of citizen welfare.
  • Holistic policymaking which involves the gauging of possible after-effects, Effective Disaster Management goals as a part of the policies.
  • Effective implementation of the policies at the grass-roots level following the rule of law. Example: Prevention of Manual Scavenging act.
  • Sensitivity training to public servants so that the policies are more citizen-centric and empathetic.
  • Safety trainings to employees and localized Disaster Response teams should be present to reduce the wastage of precious time post disasters.
  • Occupational disasters can be avoided by effective regulations and intermittent renewal of licences of firms based on safety regulations. Example: Compulsory face masks and goggles and by using wet drilling in stone quarries.
  • Alternative employment or economic engagement for the coal mine owners and labourers must be provided. Example: MGNREGA
  • Innovative use of technology to reduce harm to human lives. Example: Pit cleaning robots as seen in Thiruvananthapuram; Drones and Cameras for monitoring work conditions.
  • Involvement of Social Activists, NGO’s and Local community and education of the people about perils of occupation.