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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 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) Explain some of the physical features that are formed in the upper courses of the river?(250 words)

GC Leong – Ch5

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to name and explain the physical features as a result of erosion in upper reaches of the river.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that the course of the river can be divided into three main stages and in the upper stages the physical features formed are a result of the erosional action of the rivers.

Body

  • Explain the phenomena of river capture and the associated physical features such as wind gap, pirating stream, pirated stream etc.
  • Explain how rapids, cataracts and waterfalls are formed
  • Also explain how duns are formed. Draw diagrams to explain more clearly

Conclusion – Highlight that these features are formed as a result of high pace of river in the upper courses.

Introduction:

                The course of a river may be divided into three distinct parts:

  • the upper or the mountain course (in the stage of youth)
  • the middle or Valley course (in the stage of maturity)
  • the lower or plain course (in the stage of old age)

Erosion and transportation are the main activities of a river in the upper course.

Body:

                In the mountainous course, a river passes through a steep slope. Its water, therefore, rushes down with great speed. Under such a condition the water can dig the river bed very deeply and carries or pools down heavy boulders and pebbles.

V-SHAPED VALLEYS: A river has a deep and narrow channel in this stage. Moreover, some of the rocks over which a river flows are very hard, while the others are soft. As a result of this, the river course is not smooth. The deep and steep-sided river valley is V-shaped here. Both erosion and transportation are active at this stage.

        

 

      

GORGES: Sometimes, the river flows through very hard rocks. In that situation the two sides of the river become so steep that they become almost vertical. The formation is known as Gorge. There are many gorges on the upper course of the Brahmaputra, the Indus, and the Ganges. Again when river flows through dry desert its bed becomes very deep and the two sides become vertical. The river valley takes the shape of I instead of V.

INTERLOCKING SPURS: As the river erodes the landscape in the upper course, it winds and bends to avoid areas of hard rock. This creates interlocking spurs, which look a bit like the interlocking parts of a zip.

RAPIDS and CATARACTS: When a river runs over alternating layers of hard and soft rock, rapids and waterfalls may form.  Due to the unequal resistance of hard and soft Rocks traversed by a river the outcrop of a band of hard rock may cause a river to jump or fall down stream. Thus, rapids are formed. Similar false of Greater dimensions are also referred to as cataracts.

WATERFALLS: Waterfalls commonly form where water rushes down steep hillsides in upland areas. They are typical of the upper valley but can be found in the rivers lower courses. This typically occurs in areas where alternating bands of rock, made up of soft and hard rock, form the bedrock. Some types of rocks (shale, for example) wear away more easily than others (such as sandstone or limestone).

Waterfalls form when waterfalls onto soft rock after flowing over hard rock. Falling water and rock particles erode the soft rock below, forming a plunge pool. Processes of erosion, such as hydraulic action, abrasion and corrasion further erode the plunge pool and the back wall of the waterfall, undercutting the hard rock above. Eventually, the hard rock will no longer be supported and it will collapse. The waterfall continues to retreat leaving behind a steep-sided gorge.

RIVER CAPTURE: a natural process which is more active in the youthful stage of the valley development because the streams are actively engaged in head-ward erosion and valley lengthening. The stronger and more powerful streams (in terms of channel gradient, stream velocity and discharge and kinetic energy) capture the upper courses of weak and sluggish streams.

                There are four major evidences of river capture. The elbow of capture denotes the point where the course of the captured stream has been diverted to the course of the captor stream. Generally, the elbow of capture denotes sharp turn in the course of a river almost at right angle. The water gap denotes the deep and narrow valley in the form of a gorge formed by the captor stream through headward erosion across the ridge. Wind gap (col) is the dry portion of the beheaded stream just below the elbow of capture. The misfit or under-fit stream is the lower course of the captured stream. It is called misfit because of the fact that the former valley of the captured stream becomes too large and wide for the beheaded stream because of substantial decrease in the volume of water due to diversion of its water to the captor stream.

Conclusion:

                India has many rivers at the youthful stage originating in Himalayas. The evolution of various landforms due to the high pace of rivers has its impacts on the geography, economy and people. With climate change, the rate of melting of glaciers is high leading to changes in river water flow. Thus, it is imperative to understand the river geomorphology.       


Topic- Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2) While the earth’s crust is undergoing constructive changes to create new relief, external forces of nature are working vigorously to level this down”. Explain. (250 words)

GC Leong – Ch4

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain that the earth’s crust is a result of the constructive changes as a result of orogenesis and the external forces that are aggressively working to wear away the surface. Explain what these forces are and how they impact the formation of earth’s crust.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that earth’s crust is a result of the constructive changes as a result of orogenesis and the external forces that are aggressively working to wear away the surface.

Body

  • Explain that orogenesis builds new mountains, folding and faulting causes uplift or depression in certain areas and volcanic disruptions also modify the surface
  • Thereafter explain the various external forces that working against such forces such as weathering, erosion, transportation and depositing. Explain how they impact the relief features seen on earth’s crust

Conclusion – Explain what is the impact of such forces.

 

Introduction:

        The earth’s crust is constantly undergoing geological changes caused by Endogenic (internal) forces which create new relief features. Meanwhile Exogenic (external) forces are working vigorously to wear away the surface.

Body:

The various internal forces that help in formation of various landforms are Orogenesis, Folding and Faulting, volcanic disturbances.

Orogenesis  is the process of building new mountain ranges by the convergence of tectonic plates. This takes place by ocean-continent collision (e.g., the Andes), continent-continent collision (the Alps and the Himalayas), or island arc-continent collision (e.g., New Guinea). All these tectonic processes create sedimentary basins of various types.

            

Folding: A fold can be defined as a bend in rock that is the response to compressional forces. Folds are most visible in rocks that contain layering. It causes uplift of particular area. The simplest type of fold is called a monocline. This fold involves a slight bend in otherwise parallel layers of rock. An anticline is a convex up fold in rock that resembles an arch like structure with the rock beds (or limbs) dipping way from the center of the structure.

Faulting causes depression of particular areas. These faults are named according to the type of stress that acts on the rock and by the nature of the movement of the rock blocks either side of the fault plane. Normal faults occur when tensional forces act in opposite directions and cause one slab of the rock to be displaced up and the other slab down. Reverse faults develop when compressional forces exist. Compression causes one block to be pushed up and over the other block. A graben fault is produced when tensional stresses result in the subsidence of a block of rock. On a large scale these features are known as Rift Valleys. A horst fault is the development of two reverse faults causing a block of rock to be pushed up.

Volcanic disturbances also modify the landscape. It is release of hot magma from earth’s surface due to convectional cells operating underneath giving rise to features such as batholiths, phacoliths etc. underneath and volcanic mountains above earth’s surface.

                The various external forces that working against constructive forces are weathering, erosion, transportation and depositing.

  • Weathering: The gradual disintegration of rocks by atmospheric or weathering forces. They are of two kinds

Chemical Weathering: basic process by which denudation occurs. Extremely slow and gradual decomposition of rocks due to exposure to air and water. Solution, Oxidation and Decomposition by Organic Acids are few processes.

Physical or Mechanical weathering: physical disintegration of a rock by the actual prising apart of separate particles. Repeated temperature changes, Repeated wetting and drying, Frost action and Biotic factors are processes.

  • Erosion: The active wearing away of the earth’s surface by moving agents like running water, wind, ice and waves. Example: formation of waterfalls, rapids, sea caves, sprayholes.
  • Transportation: the removal of the eroded debris to new positions. Various types include mass movements like Soil Creep, Landslides. Example: Formation of Sand dunes in deserts, Barchans etc.
  • Deposition: the dumping of the debris in certain parts of the earth, where it may accumulate to form new rocks. Example: Beaches

Anthropogenic activities, Climate change, global warming are further increase the pace of the external forces. Example: The deforestation helps in quickening the Erosion process leading to quicker denudation.

Conclusion:

                The interaction of these constructive and destructive forces gives rise to great diversity of present day landforms.


Topic – Salient features of world’s physical geography.

3) What are the causes and effects of El-Nino. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write at length about the causes/ factors which lead to El-Nino and also write in detail about its effects on the world climate and geography.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  El-Nino. E.g El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy child,” which is often used to refer to Jesus Christ, and the phenomenon earned this name because it typically occurs in December around Christmas. El Niño occurs every 2-7 years, and can last anywhere between nine months and two years.

Body-

  1. Discuss the causes of El-Nino. E.g
  • The trade winds push warm water on the surface of the ocean from east to west (westerly). This causes the warm water to build up on the western side of the ocean near Asia.Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the ocean, near Central and South America, cold waters are pushed up towards the surface.
  • Because of this, there is a difference in temperature across the equatorial pacific, with warm water to the west and cold water to the east.The warm water in the west heats the air, making the warm air rise and leading to drastic weather, including rain and thunderstorms.
  • The rising warm air causes a circulation between east and west in the Pacific, with the warm, moist air rising in the west, and cool, dry air descending in the east.All of these natural occurrences lead to a reinforcement of the easterly winds, and cause a self-perpetuating motion in the air in the Pacific.
  • Under the proper conditions, the trade winds are weakened, causing less warm surface water to be pushed to the west, and less cold water to be pulled to the surface in the east. Parts of the ocean that are cold during the usual self-perpetuating cycle become warmer, cancelling out the normal difference in temperature in the equatorial Pacific between east and west etc.

 

  1. Discuss the effects of El-Nino. E.g
  • In South America, there is a drastic increase in the risk of flooding on the western coast, while there is an increase in the risk of droughts on parts of the eastern coast.
  • In eastern countries, like India and Indonesia, there is an increase in droughts.
    In general, El Niño causes vast amounts of rainfall in the eastern parts of the Pacific (the western coast of South America), and very dry weather on the western parts (India, Indonesia).
  • With all the extra heat at the surface of the Pacific Ocean, energy is released into the atmosphere, causing an overall warming of the global climate temporarily. Years in which El Niño occurs tend to feature higher temperatures across the globe.
  • The effects of El Niño on the weather peak in December and can last for several months after that etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy child,” which is often used to refer to Jesus Christ, and the phenomenon earned this name because it typically occurs in December around Christmas. El Niño occurs every 2-7 years, and can last anywhere between nine months and two years.

                       

Body:

        El Niño, an oceanic phenomenon usually occurs with Southern Oscillation, an atmospheric phenomenon. Together they are called El Niño Southern oscillation (ENSO). ENSO is one of the most important climate phenomena on Earth due to its ability to change the global atmospheric circulation, which in turn, influences temperature and precipitation across the globe. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the term used to describe the oscillation between the El Niño phase and the La Niña, or opposite phase.

 The causes for El Niña are:

The two opposite phases, “El Niño” and “La Niña,” require certain changes in both the ocean and the atmosphere because ENSO is a coupled climate phenomenon.  “Neutral” is in the middle of the continuum.

 Neutral phase:

  • In the neutral state (neither El Niño nor La Niña) trade winds blow east to west across the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean, bringing warm moist air and warmer surface waters towards the western Pacific and keeping the central Pacific Ocean relatively cool. The thermo cline is deeper in the west than the east.
  • This means that under “normal” conditions the western tropical Pacific is 8 to 10°C warmer than the eastern tropical Pacific. This warmer area of ocean is a source for convection and is associated with cloudiness and rainfall.

El Nino:

  • The trade winds push warm water on the surface of the ocean from east to west (westerly). This causes the warm water to build up on the western side of the ocean near Asia. Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the ocean, near Central and South America, cold waters are pushed up towards the surface.
  • Because of this, there is a difference in temperature across the equatorial pacific, with warm water to the west and cold water to the east. The warm water in the west heats the air, making the warm air rise and leading to drastic weather, including rain and thunderstorms.
  • The rising warm air causes a circulation between east and west in the Pacific, with the warm, moist air rising in the west, and cool, dry air descending in the east. All of these natural occurrences lead to a reinforcement of the easterly winds, and cause a self-perpetuating motion in the air in the Pacific.

 

Impacts: The main impacts of El Niño occur in and around the Tropics.

  • Extreme Weather events:
    • Normal or High rainfall in Eastern/Central Pacific, Drought or scant rainfall in western pacific/Asian region.
  • Disasters:
    • Forest fires in Indonesia leading to wiping out of Equatorial rainforest regions.
    • Heat-waves in India leading to deaths of people and fauna.
    • Water sources dry up leading to increased distress migration and climate refugees.
  • Economic impacts:
    • Agriculture dependent countries like India face huge losses due to drought conditions. Crop yields are affected leading to food inflation. To tackle food inflation, tweaks in monetary policies to make it tighter, leading to lesser available money supply.
    • Fishing in equatorial coastal countries like Ecuador and Peru becomes difficult, as fish in the waters near these countries tend to disappear in the months of December and January.
  • Social Impacts:
    • A WHO Paper said that El Niño 2015-2016 is affecting more than 60 million people.
    • Rising temperatures and more variable rainfall patterns can often reduce crop yields, compromising food security.
    • This can lead to social unrest, civil wars, increased inequality between people.
    • El Niño conditions can cause a wide range of health problems, including disease outbreaks, malnutrition, heat stress, and respiratory diseases.
  • Environmental impacts:
    • Effect on aquatic species and sea birds: fish either migrate to other regions or die during an El Niño because they lack adequate food for growth and survival.

Way Forward:

  • The government must expand the farm insurance cover and advice banks and financial institutions to settle crop insurance claims in the drought-hit areas without delay.
  • High quality seeds of alternative crops must be distributed among farmers in the drought-affected areas.
  • Technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation, precision agriculture.
  • Monetary Control measures to tackle inflationary trends in country.
  • Financial support from global organizations for rehabilitation and rebuilding.
  • Disaster Response Forces to tackle floods and droughts.
  • Developing early warning systems and alerting the people much in advance.
  • Global co-operation to tackle the climate change which can further aggravate El- Niño and La- Niña conditions.

Topic–  Indian constitution- historical underpinnings and salient features.

4) Discuss the constitutional provisions related to reservation for Indian citizens.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The government has recently passed a bill in Lok Sabha which gives reservations in employment to economically weaker but socially higher caste people of India. In this context it is essential to revisit the constitutional provisions dealing with the issue of reservations in India.

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 constitutional provisions dealing with the issue of reservations. We have also to discuss at length as to how courts have interpreted those provisions in order to give a complete picture.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent passing of the bill providing quota to socially forward classes.

  1. Discuss the constitutional provisions related to the bill.
  • On the one hand, there is the principle of Equality, which prohibits the State from discrimination against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them under Article 15(1),
  • “equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State” under Article 16(1),
  • in addition to prohibition against discrimination against any citizen on the same grounds as in Article 15(1), specifically with respect to employment or appointment under the State.
  • The other leg is the special provisions, which under Article 15(4) empowers the State to “make any provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”, and
  • under Article 16(4) provides “for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State”.
  1. DIscuss about the Mandal Case Judgement. E.g The majority judgment in the Mandal case per Justice Jeevan Reddy held 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.

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

 

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 principle of equality permeates the Constitution of India. The relevant Constitutional provisions stand on two legs, which are mutually supportive. On the one leg it provides

  • Article 15 (1) provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them
  • Article 16 (1) provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of employment or appointment to any office under the state. No citizen can be discriminated on grounds only of religion, race,  caste, sex, descent place of birth or residence.

       The other leg is the special provisions, which under

  • Article 15 (4) empowers the State to “make any provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”.
  • Article 16 (4) provides “for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State”.
  • Article 46 directs the state to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the “weaker sections of the people”, particularly of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and also directs the state “to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation”
  • Articles 330-342 under Part 16 of the Constitution outline special provisions for certain classes – SCs, STs, Backward Classes and Anglo Indians. The Constitutional promise is explicitly for ‘social exclusion and discrimination’. Notably, the “socially and educationally backward classes” was the target group in quotas for OBCs.

Mandal case Judgement:

The term “backward class of citizens” has been generally understood, and also defined by the Supreme Court in the Mandal case (Indra Sawhney vs. Union of India, 1992) judgment, to include the SCs, STs, and Socially and educationally Backward Classes. These are not exceptions, but special provisions to ensure that the principle of Equality enshrined in Articles 14, 15(1) and 16(1) becomes really effective, in the peculiar inherited Indian context of a society riddled by gross inequalities between social classes.

Definition of Backward classes:

The majority judgment in the Mandal case per Justice Jeevan Reddy held 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”.

As the Mandal judgment describes, the founding fathers of the Constitution were keenly and poignantly aware of the “historic injustices and inequities” prevalent over the centuries in Indian society. These were not inequities against individuals. These were deprivations imposed on certain social classes as a whole.

Way Forward:

  • The problem faced by children and young people of Socially Advanced Castes who are genuinely poor is that they are not able to afford education to the fuller level for want of financial capacity.
  • This problem has to be resolved and can be resolved by having a comprehensive scheme of scholarships and educational loans, so that no child or youth of any caste has to drop out of education at any stage only on account of financial incapacity.
  • Creation of jobs by improving the infrastructure – social and physical, better governmental policies for public and private investments to spur the economy.

Conclusion:

Reservation to the weaker sections is an positive affirmative action needed for their welfare. The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act though is a beneficial move for the “forward poor”. Similar moves by previous governments have be judicially reviewed and struck down. It is prudent to look at other alternatives to alleviate the conditions of EWS.


Topic– Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

5) Combating discrimination based on caste is no longer a priority for Indian reformers. Do you agree. Comment.(250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question

The article discusses the other side of the discrimination based on caste and analyzes the declining interest of the social reformers of today in fighting against this discrimination.

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 opinion as to whether combating discrimination based on caste is/ is not a priority for Indian social reformers and activists today. We have to substantiate our opinion with proper facts/ arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  social and economic inequalities in India. E.g present some statistics on economic inequality and mention the dilution of social discrimination with age.

Body-

  1. Mention that  in the pre-1947 era eradicating casteism was an important strand of both the freedom struggle and many Hindu reform movements. Give names of such movements, struggles and associated endeavours and personalities.  
  2. Discuss why the general population particularly the educated urban class reformers no longer give so much priority to combating discrimination based on caste. E.g
  • First, thanks to our Constitution and progressive laws, the most abhorrent forms of casteist bias have been criminalised.
  • Second, overt casteism is no longer visible in the anonymity of our cities; atrocities directed at Dalits are largely of rural provenance.
  • The third and perhaps most important reason why the socially privileged feel absolved of any further responsibility for fighting casteism is the policy of reservations. Mandatory quotas in universities, government jobs and elected offices are seen as having done enough (and indeed too much in the eyes of many) to create secure pathways for SCs to achieve upward mobility.
  • Despite this grim picture, many believe that with all the enabling conditions now in place it is simply up to the Dalit community to pull themselves up.

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

 

Introduction:

        Caste based discrimination has been present in India for about three millenias now. Post independence, the relevance of caste system in Indian society has certainly reduced but not diminished. The most recent incident is the lynching of Dalits by cow-protection groups in Una, Gujarat shows that  it is perpetrating and deeply rooted.

        The fact that Dalits are poorly represented in the government services, boards of companies show that they are still economically deprived too. The reformers in post independence period too are relatively less interested in combating Caste discrimination. The 2005 economic census shows that Dalits in India own just 9.8% of enterprises despite constituting 16.4% of the population. And the vast majority of these are small single-person businesses.

 

Body:

 

Pre-Independence Era:

In the pre-1947 era, eradicating casteism was an important strand of both the freedom struggle and many Hindu reform movements. Efforts by many social reformers like Jyothiba Phule (Satya Shodak Samaj), E.V Ramaswamy Naicker (Self Respect Movement), K Kelappan (Temple Entry movements and Vaikom Satyagraha); Freedom fighters like Gandhiji (Harijan Sevak Sangh), M G Ranade(Prarthana Samaj) and Dr.B.R Ambedkar (Bahishkrith Hitakarni Sabha) etc.

 

Post – Independence period:

The general population particularly the educated urban class reformers no longer give so much priority to combating discrimination based on caste.

  • First, Constitutional provisions and progressive laws are provided and the most abhorrent forms of casteist bias have been criminalised. Example: Article 17 of our constitution abolishes untouchability. Prevention of Atrocities Act, Prevention of Manual Scavenging Act is enacted.
  • Second, overt casteism is no longer visible in the anonymity of our cities; atrocities directed at Dalits are largely of rural provenance. Example: The Una incident was in a village.
  • The third is the policy of reservations. Affirmative action is perhaps the most important reason why the socially privileged feel absolved of any further responsibility for fighting casteism. Mandatory quotas in universities, government jobs and elected offices are seen as having done enough to create secure pathways for SCs to achieve upward mobility.
  • Fourth, multiple government schemes to alleviate the poverty of the SCs and for their socio-economic welfare.
  • Many believe that the empowerment of Dalits can be done by themselves. Case Study:              In a 2017 survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Azim Premji University, nearly half the upper-caste people polled said the reason Dalits lag behind other groups was due to a “lack of effort”. However, the situation of Dalits is still grim.
  • Caste discrimination is still all pervasive. Discrimination based on caste status is a root cause of the high poverty levels that caste-affected people experience. Most Dalits, live below the poverty line, earn less than the minimum wage, have no access to education, experience segregation in access to housing and suffer from numerous diseases, not least because of lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. This inequality is exacerbated by the lack of implementation of existing laws to protect the Dalits.

 

Way Forward:

  • Give a voice to oppressed groups: We can tackle bias against caste and gender first of all by recognising the value and dignity of all work (including unpaid work) and all workers (including those in the most difficult arduous and degraded occupations). Creating Alternative livelihoods by providing skills training to women of the house.
  • Political Voice: The reservations provided at the local Self Governments should be filled with true spirit of democracy.
  • Review of the Reservation Policy: To ensure that the social and economic justice is granted to the needy and true beneficiaries.
  • Protective Legislations should be strictly enforced, so that no offender is left scot-free
  • Private sector companies, schools, and colleges should extend reservations to SCs.
  • Sensitization of Kids at schools about the ills of caste discrimination.
  • SHG’s, NGOs can play a vital role at the grassroots level to create awareness and uplift the people discriminated by caste. They can be the “voice of the voiceless”. Mass movements on Social Media like #MeToo can be started to spread awareness of the perpetuating caste discrimination issues.

 

Conclusion:

India’s battle against caste discrimination remains tragically incomplete, casting an aspersion on our status as a civilised liberal democracy. It is to be ensured that the steps taken to undo the harm done by such medieval practices are made more effective and do not create further inequality in the society.


Topic- Indian economy : mobilization of revenue

6) Evaluate whether having multiple GST rates make the GST structure cumbersome and discuss how can we make GST more simple?(250 words)

Livemint

 

Why this question

Off late, GST and the issues faced in its implementation along with the idea of simplification of GST has been in the news. The article critically analyzes the issue and hence needs to be prepared.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the rate structure in GST and thereafter analyze the pros and cons of having multiple rates in light of revenue protection, federal structure etc and gives a fair and balanced opinion on whether the multiple rate structure in GST makes the tax regime quite cumbersome. Thereafter, we need to give suggestions for making the tax regime simpler.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the recent statements given by the FM that we are eventually planning to move towards a single rate structure under GST.

Body

  • Explain the current rate structure under GST
  • Evaluate its pros and cons
    • The complicated GST structure we began with can partly be explained by the messy federal bargaining in the GST Council and partly by a flawed incentive structure.
    • Centre guaranteed the states that their revenues from GST would grow at 14% a year. Any shortfall would be compensated.
    • GST collections have not met with the monthly revenue and growth targets which validates the need for keeping certain goods in higher tax bracket
    • World Bank study published in May 2018 said that the Indian GST rate was the second highest among the 115 countries with a national value-added tax. It was also the most complicated, with five main tax rates, several exemptions, a cess and a special rate for gold. The multilateral lender said that only five countries had four or more non-zero tax rates—India, Italy, Pakistan, Luxembourg and Ghana.
  • Highlight that committees formed for this purpose such as the Modi committee had recommended a 12% GST rate, of which 5% would go to the Union government, 5% to the state governments and the other 2% to the third tier of government.
  • Suggest measures which would make the GST regime simpler such as single rate , simplification of returns process etc

Conclusion – Give your view whether the multiple rate structure under GST makes the tax regime cumbersome.

 

Introduction:

        The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council recently reduced tax rates on 22 items, of which seven were from the highest slab of 28%. GST was initially promoted as one nation, one tax, and one market. The multiple tax slabs had deferred this objective. However, the Finance Minister has reiterated that there is an eventual plan to move towards a single rate structure under GST.

       

Body:

Present GST rate Structure:               

  • The GST regime has multiple tax slabs with five broad categories of zero, 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent. There are two more GST rates of 0.25 per cent for rough diamonds, precious stones and 3 per cent for gold, silver.
  • A Cess, ranging from 1 to 15 per cent, is levied on demerit and luxury goods over and above the highest rate of 28 per cent.
  • The complicated GST structure we began with can partly be explained by the messy federal bargaining in the GST Council and partly by a flawed incentive structure.

Cons of multiple rate structure of GST:

Difficulty in tax administration:  Goes against the canons of taxation. A modern tax system should be fair, uncomplicated, transparent and easy to administer. It must yield revenues sufficient to cover the cost of government services and public goods.

Complicated taxation structure: A World Bank study published in May 2018 said that the Indian GST rate was the second highest among the 115 countries with a national value-added tax. It was also the most complicated, with five main tax rates, several exemptions, a cess and a special rate for gold. The multilateral lender said that only five countries had four or more non-zero tax rates—India, Italy, Pakistan, Luxembourg and Ghana.

Ghana introduced GST in 1995 with three different rates but soon abandoned it since it became too complicated to implement. China had a similar experience, and it too eventually rejected multiple rates in favour of a simple policy with one single rate across all industries.

This skew violates the basic principle of revenue collection: the lower the taxation rate, the higher the compliance.

High compliance costs: are also arising because the prevalence of multiple tax rates implies a need to classify inputs and outputs based on the applicable tax rate. Along with the need to apply the correct rate, firms are required to match invoices between their outputs and inputs to be eligible for full input tax credit, which increases compliance costs further.

Instability in tax regime: The GST rates for various goods and services have been shifted from one slab rate to another over the past 1.5 years. The federal demands from states during GST Council Meetings to assuage their fears are the main cause. Multiple rates create problems of classification, inverted duty structure and large-scale lobbying.

Estimation overshot: GST collections have not met with the monthly revenue and growth targets which validates the need for keeping certain goods in higher tax bracket

Pros of multiple rate structure of GST:

  • Alleviates Revenue loss to states: Standard rate might lead to concerns related to revenue losses of the state. The revenues loss prospects under multiple slabs will be much less as opposed to the single rate.
  • Progressive nature: Makes the tax less regressive as it treats rich and poor in different way. A single GST rate structure in India would have made an apt case for ‘equality’ in taxes, but would have failed on the grounds of ‘equity’.
  • While a single-rate structure might have made the tax system simpler, it would neither have been equitable and revenue-neutral nor would it have been acceptable to all states.
  • Higher Revenues: GST collections are expected to increase further in the coming months due to an expanding tax base and better compliance, with more states using the e-way bill system.

Even NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy had opined that Multiple rates a key problem with present GST. Various Committees were formed for simplifying GST Rate structure. Example: Arbind Modi committee had recommended a 12% GST rate, of which 5% would go to the Union government, 5% to the state governments and the other 2% to the third tier of government.

Way Forward:

  • It is important for India to simplify the tax structure.
  • The first target should be to move to at least a three-rate structure, a lower rate for essential goods, a relatively high rate for luxury goods, and a standard rate for the majority of goods and services.
  • The next step would be simplify the tax returns process.
  • The scope for lowering the GST rate is umbilically linked to direct tax reform.
  • A better way to make a tax system more just is by lowering regressive indirect tax rates while widening the base for progressive direct taxes on income and corporate profits.
  • Many goods are still outside the GST net, which comes in the way of seamless flow of input tax credit. Key items outside its ambit are electricity, alcohol, petroleum goods and real estate. This aspect need to be looked into.
  • Emulating the best practices. The GST in New Zealand, widely regarded as the most efficient in the world, has a single standard rate of 12.5 percent across all industry groups.

Conclusion:

        The problems of the complicated GST with multiple rate structure and high compliance costs are now evident. The next government —of whatever political persuasion—will have the onerous task of untangling the mess.


Topic– Indian agriculture : issues

7) Indian agriculture has entered the era of permanent surpluses, which is further worsening the condition of the farmers. Discuss. Also examine how can agricultural marketing improve the situation?(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question

Although Indian agriculture suffers from several perennial problems, permanent surpluses have only been a recent phenomena. Instead of ameliorating the condition of the farmers, the phenomena has further hurt the farmers. The key to resolving this lies in improved agricultural marketing and needs to be discussed.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to express our knowledge/ understanding of the issue and present our opinion. We have to explain how Indian agriculture has entered the permanent surplus era, what impact it has on farmers and what should be done in this regard. In the next part, we have give our opinion on whether the solution lies in improved agricultural marketing.

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.

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the meaning of the term permanent surplus  in agriculture.

Body-

  • Discuss some statistics related to agricultural production and mention examples of places where farmers faced the problems of surplus production coupled with lower prices.
  • Discuss how India has reached trade surplus- technology, infrastructure, diffusion and adoption rate of technology/ innovation etc.
  • Discuss the good and bad of permanent/ near-permanent surplus in agricultural production.
  • Examine how far agricultural marketing is a solution to the problems discussed above

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

        Traditionally, the supply in most crops was like not linked to the price, the quantity harvested and sold remained virtually the same. However, in the recent times,  it has a supply response linked to the price, the ability of farmers to increase production when prices go up is happening. As a result, there are permanent surpluses.

Body:

The country’s food production has increased tremendously from just 51 million tonnes in 1950-51 to about 252 million tonnes in 2014-15. The permanent surpluses are due to the following reasons:

  • Technology:
    • Hybrid quality seeds and faster diffusion of technology have made a difference. HD-2967 wheat variety released in 2011, could cover 10 million hectares area in a single season within five years.
    • Similarly impactful has been Co-0238, a cane variety that not only yields more crop per hectare, but also more sugar from every tonne crushed. First planted in 2013-14, it now accounts for well over half of the cane area in North India.
    • With planting of hybrids paddy yields have gone up from 15 quintals to 25 quintals per acre even in the Adivasi areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
    • The technologies be it hybrid seeds, high-density cultivation using tissue-cultured plants, or drip irrigation have been implemented.
  • Infrastructure:
    • Development of Roads under PM Gram Sadak Yojana to reach the Mandis quicker.
    • Establishment of Mega Food Parks having storage infrastructure, food processing industries which can directly procure from the farmer.
  • Government’s support:
    • The Operation Flood programme helped boost India’s milk production from 22 mt in 1970-71 to 66.2 mt in 1995-96.
    • More scientific dairying husbandry practices as investments in infrastructure of especially rural roads and electricity which have enabled milk to be procured from the interiors and chilled at village collection centres.

 

Due to surplus production, India has food security and increased exports leading to revenue generation ultimately benefitting the whole economy.

However, this has turned out to be anti-climax for the farmers due to the following reasons.

  • Aggressive cultivation led to plunge in demand:
    • Once prices have increased farmers cultivated the crop aggressively leading to plunging of prices.
    • Two years ago, garlic fetched an average Rs 60 per kg rate in Rajasthan’s Kota mandi. Enthused by it, farmers in the Hadoti region planted more area, only to see prices halve last May.
    • Similar was the case for other vegetables. Example: Tomato, Toor Dal etc.
  • High Input costs:
    • Land degradation has become a major challenge and cost of farming is constantly rising with usage of fertilizer, pesticides, expensive seed varieties, machinery, labour cost, rise in fuel prices, vagaries of monsoon. This further complicates the livelihood of farmers
    • In India, farmers are poor due to low productivity (yield per hectare) of all major crops.
  • Farmers income remained low:
    • India had record food production in 2017-18, but farmers income remained low and stagnant.
    • According to Ashok Dalwai committee, farmer’s income remained about 15-40% of consumer’s price.
    • Studies conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute and World Bank have confirmed this.
  • Middlemen troubles:
    • As pointed out by Ramesh Chand, in Punjab, there are as many as 22,000 commission agents and innumerable middlemen in each market.
    • According to Ashok Gulati, former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, commission agents in Delhi charge exorbitant fees ranging from 6 per cent to 15 per cent.
  • Rigid Market Structure:
    • Prevalence of APMC markers, trader cartels due to which low price for agri produce is offered specially due to bumper crop production.
  • Poor Infrastructure and Logistics:
    • Lack of diffusion of adequate storage facilities lead to wastage. For instance farmers dump truckloads of vegetables on road.
    • Food Parks projects concentrated near to cities and poor maintenance leads to spoilage of the crops.
    • Cold storage units exist in less than one-tenth of the markets and grading facilities in less than one-third; electronic weigh-bridges are available only in a few markets.
  • Government Policies:
    • The government continues to use old draconian measures, including stocking restrictions and bans on exports and futures trading, to even small increase in food prices. Such steps may bring temporary relief to consumers, but end up hurting farmers.
  • Pro-Consumer bias:
    • In most years, for the majority of agri-products, the policymakers used restrictive export policies to keep domestic prices low. This showed the pro-consumer bias in the policy complex.
  • Information Asymmetry:
    • A bumper crop can pull down prices in wholesale markets. Price spikes after a poor crop are inevitably dealt with through cheap imports in a bid to protect consumers. The opposite is done less frequently. This is due to lack of information.
    • The bountiful rains of 2016 resulted in record farm output. Prices crashed. Farmers are reported to have not been able to even recover the cost for some crops.
    • The prospects of a good monsoon pushed up rural wages. The reality of rock bottom prices then destroyed profit margins.

Agriculture Marketing can be the solution for the permanent surpluses. It is clear that about 30 -40% of our food crops get wasted due to spoilage and poor storage conditions.  The seasonal spike in prices of perishable commodities that pushes up the food inflation cannot be addressed without market reforms.

The measures needed in the Agricultural Marketing in India are

  • It is imperative to bring agriculture marketing into the Concurrent or Union list to benefit farmers. This will guarantee remunerative prices to farmers.
  • The Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income under the chairmanship of Ashok Dalwai justifies the recommendation saying marketing has no boundaries; this necessitates a pan-India operation to meet the demand across the country.
  • NITI Aayog’s model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act should be implemented by the states. Further the provisions like facilitating single-point levy of taxes, promoting direct interface between farmers and end-users, and give freedom to farmers to sell their produce to whomsoever and wherever they get better prices.
  • e-NAM is a good step in this way. Budget 2018 announced developed GRAMS which would be integrated to the e-NAM Structure.
  • Promoting warehouse receipts, agro-processing and exports. Warehouse receipts will help framers defer their sale immediately post harvest, when prices are at their lowest level.
  • This will require a consolidation of farm produce, which can be successfully done through farmer-producer organisations.
  • Agro-processing and trade will require investment in developing infrastructure.
  • Existing agri-export zones need to be revisited and strengthened in this changing scenario.
  • States alone cannot revamp the agricultural marketing sector, primarily due to paucity of funds and technology.
  • Private investment on a massive scale needs to be invited to upgrade and build large storage and warehousing systems that are climate resilient.

Conclusion:

It is time to concede that production and marketing should march together in order to benefit farmers and consumers. Farmers need to be empowered to decide when, where, to whom and at what price to sell.


Topic- Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;

8) Do you think commercial advertisements need to be ethical. Comment.(250 words)

Livemint

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 opinion about the ethical dimension of advertisement of various kinds of consumer products and discuss whether they need to be ethical or not.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  volume of advertisements we consume everyday and the platforms of such advertisement ranging from billboards to public transport to social media and even news channels.

Body-

  1. DIscuss the hollowness and even false claims by advertisements too woo more customers. Give some practical examples- like beauty products; health products etc.
  2. Discuss how those adds spread unethical behaviour/ notions.
  • Patriarchy
  • Sexism
  • Consumerism
  • Corruption etc.
  1. Discuss the role of those who participate in such advertisement- Models, Sportspersons,        Media figures, consumers, advertising companies, government etc.
  2. Discuss the effects of such advertisements without any ethical foundations. E.g it indicates lack of honesty and integrity on part of the companies, advertisement agencies and persons appearing for the advertisement; it induces unwanted, unhealthy behaviour on part of customers; it undermines consumers capacity to make informed decisions; it impacts environment negatively etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        The rampant growth of Information, Communication and Technology, the penetration of Smart phones and mobile internet has brought the consumer and corporate companies closer. The platforms of advertisement ranging from billboards to public transport to social media, news channels and even mobile phones. Advertisements play a major role in influencing, decision making of the people.

Body:

        In a bid to capture the market, attract the consumers to their products, Companies are on a advertising spree. There are catchy slogans, tall claims, distortion of facts, comparison with competitor products through advertisements. There are some ethical issues present in commercial advertisements.

  • Lack of honesty and integrity: The hollowness and even false claims by advertisements too woo more customers. Example: Fairness creams, hair-growth oils, weight-loss pills.
  • Lack of Transparency: The hiding of information by showing half of information. Example: The case of Maggi containing Mono-Sodium Glutamate was not indicated on the products.
  • Promoting Sexism: The ads which promotes sexist attitude goes against human dignity by affecting equality amongst sexes. Example: Hero Honda Pleasure – Why should boys have all the fun?
  • Promoting Patriarchy: In most ads the women are shown subjugated to men or doing household chores, objectification of women. Example: Dishwash bars, Washing powders etc.
  • Promoting Racism: Comparisons between the dark-skinned, fair skinned people to promote the products. Example: Beauty soaps, Fairness creams
  • Brand Ambassadors’ ethics: The lack of responsibility towards society on part of brand ambassadors harms the consumers who buy products based on former’s credibility.
  • Conflict of Interest: The ambassadors like Cine artists, sportspersons, etc. may not be using the product they endorse in their personal lives. But they may be forced to do so for a living.
  • Increased Consumerism: The materialism and consumerism is increasing in the people by blindly following the advertisements. It has effects on children who value materials more than humanism and rationalism.

Way forward:

  • False claims, wrong facts by brands should be punishable.
  • Brand ambassadors should be aware and responsible of the products they endorse.
  • The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 2018 has provisions to indict the endorser too now as part of consumer rights protection.
  • Regulatory bodies like Advertising Standards Council of India(ASCI) should be made statutory and given more teeth to regulate the fake ads.
  • Efficient grievance redressal mechanism must be made available for consumers to make companies accountable.
  • The consumers on their parts should be responsible to verify the product’s claims and then buy it.
  • Education and awareness can be spread about the consumer rights and its protection.
  • However on the other hand these regulations must not violate the freedom of speech of the companies.
  • Above measures if enforced in a proper manner would resolve the above ethical issues in commercial advertisements.

Best Practices: The best companies are striving to meet those expectations. A few years ago, Domino’s Pizza decided to post comments in real time from its customers on a billboard in New York’s Times Square. The company did not filter the reviews, allowing people to see exactly what was being said about its products. It was an amazing example of transparency. In the same vein, online retailer Zappos gives people complete access to details about its vendors.

Conclusion:

        Ultimately, it boils down to how much, as a company, it values truth and honesty. Advertisements should be an ethical dimension of Corporate Social Responsibility.