Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 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– Indian Diaspora

1) Discuss how India’s diaspora policy has evolved over the years?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the how our policy regarding our diaspora has evolved over the years. We also need to highlight and explain the specific steps taken by the government to engage Indian diaspora and the advantages it has had.

Directive word
Discuss – here your discussion  should focus on the key demand of the question

Structure  of the answer

Introduction – Mention that diasporas have emerged as powerful entities since they are recognized as ‘soft power’ in the realm of foreign policy strategy and also as an agent or catalyst of economic development of countries of origin beside their active role in the host countries.

Body

Highlight that Indian Diaspora has increasingly become more influential over India’s foreign policy and has evolved as a strategic asset for India in the recent decades. Mention that around roughly about 25 million people spread across 135 countries form a part of Indian diaspora.
Discuss the evolution of our policy wrt our diaspora –
ethnic Indians who chose to remain abroad would consider themselves as citizens or nationals of their respective host lands. In fact, they were encouraged to integrate with host culture and fight for the liberation of their adopted lands
Later, when there was a switch of foreign policy priorities from realism to inter- third world cooperation under the regime of Rajiv Gandhi, there was a slight shift in Diaspora policy as well. He offered his amicable support and tried to handle Fiji Indian crisis in 1986, which had strained our relationship with Fiji. Besides, having realized Indian Diaspora as a strategic asset, he invited Indian diasporic talents like Sam Pitroda to realize his vision of 21st century India and took administrative measures like the establishment of Indian Overseas Affairs department in 1984.At the same time, there were no constructive steps or consistent and clear-cut policies to deal or tap the overseas Indians until the coming of National Democratic Alliance government led by BJP.
Diaspora  was able to participate in the plethora of economic opportunities of  the unregulated and open Indian economy. It resolved the foreign currency crisis due to substantial investment and remittance from the Indian Diaspora. Subsequently, the Indian government changed its outlook towards Diaspora and reviewed its Diaspora policy. The NDA government led by BJP had initiated major steps to leverage upon the Indian Diaspora for economic growth and also as part of its larger vision of cultural nationalism.
Discuss the specific measures undertaken to engage diaspora such as the ones mentioned in the article.
Conclusion – Highlight how significant diaspora is for the development of our country and the way forward.

Introduction:

                Diaspora serves as an important phenomenon for non-state actors, soft powers in foreign policy analysis and an ‘inevitable link’ between the home and host lands for the people. More than 30 million persons of Indian origin live abroad and the Indian diaspora represents for their values.

                It is recognized that there is a convergence of Diaspora policy and foreign policy of a country due to the embedded role of Diaspora in the foreign affairs.

Body:

Evolution of India’s policy towards its diaspora can be studied under the following heads.

  • Nehruvian era :
    • Post independence, there was a paradigm shift in the position of Diaspora policy as a result of India’s foreign policy being guided by Nehruvian ideals of anti-imperialism and racial apartheid, respect for Sovereignty and non-alignment.
    • On the economic front, India chose to follow self-reliance as its goal for economic development.
    • Nehru categorically announced that ethnic Indians who chose to remain abroad would consider themselves as citizens or nationals of their respective host lands.
    • In fact, they were encouraged to integrate with host culture and fight for the liberation of their adopted lands.
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri period:
    • Nehru’s successor Lal Bahadur Shastri entered into an agreement with Srilanka to resolve the question of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
    • Otherwise, the Nehruvian trend was continued and extended to till 1980 by successive governments.
  • Indira Gandhi’s tenure:
    • There was no change of position in the Diaspora policy.
    • Owing to oil shocks and Balance of Payment crisis, the government pushed for a remittance –centric approach especially for the Gulf Indians.
  • Rajiv Gandhi’s rule:
    • Later, when there was a switch of foreign policy priorities from realism to inter- third world cooperation under the regime of Rajiv Gandhi, there was a slight shift in Diaspora policy as well.
    • He offered his amicable support and tried to handle Fiji Indian crisis in 1986.
    • Besides, having realized Indian Diaspora as a strategic asset, he invited Indian diasporic talents like Sam Pitroda to realize his vision of 21st century India.
    • He took administrative measures like the establishment of Indian Overseas Affairs department in 1984.
  • Post Economic Reforms of 1991:
    • On the advent of new economic model, the Indian Diaspora was able to participate in the plethora of economic opportunities of the unregulated and open Indian economy.
    • It resolved the foreign currency crisis due to substantial investment and remittance from the Indian Diaspora.
  • Subsequently, the Indian government changed its outlook towards Diaspora and reviewed its Diaspora policy:
    • The NDA government had initiated major steps to leverage upon the Indian Diaspora for economic growth and also as part of its larger vision of cultural nationalism.
    • In the light of this, long and short term comprehensive policy measures were unveiled to engage its diverse Diaspora during its regime such as the appointment of High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora, launching of PIO card scheme, organizing annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on 9th January, giving out Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, offering Dual citizenship (OCI)
    • The subsequent governments established a separate Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs which has taken several initiatives for engaging the Diaspora, the Overseas Citizen of India Card, NRI funds and voting rights for Indian citizens
    • The government has decided on a single identity card to make it easier for the diaspora to connect with the homeland, secure lifelong Indian visas, avoid checks at local police stations during visits, and own land.
    • India also allowed visitors from 43 countries, including the United States, Australia and Fiji, to receive visas upon arrival, replacing the previous process, which took weeks.
    • Moreover, the merger of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards has brought the relationship closer
  • New dimensions:
  • There is now a linkage between Indian diasporic community and development of the country. Diaspora has become an important feature of India’s foreign policy today.
  • There are special outreaches to Indian communities during high-level visits to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
  • Diaspora policy not only focuses on the rich, industrialist, white collared professionals but gives due respect to the working class population.

Conclusion:

                Considering its size and expansion, it is aptly mentioned in the High Level Committee Report on Indian Diaspora by the Government of India, “The Sun never sets in the Indian Diaspora”. With the versatile role of Diaspora, India could fulfil its cherished dream of being a super power and it could make much head way in its international and foreign affairs.


Topic– Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

2) In the wake of US accusations, Indian is keen to introduce several reforms in WTO. Discuss.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question

The article discusses the recent relationship phase between US and India and the need for reforms in the WTO as felt by 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 US- India tussle at the WTO and reforms suggested by India recently in respect of the international trade body.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  WTO. E.g the world economy and polity has changed since the formation of the WTO in 1995 and therefore there is need for some upgrade and reforms in the Geneva-based body.

Body– Discuss the reforms suggested by India in the wake of US accusations. E.g

  • India is likely to float a proposal aimed at reforming the dispute settlement mechanism, rule-making and transparency requirements at the World Trade Organization
  • India’s reform paper comes in the wake of the US blocking the appointment of judges at the global trade watchdog for more than two years, accusing emerging economies including India and China of eating into the development rights of poorer nations, and insisting on penalising countries if they introduce or increase subsidies for domestic industry without reporting to the organisation.
  • India’s stand is that the appellate body issue needs to be resolved first because that is central. Without that, WTO is no organisation
  • India is opposed to the idea of linking notification requirements with punitive action. India and 40 other members had opposed the US’ proposal in November that seeks to prohibit defaulters from presiding over WTO bodies and allows other countries to not answer questions posed by them.
  • India’s move assumes significance in the backdrop of growing protectionism in the global trade, hurting the confidence of the WTO.

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

Introduction:

        The World Trade Organization (WTO), successor of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), came into force after the Marrakesh Agreement in 1995. Global economy has seen many ups and downs since then including the Asian Tigers crisis, sub-prime crisis and consequent global meltdown in 2008.

        The multilateral trading system is under stress and number of fresh trade restrictive measures have surged which will affect global trade and economic growth. Reforms are needed in WTO to Support a Better Global Trade order.

Body:

The accusations made by USA against India in wake of WTO provisions are:

  • The US has accused India, China and other emerging economies of claiming rights and using exemptions from commitments meant for poorer nations in global trade negotiations.
  • Lashing out at India, USA said the country used its status as a developing member to press for continued exemption from its commitments of some $30 billion in input subsidies, a rule intended to address development for some of the poorest farmers in the world.
  • The self-declared development status risks the institutional relevance of the organisation and collapse of negotiations.
  • The US has said that all developing countries should not be considered as one lot but there should be differentiation among them and to penalize countries which increase subsidy without reporting the WTO.

The reforms suggested by India in the wake of US accusations are as follows:

  • India’s reform paper comes in the wake of the US blocking the appointment of judges at the global trade watchdog for more than two years.
  • India will float a proposal aimed at reforming the dispute settlement mechanism, rule-making and transparency requirements at the World Trade Organization.
  • The appellate body issue of WTO needs to be resolved as it is central to WTO as an organisation.
  • On the issue of notifications and transparency, India is opposed to the idea of linking notification requirements with punitive action. USA had proposed to prohibit defaulters from presiding over WTO bodies and allows other countries to not answer questions posed by them.
  • The rich nations are forming groupings to prepare ground for pushing new issues such as investment facilitation, preparing rules for e-commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries.

Conclusion:

India’s move assumes significance in the backdrop of growing protectionism in the global trade, hurting the confidence of the WTO. Certain members want to further strengthen the 164-member body to make it more effective. The reforms however should be done in consultation with developed as well as developing countries.


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

3) The ASER report highlights that there is a need for innovation in education sector in India. Comment. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The ASER report highlights what we already know about the status of learning outcomes in the country. What we don’t know is how to correct the situation and improve learning outcomes amongst our children. The article explores many suggestions which would help in improving learning outcomes and need to be discussed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the findings of ASER report, discuss its implication and suggest what kind of innovation would improve the status of education in our country.

Directive word

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the findings of the aser report.

Body

  • Discuss the implications of the findings of the aser report.
  • Highlight the reasons for poor learning outcomes in the country.
  • Discuss suggestions for improving the learning outcomes
    • Give suggestions such as employing administrators to reduce the burden of administrative work on teachers
    • Upgrade infrastructure of schools etc

Conclusion – Emphasize on the need for improving learning outcomes and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 has been published by education non-profit organization Pratham. The latest report collected data from 596 districts by surveying 546,527 students from 354,944 homes. The survey shows the prevalence of learning deficit and the poverty of basic reading and arithmetic skills among students in Indian schools.

 

Body:

 

The highlights of ASER 2018 are:

The implications of the ASER 2018 are

  • India’s demographic dividend depends on the learning level of students.
  • The quality of education has a direct bearing on any economy.
  • With some 240 million students or nearly 20% of the Indian population in school, their quality of learning or lack of it assumes significance for the competitiveness of the country.
  • It has an impact on the quality of life, efficiency at the workplace, and labour productivity issues.
  • The report suggests that India is creating yet another another generation that can hardly read and write – the only difference being that these children spent some years of their lives in schools.

 

The reasons for poor learning outcomes in the country are

  • Infrastructure deficit:
    • Dilapidated structures, single-room schools, lack of drinking water facilities, separate toilets and other educational infrastructure is a grave problem.
  • Corruption and leakages:
    • The transfer of funds from the central to state to local governments to school leads to involvement of many intermediaries.
    • The fund transfer is drastically reduced by the time it reaches the true beneficiaries.
    • High rates of corruption and leakages plague the system, undermine its legitimacy and harm the many thousands of honest headmasters and teachers.
  • Quality of Teachers:
    • Lack of well trained, skilled and knowledgeable teachers which provide the foundation for a high quality education system.
    • Teacher shortages and poorly qualified teachers are both a cause and effect of poorly paid and managed teaching cadres.
  • Non-Academic burden:
    • The teachers are overburdened with senseless reports and administrative workload. This eats into the time which is necessary for teaching.
    • A study by the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) revealed that teachers spend only around 19 percent of their time teaching while the rest is spent mostly on non-teaching administrative work.
  • Poor salary:
    • Teachers are paid miserly salaries which affect their interest and dedication to work. They will look for other avenues like tuitions or coaching centers and coax the students to attend it.
    • This has dual effect, firstly the quality of teaching in schools drop and secondly, the poor students are forced to spend money despite constitutional provision of free education.
  • Teacher Absenteeism:
    • Absence of teachers during school hours is rampant. The lack of accountability and poor governance structures add to the woes.
  • Lack of Accountability:
    • School Management Committees are largely dysfunctional. Many exist solely on paper.
    • Parents are often not aware of their rights and if they are it is difficult for them to make their voice heard.
  • High drop-out rates:
    • The drop-out rates in schools, especially girls, is very high.
    • Many factors like poverty, patriarchal mindset, lack of toilets in schools, distance to schools and cultural elements lead to children dropping out from education.
  • School closure:
    • Many schools are closed to low student strength, lack of teachers and infrastructure. The competition posed by private schools is also a major challenge to government schools.

 

The situation of learning outcomes can be improved as follows

 

  • Teachers must only teach:
  • Employ young people, equip them with a tablet computer and let them be cluster administrators. One cluster of schools consists of around ten schools.
  • The cluster administrators will overtake the administrative tasks and ensure that teachers and headmasters can focus on academic work.
  • Better policies like transparent transfer mechanisms, which urgently need upscaling and strengthening. After adequate teacher positioning, school autonomy and teacher collaborations have demonstrated in many pilots to be the catalyst that transforms the education system.
  • Teacher’s own collectives or networks built collaborations and institutional capacities of teachers.
  • Digitization:
  • Create a single-window system for infrastructure and mainstream fund-flows: In Bihar, only around 10 percent of the schools fulfils infrastructure norms. A study revealed that files for renovating schools often go on a two-year journey through various departments.
  • The same can be applied for teacher salaries and school funds. These can be transferred directly from the State to the teachers and schools. There is no need to involve the District or Block in this process.
  • Leveraging the audio-visual edutainment to make education more interesting and easier to understand for the children. This will improve the quality as well as reduce the drop-out rates.
  • Implementing bio-metric attendance for teachers and students for every class can help reduce absenteeism.
  • Empower School Management Committees by using mobile phones:
    • To develop a system that facilitates School Management Committee members by fostering democratic accountability.
    • Social audits should also be carried out for effective functioning.
  • The Government must insist on fixing teachers’ accountability in public schools and learning outcome-based recognition for all schools, be it public or private schools.
  • Better pre-service teacher training coupled with transparent and merit-based recruitments is a lasting solution for teacher quality.
  • Improve the quality of teacher education by making teacher training mandatory. Example: National Council for Teacher Education Act amendment bill, Diksha portal to train teachers.
  • Increase the public spending on education to 6% of GDP as recommended by many committees like the recent TSR Subramaniam committee.
  • Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance, while there are recommendations for removal of non-detention policy. The blame is squarely on the children, such an attitude must be wiped out.
  • Teachers’ efficiency will improve with administrative incentives, better pay and a systematic change in the professional development of this cohort.
  • Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes; It has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education. This needs a change by coming out with a new policy.

Conclusion:

        The latest ASER 2018 holds a mirror to a country that is aspiring to be a knowledge power. There is an urgent need to tackle some of the teething problems affecting the education in India. Innovative digital interventions to improving the teacher and education quality along with proper governance structure can help achieve the true objectives of the Right to Education as a fundamental right of every child.


Topic– Role of civil services in a democracy.

4) Frequent transfers of government employees is a constant source of worry, which affects their performance negatively. Comment.(250 words)

Livemint

 

Why this question

The recent CBI episode highlights the plight of government servants at the hands of their political masters. In this context it is essential to discuss how the transfers and postings affect the life of a government servant.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue of transfers and postings in government services and express our opinion as to how it affects the public servants work and social life.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines highlighting lack of transparency and logic in transfers and postings. E.g mention the examples of some famous civil servants who were transferred many a times in their career.

Body-

DIscuss how frequent transfers and postings affect the professional and personal life of a civil servant. E.g

 

  • Lack of education and health facilities at remote places.
  • governments tend to wield the matter of transfers cynically, as a tool for punishment, injecting an element of unpredictability into an official’s career.
  • Lack of predictability in career.
  • It makes a civil servant compliant to seniors’ and politicians wishes.
  • It undermines their performance and honesty etc.

Discuss the need to bring transparency and fairness in the process.

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

 

Introduction:

  • Job transfers are a huge matter for governments and their employees, a source of constant worry for employees and apparent satisfaction for governments.
  • The lack of transparency and logic in the transfers and postings give the political masters an extra edge over the bureaucrats.
  • Multiple incidents of officers like Ashok Khemka, Sanjeev Chaturvedi, Durga Shakthi Nagpal, Roopa Moudgil and mostly recently Alok Kumar show the rampant usage of transfer as tool to control the bureaucrats.

 

Body:

The frequent transfer of officers has effects on the governance, professional as well personal lives of the officers.

Professional level:

  • Articles 310 and 311 of the Constitution make it impossible for civil servants to be dismissed or demoted by elected representatives.
  • Politicians exert control over policy outcomes by reshuffling the bureaucracy across posts of varying importance.
  • The “politicisation” of the bureaucracy has become a major public policy issue in India.
  • It is both demoralising and demotivating when civil servants are not able to see the fruits of their efforts.
  • Frequent transfers present a major problem for governance because civil servants are not allowed to stay in a position long enough to acquire adequate knowledge of and experience in their job.
  • It prevents civil servants from instituting or sustaining reforms.
  • A young officer cannot retain her idealism for long if, over a period, she suffers adverse consequences because of honesty and integrity.
  • Due to politicians’ desire to control the bureaucracy, not all important posts are filled with the most skilled officers. This also results in underinvestment in skill by junior bureaucrats with career concerns, since investing in loyalty to specific politicians provides an alternative path to career success.

Personal level:

  • Contented personal life matters a lot to deliver the best at the professional level.
  • Affects the morale of the officer as her hard-work, honesty and integrity is not appreciated but used as a weapon against herself.
  • Frequent transfers take a toll on the officers as their concentration would be on setting up of home after every transfer.
  • The family of the officer is the worst affected due to constant transfers.
  • Issues of education of their wards, health facilities to their parents can take a hit

Way forward:

  • In State of Maharashtra v. Omprakash Ghanshyamdas Mudiraj, the Bombay High Court showed its concern and observed that “cases of transfer of employees prior to normal period of three years on the complaints of political parties should be looked into … with close scrutiny.” Fixing tenure of bureaucrats will promote professionalism, efficiency and good governance.
  • Various steps have been taken by the government as well as the judiciary to curb this menace. The Central government introduced the Indian Administrative Service (Fixation of Cadre Strength) Regulations, 1955 (amended in 2010), that provides for a minimum tenure for postings for civil servants in all States.
  • So far only 13 States and Union Territories have issued formal notices under the regulations indicating their acceptance.
  • Maharashtra is the only State to come out with a specific law — the “Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfer and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005.” It provides for a minimum tenure of three years for all IAS officers and some State government employees. Any violation of the Act may be referred to the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal with appeal lying at the Bombay High Court.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission and Fifth Pay Commission have also endorsed the idea of a high-powered civil services board both at the Centre and the States to look into and regulate cases of premature transfers of civil servants.
  • The draft Public Services Bill, 2007 stipulates that the Central government should fix a minimum tenure for cadre posts, which may be filled on the basis of merit, suitability and experience, with proper norms and guidelines to enforce transfers and postings. It proposes explicit limits on the political executive’s ability to transfer bureaucrats before they complete two years of service.
  • A new provision should be introduced to ensure that no random transfers are made after 10 years of service and that the civil servant should be placed in a subject stream for which s/he has specialised during training.

Conclusion:

There is need to balance the government’s inherent right to transfer a civil servant against the need for effectiveness and independence in policy implementation and better institutional and procedural reforms. The best way to achieve this is by granting those in crucial positions stability of tenure.


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

5) The developments in Venezuela offer huge advantages for Indian economy. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

The hindubuisnessline

Why this question

The recent political crisis may not be in the interest of the country or the world in general but it offers benefits to countries like India and China. In this context it is important to discuss these developments and their effects on Indian economy.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the recent political crisis in Venezuela and express our opinion as to how it will impact Indian economy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the recent crisis in Venezuela. E.g mention the formation of interim government by opposition leader and his recognition by the US etc.

Body-

Discuss the India- Venezuela relationship and how India could benefit from these developments. E.g

Venezuela was the fourth-biggest crude supplier to India — after Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“The quality of Venezuelan oil has been deteriorating after years of under-investment and aging infrastructure,

This means it’ll be tough for Venezuela to sell more oil to new markets and customers outside of traditionally active buyers in China and India.”

US sanctions against Venezuela could further help India getting cheaper supplies of oil.

India could explore  a rupee-payment mechanism for trade with Venezuela, besides exporting rice and drugs to the South American nation, all in return for crude oil etc.

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

 

Introduction:

The most recent plunge in oil prices—falling from more than $100 per barrel in 2014 to a low of under $30 per barrel in early 2016—has sucked Venezuela into an economic and political spiral, from which it could take decades to recover.

Its hyperinflation is running at 80,000%, soaring debts leading to sovereign defaults, falling oil production and growing autocracy of president Maduro to maintain power has affected Venezuela and its citizens very bad.

                       

Body:

                        USA wants Nicolás Maduro out as president and Juan Guaido, the president of the National Assembly, in. The USA has issued sanctions against Venezuela’s state-run oil company, PDVSA recently. With this, American imports of crude oil will reduce and there is more supply for OPEC producer’s other big customers viz. India and China.

 

India and Venezuela relations:

  • India and   Venezuela   have   been   maintaining   cordial    
  • The 50th Anniversary  of  the  establishment  of  diplomatic  relations  was  celebrated  in 
  • There is  a  similarity  of  views  on  major  international,  political  and  economic  issues
  • Venezuela has emerged as India’s fourth largest oil supplier, after Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran, in 2018, and is among the top 10 crude oil suppliers to India.
  • The supplies accounted for about 8 percent of total imports.
  • The Indian  pharma  industry  has  already  made  a  mark  and  some  reputed  companies  (example:  Sun  Pharma,    Reddy’s) are operating in Venezuela.

 

The developments in Venezuela will offer huge advantages to India

  • US sanctions against Venezuela could further help India getting cheaper supplies of oil.
  • The opportunity to soak up the extra supplies from Venezuela at potentially cheap prices would be a boon for the Asian countries, where the governments are trying to support slowing economic growth.
  • India is considering setting up a rupee-payment mechanism for trade with Venezuela, besides exporting rice and drugs to the South American nation, all in return for crude oil.
  • The rupee-payment mechanism is also being considered to benefit Indian exporters, particularly pharmaceutical products and non-basmati rice.
  • This would help save the US Dollars and stabilize the shaky Rupee- dollar exchange rate to an extent.
  • The oil trade will also help reduce the increased dependency on the middle-east nations which is also in turmoil.
  • India could export up to half-a-million tonnes to Venezuela on a regular basis, if a rupee-based payment mechanism is set up.

 

Concerns in Oil trade:

  • The quality of Venezuelan oil has been deteriorating after years of under-investment and aging infrastructure.
  • One point of uncertainty is whether the potential U.S. action will be similar to measures against Iran that has forced nations across the globe to limit purchases from the Persian Gulf state.
  • Any disruption in Venezuelan supplies is also likely to increase demand for heavy-sour crudes — the dense, viscous and relatively more sulphurous varieties that the Latin American nation produces.
  • Political turmoil in the Venezuela is another sticky point in oil trade.

Conclusion:

        India must closely monitor the situation and try to maximize the most. This will be a win-win situation for both India and Venezuela in terms of trade. India must also provide the required humanitarian assistance to people suffering due to political and economic turmoil and help Venezuela stand back to its feet.


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

6) Integrating various social media platforms raises several serious concerns. Comment.(250 words)

Economic times

Why this question

Facebook has recently mulled the idea of integrating three of its social network’s messaging services — WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. In this context it is essential to discuss the concerns raised by such an act.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue of integrating various social media platforms and express our opinion about the issues and concerns raised by such initiative.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  recent idea of Facebook to integrate Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.

Body-

Discuss the benefits to the business and the people/ consumers with such a step. E.g

One business opportunity involves behavior around Facebook Marketplace, a free Craigslist-like product where people can buy and sell goods on the social network;

Facebook Marketplace buyers and sellers in Southeast Asia would be able to reach out and communicate with each other using WhatsApp — rather than using Facebook Messenger or another, non-Facebook text messaging service.

Eventually, that could lead to new ad opportunities or services for profit etc

DIscuss the issues and concerns raised by this step. E.g

The changes  raise questions of data privacy because of how user information may be shared between the services.

Today, WhatsApp requires people to register only a phone number to sign up for the service. By contrast, Facebook and Facebook Messenger ask users to provide their real identities.

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

 

Introduction:

        Social media is computer-based technology which facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities.

Facebook’s CEO recently unveiled his plans to integrate the social network’s messaging services — WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger — asserting his control over the company’s sprawling divisions.

 

Body:

Globally, there are roughly 1.96 billion social media users will, most likely, rise to 2.5 billion by the end of 2018. Facebook has about 2.3 billion users worldwide.

 

The benefits to the business and the people/ consumers with merging the various social media platforms are:

  • Privacy and Security: all of the apps to incorporate end-to-end encryption, a significant step that protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in the conversation.
  • Interoperability: a Facebook user could send an encrypted message to someone who has only a WhatsApp account, for example. Currently, that isn’t possible because the apps are separate.
  • Utility: By stitching the apps’ infrastructure together, Facebook wants to increase the utility of the social network, keeping its billions of users highly engaged inside its ecosystem.
  • Marketplace: Buyers and sellers in Southeast Asia would be able to reach out and communicate with each other using WhatsApp — rather than using Facebook Messenger or another, non-Facebook text messaging service. Eventually, that could lead to new ad opportunities or services for profit.

 

There are concerns flagged with the integration of platforms.

  • Data privacy:
  • the fact that the applications are standalone, the question of how user information may be shared between the services is still a point of contention.
  • WhatsApp requires people to register only a phone number to sign up for the service. By contrast, Facebook and Facebook Messenger ask users to provide their real identities. Matching Facebook and Instagram users to their WhatsApp handles could give pause to those who prefer keeping their use of each app compartmentalized
  • Security Breach:
  • Data security breach as seen in the Cambridge analytica has raised many eyebrows over Facebook’s data security architecture.
  • The integration will lead to congregation of more information in the hands of private conglomerates which can be used a potential tool.
  • Against Right of Choice:
  • The integration can lead to loss of right to choose a particular app which the user wants.
  • With this, he must download the entire application which can be memory and space heavy.
  • Monopolization:
  • The mergers and acquisitions among the bigger conglomerates reduces the opportunities to many small start-ups and tech companies.
  • On the other hand, this can also lead to accumulation of all funds at one place which can pose risk in case of market failures.

 

Impacts:

  • India lacks a data protection law, making the privacy of people highly vulnerable. Right to privacy is a fundamental right and its violation is against the dignity of humans.
  • The lack of data localization and private ownership of data is very risky especially when there are many security related events across India.
  • The lack of right to be forgotten can lead to a online presence of an individual despite his choice of not staying on it.
  • India has one of the highest number of Facebook, whatsapp and Instagram users.
  • The lack of data protection can lead to illegal monetization of personal data of the users, data snooping and altering the views of electorate.

 

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is for the government to provide a strong data protection law based on the recommendations of Justice BN Srikrishna committee. The users rights should be protected against such market interruptions of the social media platforms. Education of people goes a long way in beneficial use of social media platforms.

       


Topic– Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7) Discuss the relevance of life and teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King in today’s era?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article discusses the life and teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and discusses what lessons can be drawn from their life and teachings. The question would provide filler material for GS4 as well as help us in tackling personality or quite based question in paper 4.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the lessons that could be drawn from the life and teachings of Gandhi and Luther King and thereafter explain why are these teachings relevant in the current age.

Directive word

Discuss – Your discussion should bring out the life and teachings of their life and discuss their relevance in the current age

Structure of the answer

Introduction – give an introduction about martin Luther King and Gandhi.

Body – discuss the learnings that we need to draw from the lives of these two iconic gentlemen and how their teachings are relevant in the present day and age.

Conclusion – Give your view on their relevance in modern times.

Introduction:

        Gandhi and Martin Luther King fought for the rights of people, walking the path of peace in their homelands. Gandhi spearheaded the freedom movement in India after fighting for the rights of native South Africans. Luther King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. They both negotiated the darkness of conflicts using the human values of conscience, non-violence, Truth, Equality of all by taking on oppression and discrimination, prejudice and injustice.

Body:

        The relevance of the life and teachings of the great stalwarts is very high in today’s era

  • Truth:
    • In today’s post truth era, where social media rules the ICT, there are increased incidents of fake news, doctored videos, radicalization through fake propagandas etc.
    • Truth should be verified about such information and then accepted. It is a responsibility of every citizen to be responsible to curb spreading of lies and hatred.
  • Equality:
    • Many traditions and customs which hurt the equality, dignity, fraternity of the human being are present in India like caste discrimination, honour killings, banning women from entering sacred places, manual scavenging etc.
    • Non cooperation and resistance to such indiscriminate ideas is necessary and it is already visible.
    • The use of non-violent means to achieve morally endowed ends like demand for justice against irresponsible, unacceptable government e.g. Arab spring, Anna Hazare’s movement etc.
  • Culture of peace:
    • Today, the world is suffering from immense crisis from many sides. Crimes, conflict, hatred and distrust between one community and another, insecure environment among minorities, hunger, unemployment, poverty and literacy, refugee crisis, ethnic violence, terrorism, etc., all these altogether make a grave danger to peace.
    • Resistance through non-violence and appeal to the conscience of perpetrators can bring change.
    • Compassion is necessary for victims, minorities, fellow humans and other earth creatures.
  • Educational values:
    • Gandhiji’s education philosophy also emphasised on environment, conservation, kindness for animal, focus on villages hence which brings out concept of all round development of individual and society which is required in today’s world.
  • Self-determination and Courage:
    • In the fast-paced world today, many farmers, students are bogged down by desperation of failures, fall in to depression and even commit suicides.
    • There is a need of self-determination, courage and resilience to face the failures and bounce back.
  • Simplicity and Sustainability:
    • Climate change effects are being seen across the world with many ramifications.
    • The ideals of simple living, minimalistic and non-materialistic lifestyle and respect for the nature are imperative today.

Conclusion:

The teachings of Gandhi and King will remain a moral compass for the generations to come. The need of the hour is to inculcate such values in individuals through value based education, moral parenting and socialisation.