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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 FEBRUARY 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.


General Studies – 2


Topic– Indian polity : issues

1) Institutional decay occasions worry because it affects ordinary citizens in disastrous ways. Comment in the context of India. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Off late several institutions have come under the public glare and not always for good reasons. CBI has become so controversial that there is a severe trust deficit in its functioning which have had ramifications for centre state relations etc. The article highlights the importance of institutional strength in a democracy and the issues involved.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the importance of strong institutions for a democracy like India and the likely impact that institutional decay can have. We need to provide a commentary on institutional autonomy and strength in the country and discuss way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that In a democracy, individuals are governed by institutions, and not by men. If we do not live in an institutional universe, we will be at the mercy of capricious individuals. And it is in this context that we need to examine the strength of institutions in the country

Body

  • Discuss the importance of having strong institutions in the country – discretionary power is not arbitrarily utilized, eliminate subjectivity, act as a framework etc
  • Discuss the impact of weakening of institutions on citizenry
  • Give a commentary on the state of institutions in the country and the problem emerging out if it – issues with the CBI and the impact it is having in centre state relations, issues with national statistical commission, RBI, planning commission etc

Conclusion – Give your view on the importance of institutions and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Institutions are a structural necessity for ensuring better governance in a democracy. 
  • When institutions are threatened and they do not function independently or are not permitted to function independently, there is an implicit alarm bell ringing down the corridor of the body politic.

Institutional decay in India :-

  • The Emergency imposed on the country from 1975 to 1977 initiated the process of institutional decay. Postings and appointments were manipulated to suit the ruling dispensation.
  • There have been instances of governments sabotaging the autonomy of several political institutions as well.
  • Flaws show up in many cases :-
    • Notably, in the 2G telecom spectrum case where a special court judge was critical of CBI’s efforts.
    • In another case, the Aarushi Talwar murder, Allahabad high court found fault with CBI and went on to acquit the accused.
    • In many cases, reputations are irreversibly damaged during the course of investigative agencies drawn out.
  • Four Supreme court judges coming out in front of media regarding the institution of chief justice of India.
  • Tussle between RBI and government over allocation of funds and transfer of the same etc.
  • NSSO , Enforcement directorate have also been undermined.

 Institutions are important in a democracy due to the following reasons:-

  • Institutions, as the embodiment of formal and informal rules, assure citizens that the government exercises power according to some norms that enable as well as regulate the expanding state activities.
  • Institutions are meant to check expansion of government powers which can abridge an individual’s freedom, equality and justice.
  • Institutions lay down standards which are used by citizens to gauge constitutionality of Government’s actions .
  • Institutional decay impacts democracy:-
  • Tussle among the institutions will gift nothing but will only slow down the reputation of them.
  • The appointment of members who were not nominated for selection to institutions arouses greater suspicion in the minds of common individuals.
  • Citizens would lose confidence in such institutions.
  • Can even affect cooperative federalism as states feel that their authority is being sidelined.

What needs to be done :-

  • There is a need for a review mechanism to be instituted and implemented, if not already in place.
    • Each adjudicating officer’s record should be perused and ascertained how many such orders result in recoveries, penalties or prosecution and how many do not stand the test of law and rules.
    • According to these metrics, promotions and other incentives should be denied.

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

2) Implementation of PM-KISAN is riddled with challenges and learning from Rythu scheme and Kalia scheme will help going forward. Examine.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question

PM KISAN announced in the budget is dominating the oped columns and the current article talks about the lessons that can be drawn from some of the similar schemes introduced by the state government and challenges ahead. This article will enable you to prepare the risks and challenges portion of the scheme.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the details of the scheme along with the challenges that may come in the implementation of the scheme. Thereafter, we need to explain the learnings that can be drawn from other similar schemes from where PM KISAN draws inspiration and discuss way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that the scheme has been introduced in the budget.

Body

  • Explain about the PM KISAN scheme. Highlight that the scheme draws inspiration from Rythu and KALIA scheme and explain those too.
  • Discuss the likely challenges that can be faced while implementing this scheme
    • One, in the absence of updated land records, where in some states they have not been updated since the 1930s, creating a database of unique beneficiaries and connecting it with bank details (and possibly Aadhaar) will be the toughest part of the exercise.
    • Two, it is crucial that PM-KISAN payments are made directly into beneficiary bank accounts. Alternatively, GoI may want to consider issuing cheques.
    • Three, as agriculture is a state subject, cooperation from states is pivotal in delivering such a scheme. But how the Centre manages that, particularly from non-BJP states, is to be seen.
  • Highlight the learning from Rythu and KALIA scheme for better implementation of PM KISAN

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Recently the general budget announced a scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support of ₹6,000 a year

Pradhan Mantri kisan Samman Nidhi:-

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will provide assured income to small and marginal farmers.
  • The amount will be transferred directly into their account in 3 equal installments.
  • The complete expenditure of Rs 75000 crore for the scheme will borne by the Union Government in 2019-20.
  • Over 12 crore farmer families will be benefitted under the scheme.

Cash transfers in agriculture :-

  • Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh was sought to provide relief to farmers by providing the differential between MSPs and market prices.
  • The Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government provides ₹4,000 per acre for every season to all the farmers of the state. Similar initiatives have also be framed in Jharkhand and Odisha.
  • In December 2018, Odisha launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA).
    • Unlike RBS, KALIA is more complicated in design and implementation. It commits to give Rs 5,000 per SMF, twice a year, that is Rs 10,000 a year. It has already made payments to 1.2 million SMFs in January 2019.
    • It is better than RBS in two ways.
      • One, it’s more progressive, as every farmer receives the same amount of money irrespective of his landholding size.
      • Two, by covering landless sharecroppers and farm labourers, and targeting only SMFs, the scheme is efficient by design.

Benefits:-

  • Past experiences:-
    • Success of cash transfers for cooking gas, food and the rural jobs scheme also seem to have convinced the government on adopting the mechanism for agriculture.
  • Poverty reduction:-
    • Cash transfer programmes have become an important tool of social protection and poverty reduction
    • It has immediate impact on reducing hunger and rural poverty.
    • They can help households to overcome credit constraints and manage risk.
  • Better use :-
    • This can increase productive investment, increase access to markets and stimulate local economies.
    • Income support can be used to make a repayment or at least activate a bank account which can then receive a loan.
    • It can increase investment in agricultural inputs, including farm implements and livestock
  • Rural development:-
    • It can serve as an important complement to a broader rural development agenda, including a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on agriculture.

 Criticism:-

  • According to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s (Nabard) All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey (Nafis) small and marginal farmers earned Rs 79,802-1,19,878 in 2015-16.
    • This means that the Rs 6,000 annual direct income transfer under PM-KISAN would be only about 5-8% of their existing income levels.
    • This may not be much, particularly when compared with other direct income transfer (DIT) schemes rolled out in Telangana and Odisha.
  • A Direct income transfer to landless labourers covered under KALIA’s livelihood component is missing under PM-KISAN.
  • Cash transfers are not greatly superior in terms of leakages compared to other schemes of in-kind transfer such as the public distribution system (PDS). Uncertainties in receiving uniform and periodic cash payment would reduce the validity of the scheme as income. Targeting errors are also likely.
  • The real issue with the approach of a targeted cash transfer scheme is that it envisions the role of the state to only providing cash income to the poor. This kind of approach seeks to absolve the state of its responsibility in providing basic services such as health, education, nutrition and livelihood.
  • Does not eradicate poverty:-
    • It may address certain aspects of inequality by ensuring a basic income, they will not eradicate poverty. Poverty is measured as deficits in income or consumption, but the underlying causes of these shortages are linked to human capabilities and access to resources. 
  • Cash transfer scheme such as PMKSN cannot be substituted for subsidies and other institutional support systems such as the National Food Security Act-powered public distribution system. In fact, such cash transfer schemes could be counterproductive and may lead to more distress.
  • Cash transfers do not solve the following problems which are the reasons for the current agrarian crisis
    • The Agrarian crisis is not just of low incomes in agriculture. The genesis of the current crisis lies in the faulty and ad hoc export-import policy, lack of infrastructure and cartelisation and collusion in agricultural markets, which have prevented farmers from realizing the market prices for agricultural produce.
    • Cash transfers do nothing to resolve any of these, nor are they any guarantee of protection against unforeseen events, whether natural or policy induced.
    • Cash transfer is neither a substitute for the structural reforms needed in agriculture, nor does it adequately compensate the farmer for the risks and uncertainty of crop cultivation.
  • Regressive:-
    • Except for the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation scheme , which offers some relief to the sharecroppers and landless labourers most other schemes are regressive with amount of transfer proportional to the land owned.
  • Finding beneficiaries is tough :
    • In sugarcane and cotton, much of the ground-level work is organised and in the hands of cooperatives, where the person who has the operational holding of land is well identified. But in crops where the ownership holding is different from the operational holding, it might be
  • In the absence of proper tenancy records, it will also benefit the absentee landlords.
  • It is no substitute for the lack of investment in agriculture, which has declined at 2.3% per annum in real terms
  • By taking away precious fiscal resources, it makes the farmer more vulnerable to both market as well as non-market induced risks.
  • Fiscal constraints to states:-
    • The income transfer scheme will further erode the fiscal capacity of states.

Way forward :-

  • For a long-term solution, the government should first implement existing schemes, like it should give assured procurement and marketing of all commodities having MSP.
  • The Swaminathan Committee in 2004 had recommended farmers be allowed to fix the price for their produce on their own (cost of production plus 50% as profit), keeping local factors in mind.
  • Greater focus is required on enhancing farmer loan repayment capacity via smooth supply and value chains, and better price realisations.
  • The government must focus on three things: crop insurance, better irrigation and subsidised seed and fertilisers.

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

3) Is Ayushman Bharat going to enlarge the role of the private sector in healthcare? Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Ayushman Bharat scheme is a landmark healthcare scheme which provides medical insurance to crores of poor families in India. However the scheme has been criticized for relying on private sector to deliver on its aims. In this context it is important to analyze whether the scheme will enlarge the role of private sector in healthcare.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the Ayushman Bharat scheme and bring out whether it will enlarge the role of private sector in India’s healthcare sector.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Ayushman Bharat scheme. E.g

Body-

DIscuss in points how the scheme will enlarge the role of private sector in healthcare. E.g

  • The question is tautological as India’s health system is already one of the most privatised in the world, with three quarters of out-patient treatment and two thirds of in-patient treatment being provided by the private sector.
  • In any case, it is unrealistic to expect it to be otherwise. The health sector always had — and will continue to have — private participation. Its nature is what should concern us – one that is changing, and has gained a huge momentum with the introduction of Ayushman Bharat.
  • Discuss the role of NHA.
  • It is learnt that the pricing of services, a contentious issue between the hospitals and the NHA, has been or is proposed to be outsourced to a commercial firm.
  • A similar concern arises on the proposal to outsource monitoring, empanelment, settling of claims, grievance redressal – all vital functions of a government body —to commercial companies.
  • The detailed guidelines with the contract agreement to hand over large portions of district hospitals to private investors to establish the supply of specified services – cardiac, cancers, respiratory etc. — suggests a hybrid model that has no precedence, not even in the U.S.
  • This is a brainwave of The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-Niti Aayog initiative: it is apprehended and with justification, that it will destroy the public hospital system in India and deepen the control of the private sector and create monopolies rather than a competitive environment, adversely impacting the cost of care.

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

Background:-

  • India’s health system is already one of the most privatised in the world, with three quarters of out-patient treatment and two thirds of in-patient treatment being provided by the private sector. 
  • The Ayushman Bharat programme, perhaps one of the most ambitious government initiatives in the health space in recent years, has created several opportunities for private sector engagement and participation

Ayushman Bharat:-

  • Ayushman Bharatis a progression towards promotive, preventive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative aspects of Universal Healthcare through access of Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) at the primary level and provision of financial protection for accessing curative care at the secondary and tertiary levels through engagement with both public and private sector (PMJAY).

How the scheme enlarges the role of private sector in healthcare:-

  • Ayushman Bharat programme has created unprecedented opportunities for the private sector to participate in expanding access to quality secondary and tertiary health services for hitherto underserved parts of the Indian population.
  • According to the National Health Agency, the implementing authority for PMJAY, the average hospitalisation was around 4,000 per day after the scheme was rolled out on 23 September 2018. This could increase to as high as 100,000 per day once the scheme is fully accessed by beneficiaries from underserved states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
    • Thus, following the launch of PMJAY, one can expect the latent demand for hospitalisation to be triggered. The private sector can step up and help the government to meet this demand.
  • Finance: 
    • At about 1.3% of the national income, India’s public healthcare spending between 2008 and 2015, has virtually remained stagnant. This is way less than the global average of 6 per cent. It is a herculean task to implement a scheme without private sector role
  • Doctor-Density Ratio:
    •  The WHO reports the doctor-density ratio in India at 8 per 10,000 people as against one doctor for a population of 1,000.To achieve such access, merely increasing the number of primary and secondary healthcare centres is not enough so private hospitals can play a significant role.
  • Poor healthcare ranking: 
    • India ranks as low as 145th among 195 countries in healthcare quality and accessibility, behind even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • Crumbling public health infrastructure: 
  • Given the country’s crumbling public healthcare infrastructure, most patients are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals. India falls woefully short of number of hospital beds compared to WHO standards. Secondary-level hospitals like district hospitals and medical colleges have poor infrastructure, especially the former.

However analysts criticise greater role given to private sector due to the following reasons :-

  • High Out of Pocket Expenditure:
    •  Most consumers complain of rising costs. Hundred days into the PMJAY, it remains to be seen if private hospitals provide knee replacement at Rs 80,000 (current charges Rs 3.5 lakh) bypass surgery at Rs 1.7 lakh (against Rs 4 lakh).
  • Commercial motive: 
    • Lack of transparency and unethical practices in the private sector.
  • Concentrated in Urban areas:
    •  Private hospitals don’t have adequate presence in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and there is a trend towards super specialisation in Tier-1 cities.
  • Better infrastructure needed:
    •  Under the PMJAY, the private hospitals have to get registered and fulfil the minimum requirements. They are also expected to expand their facilities and add hospital beds.
  • Lack of level playing field between the public and private hospitals:
    • This has been a major concern as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support. This would dissuade the private players from actively participating in the scheme.
  • Additional incentives to the private players: 
  • The setting up hospitals in the underserved areas by private players can happen when there are incentives from the State. Lack of this would maintain status quo of last mile medical care which is in shackles.

Way forward:-

  • The budgetary support being granted to public hospitals can be given as incentives to private players in underserved areas.
  • The National Health Authority set up as an independent authority should provide for less interference from the government, thereby encouraging private players to participate.
  • A binding policy commitment is imperative so as to reduce policy uncertainty and enable investments in hospital infrastructure by private players.
  • Focus on Public-Private Partnership to reap the maximum benefits to citizens.

Conclusion:-

  • A well-coordinated and responsible partnership between the public and private sectors can ensure that the implementation of Ayushman Bharat and other flagship programmes is successful and India is firmly on the path towards improving outcomes in health radically.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Indian economy : issues

4) Estimating economic activity is never going to be an easy task in an economy that has poor data standards. Examine.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Off late several economy related statistics have presented conflicting viewpoints which makes it difficult to gauge the performance of the economy and also leads to other issues. The article examines these issues and highlights the need of improvement of statistical methodology in the country.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the problems associated with estimating economic activity in India because of the varying pictures presented by the data. We need explain the issues involved and highlight the impact of such data uncertainty on policy making and economy.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why this issue is in news. Also mention that India thanks to mahalanobis had built a statistical system that was once the envy of the world.

Body

  • Explain why does the question say that India has poor data standards. Here we need to talk about the controversy related to employment data statistics, GDP data etc
  • Discuss the issues with data standards of the country
    • How surveys are designed and questions are developed has evolved into a science that transcends the skill set usually employed by our statistical systems.
    • We decided to adopt international standards developed for industrial societies where self-employed farmers and shopkeepers have been swallowed up by large corporations. In India, the socio economic realities are vastly different.
    • data collection is increasingly being done by contractual employees and for-profit organisations. Supervising them and ensuring their honesty remains challenging. While improved technology for monitoring fieldwork such as random segment audio recording of interviews and real-time checks for detecting frauds and errors may help increase honesty, there is no substitute for empathy and experience
  • Discuss the impact of poor data standards on economy and policy making such as on setting interest rates based on inflation data etc
  • Discuss the way forward – finalizing the draft national policy on official statistics etc

Conclusion – Give your view on the importance of accurate data standards and what needs to be done.

 

Background:-

  • Off late several economy related statistics have presented conflicting viewpoints which makes it difficult to gauge the performance of the economy and also leads to other issues. Recent controversies about official statistics with respect to GDP growth, unemployment etc raise questions about data standards in India.

Issues with current data standards in India :-

  • Path of embarking on the evidence-based approach is not without obstacles:-
    • With evaluative studies varying in quality, there are doubts on which ones should be relied on and in what manner should a set of studies on a particular issue be appraised.
  • Ethics:-
    • Data collection is increasingly being done by contractual employees and for-profit organisations. Supervising them and ensuring their honesty remains challenging.
  • A report in The Guardian in 2017 noted declining trust in official statistics around the world and argued that it damages democracy by jeopardising public knowledge and public argument. 
  • Employment:-
    • Absence of data on district-level employment for decentralised planning, data on circular migrant workers; the working and living conditions of women labour.
  • Official data and post-truth politics
    • According to some political analysts and scholars, post 2014, in the age of post-truth politics there has been instances of manipulating and distorting data by the government. Post truth politics is evoking public emotions and deviation from facts and details of policy.
  • Faulty sampling frames
    • Identifying respondents and sample selection is poor
    • Survey designs, questionnaires are inappropriate in many instances
    • For instance The RBI adopts inflation targeting approach to maintain price level-monetary policy. This approach is based on data on inflations expectations of individuals The reliability and validity of the data is a big question as ASER reports highlights extremely low mathematical skills of Indians.
  • Delay/ Sporadic nature of Release of Data:
    • There is no strict process of monitoring for release of data.
    • Delay in publishing data is a persisting problem. However, there has been improvement in recent years
  • Discrepancy in data:
    • Lack of uniformity in data across government agencies is a major concern
    • For instance there is data contradiction on jobs as recently EPFO estimated that 3.68 million jobs were generated till November of fiscal year 2018- much higher estimation than that of other agencies
  • Quality/ Accuracy of data is another concern
    • In 2011, commerce secretary admitted that India’s export figures for the April–October period were inflated by US$9.4 billion due to a misclassification of certain items and data entry errors.
    • There has also been question over the accuracy of the Index of Industrial Production
    • Allegations that NSS systematically underestimated household consumption
  • Infringement of privacy by the government’s data-collection machinery

Way forward:-

  • Data-driven politics is only credible if administrative data is complemented by rigorous independent studies and evaluations. Civil society too plays a critical role by demystifying and communicating data, thus empowering citizens with relevant information.
  • Harness diverse energies from academic and research institutionssuch as the ISI, the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute etc.
  • Include private sector as well:-
    • Smaller, technology-savvy private sector organisations may also make important contributions in technology-driven data collection.
    • Around the world, in diverse countries such as China, South Africa, Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S., statistical ecosystems consist of universities, research institutions and government agencies working synergistically. 
  • Creative thinking about building synergies with diverse communities such as academic and research institutions would strengthen it and reduce the burden on the NSC, leaving it free to devote greater attention to developing quality control parameters and to play an oversight and coordination role.
    • Scholars from different disciplines should be incorporated for framing samples and questionnaires
    • Include takeaways from experiments designed by cognitive anthropologists, and survey design specialists
  • Robust survey management structure to ensure quality and honesty in data collection

Conclusion:-

  • The draft National Policy on Official Statistics offers a great start for fostering trust in statistics but enhancing its inclusiveness will go a long way towards encouraging competence, reliability and honesty in public statistics.

Topic- Security challenges and their management in border areas;

5) The Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) is touted as a more robust and integrated system that is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

India shares a long border with several countries and the difficult nature of the terrain and open border at many poses special challenges for India. In this context it is important to discuss the need and scope of CIBMS.

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 CIBMS and how it will address the gaps in the present system of border security.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Indian border. E.g mention the varied and difficult terrain, hostile neighbours and porous border at many places.

Body-

  1. Discuss about the CIBMS and how it will help in better border management and control. E.g
  • The use of high-tech solutions for border security was being considered by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) since 2012 when it released an Expression of Interest (EoI) for a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS).
  • The CIBMS is touted as a more robust and integrated system that is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security by seamlessly integrating human resources, weapons, and high-tech surveillance equipment.
  • It has three main components:
  • a) new high-tech surveillance devices such as sensors, detectors, cameras, ground-based radar systems, micro-aerostats, lasers as well as existing equipment for round-the-clock surveillance of the international border;
  • b) an efficient and dedicated communication network including fibre optic cables and satellite communication for transmitting data gathered by these diverse high-tech surveillance and detection devices; and
  • c) a command and control centre to which the data will be transmitted in order to apprise the senior commanders about the happenings on the ground and thus providing a composite picture of the international border.
  • A composite picture would help senior commanders analyse and classify the threat and mobilise resources accordingly to assist the field commander in his response.
  • The purpose of the CIBMS is to eventually replace manual surveillance/patrolling of the international borders by electronic surveillance and organising the BSF personnel into quick reaction teams to enhance their detection and interception capabilities.
  • Other factors such as power back up, training of the BSF personnel in handling the sophisticated equipment, and maintenance of the equipment are incorporated into the CIBMS.

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

Background:-

  • Repeated acts of terror from across the border led to rigorous introspection in the Government for developing measures to avoid such tragedies.
  • The use of high-tech solutions for border security was being considered by India since 2012 and the trigger for implementing the CIBMS was the Pathankot terrorist attack.

CIBMS:-

  • The CIBMS is touted as a more robust and integrated system that is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security by seamlessly integrating human resources, weapons, and high-tech surveillance equipment.
  • It has three main components:
    • New high-tech surveillance devices such as sensors, detectors, cameras, ground-based radar systems, micro-aerostats, lasers as well as existing equipment for round-the-clock surveillance of the international border;
    • An efficient and dedicated communication network including fibre optic cables and satellite communication for transmitting data gathered by these diverse high-tech surveillance and detection devices; and
    • A command and control centre to which the data will be transmitted in order to apprise the senior commanders about the happenings on the ground and thus providing a composite picture of the international border.
  • A composite picture would help senior commanders analyse and classify the threat and mobilise resources accordingly to assist the field commander in his response.
  • The purpose of the CIBMS is to eventually replace manual surveillance/patrolling of the international borders by electronic surveillance and organising the BSF personnel into quick reaction teams to enhance their detection and interception capabilities.
  • Other factors such as power back up, training of the BSF personnel in handling the sophisticated equipment, and maintenance of the equipment are incorporated into the CIBMS.
  • At present, the CIBMS is being implemented along two stretches in the Jammu sector of the India-Pakistan border. 

Advantages:-

  • Cost effectiveness and suitability :-
  • Technical solutions are necessary to augment and complement the traditional methods of border guarding.
  • They not only enhance the surveillance and detection capabilities of the border guarding forces but also improve the impact of the border guarding personnel against infiltration and trans-border crimes.
  • Smart borders will not only strengthen security infrastructure but also can go a long way in reducing the loss of valuable lives of our soldiers.
  • Besides, the idea has a potential to boost innovation in Indian companies and research institutes, which could develop cost-effective technologies. 

Limitations of technological solutions like CIBMS:-

  • The experiences of countries such as the United States that have employed high-tech devices demonstrate that not only are the costs of such devices prohibitive but that they also fail to provide a comprehensive solution to border security problems.
    • Even US is weighed down by the economic burden caused by implementation of the ‘virtual fence’ on the US-Mexico border.
    • Infusion of large funds for acquiring the CIBMS at a time when economy is struggling with slow growth, is also going to be a challenge before the government.
    • The exorbitant cost of the electronic devices and the lack of easy availability of spare parts act as a deterrent against their use.
  • The army is also using some imported, sophisticated technical equipments, but its optimum use is hampered by its incompatibility with terrain and border security infrastructure.
    • Erratic power supply and adverse climatic and terrain conditions in the border areas could potentially undermine the functioning of the sophisticated system.
  • The effectiveness of the equipments is further curtailed by the lack of training, repair and maintenance facility and smart users. 
    • BSF does not have the required technical expertise to offer clear guidelines to the vendors so that they can provide suitable products.This fact is further evidenced by media reports that the two attempts at testing the CIBMS system were stalled due to technical mismatch and budgetary projections. 
    • Operation and maintenance of the existing sophisticated equipment remain a problem. At present, many of the high-tech surveillance devices deployed by the BSF are not optimally utilised because the required technical expertise is not uniformly available among the force’s personnel.
    • Being manpower intensive, the system was not effective in providing rest and relief to BSF troops
  • Centralised decision making could hamper timely and effective response on the ground given that detection and interception of infiltrators at the border require a quick response which is achieved only through a decentralised decision making process.

Way forward:-

  • A strong initiative to utilize this existing infrastructure to their optimum capacity can go a long way in improving border security without additional cost.
  • There is a need for setting up a border security operation cum intelligence centers, for better cooperation and coordination among various agencies involved in border security. Operations should be intelligence driven.

Conclusion:-

  • Instead of high-cost and innovative technological solutions that require extensive technical expertise, a judicious mix of properly trained manpower and affordable and tested technology is likely to yield better results.

Topic– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

6) The receding glaciers in Hindu Kush underline the need for cooperation between countries that share Himalayas. Comment.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The impact of climate change on glaciers in the Hindu-Kush region is prominent and scary. The ranges provide water and livelihood security to billions of people. In this context it is important to discuss the need for cooperation among countries sharing the Himalayas.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding about the recession of glaciers in the Hindu-Kush range and express our opinion on the need for the countries sharing the Himalayas to cooperate in this regard.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Hindu-Kush and the Himalayas. E.g mention the countries which share Himalayas.

Body-

Discuss the recession of the Himalayan glaciers and how they could impact socio-economy of the region and Bring out the need for the nations sharing Himalayas to protect the melting glaciers. E.g

  • Success in meeting the Paris Climate Pact’s most ambitious target might not be enough, a recent study says, to prevent a serious meltdown in the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
  • the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) “Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment” reveals that more than 35 percent of the glaciers in the region could retreat by 2100, even if the global temperature rise is capped at 1.5º C.
  • This could destabilise the hydrology of large parts of South Asia, China and Myanmar.
  • Regions in higher altitudes tend to warm faster than low-lying lands.
  • This will have a major bearing on the ice-fields, which are the largest repository of permafrost outside the polar regions. The region’s snow is the source of 10 major river systems — including the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and Mekong — in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.
  • Large-scale warming could drastically alter the river flows in these countries. The receding glaciers could cause a deluge in the rivers during the monsoon while the flows are likely to plummet during the dry seasons, with serious implications for irrigation, hydropower and ecosystem services.
  • The number of intense precipitation days and intensity of extreme precipitation have increased overall in the last five decades. If these trends persist, the frequency and magnitude of water-induced hazards in the (Hindu Kush Himalaya) region will increase,” it says. This is a significant conclusion given that developments in the Himalayas are known to have a spin-off on the monsoon in the Subcontinent.
  • There is a need for more data sharing between the countries that share the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
  • political differences between these countries should not come in the way of joint efforts to build resilience of vulnerable communities and shore up the region’s water security.

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

Background:-

  • Hindu Kush Himalayan mountain ranges extend over 4 million square kilometres in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. Over 210 million people live in this region. Rivers that originate in these mountains are a critical source of water for 1.3 billion people living downstream.
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) “Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment” reveals that more than 35 per cent of the glaciers in the region could retreat by 2100, even if the global temperature rise is capped at 1.5º C.

Why there is need for cooperation among countries that share Himalayas :-

  • A global temperature increase of 1.5ºC could mean at least a 1.8ºC temperature rise in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the ICIMOD study warns.
    • Rise in global temperatures could destabilise the hydrology of large parts of South Asia, China and Myanmar. This will have a major bearing on the ice-fields, which are the largest repository of permafrost outside the polar regions.
  • The region’s snow is the source of 10 major river systems including the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and Mekong in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.
    • Large-scale warming could drastically alter the river flows in these countries.
    • The receding glaciers could cause a deluge in the rivers during the monsoon while the flows are likely to plummet during the dry seasons, with serious implications for irrigation, hydropower and ecosystem services.
  • Impact of climate change:-
    • The number of intense precipitation days and intensity of extreme precipitation have increased overall in the last five decades. If these trends persist, the frequency and magnitude of water-induced hazards in the (Hindu Kush Himalaya) region will increase.
    • Given the speed at which these glaciers are melting and retreating due to changes in climatic conditions, there will be frequent and unpredictable devastating glacial lake outbursts and floods, causing severe damages to lives, livestock and livelihood.
  • Impact on monsoons:-
    • Developments in the Himalayas are known to have a spin-off on the monsoon in the Subcontinent.
    • Water sources of countries in the Himalayan region vitally depend on the monsoon rains and streams emanating from the Himalayas. It is pretty clear now that climate change and global warming have heavily affected rainfall patterns, the concentration of snow and ice and eventually the flow of streams in the Himalayas.
  • Livelihood:-
    • The Himalayas, just like the Western Ghats, plays a critical role as watershed. It provides water, food, energy and myriad ecosystem services to the people living in the region.
    • An estimated 50,000 glaciers in the Himalayas are both a boon and bane for mountainous countries like Bhutan and Nepal. These glaciers are a major source of irrigation in summer months.
    • They support farm practices and livelihood of a large population.
    • What happens in the Hindu Kush Himalayas effects a fourth of the world’s population and the whole world by extension. It is extremely important for the member countries to sit together and ensure that there is cooperation at all levels

What needs to be done :-

  • Transparency in data sharing and joint monitoring of such structures will strengthen cooperation among countries.
  • Although there exist bilateral treaties between some of the Himalayan countries on sharing of river water, given that some rivers are flowing into more than one country, multilateral treaties based on the principle of equity are required.
  • Cross-border dialogues and cooperation are necessary to put in place an effective cooperative mechanism to find and promote amicable solutions to the river water sharing problems.
  • Integrated water resources management could prove to be a great tool to augment water resources, improve quality of water and bring countries in the Himalayan region together to manage transboundary basins collectively.
  • International experiences :-
    • Experiences from the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental panel in the Arctic region and the Alpine convention an international treaty for sustainable development of the Alps need to be shared to provide learnings for the HKH cooperation efforts.

Topic –  linkages of organized crime with terrorism

7) The nexus between terrorism and organized crime presents a major challenge for India. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Terrorism is often closely linked to organized crime. It is important to discuss how the issue poses challenges to 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 as to how terrorism and terrorism nexus operates in India and what are the challenges India faces from this nexus.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about India. E.g mention its geographical location and its hostile neighbourhood.

Body-

Discuss the challenges posed by the terrorism-organized crime nexus to India. E.g

  • While terrorism is an act of political defiance that is carried out overtly, organized crime is mostly conducted covertly to earn profits.
  • While terrorism results in large scale violence, conducted to exploit political objectives and religious or nationalist sentiments, crime is largely nonviolent and is carried out for economic objectives.
  • Terrorist groups need a steady stream of funding to finance their operations and often resort to a plethora of illegal activities which includes the Hawala system, abuse of charities or donations from the diasporic community, credit card fraud and illegal arms and the narcotics sale.
  • Therefore crying and terrorism has a symbiotic relationship with organizational operational and ideological links that are cultivated through clothes coordination are in some cases through fostering strong linkages.
  • Rapid advances in telecommunication Technologies particularly social media platforms, the dark web, and illegal payment channels have strengthened the crime-terror Nexus which at times can acquire translational character.
  • India has a long history of fighting the separatist insurgency and controlling civil conflicts that are spread across different parts of the country.
  • There are several conditions that make India particularly prone to transnational organized crime and terrorism- proximity to major heroin producers and exporters regional drug trade through overland routes and the sea.
  • Moreover, groups willing to take risks, pervasive prop poverty and protracted nature of low-intensity conflict have also created a permissible environment for the crime-terror Nexus in India.
  • The major conflict zones in India are concentrated in Jammu and Kashmir North Eastern states of Assam Nagaland and Manipur and the most area of Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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

Background :-

  • India has a long history of fighting separatist insurgencies, terrorism and civil conflicts that are spread across different parts of the country. In this light the challenges posed by terrorism organised crime nexus are many.

How organised crime terrorism nexus present challenges to India :-

  • The role that terrorism has played in funding criminal activities continues to perpetuate violence and creates instability inside India and in its neighbourhood.
  • There are several conditions that make India particularly prone to transnational  organised crime and terrorism. These include, among others, proximity to major heroin  producers and exporters, regional drug trade through overland routes and the sea. 
  • Moreover, groups willing to take risks,  pervasive poverty and the protracted nature of  ‘low intensity’ conflicts have also created a  permissible environment for the crime-terror  nexus in India. 
  • The cooperation between the groups stems from the need for terrorists to obtain arms and money to conduct operations and for the crime groups to build a client base and act as couriers to smuggle arms, drugs and humans.
  • In some cases, local groups also have linkages with international crime cartels and other transnational groups. Almost all the terrorist groups have their own areas of influence, where they collect money from the common people, act as intermediaries for channeling state funds to the people and work in tandem with government functionaries to award contracts to individuals patronised by militant groups.
  • Regions affected :-
    • The major conflict zones in India are  concentrated in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K),  North Eastern states of Assam, Nagaland and  Manipur.
    • The links between organised crime and terrorism are particularly rampant in India’s Northeastern states.
      • Here groups run parallel governments in many parts of these states and raise money through illegal trafficking of drugs, arms and human smuggling and money laundering.
      • Militants and criminals who operate from across India’s land borders in the states of Myanmar and Bangladesh, two of India’s eastern neighbours, further exacerbate India’s crime-terrorism problem in the Northeast.
        • Groups based in these countries have been involved in arms smuggling into India.
    • Punjab :-
      • Terrorismin Punjab has also been aided by drug money and smuggling of drugs from Afghanistan through Pakistan.
      • The 2016 Pathankot attacks that were carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists on an Indian Air Force base became controversial after it was revealed in an investigation that local police officials and drug cartels were under scrutiny regarding potential collaboration with terrorists.
    • India also faces a Maoist insurgency  in the state of  Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas in  Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. 
    • The main  terrorist threat stems from Pakistan-based  terrorist groups to J&K and mainland India  where violent and religiously motivated  groups likewise pose as a threat.
    • Several  major Indian cities, including New Delhi,  Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, and Pune among  others, have witnessed terrorist attacks, but the Indian city of Mumbai has been ‘ground zero’ to the deadliest  attacks over the past three or more decades.  
  • Extremists belonging to Hindu fundamentalist  right-wing groups have also targeted Muslim  and Christian interests across India. 
  • Naxalism:- 
    • Over a period, the ‘Naxalites’ spread their influence westward  into other states of India, which includes Bihar,  Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and  southward towards Andhra Pradesh. 
    •  They  built links with other terrorist groups including  the People’s War Group (PWG), the  Communist Party of India -Maoist and the  communist groups based in neighbouring  Nepal.
    • Their main funding sources came from  extortion, running parallel governments,  collecting taxes from people in rural areas and  smuggling small arms, home made explosives  and landmines. 

Topic – Linkages of organised crime with terrorism

8) How is organised crime in India reinforcing terrorism? What are the linkages especially with regard to terror funding?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand. Apart from answering the basic demand of the question, towards the end of your answer you also need to discuss in brief about the checks required to curb such nexus.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that Crime and terrorism can potentially have a very close linkage. Explain what do you mean by organised crime.

Body

  • Explain the linkage –
    • we look at some of the regions in the country affected by terrorism, this linkage becomes apparent. In the Northeast, extortion is the fundamental basis for funding all forms of terrorism. In addition to this, kidnapping has been used extensively for spreading terror and raising funds. Human trafficking, drug trafficking and gun running are some of the other criminal activities that have been common in these areas.
    • In J&K, counterfeit currency has been a major source of funding terrorism.
    • In the Maoist terror movements, extortion is yet again a common phenomenon. They have also indulged in robberies of banks to fund their movement. There have also been reports of cuts being enforced on drug yielding crops in the region.
    • There are also a number of insurgent groups which over a period of time have morphed into crime syndicates. What began as an ideological movement is now merely a means of generating profit. This is especially the case with insurgent groups in Northeast India.
  • Discuss how can such syndicates be tackled and the impact reduced.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

 

 

Background:-

  • Crime and terrorism can potentially have a very close linkage.Organized crime and terrorism result from ineffective governance and have developed a symbiotic relationship.
  • Globalized world, lenient emigration policies, cheaper and faster international travel, social networking sites and high tech communication equipment and sophisticated money laundering methods have increased organized crimes across the world.
  • Such gangs are engaged in  anti-social activities as the use of violence and extortion, illicit drug trafficking, money laundering,  acts of corruption, environmental crime, trafficking in women and children, illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, credit card fraud, computer related crime, maritime piracy, illegal trafficking of stolen vehicles, industrial espionage and sabotage etc.

 

How organised crime reinforces terrorism:-

  • There are three levels of interplay between organized crime and terrorist groups: coexistence, cooperation and convergence.
    • When criminal groups work together, cooperation can take various forms, from a purely financial or transactional nature to an operational and organizational arrangement.
    • In the case of organized crime and terrorism, this might include technical know-how, intellectual property, and manufacturing techniques for building anything from bombs to drones.
  • While organized crime involves many activities, its linkages with terrorism stem from illegal trafficking of drugs, arms and human beings and money laundering.
    • Terrorist groups, whether indigenous or sponsored by outside states, need arms and money for their fight against the security forces. Organized crime conglomerates need a clientele and couriers who can smuggle drugs, arms and human beings across the countries and regions.
  • Rapid advances in telecommunication technologies, particularly social media platforms, the dark web on the Internet and illegal payment channels have bolstered the crime-terror nexus which, at times, can acquire a transnational character depending on their geographic spread, the expectations of the groups involved and the nature of the nexus.
  • The convergence between terrorist groups and transnational organized crime groups can be understood by the Black Hole Syndrome. 
    • The black hole syndrome is described as the natural progression of these two criminal groups gaining economic and political control over a territory or an entire state.
  • Narco-Terrorism
    • Narcotic traffickingstarted as an organised crime has emerged as a threat to nation states because of its association with terrorist groups. .
  • Drug Trafficking and Terrorism
    • Terrorists indulge in drug trafficking directly to support their own cause.
  • Linkage with terrorism
    • The illegal arms trafficking aids terrorists and terrorist groups operating around the world and it is central to the global war on terror.
    • These arms are not only the weapons of choice in the majority of today’s regional conflicts but also for many terrorists and terrorist groups operating around the world.
    • Terrorists give protection and support to drug traffickers with fire arms, and the drug traffickers, being acquainted with the routes, assist the terrorists in border crossings to bring arms and drugs in the target country.
  • Human Trafficking
    • Terrorist organizations not only utilize human trafficking for financial support, they also use to obtain an entry point into countries.
    • Human trafficking is not only one of the first financial steps into the transnational and trans-criminal financial network but that it is the bedrock of these criminal syndicates.
  • Money Laundering
    • Money laundering is at the centre of all terrorist activity, because it is the common denominator of all other acts.
  • Cyber Crimes and Terrorism
    • Publication of terrorist ideologies and ideas propaganda
    • Raising funds :- Terrorist financing through money transfer
    • Recruiting new members and finding each other
    • Launching threat or intimidation campaigns beheadings
    • Communication among members P2P, SMS, VOIP and encryption
    • Obtaining operational information targeting
    • Coordinating, planning and discussing terrorist actions
    • Designing Explosive, chemical biological component.
  • Fake Currency
    • Currency counterfeiting is one of the organized white collar crimes which has assumed serious proportions in growing terrorism globally.
    • Beyond issues of intellectual property theft and consumer safety, there is the notion that counterfeit sales directly fund terrorist organizations.

How is organised crime linked with terror funding :-

  • In the Northeast, extortion is the fundamental basis for funding all forms of terrorism.
    • In addition to this, kidnapping has been used extensively for spreading terror and raising funds.
    • Human trafficking, drug trafficking and gun running are some of the other criminal activities that have been common in these areas.
  • In J&K, counterfeit currency has been a major source of funding terrorism.
  • In the Maoist terror movements, extortion is yet again a common phenomenon. They have also indulged in robberies of banks to fund their movement. There have also been reports of cuts being enforced on drug yielding crops in the region.
  • The Indian Mujahideen has also resorted to crime to raise funds. This includes robberies, kidnappings, etc.
  • Narcotic drugs are the main source for funding terrorist activities in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
    • This connivance of terrorist and insurgent groups in global drug trade is another cause of concern.
  • Sympathizers involve in drug trafficking and send the illegal profits to fund the terrorist movements.
  • Problems compounded with money laundering and black money.

Way forward:-

  • Increase efforts to integrate policy towards terrorism and organized crime:
    • enhance governments investigative and response capabilities; training focused on critical skills and exchange of skills between and among the nations.
  • Improve Counter Terrorism Cooperation through wider consultation; coordinated approaches at national and regional levels.
  • Strong Sub-regional Co-operation:
    • Exchange research studies and expertise on terrorism and establish secure communication links in each member country.
  • Establish a Regional Centre to coordinate regional efforts, capacity building, coordinate resource mobilisation and build and maintain a regional data bank.
  • Co-ordinated Institutional Framework
  • Enhance Public Awareness by sensitising communities and civil societies on the impact of terrorism and eliminate misconceptions through the mass media and other channels
  • Curb Financing of Terrorism by enacting appropriate statutes to prevent financing of terrorism
  • Enhance Diplomatic Efforts to gain political will to support the mechanism and gain collaboration of international partners.
  • Timely exchange of information and intelligence