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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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 Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

1) Saving the Constitution is not about saving a text, it is about renewing a commitment to each other. Comment.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

This republic day we need to introspect our relationship with the constitution and with the fellow citizens which ascribe to that constitution. In this context it is important to discuss about the need for renewing our commitment to each other in order to preserve and uphold the constitution in its true spirits.

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 constitution and express our opinion as to how underlining the importance of fraternity and commitment to each other can help upholding the constitution.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the  constitution. E.g mention the process of framing of constitution and the source from which it derives its authority.

Body-

Discuss the importance of fraternity in upholding the constitution. E.g

  • We speak of the Constitution as if it were a thing: A self-evident truth, recourse to which can resolve all our disputes.
  • We ask: What does the Constitution “say”? If we just discovered what it says, it would bind us.
  • The question is not what the Constitution says. But what we can get the Constitution to say. It does not make us, as much as we make it.
  • The Constitution is a slow but steady expansion of liberty and equality, institutionalisation of an accountable state, and the creation of a new collective power that is capable of acting in concert to chart its own destiny.
  • Its success is that it has endured, different parties repose their faith in it.
  • The constitutional project is not a leap of faith in a thing called the Constitution, it is a leap of faith in each other.
  • Its controversies cannot be settled by something called “the constitutional text”; it can be settled only by a mutual consensus etc.

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

Introduction:

The Indian Constitution is unique in its contents and spirit. It derives the power from the citizens of India. It accepts the necessity of modifications according to the changing needs of the society. The constitution will always have something that is contemporary and something that has a more durable importance.

Body:

                Fraternity means a sense of brotherhood. Fraternity assures the dignity of an individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. Fraternity thus is the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, caste, regional or sectional diversities. Mere saving of the values of constitution without commitment of the people towards it shows a lack of commitment to our renewal of relationship towards it.

  • Constitution is believed to be the solution for all disputes arising in the society. In reality the question is not what the Constitution says. But what we can get the Constitution to say. It does not make us, as much as we make it.
    • Example: Constitution promotes socio-economic justice in the DPSP. The non- implementation of SC decisions by the government like payment of MGNERGA wages in Swaraj Abhiyan case.
  • The philosophical values of the constitution promote fraternity, secularism, tolerance.
    • Example: instances of mob lynching, discrimination meted out to vulnerable societies show there is a complete violation of it by people.
  • The Constitution is a slow but steady expansion of liberty and equality, institutionalisation of an accountable state, and the creation of a new collective power that is capable of acting in concert to chart its own destiny.
    • Example: The Kesavanada Bharti case came up with the judicial innovation of Basic Doctrine Structure which has expanded the scope of constitutional rights like Right to Education, Right to Privacy etc.
  • Indian constitution ensures the freedom of speech of every citizen.
    • Example: There are instances of banning of novels, movies by the governments of day bowing to pressure from some sections of the society causing violence and enemity between people.
  • The constitutional project is not a leap of faith in a thing called the Constitution, it is a leap of faith in each other.
    • Example: Article 15 guarantees the right to equality to all without any discrimination. However, sexual harassment, violence is meted out to women, transgender which shows not just violating text of Constitution. It also reveals how there is a lack of humanitarian spirit among us.
  • The controversies cannot be settled by something called “the constitutional text”; it can be settled only by a mutual consensus.
    • Example: The recent incidents such as women entry to Sabarimala was upheld by Supreme Court. However, there are lot of violent incidents showing the hard measures of imposing the constitutional values is not a solution but there is a need of mutual consensus among the people over such issues of faith.

There is a need to improve the fraternity between people to reduce the various conflicts arising in the society. These can lead to destruction of secular fabric, tolerant and diverse nature of Indian society by polarizing people.

Way Forward:

  • Value education to the people to inculcate tolerance, equality and fraternity.
  • By following the fundamental duties to respect every individual and inculcating a spirit of brotherhood among citizens.
  • Judicial reviews to ensure that the legislations are serving all the citizens of the country.
  • Effective implementation of laws in true letter and spirit at the grassroots level.

Conclusion:

Constitution is not a mere text of rules and regulations. It is an organic document with spirit and values which must be inculcated in the people. The need of the hour is build up the fraternity among “the people” from whom the constitution draws its power.


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

2) Constitution alone cannot fight social evils. Comment in the context of the Sabarimala temple controversy.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The recent Sabarimala controversy highlights the deep social divides still relevant In Indian society. In this context it is essential to discuss whether constitution alone can help India in solving its social problems.

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 Sabarimala controversy and express our opinion as to whether constitution alone can help us in fighting social evils like the one being exposed by the Sabarimala controversy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Sabarimala controversy. E.g throw some light on the nature of the dispute and how it affects women’s rights.

Body-

  1. DIscuss the SC judgement allowing all women to visit the inner shrine.
  2. Discuss whether Constitution alone is enough to fight social evils in India. E.g
  • By cheering on the Supreme Court ramming through of changes that cut across deeply- held beliefs of Ayyappa devotees — rather than engaging with them, we are actually compromising the prospects for religious reform.
  • We are therefore risking the credibility of the courts and undermining our secular democracy.
  • By relying on the SC, we have a missed opportunity for how Sabarimala doors might have been opened to all women by drawing on its richly liberal heritage rather than dissing it.
  • The issue needs empathetic and respectful engagement, accompanied by moral pressure and even peaceful protest.
  • When we cross into the terrain of illiberal — but not obviously harmful — beliefs and practices, the courts and the government need to exercise restraint.
  • By wading into thorny matters of doctrine and tradition, on which it has little expertise, the Supreme Court will only damage its credibility. We can see this in the tortured reasoning in the Sabarimala verdict, for instance, on whether or not Sabarimala worshippers constitute a distinct religious community or whether they are part of the multi-layered, diverse, and overlapping strands that make up the Hindu tradition etc.

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

Introduction:

  • Sabarimala is considered to be one of the holiest temples in Hinduism, with one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world.
  • The faithful believe that the deity’s powers derive from his asceticism, and in particular from his being celibate.
  • Women between the ages of 10 and 50 are barred from participating in the rituals.
  • The exclusion was given legal sanction by Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965.

Body:

Supreme Court’s verdict:

  • The Supreme Court, in Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala, a majority opinion of 4:1 lifted the centuries-old practice of prohibiting women to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.
  • The Court condemned the prohibition as hegemonic patriarchy. It said that exclusion on grounds of biological and physiological features like menstruation was unconstitutional as it was violative of the right to equality and dignity of women.
  • Right of women to enter Sabarimala was guaranteed under Article 25(1). This provision states that all persons are equally entitled to practise religion.

India is a diverse society, considered as ‘fruit-salad of cultures’, where each has its unique identity. The question whether Constitution alone is enough to fight social evils in India is a matter of debate.

  • Many social evils like illiteracy of females, Domestic violence, female infanticide, prostitution, dowry, trafficking of humans are still prevalent in India despite measures taken by the Governments and Courts taking the support of Constitution. Many of these social evils are promoted by the religious backing and cultural bolstering.
  • By using hard measures like verdicts of top courts and imposing rules against such practices, there is no guarantee that the practices will be wiped out. Example: The recent flogging of Dalits at Una, gujarat
  • This would risk the credibility of the courts, undermining our secular democracy and compromising the prospects for religious reform.
  • Rather, there is a need to engage with the people, understand their concerns and try to educate them of the ramifications.
  • These issues need empathetic and respectful engagement, accompanied by moral pressure and even peaceful protest.
  • The courts and the government need to exercise restraint in beliefs and practices as the religious institutions also have a fundamental right under Article 26.
  • Dragging the state into matters of faith opens the door to a religious state.
  • There is a need to reform many discriminatory practices that continue to prevail — be it the absence of women priests in our temples, mosques, and churches, or the persistence of caste-considerations in marriages.
  • In a secular state like India, these practices have to be fought socially and politically rather than, taking the legal route.
  • Kerala has a proud tradition of exactly this sort of social campaign against caste-based exclusion. In Tamil Nadu, the Dravidian movement used its political strength and the popular appeal of its ideology to significantly roll back the social dominance of upper castes.
  • The Anglican Church has admitted women to the priesthood because, after years of debate, the congregation was persuaded, not because of British court judgments or pressure from the government.
  • The more that reformist efforts tap the resources within the religious tradition that they seek to change, the more likely they are to be effective.
  • Dalit priests are increasingly found in temples in the south not least because modern-day reformers have cited the narratives of “untouchable” saints in the Vaishnava Alvar and Saiva Nayanar canons.

Conclusion:

                In a liberal democracy, everybody has their rights. In matter of social and cultural values, it is always better to convince and win over those who don’t share your views. Hard measures may fuel the same sort of political backlash against liberal mores from religious-minded traditionalists that is being witnessed in previously-secular countries such as Turkey, and, jeopardise much-needed progress on social and religious reforms in our country.

               


Topic– Indian polity : issues

3) The judicial appointment to the higher courts remains riddled with arbitrariness, opacity, and an ­absence of accountability. Analyze. (250 words)

epw

Why this question

The article highlights some of the controversies in the appointment of judges which brings the focus back on appointment process of judges. It makes sense to revise the issues involved and think of a way forward to prevent this issue from recurring.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the appointment process, thereafter highlight the issues with the appointment process and give suggestions regarding what needs to be done.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the recent controversies pertaining to the collegium which has brought the focus on this issue.

Body

  • Explain about the appointment process in brief and mention the 3 judges case
    • he right to select judges to the Supreme Court was taken upon itself by the apex court in 1993 and revalidated in a 1998 judgment (Third Judges case).
    • The current government tried to change that with the passage of a law on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), but the law was shot down — again by the Supreme Court.
    • NJAC was struck down by the SC because it would have compromised the independence of the CJI and given a role to the government in the appointment of judges.
  • Discuss the controversies often associated with the collegium system and the need for reforms
    • Credibility of the SC: Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises  doubts about the credibility of the highest court. The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
    • Politicization of appointment: Government is not only the biggest litigator but also the greatest threat to the abuse of power. Judicial review as a concept is supposed to control the government and keep it in check.
  • Discuss what needs to be done – memorandum of procedure of appointment of judges

 

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

 

 

Introduction:

  • The change in resolution by SC stopped the elevation of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, and Justice Rajendra Menon, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, who had been recommended for the Supreme Court by the Collegium on December 12.
  • The Supreme Court, which has a new Collegium that held its first meeting on January 10, decided instead to elevate Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjeev Khanna, a judge of Delhi High Court.
  • No criteria have been set out by the collegium as to why Khanna and Maheshwari have been elevated, apart from a bland statement that alludes to their “merit.” No reasons are given for rejecting Menon and Nandrajog.
  • The lack of clarity again shines a spotlight on the opaque collegium system of appointments in the higher judiciary.

 

Body:

Process of appointment of judges

  • In the Third Judges Case (1998) (by a follow-up President’s Reference to the Court), the Supreme Court expanded the Collegium formed in the first (1981) and second (1993) judges cases to include the CJI and the next four (up from two) senior-most judges.

 

  • With the 99th constitutional amendment act and NJAC Bill 2014, National judicial appointment commission was established by the union government to bring transparency and accountability in appointment of judges.

 

  • In the Fourth Judges Case (2015), Supreme Court set aside the 99th constitutional amendment creating the National Judicial Appointments Commission. The Supreme Court ruled that the amendment was a threat to judicial independence, an integral part of Basic Structure Doctrine. A majority of judges took pains to point out how much the independence of the judiciary was guaranteed by the collegium system of appointments.

 

The controversies often associated with the collegium system are

  • Credibility of the SC:
    • Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises doubts about the credibility of the highest court.
    • There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
    • Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticised for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
    • The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
  • The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
  • Supreme court is overburdened:
    • The Supreme Court did not realise the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
    • An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
  • Lacking this infrastructural backup the collegium resorts to ad hoc informal consultations with other judges in the Supreme Court who are expected to know the merits of a proposed appointee from a High Court or occasionally by sounding a member of the Bar.
    • These methods are poor substitutes for a full time intensive collection of data about an incumbent, his work, standing, merit, integrity and potential which requires to be made considerably in advance for filing in the vacancy.
    • This system overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • Besides, the collegium’s deliberations are secret, the system is opaque and the choice of a judge is only known when his name is forwarded to the Government for formal appointment.
  • The collegium has necessarily limited its field of choice to the senior-most judges from the High Court for the appointments to the Supreme Court, overlooking the several talented junior judges in the High Courts or members of the bar.
  • Skewed representation of socio economic backward classes like women, scheduled castes and tribes in the Supreme Court.

The collegium system needs reforms:

  • The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
  • The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process. In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges. Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
  • Setting up a constitutional body accommodating the federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
  • There should be a fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
  • As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • New memorandum of procedure:
    • After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
    • The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalised for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.

Conclusion:

Faced with intense public scrutiny and government pressure, the judiciary’s institutional weaknesses are being laid bare. These are not simply the moral failings of one individual or the consequences of the misjudgement of a few. It is another illustration of the institution’s inability to accept its internal infirmities.


Topic– Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s
interests.

4) Examine the fears of the developing countries with regards to displacing the “development agenda” in the WTO for a new agenda on digital trade?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article discusses the issues raised by civil society groups and others with respect to nefarious designs of transnational organisation in setting down the new WTO agenda related to digital trade. We need to be aware of the implications of such a trade deal and what must be the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the discussion at the buenos Aires summit with regards to displacing the “development agenda” in the WTO for a new agenda on digital trade. Thereafter we need to examine the issues that the developed countries have with wto rules governing digital travel and e-commerce and the impact it would have on domestic economy. Finally, we need to give a fair and balanced opinion and highlight what needs to be done.

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 that at the Buenos Aires summit of wto, developing countries rejected the idea of displacing the “development agenda” in the WTO for a new agenda on digital trade

Body

  • Discuss the issues with such a new agenda on digital trade
    • India fears that new rules could provide unfair market access to foreign companies, hurting the rapidly growing domestic e-commerce platforms. A key demand by the developed countries is to make permanent the current ban on customs duties on global electronic transactions—they were suspended in 1998.
    • playing on India’s mind is the previous WTO deal on the Information Technology Agreement, under which it agreed to abolish tariffs on hardware, squeezing the domestic electronics manufacturing industry.
  • Discuss what needs to be done
    • what is needed around the world for structural transformation is a jobs-and-development-focused digital industrialisation strategy.
    • Digital industrialisation indicates the need for investment in countries’ technical, legal and economic infrastructure and policies to develop and support domestic digital businesses and platforms and build capacities to use domestic data in the public interest;
    • to strategically promote domestic MSMEs including through technology transfer and national data use frameworks

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

 

 

Introduction:

At the 11th Ministerial Conference of WTO, the US blocked a permanent solution on government stockholding for food security purposes, India and developing countries toughened its stand on new issues including e-commerce and investment facilitation for digital trade.

 

Body:

Civil society organisations — including development advocates, consumer and environmental groups from developed and developing countries — issued a statement calling on governments to reject World Trade Organization (WTO) talks on e-commerce.

The issues with such a new agenda on digital trade are:

  • There are fears that policy would severely constrain the policy space of countries to develop their economies in the future.
  • It would accelerate the global disadvantaging of workers and small enterprises in all countries vis-à-vis large corporations that characterizes the current global economy
  • India fears that the new global e-commerce rules could provide unfair market access to foreign online retail firms, hurting the rapidly growing domestic start-ups.
  • E-commerce entered the WTO in 1998, when member countries agreed not to impose customs duties on electronic transmissions, and the moratorium has been extended periodically.
  • Many countries have made submissions on various aspects of digital trade such as cross-border data flows, server localisation, technology transfer, source code, consumer protection, intellectual property rights and trade facilitation aspects of e-commerce.
  • Threats to economic sovereignty and future development prospects from premature digital liberalisation will be greatly amplified if the rapidly evolving digital economic space is governed by rules that were developed by transnational corporations (TNCs) for their own profit-making around the world.
  • A key demand by the developed countries is to make permanent the current ban on customs duties on global electronic transactions which were suspended in 1998.
  • India is still sceptical about previous WTO deal on the Information Technology Agreement, under which it agreed to abolish tariffs on hardware, squeezing the domestic electronics manufacturing industry.
  • India has maintained that e-commerce per se may be good for development but it may not be prudent to begin talks since many countries don’t fully understand the implications of negotiating binding rules.
  • With rapid developments in manufacturing through 3-D printing, absence of customs duty could have severe adverse impact on the domestic manufacturing sector.

 

Way forward:

  • Transforming the global trading system WTO so that it could promote shared prosperity among all the countries.
  • The much wanted need around the world is structural transformation which is a jobs-and-development-focused digital industrialisation strategy.
  • Digital industrialisation indicates the need for investment in countries’ technical, legal and economic infrastructure and policies to develop and support domestic digital businesses and platforms and build capacities to use domestic data in the public interest.
  • To strategically promote domestic MSMEs including through technology transfer and national data use frameworks.
  • To ensure universal benefits of the digital economy through full employment policies.
  • To ensure proper taxation and investments to close the digital divide.
  • To advance consumer welfare and privacy through enforceable consumer protection measures.
  • To ensure public interest regulation of the digital economy and sound competition practices and other pro-development strategies

Conclusion:

Domestic policies should be developed with appropriate stakeholder input, as well as through regional integration to accomplish the above. Policymakers require sufficient policy space to do so. Status-quo on e-commerce should be maintained till developing countries understand what is at stake in the area of global e-commerce rule-making.


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

5) Belt and Road Initiative of China poses a threat to the unipolarity enjoyed by USA post 1990s. Comment. (250 words)

epw

 

Why this question

The article wonderfully explains the theory of international relations by juxtaposing it to the current global power dynamics. It will enhance our understanding of geopolitical events and enable us to develop a better perspective on belt and road initiative and what it means for India.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out details of the belt and road initiative and explain how it poses a threat to unipolar status enjoyed by USA post cold war. Thereafter, it expects us to explain the impact on global power relations including on India 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 – Highlight the geopolitical flux in recent years.

Body

  • Explain about the unipolarity of USA since cold war and the ways in which it has been extended as discussed in the article. Highlight about the emphasis given by USA on developing maritime capabilities, sea lanes of communication and exercising influence through a military industrial complex and regime change.
  • Explain about the belt and road initiative and how the Chinese approach differs from that of USA. Explain about debt diplomacy, land lines of communication etc
  • Discuss the issues in Belt and Road initiative which prevents countries like India from coming on board

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

 

Introduction:

  • The likely outbreak of hostilities between a rising China and a sliding United States (US) as seen in increased trade-wars.
  • BRI is seen as China’s ultimate love towards globalisation which changed its destiny and a fight against protectionism (America first policy). The initiative if successfully executed, for sure leads the way to Chinese leadership on a global scale.
  • USA threatened by the prospect of the re-emergence of Eurasian transportation links and their impact on the maritime order, have launched a relentless campaign against Chinese investments in South Asia, Africa, and Central Asia along the BRI route.
  • The Chinese investment policies are shown as debt trap, predatory, imperial, comprador.

       

Body:

 

USA post cold-war:

  • The US had the goodwill as well as the power to build a more inclusive and democratic global governance architecture.
  • However, led by the military–industrial complex (MIC), it created utter chaos in West Asia and South Asia through illegal wars and unnecessary interventions. It promoted unabashed unilateralism, undermining international rules at will.
  • Wars and walls continue to consume the US’s annual military budget of roughly $650 billion.
    • According to a Brown University study, the US has spent $5.9 trillion on the war on terror between 2001 and 2019.
    • The Trump administration is planning to draw $13.9 billion from the unused portion of the Army Corps of Engineers budget to construct a more than 200-mile-long wall along the US–Mexico border.
  • Washington’s position as a pre-eminent global power is precariously balanced. It is finding it exceedingly difficult to maintain the primacy of the dollar in international financial markets as well as that of its navy in the maritime domain.

 

China’s BRI and its approach:

  • BRI consisting of the land-based belt, ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, and ‘Maritime Silk Road’, aims to connect the East Asian economic region with the European economic circle and runs across the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
  • BRI is China’s ambitious project announced in 2013. It covers about 65% of the world population, 60% of the world GDP and over 70 countries in six economic corridors.
  • China is spending almost $1 trillion to revive and renew the overland and maritime trade links between China, Europe, West Asia, and East Africa through construction of modern ports linked to high-speed road and rail corridors.

The Chinese approach differs from that of USA:

  • Adhering to the principles of sea power, Washington continued to feed its 800-odd military bases across the globe to assert its maritime dominance.
  • China spotted the gaping hole in the US’s approach, and is attempting to strike a fine balance between its maritime and continental ambitions by launching the BRI, which has the potential to boost international trade, instead of strife.
  • The American obsession with the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) prevented the US from imagining that the land lines of communication (LLOCs) could also be built to augment global supply chains. The latter is being encashed by China under its BRI.
  • Ancient silk routes opened windows of friendly engagement among nations and embodied the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. BRI aims to revitalize the ancient silk routes.
  • BRI projects are using debt diplomacy by granting huge loans to recipient countries

 

India’s concerns with BRI:

  • India argues that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project violates its sovereignty because it passes through the part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that belongs to India.
  • Debt trap:
    • BRI projects are pushing recipient countries into indebtedness, do not transfer skills or technology and are environmentally unsustainable.
    • For instance story of Sri Lanka being saddled with great amounts of debt to China was well known.
  • China is planning to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are eagerly pursuing potential BRI projects.
  • Through OBOR, China is countering the strategies of India in North East region and is promoting its greater presence in North East India, part of which China claims as its own territory. This may have a security impact on India.
  • Tense bilateral relations with China, deep mistrusts and India’s growing concerns over Chinese hegemonic intentions in South Asia and Indo-Pacific region make it practically unlikely that India will ever consider joining this project.
  • Military deployment:
    • The fact that the Chinese have begun to deploy 30,000 security personnel to protect the projects along the CPEC route makes it an active player in the politics of the Indian sub-continent. Clearly, this is a case of double standards.

Way forward:

  • The American strategic culture needs an overhaul in times of the fourth industrial revolution.
  • USA cannot continue to play the great game to keep land powers divided and involved in border conflicts.
  • The march towards development of trans-continental commercial corridors is not likely to halt because the emerging transportation technologies—autonomous electric trucks and bullet trains—are favouring land transportation networks over shipping.
  • Online markets demand faster logistics that fast trains running across continents will fulfil more efficiently than container ships.
  • Strategists need to work harder on restoring the land–sea equilibrium, instead of allowing maritime powers to stall the construction of railway lines as was done during World War I with the Berlin–Baghdad rail line.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

6) Highlight the issues in dispute resolution process of WTO?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the dispute resolution process of WTO and thereafter examine the issues and discuss way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that many analysts have said that Buenos Aires summit has highlighted the existential crisis faced by WTO especially during a time when emerging economies have adopted assertive and developed economies have adopted protectionist attitude.

Body

  • Explain about the structure of dispute resolution at wto and issues caused by USA.
    • The nature of the trade disputes is now increasingly getting hypertechnical. Despite this, the WTO currently faces a trade dispute settlement crisis. The U.S. has systematically blocked the appointment of new Appellate Body members (judges). This has impeded the work of the WTO appeal mechanism.
    • The WTO dispute settlement mechanism is not a world trade court. The process remains political and diplomatic. In trade wars, the objective is not to settle a dispute; it is to win the battle.
    • WTO members are thus concerned over the politicisation of the Appellate Body appointment and reappointment process.
    • there is concern over the possibility of China finding its way to have a permanent seat.
  • Discuss china’s prospect
    • Despite limitations ensured by US and EU, China has largely benefited from the rules-based WTO system. It might well be the new WTO leader in the coming future. China’s growing assertiveness, in fact, may be the reason for the U.S.’s hard measures. Its emerging power and the impact of its commercial domination on other economies are evident.
  • Highlight the way forward
    • Emerging economies and developing countries should have their fair say
    • Multilateralism in such institutions must be encouraged

 

Conclusion – give your view and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        Resolving trade disputes has been one of the core functions of the WTO. When countries cannot resolve matters with their trading partners, they show up at the door of the WTO. The Appellate Body(AB), one of the highest adjudicating bodies of the international trade world, hears disputes brought by WTO members. After more than two decades, this mechanism is now under duress.

 

Body:

 

Track-record of Appellate body:

  • More than 500 disputes have been filed at the WTO by countries since 1995.
  • The AB has adjudicated on complex and diverse issues including on environmental protection, renewable energy subsidies, tax evasion, money laundering, patent protection, animal welfare and food safety, among many others.
  • The dispute settlement system has increasingly become the raison d’être of the WTO itself, experts say.

Context of the issue:

WTO is facing existential crisis during a time when developed economies have adopted protectionist attitude. The U.S. has systematically blocked the appointment of new Appellate Body members (“judges”) and de facto impeded the work of the WTO appeal mechanism. With only four working members out of seven normally serving office in July 2018, the institution is under great stress. If no appointment is made, it will simply be destroyed by December 2019, with only one remaining member to tackle a massive number of disputes that are also increasingly hyper technical.

Issues faced by the WTO:

  • Politicisation of the Appellate Body appointment and reappointment process:
  • The quasi-attribution of permanent Appellate Body seats to the U.S. and the European Union (EU).
  • There is a trade war between US and China despite both being a member of WTO. This negates the core non-discriminatory principle of WTO.
  • US and China have imposed counter-productive duties, accusing each other of harming their domestic interests. WTO has not been able to prevent the trade wars despite best efforts and has been labelled as a talk shop.
  • There is concern that China may be on its way to having a permanent seat.
  • The “Overreaching” or judicial activism of United States:
  • USA has systematically blocked the filling of vacancies for ‘judges’ to the seven-member AB, it has acutely affected the functioning of the body, even as disputes continue to pile up.
  • The US is linking the broader reform of the dispute settlement process with the filling of vacancies for the members to the AB. This impacts the dispute settlement mechanism as a whole.
  • The US here tried to separate trade from development and objected to mention centrality for development at the preparation of the declaration.
  • The US stand will adversely affect the development interest of the developing world.
  • At the Buenos Aires, the developed countries led by the US and the European Union formed groups on e-commerce, investment facilitation and MSMEs within the WTO with more than 70 members in each group.
  • The WTO dispute settlement mechanism is not a world trade court. The process remains political and diplomatic. In trade wars, the objective is not to settle a dispute; it is to win the battle.
  • The very existence of an appeal mechanism is now paradoxically questioned at a time the global community criticises the absence of the same mechanism in Investor-State Dispute Settlement.

 

China’s prospects:

  • Beijing might well be the new WTO leader and China’s growing assertiveness may be the reason for the U.S.’s hard posturing.
  • China is trying to establish herself by its assertiveness in rule-based WTO system.
  • In less than a decade since its first dispute, China has accumulated a vast experience close to that of the U.S. or Europe.
  • This strategic and selective normative acculturation has been an empowering one — so much so that Beijing, together with a few others, the EU, and to some extent India, is now the main supporter of multilateralism.
  • China, EU, and to some extent India, and a few others, is now the main supporter of multilateralism.
  • The recent EU-China proposal to promote the reform of the WTO is said to combat “unilateralism and protectionism” but might well fail to address unfair trade issues raised against China itself.

 

Way Forward:

  • WTO needs to strengthen the dispute settlement mechanism as there are issues in appointment of judges in new appellate body.
  • WTO needs to enhance discussion mechanism by introducing wider consultations. It has been a long-standing complaint by the smaller participants that the consultations or decision making is limited to the green room of DG of WTO.
  • There is a need of free trade is required more by developing countries like India than developed countries.
  • There is need for the structural reform in the WTO functioning as multilateral trading system. Despite WTO being a democratic organization, there is a need to make it more effective in protecting the interests of small nations against stronger countries. The process of retaliation is ineffective and too impractical for smaller players.
  • So, developing countries must work collaboratively to strengthen WTO to collaborate effectively and learn from the past experiences when India and China led the developing countries in environmental forums, garnering funds in the form of GCF.

 

Conclusion:

The world has changed and multilateral institutions now have to embed these changes. This WTO crisis might well be the final battle to retain control over a Western-centric organisation. The time has come for the emerging economies and the developing world to have a greater say in how to shape multilateralism and its institutions.


Topic– Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

7) Despite its many challenges, wind energy in India has a lot to gain from its experience and its large manufacturing base. Analyze.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

India has been placing huge importance to renewable energy and has launched various missions in this regard. Wind Energy Mission however has been recently witnessing a downfall. In this context it is important to discuss the challenges faced by the sector.

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 wind energy sector in India and bring out the challenges involved in the sector and what we can learn from our experience.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the  wind energy generation in India. E.g mention the capacity added in recent years and also mention the decrease in capacity addition witnessed recently.

Body-

  1. Discuss the challenges faced by the sector. E.g
  • In 2016 the government shifted to the auctioning regime for tariff determination. This was a worthy effort to bring competition into a cost-complacent market, especially in light of the success solar energy had achieved.
  • Due to failure to adapt to this measure, Installations stalled, falling from 5.4 GW in 2017 to 1.7GW in 2018, and less than 1 GW is expected in 2019.
  • The financial issues faced by distribution companies (DISCOMs) pose a significant threat to wind energy and so do payment delays, curtailment and PPA defaults.
  • The failure of the UDAY scheme, introduced to ease the financial stress on the DISCOMs, has further added to the concerns. With increasing concentration of wind installations in just a few states, these DISCOM issues are bound to intensify.
  1. Discuss the lessons learnt so far and what needs to be done. E.g
  • Repowering old wind projects — replacing them with newer, efficient technology — could optimise utilisation of high wind potential sites.
  • There is need to reform and reduce fragmented ownership and captive consumers.
  • There is the need for a third-party player who acts as intermediary — someone who consolidates the old project owners (probably 70-80%) — and then facilitates repowering
  • in addition to consolidating, there was a need to compensate the old project owner for the remaining life of their assets.

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

Introduction:

        Wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years. As of June 2018 the total installed wind power capacity was 34.293 GW, the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world. Wind power capacity is mainly spread across the South, West and North regions. According to National Institute of Wind Energy’s ‘Wind Atlas’, the wind energy potential in the country at 100 m AGL is over 302 GW.

Body:

        Success of the wind energy sector in the past:

  • India’s wind energy industry has had a lustrous past.
  • It developed on the back of incentives (accelerated depreciation and generation based incentives).
  • It was bolstered by very comfortable feed in tariffs (FiT) to increase competition and reduce the prices of wind energy.

        Wind energy sector despite its success is facing challenges. The diminishing role of wind energy in India’s power mix is due to

  • The lack of auctioning regime before 2016 for tariff determination led to a cost-complacent market, especially in light of the success solar energy had achieved. Installations stalled, falling from 5.4 GW in 2017 to 1.7GW in 2018, and less than 1 GW is expected in 2019.
  • The State of Renewable Energy in India report pre-empts that the financial issues faced by distribution companies (DISCOMs) will pose a significant threat too. Widely prevalent in the wind-rich state of Tamil Nadu, these issues include payment delays, curtailment and PPA defaults.
  • The failure of the UDAY scheme, introduced to ease the financial stress on the DISCOMs, has further added to the concerns. With increasing concentration of wind installations in just a few states, these DISCOM issues are bound to intensify.
  • Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), too, is stuck in a Catch22 situation where it is pressured into releasing large tenders for wind energy, with no clarity on what DISCOMs will buy.
  • MNRE’s offshore wind policy, solar PV-wind hybrid policy and the wind repowering policy — have not seen any activity under the ministry’s aegis.
  • Indian DISCOMs do not have the stomach for the double digit tariffs that offshore auctions would inevitably yield, especially in light of the current cost sensitivity driving the electricity markets.
  • There are major deterrents posed by fragmented ownership and captive consumers.

The government did make some amends recently to spur the wind energy sector in India.

  • In 2016, however, the government shifted to the auctioning regime for tariff determination. This was a worthy effort to bring competition into a cost-complacent market, especially in light of the success solar energy had achieved.

Way Forward:

  • The Solar PV and wind hybrid projects require some nuance in designing and planning.
  • Repowering old wind projects by replacing them with newer, efficient technology could optimise utilisation of high wind potential sites.
  • There is the need for a third-party player who acts as intermediary — someone who consolidates the old project owners (probably 70-80%) — and then facilitates repowering.
  • There is a need to compensate the old project owner for the remaining life of their assets.
  • Increase the public – private partnership projects.
  • Actively pursuing the offshore wind policy, solar PV-wind hybrid policy and the wind repowering policy.

Conclusion:

        Despite its many challenges, wind energy in India has a lot to gain from its experience and its large manufacturing base. It is vital in our goals of achieving INDC’s of Paris agreement. Key government and private stakeholders can maximise on the existing policies and ensure a competitive, cost-conscious growth.


Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

8) Declaring Climate Change as an international security issue is the best approach to handle the issue. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

India has questioned the rush at the UN to declare climate change an international security issue. It is therefore important to analyze and discuss upon the issue in detail.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion as to whether there is a need to declare climate change as an international security issue, what repercussions it will have and whether it will be the best way to solve the issue of climate change. We can form our opinion in favour of or against the statement but we have to substantiate our opinion with proper arguments and facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the issue. E.g mention the UN idea being recently mulled about designating climate change as an international security issue.

Body-

Discuss the pitfalls of such decision being implemented, and why climate change can’t be handled by such an approach. E.g

  • the trends of heat waves, heavier rains, higher sea levels and severe damage to agriculture “represent a security risk for the entire world.”
  • But a  “mere decision of the Council” to take over enforcement of climate change action will disrupt the Paris Agreement and multilateral efforts to find solutions
  • “The relationship between climate-related risks and conflict is complex and often intersects with political, social, economic and demographic factors,”
  • The decision would extend UN’s reach beyond what is allocated in the UN Charter by redefining other issues, even as it struggles to fulfil its primary functions.
  • It would lead to shifting climate law-making from the inclusive UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) to decision-making by a structurally unrepresentative institution with an exclusionary approach decided in secretive deliberations.

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

 

Introduction:

        Climate change will be the defining test of global civilization in the twenty-first century. While climate scientists have been aware of the effect of carbon emissions on average worldwide temperatures for several decades, the trends of heat waves, heavier rain events, higher sea levels and severe damage to agriculture “represent a security risk for the entire world”.

        The UN has been mulling to designate climate change as an international security issue.

Body:

The idea of declaring Climate change as International security issue is based on the rationale that the effects of climate change will lead to violence in near future. The conflicts over water, food or energy will become more common and many people will be forced from their homes. The UNSC believes that the move will help heighten public awareness and even help in surmounting opposition. However, India has questioned the rush at the UN to declare climate change an international security issue, potentially giving the Security Council the right to take action on it.

The pitfalls of such a decision include

  • Overreach: India has been wary of the Council’s mission creep as it tries to extend its reach beyond what is allocated in the UN Charter by redefining other issues, even as it struggles to fulfil its primary functions. The decisions taken may affect sovereignty of nations.
  • Disruption of Global agreements: A “mere decision of the Council” to takeover enforcement of climate change action would disrupt the Paris Agreement and multilateral efforts to find solutions.
  • Unitary decision-making: The composition of the UN Security Council does not reflect the contemporary world due to only 5 permanent members with veto power and 10 non-permanent members who get elected to represent their region.
  • Opaque decisions: climate justice cannot be served by shifting climate law-making from the inclusive UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) to decision-making by a structurally unrepresentative institution with an exclusionary approach decided in secretive deliberations.
  • Needs Holistic View: The relationship between climate-related risks and conflict is complex and often intersects with political, social, economic and demographic factors.
  • Needs humanitarian solutions: The problem of climate change inherently require non-military responses rather than overly militarised or nationalistic solutions to problems.
  • Increased unaccountability: Countries which fail to their obligations under the Paris Agreement to cut their emissions or fail to provide obligatory financing for climate change programmes cannot be held accountable for climate change.
  • Rights of Refugees: Such a move can dehumanize refugee victims, portraying them as the true threat to the powerful countries to which they are trying to migrate.

Conclusion:

India supports cooperation and action that are consistent with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities to prevent and address serious disasters linked to climate. The idea of designating climate change effects as security issue needs to deliberated and well-thought out to ensure climate equity and climate justice to all.