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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 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 – Modern Indian history – Significant personalities

1) Today, as the clamour for farm loan waiver amid joblessness in the farm sector puts pressure on the Centre and State governments, a relook at Gandhiji’s thoughts can provide new possibilities. Comment.(250 words)

The hindubuisnessline

Why this question

Mahatma Gandhi advocated for a very different model of economic development of the nation with village republics at its centre. Such ideas are discussed in the article which would enable us to take lessons from the past.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s view on rural development and his proposals for the benefit of farmers. This is to juxtaposed with the present rural crisis and see what lessons can be drawn from Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings

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 – Explain about the present rural crisis and highlight that the vision of the father of our nation for India’s development was focussed around self sufficient villages.

Body

  • Highlight in brief the problems plaguing the farmers for which loan waivers has become a necessity
  • Highlight Mahatma Gandhi’s vision for India’s development and his prescriptions.
    • Gandhi envisaged villages as self-sufficient republics. He knew that India lived in its villages which is why he stressed on the growth of the rural economy such as khadi, handloom, handicraft and sericulture.
    • advocacy of the charkha was a way to promote gainful employment for an able-bodied individual. charkha symbolised this view about how each person could earn their own livelihood and become self-reliant.
    • According to him, large-scale production was meant to be profit-oriented and therefore, harmful for society as it could lead to concentration of wealth and power in a few hands. Gandhi advocated decentralisation because it could avoid violence. He suggested delocalisation of production as against concentration in particular areas. His beliefs on decentralisation were aimed at correcting all evils of a centralised economy
  • Discuss his prescriptions for the farming sector – First, prevention of fragmentation and fixing economic holdings. Second, country-wide tapping and harnessing of water resources; third, improvement of soil and its productivity through natural as well as scientific treatment of manures, seeds, crop-diseases, prevention of soil erosion etc; fourth, cooperation; fifth, State aid and protection; and sixth, reclamation of waste-lands inland and along the sea-coast and creeks.

Conclusion – In your conclusion highlight how and whether his views and suggestions are relevant for agricultural and rural areas in today’s day and age

Introduction:

                The newly independent India was faced with famine, food shortage and rural distress raging across the length and breadth of land. Seventy years later, India’s farm distress has reached alarming levels with about 12,000 farmers committing suicides every year due to poor remunerative prices for their yield.

                Gandhiji envisioned ‘India as a flourishing village republic’ where the villages are self-sustaining units and peasants are their own rulers.

Body:

The problems plaguing the farmers:

  • Small and fragmented land-holdings leading to poor productivity, inability to use mechanisation.
  • Increased input costs of seeds, fertilizers, manures etc. The lack of working capital, formal credit facilities push farmers to high interest loans at moneylenders.
  • Monsoon-dependence and lack of irrigation facilities doubled with soil erosion and loss of fertility of land due to monocropping.
  • The low yield and unattractive prices are pushing peasants out of farming to unskilled labour in urban areas.
  • Agricultural marketing still continues to be in a bad shape in rural India.
  • Storage facilities in the rural areas are either totally absent or grossly inadequate leading to immediate sale of produce.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reveals that out of the total suicide incidents in the country in 2015, about 9.4 per cent were from the farming sector.
  • This rate has come down from double digits during the decade 2002-2012.

Many state governments have announced farm loan waivers to reduce the agrarian distress. However, the truth is that farm loan waivers do not help the marginal and small farmers who form almost 85% of our farmers. Further, the tenant farmers, women are also left out due to lack of land records in their name.

Mahatma Gandhi’s vision for India’s development and his prescriptions:

  • Gandhiji’s concept of rural development revolves around creating model villages for transforming ‘swaraj’ into ‘su-raj’.
  • Gandhi, while rejecting modern civilisation as a mode of life and work, invoked agriculture, charkha and the village as metaphors for sane human living.
  • He envisaged villages as self-sufficient republics, independent of its neighbours for its own vital wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is a necessity.
  • He knew that India lived in its villages. He wanted to bring about rural reconstruction with sound scientific and spiritual values.
  • He stressed on the growth of the rural economy through allied activities such as khadi, handloom, handicraft and sericulture.
  • Advocacy of the charkha was a way to promote gainful employment for an able-bodied individual.
  • Charkha symbolised this view about how each person could earn their own livelihood and become self-reliant.
  • According to him, large-scale production was meant to be profit-oriented and therefore, harmful for society as it could lead to concentration of wealth and power in a few hands.
  • Gandhi advocated decentralisation because it could avoid violence. He suggested delocalisation of production as against concentration in particular areas. His beliefs on decentralisation were aimed at correcting all evils of a centralised economy.

Gandhiji categorically listed ways and means to improve the state of Indian agriculture.

  • Prevention of fragmentation and fixing economic holdings.
  • Country-wide tapping and harnessing of water resources.
  • Improvement of soil and its productivity through natural as well as scientific treatment of manures, seeds, crop-diseases, prevention of soil erosion etc.
  • Cooperation at all the levels of governance.
  • State aid and protection to the peasants.
  • Reclamation of waste-lands inland and along the sea-coast and creeks.
  • Crops such as cotton, castor seed, groundnut, rice, sugar besides vegetables as the strength of India’s agriculture.
  • Decentralise capital formation and discourage concentration of workforce in urban pockets.

Conclusion:

                To Gandhi, the practice of agriculture signified a promise of limitless reach. It signified a mode of work and being which, while sustaining life, could nurture an ultimate sense of meaning and worth. Thus, there is a need to take up structural reforms in agriculture like better formal credit, agricultural marketing, processing of the raw materials into products to ensure remunerative prices to farmers.


       

Topic-Role of civil services in a democracy.

2) Critically analyze whether the leadership role provided by IPS to CAPF should be abolished or curtailed at the very least?(250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question

The issue raised in the question has been brought to spotlight as a result of the recommendations of the rajya sabha committee which held that leadership positions currently reserved for the IPS in the CAPFs may be abolished outright, or at least severely curtailed. The issue needs to be debated in depth in context of the role of civil services in India.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the issue. Thereafter, we need to give arguments both in favour of and against the issue raised in question and give a fair and balanced opinion based on arguments made.

Directive word

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the leadership role provided by IPS to CAPF and why this issue is a matter of debate.

Body

  • Give arguments in favour of IPS retaining leadership role in CAPF
    • The idea that they are interlopers is patently absurd because they have been recruited to be posted to leadership positions in the central government. In fact, the states are always reluctant to spare IPS officers for central deputation.
    • The second issue that merits attention is that police is in the state list of the Constitution. In peacetime, the CAPFs are primarily a reserve resource for supporting the state police forces. It is, therefore, necessary that their leadership is in complete synergy in understanding the challenges of policing at the state and central level.
    • Courtesy their experience in policing roles the provide a humane touch to CAPF
    • inter-departmental coordination between various CAPFS and State Police becomes smooth and seamless with the presence of IPS officers in every CAPF
    • exposure, training and grooming of an IPS officer matches with the job requirements for the senior posts of CAPFs etc
  • Give arguments against retaining the leadership role of IPS in CAPF
    • parliamentary panel has recommended that the post of Director-General and other senior positions in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) should not be reserved for Indian Police Service officers. The panel has suggested that the nature of duty of CAPF are more similar to that of the Armed Forces and it would make more sense to bring more officers from the Armed Forces on deputation
    • Keeping in view the interest and morale of CAPF cadre etc

Conclusion – Based on arguments made above, give a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

                The Central Armed Police Forces are primarily a reserve resource for supporting state police. The leadership provided by the IPS to five of the BSF, ITBP, SSB, CISF and CRPF, is now being questioned with legal challenges by CAPF cadre officers seeking parity with the IPS. A Rajya Sabha committee has also recommended that leadership positions currently reserved for the IPS in the CAPFs may be abolished outright, or at least severely curtailed. A parliamentary panel report led by P Chidambaram also criticized the IPS led CAPF management system.

Body:

Paramilitary forces are semi-military forces whose structures are similar to a professional military force, but who are not included as a nation’s formal armed forces. Paramilitary forces are often setup with some specific and dedicated roles and specialisations and duties, ranging from protecting our borders to counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism.

The rationale behind IPS retaining the leadership role in CAPF is:

  • All India Service (AIS): IPS is an AIS recruited keeping in view the demands to serve state government as well as central government. The utilization of IPS officers in the centre has a constitutional mandate as per Article 312.
  • State subject: Police is in the state list of the Constitution. In peacetime, the CAPFs are primarily a reserve resource for supporting the state police forces. It is, therefore, necessary that their leadership is in complete synergy in understanding the challenges of policing at the state and central level.
  • Smooth coordination: The inter-departmental coordination between various CAPFS and State Police becomes smooth and seamless with the presence of IPS officers in every CAPF …therefore IPS officers are best suited to lead and provide supervisory directions to any CAPFs in an effective, efficient and impartial manner at these ranks.
  • Grassroots level Experience: IPS officers get exposure to both issues at the grassroots and the challenges of policy making at the Centre. Both these experiences are rich and useful in the making of the civil/police leadership.
  • Ground experience: The various state police forces have a few hundred battalions of armed police and India Reserve Battalions that have IPS commandants. Most IPS officers do a stint or two in these posts, hence they have working experience with CAPF.
  • Suitability: Exposure, training and grooming of an IPS officer matches with the job requirements for the senior posts of CAPFs.
  • Past Experiences:
    • Even those paramilitary forces that are operate in counter insurgency and anti-Naxal operations, need support of state police forces where the IPS have better understanding of grass roots requirements.
    • The success of IPS-led organisations, like Punjab Police and J&K Police in fighting militancy, the Grey Hounds of Andhra Pradesh in the fight against left-wing extremism are examples of exceptional leadership and vision that the IPS can provide in special operations.

The reasons for CAPFs not to be headed by IPS officers are:

  • IPS officers have no experience of cutting-edge leadership in these organisations at the company and battalion level.
  • The cadres of these CAPFs are now capable of leading them on their own.
  • CAPFs have a primarily military character and, therefore, a civil service like the IPS has no useful role to play in them.
  • The post of Director-General and other senior positions in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) should not be reserved for Indian Police Service officers.
  • Cadre officers should be considered for the posts of Director General (DG) not just to boost the forces’ morale but also to widen the selection pool.
  • Since CAPFs have a large specialised cadre of officers the report rejected the justification for deputation of IPS officers to the top positions in paramilitary forces.
  • The deputation of IPS must be resorted to only when an experienced pool of officers is not available to man a position in CAPF.
  • They perform specialised tasks and their experience, gained through years in the field service, must not be allowed to go waste.
  • The deputation of AIS should be limited to ex-cadre posts, i.e. posts that are not part of a particular cadre and lack an adequate pool of trained officers.

Conclusion:

                The suggestion to solve policing problems of society through greater militarisation and regimentation of the police are thoroughly misconstrued and may even be dangerous. India has always maintained that a force required to maintain internal security shuld have a human face and capability to work with multiple agencies. IPS officers at the helm of CAPFs help in achieving this.

                There should not be knee-jerk reactions to alter the structure altogether leading to chaos and internal security threats. A smooth transition of power, if needed at all, based on absolute necessity, deliberations, discussions and roadmap is the way forward.


Topic – mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3) Examine whether assessing the performance of constituencies in social development indicators would lead to greater accountability among our elected representatives?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

This article explains that the performance of India when it comes to improving India’s affliction with malnutrition can be improved if we measure constituency level data both at the centre and state level. There is a need to assess whether the present system of data collection for social development indicators is relevant.

Key demand of the question

The question expects you to first explain why the present system of data collection for measuring social development is adequate. Thereafter we need to highlight the advantages of collecting data constituency wise. Finally, we need to give our view 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 India lags behind social development indicators even amongst the countries of South Asia.

Body

  • Explain why data collection is important – the focus today is on data driven decision making in administration which makes data collection crucial
  • Explain the issue with collecting data at administrative unit level – tenure of district collectors is short , accountability can’t be fixed etc. Discuss why this might be more feasible from an administrative viewpoint
  • Highlight why collection of data at constituency level will help – accountability of elected representatives etc

Conclusion – give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

India ranks 130th among 189 countries in Human Development Index released by UNDP.  About 26.8 per cent of India’s HDI value is lost on account of inequalities. India has been ranked at the 103rd position among 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index. According to the report, prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, India is among the 45 countries that have “serious levels of hunger”. India is ranked below many neighbouring countries, including China, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Body:

Despite more than two decades of rapid economic growth, India continues to fail its most vulnerable citizens—children under the age of 5. The country’s failure is particularly disheartening as ensuring the basic nutritional needs of children is not just morally right but also economically smart, as it pays off in the long run.

Data collection is imperative:

  • India’s lack of reliable data at the constituency-level has ensured the degree of accountability and the onus to show progress has been weak on both MPs and MLAs.
  • Monitoring and surveillance of health and well-being indicators have been focused primarily on the state and district levels.
  • Since the focus today is on data driven decision making in administration, it makes data collection crucial.
  • Top down centralised approach of data collection hinders the true realization of objectives at ground level in a vast country like India.
  • Helps curb corruption at the various levels with data transparency and data dissemination.

The issues with collecting data at administrative unit level:

  • Nearly every development indicator in India is measured through the lens of administrative zones.
  • District collector at the helm of administrative zone is made accountable for poor social indicators.
  • However, tenure of DC’s in a given district is relatively short.
  • The MLA’s and MP’s have very low level of accountability due to the above arrangement.
  • MPs have no real knowledge of actual needs of their constituents or of the development landscape of the constituency.

The collection of data at the constituency level will help in effective accountability because:

  • Elected representatives can exercise significant oversight over nutrition-specific schemes like Poshan.
  • Accountability of elected representatives is increased as the ground level realities come to the fore.
  • Objective assessment of the situation would help voters make informed decision.
  • Accountability of MPLAD funds given to MPs would be ensured in fund allocation for the development activities at the constituency level.
  • The constituency level data will induce a competitive federalism among the people and the elected representatives.
  • The fact that some of India’s best performing parliamentary constituencies (on child health indicators) are in the North-East and in West Bengal shows that significant improvements are possible even in relatively poorer regions.

Way forward:

  • Eventually, booth-level information using ICT on how their representatives have performed on a slew of indicators should be available.
  • Transparency tools like RTI act, Social audits should be used compulsorily.
  • Processes like Geo-tagging of assets created can give better information of actual work done.
  • Monitoring and stock taking using PRAGATI like techniques by the elected representatives.

Conclusion:

Analysing population data at the level of parliamentary constituencies has the potential to bring political accountability to the data-driven policy discourse that is currently based on district-level estimates.


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

4) Tax litigation takes a heavy toll on the economy and should be reduced. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question

The economic survey has highlighted the issue of high tax litigation in India and it is important to discuss the issue in detail.

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 burden of tax litigation in the country, and describe the effects of this burden on the overall economy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  tax-litigation in India. E.g In March, 2017, there were approximately 1.37 lakh direct tax cases and 1.45 lakh indirect tax cases under consideration by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, high courts and Supreme Court.

Body-

  1. Discuss in points as to how unnecessary and huge tax-litigation takes a toll on the economy. E.g
  • The tax department is the largest litigant with almost 85% of direct tax cases arising out of its appeals.
  • The Department unambiguously loses 65% of its cases.
  • The government’s persistence with litigation despite high rates of failure was increasing the workload of the judiciary and adding to delays and pendency of cases.
  • This, takes a severe toll on the economy in terms of stalled projects, mounting legal costs, contested tax revenues, and reduced investment”.
  • The project costs are significantly increased.
  1. Discuss briefly how tax-litigation can be reduced. E.g
  • Dedicated subject-matter courts could have “profound benefits” as seen in the apex court’s recent experiment with constituting an exclusive bench for taxation produced impressive results.
  • This may be replicated for other subject matters, and emulated by other high courts

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

 

Introduction:

        Income Tax Department is the biggest litigant but loses 85% of cases, according to the Economic Survey 2018. In March, 2017, there were approximately 1.37 lakh direct tax cases and 1.45 lakh indirect tax cases under consideration by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, high courts and Supreme Court.

 

Body:

The increased litigation takes a huge toll on the economy by:

  • Unusable money: The indirect and direct tax stuck in litigation by the quarter ending March, 2017, amounted to nearly ₹58 lakh crore, over 4.7% of GDP.
  • Over-burdened judiciary: The government’s persistence with litigation despite high rates of failure was increasing the workload of the judiciary and adding to delays and pendency of cases. The tendency of the Supreme Court to eagerly entertain appeals directly from any court or tribunal in the form of Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) has increased frivolous appeals eating into the precious judicial time and effort. The rate at which the Supreme Court admits SLPs increased from about 25% in 2008 to almost 40% in 2016.
  • Loopholes in the law: Indian taxation policy has large numbers of loop holes which has created number of impediments to economic growth of the nation.
  • Poor success rates: Success rate of the litigations was only about 35% leading to huge financial overhead to government. As per a 2016 World Bank estimate, judicial delays cost India around 1.5 per cent of its GDP annually.
  • Mounting NPAs: It leads to severe toll on the economy in terms of stalled projects, mounting legal costs, contested tax revenues, and reduced investment. The Survey found that more than ₹52,000 crore worth of government infrastructure projects have been stalled by various orders of the courts.
  • Twin-balance sheet syndrome: Money locked up in NPAs is affecting the investment cycles leading to reduced economic activities. It is thus affecting the banks as well as the industries perpetuating the Twin-balance sheet syndrome.
  • Difficulty of doing Business: Due to mismatch between the government’s intent and the verbal interpretation of the law, India still lacks transparency and administrative capability that is hampering the growth of industries.
  • Infrastructural deficit: Litigations affect the infrastructure projects leading to poor connectivity, skewed concentration in few cities increasing the cost to infra projects drastically. The Survey said as project costs have risen by close to 60% during the stalled period. The Ministries of Power, Roads and Railways were hit hardest.
  • Tax- terrorism: Unpredictable taxation policy especially retrospective taxes.
  • Affects Smooth functioning of Industrial sector: Lack of administrative support, efficiency and proactive approach as well as no proper grievance redressal mechanism. Slow process of dispute resolution.
  • Affects socio-economic justice: Delay in collection of potential tax revenue to the government, which ultimately impact investment in different sectors of the economy.

 

Way forward:

  • Dedicated subject-matter courts could have “profound benefits” as seen in the apex court’s recent experiment with constituting an exclusive bench for taxation produced impressive results.
  • This may be replicated for other subject matters, and emulated by other high courts.
  • Economic Survey 2017-18 pitched for separate ITAT benches at various high courts to reduce pendency.
  • Frivolous litigations should be fined, which acts as a deterrent.
  • The Canons of taxation should be followed in the tax system. This helps in easing the taxation system, increases compliance and smoothens the process.
  • Schemes like Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme which seeks to address the issue of pending litigation before the first appellate mechanism in the Income Tax department — the Commissioner should be brought in.
  • Strengthening Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms like the settlement can be taken up voluntarily by negotiation between the parties within fixed time.
  • A 3-tier GST mechanism as proposed by many expert committees and practiced across many countries will further help in reducing the tax litigations.
  • Calling for coordinated action between government and judiciary to reduce pendency of commercial litigation.
  • The tax department could exercise greater self-restrain by limiting appeals, given its low success rate.
  • A pre-dispute consultation mechanism can be introduced, especially for high value disputes, which could help in settlement of various issues. Assessment orders should be rolled out only for those disputed issues on which no agreement was reached.
  • India could introduce a mechanism of a private letter ruling, which exists in the USA. It is a written response by the tax administration, which is issued to a taxpayer on his or her request, that interprets and applies tax laws to the taxpayer’s represented set of facts

Conclusion:

The government’s attempt towards tax simplification and improving the tax litigation framework in India are noteworthy but still it needs more clarity and improvement. The government should work to devise an effective tax policy that raises revenue by minimising collection costs, compliance costs and the cost to the economy on account of the distortions created.


Topic- Inclusive growth

5) The Supreme Court’s decision in Surendra Mohan v. Union of India, has severely undermined India’s disability rights movement. Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

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 given case and bring out the details of the judgement and how it it is against the disability rights in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Surendra Mohan v. Union of India case. E.g In this case the Court had to rule on the legality of the Tamil Nadu government’s policy of reserving the post of civil judge only for people whose percentage of blindness does not exceed 40-50%.

Body-

  1. Discuss about the judgement. E.g
  • The SC held that the government’s decision was rational and reasonable. It ruled that a judicial officer has to possess a reasonable amount of sight and hearing to discharge her functions.
  • It accepted the claim that impaired vision makes it impossible to perform the functions required of judicial officers, such as assessing the demeanour of witnesses and reading and analysing evidence.
  • It also accepted that asking a blind judicial officer to perform such administrative functions as recording dying declarations and conducting inquiries can result in avoidable complications.
  1. Discuss the implications and shortcomings of the judgement. E.g
  • First, the view that a totally blind person cannot thrive as a judge is belied by several examples of successful judges who are blind.
  • A blind person be reasonably expected to thrive as a judge without being excessively dependent and inefficient
  • The Court’s unreasoned assertion is an outcome of their ignorance about the capabilities of the disabled.
  • The  declaration cuts to the core of the  confidence of the visually impaired about the fairness and robustness of our judicial system etc.

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

Introduction:

        In Surendra Mohan v. Union of India, Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Tamil Nadu government’s policy of reserving the post of civil judge only for people whose percentage of blindness does not exceed 40-50%, resulting in the exclusion of the applicant who are blind more than 50%. The court’s verdict is regarded as one of the darkest in India’s disability rights movement.

 

Body:

 

Supreme Court’s ruling:

  • SC held that the government’s decision was rational and reasonable and ruled that a judicial officer has to possess a reasonable amount of sight and hearing to discharge her functions.
  • SC accepted the claim that impaired vision makes it impossible to perform the functions required of judicial officers, such as assessing the demeanour of witnesses and reading and analysing evidence.
  • SC also accepted that asking a blind judicial officer to perform such administrative functions as recording dying declarations and conducting inquiries can result in avoidable complications.

 

The implications and shortcomings of the judgement are:

 

  • The view that a totally blind person cannot thrive as a judge is belied by several examples of successful judges who are blind.
  • Example: former South African Constitutional Court judge Zak Yacoob, who has repudiated the notion that one needs to be sighted to assess a witness’s demeanour as being nonsensical.
  • S. Court of Appeals DC Circuit judge David S. Tatel, who thinks that it is neither fair nor accurate to impose low expectations on what blind lawyers can do.
  • Yousaf Saleem became Pakistan’s first blind civil judge last year.

 

  • The court is of the opinion that a blind person cannot thrive as a judge without being excessively dependent and inefficient.
  • This contradicts Supreme court’s own note in 2017 that, “A lawyer can be just as effective in a wheelchair, as long as she has access to the courtroom and the legal library, as well as to whatever other places and material or equipment that are necessary for her to do her job well.”

 

  • The Court’s unreasoned assertion is an outcome of their ignorance about the capabilities of the disabled.
  • Many disabled people have excelled in many walks of life. Example: Beno Zephine is the first 100% visually challenged Indian Foreign Service Officer. Yousaf Saleem is a Blind civil Judge of Pakistan etc.

 

  • As to obviating avoidable complications, the reasonable accommodations required by a blind judge may be considered irksome.
  • However, there is a distinct exhortatory dimension to be recognised in deciding whether an adjustment to assist a disabled person to overcome the disadvantage that she or he has in comparison to an able-bodied person is reasonable.
  • The constitutional promise of equality cannot be fully realised, if we lack the ability to even pay the price of making reasonable accommodations.

 

  • The judgement cuts to the core of confidence of citizens about the fairness and robustness of our judicial system.

 

Conclusion:

India is a signatory to the UNCRPD and ratified it in 2007. Supreme Court Judgment in this case appears simply not to have bothered to notice the competence of the millions of disabled people who inhabit this world. An institutional display of pure and simple discrimination dressed up as legal reasoning will be reflective of what kind of a society we hope to be. Verdict does not bode well with our 2030 SDG which provides that persons with disabilities must be both “beneficiaries and agents of change”.


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

6) India’s superbug issue is a global public health problem. Discuss the factors responsible for the problem.(250 words)

The hindu

Reference

Why this question

Recently superbugs have been detected in the Arctic and this points towards the alarming situation the world is in today. In this context it is important to discuss the issue vis a vis 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 describe the superbugs, their importance and why India is a hotbed for superbugs.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  superbugs. E.g Superbugs — the term unofficially refers to bacterial and fungal infections resistant to various antibiotics.

Body-

DIscuss the factors responsible for India being a hotbed of superbugs. E.g

  • Superbugs exist across the globe; it’s a problem rearing its ugly head in China, South Africa, Australia and even in U.S.
  • What makes India’s situation unlike other developing nations, is the “extent and degree” of the factors that fuel superbugs.
  • antibiotic use is a major driver” of the development of diseases that become resistant to the drugs. Indeed, in 2010 India consumed more antibiotics for human health per person than any other country. What’s more, the nation’s intake spiked by 62 percent from 2001 to 2010.
  • Such consumption is spurred by overprescription and overuse.
  • In 2014, the government re-categorized many antibiotics, to make them prescription-only. But implementation of the regulation remains murky.
  • Wastewater treatment plants serving antibiotic manufacturing facilities are responsible for transferring resistance genes.
  • There is also a “huge amount” of antibiotic use in animals in India.

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

 

Introduction:

Superbugs refers to bacterial and fungal infections resistant to various antibiotics. They are a growing health problem worldwide. The World Health Organization warned in 2015 of an approaching “post-antibiotic” era. Current estimates are that drug-resistant infections annually kill about 700,000 people around the world — a figure that could reach 10 million by 2050.

Body:

Spread of the superbug gene:

  • Scientists have found a “superbug” gene — first detected in New Delhi over a decade back — in one of the last “pristine” places on Earth that is some 12,870 km away. This is a cause of concern as there is a global spread of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria.
  • Soil samples taken in Svalbard, Norway have now confirmed the spread of blaNDM-1 (called New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1) into the High Arctic.
  • The resistant gene has been found in over 100 countries, including new variants.
  • Superbugs exist across the globe; it’s a problem rearing its ugly head in China, South Africa, Australia and even in U.S. hospitals.
  • According to a study in 2018 on antimicrobial resistance, 60,000 newborn lives are claimed each year in India by antibiotic-resistant infections.

India is a notorious hotbed for antibiotic resistance. The factors responsible for the problem are:

  • Variety of Carriers:
    • Carried in the gut of animals and people the antibiotic resistant genes are likely spread through the faecal matter of birds, other wildlife and human visitors to the area.
  • Over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics:
    • In 2010 India consumed more antibiotics for human health per person than any other country.
    • The nation’s intake spiked by 62 percent from 2001 to 2010.
  • Rampant use in livestock, poultry and aquaculture:
    • Antibiotic use in agriculture and for livestock to keep them away from diseases during their growth period for commercial usage.
    • For instance, antibiotics are routinely given as growth promoters to chicken to fatten them.
  • Slack regulations:
    • A lack of regulation of the discharge of antimicrobial waste into the environment all contribute to the superbug problem.
  • Nexus between Doctors and Pharmaceutical companies:
    • This has lead to unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics by doctors leading to microbial resistance.
    • A study in 2016, found doctors are compensated by pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists for prescribing antibiotics.
  • Other factors:
    • Waste water treatment plants serving antibiotic manufacturing facilities. They are also responsible for transferring resistance genes.
    • Poor sanitation is another cause leading to spread of AMR.

India’s effort towards AMR:

  • In 2012, India’s medical societies adopted the Chennai Declaration, a set of national recommendations to promote antibiotic stewardship.
  • National Programme on Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance was launched during the 12th five year plan (2012-2017).
  • The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recently notified the much-awaited tolerance limits for antibiotic residues in meat, milk, egg and fish.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also developed draft standards for antibiotic residues in pharmaceutical industrial effluent and common effluent treatment plants.

Way forward:

  • Informing the public is important.
  • Reduce the over-the-counter availability of many antibiotics.
  • Re-categorization of antibiotics to make them prescription-only.
  • Strict implementation of above should be achieved. Licensing of pharmashops and drugstores can be based on the sale history and stock database.
  • Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued guidelines for antibiotic stewardship, which include advising hospitals on how to administer treatment that best suits the patient’s needs.
  • Mixing antibiotics with animal feed is a practice that should be stopped immediately.

Conclusion:

Antibiotics are different from almost every other class of drug in one important and dangerous respect: the more they are used, the less effective they become. When microbes are repeatedly exposed to antibiotics, the bacteria eventually win.

AMR is a global health emergency that no nation can afford to ignore. It is a cross-sectoral issue that affects developed and developing countries/societies alike and has potential to derail all developmental activities and achievements. Addressing this challenge requires a proactive and aggressive approach.

       


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

7) CMB- Bharat is an ambitious mission, which will increase our understanding of the universe. Discuss about the CMB and the significance of the CMB- Bharat mission.(250 words)

Reference

The hindu

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 CMB, its meaning, relevance and also discuss about the CMB- Bharat mission being mooted recently.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  CMB- Bharat. E.g A consortium of Indian scientists has submitted a proposal to the ISRO for a new space science mission called CMB Bharat.

Body-

  1. Discuss about the CMB. E.g
  • The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is radiation leftover from the time the first atoms formed in the universe, about 378,000 years after the Big Bang. In other words, it’s been around since when the universe was only 0.0027% as old as it is today.
  • It manifests as a temperature of 2.7 K in the emptiest regions of space. Without the CMB, these regions should have exhibited a temperature of 0 K. However, as the universe continues to expand, this temperature will keep dropping.
  • The ‘microwave’ in its name alludes to the radiation frequency: 160.23 GHz, which falls in the microwave range.
  • As radiation that has been around (almost) since the dawn of space and time, it carries the signatures of various cosmic events that shaped the universe over the last ~13.7 billion years.
  1. Discuss the scope and uses of CMB- Bharat in further detail. E.g
  • The CMB Bharat proposal envisages an instrument that will study CMB polarisation to a greater extent than the Planck or NASA WMAP probes did
  • CMB Bharat’s high-energy regime refers to constituents of the particulate realm. The mission will explore problems in neutrino physics, including help determine how many kinds of neutrinos there actually are and the order of their masses.
  • It will also be able to map the distribution of dark matter; and track baryons (composite particles like protons and neutrons) in the observable universe.
  • Additionally, the instrument will also be able to study the Milky Way galaxy’s astrophysical properties in greater detail.

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

Introduction:

        Project CMB-Bharat is a proposal for comprehensive next generation Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) mission in international collaboration with major Indian contribution. CMB-Bharat could help us listen to the faintest murmurs of the early universe.

Body:

The scope and uses of CMB Mission:

  • The “ultrahigh goal”:
    • The project would reveal the first clear signature of quantum gravity and ultrahigh energy physics in the very early universe. This refers to quantum gravitational waves, which are different from what LIGO detectors had observed those were classical in nature.
    • The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is radiation leftover from the time the first atoms formed in the universe, about 378,000 years after the Big Bang. In other words, it’s been around since when the universe was only 0.0027% as old as it is today.
    • It manifests as a temperature of 2.7 K in the emptiest regions of space. Without the CMB, these regions should have exhibited a temperature of 0 K. However, as the universe continues to expand, this temperature will keep dropping.
  • The “high” goals:
    • These lay in neutrino physics where we could discover more about the neutrino species, their total mass and mass hierarchy.
    • Map all dark matter and most baryons in the observable universe. The problem of knowing the hierarchy of masses of the different species of neutrino is a very deep one and being hotly pursued by many countries.
    • As radiation that has been around (almost) since the dawn of space and time, it carries the signatures of various cosmic events that shaped the universe over the last 13.7 billion years.
  • The “legacy” goals:
    • This is to improve probe of the cosmological model by a factor of over 10 million, and to generate rich galactic and extragalactic astrophysics datasets.
  • The ‘microwave’ in its name alludes to the radiation frequency: 160.23 GHz, which falls in the microwave range.
  • The instrument will also be able to study the Milky Way galaxy’s astrophysical properties in greater detail.

Conclusion:

The CMB-BHARAT mission presents an unique opportunity for India to take the lead on prized quests in fundamental science in a field that has proved to be a spectacular success. It simultaneously helps in gaining valuable expertise in cutting-edge technology for space capability through global cooperation.


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

8) What do you understand by a chemputer and how the system may revolutionize drug production?(250 words)

Reference

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what chemputer is and the advantages it would offer for drug production.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that recently scientists have developed a new method to produce drug molecules which use downloadable blueprints to easily and reliably synthesize organic chemicals via a programmable ‘chemputer’.

Body

  • Explain why this is significant –
    • first time scientists are able to a synthesis of important drug molecules which can be achieved in an affordable and modular chemical-robot system called chemputer.
    • The objective of this program is to develop a general abstraction for chemistry that can be made universal, practical, and driven by a computer programme.
  • Discuss how it may revolutionize drug production
    • Chempiler is the chemical recipes, run on a computer programme which instructs the computer how to produce molecules on-demand, more affordable and safely than ever possible before.
    • The researchers claim the ability to use a universal code will allow chemists all around the world to convert their recipe into a digital code.
    • This approach is a key step in the digitization of chemistry and will allow the universal assembly of complex molecules on demand, democratizing the ability to discover and make new molecules using a simple software app and a modular chemputer.

Conclusion – Explain about the scope of this technology.

 

Introduction:

        A programmable computer which synthesises important drug molecules in an affordable and modular chemical-robot system is called a ‘chemputer’.  It uses downloadable blueprints to easily and reliably synthesize organic chemicals.

        It will allow the real time searching of chemical space leading to new discoveries of drugs, interesting molecules with valuable applications, and cutting cost, time, and crucially improving safety, reducing waste, and helping chemistry enter a new digital era.

Body:

Significance of this technique:

  • The chemputer is underpinned by a new universal and interoperable standard for writing and sharing chemical recipes which will help the automated systems to produce at large scale.
  • A general abstraction was developed for chemistry that can be made universal, practical, and driven by a computer program.
  • Chemputers have the ability to democratise the pharmaceutical industry as they can help in universalising the technique and standards across industries.
  • It is seen as a revolutionary new approach to organic chemistry.

Chemputers have the potential to revolutionize drug production:

  • Cost-Reduction: Chempilers instruct the chemputer how to produce molecules on-demand, more affordably and safely than ever possible before.
  • Universalisation of drug-recipes: The researchers claim the ability to use a universal code will allow chemists all round the world to convert their recipe into digital code, allowing others to share and download recipes similar in a similar way to music is today on iTunes or Spotify.
  • Digitization of chemistry: This approach is a key step in the digitisation of chemistry, and will allow the universal assembly of complex molecules on demand, democratising the ability to discover and make new molecules using a simple software app and a modular chemputer.
  • Utilitarian: Making recipes for drugs available online, and synthesisable via a compact chemputer system, could allow medical professionals in remote parts of the world to create life-saving drugs as and when they are required, for example, or researchers to easily share newly-developed drug molecules for innovative treatments.
  • Push to Generic Drug Industry: The technique will further emphasize the Generic drug industry and help in creation of cost-effective medicines. It can break the nexus between doctors and pharma industries.
  • Chemical robot system: The desktop-sized chemputer itself draws raw chemical materials in liquid form into and out of a series of modules capable of performing the operations necessary to complete a synthetic sequence. They created the sleeping drug Nytol, seizure medication Rufinamide, and erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra in yields comparable to those achieved in traditional human-controlled synthesis.

Conclusion:

        The scope of chemputer is wide and can be used in third world countries where disease instances are very high, distant areas, war zones and pandemic zones where there is a huge need for medicines. It will be a step forward in achieving the SDG-3.