Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 FEBRUARY 2019


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic– Indian Art and culture

1) Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Comment(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what constitutes Indian art and heritage, why this heritage is under threat, why we need to safeguard India’s art heritage and the steps that need to be taken for the same.

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 what all is included in India’s art heritage – paintings, sculpture, monuments etc

Body

  • Highlight that preserving our heritage is enshrined as a fundamental duty
  • Examine the threats to art heritage such as
    • Lack of public awareness -This makes the local administrator break the buildings and replace it with other structures.
    • Duplication of paintings and art forms
    • Theft
    • Smuggling etc
  • Discuss why it is crucial to safeguard such heritage such as maintaining identity and pride of our country, tourism etc
  • Discuss the way forward such as
    • Strengthening institutions – Ministry of Culture, ASI, Museums, Archives, etc.
    • Cultural awareness programs etc

Conclusion – Summarize on why this issue requires attention and what needs to be done.

Introduction:

India has a vast basket of living and diverse cultural traditions, traditional expressions, intangible cultural heritage comprising masterpieces which need institutional support and encouragement with a view to addressing areas critical for the survival and propagation of these forms of cultural heritage. Preserving our heritage is enshrined as a Fundamental Duty in our Constitution.

Body:

The term heritage has wide connotations spanning across nature, culture, food and other dimensions. Indian Art heritage primarily refers to the tangible heritage comprising of Paintings and art forms; Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites; Sculptures; Scriptures; Artefacts.

Threats to Indian Art Heritage:

  • Theft: The incidents of thefts have been observed usually from unprotected monuments, ancient temples. The thefts cases have also been seen in the protected monuments and museums as well. It is due to negligence of security guards in museums, monuments etc.
  • Smuggling: illicit traffic and smuggling in antiquities. Illicit traffic is motivated often by profit and sometimes by the demand for luxuries.
  • Tourism: Unregulated tourism, tourist activities run by touts, private agents have affected the art heritage places.The Culture Ministry of India has reported that up to 24 Indian monuments have been declared “untraceable” or “missing” by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Issues with security of museums: Most of the museums are poorly guarded due to shortage of manpower leading to theft of artefacts, fire accidents etc.
  • Lack of public awareness: This leads to poor maintenance, vandalism, spoiling the monuments artefacts. Replacing the structures or building structures close to the monuments leading to
  • Duplication: Fakes of paintings and art forms leading to threat to livelihoods of artists.
  • Poor Maintenance: The state of the wall paintings in Ajanta caves is continuously getting worse, which can be attributed to humidity as well as to a lack of care.
  • Encroachment of monuments: Another miss from the ministry has been encroachments of monuments. Over 278 centrally protected monuments have been encroached upon or have illegal occupants, as per government data.

Rationale behind safeguarding the art heritage:

  • Evolution of human consciousness is a continuous process: History here serves as a laboratory and the past serves as a demarcation to understand the regional laws and social structures. This understanding helps in our progress towards an ideal society.
  • The art heritage is the identity and pride of our country. It is duty of every citizen to protect, preserve and perpetuate the cultural richness.
  • Tourism potential for art monuments and museums is very high. Tourism generates revenue for the state as well as private artists due to the money-multiplier quality.
  • Infrastructure development takes place in and around the areas. Eg. Hampi despite being a small town has excellent infrastructure.
  • It creates jobs for a lot of people from art industry and tourism industry as well
  • It creates a feeling of oneness and a sense of attachment by enhancing a sense of belonging to a culture or a region.
  • Every historical site has an important story to tell and these stories have inspired many people to strengthen their convictions and commitment to fight injustice and oppression.

Way forward

  • Strengthening Legislations and Initiatives:
    • The Antiquity Act of 1947, Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 particularly provide for the prevention of smuggling and illegally dealing in antiques.
    • Recent bill to amend The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act which allowed construction within 100m of the protected monuments should be avoided.
    • In 2015, the ministry launched an initiative of e-ticketing services in over 116 monuments under the ASI and launched an initiative to digitise cultural resources.
  • Strengthening institutions:
    • The CAG report on Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiques clearly indicates that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for this purpose needs to be more proactive and vigilant in its efforts and the ministry needs to develop an aggressive strategy for the same
    • Tapping of the Public —Private Partnership models for sustenance of Arts and Crafts.
    • Setting up at least one museum in each district with different chambers for visual and other forms of art, architecture, science, history and geography with regional flavour.
    • Artistes from the field of architecture, sculpture, painting, handicrafts, puppetry, music, dance, theatre, and literature will be graded by the Centre on the basis of their performance.
  • Cultural awareness:
    • Curriculum modification – Identification and inclusion of heritage as an asset in school, Open departments of Heritage management on the lines of Ahmedabad University
    • Introduction of a compulsory offline and online training for tourism purposes willing to undertake ventures.
    • Heritage depiction and promotion through immersive technology & augmented reality
    • Re-Classify heritage and announce awards for people with exceptional heritage sense.
    • Greater involvement of universities in schemes promoting arts and culture as well as inclusion of Fine Arts as a subject in universities.
  • Adaptive reuse of heritage sites:
    • Restoring the historical sites in the form of festivals and inducing festivity link perceptions.
    • Recognizing ‘cultural heritage tourism’ as an upcoming industry by building cultural resources with an adaptation of scientific and technological knowledge to local circumstances as well as forming partnerships between local and global bodies.

Conclusion:

                It is the duty of every citizen to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. The art and culture of our nation are a vast continuum, evolving incessantly since time immemorial. Naturally, preservation and conservation of India’s rich cultural heritage and promotion of all forms of art and culture, both tangible and intangible, including monuments and archaeological sites, anthropology and ethnology, folk and tribal arts, literature and handicrafts, performing art of music-dance-drama and visual arts of paintings-sculpture-graphics is essential and assumes a lot of importance.


Topic-  Role of women and women’s organization

2) Women’s movement in India has not addressed the issues of women of lower social strata. Substantiate your view.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to examine whether the women’s movement of India has failed to successfully address or bring into limelight the problems faced by women of lower strata in India. Thereafter, we need to substantiate our view with examples of such movement and actions taken by the government and its impact on women. We need to highlight the severity of problem and discuss way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that women’s movement in India has come a long way since the advent of such movements by the early Indian social reformers such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc.

Body

  • Highlight the nature of issues faced by the women of lower strata in different spheres such as economic, political, social etc
  • Discuss that after independence it was felt that the developmental work being carried out by the government, it was thought, would automatically enhance the status of women. However it was the towards equality report which opened the eyes of everyone regarding the poor status of women that continued to afflict Indian society.
  • Discuss the steps taken to improve the status of women and how socially disadvantaged section has failed to take advantage of it

Conclusion – Highlight that the society should be forthcoming to support women and the way forward.

Introduction:

Women’s movements are among the most important crusade of modern social movements. It started off with the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to fight for women’s rights due to inhumane practices like Sati. The upper strata women faced these mostly, however, today Women of lower social strata belonging to lower castes, minority religion or economically backward regions continue to face hardships.

Body:

The women’s movements during the independence struggle were initially mostly revolving around the upper-class, educated and those from politically influential families. For instance, Swarnakumari  Devi,  less  heard  of  than  her  brother  Rabindranath  Tagore,  started  the  Ladies  Theosophical  Society  (a  multi-religion  association  of  women)  way  back  in  1882  and  later  became  a  member  of  the  Indian  National  Congress.

These  movements  were  concerned  with  the  politics  of  social  change and was noticed mostly in the Urban India. They were also considered western, influence of Imperialism and unsuitable in the Indian context.

Consequently, post Independence, the socio-economic status of majority of women in India was very poor. It is seen even today.

The nature of issues faced today by the women of lower strata

  • Economic realm:
    • Very poor Labour force participation rate of women to the tunes of 24%.
    • The Global Gender Gap report reveals that the wage gap remains prominent for semi-skilled and unskilled workers.
    • Feminization of poverty is very high. Economic dependence on spouse make them more vulnerable.
    • Women ownership of resources is abysmal. Hardly 5-8% of lands are registered in women’s name.
    • Unable to breach the glass ceiling to reach the top echelons of the corporate.
  • Political realm:
    • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act made 33% reservation mandatory for women in Panchayats and ULBs. However, this is misused under Tokenism and men make the decisions.
    • Educated middle class and upper class women occupy offices in governments, panchayats and other bodies.
  • Social realm:
    • The worst forms of Patriarchy is more prominent in the lower social strata. Haryana with primarily agricultural economy had the poorest child sex ratio.
    • Early marriages, child marriage, female infanticide and foeticide, dowry deaths, no widow remarriages and menstruation taboos are some of issues still prominent among the lower strata women.
    • They are denied healthcare, education, nutrition which are basic to human dignity.

 

Post independence, the women movements like anti-liqour movements, SHG-revolution, strong legislations like Domestic Violence Act, PCPNDT act etc., governmental schemes like BBBP, etc. and recent MeToo movement has impacted the women in the lower strata in a positive way. Women empowerment can happen when everyone works towards it – the government, society, families, and individuals. The government programs targeted towards women empowerment have started to bear fruits. However, there is still a lot of scope to improve the status of lower-strata women in India.

Conclusion:

The women’s movements have grown in size and scope of its activities. With the spread of ICT and autonomous   women’s   organisations, other women’s groups, women’s studies centres, etc., has played no small role in the bringing about of this change. Thus, over the last 40 years,   the   women’s   movement   has   affected   the   socio-political   environment in India.


Topic-  salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

3) During the age of the Guptas, literature flourished and a number of literary masterpieces were produced. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference

 

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the growth and development of the literature during the Gupta age- main contribution, major literary artists and their works.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Gupta age and its glory. E.g The Gupta Empire stretched across northern, central and parts of southern India between c. 320 and 550 CE. The period is noted for its achievements in the arts, architecture, sciences, religion, and philosophy.

Body-

Discuss in points the contribution of the Gupta empire towards Indian literature and also mention the important literary figures of the time and their works. E.g

  • Sanskrit once again attained the status of a lingua franca and managed to scale even greater heights than before.
  • Poet and playwright Kalidasa created such epics as Abhijnanasakuntalam, Malavikagnimitram, Raghuvansha and Kumarsambhaba.
  • Harishena, a renowned poet, panegyrist and flutist, composed Allahabad Prasasti,
  • Sudraka wrote Mricchakatika, Vishakhadatta created Mudrarakshasa and Vishnusharma penned Panchatantra.
  • Vararuchi, Baudhayana, Ishwar Krishna and Bhartrihari contributed to both Sanskrit and Prakrit linguistics, philosophy and science.
  • Varahamihira wrote Brihatsamhita and also contributed to the fields of astronomy and astrology.
  • Genius mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata wrote Surya Siddhanta which covered several aspects of geometry, trigonometry and cosmology.
  • Dhanvantri’s discoveries helped the Indian medicinal system of ayurveda become more refined and efficient etc.

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

Introduction:

After centuries of political disintegration an empire came to be established in A.D. 319, under the Guptas. The empire stretched across northern, central and parts of southern India between c. 320 and 550 CE, keeping north India politically united for more than a century. It was responsible for the Indian Golden Age, an era of peace in which great advances were made in arts, architecture, sciences, religion, and philosophical pursuits. Hindu culture also started to take form during this period.

Body:

Both Samudragupta and Chandragupta II were patrons of art and literature. Chandragupta II is credited with maintaining in his court Navaratnas (nine luminaries) or great scholars. The contribution of the Gupta Empire towards Indian literature and the important literary figures of the time and their works are:

Sanskrit language and literature after centuries of evolution, through lavish royal patronage reached to the level of classical excellence. Sanskrit was the court language of the Guptas.

  • Religious literature:
    • The Puranas had existed much before the time of the Guptas in the form of bardic literature; in the Gupta age they were finally compiled and given their present form.
    • The period also saw the compilation of various Smritis or the law-books written in verse. The Smritis of Yajnavalkya, Narada, Katyayana and Brihaspati were written during this period.
    • The two great epics namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were almost completed by the 4th century A.D.
    • Buddhist and Jaina literature in Sanskrit were also written during the Gupta period Buddhist scholars Arya Deva, Arya Asanga and Vasubandhu of the Gupta period were the most notable writers.
    • Siddhasena Divakara laid the foundation of logic among the Jainas.
    • The Gupta age witnessed the evolution of many Prakrit forms such as Suraseni used in Mathura and its vicinity, Ardhamagadhi spoken in Oudh and Bundelkhand, Magadhi in Bihar and Maharashtri in Berar.
  • Secular literature:
    • The Gupta period is remarkable for the production of secular literature.
    • Among the known Sanskrit poets of the period, the greatest name is that of Kalidasa who lived in the court of Chandragupta II. The most important works of Kalidasa were the lyrical poems like Ritusamhara and Meghaduta, epic poems of Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava, and dramas like Malavikagnimitram, Vikramorvashiya and AbhijnanaShakuntalam.
    • Harishena, a renowned poet, panegyrist and flutist, composed Allahabad Prasasti praising Samudragupta. Mandasor Inscription of Kumaragupta and other inscriptions were written in Sanskrit.
    • Shudraka wrote the drama Mrichchakatika or the little Clay cart and Vishnusharma penned Panchatantra.
    • Vishakadatta is the author of the Mudrarakshasa, which deals with the schemes of the shrewd Chanakya.
    • The Devichandraguptam another drama written by Vishakadatta, has survived only in fragments.
    • Bharavi, the author of Kiratarjuniyam and Bhatti, the author of Bhattikavyu were the products of the Gupta Classical Age.
    • Ganadhya’s Brihat Katha, Dandi’s Kavyadarsha and Dasakumaracharita, and Subandhu’s Vasavadatta are some of the priceless creations of the age.
    • The Gupta period also saw the development of Sanskrit grammar based on Panini and Patanjali.
    • This period is particularly memorable for the compilation of the Amarakosha by Amarasimha, who was a luminary in the court of Chandragupta II.
    • A Buddhist scholar from Bengal, Chandragomia, composed a book on grammar, named Chandravyakaranam.
    • The Gupta rulers themselves were writers of repute. For example, Samudragupta earned the title Kaviraj (King of Poets).
  • Scientific Literature:
    • Varahamihira wrote Brihatsamhita and also contributed to the fields of astronomy and astrology.
    • Genius mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata wrote Surya Siddhanta which covered several aspects of geometry, trigonometry and cosmology. His Aryabhattiyam reveals that geometry, trigonometry and algebra were equally developed
    • Shanku devoted himself to creating texts about Geography.
    • Dhanvantri’s discoveries helped the Indian medicinal system of ayurveda become more refined and efficient. Doctors were skilled in surgical practices and inoculation against contagious diseases was performed.
    • The prominent physician was Vaghabhatta I who ranked along with the most celebrated Charaka and Susruta and his books Astanga Sangraha and Astanga Hriday Samhita were invaluable gems of medical literature.
  • This intellectual surge was not confined to the courts or among the royalty. People were encouraged to learn the nuances of Sanskrit literature, oratory, intellectual debate, music and painting.
  • Several educational institutions like Nalanda University were set up and the existing ones received continuous support.

Conclusion:

Gupta culture has carved a niche for itself in the annals of Indian history by virtue of its individuality and perfection. The period evolved an all-India norm which in due course was designated as the classical tradition of the country. No description of Indian culture can be complete without reference to the high standards of Gupta cultural heritage which attained its zenith of excellence.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

4) Substance abuse is a problem that merits serious consideration in India. Examine. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article discusses the high instance of alcohol and drug abuse among Indians which is often ignored. The article highlights the lacunae in our policy and healthcare system which fails to take care of such an issue.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the problem of substance abuse in the country, highlight why it should be focussed upon, discuss the lacunae in the current system and highlight the 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 – Highlight the problem of drug abuse in the country and the growing instance of mental health issues that India faces.

Body

  • Discuss the issue in detail – government-commissioned survey of substance abuse in the country shows worrying levels of addiction. Highlight the problem of drug and alcohol abuse in the  country and the growing instance of it.
  • Discuss why this issue merits serious  consideration
    • huge gap between those who need medical treatment and its availability. Indians tend to look upon alcohol and drug addiction as moral issues. Consequently, addicts are unwilling to seek treatment.
    • Social stigma attached to women doing such things makes them even less likely to seek treatment
    • The existing centres hardly provide proper treatment etc
  • Discuss the steps needed to address this issue

Conclusion – Explain the significance of the problem and why it needs urgent redressal and the way forward.

Introduction:

India is geographically situated in the close vicinity of the ‘Golden Crescent’ on its west and on east is the ‘Golden Triangle’. The usage of drugs in India is increasing, particularly in the border areas due to their porous nature, especially in Punjab and North East states.

Body:

‘Prevalence and Extent of Substance Use in India’- survey was conducted recently on consumption of substances in India by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The survey covered general population (10-75 years), in all the 36 states and union territories covering over 2 lakh households and 4.73 lakh people in 186 districts of the country.

Key findings and highlights of the survey:

  • India is home to six crore alcohol addicts, more than the population of 172 world nations including Italy.
  • Alcoholism is a condition that requires medical attention, but unfortunately only less than 3% of the people with drinking problem get any treatment.
  • There is a large number of people in the country addicted to various drugs. More than 3.1 crore Indians (2.8%) have reported using cannabis products, Bhang, Ganja, Charas, Heroin and Opium, in last one year. Unfortunately only one in 20 drug addicts get treatment at a hospital.
  • Country liquor accounts for 30% of the total liquor consumption, and Indian made foreign liquor also account for the same amount.
  • In Punjab and Sikkim, the prevalence of cannabis use disorders is considerably higher (more than thrice) than the national average.
  • At the national level, Heroin is most commonly used substance followed by pharmaceutical opioids, followed by opium (Afeem).
  • Less than 1% or nearly 1.18 crore people use sedatives, non medical or non prescription use. However, what is more worrying that its prevalence is high among children and adolescents. This problem of addiction of children is more prevalent in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana.
  • Cocaine (0.10%) Amphetamine Type Stimulants (0.18%) and Hallucinogens (0.12%) are the categories with lowest prevalence of current use in the country.

The issue of substance abuse merits serious consideration as:

  • Substance abuse assumed serious proportions in the country.
  • There is also a huge gap between those who need medical treatment and its availability.
  • Indians tend to look upon alcohol and drug addiction as moral issues. Consequently, addicts are unwilling to seek treatment.
  • Depression, anxiety, mood disorders and mental illnesses underlie addiction and thus these are problems that need to be hospitalized and medically treated.
  • While alcohol consumption is 17 times more prevalent among men than among women, the latter is harder to tackle.
  • Social stigma attached to women drinking or doing drugs pushes the problem deeper underground among women than among men and is thus more difficult to detect and treat.
  • Peer pressure plays a huge role in children taking to alcohol and narcotics. Many teenagers see alcohol and drugs as ‘cool’ stuff to engage in.
  • Others see their use as symbols of modernity and liberation.
  • Incidences of HIV infection and spread of AIDS are growing.
  • Drugs have become an easy source of finance for illegal activities like money-laundering, terror-financing, gun-running and prostitution.
  • Parallel Economic system and Counterfeit currency due to drug trafficking has increased threat to economy of nation.

Government’s efforts towards Substance Abuse control:

  • The Government has taken several policy and other initiatives to deal with drug trafficking problem.
  • It constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD) in November, 2016 and revived the scheme of “Financial Assistance to States for Narcotics Control”.
  • In 2017, the government approved new Reward Guidelines with increased quantum of reward for interdiction or seizure of different illicit drugs.
  • For effective coordination with foreign countries, India has signed 37 Bilateral Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding.
  • Narcotics Control Bureau has been provided funds for developing a new software i.e. Seizure Information Management System (SIMS) which will create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.
  • The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse” to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating public against drug abuse, etc.
  • The government is also conducting National Drug Abuse Survey to measure trends of drug abuse in India through Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment with the help of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre of AIIMS.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (2018-2023) for addressing the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country, dumping a long-pending draft policy on the matter.

Way forward:

  • Intelligence sharing:
    • Usually the last point peddlers get into police net. The real movers or illegal traders get away.
    • So to identify those people and isolate them, the countries have to cooperate.
  • Law and Order:
    • Strengthening and effective implementation of NDPS Act.
    • There is a need for public-police co-ordination to fight the issue.
    • If any drug carriers and masterminds have been caught, we should find out what are his/her travel links. This information can be shared.
  • Revenue intelligence:
    • Hawala money channels should be curbed.
    • Money laundering from Tax havens need to be plugged by bilateral agreements.
    • Implementation of FATF norms and using global co-operation to fight menace of drug peddling.
  • Health issues:
    • Substance abuse addicts suffer physically and mentally.
    • Treating women addicts who are neglected is imperative as they are usually sidelined in patriarchal society like India.
    • Treating those people and bringing them back to normal health is very important.
  • Awareness programme:
    • Education about the ills of substance abuse in schools and colleges.
    • To discourage people from substance abuse, drug rehabilitation and Society awareness programmes are very important.
    • Use of media, internet, celebrities to educate the youth and reduce the peer pressure.
  • Social welfare and rehabilitation:
    • It includes rehabilitation of drug addicts as most of them are very poor and bringing them back into society is a taboo.
    • There is a need for more psychiatrists, trained counsellors and rehabilitation clinics.
    • The rehabilitation centres should be more humane and compassionate towards addicts and use scientific treatment methods.
    • Encourage civil society and NGOs to establish rehab centres. NGOs like Chetna, Save the Children have showed the way in drug abuse control.
  • International Cooperation:
    • India is signatory to the following treaties and conventions UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs ( 1961), U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971), U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988), Transnational Crime Convention (2000).
    • We need to effectively use SCO, BRICS and ASEAN platforms for joint coordinated action against drugs trafficking.

Conclusion:

A multipronged and a sustained effort is imperative to contain substance abuse issue in India. There is a need for co-operation between the various stakeholders involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families to address the issue.


Topic– India and its bilateral relations

5) What choices does India have in dealing with Pakistan to curb the constant export of terror? Discuss. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Financialexpress

Why this question

The recent Pulwama attack and the role of Pakistan based terror groups in the attack has once again brought the focus on India Pakistan relations and the options before India with respect to Pakistan. The article discusses these issues and examines the potential policy solutions for India.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the status of India Pakistan relationship and highlight the potential steps that India could take in the aftermath of Pulwama attack. It expects us to analyze the pros and cons of the decision and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the recent Pulwama attack and Pakistan’s role in it.

Body

  • Discuss in brief the history of India Pakistan relations and the threats to indian security emanating from Pakistan and its long standing role in Kashmir and exporting terror to India.
  • Discuss the options available before India
    • Highlight one of the steps that India has already taken by removing the MFN status for Pakistan and enhancing customs duty on goods from Pakistan to 200%, effectively ending bilateral trade. Highlight the impact of the step.
    • Highlight Pakistan’s predicament with balance of payment crisis and how India can strike it hard if India succeeds in convincing major shareholders of the IMF — the US, European countries, Japan and China — and international organisations like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the Pakistan state’s involvement in these attacks, an IMF bailout of Pakistan, which looked like a distinct possibility will be in jeopardy
    • Debate whether it would make sense for India to wage a war with limited military objective etc
  • Analyze the pros and cons of these steps

Conclusion – give your fair and balanced view on how India should respond and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

The Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack which killed more than 40 CRPF jawans in India. Pakistan has been a breeding ground for terrorists who have carried out many terror attacks in India like parliament attack, Mumbai attacks, Pathankot, Uri, Gurdaspur etc. Repeated requests and warnings from Global fraternity to Pakistan about taking measures to curb terror-breeding has fallen on deaf ears.

Body:

The history of India Pakistan relations

India has, since the 1947 partition, Pakistan as an enemy. It has fought four wars with Pakistan. It began within months of independence in Kashmir. In 1965, Shastri surprised everyone by asking the Army to cross the border at Punjab and reverse the balance of the conflict which Pakistan thought would be in Kashmir. India was able to assist the Mukti Bahini to dismember Pakistan and help create Bangladesh. In Kargil, despite the surprise, India won. There is little doubt India could win again in a limited war, but the risk now is that both countries have nuclear weapons.

The options available before India to deal with Pakistan

  • War: The war has to be of limited duration and one in which India sets itself a precise goal and can unilaterally end the war.
  • The most direct and legitimate action would be to cross the Line of Control and occupy Azad Kashmir. This makes it clear that it is being used to transport terrorists and India wants to shut this gap.
    • Pros:
    • It would make more sense to inflict damage by a strictly limited action which would be like a hit and run.
    • As in 1965, it could be away from Kashmir.
    • This would involve action across the Punjab or Rajasthan border. Like the surgical strike, India could hit the enemy camps and then withdraw.
    • Conducting surgical strikes similar to the Uri and North East retaliation.
    • Cons:
    • At some loss of life, the Indian Army could occupy Azad Kashmir. However, India has no experience of a prolonged war.
    • Retaining it would be difficult. It could be made into an international dispute, going possibly to the UN.
    • If so, India could hold it forever given how long it takes UN to solve any such dispute. This would be ending the 1948 war.
    • Pakistan, along with China, is bound to open another front in the northern border regions of India with China.
    • The Pakistan nuclear command has higher hold of Army which can be disastrous.
  • Naval War:
  • India and Pakistan have only fought land wars.
  • Given the recent upgrading of the Indian Navy, it would be possible to deploy the Navy to attack Karachi, a sort of reversal of 26/11.
    • Pros:
    • This could be a limited engagement, striking a symbolic blow and demonstrating India’s naval superiority.
    • Cons:
    • Indian critical infrastructure like Ports, Nuclear plants can be at risk.
    • Affects livelihood of many people dependent on IOR.
    • It also affects the peace prevalent in the Indian ocean region.
    • Huge costs involved.
  • Economic option:
  • Severing trade ties by cancelling MFN status, increasing import barriers and raising tariffs on goods from Pakistan.
    • Pros:
    • This would weaken the Pakistani Economy which is already in tatters.
    • Cons:
    • Affects people-to-people contacts, especially those in the border areas.
  • Diplomatic option:
  • Isolation of Pakistan at all global and regional forums by support of global fraternity.
  • India can strike it hard if she succeeds in convincing major shareholders of the IMF — the US, European countries, Japan and China
  • Urging the UNSC, FATF to take action against terror financing of Pakistan.
    • Pros:
    • International pressure can force Pakistani Government to take action against the home-grown terror groups.
    • an IMF bailout of Pakistan, which looked like a distinct possibility will be in jeopardy
    • Cons:
    • China, all-weather friend of Pakistan, has veto power as a UNSC permanent member which it is using against India.

Conclusion:

The best way out for India would be provide the evidences for Pakistan State support to non-state actors. This should be backed by lobbying the International fraternity to urge Pakistan to take actions. Track-2 and Track-3 diplomacy can further help in better people to people contact and increase bonhomie and reduced terrorism.


Topic– India and its neighborhood- relations.

6) Withdrawing MFN status of Pakistan by India will have little intended  impact. Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The recent attack on security forces in Kashmir highlights the instability in the region and the role of external threats. In retaliation India has decided to withdraw the MFN status of Pakistan. It is therefore important to discuss the effectiveness of such a measure in terms of the desired effect.

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 issue of India’s withdrawal of MFN status of Pakistan and bring out as to why it will only have a little desired impact on the trade relations between the two countries.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the decision of India to withdraw MFN status of Pakistan and mention about the Pulwama attack.

Body-

Discuss why withdrawal of MFN status will have limited impact. E.g

  • It does not strictly fall under the ‘beggar-thy-policy’, often used in international trade through which one country tries to resolve its economic problems by means that worsen the economic problems of its neighbours or trade partners.
  • Trade now takes place using three channels: the official route; the illegal (informal) route, through smuggling along porous India-Pakistan land borders and also Afghanistan, which may not be accounted for in the national income; and lastly, through mainly Dubai and Singapore, which have free ports and accommodate legal agents of traders from India and Pakistan.
  • Traders carry out informal trade between Pakistan and India through the exchange of goods at the border as well as through the personal baggage scheme’ through “green channel” facilities at international airports or railway stations.
  • ‘Informal trade has also taken place through Afghanistan where goods are exported officially from India and later smuggled into Pakistan.
  • Also, under the South Asia Free Trade Area Agreement (SAFTA) 2004, Pakistan’s share in external trade is less than 10%, while India’s share is more than 70%.
  • Such steps may propel Pakistan to look for new markets beyond SAFTA, corroborated by the recent meeting held with Saudi Arabia and growing prospects of trade through a third country, mainly via Dubai etc.

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

Introduction:

The Pulwama terrorist attack is one of the worst in recent years. The death toll in recent reports indicated over 40 CRPF jawans had been killed. India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan and increased the import duty to 200% as a punitive measure. This was further followed by a decision to make use of the waters of Eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) completely in compliance with Indus Water treaty.

Body:

MFN Status:

  • Article 1 of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 1994, requires every WTO member country to accord MFN status (or preferential trade terms with respect to tariffs and trade barriers) to all other member countries.
  • Accordingly, India accorded MFN status to all WTO member countries, including Pakistan, from the date of entry into force of the so called Marrakesh Agreement, establishing the WTO.
  • Even though it suggests special treatment, in the WTO it actually means non-discrimination — that is treating virtually everyone equally.
  • In effect, then, every WTO member is supposed to be “most favoured” for all other WTO members.
  • A country which provides MFN status to another country has to provide concessions, privileges, and immunity in trade agreements.
  • India accorded Pakistan MFN status in 1996 while the latter has not responded.

Impact of withdrawal of MFN status:

  • It is intended to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and squeeze the country’s industry.
  • In terms of trade, such a step can lead to the stoppage of input materials such as chemicals and cotton from India, which will push up costs of production for the relevant Pakistani industries.

However, critics argue that withdrawal of MFN status will have limited impact.

  • While the withdrawal of the MFN status by India is negative in sentiment terms for the bilateral relations, the impact on trade is unlikely to be substantial given that volumes of merchandise trade are low.
  • India’s trade numbers with Pakistan are minuscule. Trade between the neighbours jumped nearly three-and-a-half times between 2000-01 and 2005-06 (from $251 million to $869 million per annum), but progress was slower in the decade that followed, with volumes rising a little over three times.
  • Pakistan’s exports to India have consistently been about a fourth of what it imports from India, the MFN concessions notwithstanding.
  • Pakistan is yet to transition fully to MFN status for India and it maintains a Negative List of 1,209 products that are not allowed to be imported from India.
  • In addition, Pakistan permits only 138 products to be imported from India through Wagah/Attari border land route.
  • Despite these restrictions, India continues to maintain a substantial trade surplus.
  • Pakistan is an important export destination for India but not vice-a-versa. This is despite the fact that Pakistan imposes a large number of Non-Tariff Measures (143) on Indian exports, the major ones being export related measures (25.2%); technical barriers to trade (24.5%); and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (22.4%).
  • It would also give a push to the illegal trade between the two countries, which takes place through border gaps and via third countries.
  • Traders carry out informal trade between Pakistan and India through the exchange of goods at the border as well as through the personal baggage scheme’ through “green channel” facilities at international airports or railway stations.
  • It could also give a handle to extremist elements in Pakistan to scale up the rhetoric against India.
  • It does not strictly fall under the ‘beggar-thy-policy’, often used in international trade through which one country tries to resolve its economic problems by means that worsen the economic problems of its neighbours or trade partners.
  • Under the South Asia Free Trade Area Agreement (SAFTA) 2004, Pakistan’s share in external trade is less than 10%, while India’s share is more than 70%. Such steps may propel Pakistan to look for new markets beyond SAFTA like Dubai and Saudi Arab.

Conclusion:

The moot point therefore is the sensitivity of the impact of the MFN status on Pakistan in terms of its trade with India. It can only be a pressure tactic and do little unless stringent actions are taken to stop informal trade that has been going on between the two countries for long.


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

7) Critically analyze the state of unemployment and the political discourse around it in India.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Unemployment has become a chronic problem of India and in the recent years the situation has only worsened. In this context it is important to analyze the scenario today in order to get a better understanding of the issue

Directive word

Critically 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue of unemployment in contemporary India and bring out its salient aspects as well as how public discourse is shaped around it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  status of unemployment in India. E.g present some statistics from the Labour reports or any other authentic report like the CMIE report.

Body-

  1. Discuss about the issue of unemployment in contemporary India. E.g
  • mention the unemployment rates in India in recent years- how they have changed but little.
  • Mention that the labour force which is the sum of the employed and those unemployed who are seeking employment, has been decreasing in India.
  • A shrinking of the labour force is most unusual in an economy with a growing population, and thus a growing working age cohort.
  • Mention demonetization and discouraged-worker effect etc
  1. Discuss the form of public discourse around the issue. E.g
  • Employment does not usually figure in the public discourse orchestrated by political parties, either at the Centre or in the States.
  • Political parties and politicians have failed in creating gainful employment.
  • Discuss the role played by media etc.

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

Introduction:

Unemployment has become a chronic problem of India and in the recent years the situation has only worsened. The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) report, “State of Working India, 2018” data shows a record spike in unemployment in 2017-18. The overall unemployment was at a 45-year high, with youth between the ages of 15 and 29 facing higher rates of joblessness than others

Body:

State of Unemployment in India:

  • CMIE database on “Unemployment Rate in India” is based on the panel size of over 1,58,000 households in the country.
  • The unemployment rate in December 2018 rose to 7.38% from 6.62% in November 2018 and 4.78% in December 2017, highest since September 2016 when it stood at a high of 8.46%, the CMIE data showed.
  • The total number of people employed fell by about 1.09 crore, about 83% or 91.4 lakh jobs were lost in rural areas.
  • There has been a decline in the estimated Labour Participation Rate— the proportion of working-age people who are willing to work and are either actually working or are actively looking for work, in line with a fall in the unemployment rate.
  • The estimated labour participation rate also dropped from 43.57 in December 2017 to 42.47 in December 2018. The rate was at 45.15 in December 2016 and at 47.84 in September 2017, the data showed.

The reasons for issue of unemployment in contemporary India:

  • The labour force is the sum of the employed and those unemployed who are seeking employment.
  • A shrinking of the labour force is most unusual in an economy with a growing population, and thus a growing working age cohort.
  • Low education and lack of skills lead to loss of many job opportunities.
  • Discouraged-worker effect: A section of those hitherto willing to work may have simply dropped out of an already challenged labour market.
  • Demonetization has caused demoralisation among a section of the already unemployed who may have given up all hope of finding employment.
  • About 90% of Indian Workforce is in the unorganized sector which was majorly affected during Demonetization and GST introduction.
  • Declining Capital formation which is not backed by Public and Private Investment.
  • Low female LFPR to the tunes of 24% also adds to high unemployment rate.
  • Automation and IR4.0 is a looming threat to many jobs which have repeated work or sequential work.
  • Socially disadvantaged groups do not get enough exposure in the job market like the general castes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Labour laws in India are complex and relatively strict. Employment protection legislation is restrictive, compared with other emerging economies and OECD countries. Thus, corporates in India tend to rely more on temporary contract labour, stay small or substitute labour for capital to avoid strict labour laws.

The form of public discourse around the issue is:

  • Employment does not usually figure in the public discourse orchestrated by political parties, either at the Centre or in the States.
  • Political parties and politicians have failed in creating gainful employment. Employment generation has taken a back seat in their Governmental programmes.
  • Despite the declining capital formation, the governments didn’t consider it necessary to respond to it by stepping up public investment, the obvious thing to do in the prevailing circumstances.

Way Forward:

  • Increase public spending in education:
    • At 3.8% of GDP, public spending on education in India is lower than countries like Brazil and Malaysia.
    • The focus of the government needs to shift to spending on enhancing the quality of education and vocational training.
  • Similarly, allowing foreign investment in sectors like legal and accountancy services will create employment as more foreign firms will move to India.
  • Infrastructure investment can also be utilised as an engine of job-creation.
  • Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills helps build human capital, which is key to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating more inclusive societies.
  • Educated unemployment:
    • Besides promoting technical education, the government needs to focus more on creation of jobs and demand for workers since industries are unable to create sufficient job opportunities for all the technically educated people
    • Policies should ensure that the education systems prepare young people for the skill demands of employers through outreach programmes, training, apprenticeships, and access to job-search assistance measures.
    • More businesses should recognise the opportunity, and need, to invest in young people so that they can help in developing the qualities necessary for education and future employment.
    • NGOs should engage collectively in policy advocacy on youth They should also partner with companies to develop skills and training programmes to tackle youth unemployment.
    • Singapore has launched certain programmes to establish partnerships between domestic and foreign universities to promote tertiary education. India could learn from such initiatives.
    • New age sectors like defence and aerospace, education and healthcare, and burgeoning green sectors like solar energy and wind, present another massive opportunity to identify ‘upcoming jobs’ and prepare talent accordingly. India’s ambition to create more than one million new jobs in the green energy sector by 2022 is encouraging.
  • Educated unemployment:
    • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations.
    • Private sector leaders should build capacity among unskilled and semi-skilled workers to ensure sustainability of renewable energy projects and provide opportunities to rural communities.
    • Government officials should create public training programmes to prepare the poor and less educated people especially semi-skilled and unskilled for employment in the clean-energy sector.
    • People need to be made self employed by providing training in skills and latest technologies for agriculture and other avenues especially in rural areas.
    • Women in rural areas who are left behind by men due to migration need to look into other sources of livelihood other than agriculture like animal husbandry etc.

Conclusion:

India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28. Demographics can change the pace and pattern of economic growth. While China’s spectacular growth has already benefited from a demographic dividend, India is yet to do so.


Topic– Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

8) Critically analyze the challenges involved in moving security forces in the volatile regions of J&K.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The recent attack on security forces in Kashmir highlights the threats and challenges in moving forces across the valley. In this context it is important to discuss those challenges and what could be done in dealing with those challenges.

Directive word

Critically 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to analyze the challenges involved in the movement of security forces across the J&K region and bring out as to what can be done in this regard.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent Pulwama attack. E.g mention the nature of atack and manner of execution.

Body-

  1. Discuss in points the challenges involved in moving security forces across the region. E.g
  • The national highway NH-44 passes through several volatile districts of Kashmir region.
  • At most places, the highway is surrounded by villages and residential colonies. Subsidiary roads connect to these villages.
  • Every day, at least four security convoys move on the highway, two from Jammu to Kashmir and two the other way. Movement of convoys increases during summer.
  • If movement of civilian traffic were to be halted during convoy movement, it would mean closing each stretch, southern and northern, for at least five hours.
  • Also, it would also be very difficult to stop vehicles coming out of different residential areas along the highway.
  1. Discuss what could be the possible solution to those challenges. E.g
  • Briefly discuss option of Airlifting the personnel
  • Another alternative route is the railway etc.

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

Introduction:

A suicide car bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a paramilitary bus in Pulwama of Jammu & Kashmir, killing 40 CRPF personnel who were being moved from Jammu to Kashmir. Union Home Minister said that civilian traffic would be restricted during the movement of convoys of security forces.

Body:

The challenges involved in moving security forces across the region.

  • The Jammu-Srinagar-Uri national highway (NH-44) runs 370 km and is the only road link between Jammu and Kashmir.
  • At most places, the highway is surrounded by villages and residential colonies. Subsidiary roads connect to these villages.
  • Every day, at least four security convoys move on the highway, two from Jammu to Kashmir and two the other way.
  • Movement of convoys increases during summer, when the road to Ladakh and border areas of the Valley like Gurez and Tangdhar is thrown open.
  • The convoys move only by day because of security concerns around night movement.
  • If movement of civilian traffic were to be halted during convoy movement, it would mean closing each stretch, southern and northern, for at least five hours.
  • According to official figures, over 9,500 vehicles including around 5,000 LMVs move on both sides on the highway every hour.
  • If the traffic is stopped at Baramulla or Narbal for only one hour, it means that over 5,000 vehicles would pile up from each side. It would take several hours to clear the traffic jam.
  • It would also be very difficult to stop vehicles coming out of different residential areas along the highway.
  • Apart from convoys, the security vehicles move on both stretches throughout the day.

Other challenges include:

  • Weather: The weather changes are erratic in J&K. The blockage of roads for 6 months due to snowfall also adds to pressure of movement of troops before or after snow.
  • Terrain: The undulating terrain causes difficulty in preparing alternative roads, train routes or even building air-strips itself.
  • Protest and stone pelting: Instances of protests during convoy movement pose risks such as suicide bombing, IEDs, mine-traps etc.
  • Intelligence: Intelligence failures, increasing fake news have added to the challenges.
  • Lack of co-operation from locals: Increasing anger and mistrust between the forces and locals have added to the woes.

The possible solutions to the challenges are:

  • Airlifting the personnel:
    • It would save travel time — from 10 hours to 30 minutes — but would be very costly.
    • The security personnel would still be needed to be sent in convoys from Srinagar to South Kashmir or North Kashmir.
  • Railways:
    • Currently the service is an eight-coach train that connects Banihal in Jammu to Baramulla in Kashmir.
    • A train route would not only reduce travel time from over five hours to two-and-a-half hours, but also be safer according to experts.
    • The challenge is that security forces would have to maintain very tight vigil against any possible sabotage attempts, which could result in higher costs.
    • According to officials, 22 companies of CRPF and about as many Army personnel guard the Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla highway during the day.

Conclusion:

Considering the variety of challenges posed for movement of troops, it is currently necessary to employ all three modes – roadways, Railways and Airlifting. However, this should be backed by a fool-proof intelligence network and sanitizing the routes before movement. Effective use of technology like drones, interceptors, cameras and its inputs, traffic density and blast- proof vehicles should be incorporated. In a longer run, Railways would be a sustainable option backed by Airlifting for emergency movement of troops.