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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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) Explain the different aspects of India’s traditional dance system? (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the various facets of dance in India both classical dances as well as folk dances.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that dance has always been considered ad a complete art and has had close association with god and worship. The earliest examples of dance in India can be traced back to the dancing pictures in Bhimbetka caves and bronze statue of a dancing girl in Mohenjodaro.

Body

  • Discuss the various texts on dance in India such as Bharatmuni’s Natyashashtra is a famous treatise on Natya which includes dance as well. Other works are like Nandikeshwar’s AbhinayaDarpan.
  • Highlight that . Sangeet Natak Academy confers “classical” status on 8 dances. Highlight that Dance forms in India were kept alive by devadasis amd later revived by various artists.
  • Explain that Dance has two aspects: Tandava and Lasya. Tandava emphasizes on body movements and masculinity while Lasya focusses on grace and abhinaya, so more feminine. Dances were scripted around 9 rasas or emotions like heroism, love, anger, etc. Themes were derived from mythology like Radha-Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, etc. Many Muslim kings also added their elements and learnt traditional dance like Nawab Wajid Ali of Oudh.
  • Explain about the other facets of dance forms in India and the folk dance of India – many folk dances are also prevalent amongst tribes. Kalbelia of Rajasthan and Chhau of Bihar, Bengal are on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Hertitage.

Conclusion – Emphasize on India’s rich history of dance.

Introduction:

Dance in India has a rich and vital tradition dating back to ancient times. Excavations, inscriptions, chronicles, genealogies of kings and artists, literary sources, sculpture and painting of different periods provide extensive evidence on dance. Myths and legends also support the view that dance had a significant place in the religious and social life of the Indian people. Excavations have brought to light a bronze statuette from Mohenjodaro and a broken torso from Harappa (dating back to 2500-1500 B.C.E.) are suggestive of dance poses.

Body:

Sangeet Natak Academy confers “classical” status on 8 dances – Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri, Odissi and Sattriya. The earliest treatise on dance available to us is Bharat Muni’s Natyashastra. Dance and music are an inextricable part of drama.

  • Dance is considered as having three aspects: natya, nritya and nritta.
  • Natya highlights the dramatic element and most dance forms do not give emphasis to this aspect today with the exception of dance-drama forms like Kathakali.
  • Nritya is essentially expressional, performed specifically to convey the meaning of a theme or idea.
  • Nritta is pure dance where body movements do not express any mood (bhava), nor do they convey any meaning.
  • To present nritya and natya effectively, a dancer should be trained to communicate the navarasas. These are: love (shringaara), mirth (haasya), compassion (karuna), valour(veera), anger (roudra), fear (bhayanak), disgust (bibhatsa), wonder (adbhuta) and peace (shaanta).
  • An ancient classification followed in all styles is of Tandava and Lasya.
  • Tandava the masculine, is heroic bold and vigorous. Lasya the feminine is soft, lyrical and graceful.
  • Bharata and Nandikesvara, the main authorities conceive of dance as an art which uses the human body as a vehicle of expression.
  • The major human units of the body (anga) are identified as the head, torso, the upper and lower limbs and the minor human parts (upangas), as all parts of the face ranging from the eyebrow to the chin and the minor joints.
  • Two further aspects of natya are the modes of presentation and the style.
  • There are two modes of presentation, namely the Natyadharmi, which is the formalised presentation of theatre, and the Lokadharmi sometimes translated as folk, realistic, naturalistic or regional.
  • The style or vrittis are classified into Kaishiki, the deft lyrical more suited to convey the lasya aspects, the Arbati, the energetic masculine, the Satvati often used while depicting the rasas and the Bharati, the literary content.

Folk dances are regional variations, the dances of rural and tribal areas, which range from simple, joyous celebrations of the seasons, harvest or birth of a child to dances for the propitiation of demons or for invoking spirits.

  • They are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movement.
  • Some dances are performed separately by men and women while in some performances men and women dance together.
  • On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, accompanied by artists with instruments.
  • Each form of folk dance has a specific costume and rhythm.
  • Most of the costumes, worn for folk dances, are colorful with extensive jewels and designs.
  • Bhangra of Punjab; Rasa Lila; Jhumar; Kaksar of Bastar; Chhau in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal; Bihu of Assam; Theyyam in the Malabar region of kerala; Dollu of Karnataka are few of the many folk dance forms.
  • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala; Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan and Chhau dance are included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Conclusion:

Nurtured for centuries, dance in India has evolved in different parts of the country its own distinct style taking on the culture of that particular region, each acquiring its own flavour. Today there is also a whole new body of modern experimental dance.


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

2) Abanindranath Tagore made huge contribution towards Indian art and culture. 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 role and contribution of Abanindranath Tagore towards Indian culture and art development. We have to write in detail about his works, themes and lifetime contributions.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  Abanindranath Tagore. E.g

Body-

Discuss in points the contribution of Abanindranath Tagore towards Indian art and culture. E.g

  • Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, was one of the most prominent artists of India.
  • He was the first major supporter of swadeshi values in Indian art. Abanindranath first created the ‘Indian Society of Oriental Art’ and later went on to establish Bengal school of art.
  • His sole aim for establishing the school was to counter the English influence on Indian artists.
  • He did that by incorporating Indian elements in his works and achieved success when British art institutions gave in and accepted to teach and propagate his style of works in their organizations.
  • His idea of modernizing Mughal and Rajput paintings eventually gave rise to modern Indian painting, which took birth at his Bengal school of art.
  • Abanindranath is also regarded as a proficient and accomplished writer. Most of his literary works were meant for children.
  • Some of his books like ‘BudoAngla’, ‘Khirer Putul’ and ‘Rajkahini’ are best examples of Bengali children’s literature.
  • He was very much influenced by the Mughal School of painting as well as Whistler’s Aestheticism.
  • In his later works, Abanindranath started integrating Chinese and Japanese calligraphic traditions into his style.
  • The intention behind this move was to construct an amalgamation of the modern pan-Asian artistic tradition and the common elements of Eastern artistic and spiritual culture.
  • Ganesh Janani, Bharat Mata, The Victory of Buddha are some of his prominent and famous paintings etc.

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

Introduction:

Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, was one of the most prominent artists of Bengal school of art in India. He was the first major supporter of swadeshi values in Indian art. His sole aim for establishing the school was to counter the English influence on Indian artists. He did that by incorporating Indian elements in his works. He achieved success when British art institutions gave in and accepted to teach and propagate his style of works in their organizations.

Body:

The contribution of Abanindranath Tagore towards Indian art and culture are:

  • Bengal School of Art:
    • Abanindranath first created the ‘Indian Society of Oriental Art’ and later went on to establish Bengal school of art.
    • He believed that Indian art and its art forms gave importance to spirituality as opposed to the West which stressed on materialism, thus rejecting it.
    • His idea of modernizing Mughal and Rajput paintings eventually gave rise to modern Indian painting, which took birth at his Bengal school of art.
    • Most of his works revolved around Hindu philosophy and other things Indian.
    • A series of paintings titled ‘Arabian Nights’, which depicted Calcutta’s emerging cosmopolitanism but used the stories from Arabian Nights as its trope.
    • In his later works, Abanindranath started integrating Chinese and Japanese calligraphic traditions into his style. The intention behind this move was to construct an amalgamation of the modern pan-Asian artistic tradition and the common elements of Eastern artistic and spiritual culture.
    • His works reflected his ideologies and since they were simple in nature, his paintings were a hit among Indian art lovers.
    • Ganesh Janani, Bharat Mata, The Victory of Buddha, The Passing of Shah Jahan, Journey’s End, Birds and Animals series are few of his master-pieces.
  • Literature:
    • Abanindranath is also regarded as a proficient and accomplished writer.
    • Most of his literary works were meant for children. Some of his books like ‘BudoAngla’, ‘KhirerPutul’ and ‘Rajkahini’ are best examples of Bengali children’s literature
  • Foreign Influence:
    • His revolutionary ideas and his unconditional love for tradition, cultural figures from other parts of Asia were fascinated by him like Okakura Kakuzo, Japanese art historian and Yokoyama Taikan, a famous Japanese painter.
    • He also collaborated with William Rothenstein, an English artist and author, who tried to incorporate Indian traditions into his own works. William Rothenstein was a good friend of Abanindranath and helped Rabindranath Tagore to publish his work ‘Gitanjali’ in English.

Conclusion:

His art is an exploration for an authentic Indian art as opposed to Western forms, both as an anti-colonial discourse and a spiritual awakening. He gave up the use of oils and pastels for the use of water colour in favour of Japanese brush stroke technique to develop a more uniquely Indian style within a pan-Asian aesthetic.


Topic– India and its bilateral relations

3) India could find it difficult to maintain a ‘balancing’ approach between different West Asian powers. Discuss. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

This article highlights India’s relations with Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia and analyzes whether the approach of India is working. The article also highlights the risks ingrained in India’s strategy. The article provides a very good perspective on India’s tightrope diplomacy in West Asia.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out India’s relations with the major nations of West Asia and how India has so far managed to be less affected by regional and global politics in managing its relations with west Asian nations. The article expects us to bring out the risks ingrained in India’s strategy and discuss the 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 – briefly highlight the profile of west Asian nations and that over the past few years, the course of India’s relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) suggests that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India finally appears to be moving away from its traditional “balancing” approach to West Asia.

Body

  • Discuss India’s relations with each of the three significant West Asian nations whose politics are often at odds with each other. Explain how India has been maintaining a balancing approach so far. Give a brief historical perspective on the nature of India’s relations in the current times.
  • Explain about the various push and pull factors in the region and how India has been negotiating with so many factors.
  • Thereafter, highlight the pros and cons of India’s strategy and discuss the way forward for India

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the effectiveness of India’s strategy and what needs to be done.

Introduction:

India’s own tightrope with Iran, UAE and Israel and Pakistan’s recent manoeuvrings with the Saudis create a tricky set of issues for New Delhi. The course of India’s relation suggests that India finally appears to be moving away from its traditional “balancing” approach to West Asia.

The government has in practice demonstrated a preference for working with the three regional powers rather than Iran. A trend likely to be reinforced after the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the proposed trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to New Delhi.

Body:

Since the 1990-91 Gulf War, India has officially adopted a “balancing” approach to West Asia, which some view as a legacy of non-alignment. Although this approach has allowed India to eschew involvement in regional disputes and de-hyphenate relations with regional rivals including Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the policy has also constrained India’s ability to press its geopolitical interests in the region.

India’s relations with each of the three significant West Asian nations and dynamics

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE:
    • Geopolitically, MBS and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) have over the past few years escalated their battle against political Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
    • Most notably, this materialised in their support for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s takeover of power in Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, and in their dispute with Qatar, a key regional backer of the group.
    • Naturally, this brings them closer to Israel, which faces a growing threat from Islamist militant groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iranian-backed forces in Syria.
    • The campaign by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to curtail the influence of political Islamist groups also draws them closer to India.
    • During his visit to New Delhi, the Saudi Crown Prince hinted at the attack by vowing to “cooperate in every way, including intelligence sharing”.
    • The UAE has also ramped up its security cooperation with India, extraditing at least three suspects wanted in relation to the AgustaWestland case.
    • Economically, the ability of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to mobilise investments despite low oil prices are a huge asset in their relations with India.
    • Investments have included a $44 billion oil refinery in India by Saudi Aramco and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in partnership with an Indian consortium.
    • During his visit to New Delhi, MBS said he foresaw up to $100 billion worth of Saudi investments in India over the next few years, including a plan by the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. to acquire two LNG plants.
  • Israel:
    • India’s defence and security partnership with Israel has already proven useful to its security and military modernisation drive.
    • India’s defence and security partnership with Israel has already proven useful to its security and military modernisation drive.
    • India and Israel have collaborated on a $777 million project to develop a maritime version of the Barak-8, a surface-to-air missile that India successfully tested in January.
    • India has also reportedly agreed to purchase 54 HAROP attack drones for the Indian Air Force and two airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) worth over $800 million from Israel.
    • Israel has become one of India’s top suppliers of military technology.
  • Iran:
    • The simultaneous attacks that claimed the lives of 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and 40 members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are likely to bring India and Iran closer together against Pakistan, it is doubtful that the occasion would generate much momentum in bilateral relations.
    • S. sanctions have turned Iran into an unreliable economic partner.
    • Despite obtaining a six-month waiver from the U.S. in November on energy imports from Iran, India is shoring up plans to find alternative sources as the waiver reaches its term.
    • Meanwhile, Indian investments in Iran, including the Shahid Beheshti complex at Chabahar and the Farzad B gas field, have languished for years, reflecting the severe constraints on doing business with Iran.

Complexity in the relationships

  • India’s tilt towards Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE is not a risk-free move. Iran continues to exercise much influence in West Asia and can help shape events in Afghanistan by shoring up the Taliban against the U.S.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port represents a strategic investment for India which hopes to use the facility to connect with the International North-South Transit Corridor (INSTC) that extends to Central Asia and to bypass Pakistan en route to Afghanistan.
  • As tensions rise in West Asia, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have coalesced more closely against Iran under the U.S.-sponsored Middle East Security Alliance (MESA).
  • Concurrently, the recent escalation between Iran and Israel on the Syrian front suggests that tensions are unlikely to drop soon.
  • the sectarian-based conflicts and the proxy wars that constantly weaken the Middle East’s security and stability make it extremely complex for India to stabilize its interests in the region

 

Way Forward:

  • India should take advantage of any benefit that accrues from India’s economic relations with Saudi Arabia but should not pin much hope on Riyadh in the political-strategic sphere.
  • Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia has created a roadmap for social and economic transformation and enabling the private sector is at the heart of it. India can reap this opportunity.
  • Maintaining a close relationship with the Arab world without disrupting the relationship with Iran, and refraining from getting politically involved in any conflict in the region, could be seen as continuity in terms of India’s engagement with the Middle East.

Conclusion

Amid competing demands from West Asian powers for India to take sides, India might find it difficult to maintain a “balancing” approach even if it wanted to. Having practically abandoned a “balancing” approach, the government has, in effect, placed its bets on Israel and the Gulf monarchies, relegating relations with Iran to the side.


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

4) The recent measures by the government to moderate angel tax is a welcome measure. Critically analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

The hindu

Why this question

Conforming to the demands of the startup companies the Central government has decided to moderate the tax levied on angel investment in the country. In this context it is important to discuss the advantages as well as any limitations associated with the move.

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 recent move of the government to moderate the angel tax and bring out its positive implications as well as negative implications/ insufficiencies and then form an opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent move of the government to moderate angel tax. E.g The Central govt has recently notified new rules pertaining to angel tax which, will exempt registered start-ups of a specified size from the tax and any scrutiny to do with its applicability.

Body-

  1. Discuss how it will be beneficial for startups and the economy in general. E.g
  • investments of up to ₹25 crore in an eligible company will be exempt from the angel tax.
  • In addition, investments made by a listed company of a networth of at least ₹100 crore or a turnover of at least ₹250 crore would also be exempt.
  • Investments made by non-residents will also be exempt.
  • This clarification would help in avoiding potentially significant tax challenges faced by startups and allow them to focus on their core activities.
  1. Discuss what are the limitations of the move. E.g
  • There was a request from the industry to include Category II Alternate Investment Funds as well in the exclusion list, which has unfortunately not been considered favourably.
  • The applicability of Section 68 of the I-T Act still remained and that they would take it up with the tax department.
  • Companies wishing to make use of the latest exemption, for instance, will first need to be registered with the government as start-ups.
  • To be classified as one, a company needs to attest to conditions such as that it has not invested in any land unrelated to the business, vehicles worth over ₹10 lakh, or jewellery. These requirements, while probably aimed to prevent money- laundering, can lead to considerable bureaucratic delays and rent-seeking etc.

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

Introduction:

Angel tax is a term used to refer to the income tax payable on capital raised by unlisted companies via issue of shares where the share price is seen in excess of the fair market value of the shares sold. The tax was introduced in the 2012 Union Budget by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to arrest laundering of funds.

This tax predominantly affects start-ups and the angel investments they attract. The Centre recently notified new rules pertaining to angel tax which, will exempt registered start-ups of a specified size from the tax and any scrutiny to do with its applicability.

Body:

Central Government’s move will be beneficial for startups and the economy in general because

  • The easing of the outdated angel tax rules will definitely make life easier for start-ups, which are in desperate need for capital to fund their growth and other business requirements.
  • Investments of up to ₹25 crore in an eligible company will be exempt from the angel tax.
  • Investments made by a listed company of a net-worth of at least ₹100 crore or a turnover of at least ₹250 crore would also be exempt.
  • Investments made by non-residents will also be exempt.
  • An eligible start-up would be one that is registered with the government, has been incorporated for less than 10 years, and has a turnover that has not exceeded ₹100 crore over that period.
  • The new rules are set to be applied retrospectively, many young companies that have received notices from the Income Tax Department in the last few years will be relieved by the latest tweak in the rules.
  • This would help allow them to focus on their core activities.

However, there are still some unresolved issues:

  • Companies will first need to be registered with the government as start-ups.
  • To be classified as start-up, a company needs to attest to conditions such as that it has not invested in any land unrelated to the business, vehicles worth over ₹10 lakh, or jewellery.
  • These requirements, while probably aimed to prevent money- laundering, shell companies etc., can lead to considerable bureaucratic delays and rent-seeking.
  • the new rules for the angel tax, though less stringent than before, can cause the same old problem of arbitrary tax demands for companies that do not fall under the defined category of start-ups.
  • The taxes to be paid are still supposed to be calculated by the authorities based on how much the sale price of a company’s unlisted share exceeds its fair market value.
  • It is impossible to know the market value, let alone the fair market value, of shares that are not openly traded in the marketplace.
  • Tax authorities with ulterior motives will still possess enough leeway to harass start-ups with unreasonable tax demands.
  • Category II Alternate Investment Funds are not unfortunately not been considered favourably in the exclusion list.
  • Start-ups having already been sent tax notices, and the applicability of Section 68 of the I-T Act still remained and that they need to take it up with the tax department.
  • The notification imposes certain restrictions on investments by the start-ups and may even disqualify some genuine start-ups from this exemption.

Conclusion:

India is the second biggest hub for startups in the world in terms of number of businesses. There is a need for the government to address the arbitrary nature of the angel tax so that the investor confidence is boosted and more FDI’s flow in. This will help achieve investment, create jobs as well and increase the ease of doing business in India.


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

5) Do you think India needs more accurate inflation measurement. Comment.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Inflation targeting is a vital task in an economy, especially a developing country like India where inflation is not only highly variable but also has major implications for the vast poor sections of the society. In this context it is important to discuss whether India needs to measure inflation more accurately.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the inflation measurement in India and bring out  why there is a need to make such measurement more accurately.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  inflation and its measurement in India. E.g Inflation dynamics are complex and depend to a large extent on expectations of inflation. Central banks the world over, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), factor in such inflationary expectations when carrying out inflation assessment for purposes of monetary policy formulation.

Body-

Discuss why India needs better and more accurate inflation measurement. E.g

  • The source of such forecasts—whether from financial analysts, professional forecasters, general public or from businesses and trade unions actively engaged in wage negotiations—is important in credible monetary policy formulation.
  • Inflationary expectations, however, are heterogenous across these different groups.
  • While the expectations of financial analysts and professional forecasters lie within the central bank’s target range, those of businesses, trade unions and households lie consistently above the upper end of the target range.
  • Less affluent households exhibit less than rational forecasts and overestimate inflation outcomes probably because they often face higher inflation than their more affluent counterparts.
  • Similarly, businesses and trade unions tend to be more backward-looking than analysts and form their expectations based on the growth rate of wages, which normally exceeds the average inflation rate

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

Introduction:

Inflation is the measure of the rate of increase in the prices of goods and services. In April 2014, the RBI has selected the all India Consumer Price Index (of CSO) as the inflation index to target inflation under its new inflation targeting monetary policy framework.

Inflation targeting is a vital task in an economy, especially a developing country like India where inflation is not only highly variable but also has major implications for the vast poor sections of the society.

Body:

Inflation dynamics are complex and depend to a large extent on expectations of inflation. Central banks the world over, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), factor in such inflationary expectations when carrying out inflation assessment for purposes of monetary policy formulation.

High rates of inflation are bad because, it can eat up hard-earned money of ordinary people. Life of common man will become tough. His savings will soon be exhausted, unless his investments offer high rate of return than the inflation rate present in the country.

Inflation can be measured at three levels – producer, wholesaler and retailer (consumer). Prices generally rise in each level till the commodity finally reaches the consumer.

Inflation at Producer Level: As of now in India, there is no index to measure inflation at producer level. A Producer Price Index (PPI) is proposed, but so far this type of inflation calculation has not started in India.

Inflation at Wholesale Level: This is the most popular inflation rate calculation methodology in India. The index used to calculate wholesale inflation is known as Wholesale Price Index (WPI). This inflation rate is often known as headline inflation. WPI is released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Inflation at Retail Level (Consumer Level): Consumer often directly buys from retailer. So the inflation experienced at retail shops is the actual reflection of the price rise in the country. It also shows the cost of living better. The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation releases Consumer Price Indices (CPI). CPI is based on retail prices and this index is used to calculate the Dearness Allowance (DA) for government employees.

India needs better and more accurate inflation measurement because:

  • The source of inflationary forecasts is important in credible monetary policy formulation.
  • Inflationary expectations are heterogeneous across different groups like from financial analysts, professional forecasters, general public or from businesses and trade unions.
  • While the expectations of financial analysts and professional forecasters lie within the central bank’s target range, those of businesses, trade unions and households lie consistently above the upper end of the target range.
  • Less affluent households exhibit less than rational forecasts and overestimate inflation outcomes probably because they often face higher inflation than their more affluent counterparts.
  • Businesses and trade unions tend to be more backward-looking than analysts and form their expectations based on the growth rate of wages, which normally exceeds the average inflation rate.
  • RBI’s assessment of inflation was based on the global and domestic economic outlook, crude oil prices, etc. It was also based on headline inflation figures, and household inflationary expectations.
  • The current assessment of inflationary expectations in India has important omissions, notably those of rural households, businesses and trade unions.
  • There are anomalies in the form of irrational forecasts above the official target range.
  • The groups demonstrating these anomalies, as also those omitted are important since they drive the inflation process itself, and not just future inflation.
  • Improved anchoring of inflationary expectations of all groups which directly impact inflation outcomes is critical.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to augment the new series of WPI with a service price index to improve its overall coverage.
  • Greater central bank communication, increased labour market flexibility and other structural reforms aimed at increasing competition.
  • Various price indices could be enhanced by frequent updation of the base year so that it reflects the structural change in the economy and include external anomalies.
  • Improved anchoring of inflationary expectations of all groups which directly impact inflation outcomes is critical.
  • Inflation expectation survey should include rural households as well as expectations from businesses and trade unions.
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is throwing up enormous quantities of reasonably reliable data which can be utilized for calculations.

Conclusion:

A better and more realistic measure than the current headline inflation is needed to improve monetary policy


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

6) “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men”- Confucius.  Explain what do you understand by the statement.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Explain-here we have to make something clear or easy to understand by describing or giving information about it.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to explain in detail about the meaning of the above statement as per our own understanding. We have to bring out the virtues of wisdom, compassion and courage and explain why they are important.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Confucius. E.g Confucius was an influential Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure who lived from 551 BCE until 479 BCE. He was known for his popular teachings and quotes on education and social interaction.

Body-

Explain in points as to what do you understand by the statement. E.g

  • Wisdom can be defined as understanding the true nature of things and this is inseparable from understanding their purpose.
  • To understand the true nature of something one must know why it exists and consequently wisdom and purpose are closely linked.
  • Developing courage means becoming fearless without being reckless. Courage is necessary to begin new endeavors as well as for being persistent in seeing them through.
  • Compassion in the Buddhist tradition means to end suffering and to give joy.
  • Acts of kindness, understanding for the needs of others, a supportive and collaborative attitude all result from love and have a profound impact on the concerned person as well as the society as a whole
  • Happiness cannot be achieved without compassion and love; the two are closely linked in their aim to overcome selfishness and to serve happiness etc.

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

Introduction:

Confucius was an influential Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure who lived from 551 BCE until 479 BCE. He was known for his popular teachings and quotes on education and social interaction. He believed that a leader needed to exercise self-discipline in order to remain humble and treat his followers with compassion. He encouraged people to take responsibility for their actions. Confucius’ ideas eventually became the foundation for humanity and compassion found in Chinese philosophy

Body:

  • Wisdom is the ability to use your experience and knowledge in order to make sensible decisions or judgements.
  • It is the understanding of true nature of things and this is inseparable from understanding their purpose.
  • To understand the true nature of something one must know why it exists and consequently wisdom and purpose are closely linked.
  • Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one.
  • Developing courage means becoming fearless without being reckless. Moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss.
  • Courage is necessary to begin new endeavours as well as for being persistent in seeing them through.
  • Compassion is the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
  • It motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves.
  • Compassion is often regarded as having sensitivity, an emotional aspect to suffering.
  • Qualities of compassion are patience and wisdom; kindness and perseverance; warmth and resolve.

Conclusion:

The amalgamation of three is universally recognized moral qualities make man a social being. These three qualities help making the society more humane and caring. Civil servants with these qualities would be able to carry out their duties to their best levels.


Topic– Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

7) Distorting and/or withholding public information goes against the grains of basic ethics of public service. Critically comment and substantiate your arguments.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article talks about the the poor record of the government when it comes to data transparency and how it goes against the principles of good governance that we read about it paper 4. The question touches upon topics of paper 2 and 4.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to provide our view on the importance of making available public information and how withholding or playing with it does not bode well for governance and democracy. The question expects us to substantiate our views with such instances and provide a fair and balanced view on the ethics of such measures.

Directive word

Critically 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. 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 – Highlight that off late data related to GDP, employment etc have raised several debates regarding their authenticity. Highlight that lack of transparency on the part of government and its agencies has cast aspersions on several data critical for economy.

Body

  • Explain how distorting and/or withholding public information is a blow to principles of good governance and democracy. Highlight why transparency in such matters is important.
  • Highlight the various instances as discussed in the article where data in public domain has raised questions such as the employment data, GDP data etc and others where routine datasets have not been released.
  • Critically comment on what it indicates and the impact it will have

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

The recent examples of alleged manipulation of data related to GDP, employment etc have raised several debates regarding their authenticity. Public information is necessary for evidence-based policymaking and informed discussion in democracies where citizens seek accountability from their government. The lack of transparency leads to an ineffective system of public service delivery and increased trust deficit.

Body:

The lack of transparency in Governance leads to:

  • Distorting and/or withholding public information is a blow to principles of good governance and democracy.
  • Transparency is required to make the system of public service delivery effective.
  • The public has a right to know how public institutions apply the power and resources entrusted to them.
  • It increases the gap between the information provider and the information seeker.
  • The efficiency in administration of public authorities is lowered and breeds corruption.
  • The lack of transparency in Governance has tendencies towards a despotic rule.
  • Affects Institutional Independence by asserting the views of Government on former.
  • History teaches us that more than countries being destroyed by external aggression, they have been ruined by internal decadence.

 

Recent instances of distortion or hiding of data

  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Planning (DIPP) has stopped updating FDI inflow data. Its official web page was last updated a year ago, with figures available up to December 2017.
  • Skipping of the scheduled release of the results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in December 2018 has raised more questions about the government’s intentions. It was the first economy-wide employment survey held after 2011-12.
  • Since 1995, the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) has published data on suicides, which is used to flag the gravity of farmers’ suicides. In 2016, the MHA ceased to publish this information, fuelling speculation about the government’s motives.
  • There seems to be a systematic pattern in distorting and/or withholding public information that could throw a harsh light on the government’s performance.
  • Critics argue that government is increasingly relying on anecdotes fed by private and international consultants for policy making, discarding nationally representative, professionally estimated data, vetted by independent experts.

Transparency is Imperative due to:

  • Public scrutiny should be facilitated by transparent and democratic processes, oversight by the legislature and access to public information.
  • The Right to Information Act’s legislative intent was to empower the citizen to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every Public Authority,
  • Transparency should be further enhanced by measures such as disclosure systems and recognition of the role of an active and independent media.
  • Transparency allows stakeholders to collect information that may be critical to uncovering abuses and defending their interests.
  • Transparent systems have flawless procedures for public decision-making and open channels of communication between stakeholders and officials, and make a wide range of information available.
  • Transparency means that the criteria, process and systems of decision-making are openly known to all in a public manner.
  • Citizens rely on information for making decisions which impact upon their social, political and economic lives.

Way forward:

  • Suo-moto disclosure of information by Government under RTI Act provisions.
  • Repealing of the Official Secret Act as suggested by 2nd
  • Introducing an oath of transparency.
  • Opening up the working of parliamentary standing committees for public access.
  • Use of the tools of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to bring about enhanced access, transparency, accountability and efficiency in the delivery of government information and services.

Conclusion:

There is a need for the citizens to raise their voice against the tendency, and impress upon the government to restore access and integrity to public statistics, and re-establish institutional independence of the statistical organisations.