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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 MARCH 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 MARCH 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– Industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries,

colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

1) In carving out ‘The magnificent African cake’ no attention was paid to ground realities which led plethora of issues and problems. Comment.(250 words)

World history by Norman Lowe, World history NCERT

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of Africa, the term “Scramble for Africa” is often used to describe the period of intense European interest in colonization, occupation and annexation of Africa between the 1880s and 1914. Other terms used for the same phenomena include “Partition of Africa” and “Race for Africa“.

 

Directive word:

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

 

Key demands of the question:

The answer should provide for a close examination of the heightened tension between European states in the last quarter of the 19th century, and how the partitioning of Africa may be seen as a way for the Europeans to eliminate the threat of a European-wide war over Africa. Then as to what were the ground realities and issues that were ignored.

 

Structure of the answer:

 

Introduction

Start with the pressing causes of the event to happen.

 

Body

Discuss the following important factors :

  • The ideas of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution, the Eugenics movement and Racism, all helped to foster European expansionist policy in Africa.
  • The vast interior between the gold and diamond-rich Southern Africa and Egypt had key strategic value in securing the flow of overseas trade.
  • Britain was thus under intense political pressure to secure lucrative markets such as British Raj India, Qing Dynasty China, and Latin America from encroaching rivals.
  • Discuss the issues and challenges faced.

 

Conclusion

Conclude with Impact of Imperialism on Africa and highlight its latency as of even today.

Introduction:

Between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization. By the early twentieth century, however, much of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, had been colonized by European powers. By 1900 much of Africa had been colonized by seven European powers—Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

Body:

The term “Scramble for Africa” is used to describe the period of intense European interest in colonization, occupation and annexation of Africa between the 1880s and 1914. Other terms used for the same phenomena include “Partition of Africa” and “Race for Africa“.

No   European   power   wanted   to   be   left   out   of   the   race   to   acquire   territories   in   Africa.   The competition was so fierce that there was a fear of war between the European countries. To avoid the war,   Bismarck  called  together  representatives  of  major  European  countries  to  deal  with  rival colonial claims. This was called Berlin Conference. However, this Berlin conference is called the starting point for Scramble for Africa.

  • Economic factors:
    • The imperatives of capitalist industrialization—including the demand for assured sources of raw materials, the search for guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets—spurred the European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest of Africa.
    • Thus the primary motivation for European intrusion was economic.
    • For example Algeria became one of the profitable colonial possession for French goods; resources of Africa, for example Gold and Diamond mines in South Africa, Ivory, rubber, gold, and timber, copper from Congo attracted the colonial powers.
    • Slaves were brought through slave trades for working in the colonies of European powers America, as there was large scale extermination of original inhabitants. The demand of slave trade gradually increased and this led to more expansion by colonial powers in Africa
    • Development of Suez Canal in Egypt by French company in 1869, aroused the interest of colonial powers in the African region and they wanted to safeguard their route to India.
    • Military intervention was done in Egypt on the pretext of protection of Suez canal and this way Egypt came under British control
  • Political factors:
    • The political impetus derived from the impact of inter-European power struggles and competition for pre-eminence.
    • Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were competing for power within European power politics.
    • One way to demonstrate national pre-eminence was through the acquisition of territories around the world, including Africa.
    • When slavery started become hindrance for colonial powers to penetrate interiors of Africa. The colonial powers started promising abolition of slave trade and subsequently went to war with local chiefs and kings to expand, their territorial possession
    • Explorers, Christian missionaries saw Africa as a place for spreading message of Christianity and they were supported by European governments by sending troops.
  • Social factors:
    • As a result of industrialization, major social problems grew in Europe: unemployment, poverty, homelessness, social displacement from rural areas, and so on.
    • These social problems developed partly because not all people could be absorbed by the new capitalist industries.
    • One way to resolve this problem was to acquire colonies and export this “surplus population.”
    • This led to the establishment of settler-colonies in Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and central African areas like Zimbabwe and Zambia.
    • Eventually the overriding economic factors led to the colonization of other parts of Africa.

Impact of Colonization on Africa:

  • In the beginning, the Europeans thought that the Africa would prove to be a great market for their products. However,   soon   they   realized   that   they   were      Nevertheless,   Africa   was   rich   in mineral resources so it proved to be of great wealth for Europeans.
  • Further, the Europeans grew business of cash-crop plantations such as peanuts, palm oil, cocoa, and rubber. These products displaced the food crops grown by farmers to feed their families. This resulted in famines; and Africans started getting starved to death.
  • Secondly, the scramble for Africa divided the continent by artificial boundaries (visible on Africa’s current map also as straight lines) that unnaturally divided groups created problems even long after the Europeans left from there. There was a breakdown of African traditional cultures.
  • The people were forced   to   leave   the   villages   to   find   ways   to   support   themselves   and   this   caused   identity problems.  Many Africans died of new diseases such as smallpox.  Thousands of Africans lost lives in resisting the Europeans.
  • However, there were some positive effects also. For a considerable period, the local warfare among African tribes was reduced.
  • Humanitarian efforts in some colonies improved sanitation and brought health and education facilities. Literacy and health conditions improved.
  • African colonies gained railroads, dams, and telephone and telegraph lines. However, these only benefited European business interests, not Africans’ lives

Conclusion:

The nineteenth century was a period of profound and even revolutionary changes in the political geography of Africa, characterized by the demise of old African kingdoms and empires and their reconfiguration into different political entities. Some of the old societies were reconstructed and new African societies were founded on different ideological and social premises. Consequently, African societies were in a state of flux, and many were organizationally weak and politically unstable. They were therefore unable to put up effective resistance against the European invaders.


Topic– Industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries,

colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

2) Define nationalism. Giving reasons for rise of nationalism in 19th century Europe, assess its role in the outbreak world wars.(250 words)

World history by Norman Lowe, World history NCERT

 

Why this question:

The question is about what is nationalism? Causes and its consequences that led to outbreak of world wars.

 

demand of the question:

The answer must first define what is nationalism, its causes and then move on to evaluate how it led to world wars. Highlight how the new and aggressive nationalism was different from its predecessors that emerged in Europe at the end of the 19th century.

 

Structure of the answer:

 

Introduction

Discuss the coming of idea of Nationalism, its backdrop and rise.

 

Body

Discuss the following in detail :

  • Nationalism as an intense form of patriotism. Those with nationalist tendencies celebrated the culture and achievements of their own country and placed its interests above those of other nations.
  • Pre-war nationalism was fuelled by wars, imperial conquests and rivalry, political rhetoric, newspapers and popular culture etc.
  • British nationalism was fuelled by a century of comparative peace and prosperity. The British Empire had flourished and expanded, its naval strength had grown and Britons had known only colonial wars.
  • German nationalism was a new phenomenon, emerging from the unification of Germany in 1871. It became fascinated with German imperial expansion (securing Germany’s ‘place in the sun’) and resentful of the British and their empire.
  • Rising nationalism was also a factor in the Balkans, where Slavic Serbs and others sought independence and autonomy from the political domination of Austria-Hungary.

Conclusion

conclude with the significance of Nationalism, its role in outbreak of Wars.

Introduction:

Nationalism, a political, social, and economic ideology oriented towards gaining and maintaining self governance and full sovereignty over a territory of historical significance to the group (such as its homeland). Therefore, it seeks to preserve the nation’s culture and often involves a sense of pride in the nation’s achievements.

It accords a lot of importance to a homogenous setup where love for one’s state should come before everything else. It gives lesser importance to ideals of an individual if his stand is not in sync with the ideals of national interest.

Body:

                European nationalism, in its modern sense, was born out of the desire of a community to assert its unity and independence. In the 19th century there began a determined struggle to realise nationalist aspirations. The factors responsible for rise of Nationalism in Europe were:

  • French Revolution:
    • The French Revolution had inspired people all over Europe. It spread the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity and generated the spirit of nationalism.
    • Napoleon, though he established a monarchy in France, carried forward the revolutionary ideals of equality and nationalism.
    • Napoleon’s empire gave to Europe a form of unity, even though it was imposed by him through conquests.
    • A new concept emerged which bound people together with a sense of belonging and unity. Nations began to be formed by those who shared a common tradition and common territory.
  • Aristocracy
    • Socially and politically, a landed aristocracy was the dominant class on the continent.
    • They owned estates in the countryside and also town-houses.
    • They spoke French for purposes of diplomacy and in high society.
    • This powerful aristocracy was, however, numerically a small group. The majority of the population was made up of the peasantry.
    • To the west, the bulk of the land was farmed by tenants and small owners, while in Eastern and Central Europe the pattern of landholding was characterised by vast estates which were cultivated by serfs.
  • New Middle Class
    • In Western and parts of Central Europe industrial production and trade grew leading to growth of trade.
    • The existence of this new class was based on production for the market. New social groups came into existence.
    • A working class population and a middle class (which was composed of industrialists, businessmen and professionals) made the new social groups.
    • It was this class which shaped the ideas of national unity.
  • Idea of Liberal Nationalism
    • Ideas of national unity in early-nineteenth-century Europe were closely allied to the ideology of liberalism.
    • For the new middle classes; freedom for the individual and equality of all before the law were the bases of idea of liberalism.
    • From the political perspective, the idea of liberalism emphasized the concept of government by consent and end of autocracy and clerical privileges.
    • Further, it meant the need of a constitution and a representative government. Inviolability of private property was also emphasized by the nineteenth century liberals.
  • Suffrage:
    • Universal suffrage was yet to become a reality in France.
    • During the earlier period of revolution, only property-owning men had the right to vote.
    • The struggle for voting rights for women and non-propertied men continued throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
  • Liberalisation in Economic Sphere:
    • Economic liberalization was another hallmark of the Napoleonic Code. The emerging middle class was also in favour of economic liberalization.
    • In 1834, a customs union or zollverein was formed; at the initiative of Prussia and was joined by most of the German states.
    • Tariff barriers were abolished and the number of currencies was reduced from thirty to two.
    • Development of a railways network further enhanced mobility.
    • This created some sort of economic nationalism which helped in strengthening the national sentiments which were growing at that time
  • A New Conservatism After 1815
    • Napoleon was defeated in 1815 by the combined power of Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria.
    • After the defeat of Napoleon, European governments wanted to follow conservatism.
    • They believed in preserving the monarchy, the Church, social hierarchies, property and the family.
    • But most of them also wanted to retain the modernization which Napoleon carried out in the spheres of administration.
  • The Treaty of Vienna:
    • The representatives of the European powers (Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria) met at Vienna in 1815 to draw up a settlement of Europe.
    • The conservative regimes which were set up in 1815 were autocratic.
    • They were intolerant of criticism and dissent. Most of them imposed censorship laws to control the contents in newspaper, books, plays and songs.
  • Independence of Greece:
    • The Greek war of independence mobilized the nationalist feelings among the educated elite across Europe.
    • The struggle for independence among the Greeks began in 1821.
    • The nationalists in Greece got support from many Greeks who were living in exile.
    • Moreover, they also got support from many West Europeans who sympathized with the ancient Greek culture.
    • Finally, the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832 recognized Greece as an independent nation.
  • Unification by Revolutionaries
    • As a reaction to the autocratic conservatives, there grew a huge force of revolutionaries who still lived with the spirit of liberalism.
    • They created underground societies and clubs and wanted a revolution to unite provinces into democratic nation states.
    • This, along with economic hardship created the perfect background for the unification of states and Germany, Italy, Greece and several other European ultimately became nation-states.
  • The Romantic Imagination and National Feeling
    • Romanticism was a cultural movement which sought to develop a particular form of nationalist sentiment.
    • Romantic artists usually criticized the glorification of reason and science.
    • They focused on emotions, intuition and mystical feelings.
    • They tried to create a sense of collective heritage, a common cultural past, as the basis of a nation.
  • Unification of Germany and Italy also added to the Nationalism.

Conclusion:

                After the rise of nationalism culminated into the making of nation-states, these countries competing with one another even more and led to the rise of imperialism. Hence, this was a dangerous occurrence as it led to the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914.


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

3) “Cooperative federalism is being replaced with coercive federalism”. Elucidate. Also discuss the importance of fundamental renegotiation of powers between Union and states in favor of political democracy in this context.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article talks about how cooperative federalism with social equity as its primary objective is transforming the Indian society, but when the conditions underlying cooperation are changing, the pressure to expand national power inherent in cooperative federalism is giving rise to coercive federalism.

 

Key demand of the question:

The question is in the backdrop of the Cooperative federalism increasingly being replaced with coercive federalism, one must explain such statements with recent examples and then move on to explain what need to be done to overcome it.

 

Directive word:

Elucidate – means to explain and clarify the topic, make it clear with examples.

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:

Begin with the importance of the cooperative federalism in Indian context.

Body:

The answer should mainly focus upon:

  • the challenges, issues and concerns associated with Cooperative federalism in India – quote examples from agricultural reforms and NAM, Niti Ayog etc.
  • What needs to be done In light of contemporary conditions? –  a new consensus may have to be forged from elements of cooperative equity, competitive efficiency, and dual accountability etc.

 

Conclusion:

Conclude with renegotiation of powers between Union and states; necessity of cooperative federalism for the development of political democracy in the right direction.

Introduction:

Cooperative federalism is the concept which reflects the relationship between centre and state where they both come together and resolve the common problems with each other’s’ cooperation. With the collaborative efforts and cooperation, different level of governments in an amicable manner, contributes towards the growth of the country.

Body:

It shows the horizontal relationship between union and states and shows neither is above the other. To ensure this relationship between centre and state, Indian constitution has incorporated certain instruments like inter-state council, Zonal council, 7th schedule etc.

Various instances have shown that the cooperative federalism is being replaced by coercive federalism:

  • Taxation:
    • Taxation powers are contentious issue and the Central government has won most of the disputes purely due to express provisions in the Constitution.
    • In the Goods and Services Tax (GST) scenario, States have foregone some taxation powers (octroi, entry tax, luxury and entertainment taxes, etc.) but have powers to levy taxes through panchayats and municipalities
  • Finance Commission report:
    • Recommendations of the Finance Commission are placed before Parliament and States have no role in the debate.
    • There is also no provision for an aggrieved State to challenge the report of Finance Commission on certain grounds or seek mandatory enforcement of its recommendations.
  • Niti Aayog:
    • Niti Aayog was envisaged as a think tank which replaced the Planning Commission.
    • Senior members of the Niti Aayog descended upon Kolkata to impress upon the West Bengal government the need for agricultural reforms in the state.
    • The discussion centered on the Union government’s policy directives regarding land lease laws as well as agricultural reform, a term by which the Union government means the revision of state Agricultural Produce Market Committee laws as per its vision.
  • Office of Governor:
    • Governor’s office is being used to the whims and fancies of the union government.
    • This is despite Supreme Court’s ruling in SR Bommai Case.
    • Instances of Goa, Karnataka post elections show how Governor’s office was misused.
    • States having no say in appointment and transfers of Governor.
  • Centrally Sponsored Schemes:
    • Ministries are directly dealing with Centrally Sponsored Schemes. So, the spirit of discussion and dialogue is being replaced by diktats by various Ministries.
    • Some say that there is no dialogue, which is untypical of cooperative federalism.
  • Other issues:
    • Deployment of paramilitary forces in states without their consent.
    • Enquiries against chief ministers to settle personal equations.

Way forward:

  • Greater devolution of power to states. Ideally union should have only those powers which state can’t handle and requires national unity like in the form of matters like defence, communication, foreign policy etc. This has been iterated by Sarkaria as well as Punchi commissions
  • Union government consulting states before legislating over the matters of state list.
  • Improved and efficient use of inter-state and zonal councils. It should inquire and advise on disputes, discuss subjects common to all states and make recommendations for better policy coordination.
  • Increased fund devolution to states by the centre by taking in concerns of states wrt to the Terms of Reference of 15th Finance Commission.
  • Using NITI Aayog efficiently with increased participation of states and making it functioning more democratic. Mistakes of its predecessor should not be repeated.
  • Legislations related to contentious issues like land, labour and natural resources should be left to the states, as the state will promote best practices. This will also enable greater investment and economic activity in states with a favourable regulatory framework.
  • States having a say in appointment and removal of governor.
  • Healthy competition between the states should be encouraged.
  • To deal with issues related to international treaties, WTO obligations, or the environment, an institutional mechanism must be evolved where important decisions are appropriately discussed with states.

Conclusion:

To bring competition, the centre should cooperate with the states by providing necessary autonomy in their policy making and allocating them the required funds to spend based on their own priorities.


Topic  Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

4) With India going to witness biggest election in world history  with total electorate being more than the population of every continent, Discuss the issues and challenges faced by Election commission in conducting elections of such magnitude with special emphasis on role of social media.(250 words)

Livemint

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of Elections as an essential democratic exercise; with India about to witness the world’s largest elections, It is thus essential to know about the major issues surrounding such a large democratic exercise in the world.

 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must  provide for a detailed analysis of the upcoming elections of 2019 in terms of the quantum, size, associated challenges that need to be addressed and a special focus needs to be made upon the social media and its role in elections.

 

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 briefly the importance of elections in India, provide for specific facts indicating the magnitude of elections this time .

Body:

Discuss :

  • various issues plaguing the electoral process in India.
  • Role of election commission
  • Impact of social media – a medium for political campaign and also as a medium of voter’s education; discuss the conundrum.
  • Reforms required.

 

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of elections in Democracy, and emphasize specially on role of Election commission in conducting free and fair elections on such a scale.

Introduction:

The 17th Lok Sabha elections of India would be the biggest election in world history, with over 900 million registered voters, out of which 15 million are aged 18-19. The total electorate is more than the population of every continent.

Body:

Magnitude of the elections:

  • There will be nearly one million polling stations, up 10.1% from the 2014 elections; 2.33 million ballot units, 1.63 million control units and 1.74 million VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trails).
  • Approximately 11 million polling staff (including security forces) will be randomized for neutrality.
  • Over 120 trains with more than 3,000 coaches, and 200,000 buses and cars, besides a large variety of transport—from boats, elephants and camels to planes and helicopters—will transport the staff and materials with clockwork precision.
  • Thousands of polling parties would walk 2-3 days to reach polling stations not otherwise accessible.

Various issues and challenges faced by Election commission in conducting elections of such magnitude:

  • The school examinations make the month of March out of reckoning. Lakhs of schools and their teachers are involved in the polls.
  • Weather conditions, agricultural cycle, festivals, (religious or social), law and order are also to be taken into consideration.
  • Availability of paramilitary forces, demanded by every party, determines the number of phases since they have to be rotated because of limited numbers.
  • The timing is extremely significant as the model code of conduct kicks in the moment the schedule is announced.
  • The government is prohibited from announcing new schemes, new postings and transfers, and using government resources for campaigning.
  • There has been ample speculation about election dates, with some even casting aspersions on the Election Commission of India’s (EC’s) neutrality in determining the dates.
  • The issue of EVM hacking has led to credibility issues.

The digital challenge to ECI and conduction of elections:

  • While social media has opened new doors for political parties to connect and converse with a new section of audience in the country, at the same time it has posed a new challenge for the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • Although the MCC has applied to internet platforms since 2013, no attempt has been made to enforce it thus far.
  • As per IAMAI’s latest social media report – political parties have earmarked around 2%-5% of their election budgets for social media.
  • The role of social media in influencing the people’s decision was seen in the Presidential elections of the USA in 2017.
  • The anonymity, universality, opacity and ease of accessibility has made internet and social media a easy way to propogandize ideas, ideologies.
  • Issues like appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organizations, pre-certification and transparency in the expenditure of political advertisements still persist.
  • The kind of monitoring tool will it be using to monitor activities on social media platforms is still a conundrum as it should not affect the right to privacy which is a fundamental right.

Way forward for challenges posed by social media:

  • To curb abuse of social media platforms in the upcoming general election, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked them to frame a general code of ethics.
  • The code would be similar to Model Code of Conduct laid down operational details by today evening, as per ECI statement.
  • Social media firms and industry body IAMAI agreed to draft the code of ethics in the immediate context.
  • Measures designed to increase transparency in campaigning, such as verification of the identities and locations of all political advertisers, and disclosure of candidates’ social media accounts and expenditure.
  • The norms aimed at curbing misinformation and hate speech by candidates: pre-certification of political ads by the ECI’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committee and the creation of dedicated grievance redressal channels through which the ECI can flag and takedown problematic content quickly.
  • The ECI has added social media experts to its district and state-level election Media Certification and Monitoring Committees and has launched an app called cVigil through which MCC violations, both online and offline, can be reported.
  • A clear clause on users’ voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election should be considered.
  • The ECI should bring social media into the ambit of paid news by cracking the whip on paid content circulated on social networking sites apart from restraining paid news items in print and electronic media.
  • Tracking the cash flow being invested on social media by political parties to keeping a check on proxy profiles the ECI should execute it all.
  • ECI must keep a track of fake profiles, objectionable content and monitoring.

Conclusion:

The ECI acknowledges social media as a big challenge and has started taking measures to ensure free and fair elections. A collaborative approach with all stakeholders will ensure that the social media challenge can be minimalized.


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

5) RBI’s recent constricted monetary policy has kept real interest rates high, impacting investment flow and job creation. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article captures the recent trends of RBI’s tight monetary policy that has kept real interest rates high, affecting investment movement and job making.

 

Key demand of the question

The answer must critically analyze the changing policies of the RBI, discuss that the primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth and  that price stability is a necessary precondition to sustainable growth. You must critically bring out the issues wit current trends of monetary policy, what needs to be done.

 

Directive word

Critically analyse – When asked to analyse, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

 

Structure of the answer

 

Introduction:

Briefly narrate the background of the issue.

Body:

The answer should cover the following :

  • Discuss  first the role of RBI’s Monetary Policy.
  • Monetary Policy Process and Goals Of Monetary policy.
  • Current issues facing RBI policies.
  • What needs to be done to address these issues and challenges?

 

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of resolving such issues and how role of government policies is also of prime importance in handling such issues.

Introduction:

Monetary policy is the process by which a central bank (Reserve Bank of India or RBI) manages money supply in the economy.  The money supply can be directly affected through reserve ratios or open market operations and can be indirectly affected by using key interest rates to influence the cost of credit.

RBI’s tight monetary policy has kept real interest rates high, impacting investment flow and job creation.

Body:

Role of RBI’s Monetary Policy:

The objectives of monetary policy include

  • ensuring inflation targeting
  • price stability
  • full employment
  • stable economic growth
  • Controlled Expansion Of Bank Credit
  • Promotion of Fixed Investment
  • Reducing the Rigidity by encouraging more competitive environment and diversification

Current issues facing RBI policies:

  • If businesses are borrowings at not less than 9%, then micro, small and medium enterprises would obviously be paying much more when inflation, whether based on the consumer or wholesale price index, is below 3 per cent, it is something serious.
  • During 2012-13 and 2013-14, the last two years of the UPA government, consumer price inflation averaged 9.7 per cent, whereas benchmark prime lending rates ranged at 9.75-10.25 per cent.
  • Under the current government, average consumer inflation has come down to 3.6 per cent in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (till January 2019).
  • If despite that, even the sovereign’s borrowing cost is now about 7.4 per cent and banks have actually hiked lending rates, the reason for the current economic slowdown is clear.
  • High real interest rates for a prolonged period are why investments have slowed down and very few jobs are being created. The source of it has been the RBI’s tight monetary policy.
  • That made sense in the initial years of the current government, when a firm commitment to low inflation and macroeconomic stability helped restore investor confidence badly dented during the loose fiscal and monetary policies of the UPA years.
  • But the tightening has gone on for too long, which the current government and the RBI under a new, less orthodox governor have realised.
  • Core inflation remains sticky with recent unexplained spikes in certain components like rural health and education and hence remains cause for worry.
  • Domestic high frequency indicators continue to point towards on-going cyclical slowdown led by the lagged impact of higher oil prices, weaker rupee, financial market tightness and weaker global demand.
  • The fading private consumption growth is expected to keep the domestic growth muted in the coming quarters

Way forward:

  • The RBI should cut its overnight lending or “repo” rate in the next policy review meeting in April;
  • It can even go in for a 0.5 percentage point reduction, instead of the usual 25 basis points.
  • The central bank could also consider more open market operations to bring down bond yields across all maturities.
  • The government, too, should slash interest rates on the Employees Provident Fund, small savings and other administered schemes.

Conclusion:

The seemingly in-part structurally benign food inflation along with softening growth should provide space for the MPC to shift the policy stance to neutral and keep the policy decisions in future data dependent. The Government’s fiscal policies should complement the efforts of MPC. 


             

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life./ Disaster and disaster management.

6) Discuss the role of Artificial intelligence in managing and mitigating floods. What are the issues and challenges involved? Discuss in the light of Google’s newly launched flood forecasting project in India.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article is in the background of  the Google’s recent efforts of leveraging machine learning to predict India floods

 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of the Artificial intelligence in managing and mitigating floods; achieve social good in the sense of preventing fatalities.

 

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:

Begin with what do you understand by Artificial intelligence, how can it be put to use to manage and mitigate hazards and disasters like floods .

 

Body:

Discuss the importance of Artificial intelligence, how advancement in Information Technology in the form of Internet, GIS, Remote Sensing, satellite communication, etc. can help a great deal in planning and implementation of hazards and provide for reduction measures.

highlight the role of information technology in management of natural disasters in India.

Discuss the significance of Google’s flood forecasting project in India, issues and challenges involved and the achievements it can make.

 

Conclusion:

Conclude with the importance of the use of technology and suggest way forward.

Introduction:

Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. It is the study of ways in which machines can be made to have sufficient creative reasoning power to perform mental task. AI can be used in places where you have to take a decision and recommend solutions.

Google Flood Forecasting Initiative that aims to provide flood forecasts and warnings in developing countries like India. About 20% of fatalities worldwide from flooding occur in India

Body:

Google flood forecasting initiative:

  • This Flood Forecasting Initiative is Google’s effort to provide high accuracy, high resolution flood forecasting.
  • It uses the Google’s machine learning (ML) expertise and our computational power as well as our access to various types of resources and data to substantially improve flood forecasting systems, their accuracy, their lead time and so on.
  • Google partnered with the Central Water Commission and the two organizations agreed to share technical expertise and data to work on the predictions, with the Commission calling the collaboration a “milestone in flood management and in mitigating the flood losses.”
  • Predicting events like earthquakes and floods means sorting through huge troves of complex data to uncover previously overlooked connections.

Unique features:

  • Generating high resolution elevation maps:
    • Google has developed a method of generating elevation maps at 1 meter resolution, based solely on completely standard optical imagery and that allows you to do this anywhere in the world.
  • Hydraulic modelling:
    • It is the modelling of how the water will behave when it moves across the floodplain, which areas it will go to, and which areas are going to be affected and which ones are going to be safe

Challenges:

  • No detailed data:
    • The current modelling systems are only physics-based, and the data is not detailed enough, while Google is using a system that combines physics modelling plus AI learning, and combines that with elevation and satellite map data.
    • It is a region of unchartered waters which needs more precision and experimentation.
  • Varying topographies:
    • The challenge of getting elevation maps is the major impediment currently.
    • India has a diverse relief and same model cannot be replicated across.
  • High Cost:
    • There is also the challenge of computational complexity. If you want to have a high resolution model, it becomes incredibly computationally expensive.
    • Creation of artificial intelligence requires huge costs as they are very complex machines. Their repair and maintenance require huge costs.
    • They have software programs which need frequent up gradation to cater to the needs of the changing environment and the need for the machines to be smarter by the day.
  • Technical Impediments:
    • Lack of trained personnel to make use of the technology is another impediment.
  • No Replicating Humans:
    • Intelligence is believed to be a gift of nature. An ethical argument continues, whether human intelligence is to be replicated or not.
    • Machines do not have any emotions and moral values. They perform what is programmed and cannot make the judgment of right or wrong.
    • They cannot take decisions if they encounter a situation unfamiliar to them. They either perform incorrectly or breakdown in such situations.
    • Mastering human behaviour is tougher as that a vast majority of brain activities occur at a non-conscious level.

Way forward:

  • For India to maximally benefit from the AI revolution, it must adopt a deliberate policy to drive AI innovation, adaptation, and proliferation in sectors beyond consumer goods and information technology services.
  • Policymakers should make AI a critical component of the prime minister’s flagship Make in India, Skill India , Disaster management, socio-economic sectors like health and education.
  • Policymakers should consider ways to encourage human-centered AI at work and to provide training and social welfare programs to ease the transition to what can be a more productive and humane workplace of the future.
  • India must view AI as a critical element of its national security strategy and evaluate models of defense research in collaboration with the private sector and universities.

Conclusion:

                Although AI is always seen with suspicion of taking away jobs, creating a robot world. There is a necessity of AI in the cases such as flood forecasting, disaster management to help the State to perform better and reduce the risk to lives of man and material.


Topic:  Disaster and disaster management.

7) While northern India is witnessing an extended winter season, the southern part of the country has started experiencing heat wave conditions this March, In this context discuss the significance and relevance of India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP).(250 words)

Indiatoday

Reference

Why this question:

The articles provide for a coverage of the recent anomaly in the weather conditions of India and importance of India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP). Thus making it important from the point of view of GS III paper.

 

Key demand of the question:

The answer should discuss the salient features of the programme, the objectives of it.  you must also detail and emphasis on the need for a comprehensive policy and coordinated approach to deal with such anomalies in weather condition that can affect multiple sectors of economy such as agriculture, health etc.

 

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 narrate the background of the issue, discuss the importance of the programme in the same context.

 

Body:

Discussion of the answer should capture the following points :

  • What is the issue ? why is there a changing trend in weather/climatic conditions.
  • Importance of the programme – ICAP.
  • Salient features and objectives of ICAP.
  • Benefits of the scheme, challenges and issues faced in implementation.
  • Need for such schemes , suggest a way forward.

 

Conclusion –

Conclude with need for holistic approach to address the issue and suggest a way forward.

Introduction:

India is currently battling two different weather extremes in two different directions. While northern India is witnessing an extended winter season due to a flurry of intense western disturbances (WDs) in February and early March, the southern part of the country was under heat wave conditions on March 6, 2019, according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

According to the IMD, “heat wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degree Celsius for plains and at least 30 degree Celsius for hilly regions for two or more days continuously.”

Body:

 Last year, heat waves had started affecting parts of northern and north western India in late March, which spurred the formation of a series of unusual dust and thunderstorms in the region. This time around the same states are undergoing an extended winter. Heat waves are the third highest cause for deaths among natural disasters in India, after lightning strikes and earthquakes; but the Indian government does not consider it as a natural calamity. In fact, the IMD came up with advisories for heat waves only in 2016 — the first time in the institution’s 140 year-history.

India Cooling Action Plan:

India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand.

Importance: Cooling requirement is cross-sectoral and an essential part for economic growth and is required across different sectors of the economy such as residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport and industries. ICAP provides an integrated vision towards cooling across sectors encompassing inter alia reduction of cooling demand, refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency and better technology options with a 20-year time horizon.

The India Cooling Action Plan seeks to

  • Reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38
  • Reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38
  • Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38
  • recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under the national S&T Programme
  • Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission. These actions will have significant climate benefits.

The following benefits would accrue to society over and above the environmental benefits:

  • Thermal comfort for all – provision for cooling for EWS and LIG housing
  • Sustainable cooling – low GHG emissions related to cooling
  • Doubling Farmers Income – better cold chain infrastructure – better value of products to farmers, less wastage of produce
  • Skilled workforce for better livelihoods and environmental protection
  • Make in India – domestic manufacturing of air-conditioning and related cooling equipment’s
  • Robust R&D on alternative cooling technologies – to provide the push to innovation in a cooling sector

Challenges:

  • ICAP has not indicated the benchmark for thermal comfort that needs to guide energy efficiency measures for all – users of active as well as passive cooling.
  • ICAP’s actual intent is “myopically” focused on only the market for personal air conditioners, ignoring the fact that demand for cooling is driven by people and not by sale of air conditioners.
  • ICAP must capture equity issue, ensure thermal comfort for all without over dependence on active cooling.
  • ICAP must take note of the fact that about 60 per cent of current space cooling energy consumption is by top 10 per cent of the population.
  • Over 96 per cent of transport cooling energy consumption is due to personal cars (13.5 per cent of population) and this small minority skews electricity demand and locks in enormous carbon energy guzzling.

Way forward:

  • The ICAP must emphasize the urgency and need for better planning, zoning and building regulations to prevent Urban Heat Islands.
  • ICAP can be strengthened further by calling for a mapping exercise by local jurisdictions of vulnerable populations and their cooling needs.
  • The ICAP must provide some guidance to states and articulate the role of non-state actors such as builders, manufacturers, consumer groups, industry associations in supporting the recommendations.
  • ICAP must provide recommendations to set up robust data collection frameworks needed for monitoring, verifying, enforcing and improving the proposed interventions.
  • The ICAP must say more on moderating cooling demand from rich through price signals and regulations, sensitising consumers to the environmental and social impact of AC buying.

Conclusion:

Sustainable cooling for India cannot be achieved by technological solutions alone. It has to respond to India’s unique needs that vary across the country. The overarching goal of ICAP is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society.