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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) What were the reasons responsible for the decline of the Mughal empire in India. Discuss.(250 words)

Modern Indian History by BIPIN CHANDRA PAL (NCERT TEXTBOOK OLD)

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 fall of the Mughal empire and the reasons responsible for it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the decline of Mughal empire. E.g the beginnings of the decline of the Mughal empire can be traced back to Aurangzeb who inherited a large empire and yet adopted an expansionist policy.

Body-

Discuss in points about the reasons as to why the Mughal empire declined. E.g

  • The objective of Aurangzeb to unify the entire country under one Central political authority was justifiable in theory but not in practice.
  • Unwillingness to accept the regional autonomy inability to forge regional alliances. Aurangzeb absence from the north for our 25 years and his failure to subdue the Marathas led to the deterioration of the administration really, undermined the prestige of the empire and its army which further led to the neglect of the vital NWFP.
  • The strength of the Mughal empire was challenged at its nerve center, Delhi by Satnami, the Jat and the Sikh uprisings.
  • Aurangzeb’s religious orthodoxy and his policy towards the Hindus damaged the stability of the Mughal empire.
  • In the absence of a fixed rule for succession, the empire was always plagued after the death of a King by a civil war between the princes resulting in loss of life and property and of capable military commanders.
  • After Bahadur Shah’s reign came a long list of weak, worthless and luxury-loving Kings.
  • The condition of the Indian peasants worsened during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries and the burden of land revenue increased on the peasants and agriculture deteriorated, which further led to peasant discontent etc.  

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

Introduction:

The period of the Great Mughals, which began in 1526 with Babur’s accession to the throne, ended with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. Aurangzeb’s death marked the end of an era in Indian history. When Aurangzeb died, the empire of the Mughals was the largest in India. Yet, within about fifty years of his death, the Mughal Empire disintegrated.

Body:

The reasons responsible for the decline of the Mughal empire in India are:

  • Wars of Succession:
    • The Mughals did not follow any law of succession like the law of primogeniture.
    • Consequently, each time a ruler died, a war of succession between the brothers for the throne started.
    • This weakened the Mughal Empire, especially after Aurangzeb.
    • The nobles, by siding with one contender or the other, increased their own power.
  • Aurangzeb’s Policies:
    • Aurangzeb failed to realise that the vast Mughal Empire depended on the willing support of the people.
    • Aurangzeb’s religious orthodoxy and his policy towards the Hindus damaged the stability of the Mughal empire
    • He lost the support of the Rajputs who had contributed greatly to the strength of the Empire.
    • They had acted as pillars of support, but Aurangzeb’s policy turned them to bitter foes.
    • The wars with the Sikhs, the Marathas, the Jats and the Rajputs had drained the resources of the Mughal Empire.
  • Weak Successors of Aurangzeb:
    • The successors of Aurangzeb were weak and became victims of the intrigues and conspiracies of the faction-ridden nobles.
    • They were inefficient generals and incapable of suppressing revolts.
    • The absence of a strong ruler, an efficient bureaucracy and a capable army had made the Mughal Empire weak.
    • After Bahadur Shah’s reign came a long list of weak, worthless and luxury-loving Kings.
  • Empty Treasury:
    • Shah Jahan’s zeal for construction had depleted the treasury.
    • Aurangzeb’s long wars in the south had further drained the exchequer.
  • Invasions:
    • Foreign invasions sapped the remaining strength of the Mughals and hastened the process of disintegration.
    • The invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali resulted in further drainage of wealth.
    • These invasions shook the very stability of the empire.
  • Size of the Empire and Challenge from Regional Powers:
    • The Mughal Empire had become too large to be controlled by any ruler from one centre i.e. Delhi.
    • The Great Mughals were efficient and exercised control over ministers and army, but the later Mughals were poor administrators.
    • As a result, the distant provinces became independent. The rise of independent states led to the disintegration of the Mughal Empire.
  • Rise of independent states in the 18th century:
    • With the decline of the Mughal Empire a number of provinces seceded from the empire and several independent states came into existence.
    • Hyderabad:
    • The State of Hyderabad was founded by Qamar-ud-din Siddiqi, who was appointed Viceroy of the Deccan, with the title of Nizam-ul- Mulk, by Emperor Farrukhsiyar in 1712.
    • He established a virtually independent state but returned to Delhi during the reign of Emperor Mohammad Shah.
    • In 1724, he was reappointed Viceroy of the Deccan with the title of Asaf Jah.
    • Bengal:
    • Bengal in the 18th century comprised Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
    • Murshid Quli Khan was the Diwan of Bengal under Aurangzeb.
    • Farrukhsiyar appointed him Subedar (governor) of Bengal in 1717.
    • Awadh:
    • The subah of Awadh comprised Benaras and some districts near Allahabad.
    • Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk was appointed Governor of Awadh by the Mughal Emperor.
    • But he soon became independent.
  • Deterioration of land relations
    • Shahjahan and Aurangzeb opted for jagirs and Paibaqi instead of paying directly from state treasury to the officials.
    • Jagirs refer to temporary allotment of lands to officials for their services which may be according to the satisfaction of the Emperor.
    • Paibaqi refers to revenue from reserved lands which were sent to the central treasury.
    • There was a constant clash of interest between the nobles and zamindars.
  • Rise of the Marathas
    • Marathas consolidated their position in Western India
    • They started making plans for a greater Maharashtra empire.

Conclusion:

The decline of the Mughal Empire was due to social, economic, political and institutional factors. By 1813, the British government took away the power that allowed the East India Company’s monopoly and later, the company worked on behalf of the government. In 1857, the Indian Rebellion occured which prompted the British colonial office to exile the last emperor, Bahadur Shah II, and take complete control of the Indian subcontinent.

    


             

Topic– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

2) Discuss the social and economic conditions of the people of India in the eighteenth century. (250 words)

Modern Indian History by BIPIN CHANDRA PAL (NCERT TEXTBOOK OLD)

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 look into the social and economic conditions of the people in India, in the eighteenth century.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the eighteenth century India. E.g India of the 18th century, failed to make sufficient economic, social or cultural progress necessary to save the country from collapse.

Body-

Discuss in points, the social and economic conditions of the people of Indian in the eighteenth century. E.g

  • The increasing revenue demands of the state, oppression by the officials, the greed and rapacity of the nobles, revenue farmers and zamindars, marches and counter-marches of the rival armies made the life of the people wretched.
  • Extreme poverty of the peasants existed side by side of the extreme luxury of the powerful nobles.
  • Techniques of production remained stationary for years.
  • Even though Indian villages were largely self-sufficient and imported little from outside, extensive trade within the country and with other countries of Europe and Asia was carried on under the Mughals.
  • However constant warfare, d

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

Introduction:

India of the 18th century failed to make progress economically, socially, or culturally at a pace, which would have saved the country from collapse. There is a complete dearth of authentic figures which can help in drawing a picture of socio-economic life of India in the eighteenth century. The British records, which also relate to the whole of peninsula, are available only after the census which took place only in 1880 for the first time. The record left by the Court historians of the native rulers was more overshadowed, by pessimism.

Body:

Social Conditions:

  • Social life and culture in the 18th century were marked by stagnation and dependence on the past.
  • There was, of course, no uniformity of culture and social patterns all over the country. Nor did all Hindus and all Muslims form two distinct societies.
  • People were divided by religion, region, tribe, language, and caste.
  • Moreover, the social life and culture of the upper classes, who formed a tiny minority of the total population, was in many respects different from the life and culture of the lower classes.
  • Hindus:
    • Caste was the central feature of the social life of the Hindus.
    • Apart from the four vanes, Hindus were divided into numerous castes (Jatis), which differed in their nature from place to place.
    • The caste system rigidly divided people and permanently fixed their place in the social scale.
    • The higher castes, headed by the Brahmins, monopolized all social prestige and privileges.
    • Caste rules were extremely rigid. Inter-caste marriages were forbidden.
    • There were restrictions on inter-dining among members of different castes.
    • Caste was a major divisive force and element of disintegration in India of 18th century.
  • Muslims:
    • Muslims were no less divided by considerations of caste, race, tribe, and status, even though their religion enjoined social equality.
    • The Shia and Sunni (two sects of Muslim religion) nobles were sometimes at loggerheads on account of their religious differences.
    • The Irani, Afghan, Turani, and Hindustani Muslim nobles, and officials often stood apart from each other.
    • A large number of Hindus converted to Islam carried their caste into the new religion and observed its distinctions, though not as rigidly as before.
    • Moreover, the sharif Muslims consisting of nobles, scholars, priests, and army officers, looked down upon the ajlaf Muslims or the lower class Muslims in a manner similar to that adopted by the higher caste Hindus towards the lower caste Hindus.

Economic Conditions:

  • The increasing revenue demands of the state, the oppression of the officials, the greed and rapacity of the nobles, revenue-farmers, and zamindars, the marches and countermarches of the rival armies, and the depredations of the numerous adventurers roaming the land during the first half of the 18th century made the life of the people quite despicable.
  • Extreme poverty existed side by side with extreme rich and luxury.
  • On the one hand, there were the rich and powerful nobles steeped in luxury and comfort; on the other, backward, oppressed, and impoverished peasants living at the bare subsistence level and having to bear all sorts of injustices and inequities.
  • Agriculture:
    • Indian agriculture during the 18th century was technically backward and stagnant. The techniques of production had remained stationary for centuries.
    • The peasants tried to make up for technical backwardness by working very hard.
    • Even though it was peasants’ produce that supported the rest of the society, their own reward was miserably inadequate.
  • Trade
    • Even though the Indian villages were largely self-sufficient and imported little from outside and the means of communication were backward, extensive trade within the country and between India and other countries of Asia and Europe was earned on under the Mughals.
    • India imported − pearls, raw silk, wool, dates, dried fruits, and rose water from the Persian Gulf region; coffee, gold, drugs, and honey from Arabia; tea, sugar, porcelain, and silk from China;
    • India’s most important article of export was cotton textiles, which were famous all over the world for their excellence and were in demand everywhere.
    • India also exported raw silk and silk fabrics, hardware, indigo, saltpeter, opium, rice, wheat, sugar, pepper and other spices, precious stones, and drugs.
    • Constant warfare and disruption of law and order, in many areas during the 18th century, banned the country’s internal trade and disrupted its foreign trade to some extent and in some directions.
    • The decline of internal and foreign trade also hit the industries hard in some parts of the country.
    • Nevertheless, some industries in other parts of the country gained as a result of expansion in trade with Europe due to the activities of the European trading companies.

Conclusion:

India during the eighteenth century AD was seeped in tradition. It failed to imbibe the scientific knowledge that the West had to offer. Politically, it was extremely disunited. All these factors made it easy for the Europeans to colonize India.


Topic-Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

3) The battle of Plassey is of immense historical importance. Discuss.(250 words)

Modern Indian History by BIPIN CHANDRA PAL (NCERT TEXTBOOK OLD)

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 battle of Plassey and discuss at length as to why it is of immense historical importance for India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  battle of Plassey. E.g

Body-

Discuss in points as to why the battle of Plassey was of immense historical importance for India. E.g

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

Introduction:

The Battle of Plassey was a war fought between the British East India Company and the Nawab of Bengal and his close allies, who were mainly the French troops. The battle was won on June 23, 1757, leading to the consolidation of the British in Bengal and later expanding other territories of India.

The Battle of Plassey was fought at Palashi, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River near Calcutta and Murshidabad which was the public capital of Bengal. It was more of skirmishes than a battle according to some historians, who were part of the seven years’ war fought in India by the British.

Body:

Background:

  • The Company had a strong presence in India and were located in three main stations; Fort St. George, Fort William, and Bombay Castle.
  • The British allied themselves with the Nawabs and princes in exchange for security against rebels and any form of external and internal attack.
  • The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 stopped the direct hostility between the British and the French powers. The treaty did not last long before the two powers were again involved in indirect hostilities.
  • When Alvardi Khan who was the Nawab of Bengal died in April 1756, his son Siraj-Ud-daula succeeded him. The young Nawab immediately laid siege to Calcutta, capturing it and imprisoning several British officials in June 1756.
  • Clive concluded that the only way to secure the interest of the Company was to replace Siraj with a friendly Nawab. General Mir Jafar was found as a possible replacement. And a secret agreement was passed to Mir Jafar’s residence.

The beginnings of British political sway over India may be traced back to the battle of Plassey in 1757, when the English East India Company’s forces defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal. The significance of battle of Plassey can be studied under the following consequences:

Financial and Political consequences

  • The Company was granted undisputed right to free trade in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
  • It also received the Zamindari of the 24 Parganas near Calcutta.
  • The new Nawab, Mir Jaffar, was dependent on the British for the maintenance of his position in Bengal. An English army of 6000 troops was maintained in Bengal.
  • The wealth paid to British immediately after Plassey was a sum of £800,000
  • Mir Jaffar regretted the deal that he struck with British later when he was reduced to a puppet leader only.
  • Prior to 1757 the English trade in Bengal was largely financed through import of bullion from England; but after that year not only bullion import stopped, but bullion was exported from Bengal to China and other parts of India, which gave a competitive advantage to the English Company over its European rivals.

Position of British after the Battle

  • The battle of Plassey was of immense historical importance. It paved way for British Mastery of Bengal and eventually the whole of India.
  • It boosted British prestige and at a single stroke raised them to the status of major contender for the Indian Empire. Before the battle, it was only just another European company trading in Bengal. But after Plassey they monopolized trade of Bengal.
  • Plassey had brought about a gradual transformation in the character of the Company. In the context of the then politics, military control was synonymous with political body. Thus, the Company played a role of commercial-cum-military-cum- political body.
  • The rich revenues of Bengal enabled them to organize a strong army and meet the cost of conquest of the rest of the country.
  • Control over Bengal played a decisive role in the Anglo French struggle where British were finally victorious.
  • The victory of Plassey enabled the Company with its servants to amass untold wealth at the cost of helpless people of Bengal.
  • The conflict at Plassey was also crucial for the East India company’s triumph over its French rivals.

Conclusion:

Robert Clive became the Baron of Plassey. Affairs that occurred after the victory at the Battle of Plassey had changed the British East India Company from a trading company to a central power. Thus, the Battle of Plassey marked the beginning of political supremacy of the English East India Company in India.


Topic – climate change

4) Discuss how India can deal with vagaries of climate change and its impact of agriculture?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The question explain India’s risk profile to changing climatic conditions and explores the options our farmers have in coping with such changes.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first highlight the risk that India faces as a result of climate change and thereafter examine what kind of smart agriculture would be suited for India’s needs to deal with such vagaries of nature.

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 – highlight the fact that farmers in several parts of India have suffered as a result of unusual weather events.

Body

  • Discuss India’s risk profile to climate change – India is fortunate to have the monsoon, but it is also uniquely vulnerable to rising temperatures, with the country ranked 14th on the Global Climate Risk Index 2019. The country has over 120 million hectares suffering from some form of degradation. This has consequences, especially for marginal farmers. According to one estimate, they may face a 24-58% decline in household income and 12-33% rise in household poverty through exacerbated droughts. With rain-fed agriculture practised in over 67% of our total crop area, weather variability can lead to heavy costs, especially for coarse grains
  • Discuss the potential solutions –
    • Promotion of conservation farming and dryland agriculture, with each village provided with timely rainfall forecasts
    • weather-based forewarnings
    • mandate to change planting dates, particularly for wheat, should be considered, which could reduce climate change induced damage by 60-75% etc
  • Highlight what India should do in this regard.

Conclusion – give your view and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

Bundelkhand region occupying parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh was once blessed with over 800-900 mm rainfall annually. But over the last seven years, the amount of rainfall in this region has nearly halved, with just about 24 rainy days on average in the monsoon season. The adverse impact of climate change has resulted in crop failures and agrarian distress.

A similar situation can be witnessed across the rain-fed regions of India. There is hardly any greenery in many villages, making it difficult for farmers to even maintain cattle.

Body:

India’s risk profile to climate change:

  • India is fortunate to have the monsoon, but it is also uniquely vulnerable to rising temperatures.
  • India is ranked 14th on the Global Climate Risk Index 2019.
  • With rain-fed agriculture practised in over 67% of our total crop area, weather variability can lead to heavy costs, especially for coarse grains (which are mostly grown in rain-fed areas).
  • According to one estimate, they may face a 24-58% decline in household income and 12-33% rise in household poverty through exacerbated droughts.
  • India has over 120 million hectares suffering from some form of degradation.
  • Rise in average temperatures would significantly impact our kharif crops.
  • Any significant decline in summer rains would devastate Indian agriculture. Climate change related phenomena have consequences, especially for marginal farmers.
  • They potentially face a huge decline in household income and rise in household poverty through exacerbated droughts.

The potential solutions:

Climate-smart agriculture:

  • Promotion of conservation farming and dryland agriculture
  • Providing each village with timely rainfall forecasts, along with weather-based forewarnings regarding crop pests and epidemics in various seasons
  • Refocussing our agricultural research programmes on dryland research, with adoption of drought-tolerant breeds that could reduce production risks by up to 50%.
  • A mandate to change planting dates, particularly for wheat, should be considered, which could reduce climate change induced damage by 60-75%.
  • Organic agriculture enhances natural nutrient cycling and builds soil organic matter, which can also support resilience to climate change and sequester carbon in soils.

Finance & Credit:

  • Expansion of insurance coverage to cover all crops, and an expanded Rural Insurance Development Fund
  • Increase in supply of credit
  • Subsidized interest rates through government support
  • Basic income by the government to the most vulnerable farmers, as was recently announced

Compensatory afforestation:

  • India is estimated to have lost over 26 million hectares of forest land and 20 million hectares of grasslands/shrublands between 1880 and 2013. Even now, urbanisation means that India consumes about 135 hectares of forest land a day.
  • Actual on-ground implementation of compensatory afforestation is required to ensure we do not lose any net forest cover.
  • State CAMPAs (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) should be mandated to meet regularly.
  • State-level forest departments record keeping must be revamped, particularly on assessment and realisation of dues on compensatory afforestation activities.

Empowering the Indian Forest Service:

  • The Indian Forest Service (IFS) also needs restructuring. This needs to remain a specialised service, and not be run through deputations from other services.
  • In the environmental domain, the IFS needs to be given the status equivalent to the police or the army.
  • State-of-the-art training to its personnel must be provided.
  • Specialisation should be encouraged in wildlife, tourism and protection for new recruits.

Green smart cities:

  • Cities adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries, need to be converted into green smart cities with upgraded waste recycling processes.

Van Dhan Yojana:

  • The Van Dhan Yojana, as adopted by the State government in Rajasthan, can be scaled up towards building a green mission to save our non-protected forests i.e . outside the existing national parks and sanctuaries.
  • Heritage towns should be given more attention — cities like Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur, Chikmagalur and Jabalpur

Way forward

  • Prudent investments and policy reform can help make India resilient to climate change.
  • Any adaptation to ongoing climate change will require climate justice.
  • This can be induced by expansion of joint research and development partnerships like the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, pairing India’s emerging smart cities with green cities in the West.
  • India needs to decarbonise by reducing emissions, there is no doubt about that. But the West needs to pay its bills too.

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

5) There is a need for adequate legal, organisational framework to regulate bias in algorithms, In case of India. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question

Today the rise of algorithms and the AI is being seen inevitable. In this context it is important to discuss the need for adequate institutional framework to regulate inherent bias in algorithms and AI.

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 look deeper into the inherent bias in algorithms and bring out why there is a need for adequate legal, organizational framework in India to take care of the algorithm bias.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the rise of AI and algorithms. E.g The reasons for the increasing reliance on algorithms are evident. First, an algorithm can make decisions more efficiently than human beings, thus indicating its superiority to human rationality. Second, an algorithm can provide emotional distance — it could be less “uncomfortable” to let a machine make difficult decisions for you.

Body-

  1. DIscuss about the bias in algorithms. E.g
  • A machine learning algorithm is designed to learn from patterns in its source data. Sometimes, such data may be polluted due to record-keeping flaws, biased community inputs and historical trends.
  • Other sources of bias include insufficient data, correlation without causation and a lack of diversity in the database. The algorithm is encouraged to replicate existing biases and a vicious circle is created.
  • Bias can lead algorithms to make unfair decisions by reinforcing systemic discrimination. For example, a predictive policing algorithm used for foretelling future crimes may disproportionately target poor persons etc.
  1. Bring out the need for an adequate legal and organizational framework to tackle the issue. E.g
  • The extant law in India is glaringly inadequate. Our framework of constitutional and administrative law is not geared towards assessing decisions made by non-human actors.
  • Further, India has not yet passed a data protection law and the existing SPDI rules issued under the IT Act, 2000 do not cover algorithmic bias.
  • The first step to a legal response would be passing an adequate personal data protection law.
  • The right to the logic of automated decisions can be provided to individuals. Such a right will have to balance the need for algorithmic transparency with organisational interests.
  • A general anti-discrimination and equality legislation can be passed, barring algorithmic discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, religion, sexual orientation, disability etc in both the public and private sectors etc.

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

Introduction:

An Algorithm is merely a set of instructions that can be used to solve a problem. The reasons for the increasing reliance on algorithms are evident. First, an algorithm can make decisions more efficiently than human beings, thus indicating its superiority to human rationality. Second, an algorithm can provide emotional distance — it could be less “uncomfortable” to let a machine make difficult decisions for you.

Body:

Algorithms and AI in governance:

  • The use of AI in governance in India is still nascent.
  • However, this will soon change as the use of machine learning algorithms in various spheres has either been conceptualised or has commenced already.
  • For example, the Maharashtra and Delhi police have taken the lead in adopting predictive policing technologies.
  • Further, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has planned to install facial recognition at airports to ease security.

The bias in algorithms:

  • The bias may often be concealed until it affects a large number of people.
  • There is a need to examine their potential for bias as algorithms are being used to make evaluative decisions that can negatively impact our daily lives.
  • Algorithms are also dictating the use of scarce resources for social welfare.
  • A machine learning algorithm is designed to learn from patterns in its source data. Sometimes, such data may be polluted due to record-keeping flaws, biased community inputs and historical trends.
  • Other sources of bias include insufficient data, correlation without causation and a lack of diversity in the database. The algorithm is encouraged to replicate existing biases and a vicious circle is created.
  • Algorithms are premeditated to differentiate between people, images and documents. Bias can lead algorithms to make unfair decisions by reinforcing systemic discrimination.
  • For example, a predictive policing algorithm used for foretelling future crimes may disproportionately target poor persons. Similarly, an algorithm used to make a hiring call may favour an upper-caste Hindu man over an equally qualified woman.

The need for an adequate legal and organizational framework to tackle the issue:

  • The extant law in India is glaringly inadequate.
  • Our framework of constitutional and administrative law is not geared towards assessing decisions made by non-human actors.
  • Further, India has not yet passed a data protection law.
  • The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, proposed by the Srikrishna Committee has provided the rights to confirmation and access, sans the right to receive explanations about algorithmic decisions.
  • The existing rules issued under the IT Act, 2000 do not cover algorithmic bias.
  • High digital illiteracy can further exacerbate the lurking danger and increase the inequality between rich and poor.

Way forward:

  • Possible solutions to algorithmic bias could be legal and organisational.
  • The first step to a legal response would be passing an adequate personal data protection law. The draft law of the Srikrishna Committee provides a framework to begin the conversation on algorithmic bias.
  • The right to the logic of automated decisions can be provided to individuals. Such a right will have to balance the need for algorithmic transparency with organisational interests.
  • Second, a general anti-discrimination and equality legislation can be passed, barring algorithmic discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, religion, sexual orientation, disability etc in both the public and private sectors.
  • Organisational measures can be pegged to a specific legislation on algorithmic bias. In the interests of transparency, entities ought to shed light on the working of their algorithms. This will entail a move away from the current opacity and corporate secrecy.
  • Mandating accountability from developers and users is expedient. Developers should design fair algorithms that respect data authenticity and account for representation.
  • Organisations could develop internal audit mechanisms to inspect whether the algorithm meets its intended purpose, and whether it discriminates between similarly placed individuals. Organisations could also outsource the auditing to certified auditors.
  • Entities relying on evaluative algorithms should have public-facing grievance redressal mechanisms. An aggrieved individual or community should be able to challenge the decision.
  • Finally, the use of algorithms by government agencies may require public notice to enable scrutiny.

Conclusion:

Considering their pervasiveness, algorithms cannot be allowed to operate as unaccountable black boxes. The law in India, as well as companies reaping the benefits of AI, must take note and evolve at a suitable pace.


Topic: Security management in border areas

6) Balakot operations have established air strikes as an effective tool of deterrence in dealing with Pakistan. Discuss.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article discusses the recent precision airstrikes in Balakot and analyzes why this changed strategy of using airpower is a valid strategy in dealing with Pakistan. The article examines the reasons why India hesitated from using such an option in the past and discusses the opportunities provided by such strikes.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the fact that air strikes in counter-terrorist operations are the preferred first option across the Western world. The question expects us to discuss why India hesitated from using such an option in the past and the impact of using airstrikes as a means of deterrence. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced conclusion 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 – Explain about the recent Balakot air strike in response to Pulwama strike.

Body

  • Highlight the significance of the strike – a calibrated, decisive and yet restrained show of force, the Indian Air Force (IAF) converted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of punitive action into reality as it pounded jihadi training camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) in a series of coordinated air strikes
  • Discuss why such an option was not explored by India in the past – responsibility, restraint and escalation
  • Discuss what makes these airstrikes an effective strategic option –
    • while many of these reasons — responsibility, restraint and escalation — may hold true while conducting sub-conventional operations in the hinterland, different paradigms have existed in Jammu and Kashmir ever since Pakistan raised the tempo of its covert war by employing proxies like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
  • Discuss the impact of this strategy critically highlighting both the pluses and the minuses

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

Introduction:

A calibrated, decisive and yet restrained show of force by the Indian Air Force (IAF) converted the promise of punitive action into reality as it pounded jihadi training camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) in a series of coordinated air strikes in the wee hours. The airstrikes were pre-emptive against the terror training camps and hideouts which claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama attack.

Body:

Airstrikes were not used in the past due to:

  • Responsibility: India has always been a responsible power especially with respect to weapons, war.
  • Restraint: Peace and co-operation has been an important guiding principle of our foreign policy. We have even adopted a second-strike capability wrt to nuclear power.
  • Escalation: Escalation of skirmishes unnecessarily leads to war which can take a turn anyway. It can lead to huge costs in terms of manpower, money, material etc.
  • Successive governments’ lack of understanding of what air power could and could not do.
  • During the Kargil conflict, the IAF wanted to hit the logistics lines opposite the Kargil area that would choke supplies but was held back with restrictions to not cross the LoC.
  • Similarly, in 2002, the IAF conducted some strikes, albeit without crossing the LoC, during the closing stages of Operation Parakram when Pakistan made some effective incursions in the Neelam-Gurez sector

Seen in isolation from a contemporary conflict scenario, air strikes in counter-terrorist operations are the preferred first option across the Western world for a few reasons.

  • First, they are safer than committing boots on the ground.
  • Second, the seductive technological capability of precision allows for pinpoint targeting and the possibility of carrying out effective decapitation missions against terrorist cadres.
  • And lastly, air strikes are no longer seen as escalatory mechanisms in a sub-conventional conflict.

The Balakot airstrikes were a paradigm shift:

  • There seems to be an emerging understanding within the strategic community and the political establishment that offensive air power can be employed as a credible tool of punitive or proactive deterrence, a policy that has been attributed to the more muscular national security posture of the present NDA government.
  • The fact that the air attack plan is said to have been explained in detail by the air chief to the defence minister, and that Prime Minister monitored the attack in real time, reflects that there was good synergy between all stakeholders in the operation.
  • The IAF must be commended for not engaging in mission over-reach, considering that it does not regularly conduct such operations.
  • The surprise element and the timing may have caught the best air forces by surprise. It was a mission well-executed. It is assessed that significant damage was caused to the target systems chosen.

Conclusion:

India cannot afford to let its guard down. War as we know it is not an option but full-spectrum and hardened deterrence is an absolute necessity. The airstrikes enhances the understanding of the utility of air power as a kinetic tool of statecraft that can be employed with restraint.


Topic –  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;

7) “Shelving hard decisions is the least ethical course.” – Sir George Adrian Cadbury. Comment in the context of civil services in India. (250 words)

Reference

 

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 ethical decision-making and bring out why shelving hard decisions is the least ethical course.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the civil services in India. E.g bring out the huge amount of stress and pressure faced by a public servant and mention the need to make decisions on a daily basis.

Body-

Discuss in points how decision making should be done and why shelving had decisions is the least ethical course. E.g

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

Introduction:

Civil Services are the bedrock of public administration. Civil services have assumed more important role in democracy to ensure good governance, both in developing and developed countries. In the modern administrative state, public administration has become so significant that our development, upliftment and progress depend mainly upon the efficient functioning of public administration.

Body:

Decision-making has great importance for success of governance in democracy. Civil Servants have to take critical decisions at every stage. Decision-making pervades through all functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing and control.

A few considerations to keep in mind, as civil servant strives to make ethically sound decisions:

  • Keep in mind that what’s legal and what’s ethical aren’t always the same:
    • Usually the two go hand-in-hand. But there may be certain organizational decisions and actions that, while legally sound, are not fully ethical. Example: Consider the handling of customer data, and how actions could fall into one of the categories:
    • Ethical and legal: Keeping customer data confidential
    • Ethical, but not legal: Calling attention to the improper handling of customer data
    • Not ethical, but legal: Sharing disclosures according to legal requirements, but doing so in a way that customers don’t understand what they are agreeing to, as far as sharing data with other companies
    • Not ethical or legal: Providing customers’ information to other companies without their permission
  • Be aware that ethics exist on a spectrum:
    • There are not “good” ethics or “bad” ethics; rather, the concept of ethics exists along a continuum.
    • Your values are shaped by a lifetime of influences, including family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and personal and professional circumstances.
    • A colleague may have different values than you, shaped by different influences and experiences.
    • There are often compromises to make, and that’s where the concept of a spectrum comes into play. Indeed, there is never one single point on that spectrum that’s “good” for every possible situation. You really have to dig deep into possible implications and weigh the potential impacts — both short- and long-term.
    • In some instances, a certain decision may be the most ethical and, in others, that same decision may not be. The spectrum of ethics ranges from those decisions and actions that serve only you to those decisions and actions that serve everybody equally well. It’s awfully rare when the correct decision only serves yourself, and just as rare to find circumstances where everyone can be served equally well.
  • Strive to serve the greatest possible good:
    • In the world of ethics, we usually try to land in the realm of what’s called utilitarianism: the greatest good for the greatest number.
    • You start by looking at moral and situational considerations.
    • Your responsibility as a practitioner is to think through the implications and to help your fellow leaders decide what seems to be the most ethically sound path.
  • Know the code of ethics:
    • what defines an occupation as a profession is the very existence of professional standards and an ethical code of behavior.
    • Code of Ethics factors in both moral and situational considerations, addressing multiple categories of the tough situations that you may face and providing guidance for each.

Conclusion:

                Decision making is a crucial task and backing off from a decision after it is taken is unethical as a lot of things will be at stake. Thus, any decision making must be ethical and certain with all the risks mitigated and its effects on the stakeholders involved.