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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 MARCH 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 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) To what extent Mao-Tse-Tung and his policies during and aftermath of Chinese Civil War are responsible for rise of contemporary China.(250 words)

World history by Norman Lowe, World history NCERT

 

Why this question:

The question is in the light of Mao- Tse- Tung and his policies around the Chinese civil war that led to rise of Current China.

Key demands of the question:

The answer should provide for a close inspection of the role played by Mao , how he was instrumental in establishing an early form of Chinese communism in the years 1928-34. How He helped to develop it and create the military and political strategy in the Yenan years of 1935-45 that won the civil war in 1949. He then went on to mold communist China and ruled it – in his last years at least in name – until his death in September 1976.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start with the significant role of Mao-Tse-Tung in Chinese revolution.

Body

Discuss the following aspects in the answer:

  • Briefly – who was Mao , his role  in bringing out urban and agrarian reforms —via China’s first five-year plan (1953–57), the Great Leap Forward (1958–60), and the Cultural Revolution (1966–76).
  • His authoritarian tactics to maintain principal control over the trajectory of his country.
  • Impact on contemporary China.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of Mao-Tse-Tung, his distinct policies and their impact as of even today.

Introduction:

Few people in history deserve sole credit for changing the fate of an entire nation. One of them is Mao Tse-tung, the man who rose from the peasantry to become the pre-eminent revolutionary theorist, political leader and statesman of Communist China.

Mao’s influence endured more than 40 years from the Long March of the 1930s, through the Red Army’s victory in 1949, until his death in 1976 at age 83. He remained chairman of the party to the end. The grip that MaoismMao’s philosophy of socialism — had on decision-making and opinion-moulding loosened after 1976.

Body:

Mao was responsible for the disastrous policies of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution’.

Background:

  • After training as a teacher, he travelled to Beijing where he worked in the University Library. It was during this time that he began to read Marxist literature.
  • In 1921, he became a founder member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and set up a branch in Hunan.
  • In 1923, the Kuomintang (KMT) nationalist party had allied with the CCP to defeat the warlords who controlled much of northern China.
  • In 1927, the KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek launched an anti-communist purge.
  • Mao and other communists retreated to south east China. In 1934, after the KMT surrounded them, Mao led his followers on the ‘Long March’, a 6,000 mile journey to northwest China to establish a new base.
  • The Communists and KMT were again temporarily allied during eight years of war with Japan (1937-1945), but shortly after the end of World War Two, civil war broke out between them.

Post Civil War:

  • The Communists were victorious, and on 1 October 1949 Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • Mao and other Communist leaders set out to reshape Chinese society.
  • Industry came under state ownership and China’s farmers began to be organised into collectives. All opposition was ruthlessly suppressed.
  • The Chinese initially received significant help from the Soviet Union, but relations soon began to cool.
  • In 1958, in an attempt to introduce a more ‘Chinese’ form of communism, Mao launched the ‘Great Leap Forward‘.
  • This aimed at mass mobilisation of labour to improve agricultural and industrial production.
  • The result, instead, was a massive decline in agricultural output, which, together with poor harvests, led to famine and the deaths of millions.
  • The policy was abandoned and Mao’s position weakened.

Post Great Leap Forward:

  • In an attempt to re-assert his authority, Mao launched the ‘Cultural Revolution’ in 1966, aiming to purge the country of ‘impure’ elements and revive the revolutionary spirit.
  • To encourage the personality cult that sprang up around Mao Zedong during the first phase of the Cultural Revolution, the now-famous “Little Red Book” of Mao’s quotations was printed and distributed by the millions throughout China.
  • One-and-a-half million people died and much of the country’s cultural heritage was destroyed. In September 1967, with many cities on the verge of anarchy, Mao sent in the army to restore order.
  • The Cultural Revolution’s short-term effects may have been felt mainly in China’s cities, but its long-term effects would impact the entire country for decades to come.
  • Mao appeared victorious, but his health was deteriorating.
  • His later years saw attempts to build bridges with the United States, Japan and Europe.

Mao’s policies and Contemporary China:

  • Even 40 years after his death, the Communist Party of China still feels the need for Mao Zedong to maintain its legitimacy.
  • While Mao is still officially venerated by the ruling CPC as the founder of modern China, some fear the party, in a bid to modernize its image, wants to play down his legacy.
  • Mao has become a potent symbol for leftists within and without the ruling Communist Party who feel three decades of market-based reform have gone too far, creating social inequalities like poverty and graft.
  • In lauding Mao, they sometimes seek to put pressure on the current leadership and its market-oriented policies.
  • Xi presents himself as a leader who – in the interests of the Chinese people – is willing to take on the party ruthlessly to cleanse it of corruption.

Conclusion:

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history. He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary. Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China’s population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership. Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artefacts and sites.


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) On one side there was dawn of freedom in America on the other side shackles of bondage were being riveted in India. Critically Examine the impact of American war of independence on India.(250 words)

World history by Norman Lowe, World history NCERT

 

Why this question:

The question is about the impact of American war of independence on India.

demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail the impact of American revolution on Indian war of independence, what were the effects it had? How did it capture the Indian minds? Inspired Indian leaders etc.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Highlight the achievements of American war of independence.

Body

Discuss the following in detail:

  • Narrate the backdrop of the American war of independence.
  • Provide for a comparative analysis of the American war of independence and Indian war of independence, how the former influenced the latter. 
  • Role of British in either cases.
  • Discuss the role of political leaders; how American war influenced them.
  • Highlight how both the wars were wars of independence through suffering, valour and sacrifice.

Conclusion

conclude with significance of these events in the history.

 

Introduction:

The British crown had different colonies all over the world – in Asia, Africa, and America.              Tensions grew over time between the residents of Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies and the colonial government, which resulted in a full-fledged war by 1775. The American residents fought against the British by making an alliance with France. Americans defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War, thus becoming the United States of America.

Body:

Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence meant the loss of the American colonies and the end of the ‘first British Empire’.

Steps taken by the British to consolidate its hold over India:

  • Britain regarded itself as ‘ruler of the waves’. Many British people at the time thought that they were doing the right thing by taking the British government and Christianity to the rest of the world, ending slavery and barbaric traditions and bringing ‘civilisation’ and an international ‘Pax Britannica’, or ‘British peace’. The British generally felt that the way they lived their lives was the right way.
  • Great Britain’s attitude toward how to build its empire changed as well. Britons began to think of colonization more in terms of conquest and annexation and, as a result, it governed its colonies in a more authoritarian manner.
  • It led to Pitts India act in 1784, by which British government brought the East India Company’s rule in India under the control of itself. This Act provided for the appointment of a Board of Control, and provided for a joint government of British India by both the Company and the Crown with the government holding the ultimate authority.
  • It was done in the wake of fear of losing monopolies and market of India and to prevent Indian people to revolt on the lines on America. The governor general post was established in British India to control the administration under the crown rule directly.
  • The new administration expended their military strength and focused on the expansion of the territory by any means. Lord Cornwallis who played in controlling the American Revolution to some extent was transferred to India to use his experience and not to repeat the mistakes which have been done earlier.
  • Britain had to find new market for its factory goods and raw material for their factory and to
  • Protect its monopoly of trade in India to compensate the loss in America. It initiated differential trade tariff and started building railways to give competitive effect to their goods in indian market and use India as raw material hub.
  • It uses both expansionist tactics like subsidiary alliance and friendship to consolidate their control over the administration of country.
  • British also took initiative to knock out French from India by annexing Yanam and Pondicherry and also defeated their alliance of Mysore.

On the other hand, Indians were influenced by the valour of the Americans and adopted many ideas in Indian Freedom struggle. The echoes of the American uprising often found themselves penetrating into the writings and speeches of nationalists in the East.

  • The Bill of Rights which included ideals like Liberty, rationality and humanity influenced social reformers as well as nationalist leaders of moderate, extremist phase.
  • The influence of bill of rights is further seen in our fundamental rights
  • Enlightenment stressed the idea of natural rights and equality for all citizens.
  • Social reformers like Jyothiba Phule, founder of Satyashodhak samaj was inspired by Thomas Paine’s idea of education as a seed to liberty.
  • The idea of no taxation without representation simmered in the demands of the moderates.
  • The myth of invincibility of Britain was blown. This helped Indians to gain self confidence.
  • In his call to Indians to resist British domination, Mahatma Gandhi often referred to and drew inspiration from the American Revolution.
  • In March 1930, when Gandhi had embarked upon the famous Dandi march to protest against the draconian salt tax imposed by the British authorities, the resonances his movement had with the historic Boston Tea Party are difficult to ignore.
  • Like the Boston Tea Party, Gandhi’s salt march played the role of awakening the British authorities to take seriously the demands of Indian nationalists.
  • One of the reason of graceful exit of Britain was to not to repeat defeat like in USA when they chose to fight against colony and were lost.

Conclusion:

Although Great Britain suffered temporarily due to the American Revolution, it eventually became an even more powerful and expansive empire as a result of it. Indian nationalists drew a lot of inspiration and so did many colonized states from the ideals, struggles and valour of American war of Independence.


Topic: Role of women and women’s organizationpopulation and associated issuespoverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3) “Old ideas of gendered roles retain their appeal even in today’s world, we need to move beyond reflections about family relationships and motherhood and women’s inalienable duties to society”. In the light of the above statement , Examine Women’s current position in Indian political system. (250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question:

The article explains in detail the irony Women face in the backdrop of traditional Gendered roles and societal stereotypes. It discusses in detail the Indian context with the background of upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the sorry picture of women participation in Indian political system.

Key demand of the question:

The answer should discuss – role of women in social, economic and political system. The causes and consequences of gendered roles and stereotypes in our country and the need to move beyond reflections about family relationships and motherhood and women’s inalienable duties to society.

Directive word

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Briefly bring out the role of Women in the society.

Body:

Discussion of the answer should cover:

  • Significance of Women in the society – social, economic and political.
  • Why the idea of gendered roles is outdated and should be done away with?
  • Discuss examples of the prevalence in Indian context.
  • Can bring in a dimension of care ethics vs Feminist ethics.

Conclusion –

Conclude with what needs to be done, What path should India take to empower women.

Introduction:

The Economic Survey 2018 called for more representation of women in decision making process in the country, saying their political participation has been low despite them accounting for 49 per cent of the population. An Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women report — Women in Politics 2017, revealed that 16th Lok Sabha had 65 (12 percent of 545 MPs) and Rajya Sabha 27 (11 per cent of 245 MPs) women MPs. 22 years since the initial proposal, the Women’s Reservation Bill remains out of reach.

Body:

Present situation of women’s political representation in India:

  • India ranks 153 out of 190 nations in the percentage of women in the lower house of world parliaments.
  • The Economic Survey 2018 said there are developing countries like Rwanda which has more than 60 per cent women representatives in Parliament in 2017.
  • In India, between 2010 and 2017 women’s share rose 1 percentage point in its Lower House (Lok Sabha).
  • As on October 2016, out of the total 4,118 MLAs across the country, only 9 per cent were women.
  • The highest percentage of women legislators come from Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan (14%), followed by Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal (13%) and Punjab (12%).
  • The factors such as domestic responsibilities, prevailing cultural attitudes regarding roles of women in society and lack of support from family were among main reasons that prevented them from entering politics.
  • Lack of confidence and finance were the other major deterring factors that prevented women from entering politics.
  • Ahead of any election campaign in the country, sexist and derogatory remarks start doing the rounds against women contestants, in some cases forcing them to withdraw their nomination.
  • The introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill in 1996 that would reserve 33 percent of seats in Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies for women on a rotational basis, lapsed in 2014 with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.
  • The constitution allocates total seats to states by population, the resultant women’s representation at 12% is far below the actual population of women. So, on grounds of fairness, this is an anomaly.

Enhancing women participation in parliament would ensure the upliftment of status of women:

  • In 1994, India ratified the 73rd and the 74th amendments to the Indian Constitution, granting women 1/3 reservation in rural and urban democratic bodies.
  • There are 13.72 lakh elected women representatives (EWRs) in PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions) which constitute 44.2 per cent of total elected representatives (ERs) as on December, 2017.
  • Women sarpanchs accounted for 43 per cent of total gram panchayats (GPs) across the country, exhibiting active leadership of women in local government.
  • There is documented evidence both at the international level and at the gram panchayat (village) level to suggest that a greater representation of women in elected office balances the process and prioritizations that elected bodies focus on.
  • In terms of policy styles, for instance, the inclusion of women adds behind the scenes discussion rather than direct confrontation on the floor of the House.
  • In terms of agenda (as measured in Rwanda), a wider range of family issues get tackled.
  • Esther Duflo and Raghabendra Chattopadhyay (NBER Working Paper 8615) showed that in a randomised trial in West Bengal, women pradhans (heads of village panchayats) focus on infrastructure that is relevant to the needs of rural women, suggesting that at least at the local level outcomes can be different.
  • The role model effect also erases the gender disparity in educational attainment of young girls.
  • A study by IndiaSpend reported women panchayat leaders in Tamil Nadu invested 48 percent more money than their male counterparts in building roads and improving access.
  • Another study by the United Nations found that women-led panchayats delivered 62 percent higher drinking water projects than those led by men.

However, the cons of quota are:

  • Reservation as per the Women’s Reservation Bill needs a Constitutional Amendment which is a tedious process.
  • Quotas are unethical as it is against the Equality promised by the Constitution.
  • Intra-party tussles and splits in parties may increase.
  • The tokenism or Panchayat-Pati system as seen in Panchayats where women are mere token representatives controlled by men.
  • Party politics, coalition arrangements, seat sharing mechanisms can lead to reduced choice for a voter.

Way forward:

  • India should have an Election Commission-led effort to push for reservation for women in political parties.
  • Reservation for women in political parties – a more viable option.
  • Quotas for women in Parliament as envisaged in the Women’s Reservation Bill.
  • Awareness, education and role modelling that encourage women towards politics and wipe out Gender stereotypes which perceive women as weak representatives.
  • Inclusive economic institutions and growth—both necessary for and dependent on social empowerment—require inclusive political institutions.
  • Women’s leadership and communication skills need to be enhanced by increasing female literacy especially in rural areas. They should be empowered in order to break socio-cultural barriers and improve their status in the society.

Conclusion:

B.R. Ambedkar once said that “political power is the key to all social progress”. Ensuring proportional representation to women in parliament is seen by policy makers as a panacea to the issues surrounding women empowerment. Recognising the significance of roles of women in decision making process in the society is critical to strengthen women’s agencies for building a progressive society with equality of opportunities among all citizens.


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

4) Examine the philosophy behind Model code of conduct in India. How has it evolved over the years? Analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question:

The article is in the background of upcoming Lok Sabha elections, it provides for a detailed analysis of the importance of Model code conduct in India and it traces the evolution of MCC with time and changing dynamics of the Indian polity.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of Model code of conduct in professing free and fair elections, emphasis upon the philosophy guiding it and trace its evolution over the period since its inception.

Directive word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with a brief on Model code of conduct – what is it ? why is it essential.

Body:

Discuss the following:

  • What is Model code of conduct – underlying philosophy; consensus document, parties and candidates should show respect for their opponents, criticize their policies and programmes constructively, and not resort to mudslinging and personal attacks.
  • Importance of Model code of conduct.
  • Trace its evolution – Kerala being first state to adopt,  revisions of MCC etc
  • What are the challenges faced by MCC and how to overcome them? – social media, corruption etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the importance of the use of Model code of conduct in conducting free and fair elections.

Introduction:

Model code of conduct is the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct. It aims to ensure free and fair elections.

Body:

The philosophy behind MCC in India:

  • The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a consensus document.
  • In other words, political parties have themselves agreed to keep their conduct during elections in check, and to work within the Code.
  • The philosophy behind the MCC is that parties and candidates should show respect for their opponents, criticise their policies and programmes constructively, and not resort to mudslinging and personal attacks.
  • The MCC is intended to help the poll campaign maintain high standards of public morality and provide a level playing field for all parties and candidates.
  • Adherence to the Code is most important for the government or party in power, because it is they who can skew the level playing field by taking decisions that can help them in the elections.
  • At the time of the Lok Sabha elections, both the Union and state governments are covered under the MCC.

Evolution of the MCC:

  • Kerala was the first state to adopt a code of conduct for elections. In 1960, ahead of the Assembly elections, the state administration prepared a draft code that covered important aspects of electioneering such as processions, political rallies, and speeches.
  • The experiment was successful, and the Election Commission decided to emulate Kerala’s example and circulate the draft among all recognised parties and state governments for the Lok Sabha elections of 1962.
  • In 1968, ECI held meetings with political parties at State level and circulated the Code of Conduct to observe minimum standard of behavior to ensure free and fair elections.
  • In 1971-72, during General Election to the House of the People/State Legislative Assemblies ECI circulated the Code again.
  • At the time of general elections to some State Assemblies in 1974, ECI issued the code of conduct to the political parties in those States.
  • ECI also suggested constituting committees at district level headed by the District Collector and comprising representatives of political parties as members for considering cases of violation of the code and ensuring its compliance by all parties and candidates.
  • For the 1977 Lok Sabha general election, the Code was again circulated to the political parties.
  • In 1979, ECI in consultation with the political parties further amplified the code, adding a new Section placing restrictions on the “Party in power” so as to prevent cases of abuse of position of power to get undue advantage over other parties and candidates.
  • In 1991, the code was consolidated and re-issued in its present form.
  • The MCC has been revised on several occasions since then. The last time this happened was in 2014, when the Commission introduced Part VIII on manifestos, pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court.

Challenges faced by MCC:

  • EC does not have a mechanism to monitor Social Media and coordinate with Internet companies to take down impermissible content.
  • Expenditure on advertisement done on Social Media is not yet under ambit of MCC.
  • The code does not have any specific statutory basis. It has only a persuasive effect.
  • The complaint that the MCC is coming in the way of developmental activities leading to socio-economic injustice.

Way Forward:

  • MCC should be provided with statutory backing. It should be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to make the MCC more powerful.
  • Establishment of special fast track courts to solve the MCC violation cases at a faster rate.
  • The law commission recommendations should be implemented to save the unnecessary spending of public money during elections.
  • Public awareness about MCC needs to be developed. The use of app like cVIGIL should be encouraged to reduce violations during polls.
  • Stakeholders including Internet companies should come up with a code for Social Media and Internet.

Conclusion:

MCC has an indisputable legitimacy and parties across the political spectrum have generally adhered to its letter and spirit. The immaculate independence of the EC and its uncompromising attitude towards enforcing the code, combined with the perception among parties that following the code far outweighs the costs accrued if violated by other parties, especially the ruling one, have led to the success of the MCC since its inception.


TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

5) Discuss the key features of Official Secrets Act. Has the act become archaic and irrelevant in today’s times? Critically analyse in the light of recent incidence of ‘Stolen documents’ in Rafale case. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article discusses the nuances of the Official secrets Act in the backdrop of recent Attorney-General’s request for criminal action against those responsible for making stolen documents on the Rafale deal public.

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to write in detail about the key features and provisions of the Official Secrets Act and evaluate its relevance as of today.

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.

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with a brief discussion of the current context of Stolen documents of the Rafale case.

Body:

The answer should capture the following aspects:

  • What is the issue?
  • What are the key features of OSA?
  • Trace the evolution of the Act.
  • notable convictions so far under the Act?
  • A comparison with similar laws in other countries.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of reforms required by the Act.

Introduction:

The alleged irregularities in the Rafale aircraft deal between India and France was published in ‘The Hindu’ Newspaper. The Attorney General raised an objection in court seeking dismissal of the review petitions. This was on the ground that the reports cited documents “stolen” from the defence ministry. The Official Secrets Act was used as a shield against allegations of wrongdoing in the Rafale deal.

Body:

Official Secrets Act, a colonial-era law meant for ensuring secrecy and confidentiality in governance, mostly on national security and espionage issues, has often been cited by authorities for refusing to divulge information. Governments have also faced criticism for misusing the law against journalists and whistleblowers.

Key features of OSA:

  • The Official Secrets Act was first enacted in 1923 and was retained after Independence.
  • The law, applicable to government servants and citizens, provides the framework for dealing with espionage, sedition, and other potential threats to the integrity of the nation.
  • The law makes spying, sharing ‘secret’ information, unauthorised use of uniforms, withholding information, interference with the armed forces in prohibited/restricted areas, among others, punishable offences.
  • If guilty, a person may get up to 14 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both.
  • The information could be any reference to a place belonging to or occupied by the government, documents, photographs, sketches, maps, plans, models, official codes or passwords.
  • OSA was amended and made stricter in 1967, widening the scope of Section 5 (“Wrongful communication. etc., of information”) and enlarging the scope of Section 8 (“Duty of giving information as to commission of offences”).

The notable convictions so far:

  • The most recent conviction under the Official Secrets Act came in 2018.
  • The Delhi court held former diplomat Madhuri Gupta, who had served at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, guilty under the OSA.
  • She was sentenced to 3 years in jail for passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s ISI.
  • In 2017, journalist Poonam Agrawal was charged under OSA for conducting a sting operation on an Army official who criticised the sahayak system in the Army.
  • Journalist Tarakant Dwivedi alias Akela was booked for criminal trespass under the Official Secrets Act on May 17, 2011, 11 months after he wrote an article in Mid-Day about how sophisticated weapons bought after 26/11 were being stored in a room with a leaking roof at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai.
  • In 2002, the then Kashmir Times journalist Iftikhar Gilani was arrested and charged under the OSA. The case was in relation with allegedly possessing secret documents relating to the deployment of troops in the Valley. The state later withdrew the case.

OSA in other contemporary democracies:

  • Several countries including the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand continue to use the legislation to protect state secrets.
  • In 2001, Canada replaced its OSA with a Security of Information Act.
  • The “official secrets” come under the Espionage Act in the U.S.A
  • In 2018, a Myanmar court awarded seven years’ jail to two Reuters journalists for illegally possessing official documents on the military’s alleged human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims.
  • Malaysia has also been accused of using the OSA to silence dissidence.

Conclusion:

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations way back in 1966, specifically includes the right to freedom of expression, defined as “the freedom to seek, receive and impart the information and ideas of all kinds”. India being a signatory to ICCPR makes it necessary to repeal the archaic OSA as suggested by Goswami Commission had suggested in the late 1970s as well as the Second ARC.


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

6) Indian economic stability  is often seen to be a hostage to commodity price shocks. Evaluate India’s macro balance sheet in this regard and suggest what needs to be done to reform the economic structure to overcome the challenges of such shocks?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is in the context of the economic instability India is facing due to rising commodity prices in the recent times. The article explains in detail the causes and provides a comparison of India’s competitor – China and how it has been successfully tackling the issue with its robust export regime.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for a detailed analysis of the current economic instability owing to rising commodity prices in the Market. One has to discuss in detail in what way the  high commodity prices cut domestic purchasing power while low commodity prices add to it. And emphasis must be given to discuss the impact of oil as a commodity.

Directive word:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain briefly the current scenario of Economic instability in Indian markets.

Body:

Discuss briefly the causes of the rise in commodity prices, take few examples across the sectors. Narrate the oil import scenario; its effect on our economy. Discuss as to how other factors have also contributed along with rise in commodity prices to create the instability. Provide for a China’s economic picture, how is it different from Indian scenario, What steps should India take.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward – What changes should India approach in its policies to overcome the issue.

Introduction:

Periods of commodity price shocks sharply coincide with moments of intense economic stress, which in turn have sometimes led to political upheavals. Rising commodity prices create stress. Inflation goes up. The trade gap widens. The rupee comes under pressure. Falling commodity prices bring relief on all three fronts.

Body:

Commodities, raw or partially processed, are often the most significant exports of developing countries, and revenues obtained from them have an important effect on the economies and living standards in these countries.

The causes of the rise in commodity prices:

  • India is a net importer of commodities, so the trends in global commodity prices are especially important. Eg: Oil imports
  • Since 1960, India has faced three major commodity import price shocks.
  • Severe droughts in last 6 years and continuing agrarian distress have reduced crop yields.
  • Prospects for continued deterioration in the supply mean prices are likely to stay high in the near term.
  • Oil prices, too, have picked up, driven by geopolitical risks.
  • Populism could push up inflation and slow down government-led capital expenditure.

Implications for economic growth:

  • Commodity price fluctuations, along with the globalisation of the world economy and increased liberalisation of commodity markets have led to profound changes that seriously affect the weaker economies of the developing world.
  • Commodity price instability has a negative impact on economic growth, countries’ financial resources, and income distribution, and may lead to increased poverty instead of poverty alleviation.
  • High commodity prices cut domestic purchasing power while low commodity prices add to it.
  • The most significant commodity in this context is oil.
  • Indian economic stability is often hostage to what happens under the hot Arabian sands or in the air-conditioned rooms where the global oil cartel meets.
  • The international terms of trade—or the ratio of the price at which a country sells to the world to the price at which it buys from the world—are thus a key concern for Indian policymakers.
  • India’s import basket is dominated by commodities while Indian exports have significant manufactured items such as engineering goods, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
  • Commodity price shocks have stronger effects on domestic inflation in developing than in advanced economies.
  • Food shocks are more likely to have sustained inflationary after-effects in countries with food as a sizable portion of the basket of goods and services measured by the consumer price index
  • The India’s balance of payments is also supported by software exports as well as NRI deposits.
  • Periods of global commodity price shocks are associated with fall in net export earnings for India and a deterioration of terms of trade
  • China has been less prone to topple over when terms of trade deteriorate because its exports are robust.

Way forward:

  • Policymakers must strive to keep the surge in commodity prices from triggering a sustained overall increase in inflation—that is, to prevent the commodity price shock from passing through to so-called core inflation (inflation stripped of volatile fuel and food prices).
  • Better overall governance, greater central bank autonomy, and, to a lesser extent, the adoption of inflation-targeting frameworks seem to help anchor inflation expectations and reduce second-round effects of international commodity price shocks.
  • There is a need to find alternative sources of energy in the form of renewable energy which can tide away the oil price shocks. Strategic oil reserves can be a short-term measure.
  • Reduced gold imports and lucrative financial options for people should be devised.
  • Strengthening the manufacturing and MSME sector to push for more export-oriented growth.
  • Better agrarian policies with inclusion of technology in agriculture to curb the food price shocks.

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

7) “We live in a society bloated with data yet starved for wisdom”. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

The Article highlights the 30 years completion of  Internet and the wisdom shared by its founder Tim Berners-Lee  that the online population is continuously growing and also the spread of hatred on the web.

Key demand of the question

The answer should bring out how the world is overflowing with huge amounts of data everywhere but is lacking wisdom to use it, with just 30 years of Internet’s inception, the world from real to virtual has turned into a tour, one needs to discuss the need to control seamless flow of data and its ill effects.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Explain briefly the statement, what it signifies.

Body:

The answer to such questions should mainly be substantiated with good coverage of examples, one should justify the pros and cons of the Internet, how it is leading to discovery of newer technologies, access to wider world, and thus eventually causing data bloating and promoting web as a source of voice to those who spread hatred, and make all kinds of crime easier to commit instead of it being a platform of  public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a shop, a school, an office, a bank, and so much more.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to relook at the incentives of Web against the drawbacks and need for reforms.

Introduction:

                The web has become a public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a cinema, a bank – and so much more. While the web has created opportunity, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunities for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit.

Body:

Relevance for India:

  • Internet usage in the country has exceeded half a billion people for first time, pegged at 566 million, driven by rural internet growth and usage.
  • The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas
  • By 2021, there will be about 635.8 million internet users in India.
  • Despite the large base of internet users in India, only 26 percent of the Indian population accessed the internet in 2015.
  • Men dominated internet usage in India with 71 percent to women’s 29 percent.

The three sources of dysfunction affecting today’s web:

  • Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment. Ex: cyber-attacks like DOS attack, Ransomware, Cyber-terrorism
  • System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation. Ex: Phishing, cryptojacking
  • Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse. Ex : fake news, doctored videos, cyber-bullying

Way forward:

  • The first category is impossible to eradicate completely, but we can create both laws and code to minimize this behaviour, just as we have always done offline.
  • The second category requires us to redesign systems in a way that changes incentives.
  • The final category calls for research to understand existing systems and model possible new ones or tweak those we already have.
  • Digital companies must do more to ensure their pursuit of short-term profit is not at the expense of human rights, democracy, scientific fact or public safety
  • Citizens must hold companies and governments accountable for the commitments they make, and demand that they respect the web as a global community with citizens at its heart.
  • The Contract for the Web must not be a list of quick fixes but a process that signals a shift in how we understand our relationship with our online community.
  • India needs to come up with a data protection law as envisaged by Srikrishna Committee.

Conclusion:

Today, half of the world is online. It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity. The web is for everyone and collectively we hold the power to change it. It won’t be easy. But if we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want.


TOPIC: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

8) Discuss the Bandura’s social cognitive theory. What are its key features? How does it explain human behavior? Elucidate. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is about social cognitive theory propounded by Bandura, The article discusses how individuals with strong morals are less likely to adopt toxic behaviour of their superiors. It justifies the importance of strong values and morals using SCT.

Key demand of the question:

The answer should  discuss in detail the Bandura’s social cognitive theory and elaborate on the importance of it, also explain its key features. Its role in understanding human Behaviour.

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.

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Briefly explain Social cognitive theory, highlight its importance in understanding human behaviour.

Body:

Body of the answer should discuss:

  • What is the theory about?
  • Connection between cognitive schemas, paradigms and social scripts.
  • best intervention strategy based on social cognitive theory in the workplace to enhance human behaviour.
  • Where all can the theory be applied.
  • What are the challenges in applying the theory.
  • Use examples to justify.

Conclusion –

Conclude with significance of the model and importance of human behaviour.

Introduction:

Social Learning Theory, theorized by Albert Bandura, posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modelling. It spans the gap between behaviorism and cognitivism. It incorporates the idea of behaviour reinforcement from the former, and cognitive processes such as attention, motivation and memory from the latter. It is an explanation of how we learn when we are in social contexts.

Body:

Key features of Bandura’s Social Cognitive theory:

  • People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviours.
  • Most human behavior is learned observationally through modelling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviours are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.
  • Social learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioural, and environmental influences.
  • From his research Bandura formulated four principles of social learning.
  • Attention: We cannot learn if we are not focused on the task. If we see something as being novel or different in some way, we are more likely to make it the focus of their attention. Social contexts help to reinforce these perceptions.
  • Retention: We learn by internalizing information in our memories. We recall that information later when we are required to respond to a situation that is similar the situation within which we first learned the information.
  • Reproduction: We reproduce previously learned information (behavior, skills, knowledge) when required. However, practice through mental and physical rehearsal often improves our responses.
  • Motivation: We need to be motivated to do anything. Often that motivation originates from our observation of someone else being rewarded or punished for something they have done or said. This usually motivates us later to do, or avoid doing, the same thing.
  • Reciprocal determinism, that is, the world and a person’s behavior cause each other, while behaviourism essentially states that one’s environment causes one’s behavior.
  • Personality is an interaction between three components: the environment, behavior, and one’s psychological processes (one’s ability to entertain images in minds and language)

Bandura’s study on Children’s behaviour

  • Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways. This is illustrated during the famous Bobo doll experiment.
  • Individuals that are observed are called models.
  • Children who watched an adult (the model) kick, and whack with a mallet an inflatable Bobo doll, were significantly more likely to do the same (13 acts of aggression) than children who watched the adult play quietly with tinker toys (one act of aggression).
  • In society, children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school.
  • These models provide examples of behavior to observe and imitate, e.g., masculine and feminine, pro and anti-social, etc.
  • Children pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behavior. At a later time they may imitate (i.e., copy) the behavior they have observed.

Conclusion:

The social learning approach takes thought processes into account and acknowledges the role that they play in deciding if a behavior is to be imitated or not.