SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 MAY 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 MAY 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: Role of women, social empowerment.

1) Ban on Caster Semenya reveals limits of trying to ensure equal opportunity while delineating between male, female athletes . Critically analyse. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport recently rejected an appeal from 800m champion runner Caster Semenya to declare void a regulation that barred females with Differential Sex Disorders (DSD) from running in races between 400m and a mile without bringing down their testosterone levels to under 5 nmol/L. The decision sent shock-waves through track and field because it was discriminatory and exclusionary against women with naturally occurring high-testosterone.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must weigh the impact of such a decision that disfavors the women as a lesser gender. One must analyse the decision with a view of the affect it has on the society that we are in today which has moved far ahead from the parochial mindset of differentiating men and women on mere means of physical power.

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

In a few introductory lines explain the backdrop of the situation.

Body

Discuss the following aspects in the answer:

  • How does the Ban on Caster Semenya reveals limits of trying to ensure equal opportunity while delineating between male, female athletes?
  • Discuss the associated facts – Female bodies can produce testosterone as high as 7 to 29 nmol/L closer to the male range, far above the 1.79 nmol/L seen in 98.3 per cent of females.
  • Relevance of Differential Sex Disorders (DSD).
  • Why is the issue with Sports ?
  • What needs to be done?

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport recently rejected an appeal from South African 800m champion runner Caster Semenya to declare void a regulation that barred females with Differential Sex Disorders (DSD) from running in races between 400m and a mile without bringing down their testosterone levels. The decision sent shock-waves through track and field because it was discriminatory and exclusionary against women with naturally occurring high-testosterone.

Body:

The Case:

  • In 2018, the International Association of Athletics Federations dictated that female runners with naturally occurring high testosterone levels (HyperAndrogenism) and specific “differences of sex development” must lower their testosterone in order to compete in events ranging from 400 meters to one mile.
  • Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya challenged the 2018 policy which will come into effect from May 8, 2019. It was discriminatory, she argued, lacked scientific grounding and did “irreparable harm to affected female athletes.”
  • But on 1st May 2019, in a blow to Semenya and an untold number of other women, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the regulations. The policy is now set to go into effect on May 8
  • Semenya can now appeal the CAS award at the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days.

Associated facts:

  • The normal female range of testosterone, as indicated by the court, is 0.06 to 1.68 nanomolecures per litre (nm/L) of blood.
  • The correspondent male range is 7.7 to 29.4.
  • The hormone contributes significantly to the strengthening of muscles and the density of bones.
  • Its abundance is a crucial factor that makes male athletes perform better than female athletes.
  • Going by the guidelines, Semenya has high testosterone level (T-level) and will have to take medication to reduce it to within 5nm/L.
  • She has to maintain this for six months ahead of competition, if she wants to run her pet 800m.

Gender hurdle:

  • Although it rejected Semenya’s claims, the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s panel conceded that the regulations are “discriminatory” but “necessary” to preserve “the integrity of female athletics.”
  • The regulations are additionally discriminatory, panel members noted, because they “do not impose any equivalent restrictions on male athletes.”
  • No one is concerned about male athletes with unusually high, naturally occurring testosterone.
  • Taking hormones out of the equation, there are a host of biological advantages that some athletes enjoy over others.
  • Nordic skier Eero Mäntyranta, for example, had a genetic condition that caused the excessive production of red blood cells, giving him an advantage in endurance events.
  • Michael Phelps’ unique and optimally shaped swimming body allows him to cut through the water with remarkable speed and efficiency.
  • Semenya and her supporters argue that since the women affected by the policy are, in fact, women, they should be allowed to compete without restriction.
  • In the animal kingdom, there are many species that are hermaphrodite, and in humans we now know there is a spectrum of sex (that includes people who are intersex) and gender (that includes people who are transgender).
  • The complexity of sex in particular as a melange of genes, hormones, anatomy, biology can no longer be classified simply with a binary definition of male or female. It is, therefore, unfair and unethical for the IAAF to make new regulations for women’s sport – to the effect of excluding some women – based on outdated definitions and understandings.

Sporting rights versus human rights:

  • The controversy has brought into the fore the battle between sporting rights and human rights.
  • The IAAF regards women’s sport as a “protected class” and insists that it must “place conditions” on the female category in order “to ensure fair and meaningful competition.”
  • Human rights activists disagree. If an athlete is legally a woman, that should be good enough.
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council resolved that the new regulations “may not be compatible with international human rights norms and standards.
  • Just because regulations exist does not mean that they are evidence based, ethical, or even effective. The crux here is that this kind of regulation has its legacy in the long and problematic history of “sex testing” women athletes.
  • There is no conclusive, incontrovertible correlation between high natural testosterone and better performance. Without such evidence the IAAF’s regulations shouldn’t be enforced.

Conclusion:

The IAAF case matters because it is fundamentally about all women’s rights to participate in sport. The practice to regulate the participation of women with differences of sex development will in effect stigmatise women athletes by categorising, labelling, and excluding them without scientific evidence or ethical consideration. Women should be allowed to compete with women without emphasizing on genetic superiority.


Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests. Disaster and disaster management.

2) A US-China Trade War is in no one’s interest,full-blown trade war would only weaken the global economy. Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is in the context of recent announcement made by President Donald Trump that the United States would raise tariffs on 200 billion dollars of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 %, because trade talks are moving “too slowly.”

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the negative impact of the US – China trade war on the global economy.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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

Start with brief introduction on the background of the context.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • Background – The two sides have imposed tariffs on 360 billion dollars in two-way trade since last year but Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in December to refrain from further escalation.
  • Provide for an overview of the trade wars going on in between the two countries –
  • Beginning: US President Donald Trump has complained about China’s trading practices since before he took office in 2016. The US launched an investigation into Chinese trade policies in 2017. It imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese products last year, and Beijing retaliated in kind.
  • Breakthrough: After months of hostilities, a breakthrough of sorts came in December. Both countries agreed to halt new trade tariffs to allow for talks.
  • Now President Trump has decided to hike existing tariffs.
  • Why tariffs? Tariffs, in theory, make US-made products cheaper than imported ones, and encourage consumers to buy American.
  • What is the impact so far? Both US and international firms have said they are being harmed. Fears about a further escalation has rattled investors and hit stock markets. The IMF warned a full-blown trade war would weaken the global economy.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward .

Introduction:

Trade war is a situation where countries restrict each other’s trade by imposing tariff or quota on imports. Trade tensions are a manifestation of the strategic competition between the two countries China and USA. US had imposed tariffs on as much as 25 percent on $34 billion in Chinese imports. China responded with retaliatory tariffs of 25% on US goods worth an equivalent $34 billion, including soybean, automobiles, and marine products such as lobsters. The U.S.-China trade war has flared up again after a deceptive lull over the last few months, when both sides were trying to negotiate a deal.

Body:

Current Situation:

 

  • President Trump tweeted that he would raise the 10% tariff imposed on $200-billion worth of Chinese goods to 25%, starting Friday.
  • That the Trump administration pressed ahead with the increase even as China’s Vice Premier Liu He was still in Washington for a second day of talks with U.S. trade officials only underscores the businessman-turned-President’s ‘take no prisoners’ approach to negotiations.
  • China promptly promised retaliatory action, but was yet to spell out the measures.
  • With Mr. Trump tweeting that “the process has begun to place additional tariffs at 25% on the remaining” Chinese goods worth $325 billion, the U.S. administration unambiguously signalled it was not going to be the first to blink.

Implications for the global economy

  • The increase in tariffs imposed on goods crossing international borders essentially represents a new tax on a global economy already facing a slowdown.
  • Last month, the International Monetary Fund trimmed its projection for global growth in 2019 to 3.3%, from a 3.5% forecast made in January, citing slowing momentum in “70% of the world economy”.
  • IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath had at the time projected a pick-up in global growth momentum in the second half, predicated substantially on the “improved” outlook for U.S.-China trade tensions.
  • IMF chief Christine Lagarde and Ms. Gopinath, however, presciently warned that the world economy was poised at “a delicate moment”.
  • Were tensions in trade policy to flare up again, it could result in large disruptions to global supply chains and pose downside risks to global growth, the IMF warned.
  • Barely a month later, the world economy faces the very real risk of an escalation in this trade war where other countries, including India, can largely only wait and watch as the U.S. and China raise the pitch.

US China trade war impact on India:

Benefits:

  • Diminished US-China trade engagement could have positive results for countries such as Brazil and India from a trade perspective, at least in the short run.
  • For instance in the case of soybean there could be a cascading impact in terms of openings for India to enter other markets
  • US-China trade war could accelerate the transition. US companies that rely heavily on imports from China would be forced to redesign their supply chains around tariffs.
  • Multinationals and their suppliers would look for alternative facilities outside China. This is bad news for China but might benefit India.
  • Even if tariff walls went up, India’s large market and relatively swift growth would force multinationals who wanted a piece of that growth to manufacture locally.
  • India would receive a large boost from China on the hunt for new supply chains.

Threats:

  • In the long term, a full-fledged trade war is not good for India. It invariably leads to a higher inflationary and low growth scenario.
  • Increase in interest rates in the US has implications for emerging economies such as India, both for the equity and debt markets.
  • Higher interest rates do make the option of investors borrowing cheap money in the US and investing in Indian equities significantly less attractive.
  • The three external risk factors higher tariffs, rising interest rates, and elevated bond sales will come at a time when the domestic banking system is grappling with a renewed stress of bad loans.
  • India cannot grow on a sustained basis until it exports and free trade is in existence. With the trade war free trade might affect global economy and in turn India’s as well.
  • Trade war among major economies would affect multilateral trading system globalisation and disrupt global supply chains.
  • Reducing investment flows into India.
  • RBI has flagged oil price volatility as a factor that would have a bearing on India’s inflation outlook.

Way forward:

  • US and China need to negotiate the issue amicably and not put the free trade under threat.
  • India needs to be cautious. Its strategic relationship with both the countries needs to be nurtured.

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary.

3) Discuss the nuances of the in- house power of inquiry of the supreme court of India. How is it an exercise of moral authority ?  comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of the investigation of sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India by an in house three-member committee headed by Justice Bobde. It is important that the procedure followed in this case is carefully deliberated upon to ensure that it is fair, just and reasonable

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the process of inquiry under the In-House Procedure.

Directive:

DiscussThis 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.

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief upon the scenario.

Body:

  • Elaborate of what is Inquiry under the In-House Procedure?
  • The ‘In-House Procedure’ is specifically designed to deal with charges of misconduct against sitting judges of the court. It requires the Chief Justice of India to constitute a three-member panel of Supreme Court judges to enquire into a complaint of misconduct received by the CJI against a sitting judge. The CJI is further tasked with supervising and enforcing the outcome of this inquiry.  The procedure, however, does not expressly provide for a mechanism to constitute a committee when the complaint is against the CJI himself.
  • Provide for pros and cons associated with such a system of inquiry
  • Discuss what are the issues and concerns involved?
  • Suggest what should be done ?

Conclusion:

Conclude that With institutional integrity at stake, the court must ensure that this inquiry instils confidence in the ability of formal institutional mechanisms to sensitively and fairly address sexual harassment. The Supreme Court must lead by example and abide by the principles that are expected to be followed for every other body inquiring into sexual harassment at the workplace.

Introduction:

The office of Chief Justice of India heaved a sigh of relief after Justice S.A. Bobde in-house committee had found “no substance” in the sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former Supreme Court staff member against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The Committee has given a clean chit to CJI Gogoi and concluded that there is no substance in the allegations of the complainant.

Body:

Inquiry under the In-House Procedure:

  • The ‘In-House Procedure’ is specifically designed to deal with charges of misconduct against sitting judges of the court.
  • Since there was no other procedure against a judge of a Supreme Court or High Court, an in-house procedure was laid down.
  • This was done at Chief Justices’ Conference held in December 1999. A Code of Conduct was laid down which contained 16 clauses in addition to the declaration of assets by the judges. The in-house procedure was suggested in the event of any complaint against any judge.
  • The 2003 judgment states that the in-house procedure has been adopted for inquiry to be made by the peers of judges in case of a complaint against the Chief Justices or Judges of the High Court in order to find out truth of the imputation made in the complaint. That in-house inquiry is for the purpose of his (CJI’s) own information and satisfaction.
  • It requires the Chief Justice of India to constitute a three-member panel of Supreme Court judges to enquire into a complaint of misconduct received by the CJI against a sitting judge.
  • The CJI is further tasked with supervising and enforcing the outcome of this inquiry.
  • The procedure, however, does not expressly provide for a mechanism to constitute a committee when the complaint is against the CJI himself.

Pros of in-house procedure:

  • When the allegations are examined by the judge’s peers, outside agencies are kept out, and the independence of the judiciary is maintained.
  • Awareness about the existence of a mechanism to examine such complaints will preserve the faith of the people in the impartiality and independence of the judicial process.
  • The in-house procedure envisages that false and frivolous allegations can be rejected at an early stage and only those that are not baseless, and may require a deeper probe, are taken up for inquiry.
  • It helps in judge’s accountability and will serve as a safeguard for the members of the higher judiciary from being maligned or being subjected to vilification by false and frivolous.

Cons:

  • The procedure, however, does not expressly provide for a mechanism to constitute a committee when the complaint is against the CJI himself.
  • Lack of accountability breeds corruption. Judicial Corruption exists because public trials are almost never heard by the public.
  • All that the CJI does in case of an in-house procedure is to get information from peer judges of those who are accused and the report made to the Chief Justice of India is wholly confidential. The said report is only for the purpose of satisfaction of the Chief Justice of India.
  • It is purely preliminary in nature, ad hoc and not final.
  • The Indian judiciary is as much a part of this democracy as other organs of the Government. With all State action being subject to public scrutiny under the Right to Information regime, it is unclear how the judiciary is claiming the moral high ground to be above this regime.
  • The Committee does not provide any justification for not supplying a copy of the same to the Complainant, which is a basic tenet of natural justice.

Way forward:

  • Given the public interest in the fair administration of justice vis-à-vis the highest judicial officer, the Committee cannot remain under the cover of confidentiality.
  • The independence of the judiciary and constitutional protections given to judges do not transform into an immunity shield.
  • The report must at the very least be provided to the complainant. The reliance on Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India & Anr. is entirely misplaced as that judgement was in context of the discretion of the CJI to release a ‘preliminary inquiry’ that was considered as ‘ad hoc and not final’ under the ‘in-house procedure’ against judges of a High Court.
  • In view of the importance of the in-house procedure, it is essential to bring it into public domain.
  • The Registry of the Supreme Court of India should be accordingly directed, to place the same on the official website of the Supreme Court of India.
  • Raising questions is the very essence of democracy – whether it is against the Chief Justice of India, the prime minister, the commissioner of police, the president of the Bar Council of India or of each other as citizens of this country.
  • The larger institutional questions raised must be addressed by appropriate modifications to the in-house procedure, including providing for the constitution of and a permanent non-partisan body for cases where the CJI and Judges of the Supreme Court are accused of sexual harassment.
  • This must comprise a procedure that is sensitive to the power imbalance between judges and ordinary persons and other concerns of victims of sexual harassment.

 


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

4) What do you understand by Banking correspondents? Highlight the advantages of Business/Banking correspondents with special reference to the role they can play in meeting the goal of financial inclusion. Also Discuss the issues being faced by them in the realization of financial inclusion. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The Article highlights that the Business correspondents (BCs) operating in the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme and other banking services are finding it tough to operate due to reduction in fees and unaffordability of the Aadhar enabled payment system (AEPS).

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for a detailed narration of who is a Business correspondents (BCs) in the Banking system? role played by BC in ensuring financial inclusion of all sections of the society.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

write a few introductory lines about the banking/Business correspondent.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Who are they? Business correspondents are retail agents engaged by banks for providing services at locations other than a bank branch or an ATM.  
  • Permitted services include: identification of borrowers, collection and preliminary processing of loan applications, collection of small value deposit, disbursal of small value credit, sale of micro insurance, MF products and pension products.  
  • History: In 2006, RBI issued guidelines for engagement of BCs by banks for providing banking and financial services.  
  • Who can act as BCs? The RBI has provided a long list of entities and persons who can act as BCs. 
    • Some of these are NGOs/ MFIs set up under Indian Societies/ Trust Acts (excluding non banking financial companies (NBFCs)), Societies registered under mutually aided co-op. societies (MACs) Act or the Coop. Acts of States, Section 25 companies, Post Offices, Individual kirana/ medical/fair price shop owners etc.  
    • In June 2018, Union government announced that all 2.9 lakh common service centres (CSCs) in the country will operate as business correspondents of banks. 

Conclusion –

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Banking Correspondents (BCs) are individuals/entities engaged by a bank in India (commercial banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Local Area Banks (LABs)) for providing banking services in unbanked / under-banked geographical territories. A banking correspondent works as an agent of the bank and substitutes for the brick and mortar branch of the bank. He is an approved bank agent providing basic banking service using a micro ATM.

Body:

BCs and Financial Inclusion:

  • identification of borrowers;
  • collection and preliminary processing of loan applications including verification of primary information/data;
  • creating awareness about savings and other products and education and advice on managing money and debt counselling;
  • processing and submission of applications to banks;
  • promoting, nurturing and monitoring of Self Help Groups/ Joint Liability Groups/Credit Groups/others;
  • post-sanction monitoring;
  • follow-up for recovery; disbursal of small value credit; recovery of principal / collection of interest
  • collection of small value deposits
  • sale of micro insurance/ mutual fund products/ pension products/ other third party products and
  • Receipt and delivery of small value remittances/ other payment instruments.
  • BCs lower the costs of serving the poor. They address many of the behavioural constraints believed to adversely affect savings.
  • BCs, who reside in the vicinity of their clients and are often from the same community, can more easily address constraints specific to regions.
  • Many of the poor who live in small villages at some distance from the larger villages and small towns in which bank branches are located can now access banking services with the help of BCs.

So far, more than 22 crore bank accounts have been opened under the scheme, utilizing a network of more than one lakh business correspondents (BCs). However, it is widely believed that many accounts were opened in response to political pressure on banks to achieve programme targets. Others may have been opened to avail of the insurance benefits that the accounts enabled or under the expectation that government transfers would require a savings account. As a consequence, duplicate accounts with zero balances represent a high percentage of the total accounts.

Issues faced by BCs:

  • Financial Viability: The sustainability of the BC model is dependent on the volume of transactions. These volumes are extremely low and are also struggling to make a profit as the current commission structure is inadequate to cover agents’ costs.
  • Cash Management and Liquidity: The most prominent problems faced by the agents are related to cash management and liquidity issues. BCs typically transfer as much money to agents as the security deposit paid by them. However, there are typically large gaps between deposit and withdrawals due to location specific characteristics, such as rural areas being withdrawal heavy due to incoming remittances.
  • Operational Issues: Agents have reported issues with the base branch claiming branch officials restrict agents to opening only 5 accounts per day and even simple requests to display account numbers on cards given to clients take months to be processed. Technical glitches faced by agents also hinder BC work, ranging from improper functioning of the bank server to other software glitches.
  • Agent inactivity and lack of knowledge about the product: Clients complain that the agent in charge of collecting their deposits never visited them. In other areas accounts were opened but no agents were appointed for the clients. Poor services or lack of information about the account and its features as the primary reason for inactivity.
  • Standardization and Documentation: There is a lack of systematic documentation of processes that all agents should follow irrespective of the BC and/or principal bank that they operate with

Way forward:

  • There should also be greater clarity with regards to the cost sharing for cash management and associated risks between the banks and BCs.
  • Banks should be encouraged to let their BCs offer a more diverse product mix to increase revenue. If possible, utility bill payment facilities and other value added linkages should also be introduced along with Non-frill Accounts.
  • A certain level of financial literacy is necessary to make this model a success. The government, the RBI and principal banks should spearhead the implementation in order to make the BC model profitable.
  • The RBI and principal banks should invest time and effort in promoting the BC model and its benefits. The RBI should also place a greater effort and emphasis on building acceptance of the BC model amongst its prospective account holders.
  • Standardization would build a uniformity of roles and responsibilities among agents.

Conclusion:

Apex institutions such as the RBI and principal banks need to set guidelines to promote risk-sharing between BCs and banks, which is the basis of most of the current issues brought up in this post. The RBI must acknowledge that this model is sustainable, but only in the long run with mass penetration and high transaction volumes.


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

5) Write a note on 4th Industrial Revolution. Discuss in detail the possible impact of it on Indian economy.(250 words)

Reference

Economictimes

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis on the coming of 4th Industrial Revolution.

Key demand of the question:

Analyse in  detail what is 4th Industrial Revolution and what are its impact on Indian economy.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

In a few introductory lines explain what you understand by 4th Industrial Revolution.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • What is 4th Industrial Revolution (4th IR)? – characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
  • There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact.
  • Discuss its Impact on Indian economy – both negative an positive.
  • Positive Impacts:
  • Demographic dividend and Employment generation, Strong Banking sector, Global Leader in Industrial revolution, Investments and exports, Agriculture and Health etc.
  • Negative Impacts: Loss of jobs, Competitiveness,  Dumping, Loss to MSMEs, Economic inequality, Environmental Externalities etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done, suggest way forward.  

Introduction:

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) is a term that describes present technological age. It is the fourth industrial era since the inception of the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. The key elements of the fourth revolution are the fusion of technologies ranging from the physical, digital to biological spheres. Prime Minister gave an institutional shape to the expression by launching the Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution in India.

Body:

As described by the founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, “the fourth industrial revolution is a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”.

Characteristics of IR 4.0:

  • It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
  • It brings together digital technology and the physical world to create a new range of products and services.
  • The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited.
  • And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.
  • The revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace and it is disrupting almost every industry in every country.

Possible Impact of IR4.0 on Indian Economy:

  • For India, the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings tremendous opportunities to leapfrog many stages of development, hastening its journey towards becoming a developed economy.
  • It can play a major role in alleviating poverty.
  • Better and low-cost health care can be achieved through the implementation of AI-driven diagnostics, personalized treatment, early identification of potential pandemics, and imaging diagnostics, among others.
  • Enhancing farmer’s income by providing them with the latest technologies, improvement in crop yield through real-time advisory, advanced detection of pest attacks, and prediction of crop prices to inform sowing practices.
  • It will strengthen infrastructure and improve connectivity to the very last village.
  • Artificial intelligence can be used to empower and enable specially-abled people.
  • It will improve ease of living and ease of doing business using smart technologies.
  • Recently, India has announced her drone policy, which will play an important role in security, traffic and mapping.
  • Increased automation means more efficient products and processes, faster growth
  • It gives a boost for small scale industries as production gets automatic and cheap
  • India provides a potentially huge market access.
  • There is the very appealing demographic dividend with Indian youth representing approximately 20% of the global workforce by 2020. With more than 50 per cent of its population is under the age of 27, India can play a pivotal role in shaping the global fourth Industrial revolution in a responsible, scalable and inclusive manner.
  • There is a rising middle class
  • India is expected to become the fifth largest consumer market in two decades. Within this context, any form of consumption, entrepreneurship, startup or industry, can be viewed as a scaling opportunity.
  • India also has a robust start-up scene, which reportedly has more firms than anywhere else in the world except for the US and the United Kingdom (UK).
  • With one of the youngest labour forces in the world, a sizeable technical aptitude, the second largest number of internet users on mobile devices and the second largest English speaking population, India is well positioned to enhance its global leadership in a post fourth industrial revolution era.

Challenges posed by IR 4.0:

  • Stiff competition from other countries, high unemployment levels and high incidences of poverty etc.
  • Revolution is likely to increase inequality in India as the spread of machines increases markets and disrupts labour markets.
  • Inequality represents the greatest societal concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • The largest beneficiaries of innovation tend to be the providers of intellectual and physical capital the innovators, shareholders, and investors which explains the rising gap in wealth between those dependent on capital versus labour.
  • As automation substitutes for labour across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labour.
  • With this revolution, it is also possible that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production. This will give rise to a job market increasingly segregated into low-skill/low-pay and high-skill/high-pay segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions.
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change not only what we do but also who we are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships.

Way forward:

  • Governments, businesses and civil society organisations should put together an ecosystem for massive upskilling of the workforce.
  • India needs to prepare itself for a period of information and digital abundance, adapt itself to the scorching pace of innovation and learn to collaborate on scale, quickly transform the idea into a breakthrough innovation, shift from a system of time-bound education to a mode of continuous learning and create more employment opportunities than what new and disruptive technologies take away.
  • There is a need for good quality education to make India’s youth a productive asset.
  • Access to finance commensurate with maturity of the business model and beginning stage of the start-up lifecycle is extremely important to scale innovations.
  • Corporates will have a key role in championing this on-going movement, leveraging the ART Model – Alliances, Relationships enabled through Technology.

Conclusion:

Industrial Revolution that first began in Great Britain and later in United States (after end of Civil War) has helped nations in developing faster and easier means of mass production. It has transformed lives of people in many ways over about 250 years. India is also catching up with focussing on Industrial Revolution 4.0. Development of new technologies in this era can help the nations in many ways if these technologies are used effectively for the welfare of mankind.


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

6) Discuss the Impact of the Internet on our Daily Life, what are its Pros and Cons? Elaborate. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about analyzing the pros and cons of Internet.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the impact of use of internet on human beings.

Directive word:

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with brief on what is internet.

Body:

  • Discuss – How does the Internet affect people’s lives? – Internet impact on society is now making economic, social, and political changes around the globe.
  • What are the side effects of Internet? – Emotional Symptoms of Online Addiction; Feelings of guilt, Anxiety, Depression, Dishonesty, Euphoric feelings when in front of the computer, Unable to keep schedules, No sense of time, Isolation Etc.
  • Discuss who all it affects and how?
  • What needs to be done to utilize it in the best possible way without much of disadvantage.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Internet as part of the history is the most important invention around the world which connects people through phones, satellites and cables. People all over the world have access to it as it is everyday usage, and internet becomes globally real and in demand. The maximum effect of the internet is actually on the daily life of the individuals because indeed there is no aspect of life which is not influenced by the internet and its uses.

Body:

Impact of Internet:

Pros:

  • Information technologies have wrought fundamental change throughout society, driving it forward from the industrial age to the networked era. In our world, global information networks are vital infrastructure.
  • The Internet has changed business, education, government, healthcare, and even the ways in which we interact with our loved ones—it has become one of the key drivers of social evolution.
  • Online, the conventional constraints of space and time disappear and there is a dizzyingly wide range of communicative possibilities. The impact of social media applications has triggered discussion of the “new communication democracy.”
  • The right utilization of Internet power is challenging for governments across the world. Government expenses are reduced due to providing data and information for people on the government websites. People are taking advantages of Government policies and websites. Any government information and service are easily accessible for the citizens. Using tools such as Right to Information, we can have online access to important government documents.
  • The Internet is one of the key factors driving today’s economy. Even in a tough macroeconomic framework, the Internet can foster growth, coupled with enhanced productivity and competitiveness.
  • The Internet has clearly impacted all levels of education by providing unbounded possibilities for learning. I believe the future of education is a networked future. People can use the Internet to create and share knowledge and develop new ways of teaching and learning that captivate and stimulate students’ imagination at any time, anywhere, using any device.
  • The most interesting aspect of the internet influencing our daily lives is the factor of entertainment. Entertainment no longer demands your money or expense, today you can just log on the internet in your free time and get involved talking to people of similar interests, or watch movies or play games, its all there in the internet.
  • The development of information and communication technologies and the wide-ranging effects of globalization are changing what we are, and the meaning of cultural identity. The concepts of space, time, and distance are losing their conventional meanings. Cultural globalization is here, and a global movement of cultural processes and initiatives is underway.
  • The Internet revolution is not just technological; it also operates at a personal level, and throughout the structure of society. The Internet makes it possible for an unlimited number of people to communicate with one another freely and easily, in an unrestricted way.

Cons:

  • A key issue surrounding Internet use is privacy. Internet users are becoming more sensitive to the insight that privacy is a must-have in our lives. It’s very tough even for the government of various countries to protect user’s privacy.
  • The biggest challenge for the society to do mobile banking and cashless transactions. Because the data is compromised by such companies and there is no guarantee that you’re safe or not.
  • Much of the time, people started to use social media with no real idea of the dangers, and have wised up only through trial and error—sheer accident, snafus, and mistakes. Lately, inappropriate use of social media seems to hit the headlines every day
  • Internet has given rise to cyber crime of which mostly teenagers and youngsters become the victim. We all hear in our day to day life about these cases for eg. Leaking someone’s private clips or pictures on internet just for the sake of jealousy or taking revenge or for hacking.
  • The Internet is creating robotic societies. A society with hybrid skills doing like, comments but doesn’t have feelings and own impact on his/her social shares.
  • The Internet is also helping the polarization of the society by dividing the unity of people by producing communalism and casteism material on the internet. Producers of communalism and casteism in the society never develop the society.
  • If technology can replace a task, we will rely on it rather than exercise our mental faculties. So, the tech giants will give birth to a “reliance economy”.

Conclusion:

Today almost all the things are connected and working through the Internet. There should be no doubt that Internet is becoming the engine of every new invention. No matter how bad society is influenced by the internet, but education of people can play a role in right usage of Internet. The role is not defined by algorithms, it is defined by our parents, teachers and after self-analysis.


Topic:Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

7) “India’s conservation policies and legislation in environmental domain over the years reveal a dichotomy of intent and action”. Critically analyse. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis India’s conservation policies and legislation in environmental domain. It highlights that  India is stridently moving away from community-involved conservation models.

Key demand of the question:

One needs to analyse India’s conservation policies and legislation in environmental domain with major focus on the recent shift in its approach that has moved away from community-involved conservation models.  

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:

In a few introductory lines explain the background of the question.

Body:

In brief discuss –

Discuss the recent legislations that highlights the alarming issue concerning India’s environmental policy like the eviction of more than a million forest-dwelling people from their homes.

  • Discuss the policies and initiatives of the government in this direction.
  • Discuss why there is Expropriation in the name of conservation?
  • Explain the Indian Forest Act, Forest Rights Act; lacunae with the proposed amendments etc.
  • Take cues from the article and suggest your opinion and provide for a balanced judgement.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done, suggest way forward.  

Introduction:

The Supreme Court has asked the governments of 17 states to evict an estimated one million tribal and other households living in forests after their claims of the right to live in forests were rejected under the Forest Rights Act. As a consequence, more than one million tribals could be displaced, mainly in central India.

Although this order was subsequently stayed, though temporarily, it provides valuable insights into India’s conservation objectives and approaches. Given the country’s size and biodiversity-richness, a decision of this nature has consequences for global natural heritage.

Body:

India’s conservation laws and policies:

  • From the 1980s, there were a number of policies that mirrored the global shift towards inclusive conservation, such as the 1988 National Forest Policy, the 1992 National Conservation Strategy, the National Environment Policy of 2006 and the 2007 Biosphere Reserves Guidelines.
  • India’s conservation legislation is separated into those that protect forests and its produce, and those that target wildlife conservation.
  • Both the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 create different types and grades of protected areas, and contain provisions to restrict or outlaw local use of natural resources and landscapes.
  • India has been a vocal member of above conventions. But at home, things operate rather differently, despite there were a number of policies that mirrored the global shift towards inclusive conservation.
  • The Forest Rights Act, 2006 went beyond sanctioning local usage, to conferring rights to local communities over forest land and produce.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs was mandated with operationalising the Act, while conservation remained under the domain of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • However, given a hostile bureaucratic environment, the legislation faltered, except in certain pockets.
  • The Third National Wildlife Action Plan, introduced in 2017, is categorically of the view that locals hinder conservation.
  • Where communities are to be involved, it distinctly avoids the attribution of rights and instead frames usage within a bureaucracy-controlled format.

Dichotomy of intent and action:

  • In the year 1990, Joint Forest Management Guidelines (JFM) created community institutions for co-management, in collaboration with the forest bureaucracy.
  • Although it initially registered some success stories in certain parts of the country, JFM committees are widely critiqued as being bureaucracy-heavy, with little real devolution of powers to local communities.
  • In March 2019, a comprehensive overhaul of the Indian Forest Act was proposed.
  • This amendment introduces provisions for extinguishing rights granted under the Forest Rights Act.
  • Further, it grants the forest bureaucracy unprecedented powers to enter and search the premises of forest-dwellers on suspicion, arrest without warrant and use firearms to meet conservation goals.
  • State authority that is usually reserved to tackle terrorism, insurgency and organised crime is now to be deployed to safeguard biodiversity.
  • An amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act is reportedly in the offing. India’s conservation policies in recent years leave no doubt as to the model of conservation the country is intent on pursuing.

Way forward:

  • Most community-based natural resource management programmes may have only limited success at achieving both conservation and human development goals.
  • But the concept appears to be the best opportunity for countries like India to achieve these two outcomes of conservation and human development goals.
  • The most important part of the approach is that user rights are transferred from central government to local communities.
  • The model is being increasingly promoted as a conservation tool and has become the dominant approach in natural resource conservation worldwide.
  • It can help the country retain its place as one of the most famous and profitable wildlife tourism destinations in the world. And it can also contribute to other economic sectors and alleviate rural poverty.

Conclusion:

Involving communities living in and around natural resource-rich areas in the management and use of these resources is an effective tool of conservation that has been recognised across the world. This was affirmed by the 1980 World Conservation Strategy of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Earth Summit’s 1992 Statement of Forest Principles and the Convention on Biological Diversity. India needs to value the community-involved conservation models like other successful countries.