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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 MAY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

1) Discuss in detail the contributions made by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar Indian freedom struggle.(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

Amidst the election season of 2019, National heroes have come to be vilified for petty political gain and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was in the narrative too. Thus, its important for us to discuss his contributions.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the contributions made by made by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar Indian freedom struggle.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

In a few introductory lines present the character of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

Body

The answer is straightforward and there is not much deliberation here. One must narrate the significant role played by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the anticolonial struggle and nationalism.

  • He was a staunch patriot and was attracted to radical views and movements.
  • He established the Free India Society to organise students to fight for India’s independence through a revolution. He declared, “we want absolute independence.”
  • He authored a book “The History of the War of Indian Independence” in which he described the Indian Revolt of 1857 and referred to the British rule as unjust and oppressive. He became one of the first persons to allude to this revolt as India’s ‘first war of independence’. This book was banned in India but its secret publication and distribution was done.
  • He is credited with coining the term ‘Hindutva’. He turned towards creating a Hindu national identity. He stressed on the unity of all Hindus and also talked about Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism as one with Hindu. He is regarded as a controversial figure today because of his ideology of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Despite this, he was an atheist and a rationalist.
  • He also initiated the reconversion of those Hindus who had converted to other religions.
  • He became the president of the Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943.
  • He was hostile to Gandhi, especially for his Khilafat Movement which he described as ‘appeasement’.
  • Etc.

Conclusion

Conclude by reasserting the significant role played by him in the freedom struggle.

Introduction:

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) occupies a unique place in the history of Indian freedom struggle. His name evokes controversy. While some consider him as one of the greatest revolutionaries in the Indian freedom struggle, others consider him a communalist and right-wing leader.

Body:

Contributions made by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar:

  • In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”. He was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party. His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree.
  • In June 1906, Veer Savarkar, left for London to become Barrister. However, once in London, he united and inflamed the Indian students in England against British rule in India. He founded the Free India Society.
  • The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom. He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons.
  • In 1908, brought out an authentic informative researched work on The Great Indian Revolt, which the British termed as “Sepoy Mutiny” of 1857. The book was called “The Indian War of Independence 1857”.
  • The British government immediately enforced a ban on the publication in both Britain and India. Later, it was published by Madame Bhikaiji Cama in Holland, and was smuggled into India to reach revolutionaries working across the country against British rule.
  • When the then British Collector of Nasik, A.M.T. Jackson was shot by a youth, Veer Savarkar finally fell under the net of the British authorities. He was implicated in the murder citing his connections with India House. Savarkar was arrested in London on March 13, 1910 and sent to India.
  • In 1920, many prominent freedom fighters including Vithalbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded the release of Savarkar. On May 2, 1921, Savarkar was moved to Ratnagiri jail, and from there to the Yeravada jail. In Ratnagiri jail Savarkar wrote the book ‘Hindutva: who is hindu?’.
  • Savarkar began describing a “Hindu” as a patriotic inhabitant of Bharatavarsha, venturing beyond a religious identity. While emphasising the need for patriotic and social unity of all Hindu communities, he described Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism as one and the same.
  • He outlined his vision of a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu Nation) as “Akhand Bharat” (United India), purportedly stretching across the entire Indian subcontinent. He defined Hindus as being neither Aryan nor Dravidian but as “People who live as children of a common motherland, adoring a common holy land.”
  • Although staunch anti-British in his early years, he supported British efforts in India seeking military efforts to Hindus during World War 2 and opposed the Quit India Movement.
  • Hindu Mahasabha activists protested Gandhi’s initiative to hold talks with Jinnah in 1944, which Savarkar denounced as “appeasement.” He assailed the British proposals for transfer of power, attacking both the Congress and the British for making concessions to Muslim separatists.
  • Vinayak Savarkar was a president of Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943. When congress ministries offered resignation on 22nd Oct 1939, Hindu mahasabha under his leadership cooperated with Muslim league to form government in provinces like Sindh, Bengal and NWFP.
  • His strong views on Hindutva though secular in broader outlook, led to rise in radicalism among his followers. This also led to rise in tension between two communities.

Conclusion:

Many of Savarkar’s ideas on social and religious reforms, embrace of science, and building a stronger state continue to be relevant for India. His controversial position on Hindutva also continues to inform current political debates. It is time that a wider set of scholars began to engage with Savarkar’s ideas—including controversial ones.


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2) Discuss the promises and challenges of a bold experiment – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana. (250 words)

Vikaspedia

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about discussing the nuances of – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.

Demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail the challenges and benefits that – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana has as a bold experiment in the health sector.

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.

Structure of the answer:

The answer to the question is direct, one must explain in detail the salient features of the scheme, merits, demerits and analyse how the scheme is different from the previous ones, what difference has it brought for the healthcare system of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

Introduction:

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), introduced under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat, aims to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensures their access to quality health services was conceived. India is concerned with many health issues be it malnutrition, infant mortality, rising non communicable diseases, growing number of deaths due to cancer etc. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is the step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.

Body:

Promises:

  • AB-PMJAY provides a defined benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. This cover will take care of almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures.
  • To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme.
  • The benefit cover will also include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses. All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy. A defined transport allowance per hospitalization will also be paid to the beneficiary.
  • Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
  • The beneficiaries can avail benefits in both public and empanelled private facilities. All public hospitals in the States implementing AB-PMJAY, will be deemed empanelled for the Scheme. Hospitals belonging to Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) may also be empanelled based on the bed occupancy ratio parameter. As for private hospitals, they will be empanelled online based on defined criteria.
  • To control costs, the payments for treatment will be done on package rate (to be defined by the Government in advance) basis. The package rates will include all the costs associated with treatment.
  • For beneficiaries, it will be a cashless, paper less transaction. Keeping in view the State specific requirements, States/ UTs will have the flexibility to modify these rates within a limited bandwidth.

The program certainly has a good intent of giving the best of the medical services at lowest prices to the economically weaker, deprived sections of the society. The program is fraught with many challenges that can hinder its outcome.

  • Finance: At about 1.3% of the national income, India’s public healthcare spending between 2008 and 2015, has virtually remained stagnant. It is a herculean task to implement a scheme that could potentially cost Rs 5 lakh per person and benefit 53.7 crore out of India’s 121 crore citizenry, or roughly about 44% of the country’s population. Because inflation in healthcare expenses has been known to increase faster than general inflation, the problem is likely to get worse in the future.
  • Out of pocket expenditure high: Even the poor are forced to opt for private healthcare and hence, pay from their own pockets. Resultantly, an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health expenditure, annually.
  • Doctor-Density Ratio: The WHO reports the doctor-density ratio in India at 8 per 10,000 people. To achieve such access, merely increasing the number of primary and secondary healthcare centres is not enough. Access should be equitable. Infrastructure creation and quantity of healthcare centres should go hand-in-hand.
  • Policy inaction: The Government has launched many policies and health programmes but success has been partial at best. The National Health Policy (NHP) 2002 proposed to increase Government spending on health by two to three per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010 which has not happened yet. Now, the NHP 2017 has proposed to take it to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025.
  • Inequities in the health sector exist: due to many factors like geography, socio-economic status and income groups among others. Compared with countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and China, which started at almost similar levels, India lags behind peers on healthcare outcomes.
  • Absence of primary care: In the northern States there are hardly any sub-centres and primary health centres are practically non-existent. The wellness clinic component is a step towards bridging that lacuna but funding constraints are here too.
  • Infrastructure constraints: There are doubts on the capacity of this infrastructure to take on the additional load of such insured patients from other States, growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.
  • Massive shortages in the supply of services (human resources, hospitals and diagnostic centres in the private/public sector) which are made worse by grossly inequitable availability between and within States. For example, even a well-placed State such as Tamil Nadu has an over 30% shortage of medical and non-medical professionals in government facilities.
  • Healthcare does not have holistic approach: There are a lot of determinants for better health like improved drinking water supply and sanitation; better nutritional outcomes, health and education for women and girls; improved air quality and safer roads which are outside the purview of the health Ministry. These issues are increasingly being recognised with emerging challenges such as Anti-microbial resistance, air pollution, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
  • Pricing of medical equipment: Private hospitals are charging exorbitant prices for these and poor suffer the most and there is no price capping yet.
  • Lack of level playing field between the public and private hospitals: This has been a major concern as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support. This would dissuade the private players from actively participating in the scheme.
  • Additional incentives to the private players: The setting up hospitals in the underserved areas by private players can happen when there are incentives from the State. Lack of this would maintain status quo of last mile medical care which is in shackles.

 

  • Improper support infrastructure of IT: The programme is being rolled out hurriedly, even before the necessary systems and processes have been developed fully and tested for their robustness. This has led to continued Out of Pocket Expenditure for the poor pushing many into poverty.
  • Other Concerns:
    • The crucial determinant of PMJAY’s success lies at the state government level as public health is a state subject.
    • The experience from previous centrally-sponsored schemes is that line ministries have often created too many requirements and required excessive standardisation, thereby stressing on top-down approach.

Way forward:

  • There is a need for multi-sectoral planning and ‘health in all policies’ approach, where initiative of different departments and Ministries is developed and planned coordination, accountability assigned and progress monitored jointly. It has to be coordinated at the level of Prime Minister or the Chief Minister’s office, as the case may be.
  • PPP in India needs a nuanced approach and systematic mechanisms, including legislation and regulatory aspects. The process requires wider stakeholder engagement and deliberations and oversight from top leadership.
  • There is a need to reform and re-design institutions to broader health system goals to contribute achieve sustainable development goals.
  • Policy proposals, such as setting up of Indian Medical Service, establishing public health cadre as well as mid-level healthcare providers and exploring lateral entry of technical experts in academic and health policy institutions, including in the health Ministry (up to the levels Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary levels) should be deliberated and given due priority.
  • A competitive price must be charged for services provided at public facilities as well. The government should invest in public facilities only in hard to reach regions where private providers may not emerge.
  • The government must introduce up to one-year long training courses for practitioners engaged in treating routine illnesses. This would be in line with the National Health Policy 2002, which envisages a role for paramedics along the lines of nurse practitioners in the United States.
  • There is urgent need for accelerating the growth of MBBS graduates to replace unqualified “doctors” who operate in both urban and rural areas.
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.
  • In a federal polity with multiple political parties sharing governance, an all-India alignment around the NHPS requires a high level of cooperative federalism, both to make the scheme viable and to ensure portability of coverage as people cross State borders.
  • State governments, which will administer it through their own agency, will have to purchase care from a variety of players, including in the private sector, at predetermined rates. Reaching a consensus on treatment costs through a transparent consultative process is vital for a smooth and steady rollout.
  • A large-scale Information Technology network for cashless treatment should be set up and validated. State governments need to upgrade the health administrative systems. The NHPM has a problem with the distribution of hospitals, the capacity of human resources, and the finances available for cost-sharing.

Conclusion:

Good health is part of ‘social contract’ between the Government and the people and essential for sustaining economic growth of the country. Seventy years of independence is an opportune time to revisit priorities and place health higher on policy and development agenda. PM-JAY seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG3).


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3) Discuss the major issues and challenges of education sector in India. also suggest solutions to bring an overhaul in the system.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about discussing the major issues and challenges of education sector in India.

Demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail the major issues and challenges of education sector in India and one must also provide for solutions to bring change in the system.

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.

Structure of the answer:

The answer must have the following broad dimensions:

  • What are the major issues facing the Indian education system? – Expenditure on, Gross enrolment pattern, Capacity utilization, Infrastructure facilities, PPP model, Student-teacher ratio, Accreditation and branding – quality standards, Students studying abroad etc.
  • What are the factors responsible for the above challenges?
  • Solutions to be in the following broad categories to resolve the issues – Innovations required, Quality of education, Making education affordable etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

Introduction:

India’s demographic dividend depends on the learning level of students. The quality of education has a direct bearing on any economy. The ASER report by NGO Pratham shows the prevalence of learning deficit and the poverty of basic reading and arithmetic skills among students in Indian schools.

Body:

The issues and challenges faced by education system in India are:

  • Expenditure on Education:
    • The expenses on education as a percentage to GDP, India lags behind some developed/ developing nations.
  • Infrastructure deficit:
    • Dilapidated structures, single-room schools, lack of drinking water facilities, separate toilets and other educational infrastructure is a grave problem.
  • Student-teacher ratio:
    • Another challenge for improving the Indian education system is to improve the student teacher ratio.
    • In India, this ratio is very high as compared to certain comparable countries in the world. For example, while in developed countries this ratio stands at 11.4, in case of India, it is as high as 22.0.
  • Corruption and leakages:
    • The transfer of funds from the central to state to local governments to school leads to involvement of many intermediaries.
    • The fund transfer is drastically reduced by the time it reaches the true beneficiaries.
    • High rates of corruption and leakages plague the system, undermine its legitimacy and harm the many thousands of honest headmasters and teachers.
  • Quality of Teachers:
    • Lack of well trained, skilled and knowledgeable teachers which provide the foundation for a high quality education system.
    • Teacher shortages and poorly qualified teachers are both a cause and effect of poorly paid and managed teaching cadres.
  • Non-Academic burden:
    • The teachers are overburdened with senseless reports and administrative workload. This eats into the time which is necessary for teaching.
    • A study by the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) revealed that teachers spend only around 19 percent of their time teaching while the rest is spent mostly on non-teaching administrative work.
  • Poor salary:
    • Teachers are paid miserly salaries which affect their interest and dedication to work. They will look for other avenues like tuitions or coaching centers and coax the students to attend it.
    • This has dual effect, firstly the quality of teaching in schools drop and secondly, the poor students are forced to spend money despite constitutional provision of free education.
  • Teacher Absenteeism:
    • Absence of teachers during school hours is rampant. The lack of accountability and poor governance structures add to the woes.
  • Lack of Accountability:
    • School Management Committees are largely dysfunctional. Many exist solely on paper.
    • Parents are often not aware of their rights and if they are it is difficult for them to make their voice heard.
  • High drop-out rates:
    • The drop-out rates in schools, especially girls, is very high.
    • Many factors like poverty, patriarchal mindset, lack of toilets in schools, distance to schools and cultural elements lead to children dropping out from education.
  • School closure:
    • Many schools are closed to low student strength, lack of teachers and infrastructure. The competition posed by private schools is also a major challenge to government schools.

A systemic approach to reforming education system in the country needs the following:

  • The current approach, mainly academic in nature, recognizes that piecemeal initiatives are unlikely to improve student learning.
  • A new systemic approach to reforming education is now emerging in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan.
  • It is accompanied with administrative reforms that create an enabling environment for these new practices to take root.
  • It involves aligning all stakeholders and orienting their collective efforts towards following a single and “comprehensive transformation road map” towards better learning outcomes.
  • Academic interventions involve the adoption of grade competence framework instead of just syllabus completion.
  • Effective delivery of remedial education for weaker students like after-school coaching, audio-video based education.
  • Administrative reforms that enable and incentivize teachers to perform better through data-driven insights, training, and recognition. Example: Performance based increments in Salary.
  • Together with human enablement, a seamless ecosystem or a system enabler (often a technology platform) is also set up.
  • This streamlines communication and saves teachers’ valuable time that they might have otherwise spent on administrative tasks, such as leave applications, allowance claims, transfers and service book updates.
  • It is also important to track the performance of the schooling system on a regular basis to course correct where needed.
  • Therefore, a robust accountability system is required wherein there is a clear articulation of the roles and responsibilities of all relevant stakeholders, and the administration is empowered to act where necessary.
  • This involves frequent real-time, data-enabled review meetings at the block, district, and state levels.
  • These states have also developed user-friendly dashboards that assist education officials and the state leadership in decision-making.

Way forward:

  • Digitization:
    • Create a single-window system for infrastructure and mainstream fund-flows: In Bihar, only around 10 percent of the schools fulfils infrastructure norms. A study revealed that files for renovating schools often go on a two-year journey through various departments.
    • The same can be applied for teacher salaries and school funds. These can be transferred directly from the State to the teachers and schools. There is no need to involve the District or Block in this process.
    • Leveraging the audio-visual edutainment to make education more interesting and easier to understand for the children. This will improve the quality as well as reduce the drop-out rates.
    • Implementing bio-metric attendance for teachers and students for every class can help reduce absenteeism.
  • Empower School Management Committees by using mobile phones:
    • To develop a system that facilitates School Management Committee members by fostering democratic accountability.
    • Social audits should also be carried out for effective functioning.
  • Better pre-service teacher training coupled with transparent and merit-based recruitments is a lasting solution for teacher quality.
  • Improve the quality of teacher education by making teacher training mandatory. Example: National Council for Teacher Education Act amendment bill, Diksha portal to train teachers.
  • Increase the public spending on education to 6% of GDP as recommended by many committees like the recent TSR Subramaniam committee.
  • Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance, while there are recommendations for removal of non-detention policy. The blame is squarely on the children, such an attitude must be wiped out.
  • Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes; It has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education. This needs a change by coming out with a new policy.

Conclusion:

State-wide campaigns, driven by the state’s political and bureaucratic leadership, re-energize parents and the community at large, and channel the attention of all stakeholders towards better learning outcomes. Only when we align incentives of all stakeholders, and enable them while holding them accountable, can we shorten the distance between the nation’s current state of education and its aspirations.


Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4) “India’s Act East policy remains the bedrock of the national Indo-Pacific vision and the centrality of ASEAN is embedded in the Indian narrative.”  Analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article captures a detailed discussion of significance of India’s Act East Policy and Engagement with ASEAN as a critical component to the national Indo-Pacific vision.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the of significance of India’s Act East Policy and Engagement with ASEAN and in what way these two factors have become the driving factors for the India’s Indo pacific strategy.

Directive word:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with brief background of the India’s Indo-pacific vision.

Body:

The answer must discuss the significance of India’s Act East Policy and Engagement with ASEAN, suggest how India’s ‘Look East Policy’ has become ‘Act East Policy’. Discuss the Indo -Pacific vision statement, its significance in detail. Take cues from the article.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The term Indo-Pacific has been gaining traction in Indian policy circles for some time now. It achieved operational clarity after the Indian vision was presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June 2018. His speech underscored that for India the geography of the Indo-Pacific stretches from the eastern coast of Africa to Oceania (from the shores of Africa to that of the Americas) which also includes in its fold the Pacific Island countries.

Body:

India’s Indo-Pacific Vision:

  • India views the Indo-Pacific as a geographic and strategic expanse, with the 10 ASEAN countries connecting the two great oceans. Inclusiveness, openness, and ASEAN centrality and unity, therefore, lie at the heart of the Indian notion of Indo-Pacific.
  • Security in the region must be maintained through dialogue, a common rules-based order, freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and settlement of disputes in accordance with international law.
  • More connectivity initiatives impinging on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, consultation, good governance, transparency, viability and sustainability should be promoted.

India’s actions under Act East policy:

  • The Objective of ”Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Relations with ASEAN have become multi-faceted to encompass security, strategic, political, counterterrorism, and defence collaboration in addition to economic ties.
  • India has been an active participant in mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), in ASEAN-led frameworks like the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the ASEAN Regional Forum as well as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and the Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor.
  • India has also been convening the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, in which the navies of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) participate. India has boosted its engagements with Australia and New Zealand and has deepened its cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
  • Through the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, India is stepping up its interactions with the Pacific Island countries. India’s growing partnership with Africa can be seen through the convening of mechanisms like the India-Africa Forum Summits.
  • India’s multi-layered engagement with China as well as strategic partnership with Russia underlines its commitment to ensuring a stable, open, secure, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
  • In addition to reviving the economic partnership, India has focused on promoting connectivity with other ASEAN states through Myanmar and Thailand.
  • AEP has imparted greater vigour to India’s ties with ASEAN.
  • AEP has sought to significantly expand its geographical coverage beyond ASEAN alone, to include other countries like Japan, Australia, Pacific Island nations, South Korea, and Mongolia.
  • India’s partnership with Japan has witnessed the most dynamic growth.
  • India’s AEP has also impacted relations with the United States.
  • By aligning India’s Act East Policy with the U.S. pivot to Asia, India seeks to expand its geo-strategic space to contend with China’s growing assertiveness and foster balanced relations.

Challenges towards Indo-Pacific vision:

  • Integration of the Quadrilateral initiative which got revived in 2017 with its larger Indo-Pacific approach.
  • Ways to move beyond security and political issues and articulate a more comprehensive policy towards the region.
  • Commerce and connectivity in particular will have to be prioritised if India is to take advantage of a new opening for its regional engagement.
  • While India has been consistently emphasising “inclusiveness” in the Indo-Pacific framework, it will be challenging to maintain a balance between the interests of all stakeholders.
  • There are differences between India’s vision and the U.S.’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific even as countries like China and Russia view the Indo-Pacific with suspicion.

Way forward:

  • India must continue to focus on further strengthening collaboration with ASEAN nations and others.
  • India’s bureaucratic shift is an important move to articulate its regional policy more cogently, coherently and with a renewed sense of purpose.
  • Partners must work to promote economic revival, seek strategic cooperation to fight terrorism, and enhance maritime security and defense cooperation.
  • Soft power such as Buddhism, tourism, people-to-people contacts, and cultural ties with the region must continue to be harnessed.
  • Beyond, but linked to ASEAN, India must further strengthen strategic and economic ties with the U.S., Japan, Korea, Australia, and also with China.
  • Important sectors like technology transfer, civilian nuclear cooperation, defence, and innovation should be given priority
  • Continuous engagement with China too is necessary to expand cooperation, particularly on the economic front.

Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

5) Discuss some of the common prejudices against reservation policies. Should reservation be based only on caste and not economic status?  Critically analyse. (250 words)

Epw

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the general prejudices among people about reservation, that is how people often think Reservations in Education, Jobs based on caste is destroying talent base of India. One must present a critical analysis of whether reservation be based only on caste or also on economic status.

Demand of the question:

The question is about discussing the what are the general prejudices of the reservation system among public. The answer must present arguments for and against the system and argue to what extent it is a justified one.

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.

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

Start with brief introduction of background of the reservation system.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • Explain what are the prejudices about the affirmative actin of State – Losing out opportunities to the some undeserving and cast privileged minorities is a form of oppression too, loss of talent, collapse of merit based selection system etc.
  • Highlight that the Anti-discrimination laws and reservation policies were brought in to ensure that Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are protected from discrimination in the spheres of employment, education and political representation. The idea was to not just improve their economic status, but to address the denial of rights and oppression meted out to these groups over the years, and to work towards rectifying their utter lack of representation in public office.
  • Discuss the merits and demerits of reservation based on economic status.
  • Explain how discrimination usually occurs on the basis of a group’s social and caste identity, irrespective of financial status.
  • Conclude by arguing for both the points – caste vs economical status and give your opinion.

Conclusion

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

The President of India has given his assent to the bill providing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category. The legislation will be known as the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 and it shall come into force on such date as the Centre notifies.

Body:

The topic of reservations in education and government jobs is, arguably, the most contentious of India’s myriad threads of public discourse. It has led to many agitations, violence, court rulings and constitutional amendments.

Common prejudices against reservation policies:

  • According to a research by SARI, about half of the respondents said they do not support reservation. However, support for reservation was more common among people from reserved categories.
  • The survey concluded that a majority of the most educated and historically well-to-do communities do not feel that people from marginalised groups should get government support for representation in social and public spheres.
  • People from unreserved categories feel that people from reserved categories are often given a concession of a few points on exams and in interviews. This, according to them, distorts the playing field and is against Equality.
  • Some people say that they oppose today’s reservations because they believe reservation should be made on the basis of income rather than social background.
  • In the upper caste imagination, reservation is indelibly branded as a welfare programme giving handouts to a set of caste-marked “beneficiaries”.
  • One of the primary criticisms that caste-based reservations faced, even from liberal quarters, was that it would lead to an inefficient bureaucracy.
  • Another charge against caste-based reservation and its implementation was that it would be against national unity. Granting quotas by caste, it was argued, would escalate caste-based divisiveness and encourage sub-nationalisms by allowing them to be articulated in electoral politics.

Reservation is a fundamentally political promise made in acknowledgement of the fact that caste literally excludes sizeable communities from Indian society. The primary reason why reservation was written into India’s Constitution was to ensure representation of all social groups in positions of power.

Yes, reservation should be based only on caste and not economic status:

  • Reservation is intended not to be an anti-poverty programme. The government has many programmes which are, in principle, accessible to all poor people.
  • Reservation exists because, in addition to being more likely to be poor than general castes, Dalits, backward Muslims, and Adivasis face social discrimination and exclusion that poor people from general caste backgrounds do not face.
  • The fact that the right to education, the right to own land, the right to conduct business, or to pursue a well-remunerated occupation has been reserved for men from high caste backgrounds for generations means that government must take steps to correct the unequal distribution of rights.
  • Historical injustice: Caste based reservation is a necessity in India because of historical negligence and injustice caused to those backward communities.
  • Level Playing field: Reservation provides a level playing field as it is difficult for the backward sections who were historically deprived of education, skills and economic mobility to suddenly start competing with those who had access to those means for centuries.
  • Meritocracy is important, however, it will have no meaning without equality. The caste based reservation also minimized the gap between upper and lower castes to a great extent.
  • Administration quality: A study revealed that reservations have not affected the efficiency of administration, but enhanced quality. The best example is the Indian Railways in which the SC/ST employees comprise more in number, and the results have been better.
  • As for economically weak SCs and STs, they need both financial support as well as reservation to ensure fair access to employment and education.
  • Malaysia, South Africa and many countries in the European Union have supplemented anti-poverty policies with equal opportunity policies for excluded groups based on group identity.

No, reservation shouldn’t be based only on caste and but also economic status:

  • Majority of lower castes have stepped up the social ladder and are now on an equal status compared to the general population. Hence, there is no need for reservation anymore.
  • Reservation only provides a limited and short-term solution to the historical injustice issues.
  • Reservation is obviously a tool to address social and educational backwardness, however, it does not have solutions for all social and economic ailments. There are much better and innovative ways to solve those issues. However, reservation prevents the leadership to come up with viable solutions.
  • As the reservation grows larger, it becomes a mechanism of exclusion rather than of inclusion. Because, nowadays, the previously advantaged communities has becoming disadvantaged to a large extent due to the reservation conundrum. Many upper castes are still plagued by poverty and illiteracy.
  • Reservation brings down the economic growth rate of the country as it reduces the efficiency of its labour.
  • New reservation on the basis of economic background is based on moral duties which are implicitly part of the constitution.
  • Every person has right ‘not face any inequality on the base of any ground’ and, the directive principle of state policy (DPSP) is a moral obligation on the state to secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people.
  • High economic class and lower economic class and higher economic class in SCs and STs defend a reservation for maintaining the status quo.
  • The same scenario is in socially and economically backward class also like Maratha, Jats, gurjars etc. is demanding reservation despite high living standard.
  • Reservation on the basis of economic background may pave the way for a casteless society which was initially purpose of Dr Ambedkar’s reservation system.

Way forward:

  • Reservation is a policy tool that is used not only in India. In many countries, reservation or other types of affirmative action are used to try to overcome human prejudice based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, caste or any other group identity, and to encourage representation of and participation by groups traditionally excluded and discriminated against.
  • One way to make these measures more acceptable and help people better understand the historic, social and cultural background behind reservation would be to educate children in schools about caste, ethnic, gender and regional diversities and the need for public policy interventions to make society more equal and fair.

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

6) What are Masala bonds? How do they work? Discuss the rationale behind them along with the pros and cons associated.(250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question:

The state of Kerala became the first Indian state to tap into the market for masala bonds on Friday. Thus, it is important for us from exam point of view to ascertain into the concept of Masala Bonds.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the concept of Masala bonds, pros and cons associated with their utility.

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 by stating the background of the question.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • What do you understand by Masala Bonds? – “Masala Bonds” are the 10 year off-shore rupee bonds issued by International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, in the international capital market in 2014, to raise funds for supporting private sector infrastructure development initiatives in India. Masala bonds are listed in London Stock Exchange. The term Masala bonds now extends to any rupee denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers even though RBI has not resorted to the use of this name in their guidelines.
  • Discuss their rationale – like any other off-shore bonds, are intended for those foreign investors who want to take exposure to Indian assets, yet constrained from doing it directly in the Indian market or prefer to do so from their offshore locations.
  • Pros and cons associated – Offshore bonds have its own set of advantages and disadvantages for both the issuer and the investor as well as for the economy. Competition from offshore markets may induce improvements in domestic bonds markets such as strengthening of domestic market infrastructure, improving investor protection and removing tax distortions that hinder domestic market development etc. Against these benefits come the risks associated with financial openness and sudden shifts in capital flows, and the risk that offshore markets may draw liquidity away from the domestic market.

Conclusion –

Conclude by reasserting their importance in raising capital.

Introduction:

Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated bonds i.e the funds would be raised from overseas market in Indian rupees. The term was used by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to evoke the culture and cuisine of India. The first Masala bond was issued by the World Bank-backed IFC in November 2014. Recently, Kerala (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board) became the first Indian state to tap into the market for masala bonds to raise development funds.

Body:

Working:

  • Any corporate, body corporate and Indian bank is eligible to issue Rupee denominated bonds overseas.
  • For example, if an Indian financial entity issues Rs 1000 rupee denominated bond overseas, the buyer in overseas can buy the bond, paying equivalent amount of dollar/sterling.
  • If the exchange rate was 1$ = Rs 50, the bond buyer will pay $20 (or Rs 1000) to buy the rupee denominated bond.
  • Suppose the interest rate is 10%. Here, the Indian entity has to pay Rs 100 annually and this can be paid (in dollars etc.) at the prevailing exchange rate at the payment time.
  • Now if the exchange rate depreciates to 1$ = Rs 75, the bond buyer’s interest revenue of Rs 100 equals just around $1.3. He actually incurs losses in terms of dollars (might have got $2 if the exchange rate was the same or in the case of dollar denominated bonds).
  • Here, if the rupee’ value has changed, the risk should be borne by the foreign investor. At the end of the time period, the issuer will give Rs 1000 and this can be converted into dollar at the prevailing exchange rate at that time

Rationale:

Like any other off-shore bonds, are intended for those foreign investors who want to take exposure to Indian assets, yet constrained from doing it directly in the Indian market or prefer to do so from their offshore locations.

Pros:

  • They help to internationalize the Indian Rupee and deepen Indian Financial system by expansion of Indian bond markets.
  • They diversify the funding resources of Indian companies.
  • They may help to bring down the cost of borrowing and cost of capital.
  • Allowing Masala Bonds is considered to be a small step towards full convertibility of Rupee.
  • Such bonds would support towards stability of rupee.
  • By issuing bonds in rupees, an Indian entity is protected against the risk of currency fluctuation, typically associated with borrowing in foreign currency

Cons:

  • RBI mandates that the money raised through such bonds cannot be used for real estate activities other than for development of integrated township or affordable housing projects.
  • It also can’t be used for investing in capital markets, purchase of land and on-lending to other entities for such activities as stated above.

Conclusion:

India needs almost $2 trillion for setting up world class infrastructure according to Economic Survey. The rupee-denominated bonds help in raising funds for the capital of infrastructure projects, green-field projects, brown-field projects.


Topic :Food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

7) Write a short note on seafood industry of India. Explain the need for sustainable aquaculture to counter setbacks it is facing and increase the production.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question:

The article provides for a brief account of shrimp production in the country and the challenges that the seafood industry is witnessing.

Key demand of the question:

Answer must discuss the significance of seafood industry; the challenges and future it has for the country. Suggest what should be the way forward by focusing on the need for sustainable aquaculture.

Directive word:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving 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:

In a few introductory lines highlight the facts related to seafood industry of India.

Body:

  • In brief discuss the following aspects:
  • In 2017-18, India’s seafood exports have seen a growth of 13.7% in quantity and 10.1% in value. Research expects that in 2019 India’s seafood exports will grow at 17-18%, clearly showing a demand for Indian products.
  • his industry contributes 6.3% to the total global fish production and has 14.5 million people engaged in various fisheries-related activities.
  • Explain the significance of the industry in terms of – livelihood, essential commercial enterprise in terms of exports etc.
  • Discuss what are the challenges?
  • Role and need of sustainable aquaculture.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India is blessed with a coastline of over 8,118 kms, 2.02 million sq. km of EEZ, 0.5 million sq. km. Continental shelf estimated to have exploitable resources to the tune of 4.41 million tons of which about 3.40 million tons are presently exploited. India’s seafood industry has become one of the leading suppliers of quality seafood to all the major markets of the world. India has world class seafood processing plants that follow quality control regimes complaint to stringent international regulatory requirements.

Body:

Potential:

  • The estimated potential brackish water area suitable for shrimp farming is about 1.2 million hectare of which around 14% is utilized for farming, producing about 5 lakh tons of shrimp and scampi which is going to the export basket.
  • Shrimps account for around 70% of the total seafood export from the country valued at Rs 45,000 crore.
  • In 2017-18, India’s seafood exports have seen a growth of 13.7% in quantity and 10.1% in value. Research expects that in 2019 India’s seafood exports will grow at 17-18%, clearly showing a demand for Indian products..
  • Seafood exports from India during the year 2014 – 2015 reached to an all time high of US$ 5.5 Billion. 106 countries in the world taste Indian seafood, SE Asia, EU, USA, Japan, China and Middle East being the major markets.
  • India is the second largest aquaculture producer in the world, largest exporter of shrimp to USA, the 2nd largest exporter of shrimps to Europe and the 4th largest exporter of shrimps to Japan.
  • MPEDA envisage an ambitious target of US$ 10 Billion for the year 2020.
  • This industry contributes 6.3% to the total global fish production and has 14.5 million people engaged in various fisheries-related activities.

Current challenges faced:

  • Shrimp production in the country, after showing a consistent growth in the last decade, is likely to drop by 10 to 15% this year as low prices and fear of spread of diseases among shrimps have forced aquaculture farmers to cut production in the farms.
  • The stocking in the farms in south Andhra Pradesh is down by half while in north and central parts of the state, the situation is better with 80% of the farms well stocked.
  • The aquaculture farmers lost money last year when white spot and EHP diseases reduced the shrimp output. This year, the fear of diseases has led many to stock less in farms.
  • Little improvement in global shrimp prices and lack of funding support to farmers are the other reasons for the reluctance of farmers to go for full output.
  • With increasing adoption of product quality standards, especially with respect to health and safety, the occurrences of Indian shrimp shipments failing to meet these standards are becoming common.

Other challenges faced:

  • Since 1990s, three issues dominated Indian export scene: decline in overall catches, particularly shrimp; fluctuations in international markets depressing prices and profitability; and over-capitalisation of the production and marketing activities increasing risk.
  • The emphasis on production is not supplemented by developing adequate infrastructure facilities to support them; the availability and quality of infrastructure remains insufficient.
  • The contribution of fish from the seas has lowered now and the share is rising from inland farming.
  • Water pollution; unscientific management of aquaculture and contamination of indigenous germplasm resources.
  • Poor yield optimization, problems in harvest and post-harvest operations, landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels and issues in welfare of fishermen.

Way forward:

  • The need of the hour is technology upgradation fund for sustainable aquaculture development
  • The recent creation of separate department for fisheries and a 2% interest subvention on loans to farmers by the Centre will go a long way in accelerating this
  • The group recently launched sustainable, traceable, quality certified aquaculture hub model at Tuticorin. This must be expanding this to larger areas by transferring technology developed by us to farmers covering the entire gamut of value chain, right from broodstock availability.
  • An approach that is increasingly being used around the globe is the use of sustainability standards and certifications such as MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) or ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) as a way to assure buyers of the safety, quality and environmental responsibility of their products.

Conclusion:

Indian Aquaculture is highly promising and has grown over six and half fold in the last two decades with freshwater aquaculture contributing over 95% of the total aquaculture production. All the 3 sub sectors viz. Inland, Aquaculture and Marine fisheries have a lot of scope for improvement. The recent step of creating FAIDF is a praised step to boost the fisheries sector to the desired level.


Topic Leadership and ethics.

8) Elucidate on the role of Leadership in political, economic and social sphere of nation development. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon

 

Why this question:

The question is on the topic of role of leadership.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the role Leadership in political, economic and social sphere of nation development.

Directive word:

ElucidateGive 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:

In a few introductory lines explain what you understand by leadership.

Body:

  • Explain that strong leadership is necessary for a nation’s development in all spheres of life. A strong leadership ensures greater authority, inspiration and management of resources.
  • A strong leader identifies right the ends (objectives) and means (strategies) for a nation’s development.
  • Discuss how leadership plays a key role in harnessing the energies of the individuals of a nation and guiding the bureaucratic set up to achieve the developmental goals of a country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of leadership in all spheres of life.

Introduction:

Leadership can be defined as the ability of the management to make sound decisions and inspire others to perform well. It is the process of directing the behavior of others towards achieving a common goal. In short, leadership is getting things done through others.

Body:

Importance of leadership:

  • Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group towards the achievement of a goal.
  • An effective leader motivates the subordinates for higher level of performance.
  • Leadership promotes team – spirit and team – work which is quite essential for the success of any organization.
  • Leadership is an aid to authority. A leadership helps in the effective use of formal authority.
  • Leadership creates confidence in the subordinates by giving them proper guidance and advice.

You can quote your own examples for role of Leadership in political, economic and social sphere of nation development.

Conclusion:

Public servants hold responsibility of policy formulation in the interest of country and its people as well as policy implementation. Good leadership qualities in public servants are important for better policy formulation and implementation in favour of country and its people. Public servant as a good leader can transform its organisation, manpower as well as citizen from potential to reality. The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.