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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 AUGUST 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 AUGUST 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 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1) Discuss the key features of recently cleared Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019. Explain in what way it can provide an Efficient, Safe and Corruption Free Transport System in the Country. (250 words)

pib

 

Why this question:

 Recently Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 to provide an Efficient, Safe and Corruption Free Transport System in the Country.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the key features of the MV amendment bill 2019 , discuss and highlight the merits of the same.

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: 

Define the recent amendments made to the bill.

Body:

The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to provide for road safety. Around 1.50 lakh people die and 5 lakh people injured annually in road accidents.

Then discuss the key features of the bill – Provisions related to increasing penalties of traffic violations, addressing issues on third-party insurance, regulation of cab aggregators and road safety are proposed in the amendment.

It proposes a scheme to allow cashless treatment of victims in a road accident during the golden hour.

It proposes to increase the minimum compensation for hit and run cases. In case of the death, the compensation has been raised from 25,000 to 2 lakh rupees, and in case of grievous injury, it will be from 12,500 to 50,000 rupees.

The government will open motor driving training schools to impart skill trainings to drivers. The government will also give one crore rupees grant to those who want to open such training schools.

Quote the merits and associated challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of the Bill.

Introduction:

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, has been passed by the Rajya Sabha. 

Body:

Key features of the bill:

  • Compensation for road accident victims: The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour. The central government may also make a scheme for providing interim relief to claimants seeking compensation under third party insurance.
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund: The Bill requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India. The fund will be utilised for:
    • Treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme.
    • Compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident.
    • Compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident.
    • Compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government.
  • This Fund will be credited through:
    • Payment of a nature notified by the central government.
    • a grant or loan made by the central government
    • balance of the Solatium Fund (existing fund under the Act to provide compensation for hit and run accidents)
    • any other source as prescribed the central government.
  • Good Samaritans: The Bill defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident. The assistance must have been (i) in good faith, (ii) voluntary, and (iii) without the expectation of any reward.  Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.
  • Recall of vehicles: The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to: (i) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or (ii) replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.
  • National Transportation Policy: The central government may develop a National Transportation Policy, in consultation with state governments. The Policy will: (i) establish a planning framework for road transport, (ii) develop a framework for grant of permits, and (iii) specify priorities for the transport system, among other things.
  • Road Safety Board: The Bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification. The Board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including.
  • Offences and penalties: The Bill increases penalties for several offences under the Act.
  • Taxi aggregators: The Bill defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services). These aggregators will be issued licenses by state. Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Impact of the bill:

  • The Amendment Bill is robust and rectifies several systemic issues
    • by providing for a uniform driver licensing system
    • protection of children and vulnerable road users
    • rationalising penalties
  • Introducing technology in the licensing procedure.
    • A digitised, uniform and centralised driver licensing system will go a long way in ensuring ease of access, efficiency and transparency in the filtering process.
  • Bill also proposes to introduce digitisation in the monitoring and enforcement of traffic laws.
    • Kerala has a city surveillance and traffic monitoring system’, and automated traffic enforcement systems to detect traffic light violations as well as speeding. The enactment of the Bill will facilitate the replication and creation of such digitised systems for all other States.
  • Safety of children:
    • The Bill proposes to mandate the use of protective headgear by every person above the age of four driving, riding or being carried on a two-wheeler.
  • Similarly, the Bill mandates the use of safety belts and child restraints for those less than 14 years and introduces a fine of Rs. 1,000 for the driver or guardian for the violation of the same.
  • Penalties:
    • This Bill promises to rationalise the fines. For instance, the penalty for drunk driving has been increased to Rs. 10,000 for the first offence and Rs. 15,000 for the subsequent one.
  • The Centre assumes a direct role in the reforms, since it will introduce guidelines that bind State governments in several areas:
    • notably in creating a framework for taxicab aggregators
    • financing insurance to treat the injured and to compensate families of the dead in hit-and-run cases
  • Road design and engineering:
    • The bill provides that any contractor or consultant responsible for the design, construction, or maintenance of the safety standards of roads must follow design, construction and maintenance standards specified by the central government.
  • The bill also specifies certain road design characteristics that the Courts should consider when looking at such cases.
  • Road safety agencies:
    • The bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification
  • The bill specifies a time limit of three months to submit the accident information report.
  • Settlement of claims:
    • The bill passed by Lok Sabha, provides that the insurance company can process claims on receiving information from the claimant also. Further, the insurance company must settle claims within a time limit of 30 days.
  • Removal of Second Schedule:
    • The bill removes the Second Schedule to the Act. This Schedule provides for the manner of calculation of compensation for road accidents resulting in death or injury.
  • The bill seeks to strengthen the Act, has attempted to address the issue of liability for road defects.
  • For any road crash injury or death caused by defective road design and engineering, the designated authority responsible to construct and maintain the road is to be penalised with a sum capped at Rs.1 lakh.
  • The bill aims to rectify several systemic issues by providing a uniform driver licensing system, protecting children and vulnerable road users, rationalising penalties and creating a system of accountability in the construction of roads.

Challenges:

  • With a Fund already existing to provide compensation for hit and run accidents, the purpose of the new Accident Fund is unclear.
  • State governments will issue licenses to taxi aggregators as per central government guidelines. Currently, state governments determine guidelines for plying of taxis. There could be cases where state taxi guidelines are at variance with the central guidelines on aggregators.
  • While the penalties for contravening provisions of the proposed scheme on interim relief to accident victims are specified in the Bill, the offences that would warrant such penalties have not been specified. It may be argued that imposing penalties without knowing the nature of the offences is unreasonable.
  • States also have concerns about their powers being curtailed in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill.

Way forward:

  • There is a need for an accountable and professional police force then only the record of traffic fatalities is likely to change.
  • State governments must prepare for an early roll-out of administrative reforms prescribed in the amended law, such as
    • Issuing learner’s licences online
    • Recording address changes through an online application
    • Electronic service delivery with set deadlines.
  • To eliminate corruption, all applications should be accepted by transport departments online, rather than merely computerising them.
  • Protection from harassment for good Samaritans who help accident victims is something the amended law provides, and this needs to be in place.
  • There is a need to incorporate the Safe System Approach in all aspects of road design, engineering and construction. This approach takes into account the possibility of human error and ensures that the surrounding environment and infrastructure are designed to save lives.

Conclusion:

The bill has a number of forward-looking ideas, which was due for so long. Considering the features like providing enough protection to good Samaritans, this bill will go a long way in ensuring the safety norms in India, which is the prima facie of saving a life.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

2) Highlight the shortcomings in the goods and services tax (GST). How far can the recent findings of CAG strengthen the weak links of the reformed system of taxation in India? Discuss(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article captures the findings of the recent report on the tax by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and highlights the shortcomings the GST reform has been facing in terms of implementation.

Key demand of the question:

The answer should evaluate the lacunae present and what are the problems in the implementation and what can be done to overcome these concerns and challenges.

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: 

Discuss about GST, its mandate and trace its coming till date.

Body:

Explain the lacunae being faced in implementation of the reforms.

Discuss that the major issues outlined by the CAG report is the lack of a system to match the invoices of buyers and sellers that would have closed interstitial spaces for tax evasion. The idea was to structure the system in such a way that there was no gap between two ends of a reported transaction.

Write a note on the findings of CAG and explain how these findings can be put to use to address the gaps in implementation of the reforms.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Goods and Services Tax is an indirect tax system which was rolled out in 2017 with the aim of ‘One Nation, one tax’. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has pointed out lacunae in the GST regime, saying that system-validated input tax credit through invoice matching is not in place and a non-intrusive e-tax system still remains elusive after two years of its rollout.

Body:

Shortcomings of GST regime:

  • Difficulty in tax administration: Goes against the canons of taxation. A modern tax system should be fair, uncomplicated, transparent and easy to administer. It must yield revenues sufficient to cover the cost of government services and public goods.
  • Complicated taxation structure: A World Bank study published in May 2018 said that the Indian GST rate was the second highest among the 115 countries with a national value-added tax. It was also the most complicated, with five main tax rates, several exemptions, a cess and a special rate for gold. The multilateral lender said that only five countries had four or more non-zero tax rates—India, Italy, Pakistan, Luxembourg and Ghana.
  • Vulnerabilities in the system: It draws special attention to the system’s vulnerability to fraud by way of excess input tax credit claims—which are refunds of taxes already paid by input suppliers, GST being applicable only to the value added by a business or service provider.
  • Inconsistencies in the Data: the lack of a system to match the invoices of buyers and sellers that would have closed interstitial spaces for tax evasion. The idea was to structure the system in such a way that there was no gap between two ends of a reported transaction. This way, neither party could under-report its value without detection, making it difficult for payments to be kept hidden.
  • Shortfall in government revenues post the shift to GST: It estimates that the Centre’s revenues from goods and services (excluding central excise on petroleum and tobacco) fell by 10 per cent in 2017-18, as compared to the revenue of taxes subsumed under GST in 2016-17.
  • High compliance costs: are also arising because the prevalence of multiple tax rates implies a need to classify inputs and outputs based on the applicable tax rate. Along with the need to apply the correct rate, firms are required to match invoices between their outputs and inputs to be eligible for full input tax credit, which increases compliance costs further.
  • Instability in tax regime: The GST rates for various goods and services have been shifted from one slab rate to another over the past 1.5 years. The federal demands from states during GST Council Meetings to assuage their fears are the main cause. Multiple rates create problems of classification, inverted duty structure and large-scale lobbying.
  • Estimation overshot: GST collections have not met with the monthly revenue and growth targets which validates the need for keeping certain goods in higher tax bracket
  • Tax-Sharing issues: alleged deviation in the way GST revenue is shared with states. To determine how integrated GST is to be split up, the report notes, the government has followed a formula prescribed by the Finance Commission, though it should have gone by the Constitution and Integrated GST Act.
  • There has been lack of coordination between the Department of Revenue, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and the GST Network

 

Way Forward:

 

  • The first target should be to move to at least a three-rate structure, a lower rate for essential goods, a relatively high rate for luxury goods, and a standard rate for the majority of goods and services.
  • The next step would be simplifying the tax returns process.
  • The scope for lowering the GST rate is umbilically linked to direct tax reform.
  • A better way to make a tax system more just is by lowering regressive indirect tax rates while widening the base for progressive direct taxes on income and corporate profits.
  • Invoice matching is a critical requirement that would yield the full benefits of this major tax reform. It would protect the tax revenues of both the Centre and states and lead to the proper settlement of IGST. It would minimise, if not eliminate, the tax official-assessee interface.
  • Many goods are still outside the GST net, which comes in the way of seamless flow of input tax credit. Key items outside its ambit are electricity, alcohol, petroleum goods and real estate. This aspect need to be looked into.
  • Emulating the best practices. The GST in New Zealand, widely regarded as the most efficient in the world, has a single standard rate of 12.5 percent across all industry groups.

Conclusion:

The problems of the complicated GST with multiple rate structure and high compliance costs are now evident. To maximize the potential of GST, the government needs to examine its flaws closely.


Topic:  Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies, Important aspects of governance

3) Discuss the merits of the recently suggested amendments to the Inter-State River Waters Disputes Act of 1956 that provides for setting up of a separate tribunal every time a dispute arises, to what extent can such a change bring solutions to the existing inter-state river water disputes? Examine.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

Recently Lok Sabha cleared bill to speed up resolution of inter-state river water disputes by establishing a single central tribunal in place of the numerous existing ones.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the significance of such step and analyse to what extent can such a solution work given the current conditions and past legacy of issues with respect to inter-state river water disputes.

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: 

Discuss the context of the question in short.

Body:

Explain how Inter-state River Water Dispute (Amendment) Bill, 2019, follows the failure of existing tribunals to resolve river water disputes in a time-bound manner. Of the nine tribunals set up to adjudicate such disputes, only four have given their awards and the time taken to do so ranged from seven to 28 years. Thus, the urgent need to amend and have a single tribunal.

Then discuss the merits and demerits of having a single tribunal to solve the disputes.

Discuss the key features of the new amendments introduced in the bill.

Conclusion:

Conclude with appreciation of the amendments.

Introduction:

Lok Sabha has passed the Inter-State River Water disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 with a view to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present institutional architecture robust.

Body:

Drawbacks of interstate Water Dispute Act, 1956:

  • The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 which provides the legal framework to address such disputes suffers from many drawbacks as it does not fix any time limit for resolving river water disputes.
  • Delays are on account of no time limit for adjudication by a Tribunal, no upper age limit for the Chairman or the Members, work getting stalled due to occurrence of any vacancy and no time limit for publishing the report of the Tribunal.
  • The River Boards Act 1956, which is supposed to facilitate inter-state collaboration over water resource development, remained a ‘dead letter’ since its enactment.
  • Surface water is controlled by Central Water Commission (CWC) and ground water by Central Ground Water Board of India (CGWB). Both bodies work independently and there is no common forum for common discussion with state governments on water management.

Merits of the bill:

  • The Bill tries to reduce the time it takes to constitute a tribunal i.e. it creates a permanent infrastructure.
  • Also, like most commercial disputes, a pre-litigation dispute resolution process, which is attempted for a period of 18 months with the central government playing the role of arbitrator is present. And if the issue is not resolved within that period, it gets referred to the tribunal as a dispute.
  • The delay in the adjudication process is because of the appointment of the members i.e. judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court and the assessors. The Bill seeks to constitute a permanent tribunal, so there will be benches and one bench would be able to look at more than one issue/dispute. Hence, the process will be expedited.
  • In the proposed Bill, some timelines have also been fixed.
  • The Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) will take one year extendable by six months to one and a half years.
  • The main report will be prepared in two months, that means the entire deliberations and argumentation and all those will take two years extendable by one year, so a total of three years.
  • And the clarification that is required has to be decided within one year extendable by six months.

Way forward:

  • The Centre’s proposal to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate on inter-state river water disputes could be a major step towards streamlining the dispute redressal mechanism.
  • However, this alone will not be able to address the different kinds of problems—legal, administrative, constitutional and political—that plague the overall framework.
  • To strengthen the cooperative federalism, disputes must be resolved by dialogue and talks and the political opportunism must be avoided.
  • A robust and transparent institutional framework with cooperative approach is need of the hour.

Conclusion:

The bill is a step towards the cooperative federalism and will promote a prompt decision making in case of the various interstate water disputes. The solutions on water disputes will help in the socio economic development of stakeholder states. The implementation of the proposed steps in the bill in its true spirit will develop an integrated regime of river water utilisation.


Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

4) What is a cryptocurrency? Discuss the feasibility of a national cryptocurrency in India.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

Recently, a government panel headed by senior bureaucrat Subhash Chandra Garg placed in the public domain a draft bill calling for a complete ban on private cryptocurrencies in India. The panel recommended a fine of up to ₹25 crore and a jail term of up to 10 years for anyone found to be owning or handling private cryptocurrencies. Thus, the question.

Key demand of the question:

The question aims to analyse the concept of cryptocurrency and its feasibility as a national currency.

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: 

Begin with brief on what is a cryptocurrency – “any information or code or number or token not being part of any official digital currency, generated through cryptographic means or otherwise, providing a digital representation of value which is exchange with or without consideration, with the promise or representation of having inherent value in any business activity which may involve risk of loss or an expectation of profits or income, or functions as a store of value or a unit of account and includes its use in any financial transaction or investment, but not limited to, investment schemes.”

Body:

Discussion should include the following: 

Explain the context of the question – Inter-Ministerial Committee on Virtual Currencies headed by finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has submitted its report to the government. The committee set up by Centre has also proposed a draft bill ‘Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019’.

Discuss what are the key recommendations made, discuss pros and cons and form a fair and balanced opinion as to whether the currency should be allowed or banned completely.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank. They run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, which is a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders. The most common cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin.

Facebook has announced a digital currency called Libra that will roll out for use in 2020 and allow the platform’s billions of users across the globe to make financial transactions online.

Body:

Current state of Cryptocurrencies:

  • Experts and central banks across the world are slowly arriving at the conclusion — written about in various research papers but not yet implemented in policy — that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
  • The world’s premier cryptocurrency is within sniffing distance of $9,000 apiece, and investors still seem bullish on it.
  • The current value—at $8,918 on 29 May—is below its peak of $19,600-plus in late 2017, which was achieved after an exponential rise all through that year.
  • That ascent took online traders by storm and stoked fears of a tulip mania-like “bubble” just before it crashed dramatically; by the end of 2018, it had slid to about one-fifth of its peak value.
  • Bitcoin’s market capitalization is now over $150 billion, reportedly.
  • India banned crypto-currencies in 2018, shortly after a Chinese clampdown.

Cryptocurrency is a disrupter to traditional notions of currency:

  • The government is wary that regulation will provide legitimacy to “what is currently ambiguous,” and may lead to further rise in its valuation and end up contributing “to the investment bubble”.
  • A currency that is not based on any real economic activity, unlike a sovereign currency whose value is based on the relative value of a tradeable basket of goods and services, cannot prima facie inspire much comfort.
  • Bitcoin’s value, astronomical even now at about $8,300 but much below January 2018’s stratospheric levels, is based on demand for a fixed supply of Bitcoins in the future it cannot exceed 21 million in number, of which 18 million has already been mined.
  • The security offered by encryption of cryptocurrency may be breached by hackers who are always lurking for any point of weakness. This may end up costing investors huge amounts of money because prices are attached to the currencies.
  • Cryptocurrency exists only in essence such that there are no physical coins and notes. As a result, there is, therefore, no central place where the currency can be deposited for safe keeping.
  • Lack of regulation of cryptocurrency means it is not under any control or supervision. This attracts more investors thereby increasing their chances of investing in this technology.
  • Cryptos are feared not just for their sheer speculative propensities, but also for their capacity to undermine sovereign currencies (the latter is an exaggerated apprehension).
  • Virtual currency is being traded anonymously over the Internet and used for a host of anti-national and illegal activities, from terror funding to illicit trade of arms and drugs and so on.
  • The online use of this currency, was without any border restrictions or geographical constraints, resulting in danger to the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
  • However, it does not make sense to go overboard and criminalise merely adventurous crypto speculators. There are no official or other data available that point towards misuse of cryptocurrencies for illegal ends

However, there are a few advantages of cryptocurrencies:

  • One of the reasons why cryptocurrencies have gained global appeal is because of their secure nature. Cryptocurrencies are encoded into a database.
  • Cryptocurrency trading draws its legitimacy from the unanimity of the participants in its network. It has gained global approval by most leaders as a legal medium of payment.
  • No transaction fees are usually charged for transactions involving cryptocurrency.
  • Cryptocurrency does away with the need for a regulator.
  • By making everything public, cryptocurrency negates the need for a middleman.
  • According to bitcoin.org, no individual or organisation can manipulate Bitcoins because it is cryptographically secure and do not contain customers’ personal information.

Measures needed:

  • Governments the world over have banned cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, and India is no exception.
  • Yet in India, an estimated 30 lakh Bitcoins are reportedly in circulation. From a value of a little over ₹60,000 at the start of 2017, the Bitcoin now commands a value of nearly ₹6 lakh, with a global market cap of $10.2 trillion. Cryptos are recognised in the US as an asset class.
  • Firms like Paypal, Uber, Visa and Mastercard have all signed up as part of the consortium to control it. Each has invested $10 million.
  • Criminalising possession of cryptocurrencies will impact such investments.
  • Bankers and investors now consider the cryptocurrency market at par with derivatives. The NYSE plans Bitcoin futures through a platform called Bakkt.

Conclusion:

Underlying the crypto movement is a libertarian belief: Cryptos are an alternative asset to fiat currencies; controlled by none, they cannot be manipulated by governments with vested interests. Legalising the cryptomarket can help beneficiaries emerge from the shadows and make productive investments in an economy witnessing a digital transformation. Crypto conduct calls for regulation, but not outright criminalisation.


Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention

5) Discuss the most prominently witnessed internal security threats due to social media also discuss the Existing laws for regulation over electronic media in India.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The question is directly from the static portions of GS paper III. 

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the prominent internal security challenges/threats that have been witnessed or being witnessed due tot social media and one must explain the laws and regulations in place to curb the same.

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: 

Body:

Explain how Spread of social media and cell phones has created the phenomenon of ‘flash crowds’ at the site of encounters. In addition, media like Facebook and YouTube are being used to great advantage to carry out propaganda.

One can discuss recent examples/incidences to substantiate the possible threats posed by social media on the internal security aspects of the country.

Then move on to detail upon the Existing laws for regulation over electronic media in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a serious and clear debate on the issue of freedom of expression, social responsibility, anonymity and data security is the need of the hour. And social media needs to be managed with proper and strict regulations in place.

Introduction:

Social Media can be defined as any web or mobile based platform that enables an individual or agency to communicate interactively and enables exchange of user generated content and it is explained by a number of tools, which includes blogs, Wikis, discussion forums, micro-blogs, twitter and social networking sites. Social Media in recent times has become synonymous with Social Networking sites such as Facebook or Micro Blogging sites such as Twitter.

Body:

Social media threat to nation’s internal security

  • The advantages of Social media are so many but they are posing threat to Internal Security in various forms like Cyber Terrorism, Fraud, crime, spreading violence, etc.
  • According to the Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report, the highest concentration of online security threats is on mass audience sites, including social media. The rapid spread of false information through social media is among the emerging risks identified by the World Economic Forum in its Global Risks 2013 Report.
  • With limited government oversight, industry standards or incentives to educate users on security, privacy and identity protection, users are exposed to identity theft and fraud.
  • Additionally, these platforms have huge confidential user information, and are likely vulnerable to outside or inside attack which is detrimental to Internal Security.
  • Radicalization: In Recruitment from other countries:
    • ISIS is using the network of their recruiters around the world & paying them $2000 to $10000 depending upon who is recruited. Recruiters are using social media platform.
    • They are releasing videos of to target individuals who are susceptible to its message of violence and adventure.
    • ISIS has also benefited from “disseminators”, individuals who are sympathetic to their cause but not fighting for them.
  • Fake News:
    • Competition among websites and social media platforms has sometimes resulted in the generation of fake news.
    • Everyone is in hurry to LIKE/SHARE/COMMENT rather than checking the authenticity of the news.
    • The most common fake stories revolve around politics and the attempt is to polarise society, particularly during political events.
  • Cyber Terrorism:
    • The biggest challenge for internal security of nation through social networking site is cyber terrorism.
    • Today terrorists select Social Media as a practical alternative to disturb the function of nations and other business activities because this technique has potential to cause huge damage. It poses enormous threat in international system and attracts the mass media, the security community, and the information technology corporation.
    • At the same time, due to the convenience, affordability and broad reach of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, terrorist groups have increasingly used social media to further their goals and spread their message.
    • Social Media became a platform for coordination of plans of attack, communication with cells, or propaganda and information and spread of hate campaign or messages that can hurt the sentiments of people.
    • Chat rooms and electronic forums enable the insurgent and extremists groups to communicate with members and supporters all over the world, to recruit new followers and to share information at little risk of identification by authorities.
  • International users:
    • The other national and international users such as the political parties, NGO’s, hackers pose a serious threat using the social media. For example, during the civil turmoil in the Arab Spring Uprising, the various governments were threatened through the social media.
  • To Bring Revolution:
    • Some countries in the world feel threatened by the fact that social media can bring the people together and thus, create a revolution. This in turn can cause political instability
  • Communal Violence and Fanning Tensions:
    • Importantly, social media also seems to be playing a significant role in polarising different communities in India and compounding India’s Security challenges. The viral videos and false updates of communal clashes, riots and terrorists attack have created a massive impact in the life of public.
    • Mobile and social network interface was used to send offensive clips and hate messages that triggered panic and mass exodus of north east Indians from large parts of India in the aftermath of the ethnic clashes in Assam in 2012.
    • In September 2013, a morphed video on YouTube was used to fan communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh and led to mass panic.
  • Virtual Community:
    • Popular social networking websites are another means of attracting potential members and followers. These types of virtual communities are growing increasingly popular all over the world, especially among younger demographics. This can build Anti-national Sentiments among Society.
  • Fraud:
    • Social networking sites also invite fraudsters to take excellent opportunity to become wealthy by applying deceiver schemes.
  • Criminal Activity and Money laundering:
    • Social networking sites also pose major challenge in financial and organized crime which destabilizes the system. It creates threat to a company’s security because of what employees might disclose and they are on prime target for cyber criminals.

Existing laws for regulation over electronic media in India

  • Information Technology Act 2000
  • Draft Data Protection Bill

Way forward:

  • Institutionalise the blueprint for a National Social Media Policy:
    • The Indian establishment needs to recognise the medium and grant it a legal status if it needs to deal with the multitude of challenges that rise out of it effectively.
    • The National Cyber Security Policy needs to be revised to include social media challenges which are distinct from the cyber security threats.
  • Replicate “Social Media Labs” across the country.
  • Serious and clear headed debate on the issue of freedom of expression, social responsibility, anonymity and data security is the need of the hour.

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

6) “Stagnant wages and jobless growth have become a recipe for political instability in the Indian countryside “, Critically analyse the statement in the backdrop of declining availability of jobs in the Indian economy.(250 words)

Livemint

 

Why this question: 

The article talks about the employment picture and state of Jobs in the country.

Demand of the question:

The answer has to evaluate How serious is the employment problem in India.

What are the issues of economy with respect to jobs and employment scenario?

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Discuss by quoting facts and highlight the issue.

Body

The article discusses in detail in what way stagnant wages and jobless growth are a recipe for political instability in the Indian countryside.

Take hints from the article and discuss the issues associated and what are the possible solutions/fixes to the same.

Conclusion 

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Unemployment has become a chronic problem of India and in the recent years the situation has only worsened. The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) report, “State of Working India, 2018” data shows a record spike in unemployment in 2017-18. The overall unemployment was at a 45-year high, with youth between the ages of 15 and 29 facing higher rates of joblessness than others

Body:

State of Unemployment in India:

  • CMIE database on “Unemployment Rate in India” is based on the panel size of over 1,58,000 households in the country.
  • The unemployment rate in December 2018 rose to 7.38% from 6.62% in November 2018 and 4.78% in December 2017, highest since September 2016 when it stood at a high of 8.46%, the CMIE data showed.
  • The total number of people employed fell by about 1.09 crore, about 83% or 91.4 lakh jobs were lost in rural areas.
  • There has been a decline in the estimated Labour Participation Rate— the proportion of working-age people who are willing to work and are either actually working or are actively looking for work, in line with a fall in the unemployment rate.
  • The estimated labour participation rate also dropped from 43.57 in December 2017 to 42.47 in December 2018. The rate was at 45.15 in December 2016 and at 47.84 in September 2017, the data showed.

The reasons for issue of unemployment in contemporary India:

  • The labour force is the sum of the employed and those unemployed who are seeking employment.
  • A shrinking of the labour force is most unusual in an economy with a growing population, and thus a growing working age cohort.
  • Low education and lack of skills lead to loss of many job opportunities.
  • Discouraged-worker effect: A section of those hitherto willing to work may have simply dropped out of an already challenged labour market.
  • Demonetization has caused demoralisation among a section of the already unemployed who may have given up all hope of finding employment.
  • About 90% of Indian Workforce is in the unorganized sector which was majorly affected during Demonetization and GST introduction.
  • Declining Capital formation which is not backed by Public and Private Investment.
  • Low female LFPR to the tunes of 24% also adds to high unemployment rate.
  • Automation and IR4.0 is a looming threat to many jobs which have repeated work or sequential work.
  • Socially disadvantaged groups do not get enough exposure in the job market like the general castes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Labour laws in India are complex and relatively strict. Employment protection legislation is restrictive, compared with other emerging economies and OECD countries. Thus, corporates in India tend to rely more on temporary contract labour, stay small or substitute labour for capital to avoid strict labour laws.

Impacts:

  • The problem of unemployment gives rise to the problem of poverty.
  • Young people after a long time of unemployment indulge in illegal and wrong activities for earning money. This also leads to increase in crime in the country.
  • Unemployed persons can easily be enticed by antisocial elements. This makes them lose faith in democratic values of the country.
  • It is often seen that unemployed people end up getting addicted to drugs and alcohol or attempts suicide, leading losses to the human resources of the country.
  • It also affects economy of the country as the workforce that could have been gainfully employed to generate resources actually gets dependent on the remaining working population, thus escalating socioeconomic costs for the State. For instance, 1 percent increase in unemployment reduces the GDP by 2 percent

Way forward:

  • There are number of labour intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments. Special packages, individually designed for each industry are needed to create jobs.
  • Public investment in sectors like health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs.
  • Decentralisation of Industrial activities is necessary so that people of every region get employment.
  • Development of the rural areas will help mitigate the migration of the rural people to the urban areas thus decreasing the pressure on the urban area jobs.
  • Entrepreneurs generate employments to many in a country; therefore government needs to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth.
  • Concrete measures aimed at removing the social barriers for women’s entry and their continuous participation in the job market is needed.
  • Government needs to keep a strict watch on the education system and should try to implement new ways to generate skilled labour force.
  • Effective implementation of present programs like Make in India, Skill India, Start up and Stand-Up India.
  • There is a need for National Employment Policy (NEP) that would encompass a set of multidimensional interventions covering a whole range of social and economic issues affecting many policy spheres and not just the areas of labour and employment. The policy would be a critical tool to contribute significantly to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7) High ethical standards in the civil services are often desired, analyse the significance of having high ethical standards in current bureaucratic structure of the country. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss and evaluate the need for high ethical standards in the Indian bureaucratic system.

Key demand of the question:

Explain how and why High ethical standards are necessary for civil services.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Briefly state the importance of ethics in general.

Body:

Explain how set of values are desirable in civil servants so as to ensure they have an ethical conduct being professed. Explain the reasons that necessitate the high ethical standards in civil services, quote case studies or examples of ethically upright, morally sound civil servants to justify better.

Conclusion:

Conclude that civil servants are ultimately responsible and accountable for the varied and multitude of services they provide.so to ensure assurance and in the best interests of society, they have to take care that high ethical standards are being met.

Introduction:

Public want common ethical standards to apply to all providers of public services and that public and stakeholder views are broadly in line with the Seven Principles of Public Life – Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership.

Body:

High ethical standards are important for society as a whole and that they are particularly important where public money is being spent on public services or public functions. This is because:

  • Outcomes for society are better when the decisions of public office holders are made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal and private interests
  • Low levels of corruption and confidence in the integrity of the trading and operating environment are crucial factors in the functioning of advanced democracies
  • High standards benefit the economy through their effect on international confidence
  • Impartiality and objectivity increases predictability, which improves economic efficiency
  • Governments which are not perceived to uphold high standards have less legitimacy and basic public institutions such as tax and benefit systems rely on public trust to function effectively
  • High ethical standards are a necessary component of managing public money and fundamental to the right use of public funds and delivery of services to the public.

Conclusion:

It is therefore incumbent on the bodies commissioning or procuring public services, which are ultimately responsible and accountable for those services, to obtain assurance that high ethical standards are being met.