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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 OCTOBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 OCTOBER 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: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1) Italy was united by the heart of Mazzini, the sword of Garibaldi and brain of Cavour. Elucidate.(250 words)

Reference

World history by Norman Lowe

Why this question:

The question wants to link the three major personalities behind the Unification of Italy.

Key demand of the question:

One must.

Directive:

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: 

Introduce with the how Italy was fragment across various principalities and the need for unification.

Body:

The first body should elaborate on Mazzini and his contribution in kindling Italian Nationalism. Young Italy as an organization and spread of nationalism must be explored.

Cavour as Brain. His works a PM of Piedmont-Sardinia, his politics, Plombeirs pact, agreement with Bismarck must be touched upon.

The contributions of Garibaldi and his red shirts must also be added and also the disagreement between Cavour and Garibaldi.

Conclusion:

The conclusion touch upon how others such as King Victor Emmanuel also played a part in Unification process but the above mentioned three were its heart, brain and sword.

Introduction:

In March 1861 Emmanuel II proclaimed the Italian nation with himself as king and Camillo Cavour as prime minister. Three of the key figures in the unification of Italy were Mazzini, Garibaldi and Cavour, who although all having different aims, ultimately contributed to the unification of Italy. In 1815, after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, the great powers of Europe; Russia, Prussia, Austria and Great Britain met in Vienna and regarded the changes that had been made to the Italian peninsula during French rule.

Body:

The Contributions of Mazzini, Garibaldi and Cavour in the Unification of Italy were as follows:

Mazzini:

  • At a young age of 24 in 1831, he was exiled for attempting a revolution in Liguria.
  • To further spread the revolutionary ideas, he founded two more underground societies- ‘Young Italy’ in Marseilles and ‘Young Europe’ in Berne, whose members were like-minded young men from Poland, France, Italy and the German states.
  • Following his example, secret societies were set up in Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland. Mazzini’s opposition to monarchy and his vision of democratic republics scared the conservatives. Metternich described him as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’.
  • He wanted unification through a democratic revolution but his lofty ideals were not supported by the peasants and middle classes. As a result, he failed in his efforts but prepared the ground for others.
  • Mazzini believed that God had created nations to be the natural units of mankind. Thus, Italy cannot remain divided into various kingdoms. It has to be a single unified republic.
  • Many of his writings became classics in the literature of nationalism. Mazzini made two proposals: Without international support unification of Italy is difficult and Austria is a big hurdle in Italian unification.
  • In 1848, revolts were breaking out all over the North Italy. Mazzini took the advantage of the circumstances. So, he came to Rome and drove out the Pope. And established Republic in Rome.
  • Then he formed a committee of three- Triumvirs. Mazzini was one of these Triumvirs. But this young Republic was attacked on all sides: by the Austrians, Neapolitans and the French.

Garibaldi:

  • He was a member of the Young Italy movement. He was skilled in guerrilla warfare and deserves credit for uniting Southern Italian states under the leadership of Piedmont.
  • He organized a revolutionary force called Red Shirts, and succeeded in liberating Sicily and Naples and uniting them under the control of the King of Sardinia.
  • All the three major powers surrounded and attacked the Roman Republic.
  • The chief fighter on the side of the Roman Republic wasHe held the Austrians and defeated the Neapolitan armies. He even stopped the French. All this was done with the help of volunteers
  • Garibaldi’s leadership gave strength to the young volunteers. Volunteers poured in and they marched enthusiastically. They often marched singing Garibaldi’s hymn.
  • Garibaldi and Mazzini both were fiercely devoted to Italian unification. The third player in this game was Cavour.

Cavour:

  • Cavour was clear that Italy required international support.
  • He strongly believed that only through diplomacy and policy of war (simi­lar to Bismarck’s policy of ‘blood and iron’) could Italian unification be achieved.
  • He united Italy under the leadership of Sardinia. Lombardy, Tuscany, Parma and Papal States also united with Sardinia.
  • In this circumstances, the Crimean war of 1854 broke out. In this war, Cavour sent Italian forces to assist Britain and France against Russia. Due to the contribution of troops sent by Cavour Britain and France won. So Cavour got the reward of it. This was a diplomatic victory of Cavour.
  • Finally, in 1871, Rome was liberated from French control and Italy was united, with the King of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel II, becoming the King of Italy with Rome as the Capital.

Conclusion:

Mazzini’s efforts would have run to waste in a questionable insurrections and Garibaldi’s feat of arms must have added one chapter more to the history of unproductive patriotism.” In short, we can say with confidence that of all the political and national leaders of Italy, Cavour contributed most to the unification of Italy.


Topic:History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2) Explain how conflicting geographical differences between the northern and southern states of America led to outbreak of American Civil War. (250 words) 

World history by Norman Lowe

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of American Civil War.

Key demand of the question:

The question seeks to ascertain the geographical causes of the American Civil War in detail.

Directive:

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: 

Briefly introduce the contrast between geography of northern American and Southern American (Confederate) states.

Body:

First brief a little on the context of the question, explain the American civil war.

Explain in detail the various geographical factors that led to the War.

Interlink the aspects of geography to economy, socio-cultural advancement, political philosophy etc. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying how the election of Abraham Lincoln lit the spark of Civil War with secession of southern states

Introduction:

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (the Union) and the South (the Confederacy). The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. Karl Marx defined it as a struggle between two historical epochs – the feudal and the capitalist. The victory of the latter made possible the eventual recognition of the human dignity and the civil rights of African-Americans.

Body:

Conflicting geographical differences led to the outbreak of American Civil war:

  • In the mid-19th century, while the United States was experiencing an era of tremendous growth, a fundamental economic difference existed between the country’s northern and southern regions.
  • In the North, manufacturing and industry was well established, and agriculture was mostly limited to small-scale farms, while the South’s economy was based on a system of large-scale farming that depended on the labor of black slaves to grow certain crops, especially cotton and tobacco.
  • Between 1815 and 1861 the economy of the Northern states was rapidly modernizing and diversifying. Although agriculture—mostly smaller farms that relied on free labour—remained the dominant sector in the North, industrialization had taken root there.
  • Moreover, Northerners had invested heavily in an expansive and varied transportation system that included canals, roads, steamboats, and railroads; in financial industries such as banking and insurance; and in a large communications network that featured inexpensive, widely available newspapers, magazines, and books, along with the telegraph.
  • By contrast, the Southern economy was based principally on large farms (plantations) that produced commercial crops such as cotton and that relied on slaves as the main labour force.
  • Rather than invest in factories or railroads as Northerners had done, Southerners invested their money in slaves—even more than in land; by 1860, 84 percent of the capital invested in manufacturing was invested in the free (non-slaveholding) states.
  • The price of cotton, the South’s defining crop, had skyrocketed in the 1850s, and the value of slaves—who were, after all, property—rose commensurately.
  • By 1860 the per capita wealth of Southern whites was twice that of Northerners, and three-fifths of the wealthiest individuals in the country were Southerners.

Conclusion:

The other factors that led to the outbreak of the civil war include The Collapse of the Two-Party System between Democrats and Whigs, Slavery in the territories, secession of the states like South Carolina, the elections of 1860 where there was a lack of a candidate with national appeal.


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

3) Review of its State Science and Technology Councils (SSTC) Programme by the government of India is a step forward in decentralization of the agenda of science and democratization of access to science and its methods, which was long overdue. Comment.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article discusses the importance of decentralization of Science and access to science in the development of the country.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the significance that the State Science and Technology Councils (SSTC) Programme holds for Indian advancement in science, in decentralizing access to science and its benefits.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain the significance of science in general to the country.

Body:

Explain in detail first the features of State Science and Technology Councils (SSTC) Programme.

Discuss why is it important that the State Science and Technology Councils (SSTC) Programme be reviewed – The SSTCs were formed to spearhead the use of science and technology (S&T) for regional problems and to foster “scientific temper” within states, and the DST programme was mandated “to provide core support”.

Discuss how it helps address the developmental problems and other issues, also discuss the hurdles or challenges associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The State Science and Technology Councils (SSTCs) constituted to spearhead the use of science and technologies (S&T) for regional problems and to foster scientific temper have been completely neglected and are now intellectually adrift. State Science & Technology Councils have been set-up in all the States and Union Territories. Several States have also formed a separate Department of Science & Technology. The State Councils are normally chaired by Chief Ministers of respective States or by an eminent scientist.

Body:

Growing challenges of a developing India:

  • Managing floods and droughts, designing better timetables for city buses or developing biodegradable paints for Ganapati idol makers, are all extremely challenging tasks.
  • The systematic study of such problems and their solutions will lead not only to better development outcomes, but also new science, enterprises and jobs.
  • The primary responsibility of solving them lies with our scientists and bureaucrats, not politicians.
  • Unfortunately, this is not fully appreciated by our society or accepted by our elite institutions as their mandate.
  • Many of the development problems, for instance, water or public health, are on the State List.
  • Most state departments do not make any provision for research in their budget simply because it may be too disruptive, or that they do not find viable partner institutions.

Effects of these challenges:

  • The result is that our industry imports much of its sophisticated machinery.
  • Our state agencies call on expensive international consultants even in traditional areas such as irrigation.
  • International companies fill our pot-holes with cement, and foreign universities prepare our smart city plans and assess our drinking water systems.
  • These universities know that solving hard real-life problems is the road to “world-class” research and international rankings.

The SSTCs are well-placed to enable problem discovery, identify higher education institutions to work on these problems and engage with state agencies.

Challenges faced by SSTC:

  • Funding: From the DST kitty of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore, barely Rs 100 crore makes it to the SSTCs put together. State funding is scarce. For example, the Maharastra SSTC has an annual budget of about Rs 60 crore. Compare this with the Rs 200 crore research grants that IIT Bombay alone receives from central agencies, with little to show.
  • Second, much of the SSTC budget is disbursed in the same patronising “project proposal and approval” method of the DST, rather than in sectoral engagement and people-driven problem identification.
  • Chronic issues in rural electricity or public health or disasters such as the recent Sangli floods are never analysed since they are not seen as scientific problems but social, political or implementation problems to be undertaken by NGOs or the concerned state agency.
  • Lack of diversity in research and Development:
    • the more informed paradigm is that science is about empowering people, and not merely about few fashionable research areas.
    • It is about the practice of observation, analysis, reporting and argumentation, which may happen within a laboratory or outside it, and which speaks not only to scientists, but to administrators, people, their representatives and the civil society at large.

Measures needed:

  • The DST should disburse about Rs 2,000-2,500 crore directly to SSTCs with precise guidelines on problem area selection, publicly available reports as research outcomes, identification of regional institutions, strengthening of universities, and working with regional agencies.
  • The DST should be a clearing house for data from central agencies such as the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA).
  • The SSTC should become the nodal center for research in and for state agencies and administrative units such as forests lands, watersheds, districts or cities.
  • This will enable sectoral research, funds, logistical support and access to state-level data.
  • There should be innovative funding mechanisms, for example, providing Rs 10 per capita or Rs 1 crore per district per year as research funding for work on regional problems.
  • The SSTC should work with the state higher education department to evolve curricula and research frameworks for the state’s development requirements and provide academic space for SSTC projects, and evolve a network of regional institutions to work with district-level agencies.
  • There should be better alignment of research and development with existing programmes at the national and state level. For example, the SSTC may offer a programme for institutions or enterprises to prepare air quality action plans for cities as required by the National Clean Air Programme or district irrigation plans as a part of the national PMKSY programme.
  • There should be a Model State Science and Technology Council Act to ensure the above agenda to prevent capture by venerable scientists or elite institutions, and to allow people and their representatives to initiate studies on problems which bother them.

Conclusion:

Decentralisation of the agenda of science and democratisation of access to science and its methods is the need of the hour. This will bring real science closer to schools and colleges and allow the community to participate in its own development. This approach is certainly in line with the spirit of science, and certainly what was intended by Bharat Ratna C Subramaniam, who initiated the SSTC programme and was a key figure in both the Green Revolution and the White revolution.


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

4) Active participation of the multiple stakeholders in defence manufacturing can help make the Indian defence industry more competitive. In the context of this statement explain the role of greater inclusion of indigenous technology

in building robust defence system.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question:

The question seeks to analyse the role of multi-stakeholder approach in indigenization of defence systems.

Key demand of the question:

Analyse the pros of an indigenous ecosystem for the defence sector of the country and discuss its overall impact on the development of the defence system.

Directive:

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: 

Start by quoting data like – India is one of the largest importers of weapons and ammunition and highlight the need for indigenization of technologies for the greater interest of the country.

Body:

Explain first the need for greater inclusion of indigenous technology in the armed forces.

Discuss why we need to focus on these aspects? – quote the security dimensions, changing warfare’s.

Explain the possible interventions and steps that the government should take in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude that All stakeholders must come together and hold interactions and come up with action plans as far as research is concerned, so as to increase our defence capabilities to take India to a new height.

Introduction:

India remains the world’s largest importer of major arms, accounting for 13 per cent of the global total sales, according to a new data released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent institute that tracks arms proliferation among other issues in conflict studies. Currently, India allocates about 1.8 percent of its GDP to defence spending and imports about 70 percent of defence equipment. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Tuesday pitched for greater inclusion of indigenous technology in the armed forces and asserted that India will fight and win the next war with home-grown solutions.

Body:

Need for greater inclusion of multiple stakeholders:

  • Defence production in India is currently dominated by state-owned manufacturers and lacks autonomy and modernisation. g.: DRDO, BHEL etc.
  • The Union Budget 2017-18 has allocated Rs. 3,59,854 crore to the Ministry of Defence and most of this amount goes for defence acquisition. Still, India can’t even compare to its neighbour China in modern warfare and has been unable to protect its borders from being intruded by the militants.
  • The major problem behind this is lack of high levels of indigenisation in this The “strategic partnership model” is aimed at making efforts to stimulate defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country through involvement of Indian as well as foreign firms.

 

The role of greater inclusion of indigenous technology in building robust defence system could help realise the following potential and strengths:

  • Policy Initiatives:
  • The government’s agenda to reduce import dependence in defence by 35-40 percent it is actively promoting indigenous defence manufacturing with initiatives like Make in India and policy reforms including allowing 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  • Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) is seen as a game changer to ensure faster pace in procurement, especially through newly introduced categories under indigenously designed, developed and manufactured (IDDM) provisions.
  • Several states are also offering incentives and concessions in the form of aerospace clusters or Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for developing an ecosystem where all core and ancillary activities related to defence manufacturing can co-exist.

 

  • Redefined Roles:
  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) as well as Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) in the defence manufacturing sector are focussing on moving from a buyer-seller to a co-developer and co-manufacturer relationship.
  • They have come together and formed strategic partnerships to support the development of a sustainable supplier base for the defence sector. Also, moulded themselves quickly to foster a culture of innovation and R&D.

 

  • Partnering for success:
  • India harbours an immense amount of potential that can be tapped into by way of key strategic partnerships that add value across the entire length and breadth of R&D, manufacturing and supply chain.
  • Foreign OEM’s are encouraging Indian industry to adopt best practices for global quality standards in their manufacturing processes to lead to the creation of a gold standard supply chain and defence manufacturing ecosystem in India.

 

  • Skilled talent pool:
  • As per government estimates, a reduction in 20-25 percent in defence related imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India.
  • The academia and industry needs to forge partnerships to encourage research and technological advancements and create a talent pool that is industry ready.
  • Innovation for Defence Excellence: The scheme envisions setting up innovation hubs particularly for the defence sector across the country.

 

  • Robust supply chain:
  • A strong supply chain is critical for a defence manufacturer looking to optimize costs. Gradually, a handful of Indian SMEs are playing a key role in the global supply chain of OEMs.
  • With the government’s offset policies, procurement policies and regulatory incentives spurring the growth of a domestic defence industry, the SMEs need to play a more active role in developing a robust supply chain.

 

  • Infrastructure development:
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure drives India’s logistics costs upwards thus reducing the country’s cost competitiveness and efficiency.
  • While the government is investing in this area the pace of development needs to pick up considerably and public-private participation can go a long way in hastening this process.
  • Establishment of two defence industrial corridors in the country. Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh to develop defence manufacturing ecosystems in the region.

Challenges faced in indigenization:

  • Lack of an institutional capacity and capability to take different policies aimed at indigenisation of defence to its logical conclusion.
  • Dispute Settlement body: There is an urgent need for a permanent arbitration committee which can settle disputes expeditiously.
  • In the USA, the procurement agency DARPA has a permanent arbitration committee which resolves such issues amicably and their decision is final.
  • Infrastructural deficit increases India’s logistics costs thus reducing the country’s cost competitiveness and efficiency.
  • Land acquisition issues restrict entry of new players in the defence manufacturing and production.
  • Policy dilemma offset requirements under the DPP are not helping it achieve its goal. (Offsets are a portion of a contracted price with a foreign supplier that must be re-invested in the Indian defence sector, or against which the government can purchase technology.

Way Forward:

  • Defence offset policies need better monitoring, removing unnecessary restrictions and linking defence offsets with offset in civil sector. That should be encouraged.
  • To boost indigenization, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) needs to be given more autonomy like space and atomic energy departments.
  • Even playing field should be created between the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and the private sector companies.
  • Indian defence PSUs and ordnance factories have a lot of potential, they need to be “revived, revitalised and made a lot more dynamic”.
  • Establishing courses on defence production across universities and creating job opportunities for the graduates.
  • The government needs to expedite the setting up a professional defence procurement agency.
  • Meeting the objectives of defence exports, encouraging innovation, streaming lining procurements will require robust defence diplomacy. A cadre of defence diplomats should be created to address these issues.
  • The country needs an elaborate ecosystem of innovation of which defence innovation can be a part.

Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

5) The fate of the Kurds is a parable for the future of West Asian geopolitics. Analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article explains in detail who are the Kurds, and why is Turkey attacking them in northern Syria. What role did Kurdish fighters play in the complex war in Syria, and what are the ramifications of US troops’ withdrawal from the conflict?

Key demand of the question:

The question aims to discuss in detail the fate of the Kurds in the future of West Asian geopolitics.

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: 

In brief first explain who Kurds are.

Body:

Explain that the Kurds used the collapse of central authority in Syria and Iraq to carve out semi-autonomous regions for themselves. Baghdad has since reasserted its authority. In Syria, the Kurds leveraged the United States to maintain their independence from Damascus and shield themselves from a hostile Turkey.

Discuss the current scenario in Syria.

Explain the geopolitical trends from past to present.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion and way forward highlighting future possibilities of West Asian politics.

 

Introduction:    

Kurds are the world’s largest stateless ethnic group. They are an estimated 25 million to 35 million population. The majority among the Kurdish people today are Sunni Muslim, but there are adherents of other faiths too, including Sufism and other mystical practices. They live in the highlands of southern and eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, the northeastern Syria, northwestern Iran, and parts of south Armenia, and are a minority in each of these countries. Small communities live in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and eastern Iran as well. Kurds have long had a reputation for being fearless fighters, and they have served as mercenaries in many armies over the centuries.

Body:

Recently, the Trump administration ordered US troops to step aside from the border in northern Syria, effectively paving the way for Turkey to launch an offensive against US-backed Kurdish forces who they regard as enemies. Soon after Turkey launched an offensive with two main goals in northeast Syria: to drive the Kurdish YPG militia which it deems a security threat away from its border, and to create a space inside Syria where 2 million Syrian refugees currently hosted in Turkey can be settled.

Demands of the Kurds:

  • The Kurds have never achieved nation-state status, except in Iraq, where they have a regional government called Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Kurdistan is made up of five different regions: south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Syria, northern Iraq, northwestern Iran and south-western Armenia.
  • In the early 20th century, the Kurds began working toward the creation of homeland known as Kurdistan. In 1920, the Treaty of Sevres — one of a series of treaties that the Central Powers signed after their defeat in World War I — outlined the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and called for an autonomous Kurdistan.
  • Three years later, after the end of the war, Western allies dropped demands for an independent Kurdish state and the Kurdish region was divided among several countries.

The fate of the Kurds is a parable for the future of West Asian geopolitics:

  • The Kurds used the collapse of central authority in Syria and Iraq to carve out semi-autonomous regions for themselves. Baghdad has since reasserted its authority.
  • In Syria, the Kurds leveraged the United States to maintain their independence from Damascus and shield themselves from a hostile Turkey.
  • With US President Donald Trump suddenly deciding the Kurds were expendable, first Turkey and now Syria have begun eating away at the enclave.
  • The crudity of the Turkish attack has earned Ankara international opprobrium while the Syrians have arrived as saviours. Both governments, however, seek the Kurdish enclave’s disappearance.
  • Ethnic armies like the Kurds, terror networks like the Islamic State, and various militia used the chaos in the Levant and Mesopotamia to carve out fiefdoms.
  • Some, like the Kurds, played a traditional game of seeking an external patron to balance against powerful regional players.
  • Some regional players, for example, Turkey and Iran, saw an opportunity to establish themselves as local hegemons.

The three possible geopolitical trends:

  • One, the chaos that gave birth to the Kurds enclave is retreating. This return to normal borders is likely to be bloody and messy.
  • Two, external players will play a shrinking role in determining West Asia’s future.
  • Three, West Asian politics will be about the interplay of its regional powers.

Way forward:

  • The European Union should have a dialogue with Turkey despite Ankara’s offensive against the Kurds, in order to avoid a fresh wave of migrants coming to Europe.
  • Russia, the main international backer of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, said it planned to push for dialogue between the Syrian and Turkish governments following the incursion.

Conclusion:

World powers fear the action could open a new chapter in Syria’s war and worsen the regional turmoil.  International criticism has not had the impact to curb down the offensive of Turkey.


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

6) What is a randomised controlled trial in the context of research that won the Nobel Prize in Economics 2019? Why is it so popular? Explain. Also discuss few criticisms of randomised controlled trials. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article provides an in-depth analysis of randomised controlled trials – the method that was used in the research of recently won Noble prize for economics 2019.

Key demand of the question:

One has to explain in detail the concept of randomised controlled trial, reasons for its popularity and criticism if any.

Directive:

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.

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 brief discuss the origin of randomised controlled trial.

Body:

Explain that the use of randomized controlled trials as a research tool was largely limited to fields such as biomedical sciences where the effectiveness of various drugs was gauged using this technique. Mr. Banerjee, Ms. Duflo and Mr. Kremer, however, applied RCT to the field of economics beginning in the 1990s. Mr. Kremer first used the technique to study the impact that free meals and books had on learning in Kenyan schools. Mr. Banerjee and Ms. Duflo later conducted similar experiments in India and further popularized RCTs through their book Poor Economics, published in 2011.

Discuss the concept in detail, its popularity.

List down criticisms; take hints from the article.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction:

The new Economics Nobel laureates – Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer – are considered to be instrumental in using randomised controlled trials to test the effectiveness of various policy interventions to alleviate poverty. Randomised controlled trial is an experiment that is designed to isolate the influence that a certain intervention or variable has on an outcome or event.

Body:

The Randomised Control Trial (RCT) which was inspired by the use of RCTs in medical science was used by the Nobel laureates to test the effect of small interventions on the individual behaviour. The experiment-based approach of the laureates involved dividing an issue into smaller and more manageable questions. They have shown that smaller and more precise questions are often best answered through carefully designed experiments among the people who are the most affected. In the mid-1990s, Dr Kremer and his colleagues demonstrated how powerful this approach can be when they used field experiments to test a range of interventions that could improve school results in Western Kenya.

RCTs have become popular due to:

  • At any point in time, there are multiple factors that work in tandem to influence various social events.
  • RCTs allow economists and other social science researchers to isolate the individual impact that a certain factor alone has on the overall event.
  • For instance, to measure the impact that hiring more teachers can have on children’s learning, researchers must control for the effect that other factors such as intelligence, nutrition, climate, economic and social status etc., which may also influence learning outcomes to various degrees, have on the final event.
  • Randomised controlled trials promise to overcome this problem through the use of randomly picked samples.
  • Many development economists believe that RCTs can help governments to find, in a thoroughly scientific way, the most potent policy measures that could help end poverty rapidly. 

Criticisms of randomised controlled trials:

  • As per economist Angus Deaton, who won the economics Nobel Prize in 2015, “Understanding and misunderstanding randomised control trials” that simply choosing samples for an RCT experiment in a random manner does not really make these samples identical in their many characteristics.
  • While two randomly chosen samples might turn out to be similar in some cases, he argued, there are greater chances that most samples are not really similar to each other.
  • Other economists argue that social science research, including research in the field of development economics, may be inherently unsuited for such controlled research since it may be humanly impossible to control for multiple factors that may influence social events.

Conclusion:

Governments across the world spend big money on social schemes without the vaguest of ideas on whether their objectives have been met. India has been among the biggest laboratories of these experiments with several experiments on diverse themes such as literacy, nutrition, health, micro-finance and so on. The field-work based approach that these economists have perfected has revolutionised the field of development economics and made it more relevant in policy making. The government would do well to borrow from the research of these laureates to understand the impact of its several schemes, and where necessary, tweak them to derive maximum benefit for the thousands of crores of rupees that it spends.

Case study: For example, to study whether providing a mobile vaccination van and/or a sack of grains would incentivise villagers to vaccinate their kids under an an RCT, village households would be divided into four groups.

  • Group A would be provided with a mobile vaccination van facility.
  • Group B would be given a sack of foodgrains.
  • Group C would get both
  • Group D would get neither

Group D is called the “control” group while others are called “treatment” groups. Households would be chosen on a random basis to ensure there was no bias, and that any difference in vaccination levels was essentially because of the “intervention”.

Such an experiment would not only demonstrate whether a policy initiative works but would also provide a measure of the difference it brings about. The approach would also show what happens when more than one initiatives are combined. This would help policymakers to have the evidence before they choose a policy.


TOPIC: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

7) Do you think it is imperative that India’s legal prowess be applied to the situational complexities of space exploration? Discuss in the backdrop of world’s first space crime.  ( 250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the need for legal system in addressing any crimes arising out of space.

Key demand of the question:

One must bring out and reason with substance the need to have a legal system to address situational complexities of space exploration.

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: 

One can start by highlighting the space race that the world countries are into.

Body:

First discuss how far world countries have come in terms of space explorations and what has made space exploration systems complex to address.

Explain that it is time to answer the questions like – What will happen when legal issues that are beyond the foresight of existing agreements arise? What will happen when crimes take place on commercial space vehicles sent by private corporations, third-party nations, and jurisdictions not already covered?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

It was recently reported that the “world’s first space crime” may have been committed by a NASA astronaut, Anne McClain. She is suspected of signing into the personal bank account of her estranged spouse from a computer aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In this context, it is necessary to understand the ambit of space laws, issues in this relation and way forward.

Body:

The case of Anne McClain:

  • Currently, there is no detailed framework for international space law nor is there any way to handle criminal disputes that arise on commercial space vessels.
  • It gets even less defined when it comes to disputes between individuals from separate countries.
  • Our only outer space presence comes from the International Space Station, which is currently governed under an international treaty called the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on Space Station Cooperation.
  • Article 22 of the Agreement concerns itself with criminal jurisdiction and states that countries which are mentioned in the agreement may exercise criminal jurisdiction over personnel in flights who are their respective nationals.
  • Hence, the laws of the U.S. will be applicable in this situation concerning the first space crime.
  • There are legal documents that govern space, such as the Outer Space Treaty, the Moon Agreement, the Registration Convention, the Rescue Agreement, and the Liability Convention, none of them comprehends a detailed framework to cater to criminal disputes that might arise on commercial space vessels, which will have personnel and space tourists from different jurisdictions.

Issues persist:

  • NASA has recently announced the opening of the ISS for commercial uses like filming etc. which can naturally give rise to crimes committed in outer space.
  • India is presently not a party of IGA but will have to become considering its ambitious projects like the Gaganyaan etc.
  • If so, India will have to include provisions relating to offences in space in the Indian Penal Code, as that could be material in situations involving outer space, Indian citizens, and space equipment.

Way forward:

  • Thus it is opined that India’s legislature should proactively legislate on this front and remain apace in space exploration missions.
  • India might also need to formulate new international agreements on space, or sign MOUs to that effect.
  • It is imperative, therefore, that India’s legal prowess is therefore applied urgently and rigorously to the situational complexities of space exploration.
  • Only by keeping pace with the explosive growth in space technology can India hope to remain at the forefront of scientific development in this exciting field.
  • More comprehensive international codes and legislation will need to be drafted and thought up as space becomes increasingly more populated.