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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 NOVEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 NOVEMBER 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and
Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Bhakti and Sufi movements brought a new form of religious expression amongst Muslims and Hindus. Elaborate the statement highlighting how they worked for communal harmony.(250 words)

Medieval India Old NCERT History Text Book by Satish Chandra – class XI

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I based upon the communal harmony that existed during medieval times.

Key demand of the question:

One must bring out the significance of Bhakti and Sufi movements in keeping the Hindu-Muslim religions bound together and creating an environment of harmony.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Briefly introduce evolution of Bhakti and Sufi movement in India. 

Body:

One should first bring out How of Bhakti and Sufi movement created a new form of religious expression.

Explain how they worked against communalism and in what way they worked for communal harmony.  Discuss that the Hindu as well as the Muslim saints emphasized religious simplicity. They stressed human qualities and moral attitudes. They stressed that a true religious man is one who is pure in thought and action.

Discuss few popular Bhakti and Sufi saints to add weightage to the answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of their contributions.

Introduction:    

The Bhakti and Sufi movements had brought the whole of the Indian Subcontinent under their sway. The Bhakti and Sufi saints lived and worked in the midst of the common people. They needed to reach out to common people in order to spread their socio-religious and philosophical messages. They did everything to establish brotherhood, love and friendship between the Hindus and Muslims.

Body:

Bhakti and Sufi movements worked for Communal Harmony:

  • They have strong elements of mysticism, giving no importance to rituals, aimed at an understanding of the divine by transcending anthropomorphic understandings.
  • People of all religions, in many countries, frequent their shrines, and this again is similar to the Bhakti saints, who have a vast following among people of different religions.
  • Bhakti and Sufi traditions gave respectability to many low castes, posing a challenge to the upper caste hegemony; this tradition had an inclusive approach towards Muslims as well.
  • The Bhakti and Sufi traditions opposed the rituals, hegemony of the elite of society. They adopted the languages more popular with the masses. Also, they talked of one God.

Bhakti and Sufi traditions threatened communalism:

  • One region’s Bhakti movement has often tried to include the Bhakti movements of others under its own encompassing wings. When Tulsidas wrote the Ramcharitmanas, he chose the “Muslim” premakhyan form to do so.
  • They treated Hindus and Muslims alike. Amir Khusrau said “Though the Hindu is not like me in religion, he believes in the same things that I do”.
  • Sufis bridged the communal divide as is evidenced by the reverence the Subcontinent’s non-Muslim population exhibited for Sufi saints. Sufism around the world and in the Subcontinent had the depth to connect beyond caste, creed and gender
  • The slogan of Bhaktism that ‘Allah and God are same’ brought Hindus and Muslims closer. Path of brotherhood became clear.
  • Bhakti tradition preached the principle of co­existence. As a result of their teachings much of the bitterness between the Hindus and Muslims was removed. The Hindus began to worship Muslim saints and the Muslims began to show respect for the Hindu Gods.

Bhakti and Sufi movements united humanity:

  • Sant Kabir and Guru Nanak had preached a non-sectarian religion based on universal love. The Sufis believed in the concept of Wahdat-ul-Wajud (Unity of Being) which was promoted by Ibn-i-Arabi. He opined that all beings are essentially one. Different religions were identical.
  • They awakened a new sense of confidence and attempted to redefine social and religious values. Saints like Kabir and Nanak stressed upon the reordering of society along egalitarian lines. Their call to social equality attracted many a downtrodden.
  • The importance of the Bhakti and Sufi saints lies in the new atmosphere created by them, which continued to affect the social, religious and political life of India even in later centuries. Akbar’s liberal ideas were a product of this atmosphere in which he was born and brought up.
  • A notable contribution of the Sufis was their service to the poorer and downtrodden sections of society. Nizamuddin Auliya was famous for distributing gifts amongst the needy irrespective of religion or caste.
  • Sufi’s culture and ideology represents Islamic syncretic tradition that alone would resist the forces of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.
  • They rebelled against all forms of religious formalism, orthodoxy, falsehood and hypocrisy and endeavoured to create a new world order in which spiritual bliss was the only and the ultimate goal.
  • At a time when struggle for political power was the prevailing madness, the Sufi saints reminded men of their moral obligations. To a world torn by strife and conflict they tried to bring peace and harmony.
  • In the rural agricultural background of human life, Sufism became a vehicle of spiritual and cultural upliftment of people.
  • The roots of Indian Feminism can be traced to women in Bhakti, who challenged Brahminical patriarchy through their songs, poems and ways of life.
  • At a time where most spaces were restricted to women, they embraced Bhakti to define their own truths to reform society, polity, relationships and religions.
  • They broke all societal rules and stereotypes, and lived their lives as they pleased.

Conclusion:

The essence of the Sufi and Bhakti tradition are reminders that the spiritual-moral part of religion has been undermined in current times. The inclusive, humane-nature of these traditions needs to be upheld and the divisive-exclusionary versions of religions have to be ignored for humanity to progress.


Topic: Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 2) What is lightning? How does it strike? Describe the origin and development of thunderstorms with examples .(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

With 9 lakh lightning strikes between April 1 and July 31 this year, Odisha recorded the highest number of lightning strikes in the country, while Jammu and Kashmir recorded the least with about 20,000 strikes, a report by a research body of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has found. Thus the question aims to ascertain the geographical concept underlying.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the underlying concept of lightning and thunderstorm in detail.

Directive:

Describe – Provide a detailed explanation as to how and why something happens.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define – A thunderstorm is any storm that produces thunder and lightning. At the same time, thunderstorms can also produce high winds, hail, and tornadoes. They are typically associated with cumulus clouds that indicate the presence of rising, unstable air.

Body:

Explain first the origin of a thunderstorm.

Describe the different stages associated with suitable diagrams.

Define the concept of Lightening, highlight the facts brought out by the report.

Explain the impact of it on the lives and livelihood of people, discuss the concerned areas.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:    

Lightning is a very rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, some of which is directed towards the Earth’s surface. These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall. As per IMD, with 9 lakh lightning strikes between April 1 and July 31 this year, Odisha recorded the highest number of lightning strikes in the country, while Jammu and Kashmir recorded the least with about 20,000 strikes.

Body:

Lightning strike mechanism:

  • The base of these clouds typically lies within 1-2 km of the Earth’s surface, while their top is 12-13 km away. Temperatures towards the top of these clouds are in the range of minus 35 to minus 45 degrees Celsius.
  • As water vapour moves upward in the cloud, the falling temperature causes it to condense. Heat is generated in the process, which pushes the molecules of water further up.
  • As they move to temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, the water droplets change into small ice crystals. They continue to move up, gathering mass — until they are so heavy that they start to fall to Earth.
  • This leads to a system in which, simultaneously, smaller ice crystals are moving up and bigger crystals are coming down.
  • Collisions follow, and trigger the release of electrons — a process that is very similar to the generation of sparks of electricity. As the moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons, a chain reaction ensues.
  • This process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged, while the middle layer is negatively charged. The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge — of the order of a billion to 10 billion volts. In very little time, a massive current, of the order of 100,000 to a million amperes, starts to flow between the layers.
  • An enormous amount of heat is produced, and this leads to the heating of the air column between the two layers of the cloud. This heat gives the air column a reddish appearance during lightning. As the heated air column expands, it produces shock waves that result in thunder.

Thunderstorms are severe local storms with thunder and lightning and typically also heavy rain or hail. They are of short duration, occurring over a small area but are violent. Thunderstorms mostly occur on ground where the temperature is high. Thunderstorms are less frequent on water bodies due to low temperature. Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year, and at any given moment, there are roughly 2,000 thunderstorms in progress.

Origin and Development of thunderstorm:

Thunderstorm are also called ‘convective storms’ are caused due to a process called ‘convection’ where a parcel of moisture laden air rises from earth’s surface due to intense heating to the upper layers of the atmosphere. Local thunderstorms are characterised by heavy rain, lightning, hail, high winds, sudden temperature changes and snow (in winter).

Most thunderstorms are developed by a cycle that has three stages:

  • Cumulus stage
    • Ground is significantly heated due to solar insolation.
    • A low pressure starts to establish due to intense upliftment of an air parcel (convention).
    • Air from the surroundings start to rush in to fill the low pressure.
    • Intense convection of moist hot air builds up a towering cumulonimbus cloud.
  • Mature stage
    • Characterized by intense updraft of rising warm air, which causes the clouds to grow bigger and rise to greater height, as high as tropopause.
    • Later, downdraft brings down to earth the cool air and rain.
    • The incoming of thunderstorm is indicated by violent gust of wind. This wind is due to the intense downdraft.
    • The updraft and downdraft determine the path of the thunderstorm. Most of the time, the path is erratic.
  • Dissipating stage
    • When the clouds extend to heights where sub-zero temperature prevails, hails are formed and they come down as hailstorm. Intense precipitation occurs.
    • In a matter of few minutes, the storm dissipates and clear weather starts to prevail.

Conclusion:

Thunderstorms have wide-ranging effects on human life, including electrocution, shock, and even worse, deaths. However, they have some positive effects too. For instance, lightning helps produce ozone through electrical excitation of oxygen molecules. It also creates nitrate from nitrogen, which is essential for plants to grow and thrive on earth.


Topic:  Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

3) Define Mantle Plume and explain its role in plate tectonics.(250 words)

 Physical geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I. one must discuss the concept of Mantle Plume and its possible role in Plate Tectonics.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward, explain the concept of Mantle Plume and explain its role in plate tectonics.

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: 

A mantle plume is an upwelling of abnormally hot rock within the Earth’s mantle.

Body:

In the body of the answer start discussing by enumerating basics of Plate tectonics, then explain what is mantle plume and its role in plate tectonics.

Explain that Earth’s mantle plays an important role in the evolution of the crust and provides the thermal and mechanical driving forces for plate tectonics.

Discuss the details such as – What happens as a tectonic plate moves over a mantle plume etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such phenomenon.

Introduction:    

Mantle plume is an upwelling of abnormally hot rock within the Earth’s mantle. They are isolated long slender columns of hot rock that originate deep inside the Earth’s mantle. This is first proposed by J. Tuzo Wilson in 1963. Mantle plume is a large column of hot rock rising through the mantle. The heat from the plume causes rocks in the lower lithosphere to melt.

Body:

About Mantle Plumes:

  • The largest mantle plumes are presumed to form where a large volume of mantle rock is heated at the core-mantle boundary, about 1,800 miles below the surface, although smaller plumes may originate elsewhere within the mantle.
  • Once the temperature increases sufficiently to lower the rock density, a column of the hotter-than-normal rock (perhaps 2,000 kilometers in diameter) starts to rise very slowly through the surrounding mantle rocks.
  • Eventually, the rising column of hot rock reaches the base of the lithosphere, where it spreads out, forming a mushroom-shaped cap to the plume. The overlying lithosphere is pushed up and stretched out as the plume cap spreads.

Role in Plate tectonics:

On the movement of Plates:

Mantle plumes are one of the mechanisms for the movement of plates. As the mantle plumes diverge beneath the plates they exert an extensional force. This extensional force causes the plates to be stretched and finally to be ruptured. The convection currents thus carry the plates with themselves. This was the way Africa got ruptured and its moving away in two different directions along the East African Rift Valley.

On the Continents

  • As the plume reaches the lithosphere, it spreads out laterally doming surficial zones of the Earth and moving them along in the directions of radial flow. This causes Epeirogenic movement. The centre of the Afar triangle in Ethiopia is one site of plume that flowed upward and outward carrying the Arabian, African, and Somali plates and moved away from the centre of the triangle.
  • On the continents, mantle plumes have probably been responsible for generating voluminous and extensive accumulations of Basalt flows, such as those of the Karoo (South Africa) and the Deccan (India), many of which are located at passive margins and were thus originally close to sites of continental breakup.
  • On the continents the manifestation of Mantle plume is best seen in Cosgrove Volcanic chain in Australia.
  • Mantle plume location beneath Yellowstone national Park has been thinning North America for some time, and is likely to thin the whole of surface causing it to open to spew the underlying volcano.

On the Oceans

Formation of Volcanic chains

On the oceans, mantle plumes create lines of large volcanoes (such as the Hawaiian chain) if the overlying plate is moving with respect to the plume. As the oceanic plate is moves over a hot spot, successive eruptions can produce a linear series of peaks or seamounts on the moving crustal plate. In such a series, the youngest peak is above the hot plume and the seamounts increase in age as the distance from the hot spot increases.

Conclusion:

At least 122 hot spots have been active in the past 10 million years. Several of them lie on mid-oceanic ridges or close to them. The most prominent are Iceland, Azores and Tristan da Cunha


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

4) Globally, thousands are succumbing to untreatable superbug infections on a daily basis, making antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the most significant challenges the world faces today. Discuss the underlying causes of such an issue and suggest way forward.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is considered one of the most significant challenges the world faces today. The article highlights the major causative factors.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the cause of such a health menace facing the world and the consequences of it.

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 brief define what AMR is.

Body:

Discuss few facts about the menace.

Then elaborate on the major causes – role of doctors in prescribing antibiotics, lack of cleanliness in hospitals and sanitation in the community, ill-informed patients, discontinuity in dosage etc.

 Enumerate the result/consequence of these issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions as to what needs to be done.

Introduction:    

The WHO defines antibiotic resistance (AMR) as a condition wherein microbes survive when exposed to the drug which would have normally caused them to die. Antibiotics that once cured ailments across the spectrum are now turning into a potential source of prolonged illness, disability and death.

Body:

Causes of AMR:

Other causes:

  • WHO survey shows that three quarters (75%) of respondents think, incorrectly, that colds and flu can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Discharge of antimicrobial waste into the environment from pharmaceutical industry.
  • Growing antibiotic use in the animal sector and increased demand for meat and poultry.
  • Nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies where doctors routinely receive compensation in exchange for antibiotic prescriptions.
  • Lack of new antibiotics being developed.
  • Poor infection control in hospitals and clinics.

Concerns due to increase AMR:

  • Without concerted action, Drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050, and trigger an economic slowdown to rival the global financial crisis of 2008.warned the UN Ad Hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance in a report.
  • It added that by 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty. In the worst-case scenario, the world will lose 3.8% of its annual GDP by 2050.
  • Currently, at least 7,00,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 2,30,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • It also noted that more and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, are becoming untreatable.
  • Lifesaving medical procedures are becoming riskier, and food systems are getting increasingly precarious. A very significant part of out-of-pocket expenditure on health care is on medicines. The ineffective drugs and/or second line expensive antibiotics is pushing the treatment costs higher.
  • The report noted that the world is already feeling the economic and health consequences as crucial medicines become ineffective.
  • Without investment from countries in all income brackets, future generations will face the disastrous impacts of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance.

Steps taken to deal with the menace:

  • Indian Association of Paediatrics, the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership, and the Chennai Declaration have helped build awareness about the problem.
  • To prevent over-the-counter (OTC) sales of antibiotics, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) order prohibits medical stores from selling 24 key antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.
  • ICMR has set up National Anti-Microbial Surveillance Network for understanding of mechanisms of resistance.
  • National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance (2011), to address the problem of multi-drug resistance.
  • India developed National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance as part of India’s commitment to the WHO’s Global Action Plan.

Steps needed to fight AMR:

  • Rationalizing antibiotic use to limit antibiotic resistance in India.
  • Improving regulation of drug production and sales
  • Better managing physician compensation
  • Encouraging behavior change among doctors and patients are of immediate priority.
  • Regulation of the e-Pharmacies which gives an easy access to drugs.
  • Improved management of the health care delivery systems, both public and private, will minimize conditions favourable for the development of drug resistance.
  • Improved awareness of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication. WHO’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week is one such event.
  • Reducing the incidence of infection through effective infection prevention and control. As stated by WHO, making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority.
  • Discourage non-therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary, agriculture and fishery practices as growth-promoting agents.
  • Promoting investments for antimicrobial resistance activities, research and innovations
  • Strengthening India’s commitment and collaborations on antimicrobial resistance at international, national and sub-national levels.
  • Regulate the release of antibiotic waste from pharmaceutical production facilities and monitoring antibiotic residues in wastewater.

Conclusion:

Anti-Microbial Resistance is not a country specific issue but a global concern that is jeopardizing global health security. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the major public health problems. Reducing the incidence of infection through effective infection prevention and control.  As stated by WHO, making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority is need of the hour.


Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

5) Recent landmark judgement of Ayodhya – Babri dispute underlines the “tolerant and secular nature of India and the fact that Law stands apart over political considerations, religion and beliefs”. Analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The five-judge Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi read out a unanimous judgment and ruled in favour of the Ram Janmabhoomi and said there will be Ram Mandir at the disputed site and Muslims will be given an alternate 5 acre land for their mosque. 

Key demand of the question:

The question aims to bring out the significance of the strong secular fabric that has woven the communal harmony in the country.

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 highlight the history of the Ayodhya case.

Body:

Explain in detail first the crux of the dispute – At the crux of the matter is the belief among sections of Hindus that the Babri Masjid, named after Mughal emperor Babur, was built in Ayodhya after destroying a Ram Temple that marked the birthplace of the deity.

In short put up a table/flowchart depicting the chronology of events so far.

Discuss now how the verdict signifies the communal harmony, unity in diversity factor of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Ayodhya in the past was the centre stage for communal politics and a tool for polarization before elections. The high-pitched events not only disrupted daily life and business, but also endangered communal harmony in the region. In the future with the acrimony between communities settled by the intervention of the Supreme court and the Democratic institutions supporting this landmark judgment, a new era of Economic progress in the region can be witnessed and hoped for.

Introduction:    

The Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case. The five-judge Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi read out a unanimous judgment and ruled in favour of the Ram Janmabhoomi and said there will be Ram Mandir at the disputed site and Muslims will be given an alternate 5 acre land for their mosque.

Body:

Tolerant and secular nature of India:

  • The Supreme Court said the Allahabad High Court’s remedy of a three-way bifurcation of the disputed premises among the Ayodhya deity, Sri Bhagwan Ram Virajman, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Central Waqf Board “defied logic”. It did not “secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity”.
  • The Supreme Court has granted the entire 2.77 acre of disputed land in Ayodhya to deity Ram Lalla. As compensation of sorts for the destruction of the mosque in 1992, the Muslim parties are set to get a five-acre plot elsewhere.
  • The Supreme Court, implicitly referring to the demolition of the Babri Masjid at the disputed site, said that it was invoking Article 142 “to ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied”.
  • In fact, it wasn’t just for the Muslim parties that the SC invoked Article 142. The same article was invoked in the case of the Nirmohi Akhara, who were party to the case.
  • The court dismissed the Akhara’s petition as time-barred and rejected its suit claiming shebaiti (managerial rights) over the property. However, the court invoked its extraordinary powers to ask the government to give Nirmohi Akhara, considering the sect’s historical presence at the disputed site, to provide it with an “appropriate role in the management” of the property.
  • The judgment will be remembered for the victory of faith over the rule of law as the Supreme Court considered religious beliefs even in deciding a property dispute, and despite conceding that faith cannot confer title, it still went ahead to give property to worshippers on the basis of faith.
  • For a case replete with references to archaeological foundations, we must remember that it is the law which provides the edifice upon which our multicultural society rests.
  • At the heart of the Constitution is a commitment to equality upheld and enforced by the rule of law.
  • Under our Constitution, citizens of all faiths, beliefs and creeds seeking divine provenance are both subject to the law and equality before the law.
  • The Constitution does not make a distinction between the faith and belief of one religion and another. All forms of belief, worship and prayer are equal.

Law stands apart over political considerations, religion and beliefs:

  • The judges declared that the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, was “an egregious violation of the rule of law” and “a calculated act of destroying a place of public worship”.
  • The Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago, the Bench said.
  • The Court referred to the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991, which prohibits the conversion of the status any place of worship, to say that all religions are equal.
  • After giving the disputed land to Hindus and a separate five acres for construction of a mosque in Ayodhya, the SC shut the door for fresh litigation to alter status quo of sites such as those in Kashi and Mathura, which have also seen discord over worship.
  • “The Constitution does not make a distinction between the faith and belief of one religion and another. All forms of belief, worship and prayer are equal,”
  • The Bench said the Act “speaks to the future by mandating that the character of a place of public worship shall not be altered”.
  • “Places of Worship Act is an affirmation of the solemn duty which was cast upon the State to preserve and protect the equality of all faiths as an essential constitutional value, a norm which has the status of being a basic feature of the Constitution,” the Supreme Court addressed the government.

Conclusion:

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said “Law must stand apart over political considerations, religion and beliefs”. “Faith and belief cannot be the basis of a judgment; only evidence can be” is one such. But there is enough evidence that having made several such laudable pronouncements, the verdict defied these and decided in favour of faith and belief. The Ayodhya judgment did result in a victory for the majority and coincidentally for the mob that demolished the Babri Masjid, but a reading of the judgment clearly shows disapproval and disavowal of the mob. The legal victory is based upon secular principles. This has to be the projected as the victory of secularism.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. India and its neighborhood- relations.

6) Do you think the recent opening up of Kartarpur corridor brings a moment of transcendence in a fraught India-Pak relationship? Analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article explains that November 9, 2019 will go down as a rare day in the history of the Indian sub-continent, on which two nations managed to put aside the distrust and hostilities to jointly facilitate a pilgrimage for a small religious minority in India.

Key demand of the question:

Question aims to analyse the positive sides of the recently launched Kartarpur corridor between India and Pak that provides for access to Pilgrims burying aside long waited differences.

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: 

India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to operationalize the Kartarpur corridor that will facilitate pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. 

Body:

Explain the history and significance of Kartarpur corridor.

States that The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.

Discuss what future has for both the countries with initiation of such co-operation between the two.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:    

Kartarpur Corridor project, often dubbed as the “Road to Peace”, will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district. The construction of the corridor will allow visa-free access to pilgrims from India. The proposal for the corridor has been on the table since 1988, but tense relations between the two countries led to the delay. India and Pakistan have managed to put aside the distrust and hostilities to jointly facilitate a pilgrimage for a small religious minority in India.

Body:

Indo-Pak relations have undergone a particularly tense period following India’s decision to withdraw Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir. Islamabad responded by downgrading its diplomatic mission in New Delhi and suspending bus and train services. This came after the two nuclear-armed neighbours engaged in an aerial dogfight in February. The construction and inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor in the face of these tensions and the ability of both sides to work together should be seen as a positive development and a ray of hope.

Kartarpur corridor can bring in transcendence:

  • According to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor will “enormously improve” relations between India and Pakistan.
  • The visa-free border crossing has been touted as a landmark peace move between India and Pakistan.
  • Both sides have defied history and an extraordinary year of hostility in their relations, to give shape to the corridor and the prayers of millions of people.
  • The Kartarpur Corridor could be a confidence-building measure in the politically-strained and historically-charged relationship between India and Pakistan.
  • The Kartarpur Corridor holds the potential to foster religious tourism, promote people-to-people contact to reduce the trust deficit on both sides, and in turn perhaps aid dispute resolution by keeping avenues of dialogue open.
  • National security concerns dominate discussion among policy elites on both sides and Kartarpur is not the magical solution to resolve deeply contentious issues between the two countries, such as on Kashmir—in fact, the Indian side has asserted that operationalizing Kartarpur does not mean “bilateral dialogue will start.”
  • Nevertheless, it illustrates that the two sides are sometimes able to set their differences aside to serve the broader interests of their people, and it is thus a laudable achievement for the two South Asian neighbours.

However, there are voices of distrust:

  • Islamist parties in Pakistan have slammed the government’s decision to open the Kartarpur corridor, saying it is tantamount to turning a blind eye to India’s abrogation of Kashmir’s special status on August 5.
  • Some groups in the country also believe that the visa-free border crossing would be a compromise on national sovereignty.
  • It was Sharif and former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee who proposed the Kartarpur corridor in early 1999, as part of their Delhi–Lahore Bus diplomacy. But soon after the signing of the Lahore Declaration, the Pakistani military ousted Sharif in a bloodless coup. Experts say that Sharif was “punished” for trying to improve ties with India.
  • It is also alleged that Islamabad aims to build “leverage and possibly promote a separatist movement in (Indian) Punjab.”
  • The “Khalistan” separatist movement in Indian Punjab is a decades-old issue, with Indian authorities often accusing Pakistan of backing it.
  • Indian officials also slammed Pakistan for showing Khalistan supporters on a poster in the official video on the Kartarpur corridor.
  • Despite the unprecedented Kartarpur move, observers say ties between India and Pakistan are likely to remain tense.
  • While Islamabad accuses New Delhi of committing grave human rights violations in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, India alleges that Pakistan continues to support militant Islamists in the disputed Himalayan region.

Conclusion:

When it comes to India-Pakistan relations it’s unwise to put big bets on the table one way or another. But the chances that we could be moving towards peace manoeuvres are better than they’ve been for a long time. It will require statesmanship of a high order for the Kartarpur Corridor to lead to something more than a pilgrimage between the two countries.


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

7) Ratings agency Moody’s has lowered India’s outlook from stable to negative recently. How do such agencies assign these ratings? What do these ratings mean for India? Critically analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article brings out the discussion of recently accredited credit rating by Moody’s to India and the detailed analysis of the same.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what credit rating is, what is the significance of it, what has been the impact of Moody’s credit rating on India and provide for a detailed analysis.

Directive:

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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

First highlight the fact that Ratings agency Moody’s has lowered India’s outlook from stable to negative.

Body:

Discuss first what credit rating is – A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower in general terms or with respect to a particular debt or financial obligation.

A credit rating can be assigned to any entity that seeks to borrow money — an individual, corporation, state or provincial authority, or sovereign government.

Explain the significance of credit rating agencies, their role.

Discuss the concerned issues with credit rating agencies.

Conclusion:

Conclude  with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:    

Moody’s has lowered India’s credit rating outlook from stable to negative because of what it has assessed as risks to economic growth, prospects of a more entrenched slowdown, weak job creation, and a credit squeeze being faced by Non-Banking Finance Companies. Moody’s India rating is a notch higher than that of Standard & Poor’s (S&P). Whether it is Moody’s or its peer Standard and Poor’s (S&P), Indian policymakers have often criticised the credit ratings assigned by these agencies.

Body:

Methodology of assignment of ratings:

  • Credit ratings agencies rate on a scale the financials and business models of companies, as well as economic management by sovereign governments, after analysing official and other data and interacting with government officials, business leaders, and economists.
  • These agencies then rate instruments such as bonds, debentures, commercial papers, deposits, and other debt offerings of companies or governments to help investors make informed decisions.
  • From a company’s or a government’s perspective, a better rating helps raise funds at a cheaper rate.
  • The agencies do this on a continuous basis, either upgrading or downgrading the instrument based on performance, prospects, or events likely to have an impact on the balance sheet of a company or on the fiscal position of a government or a sub-sovereign entity.

Significance of the ratings for India:

  • The decision to change the outlook to negative reflects increasing risks that economic growth will remain materially lower than in the past.
  • It partly reflects the lower government and policy effectiveness at addressing long-standing economic and institutional weaknesses than Moody’s had previously estimated, leading to a gradual rise in the debt burden from already high levels.
  • Reduction in outlook is the first step towards an investment downgrade, as India is now just a notch above the investment grade country rating.
  • An actual downgrade in country ratings can lead to massive foreign fund outflows.

Projections made by Moody’s:

  • Governmental measures:
    • The government pushed its expenditure on capital projects.
    • In October 2019, it gave away corporate tax concessions amounting to a whopping ₹1.45 lakh crore.
    • Even with the boost from the dividend payout of ₹1.76 lakh crore from the Reserve Bank of India, the budget arithmetic is optimistic.
  • Fiscal deficit:
    • It now appears certain that the government will miss the fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP.
    • Moody’s has projected that the deficit will slip to 3.7% of GDP this fiscal year 0f 2019-2020.
    • Rating agencies are ultra-sensitive to fiscal deficit overruns but the positive factor here is that India’s borrowings are wholly domestic.
  • External debt to GDP:
    • It is just 20% but the ratings do have an impact on investor sentiment.

Concerns:

  • The growth slowdown and its effects on the fiscal deficit and borrowings are the main worries.
  • Tax revenue growth is nowhere near budgeted levels.
  • With the slowdown extending into the third quarter of 2019, it is clear that tax revenues will undershoot by a wide margin.
  • The government has been forced to spend more to give a leg up to the economy

Government’s views of the ratings:

  • Noting Moody’s concerns, the Finance Ministry said that India continues to be among the fastest growing major economies in the world, and India’s relative standing remains unaffected.
  • The Government said it has undertaken series of financial sector and other reforms to strengthen the economy as a whole.
  • It has also proactively taken policy decisions in response to the global slowdown. These measures would lead to a positive outlook on India and would attract capital flows and stimulate investments.
  • The fundamentals of the economy remain quite robust with inflation under check and bond yields low. India continues to offer strong prospects of growth in near and medium term.

Measures needed to boost the economy:

  • The government needs to press the pedal harder on reforms and in debugging GST.
  • It may also have little option than to go big on disinvestment in the remaining 4 months of this fiscal.
  • The target of ₹1.05 lakh crore that it set for itself in the budget has to be bested by a wide margin if the fiscal deficit slippage is to be contained.
  • The supportive measures announced in the last 2 months should be closely monitored for implementation.