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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 DECEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 DECEMBER 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: Social empowerment;

The long separation of young children from their parents will have devastating effects on the former. Critically analyse with respect to vulnerable children of various sections like illegal immigrants, distress migrants and refugees.

The Indian Express

 

Why this question:

The question of the long separation of the children from the mother came up in the Karnataka High Court last month. For over a year now, two girls aged eight and nine, the daughters of a woman accused of being an illegal immigrant, have been living in a children’s home in Bengaluru, while their mother is imprisoned in the Parappana Agrahara central jail.

Key demand of the question:

One has to analyse the impacts of separation of young children from their parents during their childhood stage. The impact on their psyche, physical health, education and their overall development. On the other hand, how illegal immigrants pose a threat to national security should also be highlighted.

Directive:

Critically analyse – When 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:

Introduce the situation of children itself as vulnerable section of society. Further, describe how a few sections like children of migrants, refugees, illegal immigrants are more vulnerable.

Body:

Discuss the various threats that these children face like

Lack of basic rights –right to life, education, nutrition

physical abuse – molestation, rape, organ trafficking, prostitution

Mental trauma

And other vulnerabilities.

How this can further lead to a vicious cycle

On the other hand, talk about threat posed to national security by illegal immigrants

Provide the measures needed to safeguard these children and provide their due rights.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

 

Introduction:    

The number of asylum seekers, refugees and internally displaced people worldwide has increased dramatically over the past 5 years. Many countries are continuing to resort to detaining asylum seekers and other migrants, despite concerns that this may be harmful. In 2016, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimated that 50 million children had migrated across country borders or were forcibly displaced.

Body:

Various threats and problems that these children face like

  • Lack of health facilities:
    • Lack of health care coverage is more common among children in each of these groups than for non-immigrant children.
    • Children of immigrants are nearly twice as likely to be uninsured (15%) as are children of non-immigrant families (8%).
    • Many of the immigrant children who are uninsured are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but are not enrolled.
  • Poverty:
    • Poverty is a strong determinant of child well-being and is very common among immigrant children.
    • Poverty is closely linked to negative physical, developmental, and mental health–related outcomes.
    • A family’s socioeconomic status has a direct effect on its ability to access high-quality health care services and to achieve good health, social, and emotional outcomes.
  • Fear and Discrimination:
    • Immigrant children and families may face discrimination and be fearful of attitudes and behaviours of the people they interact with outside their communities, including health care providers, which can reduce access to health care and lead to negative child health outcomes.
    • Families may face anti-immigrant sentiment. Fear and discrimination can exacerbate a feeling of isolation and contribute to mental health problems, such as child and family depression, leaving these populations vulnerable.
  • Family Separation:
    • Immigrant children may have 1 or more undocumented family members. An undocumented immigrant lacks the proper records and identification to live in the United States.
    • Immigration enforcement and related policies can lead to the sudden removal of an undocumented parent or other key family member without notice or preparation.
    • Children whose parents are taken into custody and/or deported have been shown to experience mental and emotional health problems, including sleeping and eating disturbances, anxiety, depression, poor school performance, and other types of distress.
  • Sexual and gender-based violence before migrants leave:
    • Many children who migrate report experiencing sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin and cite such abuse and violence as a reason for leaving.
    • A recent study of 100 case files of separated children now living in Ireland found that 45 per cent of them had been survivors of violence, with 32 per cent reporting being victims of sexual assault. Almost 60 per cent of girls reported sexual or other forms of violence.
    • Sexual violence within the family is also a push factor for children to leave. In another study, interviews with 100 migrant children who travelled alone to the United Kingdom revealed that more than one-third of them reported experiencing sexual violence at home, before they took flight.
  • Sexual and gender-based violence along migration paths:
    • Some routes are more perilous than others for all migrants and irregular paths tend to pose graver risks.
    • Regardless of the path taken, it is clear from published reports that when children resort to unsafe routes, and are traveling without the protection of caring adults, they are at significantly increased risk of suffering sexual and gender-based violence by ill-intentioned smugglers and other unscrupulous actors, being sold into labour or sex exploitation by traffickers or forced into “survival sex” to gain passage, shelter, sustenance or money for onward journeys
    • Studies show that sexual and gender-based violence is experienced by both migrating boys and girls, but at different levels, in different contexts and in varying forms.
    • In 2010, Amnesty International found that an astonishing six out of ten Central American migrant women and girls were raped while on the move in Mexico
    • Child migrants, including those traveling alone, are also being detained in many countries, often in inhumane conditions, solely based on their immigration status
    • A 2017 study on unaccompanied and separated girls who recently arrived in Italy underscores that girls are suffering sexual exploitation, sexual assault, trafficking and survival sex throughout their entire journey
  • Unaware of the risks and unable to defend themselves:
    • Information about sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response services that are available can be transformative for migrant children. However, this precious information is also incredibly rare.
    • One recent study estimated that only 20 per cent of migrating children knew what exploitation was, and that less than half of this group felt that they were adequately informed about the dangers and risks of migration, including trafficking and sexual violence. Fewer than four in ten of the children surveyed felt they were prepared to protect themselves from these dangers.
    • Another issue is that information on safe migration is rarely made available in child-friendly forms, and children are seldom given meaningful opportunities to help design such information.

Way forward:

  • The health, well-being, and safety of children should be prioritized in all immigration proceedings. Whenever possible, the separation of a child from his or her family and home environment should be prevented, and family reunions should be expedited.
  • In no circumstances should a child have to represent himself or herself in an immigration proceeding.
  • Health care facilities should be safe settings for immigrant children and families to access health care. Medical records and health care facilities should not be used in any immigration enforcement action.
  • Implement relevant policy and legal frameworks that protect migrant children and ensure safe access to essential services, and reduce the risk of child migrants being separated from their families.
  • Establish protection and assistance services for children, focusing on the hardest to reach places where there are the highest needs.
  • Invest in quality protection and assistance services for migrant children, particularly focusing on unaccompanied and separated children.
  • Provide clear information about available services and legal rights for all migrants, with particular information for children, in a manner that they can access.
  • Ensure there is clear information about available services and legal rights for all migrants, with particular information for children, in a manner that they can access. Invest in innovative practices and extend good practices that exist.
  • Eliminate detention of children solely for reasons related to their migration status and the separation of migrant parents and children.

Conclusion:

Separation of vulnerable immigrant children from their parents on the background of chronic and acute adversity creates a perfect storm for attachment damage, toxic stress and trauma. Children in immigration detention remain at significantly increased risk of physical, mental, emotional and relational disorders in the short and long term. Hostility towards immigrants raises further barriers to health service engagement and risks increasing the health disparities and number of children living with unmet health needs. We must urge our leaders to end detention in our homelands, promote justice and enjoyment of child rights for all children.


Topic: Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

For a neoliberal style of development process, Indian government has established arrangements to involve people and voluntary groups that could complement ‘incapacities of the State’ and secure ‘bureaucratic accountability’. Discuss and substantiate your views.

Indian polity by Lakshmikant.

Why this question:

With LPG Reforms of 1991, the power of Central Governments was diminished due to privatization of many sectors. The Central and State governments started to create arrangements that could facilitate people participation and voluntary groups in development process.

Key demand of the question:

To evaluate how the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders has been increased in Governance.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly introduce the pre-LPG reforms era where the power was centralised with Central government leading to the infamous license-raj system. Then discuss about role of Government as a facilitator post-LPG era.

Body:

Discuss the initiatives taken up by Government to involve the various stakeholders

  1. SHG Bank-Linking Programme 1992
  2. National Policy Voluntary Sector, 2007 and so on.

Now discuss the measures taken in particular how these measures have helped in overcoming the ‘incapacities of the State’ and secure ‘bureaucratic accountability’.

You can take help of various examples to substantiate your arguments.

Conclusion:

Conclude with challenges faced by these bodies and way forward.

Introduction:    

Neoliberalism in governance and development process means the increasing involvement of private sector in governance and the aim to liberalise governance machinery e.g. Ease of doing business. Indian State was a centralized machinery with policy making concentrated in central government. The power was concentrating year after year with growth in power of Planning Commission.

With LPG Reforms of 1991, the power of Central Governments was diminished due to privatization of many sectors e.g. Electricity production and also reducing red-tapism and the infamous license raj. Invariably this has affected the development process.

Body:

Development process was being spearheaded by Planning Commission in form of Five Year Plans but with neoliberal development process we had,

  • Multilevel governance and especially 3-tier of Panchayati Raj from 1992
  • E-Governance
  • Increasing powers of states (federal units)
  • People participation in development process
  • Finally rise of voluntary groups of civil society—NGOs, donors, SHGs, charities, trusts, etc.,

The Central and State governments started to create arrangements that could facilitate people participation and voluntary groups in development process. Such arrangements were:

  • SHG Bank-Linking Programme 1992 to promote SHGs by financially empowering them
  • National Policy Voluntary Sector, 2007 which clearly stated that Government of India and States want to involve NGOs and other groups in policy making and implementation
  • Reforms to ease opening of Trusts and Charities by amending the Indian Trusts Act and Societies Registration Act 1860
  • 2005 Central Guidelines to incentivize and promote organ donation
  • Overseas Development Assistance Programme through which Indian diaspora can contribute to national development
  • Foreign Contributions Registration Act 2010
  • CAPART—Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology—is a body established for doing research in developing technology for effective implementation of development policies and schemes.
  • In 2013 introduced Corporate Social Responsibility by amending Companies Act 2013

COMPLEMENTING INCAPACITIES OF STATE:

Financial Incapacities:

  • SHGs
    • Self Help Groups were instrumental in bringing the much needed finances to the rural women and their bank linkage helped in financial inclusion of women,
    • This has brought credit for self-employment e.g. To open a small-scale food processing unit. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu the SHG movement was instrumental in increasing the asset value of SHG member families by 46% in a decade.
    • It would have been difficult for the government to target and trickle down the finances necessary for women from poor families.
  • Charities
    • Charities were able to mobilise finances from different sources and collectively invested in different sectors like education and health.
    • Example—AKSHAYPATRA is a charity that complements the Governments Mid-Day Meal programme by giving free school lunch. Its role in cash-starved states like Bihar indicates the potential of voluntary groups to complement incapacities of state.
  • Trusts
    • Trusts have been instruments of social capital. The organisations or heads or millionaires of different communities have formed trusts and invested their excess wealth in form of philanthropy and helped the development process
    • TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthana) Trust Board is well known for its investments in—
    • Hunger control
    • Eradication of AIDS in children
    • Control of leprosy, etc.

Infrastructural Incapacities:

  • Education infrastructure—NGOs like TEACH FOR INDIA have complemented infrastructural inefficiencies of government in following manner:
    • Brought private teachers in government schools with huge vacancies
    • Promoted under-tree schools for destitute children
    • Encouraging literacy improvement of old-aged
  • Health infrastructure—Multiple NGOs like,
    • HelpAge India—prevent blindness in destitute elders
    • CRY—works of disease control among children
    • Lepra Society—empowering leprosy patients
  • Food supply chain augmentation
    • Food supply volunteering is an ancient feature of Indian society and modern means of transport and technology are now harnessed effectively for the same,
    • Operation Sulaimani of Kerala’s Kozhikode district uses the volunteers to ensure surplus food from any part of district reaches the food scarce sections
    • No Food Waste Campaign is a social entrepreneurship body that is creating awareness about the fact that food waste at level of 30% in India is a cause behind hunger.

Administrative Incapacities:

  • Data collection like NGO Pratham that collects data on education in rural areas. This was much helpful in understanding the limitations of RTE Act.
  • Quick service delivery—NGOs with local intelligence and outreach are very helpful in taking the development services to households e.g. Immunization
  • Policy research—CAPART has encouraged many NGOs to develop software, data analysis, problem identification, etc., at field level and improved policy making. For instance, SHG Bank-linkage programme was not promoting income of women to the expected level because while their farm produced is added with value at food processing units there was lack of skills, marketing strategy and technical expertise. Hence, under NRLM “Capacity Development Personnel” were appointed to help the SHGs technically in their business ventures. This has been based on policy research at CAPART.

Political Incapacities:

  • Political awareness about NOTA, different rights of the people and promoting use of PIL by NGOs
  • Civic sense—voluntary groups also promoted civic sense of people. By participating in civil society civic sense has been improved. For instance, they were helpful in keeping the cities clean (Clean Bangalore Initiative), etc.,
  • Panchayat raj members’ empowerment by NGOs with their role in capacity building of PRI members especially the women without literacy.

SECURING BUREAUCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY:

  • SOCIAL AUDIT by NGOs like MKSS in securing accountability at BDO offices, VAOs, etc.,
  • RTI Act—has been highly instrumental in enabling people participation to secure accountability of bureaucracy
  • For example, RTI by a common man was helpful in knowing that a village in Bangalore (Rural) was allocated money for road construction. No road was built but the RTI reply claimed “money has been duly spent for building road”. The concerned authorities were suspended by BBMP.
  • PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATIONS: NGOs are helpful in securing rights of weaker sections as mentioned in earlier section. It is NGOs who have secured many developmental rights.
    • Right to free legal aid
    • Law for transgenders in NALSA judgement
    • Right to shelter for destitute residents of road pavement in Delhi, etc., (NGO Common Cause)
  • PANCHAYATI RAJ: Citizen groups like Village Sanitation and Nutrition Committees, School Management Committees formed by Parents under RTE were instrumental in monitoring and securing the accountability of bureaucracy in PRIs.
  • STING OPERATIONS:
  • Public activists have revealed many coercive briberies done by bureaucrats with help of sting operation. For instance, Free meal shops selling food to hotels, this was unearthed in a sting operation in Karnataka, the coerced bribery taken by VAO was video recorded and uploaded in YouTube leading to his dismissal
  • PUBLIC GRIEVANCE MECHANISM: At both central and state level have been helpful in ensuring the grievances of the people are ventilated and necessary remedial actions were taken. E.g. Delay in renewal of PDS cards and so lack of access to PDS food grains has been the largest received grievance after the initiative to give SMART CARDS (Ration cards).

Conclusion:

Hence, the centralized machinery is getting radically replaced by a machinery in which private sector, common man and voluntary groups have become organic and integral parts. However, overregulation of voluntary groups, lack of finances with NGOs themselves, disjointed voluntary groups have been undermining evolution of this neoliberal governance machinery. Also, delegation of responsibility to these groups could keep the State machinery backward perpetually. Hence a balance of State capacity building and voluntary group promotion is in best interest of good governance in long-term.


Topic: Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Discuss the role played by NGOs, SHGs and international institutions through their development initiatives in women empowerment and gender sensitisation? (250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

Last week’s brutal rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad has led to an outpouring of anger across the country and in Parliament. The huge increase in such crimes across the country needs Gender sensitisation and wider societal changes are needed to end such heinous acts.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to discuss the role played by NGOs and developmental institutions in women empowerment and gender sensitisation. First we need to highlight the women issues in India and thereafter explain how NGOs and international institutions can and are playing a huge role in tackling such challenges.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Explain that in a democracy, civil society has an important role to play in fulfilling developmental agenda and organised efforts happen through NGOs.

Body:

Discuss the state of problem of women empowerment and gender sensitisation.

Highlight how NGOs help in addressing the hunger problem and the role played by international institutions in women empowerment and gender sensitisation

Discuss what more needs to be done. Discuss the issues faced by such NGOs and what needs to be done in this regard.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

Gender inequality is a long-term problem in our society and female are discriminated in many ways in the social context of India, although legally women have equal right. Thus, there is a great need to sensitize the society on gender issues so that there would be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Women empowerment through gender sensitization is one of the key criteria to unlock the potential of women.

Body:

Role played by NGOs for women empowerment and gender sensitisation:

Women Empowerment has been the primary focus for both government and most NGO’s. Voluntary action promoted by NGOs engaged in development play a significant role towards rural development which is dependent upon the active participation of the volunteers through Non-Government Organizations (NGO).

The various roles of NGOs towards women empowerment are described below:

  • Educating the Rural Women
  • Supplementation of Government Efforts
  • Efforts Organizing the Rural Women
  • Building various Model and Experiment
  • Ensure Women’s Participation in their empowerment
  • Mobilizing the optimum Resources
  • Promoting Rural Leadership
  • Representing the Rural Women
  • Promoting Technology in Rural areas
  • Providing effective & efficient Training to Rural Women.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • Impact assessment.

Role played by SHGs for women empowerment and gender sensitisation:

  • A self-help group is a village based financial intermediary committee usually composed of 10-20 local woman. The members make small regular saving contributions for a few months until there is enough capital in the group for lending. Funds may then be lent back to the members or other villagers. These SHGs are then further ‘linked’ to banks for delivery of micro credit. It lays emphasis on capacity building, planning of activity clusters, infrastructure build up, technology, credit and marketing.
  • The basic objective is to inculcate the habit of saving and using banking facilities among the members. The saving habit thus strengthens the bargaining capacity of the women and they are in a better position to acquire loans for productive purposes. The women gain from collective wisdom in managing their finances and distributing the benefits among themselves.
  • The SHG play a major role in sensitising more women to form SHGs and in making they realise its importance in their empowerment. This helps the women collective decision making and also to enhance the confidence and capabilities of the women.
  • These groups go a long way in motivating women to take up social responsibilities particularly related to women development. SHGs are considered as one of the most significant tools to adopt participatory approach for the economic empowerment of women.
  • Lastly, the most important change that the SHG culture has brought in the country is to change the gender dynamics of power within a family and ultimately the society at large. They now have greater say in the family matters and also are seen as stakeholders and partners in taking the community forward. The financial independence has eventually paved the way for societal upliftment of women and their voices.

Role played by international institutions for women empowerment and gender sensitisation:

  • The UN began celebrating the International Day in 1975, which was designated International Women’s Year. Over the decades it has morphed from recognizing the achievements of women to becoming a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation, in the political and economic arenas.
  • Achieving a gender-equal world requires social innovations that work for both women and men and leave no one behind, according to the overarching UN strategy. E-learning platforms that take classrooms to women and girls; affordable and quality childcare centres; and technology shaped by women, are a few examples of the innovation needed to meet the 2030 deadline set out in the Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The 20-year review of the Beijing Platform and Declaration for Action (BPfA) carried out in 2015 highlighted slow and uneven progress across UN Member States in removing barriers to women’s economic progress.
  • The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) includes a number of Articles related to women’s economic empowerment. To date, 189 countries have ratified or acceded to CEDAW, which is legally binding in those countries.
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development entails 17 Sustainable Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets which apply to all countries. There are targets on women’s economic empowerment across the 17 Goals.
  • A range of International Labour Organization Conventions and Recommendations relevant to women’s economic empowerment have been adopted, but ratification and implementation across EU Member States, and globally, remains inconsistent.
  • Other UN-led initiatives include the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

Way forward:

  • Government should act to empower women and should take steps to eliminate inequalities between men and women as soon as possible by:
  • Establishing mechanisms for women’s equal participation and equitable representation at all levels of the political process and public life in each community and society and enabling women to articulate their concerns and needs;
  • Promoting the fulfilment of women’s potential through education, skill development and employment, giving paramount importance to the elimination of poverty, illiteracy and ill health among women;
  • Eliminating all practices that discriminate against women; assisting women to establish and realize their rights, including those that relate to reproductive and sexual health;
  • Adopting appropriate measures to improve women’s ability to earn income beyond traditional occupations, achieve economic self-reliance, and ensure women’s equal access to the labour market and social security systems;
  • Eliminating violence against women;
  • Eliminating discriminatory practices by employers against women, such as those based on proof of contraceptive use or pregnancy status;
  • Making it possible, through laws, regulations and other appropriate measures, for women to combine the roles of child-bearing, breast-feeding and child-rearing with participation in the workforce.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

From trade to geopolitical significance, it is time for India to look again at Mauritius. Analyse.

The Indian Express

Why this question:

As it prepares to host the prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, who returned to power in the recent general elections, Delhi needs to change the lens through which it sees the small island republic in the western Indian Ocean.

Key demand of the question:

One has review the significance of Mauritius to India, as the latter aspires to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.         

Directive:

Analyze – When 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:

Provide a brief introduction of Mauritius, its strategic location and the recent political happenings.

Body:

Give a brief history of the India-Mauritius relations and give the limitations of previous ties.

Discuss about how more recently, Delhi has certainly begun to see the strategic significance of Mauritius thanks to the renewed great power contestation in the Indian Ocean.

Highlight the various possibilities present that themselves, if Delhi appreciates the value of Mauritius as a regional hub.

Mauritius can be the fulcrum for India’s own African economic outreach.

Mauritius the pivot of Delhi’s island policy.

Provide measures needed to strengthen the ties between the two nations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:    

Mauritius is a sovereign entity with a unique national culture and an international identity of its own. Indo-Mauritian relations refers to the historical, political, economic, military, social and cultural connections between the Republic of India and the Republic of Mauritius. The prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, who returned to power in the recent general elections, is due to visit India

Body:

Evolution of Indo—Mauritian relations:

  • Connections between India and Mauritius date back to 1730, diplomatic relations were established in 1948, before Mauritius became independent state.
  • For far too long, Delhi has viewed Mauritius through the prism of diaspora. This was, perhaps, natural since communities of Indian origin constitute a significant majority in the island
  • More recently, Delhi has certainly begun to see the strategic significance of Mauritius thanks to the renewed great power contestation in the Indian Ocean.
  • In 2014, Prime Minister Modi saw Mauritius as part of India’s neighbourhood and invited its leadership to join his inauguration along with other South Asian leaders.
  • In 2015 that Modi unveiled an ambitious policy called the SAGAR (security and growth for all). It was India’s first significant policy statement on the Indian Ocean in many decades.

Significance of Mauritius to India:

  • Geo-strategic significance:
    • In 2015, Indian Prime Minister signed an agreement to set up eight Indian-controlled coastal surveillance radar stations
    • Mauritius is part of India’s security grid including Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR) station of Indian Navy’s National Command Control Communication Intelligence network
    • if Delhi takes an integrated view of its security cooperation in the south western Indian Ocean, Mauritius is the natural node for it.
  • Geo-economic significance:
    • India is Mauritius’s largest trading partner and has been the largest exporter of goods and services to the Indian Ocean island nation since 2007.
    • The French description of the island as a “central geographic point” holds equally true for commerce and connectivity in the Indian Ocean.
    • As a member of the African Union, Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Indian Ocean Commission, Mauritius is a stepping stone to multiple geographies.
    • If Delhi appreciates the value of Mauritius as a regional hub, a number of possibilities present themselves. One, as new investments pour into Africa, Mauritius is where a lot of it gets serviced. Mauritius can be the fulcrum for India’s own African economic outreach.
  • Mauritius as pivot of Delhi’s island policy:
    • until now India has tended to deal with the so-called Vanilla islands of the south western Indian Ocean — Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles — on a bilateral basis.
    • If the Indian establishment thinks of them as a collective, it could make Mauritius the pivot of Delhi’s island policy.
  • Economic opportunities:
    • the Mauritius pivot can facilitate a number of Indian commercial activities in the south western Indian ocean — as a banking gateway, the hub for flights to and from Indian cities and tourism.
    • India could also contribute to the evolution of Mauritius as a regional centre for technological innovation.
  • Common challenges:
    • climate change, sustainable development and the blue economy are existential challenges for Mauritius and the neighbouring island states.
    • Mauritius will be the right partner in promoting Indian initiatives in these areas.
    • It could also become a valuable place for regional and international maritime scientific research.

Way forward:

  • The urgent need for New Delhi is to discard the deep-rooted perception that Mauritius is simply an extension of India.
  • Delhi must take a fresh and more strategic look at Mauritius.
  • One way of getting there is to have an early Indian summit with the leaders of the Vanilla islands.
  • India, with its strong intelligence network, will also be helpful in maritime law enforcement by Mauritius and Seychelles.
  • While declaring support for India’s maritime security plans, there is need to pointed out that small nations are equally important in the contemporary world order and need to be taken seriously for the sake of preserving the security and order.
  • Companies registered in Mauritius are the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India, making it crucial for India to upgrade its bilateral tax treaty, adopting the latest international practices that prevent multinational companies from artificially shifting profits to low tax countries.

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

Economists and experts argue that India is now in classic Stagflation Territory. Analyse. What are the structural policies needed to curb the economic slowdown facing India?

The Hindu

The Wire

The Economic Times

Why this question:

The slowdown is three years in the making and it is now irrefutable that India is in a growth recession.

Key demand of the question:

One has to find the reasons for the economic slowdown facing India and provide the structural measures needed to overcome the same.

Directive:

Analyze – When 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:

Define what is stagflation.

Stagflation, as defined by Princeton economist Alan S. Blinder, is “the simultaneous occurrence of economic stagnation and comparatively high rates of inflation”.

Body:

Discuss the reasons for the economic slowdown.

Provide data to substantiate your views.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO), the Consumer Food Price Index increased from 5.11% in September 2019 to 7.89% in October 2019. The retail price inflation rate reached an annual high at 4.62%. The government itself has admitted that growth has slowed. The recent NSO estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2019-20 reported a further reduction in the growth rate of GDP to 4.5%, the lowest since 2012-13.

Provide the various structural measures needed to overcome

like Higher liquidity and disposable income, and increased employment; reduction and reform of direct individual and corporate taxes, and indirect taxes. Labour laws also need to be amended to generate employment.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:    

Stagflation, as defined by Princeton economist Alan S. Blinder, is “the simultaneous occurrence of economic stagnation and comparatively high rates of inflation”.

Body:

Economic scenario which point towards stagflation in India:

  • According to the National Statistical Office (NSO), the Consumer Food Price Index increased from 5.11% in September 2019 to 7.89% in October 2019.
  • The retail price inflation rate reached an annual high at 4.62%. The government itself has admitted that growth has slowed.
  • The recent NSO estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2019-20 reported a further reduction in the growth rate of GDP to 4.5%, the lowest since 2012-13.
  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth has dropped to 4.5% in the July-September quarter of 2019-20, a free fall from the government’s ambitious call for a double-digit growth not so long ago.
  • The fall has been sudden although not entirely unexpected. In the first quarter of 2016-17, India registered a spectacular GDP growth of 9.4%. Today, it’s struggling at a 26-quarter low.

Measures taken by the Government now:

  • First it withdrew the super-rich surcharge levied on foreign portfolio investors and then rolled out a series of measures, including corporate tax cut and the proposal to set up a Rs 25,000 crore fund to revive the realty sector.
  • The RBI, for its part, has already lowered its benchmark interest rate (repo rate) five times during this calendar year, taking the cumulative cuts to 135 basis points, from 6.5% in January to 5.15% in October, even as the Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation shot.
  • To avoid further economic turbulence, the Centre has pressed the pause button on banning single-use plastics as well as the quick replacement of fossil fuel-guzzling automobiles with electric vehicles.

Structural measures needed:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can quickly increase the amount of cash in the economy.
  • Then banks, especially public sector banks, can use that together with interest rate policy to provide easy credit. A larger supply of credit should lead to cheaper credit.
  • This will have to be supported by reduction of the administered price of credit, which is the RBI’s repo rate.
  • There could be hurdles to credit off-take due to fiduciary or prudential reasons, so those need to be tackled. Same for mismatched expectations.
  • Higher liquidity and disposable income, and increased employment can pull us out of the quagmire.
  • reduction and reform of direct individual and corporate taxes, and indirect taxes.
  • Labour laws also need to be amended to generate employment.
  • The government needs to hold granular conversations with the private sector.
  • A skills and industrial policy which can make full use of an abundant pool of reasonably priced labour

Conclusion:

                The current economic slowdown is an outcome of supply-side constraints and not demand-side constraints. We need to produce things that Indians earning minimum wages can afford, so that the aggregate demand will increase.


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

The idea that ‘green technology’ can help save the environment is dangerous because it glosses over the alternatives’ ills. Analyse.

The Wire

Why this question:

The world is grappling with the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. A number of solutions have been posed and several of them are current being implemented. However it has been seen that many of those solutions while addressing one aspect create further problems for environment and our climate. It is therefore important to discuss those solutions and their effects.

Directive word:

Analyze-here we 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.

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to dig deep into the solutions being posed and implemented to address the issue of climate change and environmental degradation and how they in turn affect the environment in a negative way.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines highlighting environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change. E.g Industrialists around the world have been extracting a wide array of minerals and metals to build electric vehicles and ‘cleaner’ batteries, simply replacing one injustice with another. present some related statistics and mention that a number of solutions have been currently in vogue to address those issues.

Body:

In a bid to reduce the extraction of hydrocarbons for fuel as well as to manufacture components for more efficient electronic and mechanical systems, industrialists around the world have been extracting a wide array of minerals and metals, destroying entire ecosystems and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. It’s as if one injustice has replaced another.

Discuss how the extraction of minerals for development of Green technology has been leading to environmental pollution, taking the cases of Guinea, Congo etc.

Discuss Biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels and challenges posed by them.

Wind farms vs biodiversity loss and air pollution.

Challenges posed by recycling.

Conclusion:

Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue

Introduction:    

The climate change and environmental degradation has posed some grave threats to the environment. According to UN Water, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. The recent IPCC’s “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C” revealed that the impacts and costs of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming will be far greater than expected. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says a 1.5°C average rise may put 20-30% of species at risk of extinction. If the planet warms by more than 2°C, most ecosystems will struggle. Coral reefs are projected to decline by a further 70-90% at 1.5°C.

Body:

In a bid to reduce the extraction of hydrocarbons for fuel as well as to manufacture components for more efficient electronic and mechanical systems, industrialists around the world have been extracting a wide array of minerals and metals, destroying entire ecosystems and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. It’s as if one injustice has replaced another.

The salt flats 3,600 meters above sea-level in Bolivia and Chile hold nearly half of all the lithium in the world. Lithium is another important metal required to manufacture energy storage devices. (This year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to researchers who invented the lithium-ion battery.) But the rush to control Bolivia’s resources quickly destabilised the local socialist government, which had intended to regulate mining and distribute profits among the population. The right-wing government in place now is likely to reopen negotiations with foreign mining companies that its predecessor had nixed.

  • Desalination technology: Desalination has become a solution for many cities located in coastal areas. The saline water from the sea is treated and the water is made potable. More than 16,000 desalination plants are scattered across the globe producing fresh water, according to a first global assessment of the sector’s industrial waste.
  • Challenges posed: The plants produce more briny toxic sludge than fresh water. For every litre of fresh water extracted, a litre-and-a-half of salty, chemical-laden sludge called brine is dumped—in most cases—into the ocean. That’s enough to cover the state of Florida in a 30-centimetre (one-foot) layer of slime.
  • Hydro Fluoro Carbons to protect ozone depletion: The 1987 Montreal Protocol banned industrial chemicals (CFCs) dissolving stratospheric ozone, which protects us from the Sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays. To replace the forbidden molecules, used in aerosols and refrigerants, scientists invented a new category known as HFCs.
  • Challenges posed: But there was a small problem that didn’t emerge until much later: the substitutes—while harmless to the ozone layer—were dangerous greenhouse gases, thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide or methane. That meant a new, protracted round of negotiations over an amendment calling for the phase of HFCs, which was finally adopted in 2016.
  • Bio-fuels: The rise in oil prices in the 1970s, and later the looming threat of climate change, boosted the production of bio-fuels made from corn, sugarcane and palm oil. It seemed like a great idea: planet-warming CO2 released into the atmosphere when the bio-fuels were burned would be partially offset by the CO2 absorbed while the plants were growing.
  • Challenges posed: The energy needed to transform and transport plant-based fuels undercuts their original purpose. To make matters worse, the newly emerging market created a perverse incentive to cut down tropical forests—far more efficient at soaking up CO2—to make way for sugarcane and palm oil trees. When it comes to climate change, projections for how humanity can cap global warming under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) assume a major role for bio-fuels. But recently scientists have calculated that an area up to twice the size of India would be needed to cultivate them, which may not leave enough land to grow food.
  • Wind farms: There are some 350,000 wind turbines scattered across the globe producing more than 500 gigawatts of clean, green energy and supplying four percent of global electricity demand.
  • Challenges posed: According to one estimate, one wind turbine requires 900 tonnes of steel, 2,500 tonnes of concrete and 45 tonnes of plastic. For every tonne of steel produced, 780 kg of coal is used during the extraction phase. The production of every tonne of concrete emits 1.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide. But wind farms are also bird killers: up to 328,000 birds—especially those that fly at night—are felled every year by fast-spinning blades in the United States alone, where there are some 50,000 turbines. They also disrupt ecosystems.
  • Case Study: A scientific study of wind farms in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO-listed range of mountains and forest spanning India’s west coast, found that predatory raptor birds were four times rarer than in adjacent areas. Their absence cascaded down the food chain and radically altered the density and behaviour of the birds’ prey. There was, in particular, an explosion in the raptors’ favourite meal: fan-throated lizards.
  • Solar energy: Photovoltaic solar panels absorb sunlight to generate electricity. This has powered many homes in developing and under-developed countries. It has shown the potential to reduce the consumption of coal for electricity generation.
  • Challenges posed: conventional methods of solar panel manufacturing release nitrogen trifluoride, a greenhouse gas 17,200-times more potent than carbon dioxide and with an atmospheric tenancy of over seven centuries. High-voltage power generation and transmission requires the use of sulphur hexafluoride, which is 23,500-times more potent than carbon dioxide and lingers in the atmosphere for a millennium.
  • Recycling is also energy-intensive and can often salvage only a fraction of spent resources. For example, the world produces about 360 million tonnes of plastic a year but only about 9% of all plastic waste is recycled. If production continues to grow at its current rate, recycling a tenth of it will soon be rendered meaningless.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is to create solutions that are sustainable. The solutions themselves shouldn’t pose further challenges, easily scalable and cost saving.  Better Research and Development techniques with right validation is the way ahead before deployment on large scale

Case Studies:

  • The Republic of Guinea in equatorial Africa hosts 30% of the world’s bauxite reserves as well as large quantities of iron ore. Some 98% of the country is also covered by forests. Aluminium from bauxite is required to make electric cars and high-capacity electric cables. Steel is the most commonly used metal and is used to make windmills and for structural use in urban infrastructure. Imagine the plight of Guinea’s forests in the face of rising demand for both these materials.
  • The Congo, its neighbour, is home to 60% of the world’s cobalt. This metal is a critical component of batteries that power smartphones and electric vehicles. Contractors are thought to employ some 35,000 children, forced to work in pitiable conditions, to extract this metal. The mines erected to service this industry have destroyed large tracts of savannah and agriculture land and eliminated the livelihoods of thousands. As the demand for cobalt increases, as it is bound to, the Congo’s rainforests are likely to be the next big casualty.

 


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions.

In today’s quintessential world of Internet and Social media, Tech giants watch our every move online. Comment on how that violate our human rights?

The Guardian

Why this question:

The argument by social media giants that data collection is inherent to the way the internet works. The internet didn’t have to be this way. A new report by Amnesty International made the bold case this week that we need to stop accepting the status quo and start seeing it for what it really is: a violation of our human rights “on an unprecedented scale” perpetrated by two American companies, Facebook and Google.

Key demand of the question:

One has to argue the how privacy is inherent part of every individual and how this must be respected and upheld by others.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly introduce about how the access to the internet is critical for the realization of human rights in the modern world. To voice out our opinions, to spread a message, to help people in distress etc.

Body:

Highlight how the social media platforms have been an important source of information dissemination. People all around the world are reliant on these platforms in order to express themselves freely, to access information online and to engage in society.

Now discuss specifically issues related to privacy concerns.

Argue how the the eradication of privacy has “knock-on effects” that threaten other rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom from discrimination.

Talk about how Facebook and Google are also exacerbating the threat of government surveillance, the report argues, by amassing so much personal information in the first place. The companies’ data troves are attractive “honeypots” for governments.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to the problem and suggest way forward.

Introduction:    

Access to the internet is critical for the realization of human rights in the modern world, and that includes the tools and services which Facebook and Google provide. People all around the world are reliant on these platforms in order to express themselves freely, to access information online and to engage in society.

However, there are reports from many human rights NGO like Amnesty that these social media giants are snooping and collecting private information of users without their knowledge. The social media giant Facebook also agreed to the claims that its data collection is inherent to the way the internet works.

Body:

Human rights are the rights which are inherent to every human being by the virtue of being a human. The primary human right threatened by the two companies is the right to privacy. The eradication of privacy has “knock-on effects” that threaten other rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom from discrimination.

This extraction and analysis of people’s personal data on such an unprecedented scale is incompatible with every element of the right to privacy, including the freedom from intrusion into our private lives, the right to control information about ourselves, and the right to a space in which we can freely express our identities.

Facebook and Google are also exacerbating the threat of government surveillance by amassing so much personal information in the first place. The companies’ data troves are attractive “honeypots” for governments.

To protect our core human values in the digital age – dignity, autonomy, privacy – there needs to be a radical overhaul of the way Big Tech operates, and to move to an internet that has human rights at its core.

governments must enact laws to ensure companies including Google and Facebook are prevented from making access to their service conditional on individuals “consenting” to the collection, processing or sharing of their personal data for marketing or advertising. Companies including Google and Facebook also have a responsibility to respect human rights wherever and however they operate.

Conclusion:

Google and Facebook dominate our modern lives – amassing unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.