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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 April 2021


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.


General Studies – 1


 

1. Gupta period represents high watermark in development of Literature and science and technology. Discuss (250 words)

Reference : Ncert

Introduction

The Gupta period witnessed a tremendous progress in the field of art, science and literature and on account of this it has been called “a golden age”. A few scholars even call this period a period of renaissance.

Body

Literature in the Gupta Period

  • Himself a great poet, Samudragupta patronized a number of scholars including Harisena. The court of Chandragupta II was adorned by the celebrated Navratnas.
  • Kalidasa remains the foremost among them. His master-piece was the Sanskrit drama Shakuntala. It is considered one among the ‘hundred best books of the world’.
  • He wrote two other plays – the Malavikagnimitra and Vikramorvasiya. His two well-known epics are Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava. Ritusamhara and Meghaduta are his two lyrics.
  • Visakadatta was another celebrated author of this period. He was the author of two Sanskrit dramas, Mudrarakshasa and Devichandraguptam.
  • Sudraka was a renowned poet of this age and his book Mrichchakatika is rich in humour and pathos.
  • Bharavi’s Kritarjuniya is the story of the conflict between Arjuna and Siva. Dandin was the author of Kavyadarsa and Dasakumaracharita.
  • Another important work of this period was Vasavadatta written by Subhandhu.
  • The Panchatantra stories were composed by Vishnusarma during the Gupta period. The Buddhist author Amarasimha compiled a lexicon called Amarakosa.

Science and Technology in Gupta period

  • The Gupta period witnessed a brilliant activity in the sphere of mathematics, astronomy, astrology and medicine.
  • Aryabhatta was a great mathematician and astronomer. He wrote the book Aryabhatiya in 499 A.D.
  • It deals with mathematics and astronomy. It explains scientifically the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses.
  • Aryabhatta was the first to declare that the earth was spherical in shape and that it rotates on its own axis.
  • However, these views were rejected by later astronomers like Varahamihira and Brahmagupta.
  • Metallurgy had also made a wonderful progress during the Gupta period. The craftsmen were efficient in the art of casting metal statues and pillars.
  • The gigantic copper statue of Buddha, originally found at Sultanganj now kept at Birmingham Museum, was about seven and a half feet height and nearly a ton weight.
  • The Delhi Iron pillar of the Gupta period is still free from rust though completely exposed to sun and rain for so many centuries. This shows the technological acumen of the Gupta era.

Conclusion

Therefore, the cultural progress witnessed during the Gupta period may be called the culmination of Indian intellectual activities. It was a glorious period in the Indian sub-continent after the Mauryan period and saw the development of science and technology along with literature in an exemplary manner.

 


General Studies – 2


 

2. Explain the concept of judicial federalism in Indian context. Also elaborate how it has helped in ensuring fundamental rights of citizens and holding executive accountable . (250 words)

Reference : The Hindu

Introduction

Judicial federalism concept is adopted in USA, where there is a clear distinction between federal courts and state courts. In India there is an Integrated Judiciary. This single system of courts, adopted from the Government of India Act of 1935, enforces both Central laws as well as the state laws. Yet as de facto rule, matter transmits from lower courts to higher courts even in India.

Body

Judicial Federalism: Concept

In simple words judicial federalism indicates two systems of courts that implements state laws and federal laws respectively with varying jurisdiction.

Judicial federalism indicates the need for some means to assure a consistent and uniform body of federal law among the High courts and Supreme court. The goal of national uniformity rests on a fundamental principle: that a single sovereign’s laws should be applied equally to all while maintaining autonomy.

Role of judicial federalism in ensuring fundamental rights

  • In recent times, many high courts have taken suo motu cognizance of the the prevailing pandemic and issued a slew of orders to the state governments. The Gujarat High Court issued a series of directions, including for laboratory testing and procurement of oxygen.
  • The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court was constrained to hold night sittings to consider the issue of oxygen supply.
  • The Delhi High Court directed the Central government to ensure adequate measures for the supply of oxygen. It cautioned that we might lose thousands of lives due to lack of oxygen.
  • Even in the past, high courts have come to the aid of activists, journalists and such other people, upholding their liberty.

Critical analysis

  • Judicial federalism has intrinsic and instrumental benefits which are essentially political. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor rightly said in a 1984 paper that the U.S. Supreme Court reviews “only a relative handful of cases from state courts” which ensures “a large measure of autonomy in the application of federal law” for the State courts.
  • This basic tenet of judicial democracy is well accepted across the courts in the modern federal systems.
  • The need for a uniform judicial order across India is warranted only when it is unavoidable — for example, in cases of an apparent conflict of laws or judgments on legal interpretation.
  • Otherwise, autonomy, not uniformity, is the rule.
  • Decentralisation, not centrism, is the principle. In the COVID-19-related cases, High Courts across the country have acted with an immense sense of judicial responsibility. This is a legal landscape that deserves to be encouraged.

 Conclusion

The apex court must not usurp the powers of the high courts. In case of the pandemic, a uniform approach may not be very feasible and high courts must be given autonomy to issue orders to the executive in case of worsening situation.

 


General Studies – 3


 

3. Give an account of current status pertaining to climate change mitigation and adaptation measures undertaken at global and national level with the recent developments. ( 250 words )

Reference : The Hindu

Introduction

Climate actions have often fallen into one of two strategies: mitigation efforts to lower or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, and adaptation efforts to adjust systems and societies to withstand the impacts of climate change.

Body

Account of Climate change mitigation and adaptation at global level

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1988 to “reassert governmental control” over the scientific process that had been driven by UNEP and scientific activists.
  • At the same time, climate emerged as a genuine global political problem. Between 1988 and 1990 there were five major political events: the UN General Assembly debated the issue, seventeen heads of state attended a summit in the Hague, large ministerials were held in Noordiwjk and Bergen, and the Second World Climate Conference in 1990 (unlike the First in 1979) was well attended.
  • After this, states institutionalized negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) which produced the Kyoto Protocol (1997).
  • The Paris Agreement adopted by all UNFCCC Parties in December 2015 is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate agreement.
  • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation at national level

  • Nationally Determined Contribution: India is currently setting up voluntary targets in the international forums to commit itself to the mission to combat climate change. It is also playing a major role in climate change mitigation.
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): The Action plan covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): ISA was jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the then President of France, Francois Hollande in Paris on the side-lines of CoP 21 in 2015. The vision and mission of the alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries that lie completely or partial between the Tropics of Capricorn & Cancer.
  • State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC): State governments have drafted climate strategies aligned with the eight National Missions under the NAPCC. The strategies focus on issues ranging from climate mitigation, energy efficiency, and resource conservation to climate adaptation.
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility: Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme: The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.

Conclusion

International cooperation to address climate change is vital to mitigate the adverse impact. Additionally, mitigation must be complemented with climate change-related adaption since mitigation alone cannot address the adverse effects we are facing right now. An international level comprehensive plan of action is necessary for inclusive and sustainable growth of the global community.

 

4. In the context of increasing labour  migration due to covid pandemic, critically analyze the steps initiated by government to ensure food and employment security. (250 words)

Reference : The Indian Express

Introduction

The critical vulnerabilities of Indian society that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed are undoubtedly those laid bare by the humanitarian crisis that unfolded as the nation-wide lockdown took effect. The searing images of the endless ordeal of tens of thousands of famished and exhausted “migrant workers” trying to make their way back to their home villages to escape starvation in cities where they work, will endure long after the pandemic is over.

The second wave being graver, it is imperative that governments step up their handholding to the migrants.

Body

Migrant crisis during pandemic

  • The world’s severest lockdown dealt a body blow to their insecure and fragile urban livelihoods, and many of them also faced imminent eviction.
  • With public transportation shut down, many began their long journeys on foot over distances that could span hundreds of miles.
  • A large number of them died of heat, exhaustion and starvation; and quite a few were killed in horrific accidents. Eg: Migrants killed on rail tracks and road accidents.
  • Extreme poverty and hunger: Without constant source of income or social security, it is the lowest strata of society that is the most affected.
    • Due to lockdown, most essential items were also unavailable for many and led to hunger problems.
  • The multitudes escaping Indian cities more than a century later, however, are mostly employed in an informal labour regime in industries and service sectors increasingly characterised by outsourcing and contracting-out arrangements.
  • The informal or the unorganised sector now accounts for nearly half of India’s GDP and 80 to 90 per cent of the labour force (including non-plantation agriculture).
  • Loss of wages: A report by the Stranded Workers Action Network, found the majority of them to be factory or construction workers on a daily wage.
    • The rest earned their daily wages as drivers, domestic workers, and self-employed workers — among them were street vendors and those engaged in zari embroidery work

Steps by government to ensure food and employment security

  • Non-farm employment: The Finance Minister acknowledged the significance of the MGNREGS in providing jobs to returning workers in rural areas.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat has a special component from migrants. Recently, housing was to be made available them under Awaas
  • Food security will be taken care once One Nation One Ration Card is implemented throughout the country.
  • In line with Union Government’s Advisory, about Rs 5000 crore released from Building & Other Construction Workers Cess Fund to approx 2 crore construction workers; the sector which is estimated to employ maximum migrant workers.
  • Through interventions of dedicated 20 Control Rooms set up by Union Labour Ministry, stuck wages of about Rs 300 crore released to about 2 lakh workers.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana with financial package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore, nearly 80.00 crore people have been and are being provided Free of Cost 5 Kg Wheat/Rice and 1 Kg pulses.
  • Per day wages under MGNAREGA enhanced from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202. More days and jobs were added with an expanded budget.
  • SVANidhi Scheme launched to facilitate collateral free working capital loan up to Rs.10,000/- of one-year tenure, to approx. 50 lakh street vendors to resume their businesses

Conclusion

Governments at all levels must ensure that any policy intervention must be inclusive of all and especially the most vulnerable sections of the society. The immediate concern should be to address the issue of poverty, hunger and unemployment. A good social security scheme backed by welfare measures for migrants will truly help achieve Atmanirbharta and India would finally tread the path of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwaas.

 

5. Boost in capital expenditure is seen as effective instrument to spur economic growth in long term. Critically Analyze. (250 words)

Reference : Financial Express

Introduction

The debate around the ability of capital expenditure to boost long-term growth within the Indian economy, given both the pre- and the post-pandemic weak economic environment, has seen a wide range of varying opinions being presented by economists and policymakers.

Body

Capital expenditure as an effective instrument to spur economic growth

  • The recent budgetary allocation towards capital expenditure at Rs 5,54,236 crore in FY2021-22(BE) is a rise of 34.5% over FY2020-21.
  • This is significant if we compare 21.71% rise in FY2020-21(BE) over FY2019-20(BE). This move is significant against the backdrop of the economic slowdown caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with a decline in employment ratio.
  • While creating direct consumer demand is an important lever for immediate boost to the economy, it may not sustain a high growth trajectory in the longer term.
  • The creation of capital assets generates future cash flows for the economy and adds to value creation.
  • Capital expenditure is expected to achieve this through a multiplier effect (a change in rupee value of output with respect to a change in rupee value of expenditure).
  • In India, the multiplier effect of capital expenditure made by the central government is estimated at 2.45, whereas for state governments it is around 2 (according to the RBI Bulletin, December 2020).
  • A Rs 1 crore increase in capital expenditure leads to more than Rs 1 crore increase in GDP. This multiplier effect works through expansion of ancillary industries and services and job creation.
  • On the supply side also, it can facilitate labour productivity. Thus, capital expenditure is an effective tool for countercyclical fiscal policy and acts as a macroeconomic stabiliser.

Critical analysis: Concerns

  • The touted multiplier effect will not take into account the time-lag to kick in, capacity availability in the industry, and undisposed inventory and work in progress before the pandemic-induced lockdowns.
  • Most importantly, given the pandemic, the multiplier effect loses value if people hold idle cash out of fear of unforeseen expenses and survival paramountcy during possible future lockdowns.
  • This appears a distinct possibility in the raging second wave of the pandemic. Inflation-induced price rise, particularly in food and health, could also affect the multiplier impact as households would tend to give them priority over other consumption items.
  • This was indeed the case until the last quarter. Also, capital expenditure funded by the government through heavy domestic borrowing (of the order of Rs 18 lakh crore by the Centre plus Rs 78,000 crore by 21 states towards loss in GST compensation due to the lockdown effect) has the potential of crowding out capital expenditure by the private sector, thus severely weakening the multiplier effect.

Way Forward

  • The solution lies in optimising project management processes of all the key stakeholders, including implementation agencies, state governments, vendors and others.
  • This would also help in ensuring quality control, which, in turn, will result in capital assets providing benefits over a longer term following the multiplier effect.
  • The maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) expenditure, which is part of revenue expenditure, will have to be monitored during project implementation to see to it that it goes on to increase the ability of the capital asset to deliver the projected benefits during the lifetime of the asset.
  • The government should also aim to cut down on inefficient revenue expenditure and focus on creating a balanced and stable virtuous cycle, which can have positive knock-on effects over the long term.
  • This will help set the foundation for stimulating growth and future investments, while eventually leading the economy to overcome the recessionary pressures it might once again confront if the second wave prolongs.

Conclusion

With the current impetus rightly given to capital expenditure, emphasis must also be provided on timely implementation of projects within the earmarked outlay by strengthening monitoring, redressal mechanisms and processes for controlling project delays.


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