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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 August 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 – 2


 

Topic: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. In the constructive programme, Gandhi envisioned an India based on the maxims of truth and non-violence which could lead to the establishment of social order. Evaluate is successes and limitations. Is it relevant in the twenty first century? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Reference: Chapter-17 – A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum Publishers)

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 as mentioned in Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about constructive programme, its successes and limitations and relevance in the present day.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin your answer about the core ideals of Truth and Non-violence followed by Gandhi and then mention how he tried to extrapolate these ideals with respect to constructive programmes he undertook in the passive phase.

Body:

Mention the components of Gandhi’s vision of a non-violent social order, elements of Constructive programme involving self-reliance of villages etc, Communal Unity, Removal of Untouchability, Khadi etc.

Further mention its success in terms of universal appeal of high moral objective and resulting increased mass following and participation in his political works and limitations such as many failed to connect with his idea that the political struggle and the constructive work must go in parallel etc.

Conclusion:

Mention the relevance of Gandhi’s idea even in the twenty first century as we are still grappling with issues such as Untouchability, underdevelopment of rural areas, sanitation, upliftment of women etc.

Introduction

Satyagraha is the method of non-violent action in search and adherence to ‘truth’. Gandhiji proposed a civilized way of opposing rigid and unjust practices of the aggressor and to seek truth, a process which seeks change not through coercion or aggression but through a ‘change of heart’. Gandhiji’s principle of truth and non-violence or Satyagraha have become more relevant not just in India, but elsewhere too where people have been suppressed or injustice has been institutionalized.

Body

The 21st Century has evolved more as a materialistic and pompous world filled with greed, malice and hatred where spiritual and moral values are losing steam. Mahatma Gandhiji and his values have become more relevant for today’s society which is under turmoil and suffering from social evils, corruption, terrorism and violence. If we look around us, the world is full of various types of conflict, mainly arising out of the lack of the above virtues among people, more so in our leaders.

Truth and Non- Violence

  • Non-violence and Satyagraha should be turned into a global instrument of non-violent dissent against authoritarianism and a pragmatic tool of the powerless against the powerful.
  • Suppression of ethnic minorities in countries like China etc must be countered through an international non-violent agitation.
  • The nuclear race which is based on deterrence needs a more euphemistic approach based on sympathetic understanding for one’s adversary, formulation of minimal demands consistent with truth, refusal to threaten or intimidate the enemy etc.
  • The failure of US’ strategy of aggression followed in Afghanistan, since 2001, to achieve peace and resumption of peaceful dialogue with Taliban is a clear example of the viability of non-violent Satyagraha.

Success of Gandhian Ideologies

  • Distinction between deed and doer: Gandhiji believed that only through love any opponent could be permanently won.  When Gandhiji said, hate the sin, love the sinner he is drawing distinction between deed and the doer. According to him the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked, always deserves respect or pity as the case may be.
  • Effective Permanent conflict resolution: According to Gandhiji, those who seek to destroy men rather than manners adopt the latter and become worse than those whom they destroy under the mistaken belief that the manners will die with the men. Gandhiji highlighted how the cycle of violence repeats itself without resolving the conflict.
  • Forgiveness:Gandhiji’s approach also highlights his belief in forgiveness. He regarded forgiveness as high virtue. According to him, the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. It is the acid test of non-violence that, in a non-violent conflict, there is no rancour left behind, and in the end the enemies are converted into friends
  • Spirit of Tolerance:Gandhiji also highlighted the value of tolerance. According to Gandhiji the main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence. Understanding difference between doer and deed and forgiving the doer inculcates spirit of tolerance. It leads to achievement of a peaceful, tolerant society where diverse section of society lives in mutually society peace. This spirit of tolerance is important in diverse country like India.

Criticism:

  • A country that suffers from cross-border terrorism and the highest forms of crime on a regular basis, cannot put the security of its citizens at stake by following the doctrine of “non-violence” or “patient dealings” in the long run.
  • Gandhiji’s principles may be apt for a personal and spiritual growth of an individual, but they certainly need modification according to the present nuclear age. In fact, the very first step towards non-violence would be to disband the Indian army and to denuclearize India, which is undoubtedly impossible.
  • More than one man leading the nation through his ideals, present-day India is in need of leaders whose visions can match with those of the common man and especially the underprivileged ones leaders that can be benevolent and quick decision makers, who have the ability to transform and evolve at a quicker.
  • The path of ahimsa, which Gandhiji considered a difficult but the only straight and clear path, has seemed increasingly impossible and impractical.

Relevance of Gandhian Ideology in Present Times

  • Civil Services:Truth lies at the core of Gandhian philosophy as he himself has tried to remain truthful throughout his life. Gandhian view of truth was irreversible in different contexts irrespective of the urgency of the situation.
    • This was why Gandhiji cancelled the Non-Cooperation movement after the satyagrahis deviated from the path of truth and a violent incident of Chauri chaura took place.
    • This principle of truthfulness to self and to the public is essential for civil servants in the current context to rampant corruption.
  • Peace and Stability in the World:Non-Violence is a key component of Gandhianism, which was the great weapon used by Gandhiji during the freedom movement of India against British Raj.
    • Gandhiji believed non-violence and tolerance require a great level of courage and patience.
    • In a world that is moving through the phases of war marred by violence and terrorism, there is a significant requirement of Gandhian idea of Non- violence more and more today than the past days.
  • Secularism:Gandhianism was tolerant towards all religions and the world today needs more and more religiously and faith wise tolerant people in societies where violence is committed in the name of religion.
    • Tolerance in the society will help in neutralizing the ethnocentric bias in the globe that is taking place day by day on the basis of religion, caste, ethnicity and region etc.
  • Creation of Casteless Society:Gandhiji was against the caste system and coined the term Harijan to pay respect to the lower caste people.
    • As the Caste system is still prevalent in the Indian society, the Gandhian philosophy is useful to create a casteless society where everyone is treated equally irrespective of their caste.
  • Gandhian Socialism:Gandhian view of socialism is not political but more social in its approach, as gandhiji thought of a society with no poverty, no hunger, no unemployment and education and health for all.
    • These Gandhian ideologies will continue to act as the lighthouse for Indian policy makers.
    • From poverty alleviation to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and universal health care (Ayushman Bharat) to skill India programs everywhere the core inspiration comes from Gandhianism.
  • Decentralization:Gandhian idea of decentralization of power can be implemented in democracies through empowered local self-governments at grass root level.
    • Indian government, for instance, has implemented local self-government by adopting the Panchayati Raj and Municipality system in rural and urban areas respectively.
  • Cleanliness:Gandhiji laid great emphasis upon cleanliness or Swacchta, as he used to say- ‘Swacchta Hin Seva’.
    • The recent Swacchta Bharat Abhiyaan, the biggest cleanliness drive of India, is to fulfill the dream of Bapu by making India clean.
    • However, this cleanliness drive is more than physical cleanliness and the need to lay more emphasis upon the internal cleanliness of the individual.
    • Thus, along with clean roads, toilets for a clean India we require a corruption free society with greater levels of transparency and accountability too.
  • Sustainable Environment:Gandhiji held that “Earth has enough for Human needs, But not for Human greed’s”.
    • These lines of Mahatma Gandhiji reflect upon how human behaviour destroys nature and how a sustainable way of living is the need of the hour.
    • The world is whirling under the burden of global warming, climate change and resource crunch and all environmental conservation treaties and sustainable development efforts must implement this Gandhian philosophy.
  • Ethical Importance:On the ethical and behavioural part Gandhianism has much significance today because society is witnessing the degradation of values.
    • Societal values have degraded to such an extent that people don’t hesitate to kill someone for the gratification of their own needs.
    • Respect for women is one of the major ideas of Gandhian philosophy and the world is witnessing the increased level of violence, subjugation women face nowadays in society.
    • Thus, Gandhian dream of a safe country necessitates social consciousness and women emancipation.

Conclusion

Gandhiji’s political contributions offered us Independence but his ideologies enlightened India as well as the world even today after so many years. Every individual, thus, should follow the key Gandhian ideologies in their day to day life for a happy, prosperous, healthy, harmonious and sustainable future.

 

Topic: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

2. The protests against an all-white Simon Commission injected much needed political activity into the national movement and the Indian youth were at the forefront of this agitation. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Chapter-18 – A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum Publishers)

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 as mentioned in Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of the anti-Simon boycotts which heralded the revival of anti-imperialistic movements led by the Youth.

Directive word: 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin your answer by mentioning the purpose of establishment of Simon Commission and reasons as to why the nationalists opposed it..

Body:

Write how the anti-Simon commission protests ended the passivity that was witnessed in the Indian national movement after the withdrawal of the Non-cooperation movement.

Next, talk about the rising role and activism of the Indian Youth and the formation of many associations. Also, mention the rise of radical/militant/communist groups, Bhagat Singh’s Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, active peasant satyagraha’s such as Bardoli Satyagraha and the overall sentiment of demand for complete Independence. Mention emergence of the youth leaders at the forefront and how they were ably supported by senior nationalists.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning that the anti- Simon commission boycott was a great trigger to the call of complete independence from the British rule.

Introduction

The Simon Commission was a group of 7 MPs from Britain who was sent to India in 1928 to study constitutional reforms and make recommendations to the government. The Commission was originally named the Indian Statutory Commission. It came to be known as the Simon Commission after its chairman Sir John Simon.

Body

None of the Indians was appointed in the commission and the promise of appeasing the Indian opinion seemed to be a bubble. When no Indian was included in the commission, it was like depriving of their right to participate in the determination of the constitution of their own country.

Indian response to Simon Commission

  • When the Commission landed in February 1928, there were mass protests, hartals and black flag demonstrations all over the country.
  • Indian response to Simon Commission was immediate and unanimous.
  • All shades of political opinion in India unanimously condemned the Commission as not a single Indian was included in it.
  • That no Indian should be thought fit to serve on a body that claimed the right to decide the political future of India was an insult to the self-respect of Indian.
  • They were also angered as the commission violated the principle of self-determination.
  • The Indian response to the Commission was a unanimous resolution by leaders of every shade of opinion to boycott it

Response of Congress

  • It was the Indian National Congress that turned the boycott into a popular movement.
  • The Congress had resolved on the boycott at its
  • At its annual session in December 1927 at Madras Congress decided to boycott the commission ―at every stage and in every form.
  • In the prevailing excitable atmosphere, Jawaharlal Nehru had even succeeded in getting passed a snap resolution declaring complete independence as the goal of the Congress.

Response of other political factions

  • The call for a boycott of the Commission was endorsed by the Liberal Federation led by Tej Bahadur Sapru.
  • It was also endorsed by the Indian Industrial and Commercial Congress
  • The Muslim League led by M. A. Jinnah also boycotted it. A certain section of members led by Muhammad Shafi supported the government.
  • The Justice Party in the South decided to side with the government on this issue.
  • The Hindu Mahasabha also went in favour of boycott.
  • Gandhiji did not himself participate in this movement, although he gave it his blessings.
  • Some others such as Unionist in Punjab and Justice Party in the south decided not to boycott the commission.

Anti- Simon Protest

  • The action began as soon as Simon and his friends landed at Bombay on 3 February 1928.
  • All the important cities and towns observed a hartal on the day that the members of the Commission landed in India
  • People were out on the streets participating in mass rallies, processions and black-flag demonstrations.
  • ‘Go Back Simon’ was imprinted on banners, placards and even kites.
  • Everywhere that commission went — Calcutta, Lahore, Lucknow, Vijayawada, Poona — it was greeted by a sea of black-flags carried by thousands of people.

Police Repressions

Police repression was harsh and merciless and processions were attacked. There was popular anger at the manner in which the police dealt with the protesters.

  • In Madras, a major clash with the police resulted in firing and the death of one person.
  • Lathi charges were becoming all too frequent, and even respected and senior leaders were not spared the blows.
  • In Lucknow, Jawaharlal and Govind Ballabh Pant were beaten up by the police.
  • But the worst incident happened in Lahore where Lala Lajpat Rai, the hero of the Extremist days and the most revered leader of Punjab, was hit on the chest by lathis on 30 October
  • The death of Lajpat Rai created tremendous resentment against the British rule all over.
  • It was his death that Bhagat Singh and his comrades were seeking to avenge when they killed the white police official, Saunders, in December 1928.

Impact of Simon Commission on Indian National Movement

  • The Simon boycott movement provided the first taste of political action to a new generation of youth.
  • It gave a fillip to the formation of youth leagues and associations all over the country.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Bose emerged as the leaders of this new wave of youth and students
  • The upsurge among the youth also proved a fruitful ground for the germination and spread of the new radical ideas of socialism that had begun to reach Indian shores.
  • These new radical ideas also led to emergence of groups such as Naujawan Bharat Sabha in Punjab, and the Workers’ and Peasants’ Parties
  • Lord Birkenhead’s challenge to Indian leaders to produce an agreed constitutional scheme was accepted by various political factions, this brought them together on a common platform.

Conclusion

Simon Commission, led to acceptance of the challenge of Birkenhead by Indians to frame a constitution on its own, which resulted in Nehru report of 1929. Arrival of Simon Commission and its subsequent protests at pan India level united the Indians against the British might.

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3. In the wake of rapid urbanisation, slums in cities have become an almost inevitable and necessary evil. Analyse the major social consequences of urbanisation in relation to the life and activities of urban slum dwellers. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

A survey conducted in Delhi under the 69th National Service Scheme round (July 2012-December 2012) revealed that the capital had approximately 6,343 slums with more than a million households where 52 per cent of its total population resided.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues regarding the development of slums in India.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, give a scenario of Urbanisation in India. Mention fact and figures with respect to level of Urbanisation in India. 

Body:

In the first part, write about why Slums are considered to a necessary evil – Cheap accommodation, Migrants agglomeration, Lack of housing, communitarian interests etc.

Next, mention the social consequences of living in slums – Crime, Poor living conditions, diseases, lack of basic amenities. Mention how the plight of slum dwellers worsened during the pandemic.

Mention steps to improve the living conditions in the slums at policy as well as implementation level.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Slum is a contiguous settlement where the inhabitants are characterized as having inadequate housing and basic services. Cities Alliance Action Plan describes slums as neglected parts of cities where housing and living conditions are appallingly poor.

Census of India 2011 explained slums as residential areas where dwellings are unfit for human habitation by reasons of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangements and design of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of street, lack of ventilation, light, or sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors which are detrimental to the safety and health.

Body:

The slum is an inevitable part of modern urbanization and the urban poor are active agents serving the non-slum dwellers and contribute to economic growth.

Slums in India:

  • Out of 4,041 Statutory Towns in Census 2011 Slums reported from 2,543 Towns (63%)
  • Largest number of slums reported from Maharashtra (21,359)
  • People who are living in slums increased from 52 million in 2001 to 65.5 million 2011

Factors responsible for growth of slums:

  • Rapid growth of population:
    • Population explosion and poverty force the urban poor to live in slums and that leads to an increase in the size of slums.
    • Also, a regional imbalance in development creates rural to urban migration, thus increasing the overall urban population density which pressurizes the urban poor to move into slums.
    • In the past 15 years, India’s urban population density has increased by 45%. It is further estimated that 40% of the population will live in urban areas by 2026.
    • With increasingly densified urban population, there exists a huge demand for land.
    • This shortage of land forces the urban poor to live in increasingly dense communities creating slums in the process.
  • Poor Urban governance:
    • A major factor for growth of slums use of rigid, often outdated urban planning regulations, which are typically bypassed by slum dwellers to meet their housing needs.
    • Another issue is the failure of governments to incorporate slum dwellers as part of the overall planning process.
    • This is often due to the inability of many governments to keep pace with urbanization because of ill-designed policies, lack of resources and corruption.
  • Administrative failure:
    • City authorities faced with rapid urban development lack the capacity to cope with the diverse demands for infrastructural provision to meet economic and social needs.
    • Not only are strategic planning and intervention major issues in agenda to manage rapid urbanization, but city governments are not effectively linking the economic development trajectory to implications for urban growth and, hence, housing needs.
  • Unavailability of affordable housing:
    • Rising material costs and labor costs resulting from labor shortage is another reason for the growth of slums as it makes developers unable to deliver affordable housing to the market.
    • The gap between growing demand for affordable urban housing and insufficient supply has encouraged the formation of slums.
    • Whenever the demand surplus is not met by formal sectors, this gap is typically filled by an informal dwelling such as a slum
  • Limited access to financial resources:
    • slum dwellers typically inhabit marginal locations such as dumping grounds mainly due to the low purchasing power of slum dwellers in formal land markets when compared with high-income groups.
    • Further, the urban poor lack the access to formal financial resources to help them purchase new homes or maintain a new life in a new housing unit.
  • Rural to Urban Migration:
    • Rural to urban migration is one of the primary drivers of growth of slums in Indian cities.
    • Urban centres which are not equipped to support additional population, fail to cope up with high influx of people which ultimately causes several problems such as housing shortages, unemployment, and development of slums.
  • Social factors:
    • Moreover, social backwardness forces people to live in congested areas away from main areas. For example, more Scheduled Castes (SCs) live in slums – with one out of every five residents belonging to the SC category.

Social consequences of Slums:

  • Perpetuating cycle of Poverty: Income or capability poverty is considered, with some exceptions, as a central characteristic of slum areas. It is not seen as an inherent characteristic of slums, but as a cause (and, to a large extent, a consequence) of slum conditions. Slum conditions are physical and statutory manifestations that create barriers to human and social development. Furthermore, slums are social exclusion areas that are often perceived to have high levels of crime and other social dislocation measures. In some definitions, such areas are associated with certain vulnerable groups of the population, such as recent immigrants, internally displaced persons or ethnic minorities. Low income characteristically means poor nutrition, elementary or no education, little or no medical care which undermines human capital development and slum dwellers are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty.
  • Social problems: Socially, slums remain isolated from rest of the urban society and exhibit pathological social symptoms like drug abuse, alcoholism, crime, vandalism and other deviant behavior. The lack of integration of slum inhabitants into urban life reflects both, the lack ability and culture barriers. Women and children living in slums are prone to become victims of social evils like prostitution, beggary and child trafficking. Slum dwellers in general and regardless of gender, often become victims of such social evils.
  • Health:Since slums are not connected to basic services such as clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, residents are at great risk of contracting water-borne and respiratory diseases. High population density, lack of proper toilets and close proximity of homes allow diseases to spread quickly. People living in slum areas are also prone to suffer from waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera, as well as from more fatal ones like cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Lack of basic services/ amenities: The slums are characterised by lack of access to sanitation facilities and safe water sources, absence of waste collection systems, electricity supply, drainage. These are sometimes supplemented by lack of surfaced roads and footpaths and street lighting. According to Census 2011, among the slums in India-
  • 58% have open or no drainage
  • 43% must bring water from outside their communities
  • 26% do not have access to clean drinking water
  • 34% have no latrine within premises; 19% open defecate
  • 2 electricity outages occur per day
  • Substandard housing: Slum areas are associated with a high number of substandard housing structures, often built with non-permanent materials unsuitable for housing and in dilapidated conditions.
  • Overcrowding: Overcrowding is associated with a low space per person, high occupancy rates, cohabitation by different families. Many slum dwelling units are overcrowded, with a large number of people sharing a one-room unit used for cooking, sleeping and living.
  • Unhealthy living conditions and hazardous locations: Unhealthy living conditions are the result of a lack of basic services, open sewers, lack of pathways, uncontrolled dumping of waste, polluted environments, etc. Further, slums come up in hazardous locations such as in proximity to industrial plants with toxic emissions or waste disposal sites. Hunger, malnourishment, lack of quality education, high infant mortality, child marriage, child labour are some of the other social problems prevalent in slums.
  • High incidence of crime rate: Slum areas are also commonly believed to be places that generate a high incidence of crime. This is due to official neglect towards education, law and order, and government services in slum areas.

Government Initiatives:

  • National Slum Development Programme (NSDP):Initiated in 1996, NSDP provided both loans and subsidies to states for slum rehabilitation projects on the basis of their urban slum population.
  • Valmiki Ambedkar Malina Basti Awas Yozana (VAMBAY):Introduced in 2001, it focused on shelter for the urban poor, with 20% of total allocation for community sanitation facilities under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) program
  • Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP):BSUP was an important component of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). BSUP aimed to provide basic services to urban poor in 63 of the largest cities in India by population
  • Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP):Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) was launched by GoI by merging the schemes of NSDP and VAMBAY. The objective of the scheme is to provide adequate Shelter and basic infrastructure facilities to the slum dwellers in urban areas.
  • Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP): The Scheme envisages the provision of interest subsidy to economically weak section and Low income groups to enable them to buy or construct houses.
  • Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY):Launched in 2013, the scheme focussed on:
    • Bringing existing slums within the formal system and enabling them to avail of the same level of basic amenities as the rest of the town;
    • Redressing the failures of the formal system that lie behind the creation of slums; and
    • Tackling the shortages of urban land and housing that keep shelter out of reach of the urban poor.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- “Housing for All (Urban):Launched in 2015, the scheme seeks to provide central assistance to implementing agencies through States and UTs for providing houses to all beneficiaries by 2022. It incorporates the following:
    • “In-situ” slum rehabilitation with participation of private developers using land as a resource. This approach aims to leverage the locked potential of land under slums to provide houses to the eligible slum dwellers bringing them into the formal urban settlement.
    • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy
    • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private Sectors
    • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement
  • Slum areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, in the year 1956:The act aimed at mechanical improvement or complete eradication of slums. It empowers the competent authority to declare any slum area in accordance with the definition, look into possibilities of improvement or eradicate slums.

Way Forward:

  • The focus should not only on building houses for the slum dwellers but also promoting livelihood options and social and economic infrastructure to develop the livelihood.
  • For effective urban planning, housing and population policies based on housing rights and the right to a clean environment must be established at all levels. These policies should be directed at inclusive cities and poverty alleviation
  • Attention must be paid to income generation, transport and empowerment of the beneficiaries to redress possible future problems
  • A three-pronged approach to Slum Free city should be adopted:
    • Provision of clear, free title to the residents, so that they enjoy the privileges of using property as a tangible asset
    • To upgrade the infrastructure and services providing water, power, and sewage connections to individual homes, the collection of solid waste, street lighting and neighbourhood security and police support
    • The creation of high-density, low income zoning that allows individual property owners to upgrade their homes without risk, rent out their properties to formal commercial establishments

 

 


General Studies – 2


  

Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

4. Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) can be a very effective tool in the investigation of crime but it has serious implications on the rights of the citizens. Hence there is an urgent need to put in adequate safeguards in order to protect civil liberties. Critically Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Home Ministry has given approval to the automated facial recognition system (AFRS) for identification of unrecognised bodies, missing children and criminals.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) impinges on the rights of the citizens and safeguards that are needed to prevent it from happening.

Directive word: 

Critically analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them 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 balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) technology.

Body:

In the first part, mention as to how AFRS will help in tracking & detection of criminals. The need for it in the present day.

Next bring out the various implications of AFRS – its aspects on right to privacy, the test of proportionality, legality, bias, misuse etc.

Mention the safeguards that are needed to use AFRS in a responsible and an accountable manner.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Automated facial recognition system (AFRS) is a mobile and web application hosted in NCRB’s data centre in Delhi but used by all police stations in the country. AFRS works by comparing the new image of an unidentified person often taken from CCTV footage with the existing database to find a match and identify the person.  The artificial intelligence technology used for pattern-finding and matching is called “neural networks”. Currently, facial recognition in India is done manually.

Body:

NCRB’s request call:

  • The NCRB, which manages crime data for police, would like to use automated facial recognition to identify criminals, missing people, and unidentified dead bodies, as well as for “crime prevention”.
  • Its Request for Proposal calls for gathering CCTV footage, as well as photos from newspapers, raids, and sketches.
  • The project is aimed at being compatible with other biometrics such as iris and fingerprints.
  • NCRB has proposed integrating this facial recognition system with multiple existing databases.
  • The most prominent is the NCRB-managed Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS).
  • Facial recognition has been proposed in the CCTNS program since its origin.
  • The new facial recognition system will be integrated with Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS), as well as state-specific systems, the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT), and the Khoya Paya portal on missing children.

Need for AFRS:

  • Automated Facial Recognition System can play a very vital role in improving outcomes in the area of Criminal identification and verification by facilitating easy recording, analysis, retrieval and sharing of Information between different organisations.
  • While fingerprints and iris scans provide far more accurate matching results, automatic facial recognition is an easier solution especially for identification amongst crowds.
  • The integration of fingerprint database, face recognition software and iris scans will massively boost the police department’s crime investigation capabilities.
  • It will also help civilian verification when needed. No one will be able to get away with a fake ID.
  • It will also help civilian verification when needed.
  • It also plans to offer citizen services, such as passport verification, crime reporting, online tracking of case progress, grievance reporting against police officers etc.

Concerns:

  • Absence of specific laws or guidelines poses a huge threat to the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech and expressionbecause it does not satisfy the threshold the Supreme Court had set in its landmark privacy judgment in the ‘Justice K.S. Puttaswamy Vs Union of India’ case.
    • Amid NCRB’s controversial step to install an automated facial recognition system, India should take note of the ongoing privacy debate in the US.
    • In the absence of data protection law, Indian citizens are more vulnerable to privacy abuses.
  • Function creep:A function creep happens when someone uses information for a purpose that is not the original specified purpose. For instance, Police got permission to use the FRS by an order of the Delhi High Court for tracking missing children. Now they are using it for wider security and surveillance and investigation purpose, which is a function creep.
  • This might lead to an over-policing problem or problemswhere certain minorities are targeted without any legal backing or any oversight as to what is happening. Another problem that may arise is of mass surveillance, wherein the police are using the FRT system during protest.
  • Mass surveillance:If someone goes to a protest against the government, and the police are able to identify the person, then there might be repercussions.
  • The basis of the Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) is a Cabinet note of 2009.But the Cabinet note is not a legal substance, it’s a procedural note at best. So it does not form a valid legal system based on which the AFRS can be built.
  • Many institutions have not conducted “privacy impact assessment”prior to deployment of the facial recognition system (FRS).
    • Cyber experts across the world have cautioned against government abuse of facial recognition technology, as it can be used as tool of control and risks inaccurate results.
  • Targeting sections of people: Use of surveillance cameras and facial recognition constrict the rights of particular class of people.
    • International organisations have also condemned the Chinese government on its use of surveillance cameras and facial recognition to constrict the rights of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority.

Way forward:

  • With proper safeguard this technology is much needed for India.
  • The pace at which we are using technology which could have bearing on piracy seems to be more than the pace to put in mechanism to protect privacy which has to be addressed.
  • The notion that sophisticated technology means greater efficiency needs to be critically analysed.
  • A deliberative approach will benefit Indian law enforcement, as police departments around the world are currently learning that the technology is not as useful in practice as it seems in theory.
  • Police departments in London are under pressure to put a complete end to use of facial recognition systems following evidence of discrimination and inefficiency.
  • San Francisco recently implemented a complete ban on police use of facial recognition. India would do well to learn from their mistakes.

Conclusion:

In light of the fact that India does not have any legal framework to safeguard the personal data of its citizens, nor any sort of judicial oversight over public surveillance programmes, the current proposal for AFRS raises eyebrows.

 

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

5. Digital India has empowered the nation by creating opportunities for individuals, expansion of businesses and growth of economy on the whole. Given its potential, it is paramount that this ‘digital revolution’ must take into account concerns regarding equity and affordability. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live MintThe Hindu

Why the question:

In the last 75 years, India has made a tremendous leap to become a robust digital economy, and the future of our country will be defined by how well we can integrate digital solutions across platforms.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the successes of the digital India mission and suggest measures to ensure more reachability, inclusivity and make it equitable.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the Digital India Mission, its aims and objectives.

Body:

In first part, write about India’s success at building digital infrastructure. This includes a Unified Payments Interface, Aarogya Setu app, CoWin, Bharat QR, the RuPay card. Write its impact and substantiate with facts and figures.

Mention how Digital India helped the country adapt to the challenges through by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next, mention the challenges with respect to rapid digitisation equitable spread, ensuring that the benefits of digital revolution are accessible to all citizens, irrespective of their gender, caste, or geographical location etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to make the digital revolution more fruitful for everyone.

Introduction

In the last 75 years, India has made a tremendous leap to become a robust digital economy, and the future of our country will be defined by how well we can integrate digital solutions across platforms.

Body

Background: Digital India empowering nation

  • Three of the largest public digital platforms in the world — Aadhaar, UPI, and CoWIN — were from India, which had significantly fast-tracked the country’s pivot to digitalisation and become integral to its $5-trillion dollar economy aspiration.
  • Digital platforms help in the systematic creation of value generation. India’s e-commerce giants have been able to reach every nook and corner of the nation. Even the post office has started IPPB, enabling people to access online banking.
  • The legendary tech services companies—TCS, Infosys and the like that have built India’s mammoth $200 billion tech sector.
  • Vaccination to people has reached more than 10 crore which was done through COWIN platform. To India’s credit the software was made open source and technology was shared with other nations as well.
  • Today, 99% of Indian adults have an Aadhaar identity number. The government further interlinked the identity system with bank accounts and mobile numbers, resulting in the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-mobile phone) trinity. JAM has become the fundamental digital architecture ushering in holistic financial inclusion.
  • The Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payment Interface (BHIMUPI), with over 600 million transactions in January 2019 alone, is the interoperable backbone connecting all banks and consumers, and is being front-ended by many national and international digital platforms.
  • The open digital innovation by the government has been leveraged by the startup community, making India now the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world.
  • Indian retail brokering, ecommerce, food delivery and ride-hailing startups are competing as equals with the largest platforms in the world.
  • By designing unique and frugal solutions that are being enthusiastically consumed by the local market, India’s innovations and startups are growing with an ambitious approach of serving customers globally.
  • India has leapfrogged into a ‘mobile-first’ country and houses one of the largest mobile manufacturing factories in the world.
  • Indian mobile plants servicing this new-age consumer have increased from two in 2014 to 127 in 2019.
  • Annually, over 225 million mobile phones are domestically produced. This rapidly growing sector has created about 400,000 jobs during the last five years.

Digital revolution and equity concerns

  • India’s digital divide remains huge as more than 400 million people still have no access to the internet. Spatial divide is also huge, with the internet density in rural areas, where more than 60% of the people live, is still low at 25% compared to the internet density in urban areas (90%).
  • The digital divide is also big across the leading and lagging regions, with states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with very low internet use density.
  • Gender digital divide is also huge within India, with far fewer women with access to mobile phones and internet services.
  • India’s digital sectors still account for less than 10% of GDP, which is low compared to other emerging economies.
  • While e-commerce revenue has grown exponentially globally, it remains at less than 5% of trade in India, and more than 80% of all retail transactions are still made in cash.

Way forward

  • There are creative solutions to help bridge network connectivity gaps, and address high data costs by offering non-streaming option for school education content, and promoting on-demand learning platform for creative and digital professionals.
  • Closing the digital educational gap also requires reskilling teachers, and investing more in teamwork and communication.
  • Local content applications will need to be developed in local languages, so that they can be understood by local people.
  • Public and private partnership in digital technology infrastructure—data storage, data centres and content hosting infrastructure—will need to be scaled up to connect people and cities.
  • Large-scale and cost-effective digital solutions, such as broadband technologies, already exist that are appropriate for rural areas.
  • Compute capabilities are driving progress in AI. For example, the time to train object detection task like ImageNet to over 90% accuracy has reduced from more than 10 hours to a few seconds, and the cost declined from over $2,000 to less than $10 within the span of the last three years.
  • In order to enable inclusive AI-based growth, public policy should aim to provide broad-based access to compute capabilities (GPUs and TPUs) for skilled aspiring scientists across universities across the nation.

Conclusion

A global digital revolution will benefit when all countries collaborate, and not look inwards, or distance themselves from each other. Increased global digital cooperation is very important and far greater than global cooperation in goods trade, given the intangible nature of digital assets. The importance of global digital collaboration has become greater following Covid-19, which has shown how interconnected we have become as a global society.

 

 


General Studies – 3


  

Topic: Government Budgeting.

6. Creation of National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) is a pioneering initiative to establish a roadmap for “monetisation ready” assets. How will asset monetisation help the country? What are potential bottlenecks to NMP? Explain. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express ,The Hindu

Why the question:

The Union budget provided for preparing a “National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)” of potential brownfield infrastructure assets and government, now, has unveiled a four-year National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) worth an estimated Rs 6 lakh crore.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), its aims regarding monetisation, its benefits and challenges.

Directive word: 

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the context. You must be defining key terms wherever appropriate and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by writing about the newly proposed “National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), its aims and objectives.

Body:

In the first elaborate upon the NMP and the nature of projects that it will deal with, mention how the assets will be monetised.

Next, write about the potential benefits that the government will accrue from the NMP – revenue, improve on efficiency of use of assets, addition of gross savings in the economy etc.

Write about the potential challenges to the newly proposed NMP.  Lack of identifiable revenues streams in various assets, absence of dispute resolution mechanism etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Asset Monetization involves the creation of new sources of revenue by unlocking of the value of hitherto unutilized or underutilized public assets. Internationally, it is recognized that public assets are a significant resource for all economies.

4 year National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) has been unveiled by the Finance Minister. This monetisation will create further value for infrastructure creation in the country. It will explore innovative ways of private participation without transfer of government ownership.

Body

Key features of the National Monetisation Pipeline

  • The NMP’s roadmap has been formulated by NITI Aayog in consultation with infrastructure line ministries, under the ‘Asset Monetisation’ mandate of the Union Budget 2021-22.
  • The sectors in which assetsare being identified to monetise include roads, ports, airports, railways, power generation and transmission, telecom, warehousing, gas & product pipeline, mining, stadium, hospitality and housing.
  • For now, the government has only included the assets of infrastructure line ministries and Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) working in the infrastructure sectors.
  • Monetisation through disinvestment and monetisation of non-core assets have not beenincluded in the NMP.

The framework for monetisation of core asset monetisation has three key imperatives:

  • Monetisation of rights not ownershipwhich means the assets will have to be handed back at the end of transaction life. The overall transaction will be structured around revenue rights.
  • Brownfield de-risked assets: There is no land here, this entire (NMP) is about brownfield projects where investments have already been made and there is a completed asset which is either languishing or it is not fully monetised or is under-utilised.
  • Structured partnershipsunder defined contractual frameworks & transparent competitive bidding, where Contractual partners will have to adhere to Key Performance Indicators and Performance Standards.
  • The assets and transactions identified under the NMP are expected to be rolled out through a range of instruments.
    • These include direct contractual instruments such as public private partnership concessions and capital market instruments such as Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT) among others.
    • For Ex:Under the plan, private firms can invest in projects for a fixed return using the InvIT route as well as operate and develop the assets for a certain period before transferring them back to the government agency.
    • The choice of instrument will be determined by the sector, nature of asset, etc.
  • NMP aims to provide a medium term roadmap of the programme for public asset owners; along with visibility on potential assets to the private sector.
  • The NMP will run co-terminus with the National Infrastructure Pipeline of Rs 100 lakh crore announced in December 2019.
  • An empowered committee has been constituted to implement and monitor the Asset Monetization programme. The Core Group of Secretaries on Asset Monetization (CGAM) will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
  • Real time monitoring will be undertaken through the asset monetization dashboard. The government will closely monitor the NMP progress, with yearly targets and a monthly review by an empowered committee
  • The top 5 sectors (by estimated value) capture ~83% of the aggregate pipeline value. These include: Roads (27%) followed by Railways (25%), Power (15%), oil & gas pipelines (8%) and Telecom (6%)

Advantages of Asset Monetisation

  • Resource Efficiency: It leads to optimum utilisation of government assets.
  • Fiscal Prudence: The revenue accrued by leasing out these assets to private sector will help fund new capital expenditure without pressuring government finances.
  • Streamlining the Process: Monetisation of assets is not new, but the government has finally organised it in baskets, set targets, identified impediments, and put in place a framework.
  • Mobilising Private Capital: Since the assets are de-risked as it is brownfield projects, it will help in mobilising private capital (both domestic & foreign). Global investors have revealed that they are keen to participate in projects to be monetised through a transparent/competitive bidding process.
  • Less Resistance: The plan involves leasing to private sector without transferring ownership or resorting to fire sale of assets. Therefore, it is going to face less resistance from the opposition.
  • Cooperative Federalism: To encourage states to pursue monetisation, the Central government has already set aside Rs. 5,000 crore as incentive.
    • If a state government divests its stake in a PSU, the Centre will provide a 100 per cent matching value of the divestment to the state.
    • If a state lists a public sector undertaking in the stock markets, the Central government will give it 50 per cent of that amount raised through listing.
    • If a state monetises an asset, it will receive 33 of the amount raised from monetisation from the Centre.
  • Promoting Public-Private Partnership: The end objective of NMP is to enable ‘Infrastructure Creation through Monetisation’ wherein the public and private sector collaborate, each excelling in their core areas of competence, so as to deliver socio-economic growth and quality of life to the country’s citizens.

Challenges to NMP

Among the key challenges that may affect the NMP roadmap are

  • Lack of identifiable revenue streams in various assets.
  • Inadequate level of capacity utilisation in gas and petroleum pipeline networks.
  • Lack of dispute resolution mechanism.
  • Regulated tariffs in power sector assets.
  • Low interest among investors in national highways below four lanes.
  • Lack of independent sectoral regulators.

Conclusion

Monetisation of assets is not new. But the government has finally organised it in baskets, set targets, identified impediments, and put in place a framework. While unlocking assets worth Rs. 6 lakh crore is an ambitious plan, resolving the impediments is expected to bring investors.

 

 


General Studies – 4


  

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators.

7. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth” – Gautama Buddha.


Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Quotes Wednesdays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Directive word: 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the quote in your word.

Body:

The sun sets, but we all know it will rise again in the morning. The moon rises when the sun sets and sets when the sun reappears. In other words, something that exists can be hidden for a certain period of time, but it will always reappear and the truth is the same. You can manipulate, distort the truth, hide it, but at some point, the truth will be known. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by emphasising on the importance of leading a truthful life.

Introduction

The above statement highlights the importance of truth and how truth alone triumphs no matter how hard one tries to suppress or hide it. It is like the Sun and the moon, no matter what they will rise and come up in the sky even when the clouds seem to mask them for a while.

Body

It is said that Gandhiji was greatly influenced by Raja Harish Chandra’s play where the protagonist walked on the path of truth no matter what. This is what inspired him to take up the path of truth in his life. Eventually his ideologies came in influence a lot of people and he was successful in turning out British from our country

Today’s society places a high value on truth and the person who speaks the truth. Truth serves as a foundation of a fair and just society. In court, witnesses are required to swear to tell the truth – in this way, and justice can be delivered. Most modern religions have an opinion on the matter, and they place a high value on the principles of truthfulness. Broadly, there are two aspects of truthfulness: being true to others and being true to oneself. The two are not wholly the same thing; however, they are closely linked.

Providing false information is wrong. Some people tend to lie to get themselves out of a situation or not hurt anyone’s feelings. However, in some scenarios, it becomes necessary to lie. Just like any other quality, in truthfulness finding the balance is essential. One should neither overplay nor underplay their weaknesses or their virtues. It is as bad to pretend that one is less good in something than they are as to exaggerate about their abilities.

Truth is what corresponds with the available facts and pieces of evidence. Truth does not change just because we learn something about it. However, it is not good to always tell the truth. If the main purpose of telling the truth is to hurt someone, it is then considered to be terrible than the most terrible lie. This is why many people keep in mind other people’s sentiments and beliefs before telling the truth. Sometimes, not telling the truth doesn’t necessarily mean someone has to lie. It can also be keeping from them a few details that they don’t need to know.

Conclusion

Truth is the virtue by which all your sins can be averted.  Honesty is the one thing that holds the power to change hearts. Truthfulness is not only in the case of honesty towards others but it is also about how true we are to our own selves. We all need to realize our potential and learn to stay true to our own conscience.


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