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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 April 2023

 

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


General Studies – 1


 

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

1. Discuss the contributions of Veer Savarkar in India’s struggle for independence. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: The Hindu Insights on India

Why the question:

The controversy surrounding the legacy of Hindutva demagogue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the most divisive figures in Indian politics, has reignited a heated debate in Maharashtra.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the contributions of Veer Savarkar.

Directive word:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief introduction about Veer Savarkar.

Body:

Write about the contributions of Veer Savarkar – several movements against British colonial rule, played a key role in the formation of the All India Students’ Federation and the Hindu Mahasabha, He was also a prolific writer and poet.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about the legacy of Veer Savarkar.

Introduction

Veer Savarkar was born on 28 May, 1883 in the village Bhagpur, Nashik. His full name is Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He was a freedom fighter, politician, lawyer, social reformer, and formulator of the philosophy of Hindutva.

The controversy surrounding the legacy of Hindutva demagogue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the most divisive figures in Indian politics, has reignited a heated debate in Maharashtra.

Body

Contributions of Veer Savarkar to Indian Freedom struggle

  • In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”.He was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party.
  • His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result, the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree.
  • In June 1906, Veer Savarkar, left for London to become Barrister. However, once in London, he united and inflamed the Indian students in England against British rule in India. He founded the Free India Society.
  • The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom.
  • He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons.
  • In 1908, brought out an authentic informative researched work on The Great Indian Revolt, which the British termed as “Sepoy Mutiny” of 1857. The book was called “The Indian War of Independence 1857”.
  • The British government immediately enforced a ban on the publication in both Britain and India. Later, it was published by Madame Bhikaiji Cama in Holland, and was smuggled into India to reach revolutionaries working across the country against British rule.
  • When the then British Collector of Nasik, A.M.T. Jackson was shot by a youth, Veer Savarkar finally fell under the net of the British authorities. He was implicated in the murder citing his connections with India House. Savarkar was arrested in London on March 13, 1910 and sent to India.
  • In 1920, many prominent freedom fighters including Vithalbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded the release of Savarkar. On May 2, 1921, Savarkar was moved to Ratnagiri jail, and from there to the Yeravada jail.

Relevance of his ideas in Indian society today:

  • Savarkar was a modernist, a rationalist and a strong supporter of social reform.
  • According to Savarkar, our movies should focus on the positives of the country, keep aside the negatives and have pride in its victories. Our youth should be inspired by movies that focus on the positive side of things.
  • In his presidential address to the annual session of the Hindu Mahasabha held in Calcutta in 1939, Savarkar spoke about how Hindus and Muslims could bury their historical differences in a common Hindustani constitutional state.
  • Savarkar often called on his supporters to welcome the age of the modern machine.
  • In an essay published in the magazine Kirloskar, and republished in a book of his essays on the scientific approach, he argued that India would continue to lag behind Europe as long as its leaders believed in superstition rather than science.
  • He argued that any social reformer who seeks to root out harmful social practices or preach new truths has first of all to compromise his popularity.
  • A true social or religious reformer should only be driven by the desire to do good.
  • Savarkar was a strong opponent of the caste system. He repeatedly argued that what the religious books say about untouchability is irrelevant. The social practice was unfit for a modern society.

Conclusion

Many of Savarkar’s ideas on social and religious reforms, embrace of science, and building a stronger state continue to be relevant for India. His controversial position on Hindutva also continues to inform current political debates. It is time that a wider set of scholars began to engage with Savarkar’s ideas—including controversial ones.

 

Topic: population and associated issues

2. Highlight the challenges faced by the senior citizens. There is a need in our society to recognize and value the contributions of the elderly and ensuring they live with dignity and respect. Elucidate. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article suggests that the Senior Citizens’ Welfare and Protection Act, 2019 in India needs to be strengthened to ensure the elderly population receives adequate care and support to age healthily.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues faced by the senior citizens and need for the elderly care in the fast-ageing elderly population.

Directive word: 

Elucidate – Give 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: 

In brief highlight the status of elderly population in the Indian society.

Body:

In the first part, write about the challenges faced by senior citizens – neglect, abuse, and lack of access to healthcare etc.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to improve the above – more old-age homes, improving healthcare facilities for seniors, and promoting awareness programs on the rights of the elderly etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Currently, India’s population is among the youngest in an ageing world, however, a major proportion of India’s population will be aged by 2050. This calls for more forward-looking policies incorporating population dynamics, education and skills, healthcare, gender sensitivity and most importantly geriatric care.

Body

Demographic transition in India

  • NFHS-5 places the total fertility rate (TFR) at 2.0. known as replacement level of fertility. This decline is spread evenly across the country.
    • 28 statesand UTs have a TFR of 9 or less, with seven below 1.6.
    • All southern states have a TFR of 1.7-1.8,similar to that of Sweden.
  • Even states that have not reached replacement fertility —Bihar and Uttar Pradesh — seem to be head in that direction.
  • Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan that were part of the lagging states have achieved TFRs of
  • With falling fertility (currently 2.0), the median age of India has risen from 24 years in 2011 to 29 years now and is expected to be 36 years by 2036.
    • With a falling dependency ratio (expected to decrease from 65% to 54% in the coming decade taking 15-59 years as the working age population), India is in the middle of a demographic transition.
    • However, the elderly care is neglected in policies till date.
  • Elderly population : Age division of Indian population (0-14) is 30.8%, (15-59) is 60.3%, (60+) is 8.6%.
    • According to Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons in India.
    • It has increased from 5.5% in 1951 to 8.6% in 2011.
    • Projected a rise upto 19% in 2050

Issues associated with elderly population in India

  • Feminisation of ageing: The sex ratio of the elderly has increased from938 women to 1,000 men in 1971 to 1,033 in 2011 and is projected to increase to 1,060 by 2026.
    • The report also noted that between 2000 and 2050, the population of 80-plus people would have grown 700% “with a predominance of widowed and highly dependent very old women”and so the special needs of such old women would need significant focus of policy and programmes.
  • Financial issues: Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.
    • Sudden increase in out-of-pocket expenses on treatment.
    • Migration of young working-age persons from rural area have negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse usually poverty and distress.
  • Health: Multiple disabilities among the elders in old age.
    • Health issues like blindness, locomotor disabilities and deafness are most prevalent.
    • Mental illness arising from senility and neurosis.
    • Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural area.
  • Social issues:Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education and globalization.
    • Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.
    • Feeling of powerlessness, loneliness, uselessness and isolation in elderly.
    • Generational gap.

Roadmap for elderly care with passage of time

  • Increasing the monthly pension of elderly to minimum of Rs 2,000 per month.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Housing for the aged, particularly the aged poor, must be a priority.
  • Assisted living facilities for indigent elderly, particularly those with age-related issues like dementia, needs policy focus.
  • More tax benefits, or at least removing tax on deposit interest for seniors.
  • Enhancing the geriatric care health infrastructure especially in rural area.
  • Allocation of special budget for elderly population at both levels.
  • Providing entertainment facilities like libraries and clubs at panchayat level.
  • Appreciations for the contributions of elderlies at village level.

Conclusion

Social security is the concurrent responsibility of the central and state governments as, mandated under Indian constitution i.e., Well-being of senior citizens – Article 41 in particular and 46 in general of Indian constitution. In this regard, National Policy on Senior Citizen, 2011 was framed.

For the welfare and care for the older persons, we must focus on the protection of already existing social support systems/traditional social institutions such as family and kinship, neighbourhood bonding, community bonding and community participation must be revived and kins should show sensitivity towards elderly citizens.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.

3. In order to have humane policing, the police force needs structural reform and better training to prioritize the protection of human rights and improve community relations, with accountability mechanisms to ensure that police officers who commit misconduct are held responsible. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The serious complaint of human rights violation recently against an IPS officer in Ambasamudram in south Tamil Nadu should greatly embarrass the State government and the police hierarchy. The officer has been suspended from service and his alleged misconduct is being probed.

Key Demand of the question:

To about various reforms that are needed in the police force to make it more humane.

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 mentioning importance of police in maintaining law and order in the country.

Body:

First, write about the need for reforms – mention systemic factors, attitudinal factors, and political factors etc which are responsible for this. Use recent examples to substantiate your points.

Next, write about the reforms that are needed to rectify the above. Cite suggestions of various committees in the above regard.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The primary role of police forces is to uphold and enforce laws, investigate crimes and ensure security for people in the country. Under the Constitution, police is a subject governed by states. There has been almost 30 years of debate on policing and reform in India.

The serious complaint of human rights violation recently against an IPS officer in Ambasamudram in south Tamil Nadu should greatly embarrass the State government and the police hierarchy. The officer has been suspended from service and his alleged misconduct is being probed.

Body

Need for Police Reforms:

  • If India is to achieve its status as a great power, it is absolutely essential that police is restructured and modernised.
  • Without the police ensuring good law and order in the country, the other services would find it difficult to operate.
  • To transform the colonial police structure of the country into a progressive, modern force sensitive to the democratic aspirations of the people.
  • To eliminate the undue political interference. The police of today are victims of politicization as well as criminalization.
  • To instil the confidence of the people in the institution of police by making police more people friendly.
  • The security of the society and the welfare of the people is dependent on the efficiency of the police.

Hindrances for the reforms

  • An overburdened police force:
    • Police force is overburdened especially at lower levels where constabulary is forced to work continuously 14-16 hrs and also for 7 days a week. It adversely impacts their performance.
    • While the sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016 when the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons.
    • 86% of the state police comprises of constabulary. Constables are typically promoted once during their service. This could weaken their incentive to perform well.
  • Improving police infrastructure:
    • Failure of police infrastructure like vehicles, weaponry. Also audits have found that the POLNET network is non-functional in various states.
    • For example, an audit of the Gujarat police force reported that the network had not been operationalised till October 2015 due to non-installation of essential infrastructure, such as remote subscriber units and generator sets.
    • Funds dedicated for modernisation of infrastructure are typically not utilised fully. For example, in 2015-16, only 14% of such funds were used by the states.
  • Political influence:
    • Second Administrative Reforms Commission has noted that ministers have used police forces for personal and political reasons.
  • Police accountability:
    • Police forces have the authority to exercise force to enforce laws and maintain law and order in a state. However, this power may be misused in several ways.
  • Poor quality of investigation:
    • Crime per lakh population has increased by 28% over the last decade (2005-2015). However, convictions have been low. So it shows the poor quality of investigation.
    • The Law Commission and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission have noted that state police officers often neglect investigation because they are understaffed and overburdened with various kinds of tasks.
    • Further, they lack the training and the expertise required to conduct professional investigations.
    • They also have insufficient legal knowledge and the forensic and cyber infrastructure available to them is both inadequate and outdated. In light of this, police forces may use force and torture to secure evidence.
    • Crime investigations may be influenced by political or other extraneous considerations
  • Forensic labs:
    • Expert bodies have however said that these laboratories are short of funds and qualified staff. Further, there is indiscriminate referencing of cases to these labs resulting in high pendency.
  • Lack of co-ordination between centre and states is matter related to maintenance of law & order results in ineffective functioning of police force.
  • Police force is not in the position to tackle present problems of cybercrime, global terrorism, Naxalism because of structural weaknesses.
  • Prevalence of Rank system within the police force results in abuse of power by top level executive over lower level personnel.

Way forward

  • Directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India:
    • Fixing the tenure and selection of the DGPto avoid situations where officers about to retire in a few months are given the post.
    • In order to ensure no political interference, a minimum tenure was sought for the Inspector General of Police so that they are not transferred mid-term by politicians.
    • Postings of officers should be done by Police Establishment Boards (PEB)comprising police officers and senior bureaucrats to insulate powers of postings and transfers from political leaders.
    • Set up State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) to give a platform where common people aggrieved by police action could approach.
    • Separate investigation and law and order functions to better improve policing.
    • Set up of State Security Commissions (SSC)that would have members from civil society.
    • Form a National Security Commission.
  • Independent Complaints Authority:
    • The Second Administrative Reforms Commissionand the Supreme Court have observed that there is a need to have an independent complaints authority to inquire into cases of police misconduct.
    • Example is that of the New York City Police which has a Civilian Complaint Review Board comprising of civilians appointed by local government bodies and the police commissioner to investigate into cases of police misconduct.
  • Investigation:
    • Experts have recommended that states must have their own specialized investigation units within the police force that are responsible for crime investigation.
  • Padmanabhaiah commission:
    • It has also been recommended that constables, and the police force in general, should receive greater training in soft skills given they need to deal with the public regularly.
  • Housing:
    • Importance of providing housing to the constabulary (and generally to the police force) to improve their efficiency and incentive to accept remote postings has also been emphasised by expert bodies, such as the National Police Commission.
  • Community policing: Janamaithri Suraksha in Kerala
    • This project is an initiative of the Kerala Police to facilitate greater accessibility, close interaction and better understanding between the police and local communities. For example, Beat Constables are required to know at least one family member of every family living in his beat area.
    • Meira Paibi (Torch-bearers) in Assam:The women of the Manipuri Basti in Guwahati help with improving the law and order problem in their area, by tackling drug abuse among the youth. They light their torches and go around the basti guarding the entry and exit points, to prevent the youth of the area from going out after sunset
  • Courts:
    • The Madras High Court has said that the state government should contemplate giving policemen a day off in a week like other government officials in order to spend time with their families.
    • The court suggested introducing an 8-hour, three-shift system for police personnel. It will help them rejuvenate themselves and relieve them from stress.
  • Evidence based policingis gaining credibility day by day – Indian police force must be exposed to it.
  • Second ARCrecommended that the government should declare certain crimes as “federal” and entrust their investigation to a Central agency.
  • Police need to have the operational freedom to carry out their responsibilities professionally, and satisfactory working conditions, while being held accountable for poor performance or misuse of power.
  • Gender Parity in Police force:The 2nd Administrative Reform Commission recommended that the representation of women in police at all levels should be increased through affirmative action so that they constitute about 33% of the police.
  • Improvement in Intelligence gathering: The intelligence gathering machinery in the field needs to be strengthened and at the same time, made more accountable. Human intelligence should be combined with information derived from diverse sources with the focus on increased use of technology.

Conclusion:

The police force needs to be freed from the stranglehold of the executive and given functional autonomy to enforce the rule of law. Police should be a SMART Police -a police which should be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained.

 

Topic: Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

4. What is the Open Source Seeds movement? Evaluate the benefits and challenges of similar movements for Indian farmers in order to make plant breeding more accessible.

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Open Source Seeds movement promotes the sharing of plant seeds without intellectual property restrictions.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about features of FTP 2023, its potential and limitations.

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 by giving context about Open Source Seeds movement.

Body:

First, write about the features of Open Source Seeds movement and what is seeks to achieve – sharing of plant seeds without patents or intellectual property restrictions, make plant breeding more accessible and transparent, and to enhance crop diversity and climate resilience.

Next, write about the potential advantages of similar movements increased transparency, diversity, and accessibility in plant breeding, as well as reduced dependence on large seed companies, democratic control over the use and development of plant genetic resources etc.

Next, write about the shortcomings of the above – ack of financial incentives for private companies, potential exploitation of open source seeds, limited resources and infrastructure for managing and distributing open source seeds, difficulty in balancing open access with the need to protect intellectual property rights, and resistance from some sectors of the agricultural industry.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The Open Source Seed Initiative simply asks for a pledge, that an individual won’t “restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives”.

OSSI (The Open Source Seed Initiative) was created by plant breeders, farmers, seed companies, and sustainability advocates whose collective mission is to maintain open access to global plant genetic resources ensuring its accessibility to all farmers, plant breeders and communities for this generation and all to come.

It was inspired by the success of open-source software, a Canadian plant breeder suggested (in 1999) a similar approach to seeds.

Body

Benefits

  • An open-source crop variety is one that is not restricted by plant patents or other proprietary limitations used by F1 hybrids and crops of CMS and GMO technologies.
  • The open-source seed movement affirms that plant genetics and their physical traits cannot, and should not, be owned by individuals or corporations.
  • In other words, plants should never be privatized or restricted because they are a collective resource.
  • The genetics of open-source seeds are protected and pledged to forever remain in the public domain.
  • Open-source principles can help overcome these two challenges by facilitating testing, improvisation, and adoption – all of which will ultimately be beneficial to India’s food security and climate resilience.
  • The open-source approach leads to farmer-led seed conservation and distribution systems.
  • The open-source approaches also play a significant role in ensuring food security and climate resilience in the country.
  • The open-source seed model also helps in promoting farmer-led participatory plant-breeding exercises.

Challenges

  • Extreme temperatures or rain triggered byclimate change has caused a decline in the quality and size of seeds across India.

Way forward

  • Under the Plant Variety Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act (PPVFRA) 2001, farmers can register varieties as ‘farmer varieties’ if they meet certain conditions, and have the right to reuse, replant and exchange seeds.
  • However, they can’t breed and trade in varieties protected under the Act for commercial purposes.
  • Using the open-source approach here will enable farmers to gain more rights over germplasm and seeds and facilitate innovation.
  • Open-source principles can facilitate testing, improvisation and adoption – all of which will ultimately be beneficial toIndia’s food security and climate-disease resilience.

 

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5. Enumerate the key features of Foreign Trade Policy 2023 (FTP 2023). Critically analyse the potential of FTP 2023 in boosting India’s export competitiveness and making the country a key player in the global trade landscape.

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressLive Mintpib.gov.in

Why the question:

India’s new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) sets a target of achieving exports worth $2 trillion by 2030 and outlines a broad strategy to achieve it.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about features of FTP 2023, its potential and limitations.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – 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 stating the aims and objectives of FTP 2023.

Body:

First, write about the key features of FTP 2023 – promoting exports of goods and services, enhancing the competitiveness of Indian businesses, and creating a favourable business environment for foreign investors., use of digital technology to promote e-commerce and increase the ease of doing business etc.

Next, write about the potential advantages of the above.

Next, write about the shortcomings of the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Foreign Trade Policy is a government policy that affects the number of goods and services a country exports and imports. Ministry of Commerce and Industry launched the Foreign Trade Policy 2023, which will come into effect from April 1, 2023. FTP 2023 sets a $2 trillion target for exports of goods and services by 2030 with a shift from incentives to remission and entitlement-based regime.

Body

Objectives of FTP 2023

  • To enhance the competitiveness of Indian exportsin the global market (India’s overall exports are about to reach US $760 billion this year)
  • Promote sustainable development of the country’s trade sector
  • Make India a leader in specific sectorssuch as pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, and textiles
  • To promote a digital economy and leverage technologyto enhance the competitiveness of Indian exports.

Major Features of FTP 2023:

Feature Description Significance
Process Re-Engineering and Automation The new policy focuses on export promotion and development through automated IT systems for various approvals, making it easier for MSMEs and others to access export benefits. It will also encourage MSMEs to participate in the global market.
Towns of Export Excellence Four new towns (Faridabad, Mirzapur, Moradabad, and Varanasi) have been designated as Towns of Export Excellence (TEE) in addition to the existing 39 towns. The TEEs will have priority access to export promotion funds under the MAI scheme. It will boost the exports of handlooms, handicrafts, and carpets.
Recognition of Exporters Exporter firms recognized with ‘status’ (e.g. 2-star, 4-star, 5-star ratings) based on export performance will now help in skilling and training (similar to the ‘each one teach one’ initiative) This will help India build a skilled manpower pool capable of servicing a $5 Trillion economy before 2030.
Promoting export from the districts The FTP aims at building partnerships with State governments and taking forward the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative to promote exports at the district level and accelerate the development of the grassroots trade ecosystem. It will help in identifying and promoting local products and services.
Streamlining SCOMET Policy India is placing more emphasis on the “export control” regime to comply with the international treaties and agreements entered into by India.

 

SCOMET: “Special Chemicals, Organism, Materials, Equipment and Technologies” items are dual-use items having the potential for both civilian applications as well as weapons of mass destruction.

A robust export control system in India would provide access to dual-use High-end goods and technologies to Indian exporters while facilitating exports of controlled items/technologies under SCOMET from India.
Facilitating E-Commerce Exports The FTP 2023 outlines the intent and roadmap for establishing e-commerce hubs and related elements such as payment reconciliation, bookkeeping, returns policy, and export entitlements. It will help Indian exporters tap into the potential of e-commerce exports and increase their global reach.
Facilitation under the Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme The EPCG Scheme, which allows the import of capital goods at zero Customs duty for export production, is being further rationalized.

 

Additional schemes such as the PM MITRA scheme have been added to claim benefits under the Common Service Provider scheme.

 

Battery Electric Vehicles, Vertical Farming equipment, Wastewater Treatment and Recycling, Rainwater harvesting systems, and Green Hydrogen are added to Green Technology products – will now be eligible for reduced Export Obligation requirements under EPCG Scheme

 

It will promote domestic manufacturing and encourage investment in capital goods.
Facilitation under the Advance authorization Scheme (AAS) AAS provides duty-free import of raw materials for manufacturing export items.

 

It has been now extended to the export of the Apparel and Clothing sector

It will promote domestic manufacturing and encourage investment in the textile sector.
Merchanting trade Merchanting trade involves the shipment of goods from one foreign country to another foreign country without touching Indian ports, involving an Indian intermediary.

 

 

Merchanting trade of restricted and prohibited items under the export policy would now be possible.

It will help convert financial centres such as GIFT city etc. into major merchanting hubs as seen in places like Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Amnesty Scheme Similar to the Vivaad se Vishwaas initiative, the government has introduced a special one-time Amnesty Scheme under which Exporters who have been unable to meet their obligations under EPCG and Advance Authorizations can be regularised on payment of all customs duties exempted in proportion to unfulfilled export obligations.

 

The interest payable is capped at 100% of these exempted duties under this scheme.

It will help in reducing litigation and fostering trust-based relationships to help alleviate the issues faced by exporters.

Critical analysis of FTP 2023

Issues Description
Non-updation of the 1992 Act The FTP is notified by the Central Government under the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, of 1992. However, this act still focuses on regulating and restricting trade, rather than facilitating it.
Not focusing on quality and efficiency It still relies on export incentives rather than improvements in product quality and production efficiencies, which are the new trade policy instruments.
Restrictions on the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) It still imposes import “prohibitions” or “restrictions” on the DGFT, instead of reducing its regulatory functions and making it a facilitator.
Not addressing the weakness of the RoDTEP Scheme RoDTEP Scheme— the scheme exempts or gives back the taxes and levies (levied on the exported products) to the exporters.

 

It fails to address the lower-than-desirable rates of remission of duties under the RoDTEP scheme.

Not addressing the issues with developing districts as export hubs It lacks a commitment to supporting the efficient infrastructure component of the programme to develop districts as export hubs.
Issue with the Inclusion of e-commerce The inclusion of e-commerce in the FTP might send the wrong signals that India is ready to engage in the WTO on this issue.
Issue with the Amnesty scheme It might encourage further fraud and misdeclaration by exporters.

 

However, the Ministry of Commerce has now clarified that the cases under investigation for fraud, and misdeclaration of capital goods will be excluded from the coverage of the amnesty scheme.

Conclusion

The previous foreign trade policy for 2015-2020 had targeted exports of USD 900 billion by 2020. FTP 2023 is a policy document which is based on continuity of time-tested schemes facilitating exports as well as a document which is nimble and responsive to the requirements of trade.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. Explain the working of ISRO’s reusable launch vehicle (RLV). Outline the advantages and limitations of RLV. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the working of RLV and its benefits.

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: 

Begin the answer by writing about RLV.

Body:

First, write about the working of RLV – designed to carry satellites and other payloads into space and then return to Earth and land like an airplane. Throw light on its various components and how it works.

Next, write about the advantages of RLV – Reusability leads to reduced cost, Reusability allows for more frequent launches and Reusability can improve safety etc.

Next, write about the limitations of the above – Developing RLVs requires advanced and expensive technologies, RLVs may have a smaller payload capacity and Reuse of RLVs requires regular maintenance and operations, which can be complex and costly etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Reusable launch vehicle (RLV) is a launch system that allows for the reuse of some or all of the component stages. The vehicle returns to earth intact after a mission. The Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) test was the second of five tests and part of ISRO’s efforts to develop space planes/shuttles that can travel to low earth orbits, deliver payloads and return to earth for use again.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its partners successfully demonstrated a precise landing experiment for a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka.

Body

Working

  • The RLV-TD will be used to develop technologies like hypersonic flight (HEX), autonomous landing (LEX), return flight experiment (REX), powered cruise flight, and Scramjet Propulsion Experiment (SPEX).
  • The RLV LEX test on Sunday involved a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force lifting the RLV LEX to a height of 4.5 km and releasing the RLV, based on a command from Mission Management Computer.
  • After mid-air release, the RLV carried out an autonomous landing “under the exact conditions of a Space Re-entry vehicle’s landing — high speed, unmanned, precise landing from the same return path — as if the vehicle arrived from space.
  • According to ISRO, the first test with RLV-TD (HEX1) involved the vehicle landing on a hypothetical runway over the Bay of Bengal while the LEX experiment on Sunday involved a precise landing on a runway.
  • The LEX mission achieved the final approach phase that coincided with the re-entry return flight path exhibiting an autonomous, high speed (350 km per hour) landing
  • Three more experiments — return flight experiment (REX), powered cruise flight, and Scramjet Propulsion Experiment (SPEX) — have to be conducted.

Advantages

  • Enables low-cost access to space, By using RLVs the cost of a launch can be reduced by nearly 80% of the present cost.
  • A reusable launch vehicle is considered a low-cost, reliable, and on-demand mode of accessing space.
  • Helps reuse the resources and supports the circular economy goals of India
  • In the future, this vehicle will be scaled up to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital (TSTO) launch vehicle.
  • This can also be used to step up the commercial launches of India and support on-demand mode of accessing space.

Limitations

  • Lack of landing technology;
  • Reusable stages weigh more than equivalent expendable stages;
  • Refurbishment after landing may be lengthy and expensive.

Conclusion

The successful landing experiment of the RLV-TD programme marks a significant milestone in India’s space technology development. The RLV-TD is an important step towards achieving low-cost access to space, and its successful implementation will benefit India’s space program in the future

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: challenges of corruption.

7. The influence of money in elections raises serious ethical concerns about fairness, representation, and the integrity of the democratic process. Elucidate. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question:

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

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by giving context.

Body:

Write about the influence of money on elections and its impact – give candidates an unfair advantage, undermine representation, and erode the legitimacy of the political system. Also, mention the long-term impact of the same.

Conclusion:

Complete by mentioning steps that are needed to overcome the above.

Introduction

With several Assembly elections coming up, one issue may need more attention than others. Elections are fought with huge funds nowadays. Estimates vary, but a candidate may spend in crores in just one constituency. This vital issue is neglected by voters in the noise and din of campaigns, leaders, celebrities and media coverage.

Money is central to the issue of political corruption in India and political parties are suspected to be the largest and most direct beneficiaries. Corruption in elections reduces accountability, distorts representation, and introduces asymmetry in policymaking and governance. This necessitates transparency in electoral funding.

Body

Background

  • Voters vote for political parties so that they deliver benefits to the citizens. If election funds are obtained from other sources, the Governments in power are obliged to the funders more than the voters.
  • For instance, the Government Budget reports that in 2019-20 the loss to the Government on account of incentives to companies and reduction in duties and taxes was ₹2. 24 lakh crore. The voters do not know this.
  • Transparency in funding is absent after the introduction of Electoral Bonds. In spite of the CIC ruling, all political parties have refused to submit themselves to the transparency that comes with Right to Information. Limits on funding are also not well defined.

Ethical Issues with electoral funding

  • Opacity in donations: Political parties receive majority of their funds through anonymous donations (approximately 70%) through cash. Also, parties are exempted from income tax, which provides a channel for black money hoarders.
    • Eg: Electoral funds is fraught with challenges and is in the courtsTransparency in funding is absent after the introduction of Electoral BondsNow citizens cannot know who is funding the political parties.
  • Lack of action against bribes: The EC sought insertion of a new section, 58B, to RPA, 1951 to enable it to take action if parties bribe voters of a constituency, which has not come to light.
  • Allowing foreign funding: Amendment of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) has opened the floodgates of foreign funding to political parties, which can lead to eventual interference in governance.
  • Unlimited corporate donations: The maximum limit of 7.5% on the proportion of the profits a company can donate to a political party has been lifted, thus opening up the possibility of shell companies being set up specifically to fund parties.
  • Lack of transparency: Despite provisions under section 29 of RPA, 1951, parties do not submit their annual audit reports to the Election Commission.
  • RTI: Parties have also defied that they come under the ambit of RTI act. In spite of the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling, all political parties have refused to submit themselves to the transparency that comes with Right to Information.

Measures to bring more transparency in electoral funding

  • Switching to complete digital transactions.
  • Donations above a certain limit be made public to break the corporate-politico nexus.
  • Political parties should be brought under the ambit of RTI as followed in countries like Bhutan and Germany.
  • Establish a national electoral fund where donors contribute and funds are distributed among different parties according to their respective performances in the last elections. This will also weed out black money as well as ensure anonymity to donors.
  • State funding of elections has been suggested in the past in response to the high cost of elections. Law Commission of India, 2nd ARC, National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, have favoured state funding.
  • Cap maximum expenditure of political parties to a multiple of half of maximum prescribed limit for individual candidates with the number of candidates fielded.

Conclusion

Donors to political campaigns can demand for favourable laws and policies, favourable government contracts, and exceptionalism in law enforcement as returns on their investments. It also inevitably leads to criminalisation of politics as money and muscle power, go hand in hand. Hence, reforms in electoral funding is a major need of the hour for India.


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