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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 August 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: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. Examine the historical significance of the American War of Independence and the American Civil War on the United States’ nation-building process and its influence on global history. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the historical significance and impact of the American War of Independence and the American Civil War.

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: 

Give the context of American War of Independence and the American Civil War, emphasizing their importance in shaping American history and global developments.

Body:

First, write about the impact of American War of Independence – Emergence of the United States as a sovereign nation, Nation-building, Formation of a new political system, democratic institutions, Constitution drafting etc.

Next, write about the impact of American Civil War – Post-war reconstruction period and societal changes, Global significance, Impact on international perception of the United States, abolitionism influence etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The American War of Independence culminated in the freedom of the American colonies and laid the foundation of the first democratic government with a written constitution in the world. It introduced new political, social and economic structure in the United States of America. It was not only a war against the colonial domination of England but was also fought against aristocracy and reactionary elements.

The American Civil War is also known as the “War Between the States”. It was one of the worst wars in American history and was fought between the northern and southern states of the US. The Civil War started in 1861 when the group of slaves of the south founded the Confederate States of America whose president was Jefferson Davis. The northern states, under, President Abraham Lincoln, were totally against slavery. Although the Confederates won some early battles but later the Union became stronger and defeated the southern states in 1865.

Body

Significance of American Revolution

  • The revolution led to the establishment of a republic based on the first written constitution in the world.
  • This was a clear contrast to the other states were Monarchies were still in power. This inspired people across the world to struggle for democratic and republican forms of government.
  • It established a federal state with powers divided between the federal government and states.
  • This provided a nice template for power-sharing in diverse countries that needed complex polities.
  • Besides, there was a separation of powers among various organs of the state.
  • Certain inalienable rights were given to the individuals – this limited the government against the authority of people and reduced government interference in their lives.
  • Democracy was established, but it was far from perfect. Sections like Negroes and women were denied voting rights. But the journey to democracy had begun.
  • It led to many uprisings in Europe, with the French revolution being the biggest. Many generals who participated in the war was instrumental in the French revolution.
  • Thinkers like Thomas Paine also participated in the revolution. This led to the spread of modern ideas in Europe.

Significance of Civil War

  • The civil war was one of the most important and historic wars in history. It brought about a revolution in the entire world. Some of the points are worth remembering and they are:
  • The war put an end to the so-called institution of slavery.
  • Because of the war, there was the use of more machines – which enhanced production.
  • National Banking Act was introduced and the use of paper currency which contributed to the growth of nations wide business.
  • After the war, new and advanced weapons were used.
  • The war led to the growth of large scale manufacturing industries and small scale industries as well.
  • The abolishment of the secession of states was done for all times to come.
  • More area was brought under cultivation – particularly in the western regions on North America.
  • Transport and communication were improved to a very large extent.
  • The war was an inspiration to other countries – to abolish slavery.
  • The Civil War of 1861-1865 determined what kind of nation is about to begin.

Conclusion

The war which started in 1775 finally ended in 1781 where British troops under the command of General Cornwallis surrendered to Commander in Chief Washington at Yorktown. The war finally came to an end by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

After the American civil war the defeated states were gradually allowed back into the United States. The period after the war in which attempts were made to solve the political, social, and economic problems arising from the readmission to the Union of the former Confederate states is known as Reconstruction (1865–77).

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. The French Revolution was a transformative event that marked the end of the monarchy and the birth of modern republicanism, profoundly altering the course of moder world history in several significant ways. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of French Revolution on France and rest of the world.

Directive word: 

Elaborate – 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: 

Give the context of French Revolution of 1789 as a total revolution.

Body:

First, write about the impact of the revolution on France – Political, Economic and Social impacts in detail are to be written.

Next, write about the ways in which the revolution impacted the rest of the world in different ways. Mention its impact on India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about the legacy of French revolution.

Introduction

French Revolution (1789-1799) was a period of social and political upheaval in France resulting in the overthrow of Monarchy and establishing of Re French revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799. The outbreak of revolution was due to the political incompetency of King Louis XVI, disorganized administrative step, sharp inequalities in the society and impending financial crisis.

Body

The French Revolution was not only a popular uprising against the absolute power of the king but was also against the privileges and wealth of the elite. The causes are generally agreed to be a combination of social, political and economic factors, which the existing regime proved unable to manage.

Its causes were multi-dimensional:

  • Cultural: Enlightenment to think rationally, critically led to lowering the status of Church and Monarch, while promotion of secular, scientific and humanistic values
  • Social: Aspiration of Bourgeois class to be politically equal to Clergy and Aristocratic class.
  • Financial: France’s involvement in the American Revolution leading to increased taxation at home and reduction in privileges
  • Political: Provincial Courts’ opposition to the reduction in their privileges.
  • Economic: Deregulation of grain prices leading to high inflation of bread and bad harvest leading to food shortage provoking the masses to revolt.

Impact on French Society

  • Monarchy was abolished and Republic took its place.
  • Political sovereignty introduced at individual and nation-state level with a centralised government.
  • Serfdom, Feudalism, Slavery were abolished and the influence of Church decreased in personal lives.
  • Idea of separation of public and private realm emerged.
  • The abolition of Slavery after the French revolution was the first move against this repressive system and Britain followed suit in 1833 while the USA banned it in 1865.
  • It led to the destruction of feudalism in France as all laws of the old feudal regime were repealed and lands of the nobles and church were confiscated and redistributed.
  • The Jacobian constitution, which although never came into effect, was the first genuinely democratic constitution. It gave the right to vote to all, and even the Right to Insurrection, which implies the right to revolt or rises against the government.
  • Ending the arbitrary royal rule, the revolution paved the way for rule by law under a constitutional order.
  • Some Shortcomings: Limited suffrage, especially women were excluded, Slavery was reintroduced by Napoleon.

Impact on World

  • Napoleon carried ideals of the Revolution to the rest of Europe: Liberty, Modern Laws, Democratic Rights, protection of private property. This, in turn, gave rise to Modern Nationalism paving way creation of the sovereign nation-state.
  • Liberalism as government form got crystallised in North and South America.
  • It inspired other revolutions: Haitian Revolution, Independence Movements in Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America.
  • Raja Rammohan Roy and Tipu Sultan in particular and Indian Nationalist Freedom Struggle incorporated ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Conclusion

Thus, the importance of the French Revolution laid in laying the foundation of Modern States based on Liberal Democratic ideals. Also, indirectly it laid the groundwork for the growth of Socialism and Communism by providing an intellectual and social environment in which these ideologies could flourish.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

3. Discuss the significance of Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers (registration and welfare) Act in empowering gig workers in the state, recognizing their contributions and improving their working conditions. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the key points and implications of Rajasthan’s proposed legislation aimed at providing social security and welfare measures for gig workers in the state.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues faced by gig workers, need to ensure and protect rights of gig workers.

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 writing about the objectives of the act.

Body:

In the first talk about the ambiguity in gig economy which results in the exploitation of gig workers – lack of formal employer-employee relationship, remuneration, rigidity of working hours and the working conditions etc.

Next, write about the benefits of regulating the gig economy and steps needed to protect the rights of workers and grant them social protection and role of Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers (registration and welfare) Act in doing.

Next, write about the issues in the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

According to the Oxford Internet Institute’s ‘Online Labor Index’, India leads the global gig economy with a 24% share of the online labor market. A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.

The Rajasthan government’s proposed Rajasthan Platform-based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Bill, 2023, which will introduce a welfare board, is a step towards ensuring the welfare of gig workers. For Gig Workers, working conditions have become increasingly harsh, with gig workers not recognized as “workers” and lacking any social security or related benefits.

Body

Background

  • This bill aims to address the lack of protection and benefits for gig workers,who were previously classified as “partners” rather than employees in companies like Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato, and Amazon.
  • Earlier, theCode on Social Security, 2020 mandated social security funds for gig workers, including life, disability, health benefits, and more.

Issues faced by gig economy workers

  • This workforce has limited employment rights like minimum wages, health benefits, sick leaves or even retirement benefits to fall back on.
  • Also, the payment is assured only on the completion of the project giving a sense of financial insecurity.
  • The lack of any kind of protection was also deterring several talented workers against participating in the economy
  • No stable and secure employment: These so-called jobs do not provide health insurance, nor pay for overtime with no sick leave.
  • Lack of income security: There is no room for wage negotiations, and unions are absent. In the gig economy, job creation should be seen as the provision of livelihoods for entrepreneurs.
  • Grievance redressal mechanism: For instance, when Ola and Uber started cutting back incentives, the drivers in Mumbai decided to go on ‘strike’.
    • But there was no clarity against whom they were striking. When the strikers agitated at a local transport commissioner’s office, he had to tell them that he did not regulate the hail-a-taxi business.
  • The Central government recently passed the social security code which could cover gig worker as well.
  • One of the key proposals includes the creation of a social security fund which is around 1 per cent of the aggregators’ annual turnover.
  • This fund would be used primarily for the welfare of the unorganized and the gig workforce

 

Regulation of gig economy

  • Constant upskilling and reskilling is required for such talents to stay industry relevant and market ready.
  • A categorical clarification could ensure that social security measures are provided to workers without compromising the touted qualities of platform work.
  • Countries must come together to set up a platform to extend their labour protection to the workforce who are working part-time in their country.
  • Companies employing the workforce on a temporary basis should also be made responsible to contribute to their insurance and social obligation other than just their tax commitment.
  • There is a need for a socio-legal acknowledgement of the heterogeneity of work in the gig economy, and the ascription of joint accountability to the State and platform companies for the delivery of social services.
  • In the Code on Social Security, 2020, platform workers are now eligible for benefits. Actualising these benefits will depend on the political will at the Central and State government-levels and how unions elicit political support.

 

Way forward

  • The government needs to come out with some more regulations to protect the workforce of the gig economy.
  • Also, at present, there is no mechanism to address the issue of redress of disputes.
  • It could also mean countries coming together to set up a platform to extend their labour protection to the workforce who are working part-time in their country.
  • Companies employing the workforce on a temporary basis should also be made responsible to contribute to their insurance and social obligation other than just their tax commitment.

 

Conclusion

The scope of the gig economy in a country like India is enormous. The government needs to come out with a comprehensive legislation to empower and motivate many to take this path. The gig economy and its workforce cannot be overlooked when we talk about the future of employment.

With a population of over 1.3 billion, and a majority of them below the age of 35, relying on the “gig economy” is perhaps the only way to create employment for a large semi-skilled and unskilled workforce. Therefore, it is important to hand-hold this sector and help it grow. We need policies and processes that give clarity to the way the sector should function.

Value addition

Statistics

  • Human resources firm TeamLease estimates that 13 lakh Indians joined the gig economy in the last half of 2018-19, registering a 30% growth compared to the first half of the fiscal year.
  • Better Place, a digital platform that does background verification and skill development in the informal sector, estimates that of the 21 lakh jobs that will be created in the metros in 2019-20, 14 lakh will be in the gig economy.
  • Food and e-commerce delivery will account for 8 lakh positions and drivers will account for nearly 6 lakh positions, says the report, based on 11 lakh profiles in over 1,000 companies.
  • Delhi, Bengaluru and other metros are expected to be the biggest drivers of this sector. And two-thirds of this workforce will be under the age of 40.

 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4. There is need for a more compassionate and realistic approach to comprehending the ongoing war in Ukraine and ending it. What role can India play in this regard? Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the evolving understanding of the realities of the conflict in Ukraine. It highlights how the initial romanticized notions of war have given way to a more sobering understanding of its devastating impact on human lives.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the stand of India on Russia-Ukraine war and role it can play in ending it.

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: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the deadlock in the Ukraine conflict which has been going on since the its start and how it impacts the global multilateral order and the world economy.

Next, write about India’s pragmatic neutrality on the above issue and its outcome.

Next, write about the role India can play diplomatically towards peace efforts and de-escalation of hostilities between India and Ukraine.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

On February 23, 2023, on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution, calling for an end to the war. The resolution was favoured by 141 members and opposed by seven, while 32 states abstained. Unsurprisingly, India was one among the 32. This is in line with the position India has been taking on the Ukraine crisis from the beginning. India has refused to condemn Russia for the invasion; it has refused to join the West’s sanctions; has stepped up buying Russian fuel at a discounted price, and has consistently abstained from UN votes on the war.

Body

Background

  • India’s position has triggered sharp responses in the West.
  • Before the war, there was much debate among the global strategic commentariat about India’s irreversible shift towards the West.
  • However, after the war began, many wondered why the world’s largest democracy did not condemn Russia.
  • For some others, India was “financing” Vladimir Putin’s war by buying Russian oil.

India’s strategic policy on Russia-Ukraine war

  • India has repeatedly stated in the UN that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected.
    • But a key dilemma before any country in international relations is that when it comes to specific actions in the event of a clash between moral positions and national interests, it is about which path they should take.
  • For the U.S. and much of Europe, there is a convergence of their moral positions and foreign policy objectives in the case of the Ukraine war.
    • The U S. wants to “weaken” Russia, as U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said, and Europe wants to make Russia’s invasion costly so that they believe Moscow would be deterred in the future.
    • So, the moral line they take serves their strategic purpose. However, this position has hardly been consistent especially when there are clashes between values and interests.
  • Hypocrisy of US: In 2003, the U.S. launched its illegal invasion of Iraq, violating the country’s sovereignty.
    • In 2011, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) turned a UN Security Council resolution to establish a no-fly zone in Libya into a full-scale invasion.
    • Right now, the U.S. has illegally placed its troops in Syria.
    • Or, take the case of Israel, which has illegally annexed East Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights and keeps building illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    • TheS. has recognised Israel’s annexation of Golan and moved its embassy to Jerusalem.
    • While Russia is being pounded with sanctions, Israel is getting billions worth of military aid every year from the U.S.
  • India’s ties with Russia: Ties with Russia, a historical partner, are important for India in many ways.
    • One is energy — discounted fuel coming in from Russia is a relief for India, the world’s fifth largest economy, that meets over 80% of its fuel needs through imports.
    • But the energy ties are largely opportunistic — even if supplies from Russia are disrupted, India could find alternatives for a higher price.
    • Defence supplies, however, tell a different tale — Russia has fulfilled over 46% of India’s defence needs in the last five years.
    • There is a sound argument that India should diversify its source of defence imports, but such a change would take time.
  • China factor: Third, at a time when Russia is deepening its ties with China, which is India’s main competitor, India should ask itself whether it should retain its leverage over Russia through existing ties or lose it completely by joining the western coalition over moral commitments.
  • Furthermore, to manage its continental interests and tackle its continental security concerns, India has to work with powers in the Eurasian landmass where the U.S. is practically absent, especially after its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Russia plays a key role in India’s continental foreign policy.

Conclusion

What India wants is an immediate end to the war and a new security equilibrium between great powers so that the global economy could be stabilised, and the world could focus on more pressing problems — from climate change to UN reforms. So, if it wants peace and a resolution to the conflict, as Jawaharlal Nehru stated in 1957 in the wake of the Soviet intervention in Hungary, “it doesn’t help calling names and condemning” any power. Instead, India should stick to its pragmatic neutrality, rooted in realism, and continue to push for a practical solution to the Ukraine crisis.

 

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Does a ban on agricultural exports help in reducing inflation and achieving food security? State your opinion in light of the recent curbs on exports of food products. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses the government’s efforts to control rising prices and its potential impact on consumers. It highlights that despite these efforts, essential goods’ prices continue to rise, leading to concerns for the common people.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the implications of curbs on certain agricultural exports by the government and its role in reducing inflation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

In the first part, bring out the factors as to why the recent curbs was announced.

Next, write about the implications of the curbs – on food security, on farmers, wheat prices, exports, procurement etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion.

Introduction

A 40% export levy on onion exports was imposed with immediate effect till at least December 31. This move follows curbs on non-basmati rice shipments outside India in July, and stock limits on pulses and wheat imposed in June. On Sunday, the government also announced a hike in buffer stocks of the curry essential by two lakh metric tonnes.

The move is said to help the poor man battle food inflation.

 Body

Reasons for ban on wheat exports from India

  • Government stock depletion: The anticipated production levels were not fulfilled and the fear of low wheat stocks due to less procurement paved way for this decision.
  • Crop damage due to heat wave: The fall has been caused due to low wheat production after high temperatures in March resulted in the shrivelling of wheat grains, thus impacting the quantity of the crop.
  • Keeping domestic prices in check: India’s ban on wheat exports is not a crisis-driven reaction but top keep food inflation in check as wheat prices were soaring and poor people were affected badly.
    • The move to ban the export of wheat was prompted by rising inflation, (WPI) in India has moved up from26 per cent at the start of 2022 to 14.55 now.
    • Retail inflation, too, hit an eight-year high of 7.79 per cent in April, driven by rising food and fuel prices.
  • Food security of neighbours: This move is being done to manage overall food security of the country and to need the support of the neighbouring and vulnerable nations.

Implications of the ban

  • Farmers exports hindered: India’s sudden decision to ban wheat exports with immediate effect citing food security may prove costly for its farmers. Many of them have held back their crop in the hopes of getting higher prices in the coming weeks.
    • There was an expectation of a MEP (minimum export price below which shipments cannot happen) or a tariff and not a complete ban on private export. This may hurt farmers who have stocked their wheat crop and were hoping to reap gains from higher prices.
  • Falling prices and farmer income impacted: The impact of this decision is already being seen in wheat mandis (wholesale markets), which have seen a fall of Rs 50-100 per quintal on average since the morning of May 14, 2022.
    • Not all wheat gets procured from the government at MSP and hence most farmers who sell in open market are affected badly.
    • Farmers may now be forced to sell to government procurement agencies at MSP, much below than what they were getting currently.
  • Lost opportunity to capture global market: India had earlier hoped to export 10 million tonnes of wheat and capture the global market made available after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    • It had forecast a record output of 111 million tonnes.
    • The sudden decision comes on the heels of an expected sharp fall in government wheat stocks.

Conclusion

With domestic cereal price inflation still on the rise, the current export ban could also be long lasting, if global food prices remain elevated. Earlier, India had banned wheat exports in February 2007 and maintained a status quo for over four years before lifting it in September 2011, due to record output and to free up storage space.

If India’s wheat ban leads to higher price of substitutes like rice, then there could be upward pressure on other food prices. India must not continue the ban for long time and must focus on improving food security and inflation through other monetary policy measures.

 

 

Topic: basics of cyber security

6. India’s Cyber Security Strategy should incorporate elements that can ensure that the most dangerous cybercrimes receive heightened attention and stringent actions, while less severe ones are managed proportionately. Analyse.

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article examines the role of cybercrime victims in aiding cybercriminals, often unknowingly. It discusses cases where individuals, typically from economically vulnerable backgrounds, are manipulated into participating in cybercrimes such as fraudulent financial transactions.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about India’s cyber security strategy and need for an overall strategy with more emphasis on severe threats and as well adequately addresses mild ones.

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: 

Begin by giving statistic highlighting India’s vulnerability to cybercrimes.

Body:

First, write about the India’s evolving cyber security strategy and its various components.

Next, write about the various types of cyberthreats of varying degree of vulnerability and the disadvantages associated with classifying them as one.

Next, write about measures required to counter the above in policy making and developing a strategy for various types of cybercrimes.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Cyber security or information technology security are the techniques of protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation. It protects cyberspace from damage, sabotage and economic espionage.

According to Symantec Report, India is the 5th most vulnerable nation to cybersecurity breach.  India stands 47/175 in ITU’s  Global cybersecurity index .

 

Body

Significance of Cybersecurity

Economic Implications

  • Evolving nature of cybercrimes : Phishing (fradulent attempt at capturing personal information), Denial of Service attacks can lead to huge losses. Recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware show the evolving sophistication in cybercrimes.
  • Need to prevent economic losses : Cyber attacks nearly cost $4 billion USD per year for India. India accounted for 5.09% of all cyberattacks in 2017.
  • Digital governance : Increasing e-governance and delivery of services online make cybersecurity even more important. Eg: Aadhar based banking, Digilocker, DBT etc.
  • India’s IT Sector : India’s IT sector revenues accounted  for nearly $191billion dollars in FY20 as per NASSCOM data.
  • Social Implications
  • Identity Theft and execution of crime in the name of someone else.
  • User profiling by illegal data extraction online.
  • Breach of privacy through fraudulent data capturing.
  • Cyber stalking and bullying leading to harassment of individuals.
  • Security Implications
  • Cyber-warfare leading to states attacking the information systems of other countries for espionage and for disrupting their critical infrastructure.
  • Monitoring web to trace people in touch with terror operatives is needed for national security. Eg : Operation Chakravyuh by IB
  • Targeting nation’s nuclear installations. Eg: breach in Kundakulam nuclear power plant.

Challenges of Cybersecurity

  • Digital illiteracy in India makes citizens susceptible to cyber frauds. Eg Using legacy software with security vulnerabilities. Eg: ATM’s with windows XP became vulnerable to network spoofing.
  • Anonymity: Even advanced precision threats carried out by hackers is difficult to attribute to specific actors, state or non- state.
  • Slow adoption of new technologies. For example Banking sector most vulnerable to cloning of magnetic strip debit/credit cards.
  • Rampant use of unlicensed and pirated software that are easy targets for malware. Eg: Saposhi attack leading to Denial of Service.
  • Import dependence: Majority of electronic devices from cellphones to equipments used in power sector, defence and other critical infrastructure puts India into a vulnerable situation.
  • Lack of uniform security protocol and standards used across various electronic devices.

Measures initiated by the Government

  • International coordination or cyber diplomacy. For Eg India-US Cyber Relationship Framework.
  • The 5th GCCS (Global conference on cyberspace was held in India) bringing together policy makers, leaders, experts, cyber wizards etc.
  • India is considering signing of Budapest It is the only binding international instrument that addresses computer crime. It harmonizes national laws and investigative techniques.
  • National initiatives: CERT-IN is the national nodal agency to respond in crisis situation.
    • CERT-fin has also been launched exclusively for financial sector.
    • CERT-in is also operating Cyber Swachhta Kendra, a Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre
  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) to battle cyber security threats in strategic areas such as air control, nuclear and space.
  • A new Cyber and Information Security (CIS) Division has been created to tackle internet crimes such as cyber threats, child pornography and online stalking.
    • Under this, Indian cyber- crime coordination centre (I4C) and Cyber Warrior Police force has also been established.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative to strengthen Cybersecurity ecosystem in India. It is first public private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
  • National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) to scan internet traffic coming into the country and provide real time situational awareness and alert various security agencies.
  • Cyber Forensic Lab set up in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata in collaboration with NASSCOM.
  • Laws/Policies determining cybersecurity
  • Information Technology Act, 2000 has  a legal framework for electronic transactions,  for data access for cybersecurity etc. The  important provisions are:
    • Section 43: Data protection
    • Section 66: Hacking
    • Section 69: Cyberterrorism
  • National Cyber Security Policy 2013:
    • Set up different bodies to tackle various levels of threats, along with a national nodal agency to coordinate all cybersecurity matters.
    • Create a workforce of around 500,000 trained in cyber security.
    • Provide fiscal benefits to businesses to adopt best security practices.
    • Set up testing labs to regularly check safety of equipment being used in the country.
    • Create a cyber ecosystem in the country, developing effective public-private partnerships and collaborative engagements through technical and operational cooperation.
    • Build indigenous security technologies through research.

Conclusion

New foundation for a global law on cybersecurity must be laid. It will help in guiding national legislation or policy against cybercrimes. Cyber-Deterrence must be ingrained in the policy on cybersecurity with both defensive and offensive approach.

Rapid capacity building and Skill development in cyber space is required considering the fact that India’s IT segment accounts for 51 percent share of the IT-BPM sector (2018-19).

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. As the food department prepares to launch a grand poverty and hunger alleviation scheme involving mass distribution of food grains to the poor, Senior IAS Officer Suresh must decide who will be his deputy to oversee the entire process, from procurement to last mile delivery. He is presented with two highly capable candidates: Salman and Shahrukh.

Salman is a seasoned officer with 10 years of service. He has prior experience from a deputation at the Food Corporation of India, making him well-versed in the logistics of food distribution. Despite having a pending vigilance case related to alleged disproportionate assets, Salman is a team player and highly respected among his peers. He is a family-oriented man with a pregnant wife and a child. His popularity stems from his ability to connect with people and inspire teamwork.

Shahrukh, on the other hand, boasts 15 years of service. He is known for his unwavering commitment to rules and regulations, a trait that has sometimes caused delays due to his meticulous approach. His dedication is evident in his willingness to work long hours, even beyond office hours and on weekends. While he is unmarried, Shahrukh’s professional rigidity sometimes clashes with colleagues, particularly his previous boss who is a friend of Suresh.

      1. Who should Suresh choose? Why?
      2. Which is more a severe moral hazard – concerns about a person’s integrity or his poor work efficiency?
      3. How can Salman be improved to be a better officer?
      4. How can Shahrukh be improved to be a better officer?

 

Introduction

Suresh has a challenging decision to make in choosing between Salman and Shahrukh for the role of overseeing the poverty and hunger alleviation scheme. When the question of food security is posed especially in a nation where malnutrition is rampant, no compromise can be made wrt quality of service delivery.

Body

Factors to be analyzed for the choice to be made

  • Experience and Expertise:
    • Salman’s prior experience at the Food Corporation of India gives him valuable insights into food distribution logistics, which is directly relevant to the task at hand.
    • Shahrukh’s longer service tenure might indicate a broader range of experiences, but it’s not clear if his experience is directly related to the food distribution domain.
  • Personal Traits:
    • Salman is a team player and is respected among his peers, which could facilitate better teamwork and collaboration within the department.
    • Shahrukh’s commitment to rules and regulations could ensure strict adherence to protocols, but it might also lead to delays and conflicts.
  • Integrity and Ethical Concerns:
    • Salman has a pending vigilance case related to alleged disproportionate assets, which raises concerns about his integrity.
    • Shahrukh, despite his rigid approach, does not have any reported ethical concerns.
  • Personal Circumstances: Salman has a family to support, including a pregnant wife and a child, which may influence his decision-making regarding the scheme.

Choice

(Based on justification, one can choose either Salman or Sharukh; the justification is most important since the answer is subjective. There is no one correct answer)

  • Salman: Suresh should choose Salman for this role. Despite the vigilance case, Salman’s relevant experience, ability to connect with people, and his reputation as a team player make him a better fit for overseeing a mass distribution scheme. However, Suresh should closely monitor the vigilance case and ensure it does not interfere with Salman’s duties.
  • Sharukh: Shahrukh’s extensive experience, commitment to rules and ethics, dedication to the job, and the absence of integrity concerns make him a suitable candidate for overseeing a complex government scheme like poverty and hunger alleviation. However, it’s essential to provide him with support and coaching to enhance his interpersonal skills and reduce the potential for conflicts with colleagues.

Moral Hazard: In this context, concerns about a person’s integrity (as seen in Salman’s case with the pending vigilance case) could be considered a more severe moral hazard. Poor work efficiency (as seen in Shahrukh’s case) might lead to delays and inefficiencies, but it doesn’t necessarily involve ethical or integrity concerns.

 

 

Improving Salman as an officer:

  • Salman needs to address the pending vigilance case promptly and transparently to clear any doubts about his integrity.
  • He should work on balancing his family commitments with his professional responsibilities to ensure he can give his full attention to the task at hand.
  • Salman should continue to foster his team-player attitude and people skills to ensure effective teamwork and communication.

Improving Shahrukh:

  • Shahrukh should consider adopting a more flexible approach when necessary to avoid unnecessary delays and conflicts.
  • He should work on building better relationships with colleagues, including his superiors, to ensure a more harmonious working environment.
  • While commitment to rules is important, it should not come at the expense of adaptability and efficiency, especially in a dynamic task like mass food distribution.

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, the choice should be based on the specific requirements and challenges of the poverty and hunger alleviation scheme, and Suresh should consider how each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses align with those requirements. Regular monitoring and mentoring can help both Salman and Shahrukh improve their performance and professionalism.

 


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