SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JANUARY 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JANUARY 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic:   Poverty and developmental issues; 

1) What is inequality, and what role does it play in inhibiting or encouraging growth, or in undermining democracy? Critically examine. (250 Words)

Livemint

 

Inequality :-

  • Inequalityis the difference in social status, wealth, or opportunity between people or groups. Inequality can be multidimensional in the sense there can be political inequality, social and economic inequality.
  • Given the absence of a singular measure, inequality is even more nebulous on account of the absence of data, and hence it is hard to calculate the Gini coefficient.
  • Despite being among the richest countries in the world, India has attracted negative attention in recent years as the second most unequal country in the world, after Russia.
  • The factors affecting wealth/income concentration include economic growth rate, demographic trends, savings rates, globalization, inheritance and government policies

Role of inequality in inhibiting growth :-

  • Inequality could impair growth if those with low incomes suffer poor health and low productivity as a result the poor struggle to finance investments in education.
  • Inequality could also threaten public confidence in growth-boosting policies like free trade.
  • More recent work by Raghuram Rajan suggests that inequality could lead to economic or financial instability as governments often respond to inequality by easing the flow of credit to poorer households.
  • Ben Bernanke argues that inequality may also contribute to the world’s savings glut, since the rich are less likely to spend an additional dollar than the poor. As savings pile up, interest rates fall, boosting asset prices, encouraging borrowing and making it more difficult for central banks to manage the economy. 
  • World inequality report 2018:-
    • The benefits of growth have been extremely skewed towards the rich.90 per cent of the population accounted for just a third of the growth taking place during the period 1980-2016.
  • Higher inequality comes in the way of demand creation. Economic growth is sustainable provided the poor are also able to rise in the hierarchy and spend on goods and services. If these incomes do not rise, the demand cycle is interrupted
  • The rising income inequality undermines sustainability of economic growth.

Role of inequality in encouraging growth :-

  • Inequality and unfairness are different and it is the latter that has incited so much political turmoil in the rich world today.
  • Some of the greatest inequalities today are a consequence of industrial and health revolutions that began around 1750.The inequalities stemming from these advances both within and between countries are beneficial and fair, and a key feature of progress generally.
  • According to IMF estimateone percentage point increase in the income share of the top 20% will drag down growth by 0.08 percentage points over five years, while a rise in the income share of the bottom 20% actually boosts growth.
  • Economists say that some inequality is needed to propel growth.

 

Role of inequality in undermining democracy :-

  • Getting rich by bribing the state for special favours is clearly unfair.
  • According to world inequality report 2018,inequality as a rule exists everywhere in the world where the rich have become proportionately richer than the other groups in the last three decades or so.
    • For example, in India the share of the top 10 per cent in total national income in 2016 in India was 55 per cent.
  • Increasing wealth concentration is also reflected in income growth.
  • According to IMF
    • Higher income inequality impedes class formation and poverty reduction. In particular, the growth of the middle class plays a significant role in strengthening democratic structures and cultures. But rising income inequality in India is hampering the formation and growth of the middle class
  • Rising income inequality ,also adversely impacts social spending to reduce social inequalities of health, education and employment. 
  • Economic inequality can adversely exacerbate a range of social problems, including inter-group relations and conflict, social cohesion and violent crime.
  • In a range of indicators including mean years of schooling, gross national income per capital and labor force participation rates, Indian women lag significantly behind Indian men. Cumulative effects of entrenched inequality will worsen their deprivations.
  • Inequality is also affecting India’s urban landscape. Recent studies show that class, ethnicity and caste inequalities represent the growing axis of residential segregation in contemporary urban India.
  • Extreme inequality leads to political tensions, social instability, frustrated aspirations, loss of trust in governments, breakdown of law and order, discouraged investors, charges of crony capitalism, and drying up of investment and eventually growth itself. 

Suggestions to overcome inequality  (Extra) :-

  • China’s case study:-
    • Meta narrative for China’s economic development, is that its leadership combined the drive for growth with the spreading of human capital. 
    • As the human capital endowment was relatively equal, most people could share in this growth, which accounts for the relative equality of outcomes in China when compared to India.
    • The greater participation of women in the workforce of China
  • There is need to spread health and education far more widely amidst the population. Then there is also the expenditure strategy of substantially enhancing the outlay on education and health.
  • Need to reorient public policy so that the government is more enabling of private entrepreneurship while being directly engaged in the equalisation of opportunity through a social policy that raises health and education levels at the bottom of the pyramid.
  • The elimination of exemptions and tax loopholes and a widening of the tax net.
  • Income disparity can also be reduced by increasing the participation of women and reducing the gender pay gap.

 

Conclusion:-

  • Therefore  tackling inequality and reducing the gap between citizens is ironically a necessity to keep the economy ticking

 

Topic:  Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

2) What do you understand by instrumentalism in political philosophy? Is Tagore’s non-instrumentalism the need of the hour? Examine. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

Instrumentalism :-

  • Instrumentalism advanced by the American philosopher John Dewey says that concepts and theories are merely useful instruments, and their worth is measured not by whether the concepts and theories are true or false or whether they correctly depict reality, but by how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena.
  • It maintains that the truthof an idea is determined by its success in the active solution of a problem, and that the value of an idea is determined by its function in human experience.

Tagore’s non instrumentalism is necessary:-

  • Tagore knew that excessive instrumentalism, where all aspects of life and society had to be justified on some altar of material purpose or the need to dominate, was destructive of life itself. It was that instrumentalism which made people forget real virtues of contentment, restraint, tranquillity, forgiveness which are all the features of higher civilization.
  • The society around the world is losing grip over reality as instead of being the source of plenitude, comfort and life, air and water, ecosystems have become new self-inflicted hazards. The current age prides itself on its tough-minded realism and yet cannot get a handle on this basic truth so it is a flight from reality.
  • Collective identities like Hindu, Muslim, Nationalism etc lead people to lose a sense of reality in three ways.
    • The more people identify these collective identities to the exclusion of all else, the more abstract people become.
    • Human hopes and wishes, joys and sorrows, quirks and interests, all get subsumed under the tyranny of a compulsory identity.
    • Public relationships are mediated too much through collective nouns and pronouns, not enough through individual human sympathies.

Conclusion:-

  • Today when materialism & consumerism are increasing at the high pace neglecting the reality of the plight of the ‘nature’, it has become important to rethink over Tagore’s non-instrumentalism & create an environment of ‘truth’.

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

3) Liberation of Goa was antithetical to Nehruvian approach to international affairs. Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu

Background:-

  • Nehru was himself faced with a dilemma in 1961: whether or not to use force to liberate Goa.
  • It was an agonising decision for a person who adopted the Gandhian approach in international affairs.

It is antithetical to Nehru’s approach of international affairs:-

  • On India’s policy with regard to Goa, Nehru was clear not to permit any degradation of identification with Goa under Portuguese rule, and  did not want to adopt, advocate or deliberately bring about any situation of violence. However the ultimate use of force through military action his international image changed which was opposite to what was known earlier.
  • He has always preached the need for peaceful settlement of international disputes but he expected international especially US support for condemning Portugal but by the end of 1961 it was clear for him that end of Portugese control in Goa can be done only through Indian efforts.
  • Nehru advocated Non-alignment movement & Panchsheel principles which underlined his non-aggressive international approach and his use of military action in Goa seemed to be contrary to it.

Not antithetical because:-

  • It is not totally antithetical as he was always against anti colonialism.
  • Also he tried to resolve the issue waiting patiently that Portugese would withdraw .
  • Also he acted according to the people’s consent whose rights of self determination were not even considered as they wanted Indian government and not Portugese
  • What Nehru did then was the need of the hour and was the last resort as he tried even economic blockade but that did not help.
  • After Britain and France left India, it was expected that Portugal would leave too. But Portugal refused. Emphasising that it had been in Goa for centuries, Portugal said that the Goan Catholics would not be safe if it left completely overlooking the fact that Goa had Hindu majority population and Christians were peaceful in south India 
  • Geography, language and nationality bound the people of India with the people of Goa. It was natural that Goa, which had seen a long indigenous freedom movement, should be a part of India.

General Studies – 2


 

Topic:   Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

4) In the cases of human trafficking, what are the issues faced by – during and post – rescue operations – by NGOs and state institutions that are involved in rescuing victims of human trafficking?  Discuss. (250 words)

The Indian Express

 

 

Background:-

  • India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.
  • Human trafficking has become the 3rd largest illegal industry after the arms and drugs industry hence the need to act.

Issues facing state institutions and Ngo’s during rescuing operations of trafficking :-

  • Process of forming a centralised databank of children who were rescued to make monitoring easy is not very effective.
  • Maximum number of trafficked girls falls in the age bracket of 8-10 years according to rescue foundation so procuring details about the family and having a database of information is difficult.
  • It is found that there is a strong nexus between politicians and other powerful people in this field so public functionaries do not help the civil society organizations in time.
  • Rescue operation is tough because:
    • Traffickers find new ways to smuggle girls like luring jobs by creating fake documents, multiple routes so it becomes tough to identify and rescue.
      • Traffickers have been trying new ways, including transporting women on tourist visas to Gulf nations to get round Indian immigration checks.
    •                They are also trying routes through neighbouring countries including Nepal where collusion of officials with traffickers is suspected.
    • Professional network chain of trafficking is such that victims are easily transported to the end use point quickly so it becomes difficult to locate them.
    • The victims themselves will not make any hue and cry:-
      • Sometimes when they are trafficked by inducement and fraud (forced labour ,slavery, in the name of love) victim is not aware that he/she is being trafficked till they reach the final point.

 

Issues faced post rescue:-

  • There is an apprehension that children, especially those below the age of 14 years, may be returned to child labour if they are not given access to benefits after being rescued.
    • If they are sent back to their remote districts directly or to their parents, monitoring becomes difficult and increases chances of them being re-trafficked.
  • Overall victim protection remained inadequate and inconsistent, and the government sometimes penalized victims through arrests for crimes committed as a result of being subjected to human trafficking.
  • Fight against trafficking that needs to be improved is victims’ access to justice. Traffickers need to know that they will be punished which is not happening at present.
  • Trafficked victims are brainwashed such that they don’t see a brighter future post rescue.
  • The poor track record in post rescue handling like in cases where families are not ready to accept sex trafficked workers, finding employment opportunities becoming a hindrance etc.

What can be done/Suggestions /Way ahead:-

  • According to the Juvenile Justice Act, there is a case of direct state-to-state transfer. Through such transfers, parents and children can be made aware of benefits that they can avail of various schemes put in place to prevent child labour. 
    • If the children are transferred in coordination with the local district authorities, the parents can be made aware of these benefits to ensure the child is not sent back as child labour again.
  • Establish and fully resource Anti Human Trafficking Units in all districts, including by providing additional dedicated, trained staff and by clarifying the mandate of AHTUs
    • Encourage AHTUs to address all forms of trafficking, including forced labor of adults and children
  • Cease the penalization of trafficking victims, including restrictions on their travel
  • Increase investigations and prosecutions of officials allegedly complicit in trafficking, and convict and punish those found guilty
  • Improve central and state government implementation of protection programs and compensation schemes to ensure trafficking victims receive benefits, release certificates, and rehabilitation funds
  • Develop and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) to harmonize victim identification and repatriation, and the prosecution of suspected traffickers when trafficking crimes cross state lines
  • Shelter homes need to upgraded to protect children and provide necessary services to them.

General Studies – 3


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

5) “Public value does not mean simply redistributing existing wealth or correcting issues affecting public goods. Instead, it means co-creating value in different spaces.” Elaborate the sentence and discuss significance of collective creation of public goods. (250 Words)

Livemint

 

 

Explanation of the statement:-

  • Mainstream economic theory holds that governments should intervene only in cases of “market failure.” The state’s role is to establish and enforce the rules fund public goods such as infrastructure, defense, and basic research and devise mechanisms to mitigate negative externalities such as pollution.
  • When states intervene in ways that exceed their mandate to correct market failures, they are often accused of creating market distortions. This thinking has caused many governments to outsource functions to the private sector altogether, in the name of efficiency.
  • But this approach has not only failed to achieve its goals; it has undermined confidence in public institutions.
  • So public institutions are not there just for correcting issues and becoming market fixers but to take risks and create value.

Significance:

  • When mission-driven public-sector actors collaborate to tackle large-scale problems, they co-create new markets affecting both the rate of growth and its direction.
    • For instance ,NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency were given ample funding and clear goals. Their mission-oriented approach allowed them to attract top talent, and their staff were told to think big and take risks.
    • Similarly, the US Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has been responsible for significant innovations in the field of renewable energy, particularly in battery storage.
    • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded the development of many blockbuster drugs.
    • In the UK, the BBC’s ambitious computer literacy project in the 1980s led to its investment in the Micro computer. Procurement of that device’s parts enabled companies like Advanced RISC Machines, later renamed Arm, to scale up and become national powerhouses.
    • Even in the case of India ISRO has played tremendous role in space technology.
  • But co-creating value and directing growth require experimentation, exploration, and trial and error

Way forward:-

  • There is a need to focus on promoting risk-taking and experimentation. Such an approach can reawaken the progressive agenda preventing that narrow group of self-acclaimed wealth creators from simply extracting value. And it will generate a more dynamic conversation within civil society .

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

6) We want economic growth that is ‘green’—without damaging or destroying the environment. At the same time, we want improvement of the environment without stopping innovation and economic growth. What are the solutions that can help nations to protect their environment without hurting their economies? Discuss. (250 Words)

Livemint

 

Background:-

  • Around the world climate has already deteriorated to such an extent that it has become costly to society and even dangerous to life
  • For instance the violence of hurricanes has risen following the rise of water temperature in the Caribbean. Air quality is deteriorating noticeably around the world. And rising sea levels are threatening many low-lying cities.
  • So it has become imperative to balance environment sustainability and economic development

Solutions for protecting environment without hurting economies :-

  • India:-
    • To make the right choices, India needs to have as much information as possible about the environmental impact of development to make intelligent trade-offs, and sustainable choices. For instance the debate on coal versus natural gas as a source of power.
    • India needs to create new institutions or bolster existing ones to drive greater vigilance, compliance and enforcement of environmental laws and policies.
    • Revamping institutions:-
      • In most countries, there are agencies that ensure compliance and enforcement such as the Environment Agency in the UK and the Federal Environment Agency in Germany.
      • In India, even though Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the associated State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are present these entities need to be revamped to gear up for the challenges ahead.
    • International support:-
      • India should find ways to mobilize public and governmental support in developed countries to ensure that a balanced outcome can be achieved.
      • It should therefore work with foreign governments and global organizations to find ways and means of subsidizing clean fuel and cleaning our rivers and aquifers. 
      • Developed countries can invest in better technology for themselves as well as invest in under-developed nations to improve their quality of life; thus focusing all nations towards a more sustainable future.  
    • Reforming laws:-
      • While India’s fundamental environmental laws are comprehensive it lacks an active entity that focuses exclusively on ensuring these laws are adhered to right at the beginning, during the planning process.
      • Many individuals take advantage of loopholes in licensing processes. 
    • preserving “natural capital” would raise the rate of return on capital in the business sector
    • Innovative solutions:
      • Regenerative agriculture needs to be encouraged.
      • There is a need to create a marketplace in which the captured carbon is sold for commercial use.
      • Organic farming:-
        • Sikkim becoming India’s first fully organic state shows the importance of organic farming for environmental sustainability
      • New forms of farming like hydroponics and aquaculture could go mainstream in a few decades.
      • Treating industrial wastes before discharging into rivers
      • If made profitable, these innovations could create an incentive for private actors to undertake carbon capture far beyond what a national government could afford to conduct.
    • Green initiatives:
      • By following steps like switching from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy and materials targeting cleaner production, maximising recycling and reuse of wastes and environmentally sound product design, enterprises can significantly work towards sustainable growth.
      • Government push for electric vehicles need to be seriously looked into India wants only electric vehicles to run on its roads by 2030.Investment in clean transport needs to increase so that people use more public transport.
    • Awareness :-
      • Other agricultural awareness among farmers to cultivate crops based on the soil and water availability like sugarcane cultivation is not suitable in Maharashtra.
      • At the societal level people need to be educated regarding the importance of environment especially in terms of waste treatment and trying to keeping the premises clean thus following the concept of reduce-reuse-recycle.
    • International examples:-
      • Example from Singapore:
        • SWITCH With Maybank at Central Singapore, engages volunteers to provide low-income households in the Central Singapore District with energy efficient lightbulbs. This had huge benefits .India can learn from this. 
      • Example of China:-
        • Solving China’s problems requires an approach that integrates ecological and social planning
        • Municipality reforms:-
          • Reforms should feature new property taxes and municipal bonds that will provide increased fiscal support to local governments to help wean them off profits gained from paving over arable land.
          • China must also embrace a paradigm shift in water policy from a focus on engineering solutions, such as massive canal and dam projects, to an ecosystem-based approach that encourages coordination between government institutions.

Way forward:-

  • Instead of leaving the quagmire for a later “developed” day, India must adopt a “green vision” as part of the development agenda in full earnest today. The time has indeed come to add “swachh paani” and “hawa” to “roti-kapada-makaan-aur-bijli”, so India can begin its journey towards sustainable growth from today.

General Studies – 4


Topic:   Ethics in human actions

 

Background:-

  • The goal of clinical research is to develop generalizable knowledge that improves human health or increases understanding of human biology. 
  • Using these sources(Nuremberg Code (1947),Declaration of Helsinki (2000),Belmont Report  (1979),CIOMS (2002),U.S. Common Rule (1991)) of guidance and others, seven main principles have been described as guiding the conduct of ethical research:
    • Social and clinical value
    • Scientific validity
    • Fair subject selection
    • Favourable risk-benefit ratio
    • Independent review
    • Informed consent
    • Respect for potential and enrolled subjects
  • Clinical trials involving human subjects have long been a flashpoint between bioethicists and clinical research organisations (CROs) in India.
  • In the last decade, on account of all clinical trials conducted by various pharmaceutical companies, nearly 2,800 patients are said to have died between 2005 and 2012 in India.

Ethical issues involved in clinical trials:

  • Lack of informed consent:
    • In 2009, an international NGO had launched a $3.6 million human papillomavirus (HPV) trial in India and tested two vaccines on 16,000 tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, apparently without informed consent from the girls’ parents. 
  • Principle of Utilitarian approach where more emphasis on maximum good to more number of people at the cost of individual rights is followed.
  • Corruption:-
    • Clinical trials in India have been accompanied by large-scale criminality as doctors, officials and pharmaceutical companies understand that India is a cesspool of corruption where clearances can be had with influence.
  • Lack of adequate representation:-
    • There is a over-representation of low-income groups among trial subjects.
  • Lack of volunteer honesty:-
    • Some volunteers lie about one’s medical history or enrol in multiple trials to maximise one’s income. Unsafe drugs can make their way into the market as a result, or safe drugs can get rejected.
  • Lack of transparency :-
    • Trials done earlier where the drug has not been found to be effective are sometimes not publicized
  • Numerous challenges associated with monitoring such as overlapping responsibilities, communication gaps, and lack of standards are also some concerns

What needs to be done/Way forward:-

  • Landmark amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in 2013 led to better protection of vulnerable groups such as illiterate people, but more regulation is needed to ensure truly ethical research.
  • A National registry of trial volunteers which will alert a CRO when someone signs up for two studies simultaneously is necessary without violating volunteer privacy.
  • Ethics committees are the front line regulators for clinical trials. If they were functional, they would be a major factor in preventing unethical trials
  • Encourage a wider cross-section of society to participate in research on human subjects.