SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 03, 2016
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- It is argued that any Dalit movement, if it is actually going to address the needs of Dalits as a group, has to see itself as part of a class-wide movement. Do you agree? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Class wide movement
Dalit as a group, has to see itself as part of a class wide movement, because,
Majority of Dalits are Landless laborers, Wage earners in rural areas and works in informal sector in Urban areas —- Class interest of this group is similar = Issues around living wages, Economic justice, Dignified work and work environment, Basic access to Health, Primary education, PDS, Deserved subsidies, Government schemes (Which are exploited by Upper middle class usually), Proper assistance in atrocity cases, Overcoming from inhumane treatments like Manual scavenging, Bonded labor, Human trafficking, permanent escape from Indebtedness, Non availability of loans, Land alienation….
But, at present – Dalit Struggle represents only small section of Urban educated Middle class Dalit population — Narrow Issues like Reservation, Discrimination in colleges are taking importance
But, Class movement must not result in,
- Increased conflict with other classes and castes in a violent manner……… Which will turn into vicious cycle of mutual vengeance between class and castes — Which must be totally avoided
- Use of Class movement for Political ends —– Voting on the basis of cast lines, not on the lines of development agenda — Which instigates other groups to follow the suit —- Only to be played in the hands of vested political interests ———– Must be totally avoided to prevent further degeneration of political system and society
But, Class movement must ensure,
- Sacrifice for the common good of the class as whole – Voluntary giving up of Reservation for the cause of poorer section of the group —- Eg. Son of a Dalit doctor, Dalit Politiian, Dalit Businessmen must give way the reserved space for the son of a Dalit landless labourer in the village, son of a hitherto manual scavenger or an urban wage earner ——– Level playing field —-Compassion, Empathy and Class solidarity and social justice must be exhibited otherwise, difficult to lift poor dalits out of poverty and oppression
- Class movement with Social boycott and non cooperation with groups who promote untouchability, discrimination on the basis of caste lines
- Class movement to reject Political masters who play cast card to further their interest. Class movement to promote the deserved development oriented politician, who take up the cause of the dalits on a larger scale
- Class movement to crowd fund Dalit entrepreneurs, to be successful amidst other classes – who in turn contribute to class as part of CSR to further class interest
Problems faced by Indian garments factories
Size —– Indian factories are too small (150 people), but, in Bangladesh, China and others — upto 4 times larger – Economy of scale — Easy for adoption of new machineries — Easy to service the delivery in right time as per commitment
Policy problems – Stringent labour laws, Tedious custom clearance routines and other restrictive only in India regulations
Threat of industry inertia – Popularity of garments shifting from Cotton to Manmade fibres – India less relevant if not adapted ————– Chinese fibres cheap —— But, Indian import duty —– High cost —– High production cost —– Low competitiveness
Less value addition – China, Bangla, Vietnam, Turkey = Export of clothing > Export of Textile, but, India is reverse — Less value — Less revenue.
Less efficient Indian ports – Below China’s capacity (has world’s largest ports), India – Mumbai – in 30s – Competitive disadvantage
Low wages, High competition from Bangladesh – Due to lax labor laws, low wage pool – Competitive edge — Loss
Non availability of timely loan – Majority are SME, Difficult to raise loans
Weakening global demand – Slowdown in world demand, Reduced export – Threat to sustainability
Infrastructure bottlenecks – Frequent power cut, Transport problems till shipment, Procedural issues at port,
Trade Pacts – Entry of Vietnam into TPP – Free trade – Competitive advantage against India
Problems of workers
- Safety is not followed – Absence of fire extinguishers, overtime work, occupational diseases like Pneumonia, Bronchitis due to absence of protective masks, less awareness creation
Bangladesh Vietnam – Hub reasons,
- Bangladesh – Cheap labor, Vast labor force, Lax labor laws and social security measures, Large factories (Economy of scale) – Low cost of production
- China, Indonesia, Turkey – Improved machineries, Economy of scale, High port capacity , Less regulation at ports, Easy availability of raw materials (artificial fibres) — Value addition with more garment export
3. Over the years, India has preferred multilateralism over bilateral and regional trade agreements. Why? Do you think India should continue to focus more on multilateral trade agreements? Discuss. (200 Words)
India preferred Multilateralism, because
- Collective negotiation power – Mutual interest groups (Developing block, G77 etc.,) Can collectively push the concerns of developing countries as a whole — IP rights, Labour laws, Environment norms, Rate of tariff, proposal for tariff reduction to suit the requirements of the concerned countries
- India Seeks to be part of Multipolar world – Not wants to be part of bipolar or unipolar world – For that, Multilateral forum like WTO with Equal voice and equal vote and full negotiation power to all concerned parties is the best forum
- Bilateralism — Discriminatory — Sometimes had to compromise powers of the judiciary and executive – Bilateral investment protection treaties — Independent arbitrary agency outside the jurisdiction of Country’s apex court (Vodafone tax issue)
- BTA — Fragmentation of economies into multiple trading blocks – Protectionism from outside blocks – Competing Blocks to outcompeting the players Eg. US led TPP, China led RCEP
- Failure of BIMSTEC trade—the Bay of Bengal free trade agreement—Due to poor connectivity and supply infrastructure – Shows constraints in infra and communication .
- India – EU FTA – Many setbacks – Inability of India to make concession on FDI in multi-brand retail, with accountancy and legal services = Compromise in negotiation power – Loss of market for Indian service Industry in EU
- Poor infra, Backward Agriculture (Vulnerable to free trade without protection), Generic based pharma industry (Need to protect interests of Poor, Common people) and associated IPR issues — Lack of Negotiation power with India against US and EU
India should push for Multilateralism with greater effort, but, must also engage with trading partners Bilaterally and through RTA forums, Because,.
- Slow progress on Negotiation in WTO –
- Interests are undermined even in multilateral forum due to intense lobby – Eg. Ruling against India’s domestic content requirement and solar subsidy
- Bilateral agreements – Swift, improves friendly relations, negotiations possible with practical aims, Mutual compromise and accommodation at fast pace when compared to multilateral routes —— Moreover, to compete with other countries like China, US, Indonesia, Brazil India needs all avenues to promote trade – BTA is one of them
- When US led TPP (40%of world economy) engage as regional trade forum ——– India must respond —– otherwise – Loss of export market — Hence, Pact with ASEAN, EU and other blocks without compromising the core interests is needed
- Bilateral agreements with countries like Russia (Strategic and Military partner), Israel (Military partner), US (Strategic and diplomatic partner), Japan (Counter weight against China), Australia (for Nuclear energy security) —— Needed —– Only Multilateral is not the option
- Successful SAARC trade forum forges mutual trust, Removes the tap of big brother on India – Peaceful neighborhood – Prosperous nation
Hence, India must explore every opportunity to capitalize on the situation to push for achieving its trade and strategic interests, at the same time, work for strengthening multilateral platform with much energy and commitment.
4. The Economic Survey 2015-16 claims Indian agriculture to be “a victim of its own success—especially the green revolution”, by becoming cereal-centric, regionally biased and input-intensive (land, water and fertilizers) and the Survey makes the case for “a new paradigm” for agricultural development, aimed to get “more from less”—more productivity from less resources. Does the recent Union budget address these concerns? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Government schemes which seeks to aim at more from less – These are desired steps in the right direction to achieve Evergreen agriculture as conceptualized by Dr.Swaminathan…….
- Irrigation – Higher productivity from the same piece of land (More from Less)
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’ and its integration with popularization of micro irrigation techniques like Drip, Sprinkler and subsurface irrigation
Programme for sustainable management of ground water resources with an estimated cost of ` 6,000 crore
5 lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for production of organic manure will be taken up under MGNREGA
(Sustainable development, Soil and water conservation, More yield from same land, Protective irrigation to prevent crop failure)
Whole initiative helps in,
Gaining more crop per drop ——- Reduces soil salinization due to flood irrigation, conserves water, saves upto 70% of water over conventional irrigation practices, 40% fertilizers saved if fertigation is integrated into drip irrigation system.
(Criticism – Farm pond viable only for large farms, 1-2 acre land cannot afford land for pond —— Majority of Indian farmers are small and marginal —- Does it work????
10 lakh compost pit conservative number – amounts to 2 pits per village —— Need Compost unit in every farm to make it sustainable)
But, real issues, is lack of motivation among Ground workers, Krishi vigyan Kendra personnel —– Till date failed to effectively transfer technology at door steps of farmers —– Hence, Extension must also needed to be strengthened with proper Monitoring and Evaluation.
- Promote organic farming through ‘Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ and ‘Organic Value Chain Development in North East Region’.
(Inputs are produced locally using local resources like farm waste, cow dung, cow urine, crop residues —- Converted to compost — Vermicomposting —– Reduces the use of external inputs like fertilizers and pesticides – Low input, more productivity – Resource recycling – Sustainability, less economic burden on farmers, Less input optimum output)
Criticism – No commitment to compensate the farmer during transition period to organic farming —– Lack of motivation to adopt OF
- Unified Agricultural Marketing ePlatform to provide a common emarket platform for wholesale markets –
(Simplified marketing channel, Shortening of Supply chain, removal of intermediaries, Reduction in complexities. Finally, Less effort, more income)
Criticism – Need overall infrastructure like Grading, Cold storage, Ware house, Reefer vans along with E platform —– Only e platform will not suffice
- Four dairying projects – ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’, ‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’, ‘E-Pashudhan Haat’ and National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds –
- (Helps diversify Farming, An important component of integrated farming system which integrate diverse farm enterprises for assured income and low input and high input farm business model ————— Fodder – food for goat, sheep, cows —— Cow dung – Manure for crops, green fodder crops — Recycling of resources and resource independence —– Less exploitation from outsiders, pesticide companies ————- More income , less input)
Assured income, increased sustainability – Reduce distress)
Criticism – Funding is not proportionate to the commitment on paper
But, these initiatives alone cannot achieve goals, it must be supplemented with,
- Robust extension programme with motivated work force to influence farmers to adopt Modern technologies.
- People led initiatives to adopt new technologies ——- Motivation lacking among the majority of farmers —- Farming is considered as loss making venture —— Perception must first be changed
- Other initiatives like Aerobic rice, Drought resistant varieties, Water efficient varieties, SRI rice farming to conserve water — Irrigated area can be doubled with the same resources
- Budgetary support not sufficient – Given the scale of agriculture, Nominal allocation for Organic farming, Irrigation, Dairy projects do not work —
5. In recent months, the Union government is focusing more on creating a business friendly environment in India. Examine how the recent union Budget strives to give impetus to improve ease of doing business in the country. (200 Words)
Impetus to improve Ease of Doing business
- Commitment to GST bill, Insolvency and Bankruptcy law
- incentivizing gas discovery and exploration by providing calibrated marketing freedom
(Liberalization of regulation, Helps viability of investment to companies and more investment to the country)
- “Stand Up India Scheme” to facilitate at least two projects per bank branch. This will benefit at least 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs.
(Ease of Doing for startup, Congenial environment for growth, Bottom up approach)
- National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Hub to be set up in partnership with industry associations
(Democratization of business space, representation, easing the business environment for oppressed classes)
- Total investment in the road sector, including PMGSY allocation, would be ` 97,000 crore during 2016-17.
Allocation of ` 55,000 crore in the Budget for Roads. Additional `15,000 crore to be raised by NHAI through bonds.
Total outlay for infrastructure – ` 2,21,246 crore.
(Removal of infrastructure bottlenecks along with Policy liberalization —— Right step)
- To provide calibrated marketing freedom in order to incentivize gas production from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high pressure-high temperature areas
(Ease of Doing business, attraction of investment, technology and techniques to the sector)
- 100% FDI to be allowed through FIPB route in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India.
(Easing norms on multi brand retail, Indication of further loosening)
- Target of amount sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana increased to ` 1,80,000 crore.
(Ease of accessing credit to SME, Congenial growth environment, assured raw materials and intermediate goods to Big MNC and impetus to further investment in manufacturing sector)
- Amendments in Companies Act to improve enabling environment for start-ups.
- Committed to providing a stable and predictable taxation regime and reduce black money.
(Stable tax regime for proper business environment)
- Reduction of tax disputes – Amnesty for tax companies with tax disputes – If agreed to pay arrears, withdraw appeal against government in BIPP agreements, international courts —- Interest payment and penalty will be waivered (Room for settlement with Vodafone, Cairn Energy, Nokia etc)
- Simplification of tax laws – V>Eshwar committee to be implemented – Rationalization of tax laws
- FDI liberalization – in 100% FDI in ARC, 49% in insurance – automatic rouse – E. of doing business
(Hassle free investment route)
- National e-marketing platform – Unified national market for Agriculture produce – Ease of procurement for Agro based industries
6. The auction of spectrum brings government much needed revenue. Why is spectrum considered a s resource? Why spectrum in the 700 MHz band is considered more valuable than other bands? Also comment on controversy over pricing of spectrum. (200 Words)
As a natural resource, the spectrum is a part of the natural environment of the earth and the space around it, but, Unlike other exhaustible natural resources, it is not depletable. Since, it is not owned by an individual or organization, it is a national resource which must be used for National development
700 MHz more valuable
- Has better propagating characteristics
- Due to its position, It has both high carrying capacity and at the same time less power required for transmission and less distortion experienced
- With smartphone boom, Use of video streaming, online gaming, e services like e-health, e-education, MOOC – Faster data transmission with least distortion
- Ideal for 4 G services
- Asia wide acceptance of 700 MHZ band as Asia-Pacific Telecommunity(APT) Band Plan
- The 700 MHz band and is ideal for deployment of FDD/LTE being considered by many operators worldwide
- India has limited bandwidth available in other internationally harmonised mobile bands such as the 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands
Controversy over Spectrum auctioning
A typical situation is created where, public asset may end up having the exact opposite effect: making a scarce resource so expensive that its meaningful utilisation is compromised, and thus rendered unavailable to serve the larger public good.
Very high unit price – Govt. fiscal needs met ——- But, bleeds industry due to overpricing —– Affect private investment in network expansion and infrastructure —— Poor public service —- Call drops, interruptions, distortions in service —– Financial viability of industry compromised — Difficult for govt to earn recurring revenues (due to sick, loss making industries)
Other controversy – over the base price of the 700 MHz band, which is being auctioned for the first time and is much sought after for data-heavy 4G-LTE services.
The base price fixed by the Trai is Rs 11,485 crore per MHz ———– But, The industry feels the propagation qualities of this band are similar to those of 800 MHz band—–Hence priced similarly
7. Recently, a science start-up, incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), built the world’s first food-grade DNA/RNA stain (nucleic acid gel stain) named Tintorang. Discuss its applications and the science behind it. (200 Words)
(Only for info – Not part of Answer – Azooka has branded the discovery as Tintorang, a combination for tinto, a Portuguese word for red, and rang, the Hindi word for colour.)
Azooka Life Sciences, —Received seed funding from Society of Innovation and Development at IISc.
Build the world’s first food grade DNA/RNA stain – Tintorang.
The product used in diagnostic kits
Cut the time taken to diagnose conditions such as HIV to a day, from 45 days at present to a day—-Crucial golden period to save the patient from damage saved —- Used for treatment
safe DNA/RNA fluorescent stains for applications in biological sciences and genomics.
first-ever food grade nucleic acid gel stain —- Safest option currently available due to non carcinogenic effect
It is also 7 times more sensitive than Ethidium Bromide, making it the world’s safest and fastest DNA/RNA stain
Reusable – Cut the cost – Can be scaled nationwide – it doesn’t alter the structure of the DNA and can be used for multiple tests,
Ecofriendly and safe to use – environmentally safe. currently available ones are synthetic and known to cause mutations, affecting one’s health. Improper disposal causes environmental and aquatic hazards.
Science behind it
Tintorang – developed from undisclosed plant source
Used for DNA and RNA visualization, molecular diagnosis, and in vivo imaging applications.
Not photosensitive unlike EtBr and therefore does not require incubation in dark.
The product used in diagnostic kits
Cut the time taken to diagnose conditions such as HIV to a day, from 45 days at present to a day—-Crucial golden period to save the patient from damage saved —- Used for treatment
The basic requirement of stains —— has to be fast, sensitive and selective to the nucleic acid —— Must be able to use in various applications, to detect minute quantity of nucleic acids in a biological sample,
At present, most commonly and widely used stain (ethidium bromide nucleic acid stain) ——- potent carcinogenic, mutagenic bio hazard — Scientists and lab technicians are exposed to these chemicals harm
ethiduim bromide requires at least 10 to 40 minutes to obtain results or visualise DNA – tinto rang stains ——- DNA within a few seconds
8. India is the largest producer of goat milk and the second-largest producer of goat meat in the world. It is said that with economic gains that can result from technological and marketing interventions in goat rearing is immense. Discuss these interventions and their implications for India. (200 Words)
- Broiler goat farming technology
- Intensive farming system — Specialty feeds – Products for local and international market with quality standards
- Stall feeding – The popular Indian breeds areSirohi, Jamnapari, Surti, Tellicherry, Beetal, Malabari, Barbari and Gujarati. suitable
- Reproductive cycle planning – Massive reproduction – in a time frame – Done by Synchronization of estrus cycle with hormone injection for all female goats ready for breeding
- Intensive farming Technology – For green fodders goat rearing under intensive and semi-intensive system for commercial production
- Animal nutrition, feed and fodder production, Preventive veterinary care (vaccination, drenching, de-worming), delivered by community-based extension workers
- A new Feed technology Haylage is prepared out of green forage to preserve it for long time.—- Dried upto moisture of 55 p.c —- Baled —– Packed in air tight packs —–Freshness maintained ——- Hydraulically pressed to reduce
- Value addition – Simple dairy processing products — Cheese and Yorgut
- Universal market — Huge demand
- Cooperatives for Goat meat production and processing on the lines of AMUL
- Start ups in meat processing —— ARYA (attracting youth to Agriculture) — Self employment in Goat rearing —– Supply chain discovery – Contract farming with Chains of Restaurants with assured quality
- Export with following of HACCP and EU standards
- Self employment for Rural youth, less distressed migration from Rural areas
- Start up India —- Youth – Goat rearing (Stall fed) —– Integrated production and processing unit with value addition —- Quality product —— Export —— High returns
- If integrated as Integrated farming system – Better business model with low risk —- Insurance against uncertainties ——– Assured income
- Export subsidy, E- market for facilitating easy marketing
- Contract farming with big retail chains and processing industries
9. It is said that, around the world, more than 125 million people need humanitarian assistance and agencies which are involved in this assistance are short of funds. Discuss the various ethical issues involved in funding to meet escalating humanitarian needs around the world. (150 Words)
Equal treatment and Universal treatment – No prejudice towards Religious background, Racial, Ethnic, Linguistic group
Unconditional and time bound (without delay during crisis situation) transfer of funds without any tags attached to it — with no political motive – Needed, but, funding used as a political and diplomatic tool to further the interest of donor countries (Neo colonialism in African countries by US, China, EU)
Humanitarian crisis are sometime due to Oppressive, dictatorial and corrupt regime –—- Even with funding, money not used for developmental purposes, but to buy arms or to renovate palace of dictatorial president ———– Must be accountability and transparency in the funding and implementation of assistance projects
IMF – In balance of payment crisis demands Liberalization, diluting labor laws, Liberal rules ,Industrial policy, Privatization, Rolling back of the state (Agenda of Capitalist first world countries) —— Sometimes counterproductive and extremely painful to the concerned country ——– Professionally unethical act
WB and other asocial donor agencies ——— Demand Reforms in administration before funding —— Sometimes not effective due to one size fits all plans —Sometimes no HR to implement the reform
Ethical responsibility of the Rich to help poor – Wider inequality, Obligation to serve poor based on Ethical values like Compassion, Social responsibility, Humanity, Empathy, Altruism
Foreign NGO funding (Covertly by Sovereign countries and Private MNCs) – To weaken the ruling regime, Instigate violence against ruling party on the pretext of unresponsive rule —– Witnessed ——- Unethical
Used by fundamentalist groups to implant extremist ideologies — Humanitarian crisis – Poverty —- Existential crisis – Support — Manipulate thought process —-Fertile ground for them to propagate fundamentalist ideologies