SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 20, 2016
SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 20, 2016
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Urbanization – Problems and Remedies
1) “Alongside Amrut and the Smart Cities Mission, we need fundamental reform in the institutions that govern the planning and management of cities within the Indian federal regime.” Discuss. (200 Words)
Yes fundamental reforms needed in planning and management within Indian federal regime:
- urban planning, including town planning have been retained by most state governments
- the reform of assigning to urban local governments the function of urban planning, including town planning, would provide them with the opportunity of activating a market for land use change.
- This would help them to unlock land value and appropriating a part of the consequent appreciation in the value of land for financing urban infrastructure.
Management and funding :
- The systems of public service delivery in Indian cities and towns are very fragmented and highly inefficient.
- Successful attempts at e-governance in cities such as Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Surat are helping to create an environment for grievance redressal and better service delivery, but the demonstration effect on other cities has been slow.
- unwillingness of the system to devolve responsibility and funding to the city level is a major failure.
- demand for good governance is typically confronted by lack of capacity as cities grapple with unprecedented tasks of preparing various plans and projects to seek funding under national missions.
- The government of India’s financial support under the JNNURM was made conditional on both the state government and the urban local government committing to specific reforms in urban planning, finance and management.
- While some cities made serious effort at reform, better service delivery as well as private finance came only when the state governments were willing to reform, devolve funds and build capacity of their urban planners and city managers
- As of now, property tax is a major source of revenue for these governments, but both the rates and exemptions are set by the state government
AMRUT and SMARTCITIES:
The government of India has explicitly admitted that a significant part of the funding for these missions will have to come from the state governments and the private sector. This makes reform indispensable.
State finance commission:
The constitutional amendment itself was flawed in that it only required the state governments to set up state finance commissions that would spell out the principles for sharing/ devolving a part of the revenue of the state government.
The state finance commissions have not followed the high standards set by the Central Finance Commission, and they have not been able to challenge state-level political resistance to devolving funds to urban local governments.
1.Report of the high powered expert committee on urban infrastructure and services (HPEC 2011) had recommended
- administrative and institutional reforms designed to overhaul the system, for example, a unified command under an empowered and accountable mayor
- a municipal regulator for bringing a degree of professionalism in the pricing of urban services
- use of e-governance and e-enabled smart technologies for better efficiency.
2.One way of reducing dependence on the state government for discretionary funds would be to create a Municipal Finance List in the Constitution that should specify taxes that are exclusively in the domain of local governments.
3.Ideally, the opportunity provided by the GST, which is the most efficient tax should be used to constitutionally ensure that state governments share a pre-specified percentage of their revenue from GST with local governments.
The sooner we spell out the dimensions of institutional reform alongside the high-tech infrastructure plans, the closer we will be to delivering a better quality of life in our cities and a better investment climate for investors.
General Studies – 2
Topic:Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,
2) Recently, China blocked India’s efforts to have Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated a terrorist by the United Nations Security Council’s 1267 committee. In this light, is it prudent for India to depend on UN resolutions to fight terrorism? What measures should it adopt? Discuss. (200 Words)
No , India can’t depend on UN resolutions because of the following reasons:
- UN struggled to persuade States to take sanctions and consolidated list of sanctioned entities and individuals more seriously
- UN sanctions against Jamaat ud dawa after26/11have not forced Pakistan to shut down either its military infrastructure or charitable operations
- Utter bankruptcy of the global sanctions regime put in place after9/11is no more graphically illustrated by the fact that its target Al – Qaeda today control for greater territory than it did then
- UN resolution are not going to make India secure
- UN efforts to combat terrorism had been threatened by politicisation and inappropriate labelling
- The sanctions fell short of minimum due process standards and national authorities could find themselves unable to implement them
- The UN sanctions against Taliban had Afghanistan in a virtual diplomaticand economic straitjacket in 2000 and 2001 but did little to bend the Taliban leadership
- Sanctions against North Korea and Sudan earlier were weakened under Chinese pressure
- In the Azhar case The “hidden veto” and very less accountability – as the UN General members are never ever informed of the reason for not acceding to requests for sanctioning terrorists
However UN sanctions cannot be just put aside as in some cases they were effective like
- The success of UN sanction in the case of Libya suggests that economic sanctions if imposed multilaterally can achieve clearly defined and relatively modest policy goals which led to extradition of 2 suspects in pan am bombings
- UN role also led to Sudan cooperation with counter terrorism efforts
Measures needed by India are:
- Increase in counter terrorism capacity and building smart alliances with countries facing the same enemies like Afghanistan
- India has multiple intelligence agencies so coordination among them is the main key in counter terrorism strategy
- India does not have a comprehensive law to fight terrorism so a law similar to US PATRIOT act need to be framed soon
- Adoption of comprehensive convention on international terrorism to put the counter terror efforts of governed in a broader normative construct . This will put in place a framework that enables local action to fit with global norms
- Human resources need to be increased with proper training as for example national investigation agency has 30% manpower shortage
- India needs a unified system to fight terrorism.The internal Security system which is fragmented and poor coordination need to be strengthened . There is need for coordination of state police forces and their counter terrorism and intelligence units
- Border related issues with the neighbouring countries need to be solved soon
- India has to put in place procedures for freezing and confiscating terrorist assets without delay as being part of financial action task force
- Development benefits need to reach the remotest areas which makes inclusive growth the reality
- Implementing long-delayed police reforms to allow the force to become more professional
- Establishing a relationship with international bodies like NATO, as a terror-combating measure, may open up more possibilities for combating terrorism.
Topic:Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
3) In the light of recent defence and security related agreements signed between India and USA, can relationship between two countries be termed ‘military alliance’? Analyse the nature of relationship between two countries and the consequences of their growing proximity. (200 Words)
No,the countries do not form a military alliance:
- the LSA will not allow US troops to operate from Indian bases without the consent of New Delhi. The possibility of India being ensnared into effecting regime changes in the war zones of the Middle East is out of the question.
- The signing of these agreements should be strictly made contingent on US assurance on transfer of technology..
- Pakistan factor:
- The Americans have made it clear through their actions that they value Islamabad as a military ally.
- Handing over f16 to Pakistan ensures that
- Indias foreign policy doesn’t support it forming military alliances with any country.As a country dedicated to non alignment movement India and us being military alliances is only a farce .
- China factor –
- India hedges by deepening relations with the US and status quo middle powers such as Australia.
- Both sides feel that they have much to gain from each other than from the others. Even as India is irritated by the US-Pakistan ties, so is it by the China-Pakistan relations.
- But India, China and the US know that they have to deal with each other and that it is the economic equations among themselves that are crucial, more even than the military calculations.
- Russia factor:
- India has one true strategic partner – Russia. That relationship is deep,PM recently called Russia ‘a pillar of strength’ and India’s ‘most important defence partner.’
- India may not be able to let itself be drawn into the US-led global military configuration. It is for the simple reason that India is much too large a country to play second fiddle to the Americans
- The rejection by India of the offer of US to participate in joint patrols in the South China Sea also shows that they r not a military alliance
- bilateral relations between India and the US. Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which remains a concern with US pharma companies, has the potential to become a headache.
- International experts claim the way the two countries are moving it looks like an military alliance
- in a legitimate political reading, be construed to be steps towards a military alliance.
Nature of the relationship:
- the strategic dimensions of the bilateral relationship has moved from its politico-strategic attributes to taking on economic-strategic ramifications. This transition is likely to have a challenging manifestation for the new government in India. It will be more of a challenge to India than to the US because in the effort to stick to the tenets of ‘strategic autonomy’ and non-alignment, India tends to separate the strategic from the economic, particularly in relation to China.
- Pragmatic relationship focussing more on economic benefits as India is the largest arms imported from us at the same time INDIa wants to enhance its defence capacities.So two countries believe in mutual benefit.
Consequences of growing proximity:-
- Pakistan have already declared India and the US allies, and have suggested Pakistan to multiply its military and nuclear arsenal to meet the forthcoming challenges
- most immediate utility for New Delhi of these agreements is the expected gains in defence co-production with the US as the latter eases the terms of technology transfer.
- India need to be aware that Russia China pak axis should not form.
Topic:India and its neighborhood- relations.
4) Bangladesh has sustained so far as a liberal society thanks to the strength and tenor of its ethno-linguistic culture. Yet, in recent years, fanatics and extremists are posing grave threat to this strength. Analyse the causes and consequences of this problem. (200 Words)
- Bangladesh’s flawed democratic process feeds frustration and drives radicalization
- Security Sector Reform:Elements of the country’s police and army operate as political militias rather than provide nonpartisan security. Allegations of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and opposition harassment damage the legitimacy of the democratic process.
- Election Management Reform:Bangladesh’s election commission is deeply partisan and ineffectual. This gives opposition parties little reason to trust the process or outcome of elections
- Enhancing Democratic Norms:The peacebuilding community engages actively through violence prevention programs worldwide; however, these practices are almost entirely absent in Bangladesh
- Part of the problem is that Bangladesh is still at a stage of development where freedom of speech — like so many other fundamental rights, even habeas corpus — is treated as discretionary.
- deteriorating law and order, lack of access to the justice system for the poor and the disadvantaged are some factors that alienate people from the state. As a consequence people start to view the state as a corrupt and coercive institution and Islamic Caliphate as the saviour.
- LACK OF EDUCATION:
- It is not surprising that in a mostly rural country with low literacy rates, there is little comprehension or sympathy for anything intellectually as rarefied as atheism.
- Failure of political leadership:
- The last tenure of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (2001-06) saw the rise of state-patronised militant outfits such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh and Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh.
- Ahead of the last elections in 2014, the desperate union of BNP-Jamaat resorted to unprecedented forms of violence. when mainstream political parties start attacking their own electorate, extremist elements will take that as licence to go yet further.
- it is in the interest of the deeply beleaguered Jamaat to create instability in the country, preferably to the point of deposing the Awami League government.
- though the Awami League enjoys a reputation as the more liberal of the country’s two dominant parties, its record is not without blemish; it has promulgated a draconian cyber law that allows for detention without bail.
- Government arrested some atheist bloggers to appease the extremist elements sending a chilling message that those who hold independent views are in grave danger.
- In the interim, the influx of petrodollar funding for mosques and madrasas, and the presence of millions of Bangladeshi workers in West Asia, many of whom send back not just money but also conservative values, have fuelled reactionary attitudes.
- Self motivated outfits:
- experts on the ground believe self-motivated local outfits such as Ansarullah Bangla are behind the recent attacks. All the murdered bloggers were active supporters of the war crimes trials
- Because of their very organized structure and party discipline, the Islamists are fast assuming the position to exert pressure on the society and government, far more than their numbers alone would suggest.student wing – Islamic Chattra Shibir (ICS), is the most well-organized student body in the country that provides muscle to the JAmaat e Islami activities.
- latest issue of the IS magazine, Dabiq, clearly lays out its intent to make inroads into Bangladesh.
- Indeed, it is possible that local outfits will rebrand themselves as “IS” to gain greater mileage.
- The deeper reality is this Bangladesh — like so many other places beset by jihadist groups — would still have home-grown Islamists to deal with.
- Killings of atheist bloggers:
- But by targeting young freethinkers — atheist or not — the Islamists pose as defenders of religion, placing their progressive opponents on the defensive.
- Loss to public property:
- Dismantling of railway lines and bridges, burning down public transport with passengers inside, bombing and burning people who are totally unconnected with any political activities are defined by the United Nations and the international community as “acts of terror”.
- videos urging young Muslims to join the Jihad, kill people who they perceive as apostates, destroy the state structure as it exists and establish a “true Islamic state” is up and running as of today
- With porous borders India can be threatened
- Rise of Isis here as declared in its magazine and based on the volunteers joining ISIS.
General Studies – 3
5) In India, entering a government job is dream of many young aspirants. But there are very few government posts compared to number of aspirants. Analyse how this aspiration is affecting employment and employability of youth vying for government jobs, and examine how more jobs can be created for the youth. (200 Words)
Globally, the World Bank reports that one third of the 1.8 billion young people are neither employed nor in education or training. Not all of them are officially unemployed.
How does it affect employment and employability in youth?
- many young men between the ages of 21 and 27 who were neither employed, nor in university, nor looking for a job. Thus, they are not in the official labour force.
- Since they do not have practical and technical training, they only get clerical job which is not appropriate according to their caliber.
- Government jobs are of non technical nature so if they don’t succeed in this private sector jobs become difficult .
- They don’t get proper employment opportunities after the break.
- It’s an incredible waste of human capital in India that four or five precious years of these youths are lost in essentially participating in lottery.
- do not have a real-time reliable measure of job creation.The statistics on employment come with a huge lag
Measures to increase jobs for the youth :
- If one cant find the job, then they should create it themselves .Initiatives like Start-Up India and Stand-Up India are specifically geared to unleash entrepreneurship, and hopefully, create jobs
- Skill india imparts necessary training to the youth catering to the demands of the market. Developing new skills and re-skilling older workers is a key approach
- Lessons from China – The single-minded focus on job creation is also evident in their 13th five-year plan..In 12th five year plan 64 million jobs were created between 2010-2015 despite their labour force declining and ageing population increasing.
- India needs to focus on Presumably labour-intensive ones, such as construction, textiles tourism and agro processing, or services such as healthcare.
- Make in India will creates employment
- Higher education need to be aligned with the demands of the industry and also the quality of the education need to increase.
the government should focus on small and medium enterprises, revamp infrastructure, rationalise tax structures, revive skills in traditional industries, set up technical training institutes producing skilled workers and ensure ease of doing business.
Topic: Awareness in IT, Computers
6) An influential group of computer scientists are setting up a test bed to reroute the Internet’s traffic under a project, named “Yeti”. Examine the objectives and significance of this project. (200 Words)
The project is run jointly by the Beijing Internet Institute, a Japan-based group called the Widely Integrated Distributed Environment (WIDE), and respected computer scientists .
They are not concerned about legal or political control of the Internet, but the dilemma of connecting the next generation of Internet users, which will mostly come from developing countries.
To benefit the Internet development as a whole, the proposal of Yeti Project is formed to build a parallel experimental live IPv6 DNS root system to discover the limits of DNS root name service and deliver useful technical output.
- Yeti attempts to tackle two problems which figure high on the Internet governance agenda of developing economies like India and China.
- The first is the efficiency of local networks which may experience connectivity problems if they are unable to reach the root servers.
- The second is the risk of surveillance: the operators of root servers, based mostly in the U.S. and Europe, are able to look up DNS traffic from any part of the world.
- At its core, Yeti appeals to digital economies that are on the cusp of growth.
- The Digital India programme promises “universal” mobile connectivity in five years .
- Not surprisingly, IPv6 deployment has been a stated policy goal of the Indian government since as far back as 2004.
- It is also no surprise that ERNET, India’s biggest, government-owned university network, has joined the Yeti Project and operates a Yeti root server.
- Yeti has major strategic implications for Internet governance. The pioneers of Yeti have been careful to acknowledge the supremacy of ICANN but the project will bring about a fundamental re-engineering of the Internet.
- A “pure” IPv6 environment will remove the ceiling on the number of root servers.
- The global distribution of root servers segues well with India’s call for “inclusive and equitable” governance of critical Internet resources.
If root servers are distributed globally, the formal and sole authority of the U.S. government to approve changes to the root zone would be eroded over time.
Topic: Economic growth; Resource mobilization
Cash reserve ratio:
- Banks in India are required to hold a certain proportion of their deposits with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This minimum ratio stipulated by the RBI is known as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR).
- The RBI is empowered to prescribe CRR for scheduled banks without any floor rate or ceiling rate, keeping in view the needs of securing monetary stability in the country. Higher the CRR, lower the banks will be able to use for lending and investment.
CRR vs SLR:
- The important difference between CRR and SLR is that CRR has to be maintained in cash while SLR can be maintained either in cash or in assets that RBI suggests.
- Banks don’t earn any returns from the money parked in the form of CRR. However, banks can earn returns from SLR.
Should CRR be abolished?
- According to some experts CRR policy had denied the country growth, and its abolition would allow banks to lower the lending rate.
- CRR does not impact lending rates.
- since the RBI did not pay any interest, the CRR acted like a tax on the banking system, placing the banks at a competitive disadvantage versus non-banking financial companies and mutual funds.
- the loss to the banking sector due to CRR was Rs 21,000 crore.
- If CRR is abolished and replaced by SLR, the question of paying any penal interest to the central bank would not arise.
- rationale for a CRR, which had served the twin purposes of impounding resources to curb speculative lending and ensuring an adequate liquidity reserve for banks, has currently lost much of its validity.
- The basic precondition for abolishing the CRR is to bring down the fiscal deficit way below what the latest fiscal consolidation roadmap indicates. The Government should be genuinely willing to pay higher rates of interest on government borrowing. But the ground reality is that, at present, the government wants to borrow more at lower rates of interest.
- The CRR prescription can be abolished only when there is an effective interest rate transmission mechanism. At present, a paramount objective of government policy is an obsession with low interest rates in the economy, despite high rates of inflation. In such a milieu, the policy interest rate cannot be the sole instrument of monetary control.
- The RBI’s reluctance to cut rates should be seen as a case of inability in the face of inflation, while the refusal of the SBI and other banks to cut lending rates is due to unwillingness to reconcile themselves to a lesser profit margin.
- CRR and SLR are two Safety Valves built in the system by prudent bankers to protect banks from all types of adversities.It is but natural that due to natural calamities or due to adverse business environment or due to global reasons banks have to face huge cash demand from depositors and liquidity crunch from time to time. If CRR and SLR is abolished or reduced from present level, these banks will go fail and depositors will face the consequences arising out of faulty credit decisions of bank officials.
- lakhs of depositors prefer to keep their deposit with SBI and PNB instead of ICICI bank or other big private banks, only because they feel safe as they have perception that they have safety nets in place.
- When if CRR is abolished and bank is able to deploy the whole amount in standard assets, the impact will be only marginal
General Studies – 4
Topic: Human values