SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 03, 2016
This is a new feature. As feedback from our side on your answers is missing, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise our synopsis and compare it with your answers. We intend to post synopsis of Secure questions every next day of posting questions on website.
You must write answers on your own and compare them with these synopses. If you depend on these synopses blindly, be sure of facing disaster in Mains. Until and unless you practice answer writing on your own, you will not improve in speed, content and writing skills. Keep separate notebooks for all GS papers and write your answers in them regularly. Now and then keep posting your answer on website too (Optional). Some people have the tendency of copying content from others answers and pasting them in a document for each and every question. This might help in revision, but if you do not write on your own, you can’t write a good answer in real exam. This is our experience at offline classes. We have seen many students who think they were regularly following Secure, yet fail to clear Mains. So, never give up writing.
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
- Almost 50-55 per cent of the total forest cover in India is prone to fires annually, normally between February and mid-June. This is the time when soil moisture is at its lowest. More than any other part of India, it is the Himalayan belt that is prone to such fires, especially when there is less rain in the pre-monsoon period..
- The coniferous forest in the Himalayan region comprising of fir (Albies spp), spruce (Picea smithiana), Cedrus deodra, Pinus roxburgii and P. Wallichiana etc. is very prone to fire.
- The most vulnerable stretches of the world to forest fire are the youngest mountain ranges of Himalayas.With large scale expansion of chir forests in Himalayan mountains, the frequency and intensity of forest fires have increased alarmingly.
- The recent forest fire in Uttarakhand is because of high temperatures with no atmospheric moisture and lack of rainfall
- Western Himalayan region, with its mix of colourful forests, including moist deciduous, tropical dry deciduous, temperate and sub-Alpine types, turns into a tinderbox during severe dry seasons.
- It is possible that the changing patterns of climate may be exacerbating the problem.
- Setting the vegetation on fire in some forests helps produce richer grazing lands by bringing about better botanical diversity on the ground, and a large number of incidents are caused by those in search of fodder.
- Human greed for more land.
The India State of Forest Report 2015 mentions that it is the tropical thorn forest, tropical dry evergreen forest and subtropical pine forests that are most prone to heavy, moderate and occasional forest fires.
What needs to be done?
- The effective intervention of community-led ‘ vanpanchayats’ (forest councils) in preventing fires.
- Progress can be made also by providing environmental education to local residents and officials.
- Significantly, the use of biomass alternatives, including cooking gas, has had a beneficial impact on fire risk, and this must be expanded.
- Equally, the clearing of ecologically important natural oak forests can be reduced by tapping the plantation sector, which could give preference to growing useful fodder and timber trees.
- Saving what remains of old forests and stopping further spread of pine trees planted over several decades for narrow economic reasons, are crucial for the health of the Western Himalayas.
- In addition to the ongoing schemes for forest fire management, the Government is also considering for setting up of a National Institute of Forest Fire Management with satellite centres in different parts of India with an objective to bring the latest forest fire fighting technologies to India through proper research, training of personnel
- Effective fire fighting tools and machinery- Provision of modern and effective tools and machinery e.g. Fire Beater, Forest Fire Showel, Pulaskis Tool, Fire Rake, McLeod Tools, Brush Tools, Power Blowers, Back-Pack Pump Sets, Fire Tenders etc
- International coordination:
- The FAO has run a special TCP project program in the country under which main emphasis was given to human resource development in forest fire management.
- Organising seminars, training programs, conferences, and study tours in different countries leading in Forest Fire Management, e.g., U.S.A., Australia, U.K., Spain, France, etc.
- Government efforts implementation should improve:
- Indian forest authorities have been using satellite images to detect active forest fires.
- Incidences of such forest fires are uploaded daily to the INFFRAS– the Indian Forest Fire Response and Assessment System website during the February to June season.
- daily listing of forest fire information and also provides a forest fire map. Then there are pre- and post-fire warnings to look at and also forest sensitive zone maps.
- All this information need to be available right up to the district and tehsil levels.
- There is also forest fire vulnerability mapping done by the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change, which is shared with the state governments for controlling forest fires and reducing damage arising out of it.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
- There is a real risk that the Kyoto Protocol drama may be repeated with the U.S. Congress rejecting an agreement that the U.S. administration has signed. Other countries may withhold ratification since the U.S. is the second largest emitter of GHGs after China will not happen.India should not be in a hurry to ratify the Agreement until there is clarity on the U.S. position.
- Several major concepts and provisions were deliberately left ambiguous and open to differing interpretations in order to reach consensus. Further negotiations are necessary to reach a common understanding to enable implementation.
- For example, take the concept of “transparency”.
- Developed countries claim that transparency requires a “common and unified system” to compare climate action undertaken as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by Parties.
- Developing countries, on the other hand, point to the “flexibilities” available to them in recognition of the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” (the well-known CBDR principle) and insist that this should be reflected in the application of the transparency provision.
- Perhaps the biggest impact from a Paris agreement will come from the single outcome with the greatest remaining uncertainty, which is whether the agreement will have a long-term goalto decarbonise the global economy by the end of the century.
- No clarity on many issues:
- The Paris Agreement provides for a five-yearly “stocktake” which would enable an estimation of how much progress is being made in the implementation of the various contributions pledged by Parties in respect not only of mitigation but also adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building.
- How each of these contributions will be measured and evaluated still needs to be worked out. This will be both a political and technical challenge.
- On finance there has been backsliding. In Paris, it was agreed that no increase will be expected over $100 billion figure until 2025, five years into the implementation of the agreement.
- When the agreement talks of “financial flows” rather than public resources in the form of official transfers, it is not clear what would be the constituents of these flows and the value assigned to each.
- On technology transfer, there is already an offensive by the U.S. corporate sector to ensure that in the post-Paris negotiations there is no concession on intellectual property (IP) issues.
- The U.S. lobby has objected to the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, which is considering how the IP issue may be dealt with, balancing the interests of different stakeholders to ensure equitable access to medicines, in particular for the poor and deprived.
- Developed countries want to make the mitigation aspect specific and measurable while keeping other aspects such as finance and technology transfer to developing countries as indeterminate as possible so as not to be held accountable for what they have pledged in these areas.
- For example, the UNFCCC Secretariat has already opened what it calls a “public registry” for NDCs ahead of negotiations which may, by default, create a common reporting framework, pre-empting negotiations among Parties.
- Developing countries should question the rationale for such a registry ahead of a negotiated outcome on this issue.
- Pressure on developing economies:
- At the insistence of the European Union, it was agreed at Paris that there would be a “Facilitation Dialogue” among Parties in 2018 focussed on the adequacy of aggregate NDCs with respect to the 2° Celsius global temperature limit and, even more ambitiously, the 1.5° Celsius limit favoured by the small island developing states. Such a review will inevitably and rightly come to the conclusion that the aggregate mitigation pledges made so far fall far short of the above temperature limits.
- There will be pressure on major emerging economies, including India, to take on more ambitious mitigation commitments since the developed economies, though major emitters, are progressively reducing their emissions while the developing countries are still on a rising though diminishing trajectory.
- Only current emissions are going to be considered:
- With the concept of carbon budget out of the way, it is current emissions alone which will become the focus in the new climate change regime and create inevitable pressures on India for enhanced mitigation pledges .
- India, for its energy security, will continue to rely on coal to generate power for its growing economy for the foreseeable future. This is already being projected as being contrary to the spirit of the Paris Agreement irrespective of the fact that several developed countries including the U.S. and Japan and among emerging economies, China, already use far more coal than India for their power generation.
- Other issues related to India:
- On the loss side, India’s long-standing objective in climate talksis to avoid undue limits on energy options.This dint go in India’s favour.
- It does not include any “meaningful” targets and has discharged developed nations from their historical responsibility of Green house gas emissions
- Paris agreement says all parties — including developing nations — must take action to cut emissions. This means makes developing nations must take on additional obligations..
- In terms of loss and damage, the text says these will not be seen in terms for liability and compensation, so developed countries will not have no real obligation.
- Oil and gas companies such as RIL, IOC, HPCL,BPCL, Cairn India may have to investheavily on low emission technology
- Conglomerates like Tatas, Aditya BirlaGroup, Reliance Industries, etc would have to source more renewable power as government may enforce stricter renewable purchase obligation
- Manufacturers may see cost pressure if concessional funds are not available to implement energy effi cient solutions
- NTPC, Adani Power and Jindal Steel and Power, among others may have to revisit growth plans as pressure mounts on India to cut use of thermal coal
- Tata Motors, Maruti and M&M would be under pressure to invest more on low emission technology
- For example, take the concept of “transparency”.
Yes India benefits:
- 5 yr review update and ratchet mechanism is essential; it is designed to stimulate a virtuous cycle of more ambitious pledges, greater investment in low emissions options, and lower costs and barriers to implementation of those options, leading to yet more ambitious pledges. If this works, and it does result in enhanced collective action to limit climate change, then India will be a substantial gainer
- the Agreement preserves space for greater energy use, And, the Paris Agreement offers the not trivial benefit of inducing India to establish a more robust domestic process for energy planning and policy.
- Managed to put back the important principle of equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities” in text, which India has been pushing for. The US and developed nations wanted to dilute this plank.
- Though developed countries use fossil fuel — coal and gas — they wanted developing countries to cut emissions. It is still not clear if the developed nations will be forthcoming with funds and technology for clean energy or the modalities if they do.
- The big challenge met was ensuring the agreement established the idea of climate justice – acknowledging that industrialised nations have been the major emitters since 1850.
- India also wanted a mention of sustainable lifestyle and consumption, which is there in the text.
- Green energygenerators to benefit as concessional funds may help build transmission infrastructure
- Solar equipment makers like Jain Irrigation, Schneider ElectricIndia, ABB India, Siemens India may benefit
- Automobile and component companies like Bosch India, Mahindra Reva and Hero Electric, which work on green technology will benefit
- Energy efficiency solutions providers like the Indian arm of ABB, Alstom, Siemens, and L&T may gain from industrial demand
- Renewable energy project companies like Suzlon and other private equity-backed green energy companies like ReNew Power may gain
What needs to be done ?
- ensure that India’s vital interests are safeguarded and the principle of equity and equitable burden-sharing is reflected across this architecture.
- India should make sure the ratchet mechanism sustains pressure on developed countries to ramp up their efforts. This will require and upgrading our ability to analyse other country contributions and actively shaping the fine print of implementing language for the Paris Agreement in the coming years.
- India has to build a robust and ongoing national process to examine our energy and climate future, to replace India’s current ad hoc, disconnected, process of energy planning and policy.
- This requires a more cogent system of energy information gathering and analysis.
- It also requires exploring actions that bring synergies across development and climate outcomes (such as energy efficiency and public transport) and those that come with direct costs to the economy.
- also need answers to longer-term questions salient to future pledges, such as: how much additional coal energy do we anticipate needing and, to what extent can we urbanise while limiting high carbon lock-in.
India had in October committed to cut the rate of emissions relative to GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The country is planning to boost its energy production from renewable sources to 40 percent of total by 2030. In order to achieve this target, the government has set five-fold increase in renewable energy capacity in the next five years to 175 giga watts.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
3) In the light of protests by powerful communities demanding reservation in jobs, do you think reservation is the only solution to address the concerns of angry protesters? What issues does providing reservation to upper castes give rise to? Critically examine. (200 Words)
- Central government policies after globalization and economic reforms:-
- The policy changes adopted by the central government which later percolated down to the state and district levels,have generated atmosphere of uncertainty for some of these upper caste which were engaged In trade or manufacturing process which became obsolete or some of the agriculture produce become unviable due to changing market conditions an new liberalized economic policies adopted by union government over the years.
- These classes of people realized during survival struggle that if you want secure government jobs you can get it only if one belongs to the reserved category.
- This combination of factors
- social forwardness with economic backwardness;
- extreme status anxiety;
- resentment about reservation-driven mobility of lower castes; and
- an awareness of their own electoral clout — drives poorer Jats or Patidars into movements demanding reservation.
- They demand reservation because they are confident that they can not only bend the state to their will, but also ensure that no one dares to mock them as “quota-walas”.
- The upward mobility of SC show these castes that because of reservation even they can benefit .Like because of reservation they have chances of getting into a better educational institution or so.
- Today, the backward or left-behind sections of ruling castes like Patidars or Jats find themselves faced with an unbearable gap between their sense of caste entitlement and their actual material circumstances. Since the past decade, this frustration is being channelled into demands for reservation.
- ruling caste demands for reservation are actually an expression of repressed impotent rage against an economic system that has stoked expectations but done little to enable fulfilment. Perhaps these state-centric agitations point to a deeper global crisis in political language that disables us by treating the economy as though it is a force of nature rather than a human creation.
No,reservation is not the solution because of the following reasons:
- Unemployment problem:
- protests are manifestations of India’s slow, inadequate job-creation and a failing education system creating thousands of “unemployable” graduates
- India needs 23 million jobs annually, according to a Kotak Securities report, but over the last 30 years, the country has created about 7 million jobs every year.
- One of the ways of dismantling the quota raj is to ensure that the reserved category certificate is not a currency that is hoarded by groups who no longer need it. This involves periodic recertification into the reserved category.
- Appeasement tactics used by the Gujarat government are mostly ineffective; they will neither reduce options for middle-income Indians nor will they really expand benefits for the poor among forward castes.
- Moreover, the demands for expansion of reservation have little to do with the poor among the so-called “general” category. Most of these demands are emerging from angry young men — many of them with college education — among agriculturalist communities that have historically held considerable political clout
Issues that arise because of reservation for upper castes are:-
- This poses a problem for the state as well as it creates lot of bad blood among communities affecting peace and harmony
- Under the Constitution, the government can only provide reservations for socially and educationally backward groups, not use it as an instrument for economic uplift
- There will be very few who will be excluded which makes no sense like the Gujarat parodies quota of 10 % with income limit of 6 lakh only 5% ppl will be excluded..
- patchwork implementation, particularly for the OBC classification that is currently in place, makes little sense and leaves room for powerful lobbies to unite around demands for inclusion.
- Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards gives us reason to be wary. The IHDS survey found that in 2011-12, only 50 per cent of the poor had a BPL card while nearly a third of the non-poor had BPL cards. Almost all observers agree that identifying the poor is a difficult task resulting in errors of both inclusion and exclusion. This is particularly the case when incomes are growing rapidly and a household that is poor in one year may well climb out of poverty the following year. So focussing on just the poor among the general category may be more difficult than we anticipate.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Prevention of money laundering; Indigenization of technology
4) Since independence, many governments have been accused of following corrupt practices in defence procurement. Why corruption in defence procurement still persists? How can it be addressed? Examine. (200 Words)
Why Corruption in Defence procurement ?
- As India grew in its status as a moneyed shopper in the international arms bazaar, middlemen and shady operators all began to crowd into New Delhi.
- No punishment for accused:
- That was the case in the jeep scandal, and that was the case in Bofors, HDW scandals and after the Tehelka exposé.
- Failure of investigative agencies:
- Singular inability of the government’s chief investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, to secure a conviction
- For instance:the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) closing the German submarine maker HDW’s case for lack of evidence even though officials told the Indian ambassador that they paid 7 per cent commission to middlemen in a deal to supply submarines to the Indian Navy.
- More serious is CBI’s institutional vulnerability to overt and covert political pressures. Since all the deals involve the government, it is inconceivable that money trails cannot be traced.
- Despite the complexity of the cases, none of our investigation agencies have cared to develop any significant skills in tracking global financial transactions, especially where it involves tax havens, shell companies and proxy directors.
- The outrage that accompanies initial claims is absent and there is no public scrutiny when CBI and other agencies finally give up.
- Tax haven problem:
- All defence scandals have an international dimension to them. Though the money paid originates from the government exchequer, it is paid abroad, and commissions are distributed across secretive tax havens.
- it is also true that the world of arms dealing is scarcely transparent and pay-offs mostly involve complex deals in offshore tax havens which make it notoriously difficult to follow the money.
- Black money, including that from arms deals, has a powerful role in Indian politics. Political parties, except for a couple of exceptions, suck in massive amounts of black money to sustain their operations. Arms deals continue to be a key source of such illegal funding.
- Transparency international-Citing an example, the report says awards for contracts by Riflex, the paramilitary force in north-east India, were essentially bought through personnel for kickbacks amounting to 35 per cent of the tender cost.
Suggestions to remove that :-
- India must stop being the world’s largest importer of arms and take a strategic turn towards indigenous procurement. To create a robust military-industrial complex in India, a restructuring of its engineering curriculum, its procurement procedures, military research systems, etc. are required.
- Strengthening DPP:
- India also drew up a comprehensive Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), and made “integrity clause” a must for all deals.
- In a bid to prevent corruption in relatively smaller defence deals, the government has brought contracts of the value of Rs 20 crore under the ‘integrity pact’— a biding document that enables heavy penalties for bribing.
- If found to be practising wrongdoings, the companies will lose their security deposits or bank guarantees,
- India needs a designated body tasked with responsibility over ethics or anti-corruption within the ministry of defence. There is need for the Inspector General position.The Public Accounts Committee, the CAGhave held the MoD to account for the illegal use of land for private golf clubs.
- Legalizing middlemen:
- Legally, middlemen do not exist in India in the field of arms procurement.
- Legalizing middlemen, argue experts, does away with the need for secrecy as well as the wheeling-dealing that is currently responsible for much of the dirt associated with arms deals.
- India will end up spending at least Rs.5,00,000 crore in the international arms bazaar in a decade, which means that at least Rs.50,000 crore, by bazaar estimates, could be the commission available to middlemen to grease palms.
- Strengthening DRDO and removing clauses like secret clause where CAG auditing is not allowed
- Painful decisions, including abandoning some ongoing expensive procurements from abroad, are important to help push Indian private sector into the procurement cycle.
- Make in India needs to be effectively implemented
Topic: Resource mobilization
5) What do you understand by divestment? What has been the objective and nature of divestment policy in India? Considering present economic situation, what should be the objectives of divestment policy? Discuss. (200 Words)
What is divestment ?
- At the basic level disinvestment involves the conversion of money claims or securities into money or cash.Disinvestment can be defined as the action of an organisation (or government) selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary. It is also referred to as ‘divestment’ or ‘divestiture.’
- In most contexts, disinvestment typically refers to sale from the government, partly or fully, of a government-owned enterprise.
- A company or a government organisation will typically disinvest an asset either as a strategic move for the company, or for raising resources to meet general/specific needs.
Objectives of the present policy:
- To reduce the financial burden on the Government- additional resource needs for containing the fiscal deficit and capital expenditure generated.
- To improve public finances
- To introduce, competition and market discipline in PSUs’ decision-making
- To fund growth
- To encourage wider share of ownership
- To depoliticise non-essential services
- The role of the government versus the market was sought to be redefined
- loss-making public enterprises were sought to be revived
Nature of the present policy :
However, over the years, the policy of divestment has increasingly become a tool to raise resources to cover the fiscal deficit with little focus on market discipline or strategic objective. Keeping with the tradition, this year’s budget has set the total target for divestment for 2016-17 at Rs.56,500 crore.
What should be the objectives ?
- Divestment should not be limited for raising revenues:
- Divestment is an important aspect for improving the structure of incentives and accountability of PSUs in India.
- It is the approach towards divestment that defines the incentive for any PSU to run efficiently. An ad-hoc approach towards divestment only reduces the incentive for the firm’s managers to make significant investment in the enterprise.
- Therefore, it is essential for PSUs that divestment is not limited to raising revenues. The Fourteenth Finance Commission in its report underlines this point by suggesting various measures to modify the divestment policy.
- Government should focus on strategic sectors:-
- The primary requirement for the divestment policy is to define the priority sectors for the government based on its strategic interests. Considering the limited resources with the government and its diverse role, it is evident that the government has a low capacity to manage PSUs.
- The government should, therefore, exit non-strategic sectors such as hotels, soaps, airlines, travel agencies and the manufacture and sale of alcohol.
- The outlook towards strategic divestment should move from the current policy of emphasizing on public ownership and retaining majority shareholding to looking at the strategic interest.
- As per the current divestment policy, government has to retain majority shareholding, i.e., at least 51% and management control of the PSUs. The policy thereby limits the scope to create divestments that would allow easy exit for the government from non-strategic sectors.
- Even strategic investment as per the department for divestment is limited to less than 50% shares and management control. Merely allowing ownership of less than 51% will be the first step in the right direction. Eventually, the objective of divestment should be to limit the government ownership to strategic sectors.
- It is important to realize that ownership is not a substitute for regulation. Therefore, instead of creating PSUs in non-priority sectors, the government should look into strengthening the regulatory framework that ensures efficient market conditions. In fact, regulation should be extended to both public and private entities.
- For instance, Air India, India’s flag carrier airline, was a monopoly for long. With increasing competition after sector being liberalized there was no need for the government to run the airline .
- Hence, the government should consider exiting the airline business and instead create regulations that would ease the entry of new players. The regulations should also ensure that the basic necessities of the consumers are met.
- It is time that divestment is not seen as an option to cover for short-term fiscal gains; instead, it should be part of a strategic plan to improve the production of goods and services in India.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology
- The Pythagoras theorem, however, finds a place in Baudhayana’s Śulbasūtras, which dates back to about 800 BC—more than 200 years before Pythagoras was born.
- The first comprehensive use of the place value system of arithmetic was found in Āryabhaṭīya(499CE), a famous work of Aryabhata.
- The trigonometric function “sine” traces its origin to jya-ardhaseries, a table of half-chords of a unit radius circle, compiled by him.
- He improved the accuracy of Aryabhata sine tables.
- He included the discovery of many trigonometric formulae
- Was among the first mathematicians to discover a version of what is now known as Pascal’s triangle
- The most significant contribution of Brahmaguptawas the introduction of zero(0) to the mathematics which stood for “nothing”.
- Bhāskara was the one who declared that any number divided by zero is infinity and that the sum of any number and infinity is also infinity. He is also famous for his book “Siddhanta Siromani”.
- Pell’s equation, attributed by 18th century Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler to 17th century English mathematician John Pell was originally solved by Bhaskara II, a 12th century Indian mathematician-astronomer.
- Similarly, much of the work on calculus was done in India by the Kerala School of Mathematics—much before Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz came into the picture—founded by Madhava in the 14th century CE
- is one of the celebrated Indian mathematicians. His important contributions to the field include Hardy-Ramanujan-Littlewood circle method in number theory,
- Roger-Ramanujan’s identities in partition of numbers, work on algebra of inequalities, elliptic functions, continued fractions, partial sums and products of hypergeometric series.
Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, popularly known as C R Rao is a well known statistician, famous for his “theory of estimation”.
D.R. Kaprekar (1905-1988) :
- Well known for “Kaprekar Constant” 6174.
- Take any four digit number in which all digits are not alike. Arrange its digits in descending order and subtract from it the number formed by arranging the digits in ascending order. If this process is repeated with reminders, ultimately number 6174 is obtained, which then generates itself.
Narendra Karmarkar :
- India born Narendra Karmarkar, working at Bell Labs USA, stunned the world in 1984 with his new algorithm to solve linear programming problems. This made the complex calculations much faster, and had immediate applications in airports, warehouses, communication networks
General Studies – 4
Topic: Probity in governance