SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 23, 2016
SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 23, 2016
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
- His success started during the carnatic wars itself
- Tanjore expedition:
- The daring move by Clive had an important consequence: the Tanjoreans abandoned the fort, which the British triumphantly occupied. The success prompted the Tanjorean rajah to open peace talks, which resulted in the British being awarded Devikottai and the costs of their expedition,
- Carnatic wars:
- When actually the English were losing ground and the French were gaining success. Both at Hyderabad and the Carnatic the candidate of Dupleix ruled as monarchs. In the whole of the Deccan the British prestige was at the lowest point.
- It was at that critical point of time Clive stepped into show the talent both in ideas and action. Under his leadership the capital of Carnatic Arcot was attacked and captured that suddenly turned the course of the Second Carnatic War.
- Tanjore expedition:
- External policy:
- In his external policy Clive had to face one of the most difficult tests of statesmanship: that of knowing where to stop. Though there was nothing to prevent him from restoring Shah ʿĀlam II to Delhi and ruling north India in his name, he decided to limit the company’s commitments to Bengal and Bihar.
- Oudhwas returned to Shujāʿ al-Dawlah as a buffer state between Bengal and the turbulent northwest. The emperor was solaced with an annual tribute, and in return he conferred the revenue administration (dewanee) of Bengal on the East India Company.
- This grant formed the key to the settlement of Bengal. It gave legal authority to the company to collect the revenues of Bengal and Bihar, sending the emperor only his annual tribute.
- Dual system:
- Clive placed a Nawab on the throne. The Nawab remained in charge of the administration of Law and Order and Justice. He was paid an annual grant for the maintenance of officials and for his own expenses.
- The Company retained the power of the collection of the revenue and military administration.
- For all his successes he was considered the title as the founder of the British Empire in India.
- Reforming Company’s service:
- Clive’s third task was the reform of the company’s service.
- All company servants were required to sign covenants not to receive presents worth more than 1,000 rupees without the consent of the governor.
- Private trade, the abuse of which had caused the war, was forbidden.
- On the other hand he enhanced their salary. To improve the financial condition of the company Clive reduced the amount of Batta which the soldiers used to receive during peace time.
- His victory over the French power in the South, over Siraj-ud-daula in the Battle of Plassey and his gain of Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa were the solid pillars on which the future castle of the East India Company constructed.
- Modern historians have criticised him for atrocities, for high taxes, and for the forced cultivation of crops which exacerbated famines.
- Clive could not mark himself as an administrator. He had the golden opportunity to give to his conquered territories a good and efficient government
- His Dual Government was an example of the abuse of power. Bengal suffered one of her worst days in history due to the introduction of that system.
- Oppression continued. People suffered untold misery and thus the Economic crisis followed.
Topic: World Geography
2) It has been found that the sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica been increasing slightly, in sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean. Examine why. Also discuss implications of ice loss in the Arctic Ocean. (200 Words)
Reasons for increase in ice cover surrounding Antarctica:-
- A new NASA-led study has found the geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is responsible.
- They found that two persistent geological factors the topography of Antarctica and the depth of the ocean surrounding it are influencing winds and ocean currents, respectively, to drive the formation and evolution of Antarctica’s sea ice cover and help sustain it.
- The behaviour of Antarctic sea ice is entirely consistent with the geophysical characteristics found in the southern polar region, which differ sharply from those present in the Arctic
- Their analyses revealed that as sea ice forms and builds up early in the sea ice growth season, it gets pushed offshore and northward by winds, forming a protective shield of older, thicker ice that circulates around the continent.
- The persistent winds, which flow down slope off the continent and are shaped by Antarctica’s topography, pile ice up against the massive ice shield, enhancing its thickness.
- This band of ice, which varies in width from roughly 100 to 1,000 km, encapsulates and protects younger, thinner ice in the ice pack behind it from being reduced by winds and waves.
- As the sea ice cover expands and ice drifts away from the continent, areas of open water form behind it on the sea surface, creating “ice factories” conducive to rapid sea ice growth
Implications of ice loss in Arctic:
Loss of ice means more heat is absorbed
- The less sunlight is reflected, the more heat the planet absorbs.
- The heat doesn’t only warm the oceans. Heat entering the oceans during summer is later released back into the atmosphere raising atmospheric temperatures too. It’s one important reason why the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet.
Melting Greenland ice sheet raises sea levels
- As land ice melts, it adds freshwater to the oceans causing sea levels to rise, and surface melt from Greenland is increasing.
- The newest climate models project that by 2100, Greenland’s ice sheet could contribute four to nine centimetres to sea level.
- Warmer, sea ice free oceans could also increase melting from Greenland’s glaciers.
Thawing permafrost amplifies warming
- Rising Arctic temperatures are thawingonce-frozen ground in the Arctic known as permafrost.
- Scientists are concernedcarbon dioxide and methane released from the carbon-rich permafrost could cause additional warming by adding to greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere – another positive feedback.
Ocean circulations could change
- Another impact of Arctic ice melt could be that the freshwater runoff into the ocean disrupts part of a major circulation system known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation ( AMOC).
- The AMOC carries warm surface water northward, giving Europe its mild climate.
- Models suggest a slowdown in the AMOC could coolthe northern hemisphere this century, but the effect is likely to be outweighed by greenhouse gas warming
- so losing ice could affect regional climates worldwide.
Melting sea ice can influence winter weather:
- As temperatures rise faster in the Arctic than at lower latitudes, this changes large-scale temperature and pressure gradients which has consequences for northern hemisphere winter weather.
- The pressure change alters atmospheric circulations, including the jet stream.It also makes the jet stream’s path meander more, which allows cold Arctic air to reach further south, affecting the climate in the mid-latitudes.
Severe threats to polar creatures:
- Polar creatures that depend on ice for all or parts of their life cycle are highly threatened by a warming world.
- In the south polar region, some penguin colonies are moving to new locations because their main food source krill is changing in response to shifting ocean temperatures.
- In the Arctic, polar bears must swim greater distances in open water to find the sea-ice habitat that is home to their prey seals
Threats to indigenous ways of life:
- These changes in animal habitat and abundance threaten indigenous ways of life, some of which have flourished in the Arctic for thousands of years.
- Traditional hunting methods, for example, are becoming more risky because of thin ice, and because the dates when ice forms and thaws are less predictable.
Shoreline erosion in Arctic.
- The loss of sea ice also exposes Arctic coastal areas to severe erosion from wind and waves—sometimes forcing entire communities to move further inland to avoid collapsing shorelines.
Security concerns from new shipping routes:
- An ice-free Arctic Ocean might open up more efficient global shipping routes, and provide easier access to oil and gas deposits.
- However, both developments could bring security concerns, as Arctic countries vie for access to valuable resources or feel compelled to protect these natural and commercial resources.
- shorter trade routes through the Arctic could be a boon to export-driven nations like China.
- Territorial disputes:
- In 2008, the five littoral Arctic nations reaffirmed their commitment to the law of the sea in the Arctic with the Ilulissat Declaration, but a few sovereignty disputes persist.
- However, the 5 countries located along the shore of the Arctic Ocean – Russia, the US, Denmark, Canada and Norway– have competing territorial claims.
- For example, the United States and other nations assert that the Northwest Passage is an international strait with free navigation rights, while Canada says it’s an inland waterway over which it maintains exclusive jurisdiction.
- Washington and Ottawa also disagree on their maritime boundary in the resource-rich Beaufort Sea.
- Several states have also made competing claims on the Lomonosov Ridge, an undersea mountain range bisecting the Arctic Ocean.
- Energy reserves:
- S. Geological Survey (USGS), estimated that nearly one-quarter of the earth’s undiscovered, recoverable petroleum resources lie in the region: 13 percent of the oil; 30 percent of the natural gas; and 20 percent of the liquefied natural gas. More than 80 percent of these are thought to be offshore.
- Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Arctic resources fall within accepted national boundaries.
- The Northern Sea Route along Russia’s edge, that is likely to be free of ice first, can reduce the sailing distance between Asian ports and northern Europe by 40 per cent.
- The other major Arctic shipping route is the Northwest Passage, which connects Europe and Asia. It is nearly 5,000 nautical miles shorter than the 12,600 nautical mile distance between Europe and Asia through the Panama Canal.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
3) Both from the geo-economic and geo-strategic view, the northern Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf is the most important external region for India’s security. However, the US and India relationship is more tilted towards the East. Discuss the reasons and need for realigning India – US focus on the Western region. (200 Words)
Reasons why India –US need to focus on western region engulfing northern Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf:
- India sources 70 per cent of oil from there.
- As energy needs increase, this area will only become more important
- Indians in that region:
- 7 million Indian citizens working there send back $30 billion in remittances.
- In the past, India had to carry out large-scale evacuations of its nationals because of war-like situations in this region, most recently from Yemen in 2015.
- countries in the Middle East are a good source of employment for Indians.
- Unstability in the region:
- The prognosis for the stability of the whole region is not particularly good.
- Yet, somehow, there are no drills, joint exercises or planning between the US, which is the dominant power, with a fleet headquartered in Bahrain, and India for conflict contingencies.
- India needs the US as a guarantor of a secure and stable world system, but especially as a security provider in the Persian Gulf region, where India has no military capacity.
- This region is very important with respect to development of Chabahar port,India’s interests in Afghanistan especially when US is reducing its army ,north south corrider,CASA 2000 project etc..
- This region can be a gateway for having access to activities even in Suez canal.
- The holy place of Islam, followers of which are in India, makes it more important.
- Middle East is considered as a gateway to central Asia as well, an evolving and upcoming resource hub.
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
4) It is found that either fishermen arrested by Pakistan or India for minor transgressions face many ordeals. In your opinion, what should India and Pakistan do to address problems of their fishermen languishing in each other’s jails. (200 Words)
Measures needed to be taken By India and Pakistan:
- India and Pakistan need to treat these prisoners within the norms laid down by international covenants
- India and Pakistan had signed the Agreement on Consular Access in 2008, according to which consular access must be provided within 90 days of arrest of either country’s prisoners. This period is given to help verify the person’s nationality and enable necessary steps to repatriate the person to his or her country of origin.This has to be implemented effectively.
- In 2008, India and Pakistan set up the India-Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners, which consisted of retired judges from both countries.
- The committee worked hard to seek early repatriation of prisoners who have completed their sentences in the other country’s jail and also ensure that they are treated humanely.
- It met every six months and visited prisoners in both countries. It discussed issues such as health and food of the prisoners and the need to evolve a mechanism for humanitarian treatment of women, the mentally challenged, juvenile prisoners, and so on.
- Unfortunately, this committee has not met since the new Indian government came to power.
- India and Pakistan must immediately revive the committee to ensure that the prisoners are ensured their rights and are repatriated at the earliest.
- India and Pakistan need to evolve a policy of no arrest on straying fishermen.
- New Fish farming techniques need to be taught so that the fisherman do not go into the others territorial waters for fishing.
- The Indian government has undertaken a censusof fishermen in western Gujarat, preparing a database of information on fishermen and their boats to be used for more effective monitoring of fishing activities in Indian territorial waters alongside Pakistan and to prevent boats from straying into Pakistani waters
- The Indian Coast Guard has also begun installing tracking devices in fishing boats operating in the waters off western Gujarat to maintain surveillance and to stop them from straying into Pakistani waters.
- the tracking device has the ability to send out alerts for fires on board, a sinking vessel, a medical emergency and when the boat is apprehended by another country.
- The problem is aggravated by the dispute over the Sir Creekin Kutch and the failure to officially determine the maritime boundary between the two nations.
- Provide navigational tools:
- Most local fishermen possess no navigational tools and are unable or incapable of determine their location by longitudesor latitudes.
- Release imprisoned fishermen as a confidence-building measure and gestures of peace and goodwill.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations..
5) Why is Chabahar of strategic importance for India? Despite Chabahar’s strategic importance, India has failed to develop the port even after many years. Examine why and suggest solutions. (200 Words)
Why is this port important ?
- It is the nearest port to India on the Iranian coast, which provides access to the resources and markets of Afghanistan and Central Asia.
- It is located 76 nautical miles (less than 150km) west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar, being developed by China; this makes it ideal for keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar.
- Chabahar port is suitably located to serve India’s outreach in the region to Afghanistan and beyond as well aslink with International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to which India is one of the initial signatories.
- The port will cuttransport costs/time for Indian goods by a third.
- From Chabahar, the existing Iranian road network can link up to Zaranj in Afghanistan.The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.
- Chabahar’s significance also rose, as China began to develop Gwadar and unveiled ambitious plans for linking its far western province of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea with a transport corridor running through Pakistan.
- The successful launch of the Chabahar project allows India to circumvent the geographic limitations imposed by Partition and the enduring hostility with Pakistan.
Why has India failed to develop this port ?
- Iran’s unenthusiastic support for the project:
- Although the idea was first mooted in 2003, it was only in 2012 that Iran conceded to set up a joint working group to operationalize the port project as part of the trilateral cooperation agreement between Afghanistan, India and Iran
- key factor behind Iran’s reluctance to allow an Indian presence at Chabahar was the opposition by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (the so-called Revolutionary Guards), which reportedly uses the port to ship arms to Yemen and militant groups in the region
- The economic viability of the project is suspect:
- India, which has had trouble raising funds for the project, has so far been able to invest only $85 million to build a couple of berths.
- While India recently indicated that it was willing to invest up to $20 billion one of its largest overseas ventures to develop the port, petrochemical and fertilizer plants in the Chabahar SEZ, it remains to be seen if it can raise the funds.
- Gwadar complication:
- Moreover, given the presence of Gwadar next door, where China has already invested over $1 billion and committed another $46 billion for the 3,000-km long economic corridor to link Gwadar to Kashgar in Xinjiang province and its One Belt, One Road project, it is unclear whether the Chabahar route will generate enough trade and traffic to justify the investment.
- In fact, Tehran, itself plans to invest $4 billion to build a refinery in Gwadar to process 400,000 barrels of oil per day
- India’s actions against Iran:
- Delhi’s vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency on the nuclear issue has done a lot less damage than India’s inability to find practical ways to advance the relationship on the ground.
- Lack of political will:
- The Indian governents could not muster the necessary political will to direct different ministries and agencies to work in unison to pursue declared strategic objectives towards Iran.
- Nor was it nimble enough to navigate the international financial sanctions that were imposed against Iran.
- The delay in the execution of the Chabhar project, however, has exposed the big problem that India had created for itself. It is the vast gap between an expansive rhetoric on promoting regional connectivity and the lack of institutional capacity to implement strategic projects across and beyond borders.
- Leasing confusion:
- After signing MoU for Chabahar, an Indian team that visited Iran in 2015 was surprised by an Iranian announcement that the port had been let out in 2014 on a long lease to Arya Bandar, a private Iranian company. This was something that was not disclosed at the time of signing of the MoU.
- The leasing of port changed things for India entirely as earlier it was a deal between Indian and Iranian governments. However, with a private company coming into picture, things became complicated as all clearances from government/Cabinet had to be re-initiated.
- Custom duty on equipment:
- India would be exporting and installing equipment worth $150 million on Chabahar Port and the custom duty would be around $8-10 million. India argues that since the equipment would remain with the Iranian port once India leaves its operations, the custom duty should be waived. Iran does not agree.
- Change in equipment specifications:
- Iran has changed specification of the equipment to be supplied to the Chabahar Port and installed in 18 months. The change in specifications has led to escalation of costs.
- Foodgrains export from Chabahar:
- Iran has refused to allow India to export foodgrain and other humanitarian aid to Afghanistan via Chabahar from the two terminals that would be allotted to India.
- Contract Termination Payment:
- The formula for contract termination payment considers depreciation impact twice, decreasing India’s revenue.
- Fines for delays:
- India wants Iran’s government to stand guarantee for the Iranian company Arya Bandar if it defaults, but Iran does not agree.
- On the contrary, if the India fails to install all equipment within stipulated 18 months time, it would be liable to pay $85,000 per day.
What can be done?
- The Union Cabinet has now authorized the Ministers of Finance, External Affairs and Shipping to approve the final contract with Iran and for resolution of any issue arising in implementation of the project.
- The Union Cabinet has also authorized the Ministry of Shipping to form a Company in Iran for implementing the Chabahar Port Development Project and related activities.These need to be effectively taken care of.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian economy – employment
How labour reforms help in achieving employment growth?.
- Rigid labour laws lead to significant reduction in employment, productivity and growth.
- More importantly, there is a strong relationship between labour laws and urban poverty. In other words, rigid labour laws are also associated with increased urban poverty.
- Case study:
- Compare manufacturing growth in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh during the sample period.
- West Bengal, which was the largest producer of manufactured products during the beginning of their sample period, experienced a negative 1.5% growth in manufacturing, whereas Andhra Pradesh experienced a positive growth rate of 6%.
- Interestingly, as per the labour law index West Bengal further tightened labour laws, whereas Andhra Pradesh liberalized them.
- Due to rigid labour laws, there is a negative impact on the industries that are heavily dependent on labour.
- Negative impact on growth and productivity is higher for firms in industries that face a lot of volatility. This is understandable given such firms require a lot of flexibility. Similar results have been obtained on studies done on other countries such as Mexico and Brazil.
- Given the rigidity of labour laws, it is not surprising that the share of manufacturing in India’s gross domestic product has stagnated between 14% and 18%.
- A close look at the composition of exports further points out the distortionary impact of labour laws.
- It is ironical that a country with surplus labour and a large number of unemployed youth mostly exports capital-intensive goods such as petroleum products, gems and jewellery, transport equipment, machinery and instruments, and pharmaceutical products.
- Labour reforms have a key role to play in improving the ease of doing business in India leading to better investments that ultimately give way for employment growth .
- The Industrial Relations Code Bill 2016, Wage Code Bill 2016, the Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, the Shops and Establishments (Amendment) Bill, and Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill.
- Once passed, the industrial relations code will facilitate easier hiring and retrenchment in factories
- Greater women’s participation in the workforce will be facilitated by the Small Factories Bill, which will allow women to work night shifts.
- Case study:
- Labour reforms are likely to have a detrimental impact on employment and hence many oppose even simple procedural reforms in this area.
- Industries are already not following laws and they know how to bypass them. By making labour laws more flexible it will only hamper the workers. Indian workers are largely badly paid, and during the EPF tax debate, the government said that 30 million organized sector workers are getting less than Rs.15,000 a month. So, by changing the laws it will put these poor workers in further trouble.
Topic: Indian economy – planning, growth
7) There is fear of global oil prices rising again in coming months. How will it affect Indian economy? What should government do to avert adverse consequences of increasing oil prices? Examine. (200 Words)
Impact on Indian Economy:
- The good phase with inflation and current account deficits may be over, as global oil prices again touch $ 50 per barrel.Once inflation increases current account deficit also seems to widen.
- Not allowing current account deficit and fiscal returning to reappear will be a challenge for this government in the next three years.
- It will be difficult for the government to maintain its increased excise duty on petroleum products at the existing rates.If it is cut, the government’s revenues would be hit.And if it is not, petroleum product prices would shoot, stoking the fire of inflation.
- More cash for fuel exporters could boost global growth, lure commodity-dependent sovereign wealth funds back to emerging markets and increase demand for Indian-made goods, including petroleum products.
- Rising crude prices may also force the government to roll back increases in excise taxes, forcing it to find alternative sources of revenue to hit its budget-deficit target
- The consumers would not be very much affected as during the low prices phase the government’s move of having high excise duty for petroleum products did not fully pass on the gains from lower international oil prices to them.
What should government do ?
- It has to have a plan to complete all its subsidies reforms in sectors that are impacted by oil prices
- Government’s decided to increase excise duty on petroleum products when their prices were low, now it has to share the benefit of these earnings with consumers if there was a spectacular hike in the prices.
- The prospect of even higher fuel prices increases the urgency to pass a national sales tax and establish a rate-setting panel to meet a nascent inflation target.
- Government initiatives need to be implemented:
- In a major drive to enhance the petroleum and hydrocarbon sector, Government of India has introduced initiatives like the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP), Marketing and Pricing freedom for new gas production
- Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North East India, with the objective of leveraging the north-eastern region’s hydrocarbon potential, enhance access to clean fuels, improve availability of petroleum products.
- The Government of India plans to incentivise gas production from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high pressure-high temperature areas which are presently not exploited on account of higher cost and risk, and also to augment the investment in nuclear power generation in the next 15 to 20 years.
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has announced a new ‘Marginal Fields Policy’, which aims to bring into production 69 marginal oil and gas fields with 89 million tonnes or Rs 75,000 crore (US$ 11 billion) worth of reserves, by offering various incentives to oil and gas explorers such as exemption from payment of oil cess and customs duty on machinery and equipment.
- This includes measures such as decreasing the fossil fuel share in the national energy portfolio, increasing energy efficiency, and developing structural and technological alternatives to make production processes less fossil fuel intensive.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems
8) “It has been widely observed that weak, developing states tend to focus more on penalties; strong, modern states on enforcement and implementation of laws.” Do you think harsh punishments to citizens who violate law will ensure better governance and Strengthens democracy? Critically comment. (150 Words)