SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 18, 2016
SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 18, 2016
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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
History of genesis of problems in both the regions:
- It was occupied by Pakistan forcefully on March 27, 1948 and ever since it has been fighting against Pakistan to free themselves.
- The British divided Balochistan into three parts.It is a struggle to free and reunify Baluchistan and people from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
- There are evidences that show that Pakistan has created local Al Qaeda, ISIS groups in this region to take action against nationalists.
- The Baluch people have never had their required representation in politics, including the military. Sometimes they were not able to complete their tenure in the provincial council of Baluchistan due to political exclusion tendency of the central government. This exacerbated the ethnic conflict in the province with the goal of autonomy or possibly independence.
- Both states had signed instruments of accession, with India and Pakistan, respectively. The key difference was the ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, did it on his own volition, necessitated by the invasive situation arising out of the Pakistan army blitzkrieg, while the Balochistan ruler at the time Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmadyar Khan, was forced to sign Kalat’s instruments of accession to Pakistan at gunpoint.
- The insurgencies in Balochistan, in Pakistan and in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) in India have much in common. An armed struggle by the youth has taken root in both places are examples of how violence is destroying the social order and the moral fabric of Balochs and Kashmiris alike.
- Hundreds of Balochs have died in the current wave of violence, while hundreds of thousands of Baloch tribesmen have been forced out of their lands to take refuge in Sindh and Punjab.
- Lack of development and Unemployment leads to alienation:
- The Baloch nationalists argued that the development projects initiated by the government in Balochistan do not benefit the Balochs. Reportedly, despite producing 36-45 per cent of gas for Pakistan, the province of Balochistan gets to consume a mere 17 per cent of it.
- A major source of grievance for the Balochs is the development of the Gwadar port located in Balochistan. The project initiated by the Pakistani government in collaboration with China is aimed at increasing trade ties with America, Europe and Asia. The construction project resulted in the employment of a large number of non-Balochs, especially Punjabis, even though there is an excess in the number of unemployed Baloch engineers and technicians.
- The official versions from both establishments hold foreign elements responsible for insurgencies rather than seeing those as indigenous struggles.
Both are different:
- Nation state:
- Kashmir was never a country,it was a princely state under a Maharaja. Kashmir was always a part of greater India.
- Balochistan as a nation-state was formed in 1410. It had its own constitution way before Pakistan got its constitution.
- Education is free up to College and University levels in J & K. This has contributed to higher literacy rates in J & K as well as in Kerala,However education is a significant problem in Balochistan .
- Special status:
- Another marked difference is that the Indian constitution, under Article 370, has preserved Kashmir’s demographics and landholding and grants special autonomous status to J & K which is not true case with Balochistan.
- While Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan are claimed by India, there is no claim on Balochistan.By mentioning the three — PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan in the same breath, it is a disservice to India’s own case for Kashmir.
- Role of Army:
- There are evidences and witnesses that Pakistan army is involved in the human rights violations and their kill-and-dump policy in Balochistan. 25,000 people including women and children are missing. They are abducted by Pakistan Army and abducted in front of people.
- This is not the case in Kashmir with respect to Indian government .
- Ownership of land:
- Outsiders cannot own the land in Kashmir but in the case of Balochistan developers not only acquire the right to develop (by paying royalty or user fees) but also have the ownership of the land
General Studies – 2
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
2) It is argued that multilateralism is in decline. To what factors do you attribute this decline? Is its decline and the rise of regionalism good for the world and India? Critically analyse. (200 Words)
Causes for the decline of multilateralism:
- The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was driven to irrelevance by the collapse of the Doha trade round in 2008. The last successful global trade talks were held in Uruguay, almost 23 years ago.
- Isolationist populism has thrived when US presidential candidate speaks about a 45 per cent tariff on foreign goods, he is perceived to represent blue-collar workers. Immigration worries cloud the horizon.
- Even geopolitical competition is gradually eschewing multilateral institutions.
- China’s rejection of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision in the South China Sea case, despite signing up to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, along with Russia’s absorption of Crimea, shows changes in the global order.
- Multilaterals have continued to remain self-servingly rigid, their memberships with associated power hierarchies inflexible
- for instance, India’s struggle to gain its rightful place at the UN Security Council. Such institutions have also increasingly become prone to conflict instead of consensus, with gaming of system through votes and agenda dilution.
- The rise of rival institutions the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in response to the World Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in response to NATO and the G-7 have all hogged aid resources while standing as tombstones to an eschewed past.
- Developed societies have changed, embracing individualism over social democracy the trend towards atomisation continues apace.
- The European welfare state, once a model of social constitutionalism, is fraying at the edges, unable to cope with an influx of immigrants, refugees, and rise in inequality.
- Globalisation, once sold as offering promising service economies to the citizens of the West, has stalled in lieu of a hollowed-out manufacturing sector.
- Transatlantic multilateral institutions have failed to manage global challenges such as global warming and financial instability.
- The West has had its energy sapped by the European crisis, the morass in West Asia, and domestic political gridlock.
Multilaterism decline is good :
- Bilateral diversification being considered as offering better deals through regional economies, that offer broad access to deep market, while balancing free trade with social goals.
- Developing countries, with significant agricultural surplus produced at low prices, find market entry barred on various grounds. Instead, preferential trade agreements have developed a momentum of their own.
- The global economic crisis had a huge impact all over the world because of the closed connectedness and the interdependence of economies all over the world .
- In developed countries like Britain it has increased competition for jobs and unemployment rised . This internal conflict led ultimately to
- In regional groupings countries with similar interests come together and try to achieve the strategic goals. International groupings for steps against climate change have led to clash of different countries and efforts have not been upto the Mark.
- Institutions like IMF have been criticised for its bias in the way it approaches the economic crisis of European vs low income countries where the latter are given second class treatment .
Its decline is not good :
- Post liberalisation India gained significantly improving its economic growth and become one of the fastest growing economies.
- service sector got a huge impetus with the exports making it the highest contributor of the GDP.
- India could make free trade agreements with many countries and diversify its imports and exports.
- Quality of life and aspirations of the Middle class have been met because of multilateralism
- The free labour movement led to Indian engineers excelling in different countries and the remittances India get can be affected because of the breakdown of multilateralism.
- There needs to be a balance between multilateralism and regionalism.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
What needs to be done to improve school education system in India ?
- Teachers must be incentivized to do a better job, which will then lead to improvements.for example, punishment for lack of improvement in learning levels of children or better pay for clear improvements.
- Focus on the innovative methods of teaching as compare to focusing on rote learning excluding the understanding.
- Build an education system which will align the students to the higher order skills which students will require in the years to come
- Introduce students to critical thinking, complex reasoning, good expression, effective problem solving and thinking in inter disciplinary manner. This will require high quality teaching, rational evaluation system with decent level of difficulty
- Questions being asked in examinations did not call for application of mind or critical analyses.
- There is an urgent need to revamp the examination system .The examination system should incorporate two basic features
- firstly, the process of assessment must be continuous so that the interest of students could be maintained till the end and examinations did not become purely a test of memory
- secondly, the examination must test the critical and analytical abilities of students.
- In school education, students need to be asked to evaluate their teachers and a university may be started to train teachers. The School board will display the minimum grade-wise learning goals from Classes 1 to 8.
- As far as funding goes, substantial component of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) should be linked to learning outcomes and fund release should depend a lot on quality.
- For weaker students, remedial classes can be started and at regular intervals, national/ regional workshops need to be held for sharing best practices
- Apart from direct classroom-teaching, the technology should be effectively used in transmitting knowledge and wisdom of outstanding scholars to students.
- NGOs like Pratham may play a productive role in partnering with public school systems in implementing new methods of both teaching and assessment.
- The non-profit ASER effort (Annual Status of Education Report) by Pratham has been conducting a detailed annual survey of learning outcomes among children. It found that even as annual government spend per student rose, learning outcomes didn’t improve. Only 29 per cent of students across India could do questions that involved simple reasoning in ASER tests.
- Funds for education fragment by the time they reach individual schools, and the majority of these funds – more than 60 per cent, across India and 90 per cent in states like Rajasthan – are spent on teacher salaries.This should change.
- Government schools are also experiencing a crisis of teacher shortage. There are over 7.7 lakh teaching posts vacant across central and state schools. So for better quality adequate manpower is needed.
- schools can be mandated to put photographs of teachers to avoid proxy teachers doing the job of permanent ones.
- Teachers’ profiles can be linked to Aadhar and to deal with their distorted ratio in rural and urban India, teachers can be regularly transferred to rural schools.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas
4) Recently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs constituted a Committee to Strengthen Border Protection (CSBP) to study various aspects of India – Pakistan border. Critically discuss challenges and existing policies in managing India’s western border. (200 Words).
Challenges India faces on India’s western border:
- Recurrent ceasefire violations, increasing infiltration attempts by Pakistan-based terror groups, and daring attacks by such intruders thereafter necessitate a close look at the way our western border is manned and managed.
- Deficiencies of the committee:
- The mandate of this committee, however, falls severely short of addressing key legal, physical, and personnel challenges that our forces face in guarding these difficult borders.
- The very composition of the CSBP is less than satisfactory: it has no representation from the two forces that manage India’s border with Pakistan — primarily the Border Security Force (BSF), and the Indian Army to a lesser extent.
- Physical challenges:
- The India-Pakistan border is a non-uniform one in terms of terrain, threat perception, potential for terrorist infiltration, illegal activities such as smuggling, humanitarian issues, legal basis of border management, and the forces that manage the border.
- the maintenance of the fence which has successfully reduced infiltration and cross-border crime.
- There is hardly any bilateral treaty/legal basis to guide the management of the border between India and Pakistan.
- The India Pakistan Border Ground Rules, 1960-61, which is ‘supposed’ to form the basis of the management of the International Border (IB) between the two sides, has not been signed by the two governments. More so, India does not officially recognise the ground rules.
- More curiously, even though the two sides have not yet signed the ground rules, they have to abide by it in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat since there is practically nothing else to go by.
- While the border in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat has not had any significant issues due to the non-finalisation of the 1960-61 ground rules, this poses a serious problem in the Jammu sector, especially given Pakistan’s non-recognition of the finality of this border and the recurrent ceasefire violations
- There is also confusion when it comes to the IB in the Jammu sector. It is not even considered as a settled IB by Pakistan.
- Line of control:
- When it comes to the management of the LoC, both the Indian and Pakistani armies do swear by the strictures of the Karachi Agreement. For instance, the Karachi Agreement stipulates that there should be no new defence construction, such as bunkers, within 500 yards of the LoC, which is adhered to by both sides — at least theoretically .
- When pointed out that the 500-yard stipulation has no validity under the Shimla Agreement, and India has always followed the stipulations of the Karachi Agreement.
- Clearly, countries are going by ad hoc arrangements when it comes to managing the LoC.
- Soldiers problems:
- Inadequate personnel and the consequent hardship faced by troops on the ground are the other major challenge facing the management of India’s western border.
- While the BSF guards most of the Indian border with Pakistan, they are neither treated on a par with the Army when it comes to pay and facilities though as per rules they are supposed to fight alongside the Army when a war breaks out nor are they considered equal to civilian organisations when it comes to the question of promotions.
- The sheer lack of boots on the ground, which results in 16-18 hour duty for the soldiers in such prohibitive conditions, needs to be addressed, as well as the issue of stagnation within the ranks of the force.
What is needed to be done?
- The ceasefire agreement of 2003 should be formalised and regularised. It is important to have a written ceasefire agreement for better managing the border with Pakistan.
- The Home Ministry’s high-level committee should therefore look beyond its narrowly defined mandate and suggest ways to rectify the ad hoc manner in which we guard our western border.
- The mandate of the committee had to be increased
- Border states police forces should be strengthened and have a cooperative approach with the army to avoid attacks like Pathankot.
Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
Myanmar vs India:
- Amendment to the constitution:
- In Myanmar in order to amend the Constitution,the vote of more than 75 per cent of MPs is needed, which was impossible without the military’s support.In the case of India amending the constitution can be done either by special majority in each of the houses or simple majority by half of states .
- In Myanmar the head of the executive branch is the President of the Union. In India it’s the council of ministers.
- Article 59 (f) bars anyone from the country’s presidency who have a foreign spouse or children.Any Indian citizen can become the president.
- Reservation for military:
- Due to over 50 years of military rule, the Constitution of Burma is dominated by the military, with 25% of the legislature (Pyithu Hluttaw) reserved for military representatives. Indian constitution doesn’t have any provision as such.
- The legislative branch of government is composed of three houses – the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House), Amyotha Hluttaw(Upper House) and the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, with the latter essentially acting as a joint sitting of the former two houses. Each house enjoys specific areas of legislative competency.In India Legislative branches at the centre consistent of two houses Lok sabha and Rajya sabha.
- There is separation of power:
- Legislative power, executive power and judicial power are separated, and exert reciprocal control, checks and balances among themselves. India does not have strict separation of powers .
- Like India even The Supreme Court of the Union is the highest court as well as the final court of appeal
- Fundamental rights and duties of the citizens:
- Enjoyment of equal rights by any person before the law and equal legal protection; Non-discrimination of any citizen regardless of race, birth, religion, official position, status, culture, sex and wealth. This is similar to India .
Nepal vs India :
- Bicameral parliamentary system has been created with two houses at the Center and unicameral parliamentary system in each state. India also has a bicameral structure at the centre but at the federal level some states have bicameral and some others unicameral.
- It declares the nation to be secular and neutral toward all religions.Bans any acts leading to conversions from one religion to another.
- The Constitution defines wide range human rights as fundamental rights Similar to India.
- In Nepal ,Executive rights are vested in Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister. The President is ceremonial head similar to India .
- In Nepal Mixed electoral system has been opted for the elections of the lower house at the Center with both first past the post election system and proportional election system are used to elect members of the lower house. In the case of India elections to the lower house are purely via first past the post system.
- Recognizing the rights of women, the constitution of Nepal explicitly states that women shall have equal ancestral right without any gender-based discrimination.Indian constitution does not explicitly state that.
- Explicit recognition for sexual minorities is given in constitution of Nepal unlike India .
Thailand vs India :
- Thailand has voted to accept a military-backed constitution.India’s constitution was framed by an indirectly elected constituent assembly .
- Calls for a military appointed senate which will act as a check on elected members of parliament which is not the case in India.
- Elements of parliamentary system like political parties are weakened unlike India.
- Overall Indian constitution has not been questioned even after so many years of independence . It has been modified suitable to the present circumstances.The other countries have a violent history of framing constitutions.
- Unelected prime minister can take power in case of a political crisis which is not the case in India as the person has to be elected with in 6 months of taking charge of office.
Topic: Environmental pollution; Conservation
6) Comment on the recommendations of the T.S.R. Subramanian committee report to overhaul India’s environmental laws and the Shailesh Nayak committee report which sought overhaul of the rules related to the development of coastal areas. (200 Words)
Sailesh Nayak committee:
- The Sailesh Nayak committee reportwas commissioned in June 2014 after states expressed dissatisfaction regarding the limitations set by the CRZ notification of 2011.
- On development and construction, the report recommends that all activities except those requiring environmental clearances should fall under the ambit of the state and local planning bodies instead of being regulated by central policy.
- The areas affected by this amendment would be coastal towns, rural areas and waters up to 12 nautical miles from the coast.
- The report has also called for allowing reclamation of lands for specific infrastructure such as ports, bridges and fisheries-related structures for the “larger public interest”.
- The panel has suggested that urban planning rules prepared by local authorities be prioritised for slum development and rehabilitation instead of the 2011 regulations which were deemed restrictive by states.
- Enviromentalists fear that if the Nayak report is accepted in full, it can trigger a boom in real estate, ports and tourism development in ecologically sensitive coastal zones.
- The recommendations make a case for allowing temporary tourist facilities in no-development zones in coastal areas as well as permanent structures on the landward sides of national/state highways when these pass through these zones.
- Lack of transparency:
- The entire process of preparing the TSR report and the expert committee report on coastal regulations where they kept their view on the report pending while making several changes in coastal rules
- The High Committee headed was tasked with reviewing six environmental statutes namely
- Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
- Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- The Indian Forests Act, 1927. The task before the Committee was to align the relevant current statutes with ground realities and provide suggestions for the necessary improvements/amendments to the existing laws
- The Committee noted that the laws under review had failed due to tardy implementation and recommended a new project clearance mechanism, based on the ‘single window’ concept, with an integrated process, one that would also significantly reduce the processing time
- The Committee had also suggested that Parliament could enact a law titled Environment Laws (Management) Act (ELMA) for constituting a ‘National Environment Management Authority’ (NEMA) at the Centre and ‘State Environment Management Authority’ (SEMA) in States, both comprising experts in different fields, which will deal with applications for clearances and permissions under environment related laws at the Central and State level respectively thus making it a single window.
- Idea clearly was to streamline the process and do away with laws which are unnecessary or rather repetitive.
- Institutional reforms:
- Included establishment of a National Environment Research Institute, creation of a new All India Service called the Indian Environment Service and setting up an Environment Reconstruction Fund (ERF) for funding research and creating awareness on environmental issues.
- Forest conservation:
- On the issue of forest conservation, the Committee recommended identification of ‘no go’ areas in forests to ensure that 70 per cent of the canopy cover and protected areas are not disturbed except in exceptional circumstances, and that too only with the prior approval of the Union Cabinet.
- The Committee urged the legislature to define the term ‘forest’ in the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 as the present definition is one derived from the Supreme Court in the T.N. Godavarman Case.
- The Committee suggested that economic incentives need to be offered for increased community participation in farm and social forestry by way of promoting and providing statutory safeguards to ‘treelands’, as distinct from forests and that the Compensatory Afforestation (CA) guidelines be revised.
- The Committee called for the amendment of Schedule I to the Wildlife Act, 1972 to include the endangered species that are likely to be affected by illegal trade.
- Under the new project clearance mechanism, the report says, GIS reference maps, combined with use of multilayer data of underground water resources, soil characteristics and settlement patterns would be used for preliminary screening and speedy process of project clearance applications.
- A new concept of ‘utmost good faith’ has been inducted, through a new legislation, to ensure that the applicant for clearance is responsible legally for his statements.For any misrepresentation or suppression of facts “severe” penalty, including financial burden and up to seven years of imprisonment, is prescribed in the report.
- This will also significantly reduce Inspector Raj.
- The report also recommends that an “environmental reconstruction cost” should be assessed for each project on the basis of the damage caused by it to the environment and should be dovetailed with the cost of the project.
- This cost has to be recovered as a cess or duty from the project proponent during the life of the project.
- An “Environment Reconstruction Fund” is proposed to be established for accumulation of this cost and other penalties recovered from projects.
- A “fast track” procedure for “linear” projects (roads, railways and transmission lines), power and mining projects and for the projects of national importance has been prescribed in the new mechanism.This shows consultation with all the villages should not be insisted for the approval of linear projects.
- Parliamentary standing committee felt that would result in an unacceptable dilution of the existing legal and policy architecture established to protect our environment as the committee suggested the abatement of Central and State Pollution Control Boards.Tinkering with the established institutions and processes and making abrupt changes may not always be a feasible idea either
- Environment ministry faced a serious backlash from environmentalists and activists, who accused the expert committee of doing a hurried job as three months allotted to the HLC (high-level committee) for reviewing the six environmental Acts was too short
- The TSR panel recommended allowing cultural practices such as jallikattu and worship of snakes taking into account the needs of local festivals, subject to no harm or injury to animals. Animal welfare activists want a ban on jallikattu on the grounds of cruelty to animals.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics in public administration;