SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 31, 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.
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: History of the world
1) “It had become clear by the 1990s that the idea of humanitarian intervention had been reduced to a fig leaf for Western interests.” Critically comment on the outcomes of West’s ‘humanitarian interventions’ in many countries since 1990s. (200 Words)
- NATO’s bombing of Serbia was initiated to protect the Kosovar Albanians from ethnic cleansing led by Serbians yet it provoked an increase in ethnic cleansing, caused hundreds of civilian deaths, and it failed to lay the foundations for long term stability.
- No pretext allowed the West to tackle the other countries. It was Yugoslavia, instead, that faced the barrage of “humanitarian intervention”, the new term of art for Western bombardment in the service of protecting civilians.
- Humanitarian intervention made the countries forget the older theories to preserve state sovereignty such as the 1648 Peace of Westphalia and the 1934 Montevideo Convention.
- If the West decided that a conflict demanded intervention, then the full force of Western power would be brought to bear on those whom the West determined to be their enemies. This was the gist of humanitarian interventionism.
- When Western clients such as Israel and the countries of the African Great Lakes massacred tens of thousands, there was no outcry about genocide and for intervention.
- Iraq war:
- US-the language of civilian protection in 2003 to conduct a war of aggression against Iraq. The U.S. war broke Iraq’s infrastructure and state institutions as well as dented the pretensions of humanitarian intervention.
- U.S.-driven sanctions on Iraq had led to the death of half-a-million children
- The U.N.-backed sanctions regime sought to weaken Iraq to the point of collapse.
- The U.N. endorsed the new idea of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in 2005. This new doctrine asked that sovereign states respect the human rights of their citizens. When these rights are violated, then sovereignty dissolves. An outside actor endorsed by the U.N. can then come in to protect the citizens.
- Once more, no precise definition existed for who gets to define the nature of a conflict and who gets to intervene
- Failure to act in the case of Israel’s punctual bombardment of Gaza again put humanitarian intervention and R2P under scanner.
- The rebels in Libya (and later in Syria) felt that if they could elicit state violence, then they might be able to assert their right to international protection. This could only work if the adversary of the rebels was an enemy of the West. This was misused and west involved in the internal politics and regime change as is visible in the present civil war in Syria.
- The critics worry that humanitarian intervention of the Western variety ignores causes and produces terrible outcomes. Military actions lead to chaos and increased suffering.
- Violence is an outcome of grotesque inequality.R2P did not address the protection of civilians ,illiteracy, illness, poverty, joblessness and social toxicity.
- The use of armed force to protect human rights rarely provides a long-term solution to causes of conflict.
- Military intervention can also have the disadvantage of hindering the efforts of humanitarian aid workers and NGOs.
Outcome is good :-
- Humanitarian intervention using armed force may be the only way to prevent mass killing.
- For instance,military intervention in Kosovo was the only way to stop the oppression of Albanian Kosovars by Serbian regime.
- Following the mass atrocity crimes spawned by the highly disputed election in Kenya, other nations swiftly applied political and diplomatic pressure to stop violence and encourage a political solution that resulted in a coalition government.
- military intervention in East Timor in 1999, when the vote for independence from Indonesia was followed by mass violence by the Indonesian army and militia groups against civilians protecting the civilian population and enabling the rebuilding of the territory as an independent nation.
- Construction efforts:
- In 2004 Indonesian Aceh province,one of the largest disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts in modern times.
- 2005 earthquake rocked the disputed Kashmir region the Pakistani government decided to give access to international relief agencies.
- In addition, an earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province in 2008 led Beijing to make unprecedented moves to open up.
- The Chinese government, which in the past has spurned foreign aid, accepted international aid publicly, opened a hotline for the U.S. military to have increased communication with its Chinese counterparts, and eased media restrictions.
An antidote to mass atrocities might come from global financial reform, the redistribution of wealth and U.N. Security Council reform.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora (Reverse)
2) In recent months, crimes against African students and citizens in India is on the rise. Critically discuss the underlying reasons and what measures should state and union governments take to create harmony between two citizens. (200 Words)
- Deep ingrained psychology of Indians that white is good black is bad even applies here.
- Perception of African migrants as lawless and immoral individuals increases the insecurity.
- The belief that the African is depraved, poor and perverse still lingers in the minds of many Indians.The belief that the Africans are of lesser mind and needs saving from themselves informs the thinking of many.
- The institutions in India, both the schools and the government have failed to deliver on the promises of protecting and sheltering us as international students
- Wildly exaggerated accusations of criminal activity, sometimes by state authorities themselves.
- Sense of denial:
- the Indian government and the police have either side-stepped or denied that the violence has stemmed from racial prejudice.
- This is a dangerous sign and seems almost hypocritical for a polity that has taken a clear stand on instances of racial violence against Indians in other countries
Measures needed :
- It is important to note that bridges of communication are essential to ensure meaningful exchange and a healthier lifestyle for both the African migrants and Indian nationals.
- Formal processes:
- The Indian state must provide clear guidelines for African migrants to register complaints.
- In addition to this, sensitisation programmes are essential to reduce the overall atmosphere of hostility and improve the quality of life for all parties concerned.
- These are vital in particular to improve the life of undocumented migrants who may be unable to access formal channels.
- Informal processes:-
- The embassies could provide more informal channels of support by focussing on discussions and visibility enhancing local interventions with the help of NGOs.
- They could also utilise the traditional strategy of creating safe spaces for children from affected neighbourhoods.
- The mohalla sabha strategy for more inclusive discussions in Delhi and perhaps these could be used in conciliatory ways to question deep-rooted prejudice and allow for more progressive political tactics.
- Educational institutions need to debate means to ensure inclusion of African students on campus, ensure the availability of safe and affordable accommodation within or close to campus and create channels for students to register complaints..
- The Indian government and Heads of Mission have pointed towards a technological approach to reconciliation.
- The ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign by Incredible India had attempted to address issues of defrauding and molesting foreigners. The ‘atithi’ in the advertisements were all white tourists. A new campaign would need to address this damaging void
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;
3) How the performance of schemes like MGNREGA can be assessed to understand their performance across the states? Can an index be created for this purpose? Examine. (200 Words)
How the performance can be assessed?
- It can be assessed based on three performance indicators to rank the States:
- Average days of employment per household
- Percentage wages paid within the promised 15 days of enlisting to work and
- The work completion rate.
- Each indicator measures the implementation of MGNREGA in the State on an important output. Collectively the three indicators capture the key aspects of MGNREGA implementation, namely employment generation, wages paid in time, and assets created as promised.
- Even though MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of employment, the national average has always been below 50 days.
- MGNREGA requires that wages be paid within 15 days of closing the muster roll. Last financial year, only 40 per cent of the wages were paid within the stipulated time of 15 days.
- Work completion rate refers to the number of works completed compared to works started, in percentage terms. Mizoram performed best in this case with a 92 per cent work completion rate.
Yes an index is necessary :-
- Index intends to give an overview to the policymakers of what works in each State and what doesn’t.
- The implementation practices from the high-ranking States in each category could be replicated in other states.
- For not giving wages in first 15 days the reasons could vary across and within States.
- The reasons for the high employment days in Tripura need to be studied, so that they can be replicated in other similar States.
- For example, Andhra Pradesh is known for widespread computerisation of the processes which reduces corruption and ensures timely transfer of funds.
- About 2 per cent of the Union Budget or 0.3 per cent of the GDP is allocated to the scheme. Ensuring that this amount reaches the people who opt to work, while creating durable rural assets, is important.
- The ranking also recognises States that are performing well, and can be used to allocate funds and resources in a targeted manner.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
4) Considering India is expected to be home to 300 million elderly people by 2050, examine the problems faced by elderly in India and measures needed to address problems faced by them. (200 Words)
- 6 million people aged above 60 in India
- India is expected to be home to 300 million elderly people by 2050
Problems faced by elderly in India :-
- Health issues:
- large incidence of degenerative diseases, accompanied with serious gaps in the geriatric medical ecosystem
- A phenomenon called ‘grand dumping’ is becoming common in urban areas these days as children are being increasingly intolerant of their parents’ health problems.
- Socio-Psychological issues:
- A changing joint family structure, the lack of ‘grey-friendliness’ in public spaces, transport, housing.
- As traditionally supportive social structures are changing and the elderly are increasingly losing their ‘status’ as the family patriarchs, it brings in loneliness.
- While there are a few who impose it on themselves, isolation is most often imposed purposefully or inadvertently by the families and/or communities where the elderly live.
- Isolation is a terrible feeling that, if not addressed, leads to tragic deterioration of the quality of life.
- The elderly, especially those who are weak and/or dependent, require physical, mental and emotional care .
- Changing lifestyles and values, demanding jobs, distractions such as television, a shift to nuclear family structures and redefined priorities have led to increased neglect of the elderly by families and communities.
- This is worsened as the elderly are less likely to demand attention than those of other age groups.
- Many older persons live in fear. Whether rational or irrational, this is a relevant problem face by the elderly that needs to be carefully and effectively addressed.
- one big issue that doesn’t get enough attention today is that old people deserve dignity
- parents being beaten up by their children, parents and in-laws being forced to do the household chores are instances visible today.
- According to an estimate, nearly 40% of senior citizens living with their families are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another, but only 1 in 6 cases actually comes to light.
- lack of knowledge of rights
- the inherent inability of the elderly to approach a tribunal for recourse under the law
- poor implementation of the Act by various State governments.
- Especially since the number of old age homes the Centre supports under the Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) has seen a decline from 269 homes in 2012-13 to a dismal 137 in 2014-15
- Old age homes do not guarantee first class treatment.
- Economic Insecurity:
- The problem of economic insecurity is faced by the elderly when they are unable to sustain themselves financially.
- Many older persons either lack the opportunity and/or the capacity to be as productive as they were.
Measures needed :-
- Implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act enacted in 2007:
- The model Act makes it obligatory for children or relatives to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents.
- It also provides for the setting up of old age homes by State governments.
- Strengthen the health-care system:
- If 18 per cent of the population is going to be over 60 years of age by 2050, then it becomes almost crucial to encourage research in geriatric diseases, and push for building capacity in the geriatric departments across the primary and tertiary health-care systems.
- there needs to be more awareness about common degenerative diseases like dementia so that family members, care-givers, and society at large are sensitised to incontinence
- Home care providers:
- growing informal industry of home care providers needs regulation and mandated guidelines so that a large pool of certified and affordable trained home care givers can help provide basic support, prevent unnecessary hospital admissions, and keep the elderly in the familiar environs of their homes as far as possible.
- Old age homes:-
- There needs to be a network of old age homes, both in the private and public sector.
- While the private sector has taken the lead in setting up some state-of-the-art facilities, most of these are priced well out of the reach of ordinary citizens. State governments must be mandated to set up quality, affordable homes.
- Businesses could look at harnessing the talent of elders by retaining or hiring older workers and offering flexible working hours for those who want to continue working after retirement.
- Industry will benefit by retaining their knowledge and experience and the elderly will continue to be financially independent and retain their sense of self-worth.
- Community participation:-
- At the community level there is a need to increase the avenues for older people to participate in local issues, in resident associations,set up and manage spaces for community interaction,to leverage their experience as a resource.
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
5) The World Health Report of 2016 recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that despite being placed roughly in the middle of the South-East Asian Region (SEAR)—one of the worst performing regions in health after Africa—in terms of gross national income per capita, India figures in the bottom slots for most health-related parameters within the group. Discuss the reasons and how the situation could be improved. (200 Words)
- Among the SEAR nations, India ranks the worst in the relative inequality score-the ratio of mean coverage among the poorest populations to national average—for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health intervention.
- Child stunting, non-communicable diseases and mortality due to air pollution are other areas where the country fares poorly.
- The reasons for this state of affairs are both resource-related and systemic.
- Resource issue:
- Tackling the former requires an increase in the centre’s current health spending of 1% to at least 2.5% of the gross domestic product as recommended by the National Health Policy of 2015.
- Systemic issues:
- India’s health services and health personnel, besides being grossly inadequate, are inequitably distributed across and within states.
- Rural-urban inequalities inevitably translate into differences in health outputs. For example, there is a 63% difference in infant mortality rates and 44% difference in total fertility rates of rural and urban areas in India.
- despite the considerable shift in the disease burden of India from communicable to non-communicable diseases, policy plans and funding have not altered in tandem with this paradigm shift.
- A growing urban population of overweight and obese citizens co-existing with those suffering nutrient deficiency
- diseases like diabetes which have a cascading effect on cardiovascular diseases
- climate change-triggered bronchial disorders and mental disorders, have now become areas of increasing concern.
- Lancetreport on adolescent health cites suicide as the leading cause of death among youngsters aged 10-24 in the country.
- This is alarming since around 30% of India’s population falls within this group and India accounts for 15% of the global mental, neurological and substance use disorders in the world.
- The stigma associated with these issues coupled with a severe shortage of medical professionals in the field leads to sub-optimal health outcomes.
- The quality of our healthcare is in serious jeopardy due to a lack of regulation as well as well-trained medical professionals.
- The huge out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenditure incurred by Indian households. 85.9% of private expenditure on health is OOP
Measures to improve :
- Urgent need to upgrade the curriculum in keeping with the changing disease spectrum and technological advances.
- Administration’s shift towards greater fiscal devolution, there must be a dialogue about how health-spending programmes can give state governments the greatest possible control in fine-tuning their approach, based on local needs.
- A bigger budget that irons out creases such as regional inequalities and accounts for a shifting disease spectrum might be a good storyline to begin with.
- Health education:
- Empowering the health-care consumer with the knowledge to understand the health-care system and to question health-care providers should be the goal of health literacy programmes.
- Education on preventive and early diagnostic health care should be the priority because even today hundreds of mothers and infants die from preventable causes.
- It also needs to focus on social determinants of health with renewed emphasis on the provision of clean water, sanitation, nutrition, housing, education and employment.
- Secret of success of Bangladesh and Kenya who have superior infant mortality rates and sanitation facilities are due to empowerment of women.India should learn lessons from them
- Incentives to doctors working in rural areas:
- It is necessary to get doctors and nurses to go to remote and rural areas and work there.
- This means paying them much higher wages, providing much better housing and other amenities, and making the working environment conducive to their lives.
- Technology and drugs:
- This means better machines and newer drugs and vaccines. For example, new vaccines and diagnostic techniques that can prevent or diagnose early some of the diseases among children and women are currently available in the private sector, but these technologies remain out of reach for the poor.
- The health department must have a division of technology assessment that is responsible for identifying and rigorously evaluating potentially useful and cost effective technologies for adoption in national health programmes in India
- HEALTH MANAGEMENT:
- More resources need much better management in order to deliver results.
- Health departments must have an adequate number of qualified programme managers and health planners to ensure better programme design and effective implementation.
- At least 40% of the entire resources for the health sector could be allocated to Panchayats or equivalent local representative bodies; such concrete decentralisation of resources needs to be implemented in a phased manner to make decentralised planning a reality
- The remarkable success in China in combating disease is due to sustained attention on the health of the young in China, and of public policy backed by resources and social mobilization .
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
6) It is said that the new geopolitical dynamism animating all corners of South Asia poses a number of important challenges for India. Examine the nature of new geopolitical dynamism and the challenges it’s posing to India in South Asia. (200 Words)
New geopolitical dynamism in South Asia :-
- Much of the international discourse on South Asia often gets reduced to the India-Pakistan relations; this only helps mask the significance of the other nations in the region. And the reference to them as “smaller nations” of the region is largely inaccurate.This is significantly changing now.
- Recently the Japanese invitation to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka underlines the remarkable rise in Tokyo’s strategic interest in the Subcontinent. It also highlights the growing salience of South Asian nations on the international stage.
- Japan is a late entrant to this game; China has already begun to integrate India’s neighbours into its larger international and regional strategies. The $ 46 billion China-Pakistan economic corridor is only one example. In another, Beijing has given Colombo and Kathmandu the status of a “dialogue partner” in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
- Bangladesh is today one of the fastest growing economies of the world and is open to massive investments in the infrastructure sector.Both Beijing and Tokyo also see the country as the fulcrum of the eastern subcontinent and a bridge between South Asia, China and South East Asia.
- Long viewed as India’s buffers to the north, Bhutan and Nepal have now become theatres of contestation with China. To the South, Sri Lanka is rediscovering its central location in the Indian Ocean, as all major powers like China, US and Japan pay unprecedented attention to Colombo.
- Maldives, which straddles the vital sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean, has now become a highly coveted piece of maritime real estate as China turns its gaze upon the Indian Ocean.
- There by every South Asian county has become significantly important in the policies of major economies of China,Japan changing the geopolitics in the region.
Challenges the new geopoliticism gives to India :-
- India can no longer view the region as India’s “backyard”.There is a growing gulf developing between its claims of primacy in the region and the growing economic, political and military influence of China in the Subcontinent.
- The new international opportunities have allowed the ruling elites in India’s neighbourhood to pursue greater “strategic autonomy” from India. This means India will have to work harder than ever before to retain its historic leverages in the neighbourhood.
- The Economic geography of the Subcontinent was inherently in India’s favour. It is now changing .India is trying hard to compensate but the scale and scope of its initiatives are not a great match to the Chinese efforts to reconfigure the economic geography of the Subcontinent.
- India’s “neighbourhood first” strategy is complicated by its deep involvement in the internal politics of the South Asian nations. Unlike in the past now these contries have countered it by seeking intervention of other powers.
- India must stop seeing itself as the “lone ranger” in South Asia. While it must necessarily compete with rival powers when they threaten its interests, it must also learn to collaborate with friendly powers, wherever possible, in shaping the regional environment. So this demands
- a new mindset in Delhi that focuses on strategic regional outcomes rather than the right to unilateral means.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in Robotics, Copmuter, S&T
7) In the past few months, many large banks are moving towards using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for enhancing customer experience, security, and risk management. Examine how AI is used in banking sector. (200 Words)
- In April 2016, Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank Ltd launched a banking app in India with in-built artificial intelligence (AI). As of now, DBS Bank’s Digibank app uses AI for virtual assistance via text and speech to respond to user queries.
- Many large banks such as ICICI Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd have also been looking at introducing AI technology in various services, including retail banking.
- The current digital wave in banking, approach to low-cost products, and the open source system and accessibility is bringing AI to the forefront.
How will it help?
- AI to help banks in compliance monitoring. As of today, globally, financial services are looking to use AI for compliance, anti-money laundering and risk management.
- The machine will be able to tell which product can be sold and to whom.
- AI can be used extensively in customer service.
- Banks may look at using AI for transactions, security and assistance.
- authentication in transactions
- access to buildings and specific floors and rooms
- security for public safety and surveillance in locations including ATMs
- interpersonal recognition and virtual personal teller assistants.AI can also be used for virtual personal assistants. The machine will observe content and behaviour, build and maintains data models from which it will draw inferences about people, content and contexts, predict user needs, and act autonomously on the user’s behalf.
- Intuitive and personalised customer experience is one of the benefits that AI can provide. “Today when customers walk into our branches or call on the phone, we do not have the ability to recognise them by sight or voice. We don’t know their name and can’t anticipate why they are there or how to serve them best. AI will be able to enable such customer experience where customers will be recognized and service will be of a different notch.
- With the use of AI, banks’ call centre work could get reduced to a certain extent. .
- AI will change how interactive voice response (IVR) works for banking. An AI-based programme may offer a solution that’s better and comes faster. It will also extend to your bank’s website, Internet banking and mobile banking.
Topic: Employment; changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
8) What are the objectives of the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)? Should the success of PMMY be measured in terms of the quantum of loans disbursed? Comment. (200 Words)
- In the light of the focus on the personal sector other than farms and factories wherein a person turns into a job provider through entrepreneurship rather than a job-seeker in the other two sectors.
- The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is one of the cornerstones of this policy.
- ‘fund the unfunded’:It will provide loans from public sector, regional, rural, State and urban cooperative banks to non-farm income generating enterprises in manufacturing, trading and services whose credit needs are below Rs.10 lakh.
- The scheme, aims at “reaching the unbanked segments,” provides loans to micro units in three categories ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs.ten lakh.
- The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.
- There are three types of loans under PMMY: Shishu (up to 50,000), Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh) and Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).
- These three categories will signify the growth, development and funding needs of the beneficiaries as well as it will assure the loan amount to be allotted by Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank.
Credit Suisse estimates that the total amount of loans disbursed under the PMMY programme crossed Rs.1.25 trillion as of March 2016. Out of 32.7 million borrowers, 30.3 million borrowers were in the Shishu category.
Yes,Quantum of loans is significant:-
- The biggest bottleneck to the growth of entrepreneurship in the non-corporate small business sector (NCSBS) is lack of financial support to this sector. Majority of this sector does not have access to formal sources of finance
- Majority of these small business units are owned by people belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. PMMY would have served the twin purpose of promoting self-employment/entrepreneurship and uplifting the marginalised class by helping them start their own ventures, and in many cases expanding the existing one.
No,Quantum of loans is not everything:-
- The amount of loan given under the scheme for the needy does not help them much and banks are very cautious in giving these loans to the people failing the very objective of the scheme.
- If the decision regarding the beneficiary and the amount is left totally to the discretion of the banks, then MUDRA serves little purpose.
- If the outcomes are all about the quantum of loans disbursed, then it is no better than an entitlement.
- The government should measure the success (or failure) of its interventions by the extent of reduction in informal employment, the rise in formal employment and the extent of mobility of firms to medium and large sizes. For that, one of the conditions of the loans must be that entrepreneurs start to maintain books of accounts on employment, output, revenues, expenses and taxes.
- This scheme intends to keep businesses small itself. The nature of most if the Indian businesses remain the same even after years of establishment making them to remain small.The focus should be on this.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Moral thinkers
9) “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” Discuss the relevance of meaning of this quote for a public servant. (200 Words)