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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 January 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 January 2017


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1;


Topic: World history; World Geography

1) It is said that if Donald Trump succeeds in resetting ties with an aggressive Russia, it could trigger a cascade of geostrategic realignments across the world. Analyse. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Introduction-

With the Republican leader Donald Trump assuming the charge in White house, the USA’s relations with Russia are seems to moving in different directions. Considering Trump’s views on Russia, it is being said that he may reset the American ties with the Russia. The traditional policy of containing Russia at any cost pursued by America may shift towards countering terrorism and making Russia one of the partners in it. Such redefining of geopolitics may give out new roles and responsibilities not only to USA and Russia but to the most of the countries of the world.

Possible implications and consequences of such realignment-

  • The organizations like NATO which were created with the sole intention of curbing Russia (formerly USSR) would see changes in their objectives and functions. For Eg NATO’s strict stand on Russia’s acquisition of Crimea may soften.
  • Russia may get re-entry into G8 club. Russia was expelled from G8 after the former had captured Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Recently Russian president Putin expressed desire to take their interaction in the international arena to a whole new level, in “a constructive and pragmatic manner”.
  • USA may come to tables with Russia for finding solution to Syrian civil war. It is being said that Trump is open to the view of allowing Bashar Al Asad to continue as a head of Syrian government.
  • There could be broad alliance between USA and Russia for fighting against the Islamic terrorism. Addressing the UN in September 2015, Mr. Putin called for a “genuinely broad alliance against terrorism, just like the one against Hitler”, and Mr. Trump is in complete agreement with this position.
  • Europe could be the main beneficiaries of the result of the good relations between USA and Russia as it has been sandwiched between the two since the beginning of cold war.
  • USA could aim to isolate China by tying with Russia as China is seen as bigger threat the American domination at present. USA may become more aggressive on the issues like South China Sea, North Korean etc.
  • The world could see better understanding at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) between USA and Russia which could solve lingering issues like peace process in Afghanistan, nuclear deal with Iran etc.

 

 

Indian perspective-

  • Any closer interaction between USA and Russia is beneficial for India as traditionally India has sought the help of both while maintaining strategic balance between the two.
  • This could give India better chances to deal with Chines aggression on geopolitical issues in Asia-Pacific region.
  • India could deal with terrorist activities with strong hand as terrorism has emerged as single biggest common issue between USA and Russia.
  • India could leverage the help USA-Russia against China in getting entry into permanent members of UNSC.

Conclusion-

With changing geo-political situations and priorities of the leading powers of the world, friendly relations between USA and Russia cannot be ruled out. However it would be too early to conclude any solid judgement without analyzing the policies of new government in USA.


 

Topic: Social empowerment

2) A survey has found that in Indian metros a majority of the most educated and historically well-to-do communities do not feel that people from marginalised groups should get government support for representation in social and public spheres. Critically examine why such opinion on reservation persists and how it can be changed. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Background-

recently a survey conducted by SARI, Social Attitude Research for India found out what people in metro cities like Delhi think about reservation policies.  In Delhi, about half of the respondents say they do not support it. Responses vary by social category, and support is more common among people from reserved categories. The graph shows differences in opposition to reservation by social categories. The lowest opposition is among respondents from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), while the highest opposition is found among general caste respondents.

Reasons for such opinion-

  • Undermines Merit-Around 56% of the respondents said that jobs and seats in schools should be allocated on the basis of “merit,” they are referring to the fact that people from reserved categories are often given a concession of a few points on exams and in interviews.
  • Violates Equality- Some of the respondents said that they opposed reservation because they believe in equality.
  • Income based- Some people say that they oppose today’s reservations because they believe reservation should be made on the basis of income rather than social background.
  • Political misuse- Misuse of reservations for political gains- political parties have misused the tool of reservation for their vested interests which has hampered the real objective of granting reservation.
  • Reserve category candidates have been charged of not working hard as they do not have to compete with the general category students.
  • Present generation of general category do not understand why they should suffer because of the wrongs committed by their ancestors.

Many of the above mentioned reasons like undermining of merit, violation of principle of equality and income based reservation do not stand the test of rationality due to following points,

  • When people complain about lack of merit due to reservation, they overlooks the important disadvantages that people from reserved categories face in going to school or getting a job today. Reservation is a useful tool to level the playing field: we cannot expect groups who have been historically deprived of education, skills, and access to other means of economic mobility to suddenly start competing with those from groups who have had access to these means for centuries. Social transformation and building of economic and cultural capital takes time to be passed on from one generation to another. It is an all too commonly held belief that people from general castes are meritorious inherently. Yet, the ability to decipher test answers or speak confidently in an interview is often the result of being nurtured in an environment that is a result of accumulated economic, social and cultural capital. Children who grew up in a dominant caste household are often encouraged, supported, and helped to succeed by other members of their caste groups, while reserved category students rarely have such networks to draw on.
  • People are often wrong when they say that reservations violate equality. Reservation is a policy tool that promotes equality rather than undermines it. The primary reason why reservation was written into India’s Constitution was to ensure representation of all social groups in positions of power. When people from all social groups are represented in government, higher education, and in business, it is less likely that traditionally marginalized groups will continue to be denied fundamental rights and access to their fair share of society’s resources.
  • Similarly reservation is intended not to be an anti-poverty program. The government has many programs which are, in principle, accessible to all poor people. Reservation exists because, in addition to being more likely to be poor than general castes, Dalits, backward Muslims, and Adivasis face social discrimination and exclusion that poor people from general caste backgrounds do not face. The fact that the right to education, the right to own land, the right to conduct business or to pursue a well-remunerated occupation has been reserved for men from high caste backgrounds for generations means that government must take steps to correct the unequal distribution of rights.

 

 

How these opinions can be changed?

  • Most of the mentioned reasons are due to wrong mindset, incorrect perspective and immature thoughts about the reservation policies. Thus first thing is to change their mindset and attitude towards reservation system.
  • Educating youth about impact of caste system, its existing discriminatory practices in present Indian society and still prevalent exclusion because of caste system.
  • Government needs to scale up the educational and employment opportunities both in private and public sector so there should not be conflict and fight between different communities.
  • The progressive steps should be taken to make sure that poorer section among the backward communities should get the benefit of reservation system.
  • Political parties must not be allowed to use caste or reservations as political tools which defeats the very purpose of granting reservations.

Conclusion-

The principles of Justice, Liberty and Equality are integral part of our constitution and the policy of reservation was adopted to entitle these rights to historically degenerated classes. Thus government and civil society work in tandem to realize its true purpose.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:Important aspects of governance,

3) In your opinion, how one should – both government and public – deal with the phenomenon of ‘fake news’? In the light of its impact on polity and society, discuss critically. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Introduction-

Fake news, in recent time have assumed alarming proportion in creating fear, insecurity and anxiety among different communities. The fake news have played key role in incidents like mass exodus of North-Eastern people in Bangalore, Muzaffarnagar riots etc. Thus there is need to evolve sound strategy on the part of both government and public to deal with the menace of fake news.

Impact of fake news on polity and society-

  • People’s faith in social, print and electronic media reduces which could affect the benefits of these Medias.
  • It can lead to violence between two or more communities thereby creating enmity and hatred between them.
  • It can disturb the social fabric of the society and tensions among communities persists for long times.
  • It reduces the tendencies of cooperation between different communities.
  • Political parties try to gain political advantages by polarizing the voter’s mind which further intensifies the tensions between different sections of society.
  • Politics of development takes back seat and communal tendencies emerge in politics.

How government should deal with the fake news-

  • Government should portray true and analytical picture of original issues to superimpose the same on mind of people.
  • Government should have independent agency to verify the data being circulated in social and other media. The agency should be tasked with presenting real facts and figures.
  • Government should have mechanism for immediately issuing of notice against sites/people/agencies involved in spreading fake news.
  • There should be a provision of effective balances and check of filtering fake posts before it getting viral.
  • Social media websites should be made accountable of such activities so that it becomes their responsibility to have better controlin restricting the spread of fake news.
  • Government should take active measures for promoting awareness among people about fake news and their consequences.
  • Government should enlist penal provisions to perpetrators of fake news if it causes violence or deaths.
  • Government should make mandatory for Print and Electronic media to have internal mechanism for verifying incidents, facts and figures.

How public should deal with the fake news-

  • Public should verify the accuracy and of reliability of any news or data either from government or any independent agency specifically involved in such task.
  • Public should not blindly trust any sensitive news and should not forward it to others.
  • Public should inform concerned department about any fake post as soon as they come across. They should act as active vigilant for maintaining peace and harmony in the society.
  • NGO’s and other civil society groups can play important role in spreading awareness about the ill effects of fake news.

Conclusion-

Citizens can play the most important role in reducing the menace of fake news as they are the ones who amplify the effects and consequences of fake news. Thus aware and informed citizens are the prior need of bringing positive changes.


General Studies – 3


Topic: Developments in S&T; Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

4) Several recent episodes have highlighted the potential of Twitter diplomacy to both make peace or enhance relations and raise tensions or wage war. Analyse these episodes and suggest how governments should handle Twitter diplomacy. (200 Words)

Livemint

 

Introduction:-

Twitter diplomacy, also “Twiplomacy” or “hashtag diplomacy”, is the use of social network and micro blogging website, Twitter, by heads of state, leaders of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and their diplomats to conduct diplomatic outreach and public diplomacy.

SOME FACTS:-

  • Twitter—the ubiquitous social media messaging service limited to a mere 140 characters—has become integral to the diplomatic toolkit of leaders and countries.
  • According to Burson-Marsteller’s 2016Twiplomacy study, 173 heads of state and government, representing almost 90% of all UN member states, use Twitter to reach a “combined audience of 324 million followers”.
  • Only 20 countries, mostly in Africa and the Pacific region, do not have a presence on Twitter.
  • Of the leaders, US President Barack Obama (@BarackObama, @WhiteHouse, and @POTUS) tops the list.
  • While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi and @PMOIndia) is ranked third and fourth, respectively (after Pope Francis), the combined following from the two Twitter handles puts him in second place.
  • India’s foreign minister (@SushmaSwaraj) is not only ranked 10th but is also the most followed female world leader.
  • A more accurate measure of influence of leaders is the number of tweets and retweets they generate. Here President Obama still tops the list, while Prime Minister Modi is ranked a respectable seventh. Significantly, US president-elect Donald Trump is ranked third.

Some recent incidences:-

  • In mid-2014, a “hashtag battle” broke out between the US and Russia when both used the same hashtag—#UnitedForUkraine—to convey their contrary perspectives.
  • In November 2014, Prime Minister Modi tweeted that he had invited President Obama to India. The US replied via a tweet: “@ invite of @narendramodi President Obama will travel to #India in Jan 2015 to participate in Indian Republic Day celebration as Chief Guest”.
  • In May 2015, the US state department used Twitter to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, two months before the formal re-establishment of ties. However, a similar effort with Iran failed to yield results.
  • In December 2016, a fake news report claimed that the former Israeli defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, threatened Pakistan with “nuclear attack” if Islamabad sent troops to Syria to fight Daesh. In response, Pakistan’s defence minister, Khawaja M. Asif tweeted a counter threat, “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.” In doing so, Asif not only tweeted the first ever nuclear threat but carelessly exploded the myth that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is solely Indo-centric.

However tweets have also been used to aggravate tensions –

  • Recent fake news which triggered Pakistani Minister to threaten Israel of nuclear warfare.
  • Brexit and Trump Election have been driven by post truths disseminated by the jingoistic public.
  • Recent cyber-attacks on the Twitter handle of Rahul Gandhi and INC, Russian hacking of US Elections explode the vulnerabilities of this medium.

Following steps should be taken by government in order to handle twitter diplomacy in a good manner:-

  • Increasing Twitter Government interface and contact for constant up gradation, security concerns and necessary modifications in Twits.
  • Fake news and Fake accounts:this kind of disruptive accounts should be checked and controlled to avoid wrong dissemination of information regarding any nation.
  • “Social media should be a dialogue” and “post with caution”leaders and states should follow these two principles of twitter diplomacy.
  • TD in most cases should remain confined to ‘formalization of messages’ rather than ‘outburst of emotions’ by national leaders (Use responsibly), and verification of any provocation/threat must be done initially before responding to them
  • Twitter should remain a formal, soft tool only as international relations have many aspects which cannot be discussed in public forum.

 

Topic: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5) One of the key features of the revised draft model goods and services tax (GST) law (released in November 2016) is a provision enabling the Central government to constitute an authority to monitor the prices businesses charge for goods and services in the lead-up to, and following the introduction of, GST. Critically comment on the necessity of this feature. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction:-

The above mentioned authority will examine whether any reduction in a business’ cost base, or in the tax rate on goods and services as a result of the introduction of GST, is passed on to consumers in the form of appropriately reduced prices.

Necessity of such authority:-

  • Implementing GST would bring down prices of goods. Due to this business might keep prices higher through collisions/ cartels between manufacturing companies. This is necessary to check hence such authority is needed.
  • Business might not pass also the benefits of removal of cascading taxes to end consumers.
  • Prices that be achieved after GST implementation is not known and cannot be calculated currently.
  • Resolution of disputes with respect to prices and addressing customer concerns.
  • Awareness : This authority will pplay important role in educating both consumers and businesses about their rights and obligations. 

Critical aspects:-

  • Anti-profiteering provisions are only effective if there is a significant lead-in time to allow the relevant authority to educate consumers and businesses as to their respective rights and obligations.
  • Australia was the first country to enact similar provisions when it replaced a series of inefficient taxes with a GST in July 2000. The chairman of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)any well-informed, competitive market operating in a climate of low inflation and good corporate citizenship will ensure that the vast majority of businesses will act fairly.
  • Malaysia also introduced an anti-profiteering provision, along with the introduction of GST in April 2015. However, it led to widespread litigation and was found to be administratively difficult to implement.
  • Also lack of sufficient guidelines and no past experience with such authority will make the implementation of this authority a tough task. No mention is made as to who will undertake this task, how it will be undertaken, when it will commence, when it will end.
  • It can be seen as an additional compliance burden on Indian businesses which are already struggling to keep pace with the preparation for the introduction of a GST.
  • There will be need for more resource requirement and addition of one more body whose functions are overlapping with existing bodies.

WAY AHEAD:-

  • The government will need to come up with detailed guidelines on the mechanism for computation of benefit and administration. For example, whether the profit has to be computed at the product level or the entity level. Do we do this analysis for each of the costs or only the major costs?
  • Successful models from around the world for such authority must be identified and their provisions must be integrated into Indian model.
  • The existing bodies like Competition commission of India and National consumer dispute redressal commission can be effectively used to check the prices and make business, consumers aware rather than creating a new body.

Conclusion:- Ultimately, it is competition and an open marketplace that is the best tool for keeping prices in check. India has a competitive, open and growing market. Both Indian businesses and consumers are well placed to enjoy the benefits of GST, without government price monitoring. Let’s hope the Central and state governments start focusing on making it easier for businesses to comply with the GST.


 

Topic:  Awareness in biotechnology

6) What are G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs)? Recently a research related to GPCRs was in  news in India. In this light, examine significance of GPCRs. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) which are also known as seven-transmembrane domain receptors, 7TM receptors, heptahelical receptors, serpentine receptor, and G protein–linked receptors (GPLR), constitute a large protein family of receptors, that detect molecules outside the cell and activate internal signal transduction pathways and, ultimately, cellular responses. Coupling with G proteins, they are called seven-transmembrane receptors because they pass through the cell membrane seven times.

G protein–coupled receptors are found only in eukaryotes, including yeastchoanoflagellates and animals. The ligands that bind and activate these receptors include light-sensitive compounds, odorspheromoneshormones, and neurotransmitters, and vary in size from small molecules to peptides to large proteins. G protein–coupled receptors are involved in many diseases, and are also the target of approximately 40% of all modern medicinal drugs.

Significance –

  • GPCRs are core components of controlling physiological processes therefore they can be used in drug administration.
  • GPCRs have two components – head and tails. Tail protrudes out of cells and as per study drugs that bind on tails are very effective in solving medical issues. Drugs administration on the tail part is achievable and will help the patient if administered though this way.
  • This research will reduce the cost and wastage of antibiotics due to increase hit rate of drugs.
  • It will help in promoting impetus to Indian Patent Industry and Pharma Industry who would take the research forward.
  • Promote Indian IITs as an important center of drug research and help our pharma industry to make more affordable drugs.

Conclusion:­

The discovery is a breakthrough in biotechnology and further research on this can enable drug designers and manufacturers to produce relatively simple drugs. It can also help us to understand different physiological processes and come up with new drugs for hitherto untreated diseases.