SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country
The Champaran Movement of Bihar in 1917 was a result of the long colonial oppressive “teenkathiya system” where the planters forced cultivators to grow indigo in 3/20th parts of their lands.
- It was Gandhiji’s first movement in India based on his policy oftruth and non-violence.
- It was fought for theeconomic demands of the peasants.
- It was contributed byintelligentsia of the time such as Rajendra Prasad,J.B.Kriplani etc.
- He followedstrategy of political persuasion to eliminate this system instead of defying the political establishment.
- It scaled up the local issue of peasants into widespreadnational struggle against the colonial govt.
- Gandhi believed inattacking the symbolic dominance of the planters rather than monetary one. Ex-he settled with the Indigo Commission’s recommendations of returning 25% of illegal dues to the peasants by the planters instead of full amount which was a big blow on planters prestige and position.
- Constructive Politics: wherein the opposition parties’ opinion should be taken into account to resolve any issue instead of frequent disruption. Ex-Parliament disruption on demonetization issues.
- To bring insocial reform being within the ambit of law and order and cooperating with the govt. Ex- Naxalism,LWE,etc.
- Inclusive growthby taking every section of society together involving marginalised groups.
Thus, the movement is of great relevance even after 100 years in a complex political and democratic system in order to realize Gandhiji’s dream of India.
In this sense, the symbolic significance of the this satyagraha was much greater than what actually happened in Champaran. Along with the Kheda Satyagraha of 1917-1918, the Champaran Satyagraha was the movement responsible for putting Gandhi on the front seat of the Indian nationalist movement and making satyagraha a powerful tool of civilian resistance.
Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment;
Interpersonal violence whether it is sexual or nonsexual, remains a major problem in large parts of the world. Sexual violence against children and women brings with it long-term sequelae, both psychiatrically and socially. If sexual violence is to be addressed, men must get involved. They are part of the problem, they need to be part of the solution.
- Cultural change-cultures that foster beliefs of perceived male superiority and social and cultural inferiority of women should be counter with feminist revolution.
- Parenting-A father should inculcate moral and ethical values and misogynist attitude and stereotypes should be overcome by showing respect to girl child in the family.
- Education-gender friendly lectures, sexual violence issues to discussed and debated .for eg-Young Men Initiative by Care International-by educating young men on issues such as gender equality, violence and sex, so here male become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
- Enabling and Inspiring Men-by showing documentaries and appreciating men who respect women involving celebrities under “beti bachao,beti padao” schemes,selfie with daughter, campaign like MARD(Men Against Rape and Discrimination), Nirbhay issue was equally take by both men and women.
- Policies-men should do away with glass ceiling and promote women at decision making position, delegated legislationinvolving women to be part important committee’s to solve issues.
Sexual violence is a profoundly negative and traumatic life event with widespread psychological and sociological effects on the victim irrespective of their gender. Program developed by No Means No Worldwide, a NGO that works in the slums of Nairobi to prevent sexual assault on girls and women based on “what kind of people they want to be”, MenEngage, a global alliance works on personal and relational accountability evaluating men against women and Australia’s White Ribbon Campaign a ‘male-led’ effort to end violence against women should be implemented to reform the men within.
General Studies – 2
Topic : Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
3) In the wake of demonetization, the ruling party at the centre has said that any win in upcoming assembly elections would be regarded as referendum in favour of its demonetization policy. Is it fair to consider assembly elections as referendum on certain policy issues? Critically analyse. (200 Words)
Introduction:- The recent demonetization decision by the central government drew widest possible criticism from around the opposition and people. It was also regarded that it will be a litmus test of government in coming elections. However elections are not referendum.
- Election is a formal decision making process by which electorate elects a ‘representative’ while Referendum is a process of casting a direct vote by entire electorate ‘on a particular issue’.
- Elections, unlike referendums, are not an isolated instance. They represent a decisive moment in long-term civic engagement with structures, institutions, and holders of power.
- An election vote needs to be polled keeping in view the performance of the ruling party’s performance in the state/ country during a span of 5 years, instead of a single step taken.
- As per reputed economists, impact of demonetization will be known after one, two years. So, there is no point in declaring election results as a referendum just after 3 months.
- Referendum enables citizens to influence subsequent policies of the government, for e.g The UK held referendum in 2016 on whether citizens want to leave or stay in European Union, but demonetization has already taken place and can’t be rolled back, even if the ruling party loses in upcoming assembly elections.
- In elections, voters have to decide what sort of government they wish to be ruled by on the basis of party’s performance within the span of five years and not on the basis of one decision.
- Demonetization has caused enormous hardship to the electorate of entire country, it would be unfair to settle the debate on the basis of election results of few states.
The reduction of Assembly elections to a referendum diminishes the political competence of voters to decide what sort of a government they wish to be ruled by. Hence they must not be treated so.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
4) India now finds itself increasingly isolated in continental Asia. Russia and the Central Asian countries are linking their infrastructure to China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR). What compelling arguments can be made in favour of India for it to join OBOR initiative? Examine. (200 Words)
Introduction:- The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road or the Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR). The strategy underlines China’s push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need for priority capacity cooperation in areas such as steel manufacturing
- China is fast replacing global rules with connectivity, the OBOR, through infrastructure, new institutions and integrated markets. The massive investment has been welcomed, with prospects for shared prosperity.
- India alone in continental Asia does not support the OBOR, which spans more than 65 countries, three-quarters of known energy resources, envisages an investment of $4 trillion and is estimated to cover two-thirds of the global population and GDP.
- Delhi’s attempt to represent OBOR as merely China’s “national initiative” downplays or underestimates the transformative potential of the enterprise.
- China’s national goal is to double its 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020 for which the OBOR is considered essential. China is keen that India join that initiative, providing the opportunity to reset relations. The Modi-Xi joint statement in May 2015 recognised the two countries as “two major poles in the global architecture”.
- We should become a partner in the OBOR adding a “Digital Sustainable Asia” component, an area where we have global leadership,shaping the infrastructure and markets around two nodes. We should also see Pakistan-sponsored terrorism as a symptom of the domination of the military with the OBOR leading to strengthening of democratic control.
- There are encouraging signs that we have begun to think strategically by balancing cross-border terrorism with cross-border water flows and greater reliance on endogenous cybersecurity and missiles. Participation in the OBOR and treating the Line of Control as a “soft border” will be the bold vision needed to exorcise the ghosts of 1757.
- India’s strategy so far has been to either ignore the ambitious scope of OBOR or resent Pakistan’s involvement in the flagship CPEC project. This approach does not serve its interests well.
- For a country that is quite self-conscious about its international image, it looks exceedingly odd for India to idly watch as China sets about altering the landscape around it, consolidating links with the neighbourhood and populating it with its personnel, equipment, technology and standards.
- Delhi’s approach also does not make sense since the nature of US commitment to Asia and India is in some doubt given Donald Trump’s views on security alliances, H1-B visas, outsourcing and reviving American manufacturing.
- China clearly looks set to step into the vacuum that the US is creating in Asia through its isolationist, unpredictable President – and OBOR appears to be vehicle that will accelerate China’s influence in the age of American distraction.
Two things need to happen for India to move in the direction of eventually participating in OBOR. India and China need to ensure that their differences on political questions do not prevent both sides from advancing economic cooperation, something both countries have struggled to lately.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
5) Various parliamentary committees have contributed immensely to the policy debate in Parliament. However, their work has always been behind closed doors. Do you think their proceedings should be open to the public in the form of televised format? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Parliamentary committees have important role to play in the overall functioning of parliament. However in the era of openness and transparency questions have been raised against the secret functioning of these committees and some demands have been made towards the opening up the parliamentary committee’s debates to the public.
Should proceedings of parliamentary committees be open to public?
- Secret meetings promote the free exchange of ideas between participating MPs.
- The absence of cameras live telecasting its proceedings discourages political grandstanding.
- It may lead to fracturing of decision making process as a result of divisions in the body.
- Closed door mechanisms are necessary for sensitive matters like defense and foreign relations to maintain the secrecy.
- Public opinions are many a times swayed by emotional motives which will hinder the pragmatism required while making decisions.
- Public accountability can resolve the problem of low attendance by MPs to parliamentary committee’s meetings. It would also ensure that political parties follow norms while nominating the MPs to different committees.
- It will bring transparency and openness to the whole law making process.
- It will make government more accountable to people as public scrutiny will prompt it to take decisions to promote Welfare state.
- It will make public more politically literate and present them with opportunity to understand lawmaking process and law makers better and will enhance their decision making power.
- The examples from other countries like USA, UK present positive picture of having open and transparent discussion of committees.
- There have been a few examples of the opening up of legislative committees in India. Last year, a committee of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha looking at irregularities in sports administration bodies of cricket and hockey allowed the press to view its proceedings. In 2008, the Goa Vidhan Sabha had also opened up its committee meetings to both the public and press. In the 13th Lok Sabha, given the widespread public interest, the chairman of the joint committee examining the Stock Market Scam briefed the press at the end of each committee meeting.
- It is a right time for our parliamentary committees to open their doors when witnesses are testifying before them. It can be done in multiple ways. The easiest will be to permit Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha television to telecast the testimony of witnesses. Allowing the press to observe the evidence can be used to supplement it. Publication of the transcript of testimony is another low-hanging fruit when it comes to opening the committees. The final step can be allowing the general public to view evidence proceedings of committees.
- The rules of parliament provide some avenues for opening committee meetings. For example, rule 269 of the rules of procedure of the Lok Sabha gives the chairman of a committee the discretion to allow evidence presented before it to either be treated as confidential or made public.
- It takes a minimum of three months to finalise the report of a parliamentary committee. The current rules can be amended to enable uploading of the evidence given before the committees before the final report is published.
The changes to the working of parliamentary committees are essential steps for securing openness and transparency. They also have the added advantage of strengthening Parliament’s accountability.
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these; Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive
6) What were the objectives of the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance? Do you think this Ordinance subverts both the primacy of the legislature and the spirit of the Constitution? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Objectives of the given ordinance-
- The bill amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the custodian and declares transfer of property by the enemy as void. Enemy properties are land and assets such as jewelry, shares and bank deposits left behind by persons or firms that chose to go to Pakistan after the Partition and subsequent wars. It includes persons who went to China too.
- This applies retrospectively to all transfers that have occurred after the Act was passed. One of the controversial provisions of the bill is that it amends the definition of “enemy” and “enemy subject” to include the legal heir(s) or successor(s) of the enemy, even if the latter is a citizen of India or a non-enemy country. According to the new bill, the law of succession will not apply to the legal heir(s) or successor(s) of the enemy.
- The bill also prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.
Issue of ordinance and legislative primacy-
The provision of ordinance is made in the constitution to enable executive to deal with a situation that may suddenly and immediately arise when the parliament is not in session. Thus power of ordinance is an extra-ordinary weapon that should be used sparingly by ruling party. However in many cases executives have resorted to the frequent use of ordinance sometimes even to bypass the deliberations of the parliament or legislative assemblies.
In this regard judiciary has clearly stated its stance against the overreach of ordinance.
- In D C Wadhwa case (1987), the SC ruled that successive repromulgation of ordinances with the same text without any attempt to get the bills passed by the assembly would amount to violation of the constitution and the ordinance so promulgated is liable to be struck down. It held that exceptional power of law making through ordinance cannot be used as a substitute for the legislative power of the legislature.
- The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in Krishna Kumar Singh’s case, has reiterated the principle that re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and a subversion of the democratic legislative processes. The raison d’être for this dictum is that re-promulgation represents an effort to overreach the legislative process which is the primary source of law-making in a parliamentary democracy.
In the present context of the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, the ordinance was promulgated for the 5th time by the President without trying to get it passed from the parliament. Frequent promulgation of ordinance under the art 123 has given way to executive excessiveness, which SC time and again has termed as fraud on Constitution (D C Wadhwa and Krishna Kumar Singh’s cases).
Further the ordinance is in contravention with the Supreme Court’s judgement given in the Raja of Mahmudabad case (2005) which ordered the authorities to return back the properties to his successors.
Even though government’s intentions are primarily due to the concerns of National Security, the successive promulgation of ordinance has certainly undermined the primacy of legislature and spirit of the constitution.
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
7) “A Constitution does not “confer” fundamental rights. It confirms their existence and accords them protection. Above all, the fundamental rights part in the Constitution is a salutary reminder that the powers of the state are not unlimited and that human personality is priceless.” Discuss the significance of this statement. (200 Words)
Constitutional Fundamental Rights have their origins in the liberalism of the 17th and 18th centuries, most particularly in the American and French revolutions. These rights took birth from the notion of natural rights which claimed that humans were invested with a set of rights on account of their being human. John Locke defined these rights as ‘Life, Liberty and Property’. Today we have come a long way from Locke and enjoy a variety of Fundamental rights.
Fundamental human rights are moral principles or norms, which describe certain standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal rights in national and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being,” and which are “inherent in all human beings” regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They require empathy and the rule of law and impose an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others. They should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances; for example, human rights may include freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution.
Thus state or constitution does not confer fundamental rights but recognize them and accords them protection. In fact protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens has become the most important duty of the state. The State should remember that recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Disregard and contempt for human rights in the past have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind. Thus state has the moral and ethical duty of creating environment in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want that has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.
The consent of the governed is the source of authority for the state and it has no rights to overrule it. Thus through the constitution certain restrictions are placed over state while discharging its functions.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Infrastructure; Effect of liberalization
The entry of Reliance in the telecom sector has altered the rules of the telecoms. The customer attracting policies initiated by the Reliance are being replicated by other companies and it is resulting into cut throat price war among the telecoms which has widespread effects on economy and other stakeholders.
Effects on economy-
- Monopolistic tendencies – Individual selfishness leads to sub-optimal outcome for the total (Prisoners’ Dilemma), which leads to irrational price wars, leading to exit of few medium-small players.
- On the other hand this distorts the free market competition and the rights of other business in market. This would not be very helpful for any economy in long run for small and medium enterprises of telecom companies.
- Low realization of revenue for telecoms could increase the bad loans for the banks which have loaned telecoms heavily.
- One of the by-product of this competition could be that it would increase the mobile and internet penetration in India and thereby helping in digitalizing the India.
Effects on customers-
- In the short run consumers would be the biggest beneficiaries as competition between telecoms would reduce the prices. However in longer run, it could affect consumers adversely if monopoly of one company gets established.
Effects on Telecoms-
- Though certain level of competition is good for the Telecoms which would incentivize them to innovate, but aggressive price war could eliminate the small and medium players from the market.
- This could lead to Income-Expense mismatch for the Telecoms due to decreasing revenue/subscriber due to predatory pricing and increasing operating expenses because of marketing and distribution costs.
- There are greater chances of merger between small and medium players to resist the aggressive policies of dominant players.
Effect on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)-
- TRAI will have to be cautious in monitoring the Indian Telecom sector as predatory conditions could emerge due to entry of players like Reliance. This could also distort the free competition and could eliminate the small and medium players. Thus TRAI has greater role to play in future.
Indian telecom sector is witnessing a new phase. Price wars are common in any sector. In many instances, market would itself gets pushed towards an equilibrium, however TRAI should examine for any unethical or anti-competition principles adopted to companies to gain undue advantage.