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General Studies – 1;
Topic:The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
Struggle for India’s Independence, Bipan Chandra
The entire history of the freedom movement is replete with the saga of bravery, sacrifice and political sagacity and Indian women were integral part of it. Many of these women continued their noble contribution even after independence.
1) Sarojini Naidu:
Role as a freedom fighter- At a very young age Sarojini Naidu wrote many patriotic poems which inspired people in India to throw off the foreign yoke. She joined the Home Rule movement launched by Annie Besant. This was her first step in politics. In 1921 she participated in the Non-Cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. She became President of the Congress in 1925. When Mahatma Gandhi started his Civil disobedience movement in 1930, Sarojini Naidu became his principal assistant.
Contribution after independence- She acted as first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, with this she also became first woman to become governor of any Indian state.
2) Aruna Asaf Ali-
Role as a freedom fighter- She was an active member of Congress Party and participated in public processions during the Salt Satyagraha. In 1932, she was held prisoner at the Tihar Jail where she protested the indifferent treatment of political prisoners by launching a hunger strike. Her efforts resulted in an improvement of conditions in the Tihar Jail. Aruna Asaf Ali became a face of Quit India movement by hoisting the Congress flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan when all the major leaders were arrested by British.
Contribution after independence- After the independence, she remained active in politics. She joined the Communist Party of India in the early 1950s and in 1954; she helped to form the National Federation of Indian Women, the women’s wing of CPI. She became Delhi‘s first mayor in 1958. In the 1960s, she successfully started a media publishing house.
3) Sucheta Kripalani-
Role as a freedom fighter- Sucheta Kripalani actively took part in Quit India movement along with Aruna Asaf Ali and Usha Mehta. She courted imprisonment for taking part in freedom struggle. During communal violence Sucheta Kriplani went to Noakhali with Gandhi and worked hard to pacify communities.
Contribution after independence- She was general secretary of Indian National Congress from 1958 to 1960, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1963 to 1967. Sucheta Kripalani was in the words of Indira Gandhi, a person of rare courage and character who brought credit to Indian womanhood.
4) Usha Mehta-
Role as a freedom fighter– She organized the Congress Radio, an underground radio station, which functioned for around 3 months during the Quit India Movement of 1942. It greatly assisted the movement by disseminating uncensored news and other information banned by the British-controlled government of India. Secret Congress Radio also kept the leaders of the freedom movement in touch with the public.
Contribution after independence- Usha Mehta continued to be socially active, particularly in spreading the Gandhian thought and philosophy after independence. In 1998, the Government of India conferred on her Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of Republic of India.
5) Vijay Laxmi Pandit-
Role as a freedom fighter- Vijayalakshmi Pandit inspired by Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi and impressed by Sarojini Naidu entered the Non Cooperation Movement. She was imprisoned thrice for taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932, 1941 and 1942.
Contribution after independence-
Following India’s independence, she entered the diplomatic service and became India’s ambassador to several countries like the Soviet Union, the United States, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. Between 1946 and 1968 she also headed the Indian delegation to the United Nations. In 1953, she became the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly. She also served as governor of Maharashtra from 1962 to 1964.
6) Padmaja Naidu
Role as a freedom fighter- Miss Padmaja Naidu like her mother Sarojini Naidu, devoted herself to the cause of Nation like her mother. At the age of 21, she entered the National scene and became the joint founder of the Indian National Congress of Hyderabad. She spread the message of Khadi and inspired people to boycott foreign goods. She was jailed for taking part in the Quit India movement in 1942.
Contribution after independence- After Independence, she became the Governor of West Bengal. During her public life spanning over half a century, she was associated with the Red Cross. Her services to the Nation and especially her humanitarian approach have been well appreciated.
7) Indira Gandhi
Role as a freedom fighter- In her early years was active in the national liberation struggle. During the 1930 movement, she formed the ‘Vanar Sena’, a children’s brigade to help freedom fighters. She became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1938.
Contribution after independence- In the eventful years of her leadership as Prime Minister, Indian society underwent profound changes. She was unremitting in her endeavour for the unity and solidarity of the nation. A staunch defender of the secular ideals of the Constitution, she worked tirelessly for the social and economic advancement of the minorities. She had a vision of a modern self-reliant and dynamic economy. She fought boldly and vigorously against communalism, obscurantism, revivalism and religious fundamentalism of all types.
8) Durga Bai Deshmukh
Role as a freedom fighter- She was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and thus; played active role in Gandhi Satyagraha movement and played role of Indian struggler, a lawyer, a social activist and a politician.
Contribution after independence- She was a lok sabha member as well as member of Planning Commission of India. While being member of Planning Commission she launched a Central Social Welfare Board through which she improved condition of education, women, children, handicap and rehabilitation of needy persons.
Topic: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
Bipan Chandra, Struggle for India’s Independence
Along with the hundreds and thousands of Indian women who dedicated their lives for the cause of their motherland, there were a number of noble and courageous foreign women who stood shoulder to shoulder with their Indian counterparts in this struggle.
Reasons behind participation of foreign women-
- Many of them saw in India – its religion, its philosophy and its culture, a hope for the redemption of the world. They thought that in India’s spiritual death shall world find its grave.
- Some of them were sick of the material west and found in India and in its civilization, solace for their cramped souls.
- Also they were moved by the profound poverty intensified by unjust and exploitative British rule. Further they found Indian society full of superstitious and evil practices. Enlightened foreign women worked to remove these evils.
Role played by foreign women in India’s struggle for independence-
1) Sister Nivedita-
Born in Ireland on 28 October 1867, she arrived in India in January, 1898, in search of truth. After freeing herself from the obligations of the monastic order she actively took interest into Indian politics and wrote and spoke against British rule.
She attacked Lord Curzon for the Universities Act of 1904 and partition of Bengal in 1905. She held the British responsible for disastrous state of Indian economy; she attended the Benares Congress in 1905 and supported the Swadeshi Movement. She helped Nationalist groups like the Dawn Society and the Anusilan Samiti.
She propagated for the cause of India throughout America and Europe. Swami Vivekananda described her as a real Lioness.
2) Dr Annie Besant-
A strong votary of truth, she came to India in 1893 at the age of 46, impressed as she was by its great religion and philosophy. On arrival, she found that the state of things in India were bad.
Through her lectures, she tried to awaken them to their lost heritage by dedicating herself to the cause of religion, society and education of India. In doing so, she was watchful that Indian revival must be through Indian traditions and customs and not through any of the European concepts. As early as 1898 and later in 1902 she urged Indians to were native dress, use and develop Indian manufacturers and also develop a national language.
Dr. Annie Besant entered active politics in 1914. She demanded Home Rule for India and suffered internment for it from June to September 1917. By then she had tried and achieved unification of the Congress and Hindus and Muslims in 1916.
She fittingly became the president of Indian National Congress in 1917. Tilak declared that if we were nearer our goals, it was due to Dr. Annie Besant’s sincere efforts. Gokhale considered her a true daughter of Mother India.
3) Nellie Sengupta-
Nellie joined Indian freedom struggle along with her husband by participating in non-cooperation movement in 1920. After her husband’s imprisonment during the Assam-Bengal Railwaymen’s strike, she forcefully protested against the District authorities’ imposition of a ban on assembly, addressed mass meetings and courted arrest. She defied the law by selling Khadi door to door. In 1931 she suffered four months’ imprisonment at Delhi for addressing an unlawful assembly. She was elected as the president of Indian national congress at its 47th annual session at Calcutta in 1933. She was also elected on a Congress ticket to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1940 and 1946.
4) Mira behn-
Madeleine Slade known as Mira behn, who brought up in affluent environment of a proud aristocracy came to serve the cause of India’s freedom by identifying herself completely with the life and work of Gandhi. She tried to become a bridge between the East and the West.
Daughter of a British Admiral Madeleine Slade renounced the life of luxury and worked in the service of India. She accompanied Gandhi to England in 1931 and undertook a tour of America and Britain in 1934 to enlist sympathy for the Indian cause. She suffered imprisonment in 1932-33 and 1942-44 for the cause of India’s Independence.
5) Mira Alphonse-
She came to India in 1914 and met Shri Aurobindo. She was associated with the work of Shri Aurobindo when he started a philosophical monthly named Arya to express his vision of man and his divine destiny. She played an important role in motivating women like Mrs. Annie Besant and Mrs. Nellie Sen Gupta. She has also contributed to enrich India’s age-old heritage and culture.
(Above two questions are part of our New Initiative, for Details and Timetable, Click Here)
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
3) The increasing size and complexity of the diaspora requires the government to expand capacity and improve procedures. In this regard, examine what government is doing and what it should do. (200 Words)
The Indian Diaspora is a generic term to describe the people who migrated from territories that are currently within the borders of the Republic of India. It also refers to their descendants. The Indian Diaspora is currently estimated to number over twenty million. It is composed of “NRIs” (Indian citizens not residing in India) and “PIOs” (Persons of Indian Origin who have acquired the citizenship of some other country).
- Economic strength of diaspora- It has been estimated that the Indian Diaspora has an annual income of approximately US $ 300 billion, a figure close to our total national GDP! It is equally significant that contemporary India, with its resilient democratic institutions and its billion-strong population, has been emerging rapidly as a modern and dynamic country with the largest reservoir of highly qualified human resources. A symbiotic relationship between constituents of the Indian Diaspora and India, enabling both to establish close contacts and appreciate each other’s needs and strengths would doubtless be mutually beneficial.
- Political strength of diaspora- In recent years, there have been many instances of the Diaspora playing an increasingly important role in mobilizing political support in countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, for issues of vital concern to India. Because of their increasing economic strength, the PIOs have been in a position to play an important role in promoting not only India’s bilateral relations with the countries of their domicile, but also the economic development of their country of origin. They have been an extraordinary asset, both to the countries of their adoption and also to India.
- Philanthropy of the diaspora- Though separated from India by enormous distances, and often also by the long passage of time since their migration abroad, the PIOs and NRIs usually have a warm place in their hearts for their land of origin, which continues to be regarded by many of them as their ‘motherland’. India’s trials and tribulations, her natural and man-made disasters usually evoke an instant reaction of sympathy and concern in the Diaspora. This was clearly evidenced in the recent past during the Kargil crisis, the Gujarat earthquake and the Orissa cyclone. The Diaspora responded immediately with massive financial and material support to help the victims of those disasters.
What government is doing-?
- Organizing and institutionalizing events like Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and Samman awards.
- Recently government has merged ministry of oversees Indian affairs with ministry of external affairs for removing overlapping of functions.
- Further thePIO card scheme is no longer in effect and is now merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme for ease of administering diaspora.
- Implementing various welfare schemes for Indian diaspora- Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY), Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana (PBBY) Know India Programme (KIP), Scholarship Programme For Diaspora Children (SPDC), Scheme for Legal/Financial Assistance to Indian Women Deserted / Divorced By Their NRI Husbands etc
- Extension of lifelong visa to the descendants of the indentured workers taken from the country to East Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean by colonial powers.
- Organizing swift evacuation programmes for Indians stranded in war-torn regions. Eg Operation Rahat.
What government should do-?
- India urgently needs to expand its embassy network across the globe particularly in areas like Latin America, Africa, Micronesia and Melanesia.
- The current core strength of officers of Indian Foreign Service is conspicuously short in catering the needs of huge Indian diaspora. Thus there is immediate necessity of increasing this strength.
- India should increase its diplomatic cooperation with countries having huge diaspora subjected to regressive domestic laws. Eg West Asian nations.
- Using technologies to monitor diaspora profile and mobility. e.g.: online registration system for overseas travelers, utilizing social media.
- In case of evacuation India needs to institutionalize best practices vogue in the world so that swift evacuation becomes a norm rather than exception. Further government should assign a greater role to its armed forces, in particular by strengthening the Navy and Air Force’s capacity to operate in tandem with civilian authorities.
- To avoid cost inflation and delays, the government must establish a permanent civil reserve air fleet that pools aircraft from all Indian airlines based on pre-established requisition and reimbursement procedures.
The Diaspora is very special to India. Residing in distant lands, its members have succeeded spectacularly in their chosen professions by dint of their single-minded dedication and hard work. What is more, they have retained their emotional, cultural and spiritual links with the country of their origin. This strikes a reciprocal chord in the hearts of people of India. It is to nurture this symbiotic relationship to mutual advantage that the Government of India is striving to hard taking various steps.
Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
4) In essence, public service commissions act as watchdogs for the civil servants. However, over a period of time, recruitment to these commissions have become dependent on political loyalties. In your opinion, what should be the selection process of members to these commissions? What’s the opinion of courts on this issue? Critically discuss. (200 Words)
Context– Recently three crucial appointments made by Tamilnadu government were set aside by the madras high courts. All three selections appeared to be a form of rewarding political loyalty by party in power.
Public service commissions are vested with the responsibility of selecting members of bureaucracy which is backbone of Indian democracy. If chairperson and members of public service commission are appointed considering the political loyalty rather than merit, the system would malfunction producing substandard civil servants.
Existing provisions of appointing members of public service commissions-
Art 316 states that the Chairman and other members of a Public Service Commission shall be appointed, in the case of the Union Commission or a Joint Commission, by the President, and in the case of a State Commission, by the Governor of the State: Provided that as nearly as may be one half of the members of every Public Service Commission shall be persons who at the dates of their respective appointments have held office for at least ten years either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State.
Critical assessment and opinions of the judiciary
No criteria other than the half of the members having work experience of 10 years under government of India or state, has made appointment process of members of commission subjective, ambiguous and vulnerable to political interference. Thus in such matters judiciary has expressed its disappointments and have pronounced some landmark judgments.
In Upendra Narayan Singh case, 2009 with regarding to Bihar public service commission supreme court observed that “The Public Service Commissions which have been given the status of constitutional authorities and which are supposed to be totally independent and impartial while discharging their function in terms of Article 320 have become victims of spoil[s] system”
Recently 11 appointments made by the State Governor to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission were set aside by the Madras High Court by stating that appointment process was suspicious. Further Supreme Court refused to stay the order.
Further the court opines that any person should not be rejected on the basis of his past political affinities, as that will violate the Fundamental rights and lead to unjustified discrimination. If the person has carried out his duties in an honest manner in the past, he should be considered for the post.
The procedure to be followed for appointments –
- The selection process should be transparent, impartial and merit of the candidate should be the ultimate criteria.
- Objective criteria should be evolved so that caliber of different candidates is measured on the same scale. It will also remove ambiguity in the selection procedure.
- Leader of opposition in the parliament/state legislative assembly should have a say in the selection of candidate to maintain political neutrality of members.
- Further the appointment process should be transparent, with the civilian experts in the field being able to provide suggestions in the appointment process and even able to check knowledge proficiency of the nominees in an impartial manner
- Integrity and honesty of the past record of candidate should be given high priority.
- Regular assessment or performance evaluation during the service period, regarding progress made in the department and any innovative methods employed to tackle problems specific to the area, will help in deciding if the candidate is fit to continue or a new selection needs to be made.
Constitution visualizes public service commission as watchdog of merit system. State public service commissions are consulted by governor while framing the rules of appointment to judicial service of the state other than the posts of district judge. Such important institution cannot be subjected to the vagaries of the politics of the day. Thus legislature and judiciary should be watchful of the appointments made by executives.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Economic growth and development; Infrastructure
5) Urbanization acts as engine of growth. But in India, urbanization has given rise to many issues. In your opinion, which are the important issues that policymakers should address in Indian cities and how they should address them? Examine. (200 Words)
Since historic times cities are engines of economic growth and innovation. It is said that, cities, not nation-states, are the main players in macroeconomics. According to The Economic Survey, 2016-17,from 1991 to 2011, the percentage of India’s population that lives in cities and towns has increased from a quarter to a third and this segment produces more than three-fifths of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Urbanization acts as a two-edged sword, as it brings prosperity but also new challenges along with it. The challenges being-
- LOCAL GOVERNANE AND PLANNING-
- ULB – 74th Constitutional AA has been implemented halfheartedly by the states as ULBs are not provided with clear delegation of functions, financial resources etc
- PLANNING – centralized planning, lack of human resource for undertaking planning, etc
- 3. The political deficit—the lack of responsibility and authority vested in a city government—leads to governance fragmentation, deficits in funding and infrastructure and low expenditure per capita. This results in failure to deliver adequate services and infrastructure.
- Empowering ULBs – Devolution of finances to ULBs, more autonomy.
- Dynamic planning – that is accommodative of the new challenges.
- Competitive sub federalism -so that cities can learn from each other(as economic survey suggests)
- INFRASTURUCTURE –
- HOUSING- housing provisions will be a big issue due to growing population and growing cost of houses.
- 2. SAFE DRINKING WATER– inadequate posing challenge to the health system.
- SANITATION– poor sanitation conditions, poor drainage system, solid waste management, unhygienic slums etc
- 4. HEALTH infra. – Health condition of urban poor is deplorable and diseases such as T.B., HIV, etc are prevalent. Pollution related health hazards, life-style diseases, mental health problems, etc.
- 5. URBAN PUBLIC TRANSPORT– lack of adequate transport infrastructure, poor maintenance, traffic and congestion, etc.
- Focused attention to integrated development of infrastructure services in the cities.PPP projects need to be encouraged.
- Planned development should be done like SINGAPORE model.
- EMPLOYMENT, INTERNAL MIGRATION –
The 2011 census showed that a third of India’s population consisted of internal migrants.
Lack of comprehensive data about the composition of India’s migrant population—a problem for policymaking.
Slum formations and ghettoisation, rich-poor divide.
- Policymakers must address two parallel issues:
how to enable temporary migrants, and
2.how to enable more long-term migration in the formal sector.
- Empowering urban local bodies (ULBs) as the Economic Survey 2016-17points out. Because the lack of responsibility and authority vested in a city government—leads to governance fragmentation, deficits in funding and infrastructure and low expenditure per capita.
- Allowing migrants to easily access financial services and benefits.
- Allowing migrants to access and transfer resources through formal banking, must be followed by delinking benefits from location to the extent possible and gradually shifting to the direct benefits transfer model.
- Employment opportunities to the migrants through skill development.
- ENVIORNMENTAL CONCERN-
Urban areas becoming heat islands, increasing pollution, non-degradable solid wastes, plastics, etc.
- climate oriented development ex green buildings, green cities,
- Awareness and integrated approach through people participation.
- CRIME AND ADDICTIONS -stressful lives, increasing crimes, addictions, increasing vulnerability of women.
- Active policing ,strengthening of police department,
- Special efforts towards women-safety.
Encouraging more compact urban development through changing land use regulations, investing in urban mobility and addressing the convoluted classification process of census towns that results in denied urbanization.
These measures should be implemented in letter and spirit for true urban development. Govt. steps such as AMRUT, SMART CITY and SBA are steps in right direction.
Topic:Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
6) The age of Big Data, the growing pervasiveness of Aadhaar, and the government’s push towards a cashless and digital economy has led to a re-emergence of interest in privacy and data protection in India. In your opinion, what are the key elements that should drive the design of a privacy law (when it is actually enacted), or laws that have an impact on privacy? Discuss. (200 Words)
Privacy concerns exist wherever sensitive information is collected, stored, used, and finally destroyed or deleted – in digital form or otherwise. Eg: Health-care records, financial institutions and transactions, web surfing behaviour. There is an urgent need to enact privacy laws in India, given the growing use of technological interventions in the citizen-government interactions. In this regard, the following points need to be kept in mind while framing the privacy laws:
OECD’S recommendations for protection of personal data
The seven principles governing the OECD’s recommendations for protection of personal data are to be considered while designing privacy law –
- Notice—data subjects should be given notice when their data is being collected;
2. Purpose—data should only be used for the purpose stated and not for any other purposes;
3. Consent—data should not be disclosed without the data subject’s consent;
4. Security—collected data should be kept secure from any potential abuses;
5. Disclosure—data subjects should be informed as to who is collecting their data;
6. Access—data subjects should be allowed to access their data and make corrections to any inaccurate data; and
7. Accountability—data subjects should have a method available to them to hold data collectors accountable for not following the above principles.
Significant aspects to be considered-
Other aspects to be considered while designing privacy law is –
- Confidentiality:Secrecy of the data should be maintained
• Integrity:Data should be protected from alteration or modification
• Availability: Data should be available only to authorized stakeholders
• Safeguard of sensitive data: Special legal safeguards should be given for protection of very sensitive data such as passwords, bio-metric information (Eg: Aadhar) and personally identifiable information such as telephone numbers, bank account numbers etc.
• Reasonableness: Organizations may collect, use or disclose personal data only for purposes that would be considered appropriate to a reasonable person in the given circumstances.
The important elements of the PRIVACY LAW include-
- Provision for voluntary participation:Citizens should have the right to opt out of the data collection process when needed and they should have a “right to be forgotten” too whereby their data is deleted after a specified period to protect their privacy. Citizens should be informed about how their data is going to be preserved and used.
- Use and Processing of Data:The law needs to focus on regulation of the use of data for specified purposes and making the authority responsible for data collection accountable for handling and storage of data.
- Sharing and control of data:There should be proper provisions in the law to ensure that data sharing between agencies and with third parties is for legitimate reasons and is secure.
- Data related rights to users:Users should be given rights related to data like data quality, data integrity and data breach notifications and data portability. This will make the data more updated and reliable.
- 5. Proper redressal mechanism: The privacy law should incorporate provisions for effective grievance redressal mechanisms and ensure that they are implemented effectively on the ground.
The privacy law should be flexible and secure enough for the citizens to trust the government in revealing their necessary data without any fear of its misuse. It should also take lessons from other countries in management and security of big data while at the same time addressing the needs specific to India.