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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 March 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 March 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 : History of the world will include events from 18th century

1) Discuss the contribution made by women to the success of the Russian Revolution of 1917. (200 Words)

EPW

Introduction:-

A women’s strike in Petrograd, Russia on 8 March 1917 marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution. These women workers who had taken the initiative with courage and determination set the stage for one of the most important events of 20th century.

Contribution made by these women:-

  • Participation in high numbers:
    A large population of women actively participated in the Russian revolution. The number of women soldiers in Red Army was record high.
  • Feminism & Bread-Peace protest.
    The women of the bourgeos aimed at promoting feminism while the one from peasantry protest Bread- Peace in light of acute food shortage
  • Initiating the 1917 revolution:
    The strike by women initiated the Russian revolution which become one the epoch-making events in hisrtory of mankind
  • Role in February revolution:                                                         The February Revolution toppled the tsarist regime and established a provisional government. Women were highly visible in this revolution, gathering in a mass protest on International Women’s Day to call for political rights. They gained rights under the provisional government, including the right to vote, to serve as attorneys, and equal rights in civil service. 
  • Convincing the soldiers to join mutiny:
    The Russian women exhorted the soldiers to join them in the fight against Tzars. Their plea convinced may soldiers of the Russian army to be a part of the struggle.
  • Participation in industry
  • The number of women workers in industrial centers rose to over one million as 250,000 women joined the workforce between 1914 and 1917.

After the revolution:-

Beginning in October 1918, the Soviet Union liberalized divorce and abortion laws, decriminalized homosexuality, permitted cohabitation, and ushered in a host of reforms that instigated a red sexual revolution

Impact on Bolshevik Party:-  

 The Bolsheviks had opposed any division of the working class, including separating men and women to put some focus specifically on women’s issues. They thought men and women needed to work together with no division, and because of this, in the party’s early days, there was no literature printed specifically targeting women, and the Bolsheviks refused to create a bureau for women workers. In 1917, they acquiesced to the demands of the Russian feminist movement and created the Women’s Bureau.

Conclusion:-

Thus the Russian revolution centenary, brings to the fore, the travails and tribulations of Russian women in overthrowing Czarists. Women worked silently to bring about a downhaul in Russia which broke the barriers of traditional pattern of political system in world and established socialism.

 


TopicHistory of the world will include events from 18th century

2) Write a note on the Cultural Revolution and origin of Chinese Capitalism in China. (200 Words)

EPW

The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), was a sociopolitical movement that took place in China from 1966 until 1976.

  • The revolution aimed to destroy the “Four Olds” (old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas) and establish the corresponding “Four News”, and this can ranged from changing of names and cutting of hair, to the ransacking of homes, vandalizing cultural treasures, and desecrating temples. In a few years, countless ancient buildings, artifacts, antiques, books, and paintings were destroyed by Red Guards. The status of traditional Chinese culture and institutions within China was also severely damaged as a result of the Cultural Revolution, and the practice of many traditional customs weakened.
  • The revolution also aimed to “sweep away all the monsters and demons” that is, all the class enemy who promoted bourgeois idea within the party, the government, the army, among the intellectuals, as well as those from an exploitative family background or belonged to one of the Five Black Categories.
  • The Revolution marked the return of Mao Zedong to a position of power after the Great Leap Forward. The movement paralyzed China politically and negatively affected the country’s economy and society to a significant degree.

The features of the Revolution :

  1. Mobilisation of the youth, who formed Red Guard groups. The movement spread into the military, urban workers, and the Communist Party leadership itself. It resulted in widespread factional struggles in all walks of life.
  2. Taking over of educational institutions by the revolutionaries, and forcefully impose Maoist ideology in their curriculum and teaching.
  3. Assumption of complete authority by Mao Zedong, who ordered the purging of non-compliant officials, as well as ordinary citizens, on a massive scale, and his insistence on the removal of the ”revisionists” through a violent class struggle. Millions of people were persecuted in the violent struggles that ensued across the country.
  1. Red Guards tried to destroy the “Four Olds” (old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas) and establish the corresponding “Four News”. Historical relics and artifacts were destroyed. Cultural and religious sites were ransacked.
  1. A large segment of the population was forcibly displaced, most notably the transfer of urban youth to rural regionsduring the Down to the Countryside Movement.

END Mao officially declared the Cultural Revolution to have ended in 1969, but its active phase lasted until the death of the military leader Lin Biao in 1971. After Mao’s death and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976, reformers led by Deng Xiaoping gradually began to dismantle the Maoist policies associated with the Cultural Revolution.

Origin of Chinese capitalism –

The origins of Chinese capitalism are grounded in state responses to the GPCR and post-GPCR social movements. 

THE FIRST TWO DECADES OF REFORM – 

Within this time frame, reforms can be split into two parts by a dividing event, the 1989 Student Movement.

The first part consists of two reforms : One was designed by Beijing; its goal was to revitalize the state sector and save socialism. The other resulted from grassroots initiatives.

The state-led reform came in two phases-

  • With full support of Deng Xiaoping and other Chinese leaders, Hua launched his economic program of modernization, which would be later disparaged as “the Leap Outward.” Essentially, it was a stateled, investment-driven program, with a focus on heavy industry; it is a good example of what economists called “big-push industrialization.” But the program lasted barely over two years. It was called off in early 1979, partly due to its own defects and partly due to leadership change: at the end of 1978 the Central Committee held a meeting, at which Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun came back to power and Hua was no longer in charge.
  • Chen believed that the Chinese economy had long suffered structural imbalance: too much investment in heavy industry relative to light industry and agriculture, and state sectors and planning being emphasized at the exclusion of private sectors and markets. In his view, Hua’s economic program, which focused on heavy industry, made the Chinese economy worse. That’s why Chen forcefully ended “the Leap Outward” against strong opposition from the State Council and imposed his economic policy. This marked the second round of Beijing-led reform. This round of state-led reform was two-fold: adjustment at the macro level and state-enterprise reform at the micro level. Structural adjustment was imposed across the economy. 

REFORM ON THE MARGIN – 

  • The economic forces that were really transforming the Chinese economy in the first decade of reform were private farming, township and village enterprises, private business in cities, and the Special Economic Zones. None of them was initiated from Beijing. They were marginal players operating outside the boundary of socialism. 
  • The second part of reforms began in 1992 . While marginal revolutions brought market forces back to China in the previous decade, regional competition became the main transformative force in the second decade, turning China into a market economy at the end of the century.

CONCLUSION

The extreme brand of communism ushered in through the means of the Cultural Revolution, can be believed to be responsible for having generated the first push towards the need for some kind of liberalization, from excessive State control and domination.

But along with the free market of goods, free market of ideas is necessary for long term survival of capitalistic economy with the Chinese political system.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,

3) Recently, in a village near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border 19 foetuses (mostly female) were found buried near a homeopath’s clinic. Why do you think selective abortions still persist? Who should be held accountable and why? Discuss critically. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Child Sex ratio in India has declined from 927 in 2001 Census to 919 in 2011 census. Sex selective abortion is one of the primary factor instrumental in the skewing the population’s gender demography. It not only distorts the natural sex ratio but also reinforces discriminatory practices against women. This evil practice persists despite several measures taken by the government. Instances like the recent one with 19 dead foetuses ( mostly female) found in Mhaisal near Maharashtra-Karnataka border further aggravate the situation.

Prevalence of selective abortion can be attributed to following reasons:

  1. Societal Attitude:
  • Patriarchal mindset – The practice of preference for a boy child over a girl , belief that only the son can perform last rites , that the lineage and inheritance runs through male line , men are the bread-winners and they will look after the parents in old age, etc. result in female foeticides.
  • Hidden costs of raising a girl child – especially in light of increasing crimes against women particularly in smaller towns and villages, reputation of families are linked to character of daughters.
  • Economic Factors –
    Asset Vs Liability : Due to patriarchal mindset Boys are often seen as an asset and girl as a liability. This is aggravated by the menace of Dowry.
    Producer Vs Consumer: male is expected to work and earn, whereas a female is supposed to do household tasks and be economically dependent.
  1. Poor implementation of laws :
  • Laws like PCPNDT act ( Pre -Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test), MTP act are not enforced strictly and properly.
  • Apathy of local authorities- no sense of responsibilities among the district health officials, local police for taking prompt action.
  1. Poor Medical Ethics :
  • Prevalence of sex determination practices and selective abortions implies lack of strong medical ethics.
  1. Emphasis on family planning :
  • With small families becoming the new norm and preference for a boy still existing, coupled with easy availability of sex determination and abortion facilities, female foeticides are on rise.
  1. Illiteracy and poverty :
  • With education such stereotypes against girl child can be broken, but lack of education and poverty have bolstered such mindsets.

Stakeholders to be held accountable –


1) District health officials- for turning blind eye on such illegal practices.

2) Law enforcement agencies viz.Local police- for complacence and non-action on complaints against violation of PCPNDT act.
3) Doctors- radiologists, surgeons and quacks performing such procedures illegally.
4) Family members- often women’s husband and in-laws force them to undergo abortions in hope for a male child.
5) Women themselves- for not raising a voice against such malpractices forced upon them

6) Society- especially the elders who promote such malpractices by enforcing them.
Solutions –
1) Strict legislation AND regulation – harsh punishments for perpetrators and violators of PCPNDT act, MTP act,etc. Regulation of private clinics. Fixing the responsibility on govt. Officials regarding supervision of such clinics.
2) Prohibition on drugs and equipments used for abortion – strict licensing and restricted distribution for ultrasound machines, drugs like Misoprostol used for abortion.
3) Behavioural change – by spreading awareness among persons about the strict persecution of such offenders, treating boys and girls equally in all aspects of life.
4) Government schemes – such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, PMJSY etc. to be implemented in effective manner to ensure benefit of girls so that they will not be considered liability.
5) Health infrastructure – appoint more government doctors and trained paramedic staff, setup more primary health care centers etc. 

6) Woman empowerment – To have a say in reproductive rights and decision making.

CONCLUSION  

Reducing female foeticide on a war footing will go a long way in reducing the existing gender gap and bringing gender parity , which is essential for the socio-economic health of the nation.

 


Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

4) Recently, the union government mandated the possession of an Aadhaar number for receiving benefits under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. There are similar instances where government has forced citizens to undergo Aadhaar authentication to avail public services. Critically comment on the various issues involved in making Aadhaar mandatory to avail public services. (200 Words)

EPW

 Placing conditions on access to food entitlements is not a marker of a welfare state.The recent notification by the government mandating the possession of an Aadhaar number for receiving benefits under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has created a justifiable furore. 

Several ministries have issued notifications that will co-opt over 30 schemes on to the Aadhaar bandwagon, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Employees’ Provident Fund, pension and scholarship schemes, and recently even the compensation provided to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak. The aim is to make Aadhaar mandatory for all 84 schemes covered by the direct benefit transfer programme. 

The government has stated again in a recent press release that “till Aadhaar number is assigned to any individual, the benefit will continue to be given based on alternate means of identification.” The recent notifications all state that an Aadhaar number is required to access these entitlements, and in the absence of which other specified identification documents would be accepted. However, beneficiaries will also have to provide proof of Aadhaar enrolment. Given this, and the tight deadlines set for providing this proof, it is clear that Aadhaar has effectively been made mandatory.


CONCERNS-

  1. EXCLUSION ERROR –

due to poor internet penetration, lack of power supply , non- matching of the thumb-impression of beneficiaries due to hard labour. It may systematically exclude the most underprivileged. Reports from Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and other states describe the exclusion of genuine beneficiaries because of problems with the Aadhaar records and authentication issues, besides technological and infrastructural failures.

Identification regulation is possible but not quantity regulation in PDS through use of Aadhaar.

  1. DATAVEILLANCE –

Use of data collected by government and other private entities for other purposes which may encroach upon privacy of people.

  1. CYBER ATTACK –

may have serious repercussions for economy if misuse of big-data.

  1. NO REMEDY –

unlike in many other countries like USA,under the Aadhaar act, if data is compromised then people have no remedy available.

  1. PENETRATION –

Aadhaar is still not UNIVERSAL as in some pockets of the country people have not yet got Aadhaar and in many cases non-citizens have got it.

  1. VAGUE PROVISIONS –

Clause 57: “Nothing contained in this Act shall prevent the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the State or any body corporate or person, pursuant to any law, for the time being in force, or any contract to this effect.” Such a clause clearly allows non-state entities to use Aadhaar authentication and gain access to data, which has already happened. The UIDAI recently stopped 24 firms from using its data in an unauthorised manner following public complaints.

Definition of “biometric information” in the act that is being kept open to include “other biological attributes” (viz. DNA) in the future. All this raises many troubling questions about control and access to such big data; not just demographic, but also biometric data.

  1. RIGHT TO FOOD V/S STATE SURVEILLANCE –

Making Aadhaar mandatory for PDS as well as MDM scheme makes right to food subordinate and conditional on surrendering privacy. 

BENEFITS – 

  1. WORLD BANK has hailed the Aadhaar as “WORLD’S MOST SOPHISTICATED ID PROGRAM”.
  2. CRISIL REPORT said Aadhaar enabled DBT could be a GAME CHANGER as it will reduce pilferages and provide better targeting.
    CRISIL further said it can save government 25000 Cr. Rupees in PDS in 2015 alone.
  3. Aadhar will provide better inclusion as it is easy to get Aadhaar card.


WAY FORWARD –

SUPREME COURT has reiterated time and again not to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various welfare public services.The government should respect the decision of the apex court and bring necessary amendments to the act and also privacy law to get the grievances under the act corrected. Government should avoid blurring of division between welfare state and surveillance state.

 


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, 

5) Do you think students activism affects academics and is bad for the society? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction-

Participation of students in political activities is old age phenomenon and has contributed immensely in the development and maturity of the Indian democracy. There has been a recent spurt in incidences of violence, strikes, protest movements in our educational institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Film and Television Institute of India, Hyderabad University etc. albeit for different reasons.

To understand the need for politics in our institutions, the realities of society we live in need to be understood. Politics today, whether desirable or not, has become totalitarian in nature all around the world, varying only in terms of degree. It has become so pervasive that there exists no social institution that is not affected by politics or is devoid of internal politics.

Arguments in support of political activities in college:

  1. If the goal of a university is not myopically defined to train students only in a particular subject, but is to prepare students for unforeseen and unimagined things that life has to offer, then politics is very important, as a part and parcel of college activities, for the overall development of an individual’s personality and character.
  2. Politics is needed in institutions to produce better leaders instead of having leaders foisted upon us because of their money/muscle power, or by virtue of their lineage.
  3. Democratic politics is not only about the ritual of elections, political canvassing etc. but refers to the dialectical environment of debate, discussion, dialogue and dissent in a peaceful setting.
  4. It provides the voice for one of the most disadvantaged sections of the society.
  5. It is very efficient tool to attract youth in national debate and train them to face the upcoming challenges of political and other purposes.
  6. The Constitution guarantees all citizens with the following fundamental rights under Article 19 (1)(a) to freedom of speech and expression;(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) to form associations or unions.

 Argument against political activities in colleges:

  1. Rather than an open forum for debate and idea exchange, Colleges have become proxy battlefields for political parties.
  2. In many cases Students are forced to adopt “identity politics”.
  3. Right not to practise politics lost in the pressure created by student groups and political parties.
  4. In many cases the genuine debate is missing and the groups are mere extension of political parties.
  5. Political affiliations among students may leads to violence and huge inefficiencies as well.

Way forward-

The interim order of the Supreme Court to implement the Lyngdoh committee recommendations on students’ union elections is widely accepted by the academic community. It of course was a setback to the vested interests that advocated for apolitical elections in colleges and universities. The six-member committee headed by the former election commission Sri. J.M. Lyngdoh, was appointed by the MHRD on the direction of the Supreme Court in December 2005. The spirit of the Lyngdoh committee report, which expressed strong observations about the need for organizational liberty and necessity of students’ union elections to the democratic bodies can be an eye opener to all those who are engaged in malicious campaign against campus politics. One of the important recommendations of Lyngdoh Committee is about the right of universities to decide the mode of elections. The Lyngdoh committee recommendations designed to streamline the election process are broadly welcomed in the academic domain. The committee not only entertained the argument that the academic excellence as an eligibility criteria for contesting in the elections but rejected even the High Court finding that allowed the education institutions to prohibit political activities within the college campus and forbid students from organizing or attending meetings other than the official ones within the college campus.

Currently, only a politics of disruption and destruction is practiced both in the national parliament and in college campuses. This adversely affects the legislative process and academics respectively.

The need of the hour is that the leaders of tomorrow must rise to the occasion and devise new and innovative ways of dissenting and protesting through their writings, movies, plays, songs, using the power of social media and the internet without disrupting the academic discipline of the institution. Also, they must not deprive others of their right to study in a peaceful environment.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Inclusive growth; Agri issues

6) Political parties choose farm loan waiver for electoral gains. Do you think farm loan waiving should be encouraged? Critically comment. (200 Words)

Down to Earth

Introduction-

Recently the debate occurred in Maharashtra political setup about the demand of loan waiver and state financial capability to waive the loan irrespective of pooling out the money from other expenditure. A loan waiver is the waiving of the real or potential liability of the person or party who has taken out a loan through the voluntary action of the person or party who has made the loan. The loan waiving has become a big political tool in hands of political parties that has ruined capital status of indian agriculture economics.

Arguments in favor of loan waiving:

  • As the monsoon rains are highly erratic the small and marginal farmers left with no means of livelihood in case of monsoon failure.
  • The very nature of Indian agriculture makes the act of loan waiving as essential tool for social security. Large number of small and marginal farmers with inability to capital investment makes loan waiver a social compulsion. According to NCRB report, debt and bankruptcy are behind 80% of farmers suicides. Hence making loan waiving a welcoming move to combat the distressful situation of rising farmers suicides.
  • Lack of common market and assurance of guaranteed income makes farmers vulnerable to economic challenges.
  • Large number of farmers are moving out of the agriculture and entering into distress employment that further creates pressure on employment in other sectors of economy. Every hour, according to Census 2011, around 100 farmers are giving up agriculture and at least one farmer is committing suicide.

Argument against the loan waiving:

  • Loan waiving is generally declared by political parties for electoral gains. The very purpose of waiving is unjustified and the needs a review of overall waiving process.
  • In many areas the vested interest are getting satisfied by diverting the loan money for some other purposes other than agriculture. Borrowers often turn into willful defaulters hoping their loans will be waived in next elections, at the same time benefiting rich farmers more than poor ones. It also undermines the morality of honest farmers who repay their debts timely.
  • Loan waiving leads to Disruption of credit discipline of state economies which has already burden of fiscal deficits. The culture of subsidy and loan waiving has spillover effect as the further demands on free water and electricity also rises and get publicized. According to market economists, waiving off farm loan would create unnecessary fiscal stress and give wrong signal about reform.
  • There is big challenge of High exclusion errors in loan wavier scheme as according to CAG 13.46% of the accounts are not eligible for loan waving. Inefficiency of MFIs in identifying actual beneficiaries needs to be corrected in order to avoid wastage of exchequers money.
  • Loan waiving adds up to the non-performing assets of the banks.

Outstanding agricultural loan

Types of bank                             Outstanding loan amount

Commercial banks                      Rs 9.57 lakh crore

Regional Rural Banks                 Rs 1.45 lakh crore

Cooperative banks                      Rs 1.57 lakh crore

Waiving of loans should be done only in the most exceptional circumstances. Waiving of loans of farmers has helped the farmers save from many untoward incidents. Instead of waiving loans govt should focus on increasing the output of the farmers which in turn would generate more income for the farmers. Waiving of loans is a short term solution and may not solve the problem fully. There in need of focus more towards advancement of agriculture sector by schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Vikas Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, promote research & development in agriculture.