SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 April 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: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
The Anti-Hindi imposition agitations of South India were a series of agitations that happened in the south Indian states during both pre- and post-Independence periods. The agitations involved several mass protests, riots, student and political movements in South India concerning the official status of Hindi in the state.
The first anti-Hindi imposition agitation was launched in 1937, in opposition to the introduction of compulsory teaching of Hindi in the schools of Madras Presidency.
Recent incidence:- After reports pointed to locations on milestones being represented in Hindi rather than English on NH 75 and NH 77 in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Krishnagiri districts, there was the expected sound and fury from various Dravidian political parties. This happened despite the fact that Tamil signs were more or less intact on these highways.
They are justified on following grounds:-
- The Constitution itself does not prescribe Hindi to be the sole official language of all states and its forceful imposition also goes against the practice of using both Hindi and English together. Also Articles 29 and 30 of Indian Constitution guarantees right to preserve culture and language to Indian communities.For regional languages art 345,346,347 can also be viewed.
- In the south, imposition of Hindi is regarded as an attack on the so-called ”Dravidian culture”, perceived by the people of the region to be at variance with the so-called ”Aryan culture” of the north, associated with the speaking of Hindi and its use.
- The Union government must respect the concept of linguistic autonomy, according to which each state must have the independence to promote, use, and develop, its own local language, as a state language.
They are not justified on following ground:-
- Anti-Hindi agitations often lead to unwanted violence, destruction of property and chaos.
- It is alright to fight for one’s own mother tongue, but often these agitations reach such levels where the Hindi language itself is rejected, with accompanying claims of the language being against their culture.
- Most importantly, such agitations lead to the creation of centrifugal tendencies, unnecessary divisions, and a so-called north-south divide.
- More ever it threatens national unity, integrity and security by inciting the mutual hatred between otherwise harmoniously living linguistic communities.
Anti-Hindi agitations, as long as they prevent the forceful imposition of Hindi, and attempts to replace the usage of languages like Tamil are acceptable. But, any kind of feeling of hate or prejudice developing among the stakeholders due to such agitations is not acceptable, as such tendencies are a direct threat to the unity and integrity of the country, even if they promote linguistic and cultural autonomy.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
2) It is said that the Supreme Court’s orders banning liquor sale on highways encroach upon the executive’s domain of policymaking. Do you agree? Also discuss the reasoning of the court in these orders. (200 Words)
Indian constitution mandates a separation of powers between the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary, and places policymaking firmly in the domain of the executive. For this reason the Supreme Court’s order has come under criticism. Apart from its polycentric consequences, it has been argued that banning alcohol — and micromanaging the distance from the highways where alcohol cannot be sold — is a classic example of policymaking, and that the Supreme Court has indulged in “judicial overreach”.
Following points support this:-
- Policy making was not envisaged as a function of Judiciary.
- Constitution of India bats for separation of powers between executive and judiciary.
- Policies like these cannot be unilateral, they have to be formulated after sustained debate in legislatures.
Judiciary defends its stand on following grounds:-
- Judiciary shows ‘Judicial activism’ because of executive and legislative in activism.
- It has protected the rights of the people under article 21 of the constitution. To this end it has interpreted the constitution liberally to include right to life as proactive action by government rather than just protection against violation.
- It has acted according to article 142 which mandates it do complete justice to the matter at hand.
- De facto approval by the Centre- The Court referred to policy documents of the Centre that establish a link between alcohol consumption and road accidents. Another referral was Centre’s directives to state governments disallowing the latter to issue new licenses to liquor shops along highways.
- Centre’s failure:- Center has been issuing advisories for over a decade and no action was taken by the states on it.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
Teesta is the fourth largest transboundary river shared between India and Bangladesh, after the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Meghna (GBM) river system.
- The total catchment area of the GBM is about 1.75 million square km. The Teesta originates in the Indian state of Sikkim and its total length is 414 km, out of which 151 km lie in Sikkim, 142 kms flow along the Sikkim-West Bengal boundary and through West Bengal, and 121 km run in Bangladesh.
- In Bangladesh, the river mainly affects the five northern districts of Rangpur Division: Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari and Rangpur. According to areport on the Teesta by The Asia Foundation in 2013, its flood plain covers about 14% of the total cropped area of Bangladesh and provides direct livelihood opportunities to approximately 7.3% of its population.
- Historically, the root of the disputes over the river can be located in the report of the Boundary Commission (BC), which was set up in 1947 under Sir Cyril Radcliffe to demarcate the boundary line between West Bengal (India) and East Bengal (Pakistan, then Bangladesh from 1971).
- In its report submitted to the BC, the All India Muslim League demanded the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts on the grounds that they are the catchment areas of Teesta river system.
- It was thought that by having the two districts, the then and future hydro projects over the river Teesta in those regions would serve the interests of the Muslim-majority areas of East Bengal. Members of the Indian National Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha opposed this.
- Both, in their respective reports, established India’s claim over the two districts. In the final declaration, which took into account the demographic composition of the region, administrative considerations and ‘other factors’ (railways, waterways and communication systems), the BC gave a major part of the Teesta’s catchment area to India.
- The main reason to transfer major parts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri to India was that both were non-Muslim-majority areas. Darjeeling had a 2.42% Muslim population while Jalpaiguri had 23.02% Muslims. The League’s claim was based on ‘other factors’.
- During East Bengal’s days as a part of Pakistan, no serious dialogue took place on water issues between India and East Pakistan. After the liberation of East Pakistan and birth of a sovereign Bangladesh in 1971, India and Bangladesh began discussing their transboundary water issues.
- In 1972, the India-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission was established. In its initial years, the most important concerns of water bureaucrats from both countries were the status of river Ganges, construction of the Farakka barrage and sharing of water from the rivers Meghna and Brahmaputra.
- Although the issues related to the distribution of waters from the Teesta were discussed between India and Bangladesh, the river gained prominence only after the two countries signed the Ganga Water Treaty in 1996.
- In 1983, an ad hoc arrangement on sharing of waters from the Teesta was made, according to which Bangladesh got 36% and India 39% of the waters, while the remaining 25% remained unallocated. After the Ganga Water Treaty, a Joint Committee of Experts was set up to study the other rivers. The committee gave importance to the Teesta.
- In 2000, Bangladesh presented its draft on the Teesta. The final draft was accepted by India and Bangladesh in 2010. In 2011, during then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka, a new formula to share Teesta waters was agreed upon between the political leadership of the two countries.
- But West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who was then in a coalition with the Union government, opposed the agreement. Even when the Narendra Modi government accepted the new arrangement between India and Bangladesh, Banerjee did not.
- In 2015, during Modi’s visit to Dhaka to exchange the ratified papers of the Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, Banerjee joined him. But she maintained a silence over the issue of sharing Teesta waters.
It has become a litmus test for following issues:-
- Sheikh Hasina government which is accused by opposition that if it has any special relationship with India why Teesta issue has not been resolved.
- After land boundary agreements only Teesta remains a contentious issue between the two countries.
- It will pave the way for basin management of 54 other rivers.
- The visit will make sense if Hasina government gets Teesta agreement done.in the next elections she can claim more legitimacy and Indo-Bangladesh relations will be based on some real foundation.
Reasons why Tessta issue remained resolved:
- Water is state subject: Bengal government has refused to cooperate in multiple occasion in past.
- Rice cultivating area on both side of border: being pro poor government means any compromise will anger farmer vote bank.
- Bangladesh playing Tessta card to give transit route via Bangladesh to northeast India.
- Climate change and Vagaries of monsoon has intensified protest against water sharing.
- Coalition government in India and Hostile and suspicious Bangladesh government has for long avoided the contentious topic.
- There is also a rise in the radicalism in Bangladesh which is not allowing Sheikh Hasina government to make any major headway.
Both countries must bring in board different stakeholder; joint river basin management headed by hydrologist, agricultural specialist, farmer leaders is one of the solutions. Water being lifeline of millions of farmer on both side of border, thus issue calls for pragmatism and delicate handling involving larger social political and national interest
Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before their term has ended. Recalls, which are initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition, have a history dating back to the ancient Athenian democracy and are a feature of several contemporary constitutions. In indirect or representative democracy people’s representatives are elected and these representatives rule for a specific period of time. But if any representative is not properly discharging their responsibilities, then they can be called back with the written request of specific number of voters.
Points in favor of adopting recall election-
- Real Control of the masses over the representatives: The people can exercise their sovereign power only when they are given the right to recall their elected representatives, if they fail to perform their responsibilities in a proper manner. If the people are not given the right to recall their representatives, they are apt to act arbitrarily and the people will have no control whatsoever over their elected representatives.
- This system is a symbol of direct democracy: Recall is the best system of the preservation of direct democracy. If the people have no control over their elected representatives or officials, democracy will become meaningless and the representatives and the officials will act arbitrarily.
- A good method to root out political corruption: In democracy it is generally seen that the ministers become corrupt and they favour their relatives and friends. Through the system of recall, they will be under the control of the people. For fear of recall, they will hesitate to do any undesirable thing. The ministers indulge in corrupt practices because the people have no control over them.
- Process of right to recall would curb tendencies of politicization of criminals and criminalization of politics.
Being a developing country India needs a Good governance structure for its progress and to provide good governance the elected representatives must deliver their responsibility at par with citizen’s expectations.
Points against adopting recall election-
- It would impede the decision making power of legislator and curtail their independence and autonomy of elected representatives as they would hesitate to take decisions on account of fear of decision going wrong.
- Experience tells that it has been primarily misused as a tool in the hands of the dominant castes against candidates belonging to the weaker sections, and women.
- It would only add to the instability of governments, by empowering not those who win elections, but those who lose.
- Conducting by-elections round the year (whenever vacancy is created due to recall) would require large human resource and huge funding with ECI.
With a society so deeply-embedded in castes, sub-castes, religions and sects, the idea of not waiting for five years for the next election and bringing in recall at the drop of a hat, would eventually amount to undermining the very essence of Indian democracy. Although idea of introducing concept of right to recall has noble intent, it should be introduced only with adequate safeguards and when political loyalties of the people would rise above the caste, religion and gender.
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
How NPAs are acquiring federal character-
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has asked individual states to bear the responsibility of farm loan waiver while Central government could address the problems of bad loans of large corporate houses. Thus NPAs have acquired the federal character as both states and center would share the responsibility of NPAs.
Implications of such move on center-state relation-
- This may strengthen the cooperative federalism as states would take the responsibility of waiving farm loans and reduce the burden of central government.
- The federal character of Indian polity is tilted in favor of central government while states used to act as implementing agency of the central government. The present move would restore the balance in favor of states as states would determine the scheme of loan waver as per their capacity. For eg Uttar Pradesh government has waived farm loan up to Rs 1 lac only.
- This move is in line with increased devolution of funds (around 43%) to states as recommended by 14th Finance Commission. Thus move could be seen as empowering state government to deal with issues under state list. Eg Agriculture.
- This move would make states more aware and accountable towards their responsibility in sharing financial burden of the nation.
At the same time this move could have some potential negative implications such as
- This would give rise to unfair competition between the states in wooing voters by declaring farm loan waivers even at the cost of disturbing fiscal balance of the state.
- This may worsen the relations between central government and some of the states (usually controlled by other parties than at the center) as move could be seen as imposed one on the states. States with weaker financial condition may find it bitter to allow loan waivers.
- Although states have been granted more resources under 14th FC, there have been lack of efforts to increase the resources of the state itself. Thus state may find it difficult to sustain the burden of loan waiver and may have to beg to central government for more grants.
Managing NPAs has become critical issue since last few years. The move to involve states in managing the problem of NPA without raising their resource generating capacity would only complicate the relations between the central government and states. Thus central government should consult with state governments about their capacities before making them partner in loan waiver.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
The constitution refers to two types of minorities, namely religious and linguistic minorities. However the term ‘minority’ has not been defined anywhere in the constitution. The constitution contains special provisions to safeguard the social, educational and economic interests of the minorities.
How are minority communities identified in India?
- Courts- The Supreme Court has consistently maintained that minorities are to be defined on the basis of “numerical inferiority”. Since the constitution talks of both religious as well as linguistic minorities, courts have held that minorities are to be defined at the level of the state, as states were carved out on a linguistic basis.
- Union government- Union government notifies minority at the national level as per clause (c) of Section 2 of theNational Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
- State government- state government can declare minorities at the state level and form minority commission to look into their issues.
Under International law, minorities are groups that possess distinct and stable ethnic, religious and linguistic characteristics. The crucial point is that these characteristics differ from the rest of the population, and that these groups wish to preserve their distinctive identity even if this identity does not conform to the norms and the values of the majority. Thus, a minority is a group that is numerically smaller in relation to the rest of the population, it is non-dominant to the extent that its values are either inadequately or not represented in the public sphere or in the constitution of societal norms, it has characteristics which differ from the majority group and more importantly, it wishes to preserve these characteristics. Thus, numerical inferiority or powerlessness is the test to determine minority status.
Issues involved in defining religious and linguistic minorities-
- Inter-state differences- there are wide differences on the community groups in different parts of the country. Hindus which are majority in India have numerical minority in states like J&K, Punjab, north-eastern states etc. Some years ago Allahabad HC held that Muslims are not minority in UP, even when Muslims are minority at national level.
- Minority appeasement- many political parties have promised minority status to woo voters in their favor. This leads to populism and defeats the very purpose of giving minority status to any community to maintain their distinctiveness.
- There is no uniformity at state level for defining and recognizing minority communities. This has left some minority communities at the mercy of state government for recognizing their minority status.
- There is no definite procedure for revoking of minority status in future.
There is need of clarity and transparency in identifying minority community. According to SC in TMA Pai case, minority status should be determined in relation to the source and territorial application of the particular legislation against which protection is claimed. If it is a parliamentary law, minorities must be defined nationally. On the other hand, if it is state law, minorities may be defined on the basis of numerical inferiority in the state.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
About Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)-
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is a department directly under the Prime Minister of India with headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. DAE has been engaged in the development of nuclear power technology, applications of radiation technologies in the fields of Agriculture, Medicine, Industry and basic research. DAE comprises five research centres, three industrial organisations, five public sector undertakings and three service organisations. It has under its aegis two boards for promoting and funding extramural research in nuclear and allied fields, mathematics and a national institute (deemed university). It also supports eight institutes of international repute engaged in research in basic sciences, astronomy, astrophysics, cancer research and education. It also has in its fold an educational society that provides educational facilities for children of DAE employees. The important programmes of the DAE are directed towards:
- Enhancing the share of nuclear power in the Power Sector by deployment of indigenous and other proven technologies, and to develop fast breeder reactors, as well as thorium-based reactors with associated fuel cycle facilities.
- Building and operating of research reactors for the production of radioisotopes, building other sources of radiation such as accelerators and lasers, and developing and deploying radiation technology applications in the fields of medicine, agriculture, industry and basic research.
- Developing advanced technologies such as accelerators, lasers, supercomputers, robotics, areas related to Fusion research, strategic materials and instrumentation, and encouraging the transfer of technology to industry.
- Carrying out and supporting basic research in nuclear energy and related frontier areas of science; interaction with universities and academic institutions; support to research and development projects having a bearing on DAE’s programs, and international cooperation in related advanced areas of research and contribution to national security.
Achievements of DAE-
- Nuclear energy- DAE has developed research reactors, covering all the three fuel technologies namely, uranium, plutonium and thorium, which is a unique distinction. At Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu, one can have the glimpse of three fuel cycles as well as the three stages of Indian Nuclear Power Program. a) First stage – use of natural uranium in pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) and production of power and plutonium; b) Second stage – use of plutonium produced in fast breeder reactors (FBR) and production of additional plutonium/u-233 and power; and c) Third stage – use of thorium u-233 in an advanced fuel cycle and reactor system (under development).
- Agriculture- ‘Nuclear Agriculture’ has been a significant aspect of Indian atomic energy program since the inception of DAE. BARC scientists have developed and released 42 Crop varieties encompassing 10 different crops such as groundnut, mungbean, blackgram etc. for commercial cultivation. The new varieties of crops are created by artificially accelerating the rate of spontaneous mutations in the crop by mutagens such as Gamma rays, X rays, Beta particle etc. and have much better properties in terms of yield, maturity period and resistance to external stresses.
- Reprocessing capabilities- India follows the closed fuel cycle philosophy which in essence is to treat the spent fuel as a resource rather than the waste. DAE scientists have developed technologies to separate Cesium 137 from high level liquid waste and its commercial utilization first time in the world. This technology will find versatile applications such as blood sterilization, food preservation; sewage hygienisation and large scale water treatment.
- Water technology- Many membrane technologies developed for nuclear applications have been modified/ augmented slightly as a spin off. These membrane technologies are used for water treatment and are available to industries under technology transfer schemes. DAE has demonstrated the potential and capability of spin off technologies. A flagship example of such technology is the demonstration desalination plant which coverts 6.3 million litre of seawater into potable water daily using the waste heat of nearby nuclear power plants.
- Irradiation chamber- Radiation processing of various foods and food-products involves controlled application of the energy of radiation (gamma rays, electrons, X-rays) for killing pathogens and insect larvae and helps in reducing the post-harvest losses along with enhancing the shelf-life of the irradiated food products. The indigenously designed and built demonstration gamma radiation plant at Lasalgaon near Nashik is also being used since 2007 for phyto-sanitary treatment of (alphonso) mangoes.
- Healthcare- Radiation medicine is a vital element in management of cancer patients. Techniques such as tele-therapy, brachy-therapy and radionuclide therapy help treat several thousands of cancer patients (curative or palliative). DAE provide products and services to a large number of medical centers. Bhabhatron, a tele-therapy unit indigenously designed and fabricated at BARC costs about 60% of imported unit and its deployment on a large scale will be a major thrust of our national cancer control program.
- Technologies developed by DAE help enhancing the environmental safety, and in turn, support the Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan. Eight BARC biogas plants, Nisargruna, for processing bio-waste for production of energy or cooking gas, have been installed in 2015, taking the total of such plants to 198. BARC has demonstrated radiation hygienisation of urban sewage sludge for safe disposal, and scope to use the resultant bi-productas organic manure. A radiation plant to more efficiently hygienise dry sewage sludge is planned to be set up in Ahmedabad.
- DAE has contributed significantly to enhance the defense capabilities of the nation and has collaborated with other agencies such as DRDO, ISRO etc. for developing new technologies. Through Boards of Research in Nuclear Science (BRNS), DAE provides one of the biggest academia- industry links in the country.
- Indian nuclear power plants have Low plant load factor (PLF) or in other worlds low efficiency. This is detrimental to the growth of nuclear energy as envisioned by government.
- India’s pace of nuclear energy growth is dismally slow. When France and the US decided to embrace nuclear energy in the 1960s and 1970s, the former built approximately 60 reactors within two decades and the latter about 100 in a similar time span.
- The inordinate delays from conception to commission have been fatal for the sector. The nuclear project at Gorakhpur, for example, was sanctioned in 1984 but is yet to be built; the power project at Narora took 20 years from 1972-92 to complete; the first two units at Kaiga took 15 years. The fast breeder reactor project is also languishing, while DAE has been promising to begin construction on the advanced heavy water reactor next year since 2003.
- Cost overruns have also been ingrained into the Indian nuclear process—the Narora plant was sanctioned for approximately Rs200 crore but ended up costing four times that amount; the first two units at Kakrapar saw a 350% increase in cost from conception to commission. Every Indian reactor has seen similar cost spikes.
- Technology assimilation has also been a tough nut for DAE. India’s third commercial nuclear power reactor, the 220 MW pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) at Rawatbhata, was built with technology from Canada. Since then, Indian scientists have indigenized the design and scaled it up to 540 MW and 700 MW but haven’t been able to cross the 1,000 MW mark as Canada has long done. Today, India needs larger reactors for economies of scale but DAE is yet to deliver.
Despite its shortcomings, DAE remains strategically important institution in India’s quest for using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Increasing budgetary allocation, developing new technologies, collaboration with the foreign institutions and increased autonomy would solve many of the mentioned issues.