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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 April 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 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:History of the world will include events from 18th century

1) Critically examine the roots and nature of racial discrimination in the Japanese society today. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction: –

 A new survey carried out by Japan’s Justice Ministry reveals that nearly a third of foreign residents in Japan say they have experienced derogatory remarks because of their racial background, while about 40% have suffered housing discrimination. Of the 18,500 foreigners surveyed, 4,252 responded, the majority identified as Chinese and Korean. Over 40% had lived in Japan for more than a decade.

One in four job seekers said they were denied employment because of being foreign, and one in five believed they were paid less than their Japanese counterparts for similar work. Putting paid to the notion that such discrimination is related to language, 95% of foreigners whose job applications were rejected, and over 90% of those whose housing applications were denied, were able to speak Japanese “conversationally, professionally or fluently”.

In Japan, racism tends to take two forms.

  • There is virulent hate speech by far right groups aimed at Korean and Chinese people, which draws on deep-rooted historical animus.
  • There is also more casual racism towards other foreigners, which springs from unchallenged stereotypes.

 

Consider some of these exclusionary social structures in Japan:

  • Registry systems exclude noncitizen residents from equal legal and social standing with their citizen counterparts.
  • Important laws, including those governing primary education for children in Japan, are only applicable to “citizens,” fostering a noncitizen underclass.
  • “Nationality clauses” exclude noncitizens from employment opportunities far beyond the most sensitive government jobs that require security clearance.
  • Taxpayer-funded sports leagues (with mottoes like “Sports for all”) overtly refuse or restrict “foreign” participants.
  • Japan’s visa regimes, as fellow columnist Colin P.A. Jones has repeatedly pointed out, systematically deny noncitizens equal constitutional protections.
  • Even the Constitution itself clearly states (in the official Japanese-language version) that all Japanese “nationals” (not “residents” or “people”) are equal before the law. And of course, that all-important law in the criminal or civil code forbidding racial discrimination still doesn’t exist.
  • Meanwhile, the country’s blood-based citizenship laws ensure that people with Japanese blood (including noncitizens) receive preferential treatment for life in Japan. That is, of course, as long as they “look Japanese.” If not, see above.

In 2005, a United Nations report expressed concerns about racism in Japan and that government recognition of the depth of the problem was not total. The author of the report, Doudou Diène (Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights), concluded after a nine-day investigation that racial discrimination and xenophobia in Japan primarily affects three groups: national minoritiesLatin Americans of Japanese descent, mainly Japanese Brazilians, and foreigners from poor countries.

Roots and nature of Racial discrimination:-

  • At their core, racism is rooted in a false narrative of Japanese uniqueness and racial purity. In 1889, the Meiji constitution established a state based on the notion that the Emperor was a direct descendant of the “original” Yamato clan, and that all Japanese were organically related to the emperor, giving birth to the idea of a single, homogeneous, racial identity.
  • Hatred towards Chinese, Korean people:- Japanese war 1894 and 95 and Korean relationship in it Japanese also consider themselves more Brilliant and Chinese and Korean dump as giving emphasising over their valour in defeating all of the neighbours even Russia at one time.
  • Stereotypical behaviour:- Mostly Japanese people are sceptical about the foreigners who are not well acquainted with the Japanese culture of speaking softly, emphasising manners etc

There are positive signs that attitudes about race are changing in Japan, though.

  • There is growing recognition that Japan is in fact multi-ethnic. The government reversed its long-held policy of forced assimilation and recognized the Ainu as an indigenous people, and in 2007, it joined the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Japan doesn’t have laws banning hate speech or protecting non-Japanese against discrimination, but there have nevertheless been some positive outcomes in recent court cases.
  • Most importantly, average Japanese, concerned about the direction their country is taking, are speaking out. General rallies were held in Tokyo and Osaka recently to protest racism and hate speech.

Conclusion:-

Until Japan takes the first steps of removing bloodline-based and phenotypical conceits behind nationality and citizenship, Japan will continue to strangle itself demographically and, by extension, economically, politically and socially. Thus, if not properly analysed and addressed, Japan’s embedded racism will be its undoing.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

2) “If ever there was a case where the invocation of the powers of the Supreme Court to do “complete justice” under Article 142 of the Constitution existed, it was the Babri Masjid demolition case.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

On 6 December 1992, a large crowd of Hindu Kar Sevaks (activists) demolished the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh. The demolition occurred after a political rally at the site turned violent.

In Hindu mythology, the city of Ayodhya is the birthplace of the Rama. In the 16th century a Mughal general, Mir Baqi, had built a mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, at a site considered by some Hindus to be Ram Janmabhoomi, the actual birthplace of Rama. In the 1980s, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) began a campaign for the construction of a temple dedicated to Rama at the site, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its political voice. Several rallies and marches were held as a part of this movement, including the Ram Rath Yatra led by L. K. Advani.

On 6 December 1992 the VHP and the BJP organised a rally at the site involving 150,000 volunteers, known as kar sevaks. The rally turned violent, and the crowd overwhelmed security forces and tore down the mosque. A subsequent inquiry into the incident found 68 people responsible for the demolition, including several leaders of the BJP and the VHP. The demolition also resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people

ayodhya

Following is the chronology of events in the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute:

■ 19 April 2017: SC restores criminal conspiracy charge against leaders including Advani, Joshi and union cabinet minister Uma Bharti in the case and clubs the trial in the matter pending against VIPs and karsevaks.

■ 6 April: SC favours time-bound completion of trial in the case and reserves order on CBI’s plea.

■ 21 March: SC suggests fresh attempts to resolve Ayodhya dispute.

■ 6 March: SC indicates it may consider reviving conspiracy charge against the BJP leaders in Babri Masjid demolition case.

■ 31 March 2015: SC issues notices to senior BJP leaders, including L.K.Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and Kalyan Singh, on a plea not to drop charges of criminal conspiracy against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

■ 3 September 2013: SC advanced by about two months the date of hearing in the Babri Masjid demolition case against L.K. Advani and 19 others after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) pleaded for an early hearing which was not opposed by the senior BJP leader.

■ February 2011: CBI moves Supreme Court against high court order.

■ 28 September 2010: Supreme Court rejects petition for deferment and gives the go-ahead to the Allahabad high court to deliver the judgement on the Ayodhya title issue. The high court chooses 30 September as verdict day.

■ 14 September: A writ is filed to defer the judgement but is subsequently rejected by the high court.

■ 8 September: The High Court announces verdict would be delivered on 24 September.

■ July 2010: Bench reserves its judgement and asks all parties to solve the issue amicably. But no one is keen.

■ 20 May: High court dismisses plea. Says no merit in CBI’s revision petition.

■ June 2009: The Liberhan commission investigating events leading up to the mosque’s demolition submits its report—17 years after it began its inquiry. Its contents are not made public.

■ July 2005: Suspected Islamic militants attack the disputed site, using a jeep laden with explosives to blow a hole in the wall of the complex. Security forces kill five people they say are militants, and a sixth who was not immediately identified.

■ 2 November 2004: CBI challenges before the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, the dropping of proceedings against BJP leaders on technical grounds. Court issues notices.

■ September 2003: A court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting the destruction of the Babri Mosque, but no charges are brought against Advani, then deputy prime minister, who was also at the site in 1992.

■ 31 August 2003: All India Muslim Personal Law Board announced it would challenge the ASI report.

Earlier, the ASI survey said there is evidence of a temple beneath the mosque, but Muslims dispute the findings. Vajpayee says at the funeral of Hindu activist Ramchandra Das Paramhans that he will fulfil the dying man’s wishes and build a temple at Ayodhya. However, he hopes the courts and negotiations will solve the issue.

■ April: Three High Court judges begin hearings on determining who owns the religious site.

■ February: BJP rules out committing itself to the construction of a temple in its election manifesto for UP assembly elections. VHP confirms deadline of 15 March to begin construction. Hundreds of volunteers converge on site.

Meanwhile, in a supposedly related incident at least 58 people are killed in an attack on a train in Godhra which was carrying Hindu activists returning from Ayodhya.

■ January: Archaeologists begin a Allahabad high court-ordered survey to find out whether a temple to Lord Ram did exist on the site. Meanwhile, PM Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya cell in his office and appoints a senior official, Shatrughna Singh, to hold talks with Hindu and Muslim leaders.

■ 4 May 2001: Special CBI court drops proceedings against accused including Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, Bal Thackeray and others.

■ December 1993: Two FIRs filed in the case. One against unknown karsevaks for demolition of the mosque. The other named BJP leaders Advani, M M Joshi and others for allegedly giving ‘communal’ speeches before demolition.

■ October: CBI files composite charge sheet accusing Advani and others of conspiracy.

■ 6 December 1992: This was the turning point of the entire dispute when Babri mosque was torn down by supporters of the VHP, the Shiv Sena and the BJP, prompting nationwide communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in which more than 2,000 people die.

■ 1991: BJP comes to power in Uttar Pradesh with Kalyan Singh as chief minister.

■ 1990: VHP volunteers partially damage the mosque. Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar tries to resolve the dispute through negotiations, which fail the next year.

■ 1989: VHP lays foundations of a Ram temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque.

■ 23 October 1989: All the four suits, pending before a Faizabad court transferred to a special bench of the HC.

■ 1989: A fresh suit is filed by former VHP vice-president Deoki Nandan Agarwala in the name of Lord Ram for declaration of the title and possession in its favour at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court.

■ 1986: On a plea of Hari Shanker Dubey, a district judge directs Masjid gates to be unlocked to allow ‘darshan’. Muslims set up Babri Masjid Action Committee.

■ 18 December 1961: UP Sunni Central Board of Waqfs moves in to claim possession of the mosque and adjoining land.

■ 1959: Nirmohi Akhara enters the fray and files the third suit, seeking possession of the site, doing away with the court-appointed receiver. It claims itself to be the custodian of the spot at which Ram was supposedly born.

■ 1950: Ramchandra Paramhans files another suit, but withdraws later.

■ 24 April 1950: The State of Uttar Pradesh appealed against the injunction order.

■ 18 January 1950: First title suit is filed by Gopal Singh Visharad asking for the right to worship the idols installed at ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi´. The court restrained the removal of idols and allowed the worship to continue.

■ 1949: Idol of Lord Ram surfaces inside mosque. Muslims claim that it was kept there by the Hindus. Muslims protest, and both parties file civil suits. The government proclaims the premises a disputed area and locks the gates.

■ 1885: Mahant Raghubir Das files a suit seeking permission to build a canopy on Ram chabootra but his plea was rejected a year after by the Faizabad district court.

■ 1859: British officials erect a fence to separate the places of worships, allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus.

■ 1853: First recorded incidents of communal violence at the disputed site take place.

■ 1528: A mosque is built on the site by Mughal emperor Babar which Hindus allege to be the birth place of Lord Ram and where a temple earlier existed.

ART 142 OF CONSTITUTION:-

  • TheSupreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.
  • Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Supreme Court shall, as respects the whole of the territory of India, have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person, the discovery or production of anydocuments, or the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself.

Invoking this article was necessary as:-

  • Communal passion: The case is a watershed event in creating communal polarization between Hindus and Muslims. It is important that no stone is left unturned to ensure complete justice. This is essential to restore the social fabric of our country.
  • Violence: The grisly violence that accompanied the case is reprehensible. We need to ensure that those behind it are brought to books.
  • Time-frame: “Justice delayed is justice denied”. It is 25 years since the event occurred. It is high time that case is closed
  • Failure of Judiciary & CBI: They have not been able to deliver justice and often exculpated those involved without proper evidence. SC under A.142 should ensure that this doesn’t occur.
  • Minority in India is usually sceptical about majority and fears that complete justice in such sensitive cases won’t be done
  • The issue has been politicised a lot and hence government alone won’t be able to adopt optimally rational approach to resolve the issue
  • Judiciary is the guardian of constitution it is the credible institution and last resort to the people to seek justice hence such acts by it are necessary
  • Set precedent: This case involves names of many eminent people and justice in this will be a testimony to the unbiased rule of law.

Critical aspect:-

  • Exercise of exceptional powers conferred under Article 142 has of late met with some criticism with the courts today more frequently resorting to use of Article 142 than ever before. It is said to be judicial over reach.
  • Frequent resort to this article shows the collective failure of judiciary, executive and legislatures to deal with matters of utmost importance in country’s functioning.

Conclusion:-

If ever there was a case where the invocation of the powers of the Supreme Court to do “complete justice” under Article 142 of the Constitution existed, it was the Babri Masjid demolition case. As Justice R.F. Nariman recognises in his judgment, the underlying basis of the Article is the Latin maxim fiat justitia ruat caelum (let justice be done though the heavens fall). The court’s unhesitating resort to Article 142 mitigates to some extent the consequences of the failures of the Uttar Pradesh government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the judiciary’s own tardy processes. Hence it’s a welcome step.

 


Topic:Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

3) “It’s time 295A and 153A of the IPC are revisited, to end vexatious criminal prosecution.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the main criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law. The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Thomas Babington Macaulay. It came into force in British India during the early British Raj period in 1862.

Section 295A in The Indian Penal Code

[295A. Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs.—Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 4[three years], or with fine, or with both.]

Section 295A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) falls under the “reasonable restrictions” of Article 19, that deals with the freedom of expression. It says that publishing content with “deliberate and malicious intentions” of hurting the religious feelings of a community is a punishable offence. This section has been in news in various cases, such as:

  • Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History, faced severe opposition from certain sections and charges were booked under Section 295A. Under these pressures the Penguin publishers withdrew the book from the market and it opined that the Section 295A has become a serious impediment to the freedom of press in India.
  • A similar story of Perumal Murugan’s Madhorubhaganunwrapped in the state of Tamil Nadu which spoke about a controversial religious ceremony called “Niyoga”. The case booked under the same section is now pending in the Supreme Court.
  • Shirin Dalvi, an editor in a Urdu daily Avadhnamabased out of Mumbai had reproduced the infamous Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon on the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Section 153A in The Indian Penal Code

[153A. Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.—

(1) Whoever—

(a) by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different reli­gious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communi­ties, or

(b) commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity, 2[or] 2[(c) organizes any exercise, movement, drill or other similar activity intending that the participants in such activity shall use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, or participates in such activity intending to use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the partici­pants in such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence, against any religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community and such activity for any reason whatsoever causes or is likely to cause fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity amongst members of such religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community,] shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. Offence committed in place of worship, etc.—(2) Whoever commits an offence specified in sub-section (1) in any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious wor­ship or religious ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.]

Other controversial sections of IPC:-

Unnatural Offenses – Section 377

Whoever, voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten Years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Attempt to Commit Suicide

The Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code deals with an unsuccessful attempt to suicide. Attempting to commit suicide and doing any act towards the commission of the offence is punishable with imprisonment up to one year or with fine or with both. 

Section 497

The Section 497 of the IPC has been criticised on the one hand for allegedly treating woman as the private property of her husband, and on the other hand for giving women complete protection against punishment for adultery

Death Penalty

Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (war against the Government of India), 122 (mutiny), 194 (false evidence to procure conviction for a capital offense), 302, 303 (murder), 305 (abetting suicide), 364A (kidnapping for ransom), 364A (banditry with murder), 376A (rape) have death penalty as punishment. There is ongoing debate for abolishing capital punishment.

Need to revisit these sections 295a AND 153:-

The problem with insult laws, irrespective of the form they assume, is that they are inherently subjective. There is no guessing what causes insult/offence/hurt to people, leaving it open for such provisions to be blatantly misused. 

Larger picture about need to reform IPC:-

  • Its a British time code. Some penal code offences need to be dropped to make the code consistent with the new ideals of constitutional morality, viz. the narrowest possible definitions of crimes, presumption of innocence, proof beyond any shadow of doubt, individualism, and the rights of the accused.
  • The IPC was intended by T.B. Macaulay to be regularly revised by legislative amendment. This did not happen, with the result that the courts had to undertake this task upon themselves. The result was not very satisfactory as judges relied on common law, which the code had intended to replace. Most amendments have been ad hoc and merely reactive, and have not kept in view the underlying drafting principles of the original code.
  • The code has been premised on some very basic principles of criminal jurisprudence and hence the underlying expositions and definitions in the IPC mostly remained unchallenged
  • the classification of offences was kept generic and wider enough to include a vast array of wrong-doings and therefore it also did not pose major problems until recently.

Way forward:-

The project IPC revision would require the following suggestions for a comprehensive revamping of law:

  • There is a need to have empirical legal research showing areas required to be contemplated as new offences in the code. This project must be substantiated by empirical researchers and to be handled by professionals by undertaking extensive pre-legislative surveys.
  • The same process should also be applied in case of identification of offences to be dropped from the IPC on account of being outdated nature and issues of enforceability involved in them.
  • Considerable restructuring and re-arrangement of chapters in the IPC could be done, for instance in the areas of sexual offences. Despite changes in law following nation-wide agitation, there is no separate chapter on sexual offences in IPC. It is therefore the right time to dedicate a full chapter on this subject to bring all sexual offences at one place.
  • The chapter in the IPC on classification could also be based on the nature of liability such as mild, moderate and major liability, so that the quantum of fine could be spelled out accordingly.
  • To be comprehensive enough, the IPC must also include chapters on cyber laws, economic offences, and terrorist offences in the code. This would be helpful in avoiding duplicity and confusion.
  • Illustrations provided with various sections are now totally outdated from the standpoint of today’s standards. They were relevant when the case law was not developed so the need to replace them is quite significant.
  • In the revised project, the indigenousness in the framing of laws must be given space which was completely left out by the IPC.

Conclusion:-

The two IPC provisions encourage the creation of what novelist Monica Ali described as a “marketplace of outrage” — an economy that feeds on anger and hostility. They need to be read down, their scope narrowed in a way that moral vigilantes and those who affect an emotional victimhood can no longer exploit the law to serve their narrow chauvinistic ends. The IPC seems to have fallen short as a scientific legislation fulfilling the need of a universal jurisprudence. But has given a framework to the jurists to develop a more rationalist and constitutionally grounded law for a rapidly growing democracy like India. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:-

Malinath Committee Report on Criminal Justice System

Society considers some behaviours so dangerous and destructive that it either strictly controls their occurrence or outlaws them outright. It is the job of the agencies of justice to prevent these behaviours by apprehending and punishing transgressors or deterring their future occurrence. Thus the criminal justice system is essentially an instrument of social control.

The criminal justice system comprises the police (investigation), the prosecutor (prosecution), the courts (trial) and the prison (punishment and reforms). The role of the police is, no doubt, important in dealing with imminent threats to peace and order as well as in tackling violence when it erupts. However, for sustaining peace and order in society on a long term basis, the role of other wings of the criminal justice system is even more important.

It is the sound criminal justice system which protects a law abiding citizen and deters a potential law breaker. The essence of an efficient criminal justice system is that the trial of an accused should be swift and punishment for a criminal should be certain and deterrent.

In a groundbreaking report on reforms in India’s criminal justice system, a committee headed by Justice V S Malimath has recommended several farreaching changes. 

Some of the recommendations are as follows:

  • Among the reforms suggested are that the accused should not be presumed innocent till proven guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”. And, that a statement made by him before the police should be admissible in court as evidence. 
  • Attempting to make things easier for the prosecution, the committee stated that it should be enough for the accused to be proven guilty if the evidence against him is “clear and convincing”. The standard of proof — “beyond reasonable doubt” — places an unreasonable burden on the prosecution and should be done away with. 
  • The court will have the authority to question the accused during the trial, and his silence could be adversely construed. This will be implemented without affecting the right of the accused not to be a witness against himself. 
  • It recommended making the confession statement of a witness, recorded by an official of the rank of SP or above with simultaneous audio/video recording, admissible in court. 
  • Another recommendation is the enactment of a federal law to deal effectively with organised crime and terrorism. 
  • The committee also recommended that the constitution of permanent criminal benches in high courts and the Supreme Court be presided over by specialised judges. 
  • Also, to ensure discipline and a better code of conduct among judges, it has suggested that the chief justice be conferred with certain special powers. 
  • For the first time, the committee recognised the rights of victims and witnesses. It suggested a witness protection programme and also the right of the victim to participate in the trial for offences punishable with imprisonment of seven years and above. The victim too should have the right to protection and compensation.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;

4) Critically analyse the nature and dangers of fake news. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via the traditional print, broadcasting news media, or via Internet-based social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.

The main driving force behind fake news remains-
1) Getting easy viewership through sensational news-e.g. dubbing foreign prisoners as spies or terrorists without any proof 
2) Directed towards a particular organization or person with an intention to either glorify it or to bring malice.eg. a news channel was established to defend the accused in Jessica Lal murder case.

Nature of fake news

  • Social media in campaign- used to promote electoral programme and encourage anti-liberal sentiments as seen in Trump campaign. They offer a quick way to convey one-sided information or opinion, without the option or capability to verify the authenticity of this information or to present the opposite opinion for the sake of balance.
  • Fake news creating Bubble phenomenon- users with matching political views exchange one-sided information and opinions that suit their own convictions, reinforcing them even further, even if those were based on false information.
  • Social media distancing people It deprives people of human contact and the accompanying intimacy and exchange of opinions, which could lead to changing a wrong impression or correcting an inaccurate belief.
  • Evergreening of fake news websites – tens of thousands of “fake news” websites have emerged, offering false information to an audience that is used to traditional media doing the fact-checking for it and that believes anything that appears on a presentable webpage.
  • Igniting extremist sentiments – ‘fake news’ perputuates, previously locally found, extremist ideas and groups together dangerously minded people eg- Neo-nazis in Germany, Separatists in Kashmir.

Dangers of fake news-

  • Political: Swaying or polarising public opinion. Example Recent American election,UP elections where certain facts are quoted out of context/partially. Significant impact on the nature of polity.
  • Religious: Promoting religious ideologies. Glorifying one religion while despising others Ex. Right wing violence meted out by Gau rakshaks leads to religious polarisation and communal unrests.
  • Criminal:Sensationalising crimes by blowing them out of proportion. Misleads people rather than making them aware. Instils irrational fears.
  • Fake news has also been used to dupe gullible people financially. The reach of news has given chit fund schemes an altogether new arena as well as has introduced the concept of online fraud through spam mails.
  • It hampers spirit of common brotherhood and raises intolerance. Eg. 2012 mass exodus of North-Eastern people from Bangalore on false online threats.
  • Over the time it shapes the thinking of society at large. Portrayal of India as an unsafe destination for women by international media has created a false image of a nation.

Way forward-

  • Independent, trusted and effective press regulation. In UK, Lord Justice Leveson gave recommendations on media self-regulation like- Formation of independent bodies to regulate the content, Rigorous internal editorial and advertising standards., Whistle blowing hotline for journalists etc.
  • Mainstream media must use social media tools intensively in order to defend the truth, present the correct information and balance opinions.
  • Curb media ownership. We need an open debate on the impact of media concentration on our democracy and wider culture. There should be clear limits on media ownership so that powerful proprietors with vested interests are not allowed to dominate the news agenda.
  • Define fake news legally. Heavy punitive measures for whosoever violates the said definition.
  • There should be grievance redressal mechanisms and arbitration spaces to resolve issues.
  • Digital media literacy among people to increase scrutiny and feedbacks of the content.
  • Technical solutions that assess the credibility of information circulating online are also needed.

 


Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

5) In the light of recent Taliban attack on Afghan security forces, critically examine why Afghanistan has not been able to tackle Taliban problem. Also examine how India can help Afghanistan in this regard. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Context-

Around 140 people have been killed in the recent attack of Taliban in Afghanistan. This speaks volumes about the state of security in the war-ravaged country. It was the deadliest attack by the Afghan Taliban since they were ousted from power in 2001.

Why Afghanistan has not been able to tackle Taliban problem?

  • Afghan government’s political reforms and attempts to reach out to the rural populace get nowhere as the Taliban are expanding their hold in the countryside. 
  • Withdrawal of US and NATO troops: withdrawal of the NATO forces have left the ground open for Taliban.
  • Poor Security arrangement:Afghanistan lacks a robust and coherent anti-Taliban strategy. Further Afghan army is inadequately trained to deal with the Taliban militants.
  • Influence of other terror organizations- terror organizations like IS have given impetus to the Taliban terrorists. Also Taliban ties with other militant outfits like Al-Qaeda reinforced each other.
  • Interference by Pakistan- Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of interfering in its internal politics and sponsoring the cross-border terrorism through helping the factions of Taliban.
  • Failure of talks- the multilateral forums like Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), Heart of Asia conference have failed to resolve the conflicting situation in Afghanistan.

How India can help Afghanistan in this regard?

  • India can use regional forums like SAARC, SCO in bringing consensus about the peace process in Afghanistan.
  • Providing military assistance to Afghanistan. For eg 3 Mi 25 Helicopter gifted to Afghanistan by India. However, India cannot enter direct warfare in Afghanistan.
  • Capacity building measures- India can help to train Afghan army effectively to fight against the Taliban menace.
  • Building economic goodwill: strengthening the economy of Afghanistan would keep the influence of Taliban away from the common people.

Conclusion-

Afghanistan is important friend of India in Central Asia and to maintain its strategic interests, it would be imperative for India to take pro-active part in stabilizing the Pakistan.

 


Topic: Agriculture

6) Critically evaluate performance of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and the e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) schemes. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The present Indian government has announced ambitious plan of doubling the farm income by 2022. For this number of schemes are being implemented. Though there are noble provisions, the actual implementation on the ground needs to be evaluated-

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)-

  • PMKSY was launched on July 1, 2015, to give “har khet ko paani” (water to every field) and improving water use efficiency through “more crop per drop”. The implementation of various components of this scheme depends on three different departments — Agriculture, Water Resources, and Rural Development.
  • A new mission directorate for PMKSY is set up under the Ministry of Water Resources.The government identified 99 projects for early completion under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP). Of these 99 projects, 26 are in Maharashtra which had seen long delays and allegations of corruption. On the exact progress, out of the 23 projects to be completed by March 2017, none was actually completed, although many are expected to be completed soon.
  • The component of micro irrigation (MI) in PMKSY has done better and 8.13 lakh ha of additional area is said to have been brought under MI. The total area under MI is about 9 million ha while the potential for MI is almost 10 times more. The government would do better if MI is treated at par with AIBP in terms of funding. MI can move faster with much better results in terms of water-use efficiency.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)-

  • For the first time, farmers’ share of the premium was pegged at 2 per cent for kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for rabi crops. As a result, the area covered under insurance increased from 27.2 million ha in kharif 2015 to 37.5 million ha in kharif 2016, and the sum insured increased from Rs 60,773 crore to Rs 1,08,055 crore over the same period.
  • However, the system of crop damage assessment has not changed much and most of the states could not even procure smartphones that were supposed to facilitate the faster compilation of crop cutting experiments.
  • Some state governments did not take the cost of cultivation as the amount to be insured with a view to saving their outgo on the premium subsidy. Many state governments did not pay the premium on time, as a result of which the farmers’ claims could not be settled expeditiously.
  • In sum, there is still much work to be done on the implementation side, else the large expenditure from the government kitty will be spent without accruing commensurate benefits to farmers.

e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM)-

  • The idea was to enable buyers located in distant places to purchase agri-commodities from any mandi. The GoI also decided that state governments can apply for a grant of Rs 30 lakh per mandi (enhanced to Rs 75 lakh from this year) for related infrastructure and hardware, provided they undertake some reforms in their Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) rules. These included a single trading license to operate in any mandi in the state, single point levy of market fee, and provision for e-auction of agricultural commodities in the rules and regulations of the state.
  • So far, 417 mandis located in 13 states are claimed to have been connected to the e-NAM portal. In most mandis the sales through traditional auctions are being shown as turnover through e-NAM. Out of a turnover of approximately Rs 15,605 crore in e-NAM, Haryana alone is showing a turnover of Rs 8,237 crore.
  • But the enquiry into this revealed that very few auctions are being conducted by using the software. So far, there are no inter-mandi auctions and there is no evidence that farmers have gained from this system either in terms of cutting down commissions of arhtiyas or better price realisation. The ambition of creating an all-India agri-market, therefore, still remains a distant dream. The e-NAM can be a game changer only if it is steered as diligently as the GST.

Conclusion-

Things cannot change overnight. But based on careful analysis, one can say that these steps are in the right direction though implementation has been rather weak in most cases.