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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 April 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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: Population – and associated issues

1) What do you understand by replacement level fertility? It is said that India’s fertility is fast approaching replacement levels. Examine how will it affect population growth in future. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

Replacement level fertility is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next. In developed countries, replacement level fertility can be taken as requiring an average of 2.1 children per woman. In countries with high infant and child mortality rates, however, the average number of births may need to be much higher. Replacement level fertility is not associated with an unique set of age-specific birth rates. When a country reaches replacement level fertility, other conditions must be met for zero population growth to also be attained. Replacement level fertility will lead to zero population growth only if mortality rates remain constant and migration has no effect. The momentum of past and current demographic trends may also take several generations to work itself out. A change to replacement level fertility therefore leads to zero population growth only in the long run. 

Indian Scenario :-

Evidence from India’s last Census in 2011, confirmed by data from the recent National Family Health Survey 2017 (NFHS-4), shows that fertility in India is fast approaching replacement levels. This means that couples will have children who will essentially replace their number, to stabilise population growth. The NFHS-4 shows that in the past decade, the average number of children per family has come down from 2.7 to 2.2. With replacement fertility being 2.1 children per woman, this is good news for the land and the people.

Even after fertility rates drop to replacement levels, the total population will still grow, and is likely to reach 1.7 billion by 2050. The thrust of this growth will come from the youth bulge, with 365 million (10-24 years old) already in, or soon to enter, their reproductive ages. Even if they have children only in numbers that replace themselves, the resultant growth due to such a large base of young people will drive the growth momentum for population. For India as a whole, 75% of population growth in the coming decade will be due to this momentum.

This will affect the population growth as follows:

  • Lesser population burden: India will face lesser population burden in the wake of the new generation only replacing the older ones.
  • Growth opportunities: There would be a spur in growth opportunities in terms of jobs and services availability.
  • Optimum utilization of resources: Resources will be utilized as per their availability and the population won’t pose a threat on the already scarce resources.
  • Harmony among people: Less competition would ensure that people get thwir due share of rights and opportunities, leading to harmonious relations among people.
  • Education and personality development facilities : Lesser children would ensure that parents could put up their all in educating them and would be committed to make their children’s future better.
  • Overall growth of India: India would develop overall due to rising opportunities for the youths.
  • Youth bulge: If used efficiently, the youth bulge could take India to a new level of success.

positive decline

 


Topic:  The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country 

2) Examine the meaning and context of the term ‘pseudo-secular’, which is frequently in news.  Discuss the nature of context between secular nationalists and communalists during the course of the Indian freedom struggle. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Pseudo secular is a term propounded by the ideologues of Hindu communalism to delegitimise and deny the genuineness of secularism. The subtext is that secularism is only a veneer, or a cloak, put on to hide the reality, which is that of minority appeasement, or even more simply, of being pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu.

In the Indian context, the term pseudo-secularism is used to pejoratively describe policies considered to involve minority appeasement. The Hindus form the majority religious community in India; the term “pseudo-secular” implies that those who claim to be secular are actually not so, but are anti-Hindu or pro-minority. The Hindu nationalist politicians accused of being “communal” use it as a counter-accusation against their critics

Secular Nationalist:
Freedom Struggle developed a culture, whereby seculars were considered as Nationalists , because of the following reasons:

  • Active participation in freedom struggle : Seculars took active participation in freedom struggle , due to which they were regarded as nationalist, because the concept of a nation had its core in oneness and development for all.
  • Worked for all: Their motto was to develop everyone, not on the basis of community , but based on what level of development is required by whom.
  • Fostered one religion: They propagated only one religion and that was nationalism, for them their personal interests were subjugated to general interests.

Communalist:
Since the freedom struggle , Indian Nationals rejected the idea of a HINDU RASHTRA , the fact was proved by the mere 6% votes ,the idea of a Hindu Rashtra got. This developed a feeling that communalists are anti-nationals. Following points prove it:-

  • Passive participation in freedom struggle: The communists didn’t actively participate in the freedom struggle, which associated the term anti-national with them.
  • Loyalists of Britishers: Many communists were seen as serving the British for their individual gains. This lead to the feeling of anger among other locals.
  • Narrow thinking : The communists were seen as propagators of a very narrow thinking of community interest instead the nation as a whole. This lead to a stain on their image.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3) It is said that Donald Trump’s ambitious plan to cut corporate taxes will be a major boost for US companies and the dollar, but may spell bad news for emerging markets. Examine why. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction:-

Trump proposed slashing tax rates for businesses to 15% from the current 35% for public corporations, and 39.6% for small businesses. Overseas corporate profits returned to the country will also be taxed at 15%.

If the proposals are legislated, US companies would go from being the most highly taxed among the Group of 20 countries to among the lowest. The plan still has to go through Congress.

Impact on US companies:-

  • Higher Profitability:This will improve the returns of the American Corporations
  • Greater Investment:Surplus capital due to lower tax can be invested in useful domains to generate further returns thereby initiating a positive reinforcing cycle.
  • Foreign Capital:Improved business environment will attract capital from other countries.
  • Remittances:With dollar getting stronger U.S emigrants in other countries will increase their remittances and thus augmenting the pool of capital in US.                                   
  • Growth of start ups: Firms and even individuals would have interest in investing in startups of US, thus giving US Startups an edge.                                
  • Strong Dollar: This would ensure that dollar remains in a stronger position than other currencies.                
  • More revenue: The overall revenue will also increase due to rise in industries of US.

However there shall be a negative impact on emerging economies

  • Flight of the capital: The Investment made in FDI/FII by the American companies will shift to America which will affect emerging economies badly. However, on the contrary it is possible that higher capital at disposal may lead to increased investment in emerging economies.
  • Reduction in offshoring and outsourcing: With greater returns there shall be a cut in offshoring and outsourcing of companies and jobs respectively by Americans in emerging economies. Moreover the existing ones too might see a drop.
  • Lower Remittances:The increased strength of the dollar will lower the remittances of the American immigrants.                                                                                                           
  • Volatile market situation: Due to the retraction of capital from emerging markets, there would be volatility in the markets of those economies.

Conclusion :-

The world has becoming increasingly integrated with higher dependency on each other. While complete immunity may not be possible emerging economies should take effective steps to insulate themselves from the spillovers of developed countries like US.

 


Topic:  Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

4) Examine how the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, is an improvement over 1995 Disabled Act. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

Parliament repealed the 1995 Act and brought in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the Preamble of which marks respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of disabled persons, among other goals. The 2016 Act is expected to give full effect to the United Nations Convention.

Its improvements over 1995 act are as follows:-

  • Rights based approach- the new Act empowers persons with disabilities (PwDs) with the right to equality, preservation of dignity and personal liberty. It also protects against discrimination.
    Such a rights based approach was absent in the 1995 Act.
  • Expanded list of disabilities- the type of disabilities have been increased to 21 with provision for adding more.
    The 1995 recognised only 7 disabilities.
  • Special Provisions for persons with benchmark disabilities-
    Education- right to free education in a neighborhood school for children between 6-18 years with a benchmark disability.
    • Employment- reservation of 4% seats in government establishments for such persons. Provision of incentives for private entities to reserve 5% seats for the same. Focus on vocational training and self- employment. 
    The 1995 Act provided for right to free education till 18 years and 3% vacancies in government employment for PwDs. No provision benchmark disabilities in people.
  • Guardianship of mentally ill persons- provision of grant of limited guardianship by the District Court- a limited guardian will take joint decisions with the mentally ill person- affirmation of freedom of the mentally ill.
    The 1995 Act had no such provision.
  • Social security- the new Act widens the ambit of social security- provision for community centres with good standard of living, support to women for livelihood, free healthcare in the neighbourhood areas, cultural and sporting activities etc.
    The 1995 Act’s focus on social security was limited to financial assistance and insurance coverage- community participation and recreational approaches were ignored.
  • Grievance Redressal-penal provisions for violating the provisions of the Act. Imprisonment between 6 months- 5 years and fine for those inflicting violence or intimidations a PwD. Gender specific clauses make the Act gender sensitive, a significant development over the 1995 Act.
  • The Act sets up Central and State Advisory Boards for policy development. It also strengthens the Officer of Chief Commissioner and State Commissioner for PwDs

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Economic growth

5) The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Review Committee report has preferred a debt to GDP ratio of 60% for the general government by 2023, comprising 40% for the Central government and 20% for the State governments.  Discuss the challenges that states would face in achieving debt ceiling of 20% by 2023. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-

The N.K. Singh Panel had been recently appointed to review and to give suggestion FRBM Act ,2003 in view with the current and dynamic global and domestic conditions. One of tenets of fiscal prudence suggested by it is to achieve debt/GDP ratio of 20%. It entails following challenges:

  • GST Uncertainty: The complex and enormous realm of GST has inherent uncertainty despite the best efforts in terms of sufficient compensation and the inflow of future revenues
  • UDAY: The burden on state exchequer to take the debts of Discoms will be a roadblock
  • Revenue fall: The liquor ban on SHs and NHs will lead to fall in revenues. Similarly exclusion of states from National Small Savings Fund will also dry up the revenue stream
  • Poor Spending: The investment of states on physical and social infrastructure is poor as per the latest HSBC report. This shall have far reaching implication on the inability to generate future revenues

However, there are certain positive developments which may capitulate States towards achieving the debt/GDP target of 20%

  • Greater Devolution: The substantial hike in devolution of the proceeds of the Centre to States from 32% to 42%
  • Autonomy to borrow:The Union government allowed States to directly borrow from foreign governments for infrastructure projects
  • Investment Summits: A number of States like Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan have been able to attract heavy investments from foreign countries through regular investment summits.

Conclusion :-Fiscal discipline is one of fundamental pillars for macroeconomic stability and future growth. States should take proactive steps adhere to it while the Centre should assist them under them under the ethos of “cooperative federalism”


 

Topic: Linkages between development and spread of extremism. 

6) What is the core ideology of Maoist insurgents in India? Do you think heavy military approach to address Maoist insurgency is in the interest of local people? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction:-

A Naxal or Naxalite is a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The term Naxal derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the movement had its origin. Naxalites are considered far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. Their origin can be traced to the split in 1967 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), leading to the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist). Initially the movement had its centre in West Bengal. In later years, it spread into less developed areas of rural southern and eastern India, such as ChhattisgarhOdishaAndhra Pradesh and Telangana through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The core ideology of Maoist is to usurp the existent parliamentary democracy in India by communism through violent means by establishing “red corridors”.
No, heavy military approach, to a large extent, will not be able to address the interest of local people because:

  • Casualties: The violent struggle between counter-insurgency troops and Naxalities result in unwarranted casualties of local people
  • Abuse:With heavy military, the probabilities of abuse of local people at the hands of military increases. The history of Naxalism is replete with such excesses
  • Core agenda: The core agenda of alienation of local people like alienation,land records, rehabilitation and employment remain unaddressed.

 

However, heavy militaristic becomes necessary because

  • Locals as Ransom: Maoists often use local people as ransom to coerce the government to accept their unjust demands. Heavy military helps counter this issue.
  • Coercing by Maoists:Locals are often coerced by Moaists violating their human right to downright killing them. Heavy military becomes important here.
  • Upgraded arms: With growing technology Moaists have access to technologically advanced arms and heavy military is required to address this.
  • Large number of comrades in People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army(PLGA), the military wing of Maoists.
  • PLGA attacks any development work by the government in remote areas. The army has to accompany workers for their safety.
  • Maoists are better acquainted with local terrain and fighting in dense forests.

Additional information:- There are several components of Government of India’s response to Naxalism. These include deployment of paramilitary forces and dedicated anti-Naxal forces, Modernization of Police forces, Investment in security related expenditures, Investment in local infrastructure, various development programmes etc. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Operation Steeplechase

Operation Steeplechase was launched in early 1970s during the first phase of Naxal Movement. In the wake of emergency and 1971 war, Indira Gandhi mobilized the Indian Army against the Naxalites in West Bengal. It was a joint Army-CRPF-Police operation. In this operation, the strategy was to surround Naxal stronghold with an outer cordon of the Army, an inner cordon of the CRPF, and local police operating inside. The operation ended up with death of hundred of Naxalites and imprisonment of thousands of them. It disrupted the network of the naxalite cadres and stalled the movement. Charu Mazumdar was imprisoned and soon he died in custody. The operation steeplechase marked the end of Naxalite movement, but only that particular phase and ultimately proved to be a cosmetic surgery only. The movement did not end and resurfaced because government had not removed the causes of the insurgency.

  • Unified Command

In 2010, the Government established a Unified Command for inter-state coordination (in intelligence gathering, information sharing and police responses) between Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. {Please note that Unified Commands also exist in Assam and Jammu & Kashmir}

  • Operation Green Hunt

The Ministry of Home Affairs had established 10 Battalions of COBRA (COmmando Battalion for Resolute Action) in 2009 as specially trained units in Guerrilla warfare. Since 2009, there is an operation going on in Naxalite affected areas including the Bastar region under the lead of COBRA. The media (not government) calls it Operation Green Hunt. Apart from CRPF, the Government has deployed  Naga Battalions of the Nagaland’s Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) in this operation and has also taken help of Israeli operatives.

  • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme

Under this scheme funds are provided to states for meeting the recurring expenditure relating to insurance, training and operational needs of the security forces, rehabilitation of Left Wing Extremist cadres (who surrender in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the State Government concerned), community policing, security related infrastructure for village defence committees and publicity material.

  • Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS)

This scheme tries to cater to the critical infrastructure gaps for better mobility for the police and security forces by upgrading existing roads and rail tracks in inaccessible areas, providing secure camping grounds and helipads at strategic locations in remote and interior areas, measures to enhance security in respect of police stations / outposts located in vulnerable areas etc.

  • Central Scheme for assistance to civilian victims/family of victims of Terrorist, Communal and Naxal violence This scheme is to assist families of victims of Terrorist, Communal and Naxal violence. An amount of Rs. 3 lakh is given to the affected family under the scheme.
  • Integrated Action Plan Integrated Action Plan (IAP) was started by UPA Government in 78 Selected Tribal and Backward Districts for accelerated development. The aim of this initiative is to provide public infrastructure and services. Road Requirement Plan for LWE areas The objective is to improve road connectivity in 34 extremely LWE affected districts in 8 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Scheme of Fortified Police Stations

Some 400 police stations in 9 LWE affected States at a unit cost Rs. 2 crores were sanctioned under this scheme Civic Action Programme Under this scheme financial grants are sanctioned to CAPFs to undertake civic action in the affected states. Objective is to build bridges between the local population and the security forces.

  • Surrender Policies by State Governments

Naxal-affected states have also announced surrender policies whereby they offer cash assistance, land and other benefits in lieu of surrender. However, there is no effective intelligence mechanism to identify Naxal cadres. Often, tribal youths surrender as Naxal cadres; many of them even join the Naxal movement to reap these benefits.
Conclusion :-

The issues of internal armed rebellion is sensitive and needs a strategic multi-pronged approach of deterrence and development. Heavy militarization against own countrymen will not bring any solution. The government has to reach out to the local people and ascertain them of their good intent. Of bright futures for their children in education and peace.

 


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 

7) What’s RTS,S or Mosquirix? Discuss its applications and significance. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-

RTS,S/AS01 — trade name Mosquirix — is a recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine. Approved for use by European regulators in July 2015, it is not only the world’s first licensed malaria vaccine, but the first vaccine licensed for use against a parasitic disease of any kind. The RTS,S vaccine was conceived of and created in the late 1980s by scientists working at SmithKline Beecham Biologicals (now GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines) laboratories in Belgium. The vaccine was further developed through a collaboration between GSK and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and has been funded in part by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its efficacy ranges from 26 to 50% in infants and young children. It is considered to be a milestone advance  in the worldwide campaign against malaria. On 23 October 2015, The World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) jointly recommended a pilot implementation of the vaccine in Africa.

Application :-

  • Although the number of cases globally and in the African region came down by 21% between 2010 and 2015, in 2015 itself the number of deaths worldwide on account of the disease was as high as 429,000.
  • According to WHO estimates, Africa accounted for 92% of these deaths, and 90% of the 212 million new cases that year. In such a scenario, even a vaccine with limited benefits could yield a substantial improvement.
  • The vaccine, given in four doses, protects against Plasmodium falciparum , which is the most prevalent malaria parasite in Africa.
  • The three countries have been chosen as they have settings with moderate-to-high transmission of malaria and already have in place malaria control programmes such as the use of bed-nets, rapid diagnostic tests and combination therapy. Each country is to decide where precisely to run the pilots.
  • The first three doses of the vaccine will be administered with a minimum interval of one month between each dose, followed by the fourth dose 15 to 18 months after the third dose.
  • The first dose will be administered at about five months of age and the third dose has to be completed by nine months of age. While the drop-out rate increases as the number of doses increases, the biggest challenge is the fourth dose, which warrants a new immunisation contact to be made 15 to 18 months after the last dose.
  • In Phase III trials, the efficacy of the vaccine was around 30% when children received all the four doses; the vaccine also reduced the most severe cases by a third

Significance:-

  • If the vaccine does indeed prove to be ready for large-scale use, it will be a milestone in the fight against malaria.
  • Unlike other vaccines, the less-than-optimum protection offered by this vaccine would mean that existing malaria intervention measures will have to be used in conjunction to reduce the incidence of the disease.