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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 May 2017

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 May 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:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) “A lack of imagination and linear municipal solid waste management practices have resulted in promoting incineration, which is fraught with adverse environmental and health consequences, as a solution to getting rid of our urban garbage.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

EPW

Introduction :- Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high-temperature waste treatment systems are described as “thermal treatment”. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas and heat. The ash is mostly formed by the inorganic constituents of the waste, and may take the form of solid lumps or particulates carried by the flue gas. The flue gases must be cleaned of gaseous and particulate pollutants before they are dispersed into the atmosphere. In some cases, the heat generated by incineration can be used to generate electric power.

waste management

Incineration with energy recovery is one of several waste-to-energy (WtE) technologies such as gasification, pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion. While incineration and gasification technologies are similar in principle, the energy product from incineration is high-temperature heat whereas combustible gas is often the main energy product from gasification. Incineration and gasification may also be implemented without energy and materials recovery.

Main reason behind it is lack of technological advancement and innovation, behavioural and structural challenges and faulty waste collection process. Lacuna in waste collection can be subjected to below reasons:-

  • Waste collection in India is not done in a planned scientific way. No segregation of waste at source. Which thins the chances of dealing with different types of wastes in different manner. This increases overall amount of waste reached at incineration centres which may include hazardous waste and biodegradable material also.
  • Technology required for recycling of waste in a safe and environment friendly manner is also missing. Many countries in the world are recycling 40 -50 % of their waste. India is far behind. Waste management is still not on priority list and waste collection is still looked down upon. Theses are behavioural aspect of the problem which minimize any revolutionary initiative.
  • Effective Waste management can not be achieved while working in silos and taking piecemeal initiatives. This requires a comprehensive policy which address concerns right from the source level. encourages use of bio degradable material for packing and in disposable material etc. Incentives shall be given to innovators and researchers. Collection of waste in more organized way.
    More focus should be on maximum recycling.
    This collaborative approach can provide a substitute against harmful waste disposal practices.

 


Topic:  Role of women and women’s organization

2) Discuss the problems that women in the natural sciences face and the possible ways in which these can be addressed in order to create a more equitable work atmosphere in science research institutions and universities. (200 Words)

EPW

Introduction :- Gender discrimination against women is widely felt in jobs and is acutely felt in pure science where women are very few in numbers. The problems faced by women in the filed of natural science are as follows

  • Minority: As a very small number of women are present, there are a minority in their professional circle and thus their needs are not/under addressed.
  • Sexism: A prevalent notion among the pure science communities is that women scientist are not at par with their male counterparts.
  • Stereotype: Girls at young age are discouraged from taking up pure science as it is considered as a male bastion.
  • Lack of mentoring: Women often lack mentors who are can guide them especially while facing the inherent discrimination in the system works against them
  • Role models: Many accomplished women scientist still remain unsung heroes who can spur girls of next generation to take up natural science. While we know much about Einstein, we know very little about accomplished Emmy Noether who was a guide to Einstein and had considerable influence on him
  • Communities: Women communities in pure sciences where women can discuss and share their problems are few.
  • Addressing special needs: Supporting married scientists and mothers while taking care of their needs of safety, household responsibilities, child rearing are not addressed.
  • Peer support – As number of women in the hierarchy remain scarce, peer networking becomes a challenge
  • Community overhang – lack of women centric institutions that makes inclusion difficult.

Possible ways:

  • Break Stereotypes: that girls are not suitable to take up pure sciences
  • Special Needs: Provisions to address the needs of married women and mothers through flexible hours of work and education.
  • Building Communities: Women centric where women can discuss and share their problems
  • Creating Role models: Women role models should be brought to limelight and should be presented in a way that encourages women to take up pure science.
  • State support- necessary to prevent discrimination. Eg. Maternity Benefits(Amendment ) Act, 2016
  • Strengthening grassroots – scholarships and rewards to recognize girl talents and setting trajectories to foster them.

Gender diversity is a must and the inherent issues women face on the lines of gender discrimination needs to be addressed to ensure a more inclusive and equitable scientific community.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

3) In its own and also Bangladesh’s interest, should India yield to Bangladesh’s demands in Teesta issue? Critically comment. (200 Words)

EPW

Introduction :- Sharing the waters of the Teesta river, which originates in the Himalayas and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal to merge with the Brahmaputra in Assam and (Jamuna in Bangladesh), is perhaps the most contentious issue between two friendly neighbours, India and Bangladesh. The river covers nearly the entire floodplains of Sikkim, while draining 2,800 sq km of Bangladesh, governing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. For West Bengal, Teesta is equally important, considered the lifeline of half-a-dozen districts in North Bengal. Bangladesh has sought an “equitable” distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996, but to no avail. The failure to ink a deal had its fallout on the country’s politics, putting the ruling Awami League in a spot.

bengal needs teesta

Bangladesh’s claim of water is somehow just and requires a serious attention from India:

 

  • River Teesta feeds around 15 % of plains of Bangladesh. As Bangladesh is a country of peasants around 10 % population is directly dependent on Teesta for their livelihood. Though most of the catchment area of Teesta lies in India, claim of Bangladesh is not any less.
  • India is also a lower riparian state in case of many rivers originated in NEPAL, China and Bhutan. Water sharing on equitable principles will pose a good example in front of other neighbours.
  • If we look at the diplomatic relationship between India & Bangladesh, specially Sekh Haseena has cooperated well with India, be the matter of dealing with NE extremist groups or cross border terrorism or extended support on road connectivity to NE states. India should not miss the opportunity to strengthen the ties.
  • India Bangladesh LBA took decades to finally see light of the day. Such delays cause loss of trust and is a dark spot on foreign diplomacy. Given the overall situation in neighbourhood where India- Nepal, Indo-Shri Lanka relationship is facing its own lows, India should not miss the chance to reaffirm its position in region.

 


Topic:   Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

4) It is argued that the challenge to Section 139 AA of the Income Tax Act, otherwise known as the Aadhaar/Pan challenge, is an immensely consequential case for the credibility of the Supreme Court. Discuss why. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 as introduced by the Finance Act, 2017 provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from 1st July, 2017. 
It is clarified that such mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or Enrolment ID shall apply only to a person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number. As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, only a resident individual is entitled to obtain Aadhaar. Resident as per the said Act means an individual who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to one hundred and eighty-two days or more in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment. Accordingly, the requirement to quote Aadhaar as per section 139AA of the Income-tax Act shall not apply to an individual who is not a resident as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016. 

Challenge to 139AA and immense consequentiality for credibility of Supreme Court :-

  • Guardian of constitution :- Bicameralism considered as the part of the basic structure which make the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha position unalterable. Aadhar bill passed through the Money will which is challenged by the many MPs in supreme court. Improper route of the money bill curtail the powers of Rajya Sabha.
  • Guardian of the FR of the Citizen :- Aadhar Act itself said that it is voluntary and now the government in the court said that it is mandatory. Aadhar act provision linked to the bio metrics is subjected to the right of privacy issue which is pending in the supreme court.
  • The court has created a credibility crisis for itself. Its mendacious evasions on the issue of privacy rights emanating from Aadhaar have eroded its credibility. In a context where the Supreme Court has found time to take over entire private bodies like the BCCI and run them, the idea that it did not have time to conduct hearings since October 2015 on an issue of such vital importance is frankly scandalous.
  • The court has come under a lot of criticism that the sophistication of its “policy jurisprudence” falls short of the requirements of a modern economy and regulatory state. Some of this criticism may be exaggerated. But there is reason to think that the court’s understanding of complex economic and regulatory issues needs to evolve.

 


Topic:   Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

4) It is argued that the challenge to Section 139 AA of the Income Tax Act, otherwise known as the Aadhaar/Pan challenge, is an immensely consequential case for the credibility of the Supreme Court. Discuss why. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction-

The Aadhar-Pan challenge case will have huge ramifications for the institutional credibility of the Supreme Court. It will also be a test case for whether the checks and balances of our constitutional scheme stand, or whether they will get blown away at the slightest whiff of executive power.

Why the Aadhar-Pan is an immensely consequential case for the credibility of SC?

  • The court has created a credibility crisis for itself. Its mendacious evasions on the issue of privacy rights emanating from Aadhaar have eroded its credibility. In a context where the Supreme Court has found time to take over entire private bodies like the BCCI and run them, the idea that it did not have time to conduct hearings since October 2015 on an issue of such vital importance is simply dishonorable. That delay tied the petitioners’ hand even in the case at hand, where they could not invoke the privacy-based argument.
  • The state has taken an aggressively anti-rights stand, one that goes way beyond what even any moderate case for well-defined uses of Aadhaar would warrant. The idea that there is no right to privacy, or that we have no absolute right over our bodies is, in the form in which the state deploys them, chilling.

The state is blithely acting as if no rights were at stake. By refusing to clarify the nature and scope of these rights, the court is abetting the state’s presumptuousness. This anti-rights aggression by the state, its short shrift to protections, is actually weakening trust in the state.

  • The delay in sorting out matters relating to Aadhaar has given the executive carte blanche to go ahead and change the facts on the ground to the point where the people might be just handed a fait accompli. Governance by fait accompli is neither just, nor legitimate.

The Supreme Court’s own authority and orders are being subverted in the notifications for the use of Aadhaar; the amendment to the IT Act is a backdoor means of getting what the Aadhaar Act does not seem to provide. The Supreme Court needs to decide whether their orders are to be followed or not.

  • Aadhaar has been enacted is the disregard for all institutional proprieties. For a long time, it operated without governing legislation. Then, the legislation came in the form of a money bill that has, in effect, nullified every principle of parliamentary accountability. It has also set a dangerous precedent which is now being deployed with impunity in legislation.

Historically, the courts have created legitimacy for themselves, not by meddling in policy and governance or populist grandstanding, but by making sure that the institutional forms of a democracy are respected. The courts’ increasingly monumental silence on these issues is mystifying.

  • The court has come under a lot of criticism that the sophistication of its “policy jurisprudence” falls short of the requirements of a modern economy and regulatory state. We are now entering a world of unprecedented technological advances. These will also have a far-reaching impact on the nature of surveillance, the threats we face, our deepest sense of self, and our moral vocabulary.

The Aadhaar-related cases are the most significant test of whether our jurisprudence is fit for an age of technology, whether it has the care, sophistication and nuance to measure up to the challenges of our era. These cases give the Supreme Court an opportunity to establish itself as an intellectual leader in this area.

  • Finally, one of the court’s functions is the articulation of a constitutional morality that cuts through moral cant. In the absence of that constitutional leadership, the vacuum is filled by all kinds of specious arguments.

Two arguments are particularly troubling. One is the implicit contrast being set up in the Aadhaar debate between the rights of the poor and the rights of the rich: Aadhaar for poor service delivery recipients, not for the privileged. The rich and poor are differently situated. But the core issues are similar: Aadhaar was supposed to be an enabler, not a means of denying rights. What is the redress where the poor are being denied rights? The accountability of the authentication process affects everybody. This case should be about common rights as citizens, not about different classes of people. 

The second is the culturalist cant going around: “Privacy is not an Indian idea”, or that foreign and comparative law is not applicable for this reason.

 


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

5) Discuss the issues arising out of making prescription of generic drugs by doctors mandatory in all hospitals across India. (200 Words)

EPW

Concept of Generic drugs:

  • A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that is equivalent to a brand-name product in dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, performance, and intended use. In most cases, generic products become available after the patent protections afforded to a drug’s original developer expire.
  • Although they may not be associated with a particular company, generic drugs are usually subject to government regulations in the countries where they are dispensed. They are labeled with the name of the manufacturer and a generic nonproprietary name.

Generic drugs in India:

  • The Indian government began encouraging more drug manufacturing by Indian companies in the early 1960s , and with the Patents Act in 1970. The Patents Act removed composition patents for foods and drugs, and though it kept process patents, these were shortened to a period of five to seven years.
  • The resulting lack of patent protection created a niche in both the Indian and global markets that Indian companies filled by reverse-engineering new processes for manufacturing low-cost drugs. The code of ethics issued by the Medical Council of India in 2002 calls for physicians to prescribe drugs by their generic names only.
  • Generic medicines in India have received a new impetus with Prime Minister Modi himself advocating the usage of these medicines. Doctors will now be required to prescribe generic formulations of medicines, as opposed to specific brands. The Prime Minister has announced that prescription of medicines by their generic names will be mandatory.

Benefits of mandatory prescription of Generic drug:

  • This is expected to bring down drug prices and expand access to affordable health solutions. As per the latest National Sample Survey Office survey on healthcare, in 2014, medicines emerged as a principal component of total health expenses—72% in rural areas and 68% in urban areas.
  • For a country with one of the highest per capita out-of-pocket expenditures on health, even a modest drop in drug prices will free hundreds of households from the widespread phenomenon of a medical poverty trap.
  • In addition to the social benefits, the generics-only policy also makes economic sense. By promoting generic drug consumption, the government safeguards the health of its generic drug manufacturing industry—one of the largest suppliers of low-cost medicines in the world.
  • Low-cost medicines, apart from their attribute as a commercial commodity, have far-reaching implications on public health and international human rights. India has unambiguously subscribed to the pro-public health argument, and has articulated its position several times at home and in international forums.

Experiments in states

  • The Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan governments procure generic name medicines at extremely competitive prices year after year, and crore of drugs are in use in their public health systems, thanks to the quality assurance systems in place.
  • The success of the drug procurement system in these two states should counter the defeatist narrative that insists that generic medicines can never be good.This is not to underestimate the challenges in ensuring quality generic medicines countrywide, but the critics from the medical profession are doing the poor patient enormous disservice by swallowing the disinformation from the pharmaceutical industry about the general lack of bioavailability of generics as compared to brands.

 The issues involved in Generic drugs are:

  • Role of non-governmental agencies:

Government has comparatively less control over the distribution of drugs and the type of drugs getting prescribed. The cooperation and efforts by doctors, retail drug sellers and pharmaceutical industry is very crucial in order to make this happen in efficient manner.

  • Implementation:

Lower awareness and corruption have given rise nexus between Doctors chemists & pharma sector. So, public awareness via digital media along surveillance mechanism to curb nexus

  • International pressure:

Big western pharmaceutical lobbies may back stringent IPR rigme & compulsory licensing. They may blame India to breach TRIPS agreement and drag into WTO. But recent UN report has given precedence to human rights over patent rights which support India’s move for affordable generic price to improve health care

  • Supply side challenge:

India is import driven country for active pharmaceutical ingredient and already facing challenge of substandard quality of generic drugs. Along with this current move may reduce FDI inflow in pharm sector and slowdown research & development in domestic pharma companies. However, India has taken steps like ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2017’ and new IPR policy that offer incentive & ease of doing business in India. India should adopt stricter accreditation and inspection rules for generic drugs.

Government initiative:

Jan Aushadhi Scheme

  • The Government has launched ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all, especially the poor, throughout the country, through outlets known as Jan Aushadhi Stores (JASs).
  • Under the Jan Aushadhi Scheme, the State Governments are required to provide space in Government Hospital premises or any other suitable locations for the running of the Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS).
  • Any NGO/Charitable Society/Institution/Self Help Group with experience of minimum 3 years of successful operation in welfare activities, can also open the Jan Aushadhi store outside the hospital premises. In case of Stores opened in North Eastern States and other difficult areas i.e., Naxal affected areas/Tribal areas etc., the rate of incentive is15% of monthly sale amount, subject to a ceiling of Rs.15,000/- per month.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Infastructure

6) Transfer of Technology (ToT) and Make in India are said to be important pillars of the Indo-Japanese agreement on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train (HSR) project. Examine issues and challenges involved in making use of ToT and Make in India in the HSR project. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction-

India is poised to take leap in the technological sophistication with the help of other countries like Japan, Germany etc. However India needs to resolve the issues and challenges involved into Technology Transfer from these countries.

Issues and challenges involved in making use of ToT and MII in the HSR project-

  • Projects like High Speed Trains are critical for the growth and development of countries like India. However the main challenge of Transfer of Technology lays in which areas the technology is to be transferred, to whom it is to be transferred and how it is to be transferred.
  • To address which areas ToT will take place in, a detailed analysis of the components needs to be undertaken by Indian industries and entities involved.
  • This analysis should aim to capture first, the long-term capabilities of Indian industry to supply quality critical components for the project both during the construction and operations and management (O&M) phases and second, be conducted with the objective to reduce O&M costs through the adoption of universal specifications and enhanced localization.
  • To address issues related to whom ToT will involve and how complicated this might be, it is worthwhile to see how other countries have handled similar situations. Here the examples of China and Brazil are commendable.
  • Considering that the high-speed project will be a technological jump for India, a suitable mechanism needs to be firmed up which can absorb the technology and expand the capabilities of Indian industry and human resources.
  • It will be worthwhile to create a new JV for the initial rolling stock production, between a key Japanese manufacturer and a Government of India entity. A commitment by the government to a HSR rolling stock JV will minimise risks for a foreign manufacturer, enable effective technology absorption and enhance the technological capabilities of the Indian Railways.
  • Technology absorption will also require large-scale skill upgradation. As part of the high-speed train project, a high-speed training centre is already proposed. While the training centre will provide required skills to Indian employees, there is a need to undertake an engineering development programme in Indian technical institutes.
  • The market for technological knowledge by its very nature is even more imperfect than that for commodities. This makes it extremely difficult to fix a real price for the technological information.
  • There is a greater difficulty in the decisions to import technology than in other decisions to draw a balance between private and social costs and benefits.
  • Transfer of Technology between Japan and India are mostly one way traffic. In this one-way exchange, the weaknesses of the market mechanism are accentuated rather than being partially cancelled out, as they might be, if the exchange were in both directions.

Conclusion-

Projects like High Speed Train could open the door for many opportunities for India with regards to indigenization of technology, upgrading human resource and then creating its own technologies for the future.