SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 June 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 re-organization within the country.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), called for an indefinite shutdown in the northern West Bengal hills. Principally targeting public offices to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland, the call for a shutdown has caused fresh uncertainty in the region which earlier seemed to be returning to normalcy with the Army deployment.
Roots and causes of the current Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling-
- Historical scuffling-
Darjeeling was never supposed to be part of West Bengal. The Gorkhas had captured Sikkim and most parts of the North East including Darjeeling in 1780. But after losing to the British, they surrendered their territories to in the Treaty of Segoulee in 1816. While the British had given Darjeeling to Sikkim, they leased it back in 1835 for strategic and political reasons.
- Issue of identity-
It may be noted that the Nepalese and Lepchas living in Darjeeling and the adjoining areas have a more distinct culture and history than the Bengalis in rest of the state. Historically, they have been sharing cultural and societal values with Sikkim and Nepal since hundreds of years when there were no nation-states the way we interpret at present and no closed boundaries. Thus they have fiercely protected their Nepali language and culture in a broader sense.
- Tendencies of racism-
Despite being part of Indian history from before the British era, the Gorkhas are still looked down as migrants from Nepal, and therefore ‘foreigners’, by many Indians. The people in the hills felt marginalised as a race was evident when the public campaign for Prashant Tamang—a local boy from the hills who made it to the talent show Indian Idol in 2008—turned political.
- Discriminatory treatment-
The Gorkhas have always maintained that they have received the short end of the stick because Bengali-speaking politicians don’t understand or care enough about their needs or issues.
- Weak Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA)-
It was only six years ago that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) signed a peace deal of sorts with this same government, led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee—which in turn led to the establishment of the GTA, the empowered avatar of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, in 2012.
The West Bengal’s plan to quell the demand for Gorkhaland by giving the locals more autonomy brought only limited results. The GTA, arguably still weaker than its counterparts in other states, was never satisfied with the powers it had been given and publicly accused the state government of betraying its trust.
- Imposition of Bengali-
The latest bid by the GJM for a separate Gorkhaland state was triggered by an announcement by the Mamata Banerjee government that Bengali would be made compulsory in schools across the state. While West Bengal is a largely Bengali-speaking state, the northern hilly areas of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong are inhabited by mostly Nepali-speaking people, who, understandably, have a problem with the diktat of the West Bengal government.
- Political rivalry-
The current flare-up is the result of a political turf war between CM Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress (TMC) party on the one hand, and the GJM and its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other.
Viewed thus, the Gorkhaland movement is essentially a case for identity. The cause is legitimate and it cannot be subject to a veto by Kolkata. Though the debate over the separate statehood to Gorkhaland will continue for long time, there is need true decentralization of the powers to local autonomous institutions like GTA. Further there should be genuine efforts to integrate the marginalized Gorkha community with the rest of the India for peaceful solution of the issue.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
India’s commerce ministry is conducting a mid-year review of its trade policy to closely align it with the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST) on 1 July. However India needs to realign its trade policy not only with the GST but more importantly to the shifting framework for global trade and the rapidly evolving nature of globalization.
How should India realign its trade policy?
- A) Trade policy with respect to GST-
GST, once implemented, will, for the first time in India’s history, unify the nation into a common economic market, obviating the need for goods to be taxed each time they cross a state border.
GST will affect all aspects of business in India, from decisions on investment location and product pricing to logistics and supply chain optimization; it is being widely applauded as a crucial reform that will facilitate India’s development trajectory.
- Thus trade policy should now encourage more internal trade among the states which would ultimately benefit the consumers.
- At the same time trade policy should take into account supply chain bottlenecks like infrastructural shortcomings plaguing the internal movement of the goods and services. For eg projects like Bharatmala, Sagarmala etc
- The trade policy should encourage the digital platform to connect the sellers and buyers from the various parts of the country to break the cartelization of the traditional traders which minimizes the producers’ profit.
- As GST is destination based tax, Union government should encourage the competitive and cooperative federalism among the states to increase their trade capacities.
- B) Trade policy with respect to changing nature of globalization-
How the nature of globalization is changing?
Deep resentment against globalization’s misaligned distribution effects, a widening wage gap and increasing inequality have given birth to an aggressive brand of nationalism. Strands of these have now found utterance in the economic and political policies of many countries. Brexit in the UK was sold as regaining economic independence from the European Union. US President Donald Trump’s executive decisions on trade (withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, restricting H1B visas, threatening the North America Free Trade Agreement) or geopolitical moves (hectoring European leaders or abandoning the Paris climate change agreement) were custom-built to address localized grievances. Both countries are now seen as flag-bearers of a neo-isolationist doctrine.
Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are also following in the US’ footsteps, complicating India’s traditional trade matrix. The picture is further muddied by two momentous shifts occurring in the subcontinent’s neighbourhood. One is the ambitious Belt-Road initiative, a vehicle designed to rejuvenate China’s surplus domestic capacity and to give expression to its expansionist aspirations. The second is the recent schism in the Gulf with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Yemen and the Maldives collectively imposing informal sanctions against Qatar by shutting down transport links and choking essential supplies.
- One is to prepare for less reliance on traditional trade partners in the West while increasing India’s trade and investment footprint in alternative markets, such as the African continent. India started looking at Africa seriously after the launch of economic reforms in 1991 and then with renewed vigour after the 2008 crisis.
However, promises to increase two-way trade between India and Africa to $90 billion by 2015 have remained largely unfulfilled. India’s trade with Africa touched $56.7 billion during 2015-16, down from $72 billion in 2014-15. The drop is largely due to the fall in oil prices, which contracted India’s import bill with Nigeria. Meanwhile, China-Africa two-way trade touched $215 billion during calendar 2014.
- Second, there is a need for a clear link between India’s trade policy and Make-In-India, including strategic linkages through global value chains.
Policy clarity will be required whether India desires domestic manufacturing platforms that double as supply hubs for a global market, or assembly units that can be folded up and relocated elsewhere when cost arbitrage dries up (Chinese mobile units are perhaps a good example). Trade policy may be able to play a role here.
- Finally, there is trade in services. There seems to be a concerted move within the rich countries—through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development—to open up trade in services, including movement of professionals. This has been India’s longstanding demand because trade in services has been asymmetric so far—high in capital flows, information and communication technology, but low in free movement of professionals.
Rising unemployment, particularly in Europe, could be driving Western agencies to prise open employment markets elsewhere. India’s demand (and strategy) for trade facilitation in services should find some articulation in the revised trade policy.
Thus India has more challenges on the external front than internal one. Hence India’s trade policy should not only realign with the GST but should also move ahead with the rising protectionism in the world and dealing with the aggressive economic neighbor.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
One of the defining characteristics of navies in the postmodern era is their involvement in irregular security missions. From anti-piracy to anti-trafficking, counter-terrorism and migration control, the scope of unconventional security tasks undertaken by maritime forces in recent years has expanded significantly. The most prominent of these tasks has been humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), aimed at helping populations in coastal areas survive natural calamities.
Indian Navy’s humanitarian role-
The Indian Navy has played a leading role in humanitarian operations in the Indian Ocean littorals.
- Beginning with the 2004 tsunami, when 19 Indian naval ships conducted relief operations in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have regularly participated in HADR missions in South Asia, West Asia and even the South China Sea, carrying out relief operations, search and rescue and emergency evacuations of people in need of urgent assistance.
- After major floods and landslides killed over 200 people in Sri Lanka, Indian naval ships rushed to provide relief to the affected people in the island state. In what was widely reported as the worst spell of rainfall since the 1970s in Sri Lanka, Indian naval vessels played a key role in stabilizing the island nation’s flood-affected areas, providing critical relief supplies and medical assistance.
- Bangladesh, where cyclone Mora had caused significant destruction of property and life. The Indian warship rescued 33 people swept into the sea by the cyclone—the second time in less than a month that Indian naval assets had been involved in a rescue of this nature, after INS Kirch and a Dornier aircraft carried out a search and salvage operation off the Maldives, recovering a local landing craft lost in the waters between the Thulusdhoo and Gan islands.
- The Indian Navy’s humanitarian impulse also manifests in the many evacuation operations from countries in the grip of political turmoil and rapidly deteriorating security conditions that Indian warships have undertaken in recent years.
- In April 2015, Indian ships were involved in the safe evacuation of over 2,000 Indian expatriates and over 1,300 foreign nationals from an intense combat zone in Yemen. Indian naval ships have previously carried out rescue missions in Libya, Lebanon and Somalia, where political turmoil left scores of Indian nationals stranded in conflict zones with little hope of survival.
Unfortunately, the Indian Navy’s humanitarian cause has been adversely affected by the absence of a dedicated platform for disaster relief missions. Unlike the US and China, whose navies have hospital ships fully equipped for medical assistance, India deploys regular warships and amphibious vessels converted for search, rescue and relief missions.
In terms of both optics and utility, India’s improvised platforms do not match the US navy’s medical ship USNS Mercy or the PLA navy’s Peace Ark—custom-made hospital ships that enable specialized medical services on a grander, more visible scale, allowing for the leveraging of humanitarian service for diplomatic gains.
The Indian Navy’s humanitarian mission is likely to remain a key factor in India’s projection of diplomatic soft power and a potent symbol of New Delhi’s neighbourhood-first policy.
Topic: Resource mobilization
4) Instead of agriculture, it is said that it is more prudent to collect taxes from the service sector where the bulk of black income is generated. Do you agree? In the light of suggestions to tax agriculture income from various quarters, critically comment. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Agricultural sectors employs 60 % of nations work force but contributes only 15 % to GDP which clearly depict the agony in this sector and for the same reason this sector is left from tax umbrella from independent.
However recently Niti Ayog was of opinion to tax agricultural income has not gone well with public because for following reason.
- No proper land records to segregate agricultural income tax recipients
- MSP not cover all the crops grown by farmers, thus income is not stable
- Farmers are in the mercy of unpredictable monsoon by which price keep on fluctuating and so does income.
- Not the appropriate time: To tax farmers at a time, they are unable to pay their dues would prove to be disastrous and may lead to a shoot up in the number of suicides among farmers.
- Internal Unrest: At a time when farmers are seen throwing away their produce like milk and vegetables on the grounds to show their discontent with the government, the prospect of taxing them may lead to internal disturbances.
- Impoverished Lifestyles: The farmers who are already living on the brink on poverty need not be further tortured by imposing tax on them.
This being the fate it’s not the time has not reaped for agricultural tax however the other alternative to increase tax on service sector is not rational as.
- This sector is heavily tax and there is no further scope to increase it.
- Its add burden on people and thus demotivated and the pint might reach as people might question as why they must alone bear the nation’s burden which is very dangerous.
Hence the idea of taxing service sector still more must be completed negated. The need is long term reform in form of financial education among youth which can help their saving to become investment in national development and bring spectrum of changed in agricultural from cold storage to reform to remove middle man to awareness of MSP to being substantial change in individual’s income . Once all these are done then either increasing tax in service or taxing agricultural sector is pragmatic
5) India’s renewable energy push has created huge global expectations. Do you think India’s political economy can sustain renewable energy momentum? What should India do to sustain this momentum? Discuss. (200 Words)
Introduction :- Green technology and Sustainability is to the 21st century what Industrial revolution was to 19th and 20th century. It has both economical and environmental implications. India has been in the forefront of this energy revolution adding more power from renewable sources than coal. Continuing the moment would require :
- Funds : Since renewable energy projects have higher capital requirement, the cost of power is still above that of non conventional sources. This sector requires the help of government in form of subsidies. Green bonds and public-private partnerships are the way to go.
- Innovation : India has untapped potential of engineers, technicians and researchers. India could become the R&D capital of the world for green technology. This would require improving the quality of our institutions and promoting research.
- Global Climate Action/ National Plans : Committing ourselves to pollution targets, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels would help this sector immensely, reduce our current deficit.
- Electric Automotive : Our Auto-sector should pivot towards electric vehicles, this should be boosted by strong domestic demand. Government schemes like FAME would be instrumental in increasing their demand.
- Roof Top Solar : Subsidies for roof top solar power/water heater. Local governments have not been successful in ensuring building owners install solar heaters.
- Awareness & NGO’s : Support for government policies and green energy/tech industry, would be only possible if people are aware of the need for climate action and sustainable development.
Conclusion :- To meet the global expectations, India needs much more proactive and creative actions. It needs to ensure that proposed RE capacity transforms the consumable energy mix. To do so, India must balance between complementing generation capacities rather than pushing for preferred technologies. In addition, given the unpredictability of RE generation, the time is ripe for storage capacity development. The proposed policy goal of electric vehicles is a welcome step, but it needs to be creatively used for storage, while reaping other co-benefits. Finally, the state must facilitate a domestic coalition for energy transformation, by aligning interests.
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology
Introduction :- The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool. Two large observatories were built in the United States with the aim of detecting gravitational waves by laser interferometry.
The initial LIGO observatories were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT. They collected data from 2002 to 2010 but no gravitational waves were detected.
CONTRIBUTION BY INDIANS :-
- Indians have made a significant contribution to this, with nearly 67 Indians from 13 institutions across the country taking part in the theory and experiment: CMI, Chennai; ICTS-TIFR, Bengaluru; IUCAA, Pune; and IISER Kolkata, to name just a few.
- The jubilation over their participation is, however, tempered by the fact that the two existing detectors are not sufficient to locate exactly where in the sky the signals are coming from. With the Italy-based VIRGO detector set to join operations soon, this issue will be addressed. However, there will still remain some blind spots which can be overcome if the LIGO-India project enters the fray, as planned, in 2024.
- Amidst such anticipation, it is necessary to take stock of the challenges ahead in building up this fourth player in the gravitational wave-detection game. There will be many firsts for India. Its experimental requirements will spearhead the evolution of many new research areas. Work on some of them has already begun in many centres: like the study of squeezed light in IIT-Delhi and IIT-Madras; mirror surface physics, in Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, and TIFR, Hyderabad; and fibre-based laser technology in IIT-Madras.
SPECIFIC CONTRIBUTION BY INDIANS :-
Indian groups contributed significantly to the historic search for gravitational waves. The key tasks they carried out included the following:
- Understanding the response of the LIGO detector to the signals and terrestrial influences
- Bounding the orbital eccentricity and estimating the mass and spin of the final black hole
- Estimating energy and power radiated during merger
- Confirming that observed signal agrees with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity
- Searching for a possible electromagnetic counterpart using optical telescopes.
Some of these jobs were carried out in high performance computing facilities at IUCAA, Pune and ICTS, Bengaluru.
The group, led by Bala Iyer at the Raman Research Institute in collaboration with scientists in France, had pioneered the mathematical calculations used to model gravitational wave signals from orbiting black holes and neutron stars.
Another group led by Sanjeev Dhurandhar at IUCAA initiated and carried out foundation work on developing data analysis techniques to detect these weak gravitational wave signals buried in the detector noise by looking for the best match between the calculated waveforms and the detector signal.