SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 July 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: Salient features of Indian society
Introduction :- The cow protection movement has been a religious and political movement aiming to protect the cows whose slaughter has been broadly opposed by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. While the opposition to slaughter of animals including cows has ancient roots in Indian religions, the cow protection movement traces to the colonial era British India. The earliest activism is traceable to Sikhs of Punjab who opposed cow slaughter in the 1860s.The movement became popular in the 1880s and thereafter, attracting the support from the Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayananda Saraswati in the late 19th-century, and from Mahatma Gandhi in early 20th-century.
Today, “Cow vigilantism” is commonly used in India to describe the current lawlessness happening under the rubric of Cow protection. The word “vigilant” means keeping lookout for possible difficulties or danger. The term “vigilante” refers to a self-appointed person or a group of persons that undertakes to enforce the law without any legal authority. It also includes persons who take the law into their own hands to avenge what they may perceive to be crime. No definition of “vigilante” includes what is happening in India: Murder and violence of men by other men in illegally and extra-judicially enforcing religious beliefs.
In contemporary times, according to media reports, cattle theft for beef production in India has increased, as well as cow-protection groups and cow protection-related violence.
In the present day, Gau Raksha Dal and cow vigilantes continue to spread the cow protection movement in India, but some recognised organisations are also working on this cause widely. Pawan Pandit, the chairman of Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal, is leading the cow protection movement currently.
Recent incidences of cow vigilantism :-
- Attack have been reported from Daltonganj in Jharkhand to Una in Gujarat to Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh to Sonepat on Delhi-Haryana border to Chittorgarh in Rajasthan.
- A review of media reports shows 32 cases of attacks by mobs or vigilante groups on Muslims since May 2014.
- The incidences of lynching of Akhlaq in Dadri in 2015 or the stripping and beating of dalit youths in Una, Gujaratin 2016 are disturbing.
- On 9 October 2015, a truck was attacked by petrol bombs by alleged Hindu extremists after rumours of it carrying dead cows emerged. Zahid Ahmad, the truck driver succumbed to his injuries 10 days later, while another man suffered serious burn injuries.
- As news of the death in Delhi spread, mobs took to the streets in the southern district of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway by burning tyres.
- Madhya Pradesh that hogged headlined for the assault on women meat traders in Mandsaur and Ratlam districts on suspicion of carrying beef has seen about 50% increase in crime against Dalits between 2013 and 2015.
- Two men, who were forced to consume cow dung in Kundli on Delhi-Haryana border by Haryana Gau Rakshak Samiti earlier this month, were Muslim cattle traders from Mewat region.
- Junaid Khan, 16, was stabbed and killed on a train while he was on his way home in Ballabhgarh after shopping for Eid.
Recently Indian Prime Minister spoke publically about it. Speaking at a public event in western Gujarat state, PM Narendra Modi said that “killing people in the name of [cow worship] is not acceptable.” “No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands”
How vigilantism affecting Indian Society :-
- Promoting violence :- Cow vigilantism conceals more than it reveals. It bestows a measure of social, moral and legal legitimacy to the so-called Cow protectors. More tragically, and to a large degree, it hides their criminality: It conceals the truth of men killing other men in the name of the Cow.
- Damaging secular inclusive fabric of Indian society :- (Targeting the Dalits and Muslims in society) Increasing cow vigilantism in India has a few common threads: rise in crimes against Dalits, fall in conviction rate, assaulters belong mostly to politically-linked influential Hindu upper castes and the victims are mostly Dalits or poor Muslims with no political voice. Dalits and Muslims in the past year have faced the ire of emboldened cow vigilante groups under the aegis of right-wing Hindu groups: Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal.
- Economic impact:- By 2014 the cattle trade was worth around Rs 2,500 crore whereas it is now hovering around Rs 200-250 crore. Cow vigilantes have badly damaged our trade and economy. The people like tanners, leather makers and beef producers have been hit very badly.
- Constitutionally & Politically :-Its like mockery of democracy. It potentially violates right to freedom of speech and expression and profession (Article 19) and right to life and personal liberty (article 21). It undermines rule of law and causes irreparable harm to the democracy in long term by undermining state institutions and eroding the trust of citizens in them.
Government should take following steps to stop cow vigilantism :-
- Need of strong political will :- Speech is better than silence and our Prime Ministers recent remarks may help sharpen the focus on how determined governments are to uphold the rule of law — firmly, decisively, and in a manner that deters cow vigilantism. Government must walk the talk and take concrete prohibiting and remedial steps.
- Complete ban order must be checked against its economic impact and it must be re constituted based on rational inputs. .The states which have a cow slaughter law should promote some other form of trade so that illegal trade does not takes place because economic issue always imbalances the society.
- A speedy trials and fair justice must be ensured to victims of cow vigilantism. Affected families must be compensated.
- Identifying high risk areas in every state and enforcing law and order, moral and community policing there, setting examples by catching anti social elements will help.
- Empower Public: People who are campaigning against cow vigilantism should be encouraged and empowered in bringing any wrong incidents to respective governments notice.
Conclusion :- “In killing men and women in the Cow’s name, the killers desecrate the Cow,” is what Bapu the Mahatma would have said. Cows are sacred to many; and one respects that. But violence by humans upon humans – regardless of the reason being sacred or profane – is inhumane; in any civilised society that much is common ground – at the very least it should be – among the killers and the killed in the Cow’s name. If this much can’t be presumed in a civil society, the society is uncivil and the continuing slaughter in the name of the Cow then is a much larger tragedy than previously feared. Once before, during the Independence movement, India had allowed itself to be overtaken by the zealotry and politics of religion. The deep, deadly and divisive wounds of such zealotry and politics tormented and forever wounded the soul of the country ending in the deathly debacle of partition of 1947. Once again, the slaughter of men in the name of Cows threatens to slash and slice the soul of India. In the matters Sacred or Profane, India can no longer afford to be a mute spectator to the brutal assassination of its multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-racial soul. It must speak out, speak up and, for all to see, stand up for its soul.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
Introduction :- America First refers to a foreign policy in the United States that emphasizes American nationalism in international relations and that is often described as isolationist. It first gained prominence in the interwar period and was advocated by the America First Committee, a non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. Since 2016, a similarly named foreign policy that emphasizes similar objectives has been pursued by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Indian diaspora in United States :-
- In 2006, of the 1,266,264 legal immigrants to the United States, 58,072 were from India. Between 2000 and 2006, 421,006 Indian immigrants were admitted to the U.S., up from 352,278 during the 1990–1999 period.
- According to the 2000 U.S. census, the overall growth rate for Indians from 1990 to 2000 was 105.87 percent. The average growth rate for the U.S. was 7.6 percent. Most of the Indians in U.S. are from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Punjab. Indians comprise 16.4 percent of the Asian-American community.
- In 2000, the Indian-born population in the U.S. was 1.007 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1990 and 2000, the Indian population in the U.S. grew 130% – 10 times the national average of 13%. Indian Americans are the third largest Asian American ethnic group, following Chinese Americansand Filipino Americans.
- A joint Duke University – UC Berkeley study revealed that Indian immigrants have founded more engineering and technology companies from 1995 to 2005 than immigrants from the UK, China, Taiwan and Japan combined. A 1999 study by AnnaLee Saxenianreported that a third of Silicon Valley scientists and engineers were immigrants and that Indians are the second largest group of Asian-born engineers (23%) following the Chinese (51%).
- Her research showed that in 1998, seven percent of high-technology firms in Silicon Valleywere led by Indian CEOs. A recent study shows that 23% of Indian business school graduates take a job in United States.
America First Foreign Policy by White House website:-
- The Trump Administration is committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.
- Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy. This principle will make possible a stable, more peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.
- Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority. To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary. In addition, the Trump Administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting.
- Next, we will rebuild the American military. Our Navy has shrunk from more than 500 ships in 1991 to 275 in 2016. Our Air Force is roughly one third smaller than in 1991. President Trump is committed to reversing this trend, because he knows that our military dominance must be unquestioned.
- Finally, in pursuing a foreign policy based on American interests, we will embrace diplomacy. The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies.
- The world will be more peaceful and more prosperous with a stronger and more respected America.
Impact of America First policy on Indian Americans :-
- On the temporary movement of Indian workers to the U.S. under the H-1B programme, the Trump administration has been clear that it will end its “misuse”. The business model of Indian IT giants such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro is based on their ability to locate a crucial part of their workforce in the U.S. who in turn support the operation of jobs carried out in India. In recent years, partly in response to the political resistance to offshoring of services in the U.S., these companies have increasingly hired Americans in their local workforce. So a crackdown on H-1B visas may not necessarily affect such companies, which will be able to function by hiring Americans in America to support the bulk of the operations that are in India. It will definitely put Indians working in America at lose side.
- The extreme right, white supremacists have become emboldened under the new administration. America is known for its inclusiveness and is a melting pot of diverse civilisations. America first endangers this very notion. This affects the security and life of Indians in America too. The recent incidences involving xenophobia and hate crime shows that. On November 20, 2016, 41-year-old Nicki Pancholy was attacked in California after her bandana was mistaken for a hijab. Just a few months before that, Davinder Singh, 47, was shot dead at his gas station in Newark. Both cases had victims who were Indian-Americans and both were hate crimes. February 22 murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, in a Kansas bar evoked outrage in India
- President Donald Trump plans to accelerate the deportation of illegal immigrants. There were about 500,000 “unauthorized immigrants” from India in the United States in 2014 — the most recent year for which data are available, according to a Pew Research Center report issued last year. Many had overstayed their visas.
- It has also impacted the power of Indian diaspora to influence America’s policy towards India compared to pats. The recent visit by Prime Minister was held on low profile compare to his previous visit. In the present circumstances, any huge demonstration by Indian Americans may be a provocation. There is some anxiety about the future of the Indian community.
Positive impact of America First policy :-
- Indian companies will be expected to be job generators in the US, Indians should focus on managerial and entrepreneurial positions.
- Visa policy will also encourage skilled Indians in the software industry to acquire greater skills to qualify for limited visas.
- There is remote possibility if such extreme attitude is continued by United States President that some Indian residing in America might think of returning back. Such attitude by might lead to a “Brain Gain” situation for India if some Indian Americans decided to come back.
Conclusion :- Indian American community have to adapt themselves to the changing circumstances in United States. It will force them to be active in domestic politics in US and demand for their rights, present their worries there more objectively. On a positive note policies like America First may require Indian government’s intervention to vent out concerns of Indian diaspora but it will also makes the Indian diaspora more united and strong.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Introduction :- Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect tax applicable throughout India which replaced multiple cascading taxes levied by the central and state governments. It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act 2017, following the passage of Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill. The GST is governed by a GST Council and its Chairman is the Finance Minister of India. Under GST, goods and services is taxed at the following rates, 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%. There is a special rate of 0.25% on rough precious and semi-precious stones and 3% on gold.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST), India’s biggest tax reform in 70 years of independence, was launched on the midnight of 30 June 2017 by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The launch was marked by a historic midnight (June 30-July 1, 2017) session of both the houses of parliament convened at the Central Hall of the Parliament.
A single GST replaced several existing taxes and levies which include: central excise duty, services tax, additional customs duty, surcharges, state-level value added tax and Octroi. Other levies which were applicable on inter-state transportation of goods has also been done away with in GST regime.
The following taxes will be replaced by the GST:
- Central Excise Duty
- Commercial Tax
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
- Food Tax
- Central Sales Tax(CST)
- Entertainment Tax
- Entry Tax
- Purchase Tax
- Luxury Tax
- Advertisement tax
- Service Tax
- Customs Duty
Impact of GST on local self governing bodies :-
- Local bodies being basic community service provider such as health care, education etc needs financial autonomy for providing excel services. Earlier having power of collecting some taxes property, octroi, entertainment they had some financial resources handy for providing services. But with the enforcement of GST, these financial resources will be dry up and they have to depend upon the grants-in-aid from states, may deprive of their rightful share because of immaturity and poor conditions of states.
- With no formula developed by GST council for revenue sharing and having little bargaining power of local bodies, enforcement of GST may defeat the purpose of 73rd & 74th amendment of making local bodies relevant.
- Thus in a way GST regime will stifle their Financial Autonomy and Will lead to Imbalance and weak Urban Governance.
However one could also hope that GST will lead to tax compliance and consolidation. Hence centre will be benefitted with more tax revenue which could lead to further tax devolution at local level as done by 14th finance commission.
Conclusion :- It’s a Great Opportunity for the GST Council & Government to “Empower Local Bodies” by the Implementation of Proper Devolution Mechanism(law) of taxes between the states and Local Bodies having a full proof mechanism In order to Protect the Spirit & aim of Constitutional status Awarded to Local self Government’s by 73 and 74th Constitutional Amendment acts
General Studies – 3
4) A nation-wide study of the human-wildlife conflict around wildlife reserves across the country has highlighted the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the current mitigation strategies as despite widespread use of protection measures for crops and livestock, many households continued to experience losses. Discuss the reasons and suggest better mitigation strategies. (200 Words)
Human–wildlife conflict refers to the interaction between wild animals and people and the resultant negative impact on people or their resources, or wild animals or their habitat. It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory, creating reduction of resources or life to some people and/or wild animals.
The three year study long conducted by Center for Wildlife Bengaluru, around 11 reserves has found that 71 percent of the households surveyed had suffered crop loss, and 17 percent livestock loss. Besides, three per cent of the households had members who had been either killed or injured because of animal attack. The survey had covered 5,196 households living in 2,855 villages at different distances from the boundaries of the reserves.
The attacks are happening despite the widespread use of protection measures. The probable reasons are-
- Uniform policy all over India-
Uniform conservation and mitigation policies do not give uniform results as ground conditions and local factors are different for every reservoir.
- Livestock grazing-
Livestock grazing in forests leads to human-wildlife conflict as carnivores are attracted towards the easy prey and become direct enemies of livestock graziers. At the same time it is having disastrous impact on wild herbivore populations as they have to compete with livestock for their food source. Scientific studies conducted in Bandipur Tiger Reserve have shown how wild ungulates decline in areas where grazing pressures are high
- Increase in human population-
Despite migratory and compensatory schemes, human population is increasing around the protected areas and even encroaching on them. This has increased the intensity and frequency of the human-wildlife conflict.
- Increased infrastructural projects in protected areas-
There has been increase in the human induced infrastructural projects like roads, electricity lines, canals etc in and around the protected areas leading to fragmentation of large habitats and reducing the space for wildlife. In such conditions, wildlife move towards the human habitations. For eg. Ken Betwa link will submerge portion of Panna Tiger reserve.
- Easy availability of food-
Human habitations provide easy food options to both herbivorous and carnivorous animals through crops and livestock respectively. Protection measures adopted by humans do not deter the wild animals.
Relocation of animals is a complex process. This is because animals, in general have homing instincts. Any trans-located animal will try to get back to its original home range and could come across conflict on its way.
- Feeding wild animals-
When people feed wild animals, the animals tend to perceive humans as a source of food. Over time, this becomes a habit and animals become comfortable with humans and do not treat them as threat. In fact, this is the time when animals become most dangerous. If the initial interactions are positive, the next stage involves testing, where animals may approach humans even more closely to assess their reactions. The final stage may involve a complete attack, where the animals treat humans as prey.
Animals are revered by many people on religious grounds in some places, but stress on their livelihood has pushed people to retaliate and kill nuisance causing animals. When leopards attack livestock, people retaliate. The same is the case for peacocks invading cropland. In Tamil Nadu, for instance, incidents of farmers poisoning peacocks have been reported frequently.
- The need for developing regional level conservation policies as there were lot of reserve level differences and there was a need a need for implementing locally relevant conservation strategies.
- Efforts to improve access to compensation and promotion of non-lethal mitigation efforts in areas where there is less awareness of governmental compensation schemes, leading to households there being especially vulnerable to wildlife impacts on their livelihood.
- Investments by institutions and individuals towards mitigation efforts be deployed by focusing on identifying the most vulnerable households and sites and on the species causing the most damage
- Studies indicate that there is need for a monitoring system which will record and disperse information on such conflicts. Such an approach can build up the development of a risk database and live warning and monitoring systems.
- CSR initiative-
Another solution proposed is including the human– animal conflict as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. As some CSR initiatives are gearing up for environmental issues, some companies could look at involving themselves to resolving human–wildlife conflict, under this.
Many business houses have their manufacturing units in the rural settings and have an access to the local community who work in these units. Business entities under their CSR profile can take this opportunity not just to fulfil their social responsibility but to also derive benefits, by reaching their businesses to the remotest part of the country as well as earn a good name within the society
- Training programs-
To address the problems of human- wildlife conflict it is essential to train the police offices and local people. It is duty of forest department to frame the guidelines for management of human-leopard conflict & publish the same in the local community.
- Eco-development activities –
Central government should provide assistance to the State Governments for eco-development activities in villages around Protected Areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the Protected Areas.
Case study of Jammu and Kashmir-
In Jammu and Kashmir, conflicts have been on the rise over the last few years. To mitigate this problem, the forest minister of the state, Mian Altaf Ahmed, initiated a solution involving the villagers. The wildlife department identified 100 conflict zones based on records. Five youths from each village became the interface between people and the forest department, as soon as an attack happened. In case of a conflict, this group managed the situation until the forest department men and equipments arrived. This helped in not just easing tension, but also ensured safety of people, property, and the animals. This way, the local people also got involved in the decision-making process and were sensitized to the issue.
Identifying mitigation strategies will build tolerance where it is most needed. Failure to do so will only increase hostility and retaliation against wildlife. Ultimately, each local conflict demands to be understood in terms of local factors. We have little data to draw any sound conclusion anywhere and a thorough ground research is long overdue. Human– animal conflict has always stirred strong emotions. There are greater pressures today but it is time we act responsibly. We have our right to safety, but that is not secured through exterminating other apex species.
Topic: Economics of animal rearing;
5) The government has finalised the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and is gearing up to regulate antibiotic use in the veterinary and livestock sector. Discuss the features and necessity of this plan. (200 Words)
The threat posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to public health as well as global health security has been reiterated in numerous World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions. AMR is also prioritized under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), and India is one of the contributing countries. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) identified AMR as one of the top 10 priorities for the ministry’s collaborative work with WHO. The National Health Policy 2017 identifies antimicrobial resistance as a problem and calls for effective action to address it. Subsequently India has finalised its National Action Plan to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance-
The overarching goal of the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) is to effectively combat antimicrobial resistance in India, and contribute towards the global efforts to tackle this public health threat. It shall establish and strengthen governance mechanisms as well as the capacity of all stakeholders to reduce the impact of AMR in India. The scope of the NAPAMR focusses primarily on resistance in bacteria.
The following are the specific objectives of the NAP-AMR:
- Define the strategic priorities, key actions, outputs, responsibilities, and indicative timeline and budget to slow the emergence of AMR in India and strengthen the organizational & management structures to ensure intra- & inter-sectoral coordination with a One Health approach;
- Combat AMR in India through better understanding and awareness of AMR, strengthened surveillance, prevention of emergence and spread of resistant bacteria through infection prevention and control, optimised use of antibiotics in all sectors, and enhanced investments for AMR activities, research and innovations; and
- Enable monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the NAP-AMR implementation based on the M&E framework.
The NAP-AMR outlines the priorities and interventions planned to be implemented over 2017 – 2021 to tackle the public health challenge of AMR in India. The first 5 strategic priorities of NAP-AMR (given in diagram) are aligned with the Global Action Plan on AMR and the sixth strategic priority highlights India’s role in containment of AMR at the international level with other countries and organizations, national disease control programmes and at the sub-national/state level through development of state action plans on AMR to ensure action at the ground level.
A harmonized approach across various sectors to address the use of and resistance to antimicrobial agents in human health, animal health, agriculture, food products and the environment is critical to address these strategic priorities
- Among the key stakeholders identified are government ministries, state-run research institutions, health agencies and civil society groups who need to be mobilized for implementing the action plan.
- Plan also calls for surveillance of antibiotic use in humans and animals and surveillance of antibiotic resistance in humans, animals and environment
- Indian National Action Plan pays considerable attention to the issue of antibiotic use in the animal farming, agriculture and aquaculture sectors. It also promotes the One Health perspective of integrating human and animal health sectors and calls for more research and better surveillance systems to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
- Focus on waste water in India’s new APAR-
The INAPAR promises actions to regulate the release of antibiotic waste and monitoring anti-biotic residues in waste water.
Within a period of three years India intends to introduce emission limits for antibiotic from manufacturing industries.
It also suggested that within the same time period, development of a framework for monitoring antibiotic residues should be done including for wastewater from pharmaceutical production facilities.
Necessity of this plan-
National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance is step in right direction. This would help in containing the rising anti-microbial resistance in India. As health is a state subject, all states must participate and contribute equally to fight out the menace of microbial resistance.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
In a landmark reform, India today switches to a new indirect tax system, the Goods and Services Tax. The GST subsumes the multiple Central, State and local taxes and cesses levied on goods and services, unifying the country into a single market, thereby making it easier to do business and ensure tax compliance. This will attract investors and more efficiently mop up revenues for the exchequer. The reform has been years in the making, and having shown the political will to finally pull it off, the Central government must work with the States to chart a road map to simplify the tax regime.
Concerns expressed by various stakeholders regarding the structure and features-
- Multiple rate slabs puts additional burden on administration, increases the compliance cost and the load-bearing capacity of technology needed for providing input tax credit with multiple rates by matching every invoice.
- Having multiple rates is a sure invitation for lobbying.
- The requirement of e-way bills for inter-State movements has also been a cause of concern.
- Tax buoyancy, an easier investment climate and the 1% to 2% growth spurt expected from GST may take some time to be realised.
Business and industrial sector-
- Too many tax rates that could lead to classification disputes, and with the exclusion of key inputs such as petroleum products (with particularly high indirect tax levies).
- Requiring the regular GST dealers to file 37 returns in a year raises anxiety, given an untested technology platform.
- Despite the assurances given, the anti-profiteering clause creates considerable apprehension.
- The Finance Minister has asked industry to ensure that the benefits of GST rate cuts are passed on to consumers, but it is not clear how businesses with higher tax incidence are to adjust pricing strategies or how the stringent anti-profiteering clauses will be interpreted.
- The GST is an indirect tax and will affect the poor and rich equally. Protecting the poor from an unduly heavy tax burden can perhaps be best achieved through a low uniform rate for most goods except ‘elite’ and ‘sin’ goods.
- Almost all aids and appliances that disabled people will become at least 5% more expensive. This is a nail in the coffin for the average disabled person in India, already burdened with accessibility issues and additional costs of living.
Reforms are the art of the possible and the government has said it will strive to rationalise the number of tax rates and bring excluded sectors into the GST over time. This is the first step in the evolution of the GST, and some initial hiccups are perhaps inevitable in a system founded on political consensus and federal adjustments.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators
Quest for Happy life-
According to Dalai Lama, Common sense shows that negative actions always bring pain and sorrow while constructive action brings us pleasure and joy. Therefore, it is important to recognize that each of us has the potential to transform ourselves into a better, happier person, leading to a better and happier society. The way such a transformation can take place is through adopting a positive mental attitude. We need a new way of thinking that includes provisions for developing our inner world.
Non-violence and international peace
According to Dalai Lama all nations should forsake the path of violence and force. Violence always creates unexpected complications and a violent response. Violence is also not realistic in today’s world, since every being is so intertwined. Under these circumstances, to destroy one’s neighbour is actually destruction of oneself. In order to solve a problem, one has to appreciate what is at stake for your opponents. People have to take care of their opponents’ interests and in that light, try to find a solution.
In the field of international relations, for example, even countries that cherish freedom, democracy and liberty still rely greatly on force and violence. Using force may seem attractive and decisive, but it is counterproductive in the long run. For one thing, violence is unpredictable.
Paradox of growth and happier society-
According to him there is mistaken belief that economic growth alone might result in a happier society. But current inequalities in economic development, resulting in a huge gap between the rich and the poor across the globe, as well as within nations, are a source of tensions and practical problems. Thus nations should focus more on the development of poor and marginalized sections of the society to whom government’s help is more urgent and important.
Education and knowledge-
According to Dalai Lama, the future of humanity depends on the adoption of a positive mental attitude by the current generation. This is why education is so important. Knowledge is like an instrument, and whether that instrument is put to use in a constructive or a destructive way depends on motivation. Modern education is very sound, but it seems to be based on a universal acceptance of the importance of developing the brain. Not enough attention is given to the development of the person as a whole, and to encouraging a clear sense of values and a warm heart.
He emphasizes educational systems which pay more attention to the development of human warmth and love. It is important to address moral questions related to the whole life of an individual, including his or her role in the society and in the family. All the way from kindergarten up to university. Through this, there is the potential to make oneself a happy person, to have a happy family, and to live in a happy society.
Role of family-
According to him, parents have a special responsibility to introduce their children to the benefits of basic good human qualities such as love, kindness, and a warm heart. It would also be very useful to introduce children to the idea that whenever they are faced with a conflict, the best and most practical way of resolving it is through dialogue, not violence. If we introduce the idea of dialogue to children at an early age, through their schools, we can train students to discuss different views. In this way, the concept of dialogue will gradually be instilled in them. This is important because there will always be conflicts and disagreements in human society, and dialogue is the appropriate, effective and realistic method of truly resolving them.
According the great spiritual leader there is good reason to develop basic human values like sense of caring, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of forgiveness, because human nature is basically gentle. He believes that we are only occasionally aggressive and that generally our lives are very much involved with love and affection. Even the cells in our body work better if we have peace of mind. An agitated mind usually provokes some physical imbalance. If peace of mind is important for good health, that means the body itself is structured in a way that accords with mental peace. We can therefore conclude that human nature is more inclined to gentleness and affection.
On the mental level, too, we find that the more compassionate we are, the greater our peace of mind. As our inner strength and self-confidence grow, fear and doubt are reduced, and this automatically makes us more open. Then we can communicate more easily, because when we are open, others respond accordingly.