SECURE SYNOPSIS : 06 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: Poverty and developmental issues
Introduction :- Development is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components. The purpose of development is a rise in the level and quality of life of the population, and the creation or expansion of local regional income and employment opportunities, without damaging the resources of the environment. Development is visible and useful, not necessarily immediately, and includes an aspect of quality change and the creation of conditions for a continuation of that change.
The recent World Bank’s ‘World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law’ is a remarkable document. For the report, development is not the expansion of economic freedom, but following Amartya Sen, is the removal of all kinds of “unfreedoms” so that governance delivers the three goals of security, growth and equity achieved in ecologically sustainable ways.
The world bank’s understanding of development paradigm have changed from just concept of seven decades of development thinking based on— technocracy: reliance on capital, technology and (Western) experts and supposedly above politics and power — perpetrated by international financial institutions (IFIs)/development agencies controlled by the Global North.
What caused this shift :-
- The resistances by social movements have led the bank to speak the language of the people. Hence, the increasing focus on issues such as gender rights, equity (the 2006 report was titled ‘Equity and Development’), etc.
- The rise of China and India and their decreasing reliance on the bank makes the latter less powerful than before. Thus, acknowledging politics and power relations is one way to defuse the challenges to the bank’s dominance.
- The bank is also responding to multifarious challenges to the development hegemony of the North (secured also by the participation of Southern elites).
Conclusion :- The world bank’s understanding of development is broadening now and it’s a welcome step. The projects by it in social sector like Tejaswini, Skill India in India, Chad education sector reform in Africa shows this changed attitude. It’s orientation towards people and resonance in their voice will also act as the safeguard for its own existence and continued functioning.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Introduction :- The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat in India. It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada river. The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity.
Benefits of project :-
The Sardar Sarovar dam Project is said to be the lifeline of Gujarat, and a very beneficial resource for the rural areas in these states. The SSP would employ about one million people starting from the start to end of the project. There are many regions in Gujarat and Rajasthan that are out of electricity almost throughout the year. To overcome this issue, the powerhouse was installed with a capacity of 1450MW, which would provide electricity to those areas in the peak hours of the day. The farmers would also get electricity to pump the water and water their farmlands. The SSP will provide water for irrigation and benefit 1.8 million hectares of land.
The other side :-
But the dam is a case of development which affects the environment directly and indirectly. There is a massive environmental displacement which is not even taken into consideration nor given attention. There is a huge inequality between those who will benefit and those who bear the majority of the development costs. According to the review of Thomas Berger and Bradford Morse from World Bank, stated that the Dam project will submerge around 37,000 hectares of land for the reservoir, and 80,000 hectares for the extensive canal works. They also noted that it will displace 100,000 people who live in 245 villages. Moreover, it will also affect approximately 140,000 farmers for canal and irrigation system. Thousands of people will be affected who are into fishing industry.
One of the most important issue of rehabilitation has following angles :-
- Malpractices in rehabilitation efforts :- Forged and fabricated sale deeds and false reports have been given about sale of government land. Thousands of people are roaming helter-skelter, living in partly submerged land and trying to manage degraded land allotted in lieu of their fertile land . The tentative figures of families yet to get land, and the government bodies are far from ground zero to know the hardships, massive corruption, cheating, exclusion that the farmers, labourers, potters, artisans, shopkeepers and all occupational categories have faced over the years.
- Violation of human rights :- There is flagrant violation of human rights. This is a big human tragedy in terms of numbers of people, numbers of years and numbers of misery and must be taken note of by political parties, governments and the media
- Legal lacunas :- if the height of the Narmada dam had to be raised from the present 122.92 to 138.68 metres then certain legal conditions had to be fulfilled, which had not been done. About 1.80 lakh people in more than 145 villages and a township were yet to be rehabilitated.
- Loss of cultural identity :- The displacement of the people caused them to adapt a new and different lifestyle. Now, they were more dependent on public institutions and services than, living a non-dependent and isolated life. Although provisions were made for people to resettle and rehabilitate, there were issues and this means they would have to change their lifestyle. There were many people who are lost and have no clue on whom to depend, and are not even receiving sufficient compensation. The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a project where they have benefited the urban areas even more, and completely displaced the rural and poor people living in that region.
Way Forward :- The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award has a number of landmark features as far as the directions for resettlement and rehabilitation go. It must be acknowledged that these directives of the NWDTA about the entitlements and linkages reflected its keen concern for, and, clarity about how livelihoods must be restored to the affected people and how they can not be and must not be simply flooded out. These directives accord and respect the affected people’s right to life, livelihood and dignity. This is despite the fact that the NWDTA substantially underestimated the numbers of people to be affected because of lack of proper information supplied by the governments, as well as did not apply its mind fully to all categories of affected people apart from land holders and their adult sons, and thus did not comprehend the full magnitude of the rehabilitation task.
The specific nature of the R&R entitlements seem clearly based on an analysis of the miserable performance of the R&R and the traumatic experience of the oustees of such projects till then. The significant improvements over the then current practices included the following:
Regarding entitlements the Tribunal ruled that:
- Firstly livelihoods of landholders must be restored by provision of alternate land in place of cash compensation hitherto given under Land Acquisition process. Land-for-land as the basis of the rehabilitation, as against mere cash compensation under the Land Acquisition Act.
- Secondly it deemed that the affected population had a right to the share of prosperity of the command area by being rehabilitated on irrigable lands in the command or irrigable lands in their own state with irrigation provided at the cost of the government.
- Thirdly it recognized that affected people had a right to choose between Gujarat and their home states with regards R&R.
- Fourthly it ruled that villages must be relocated as a community and asked for the setting up of “rehabilitation villages” along with all the amenities necessary for a village.
- Fifthly it insisted that provision for rehabilitation must be well in advance of project construction, in fact it said that within two years of the Tribunal Award (by 1981), lands required for those to be affected below FRL 350 ft must be acquired and be made available according to the choice of the oustees.
- Sixthly, requirement that a master plan of resettlement be ready in the early stages of the project (even though the words master plan were not used), including identification of the land, setting up of “rehabilitation villages” etc. within 2-3 years since declaration of the Award i.e. by 1981-82.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
3) Recently India and Israel decided to elevate their relationship to a “strategic partnership”. What do you understand by strategic partnership? How will it benefit both India and Israel? Examine. (200 Words)
Introduction :- A strategic partnership is a long-term interaction between two countries based on political, economic, social and historical factors. Such a partnership manifests itself in a variety of relationships. India has signed “strategic partnerships” with more than 30 countries.
India, Israel ink 7 pacts
India and Israel signed 7 agreements to step-up cooperation in key sectors like space, agriculture and water conservation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu
- MoU signed between Department of Science & Technology and Israel’s National Technological Innovation Authority for setting up of $40 million worth India-Israel Industrial R&D & Technical Innovation Fund
- Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy & Water Resources signed a pact on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India
- The second one was signed between Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy & Water Resources on state water utility reform in India
- In the farm sector, the two countries have agreed upon India-Israel development cooperation – a three-year work programme in agriculture from 2018 to 2020
- They also agreed for cooperation between the ISRO and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) regarding cooperation in atomic clocks
- Besides, separate MoUs were signed between ISRO and ISA for cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link, and in electric propulsion for small satellites
Benefits of strategic partnership :-
- Bilateral trade :- Bilateral trade between India and Israel grew from $200 million in 1992 to $4.52 billion in 2014. As of 2014, India is Israel’s tenth-largest trade partner and import source, and seventh-largest export source. India’s major exports to Israel include precious stones and metals, organic chemicals, electronic equipment, plastics. Israel’s major exports to India include precious stones and metals, electronic equipment, fertilisers.
- Terrorism :- India and Israel live in complex geographies. Both are aware of strategic threats to regional peace and stability. India has India, Israel forge ‘strategic partnership’, send strong message on terror suffered first-hand the violence and hatred spread by terror. So has Israel.
- Agriculture and water management:- Israel is among the leading nations in the field of innovation, water and agricultural technology. These are also among our priority areas in India’s development. The efficiency of water and resource use; water conservation and its purification; productivity increases in agriculture are key areas in deepening our bilateral cooperation. The strategic partnership as joint working also helps Israel test its technology in a different habitat making its program such as agriculture, water conservation future ready under different circumstances.
- Defence and space technologies:– Israel is leading exporter of arms in the world and India is the biggest Importer. Signing of development with transfer of technology will help India. India can leverage other things like its space technologies to Israel for its developmental purposes where India enjoys upper hand.
- Human resource :-Israel will be benefited from large pool of skilled Indian engineers and doctors as Mr. Netanyahu’s quoted “Indian talent and Israeli technology equals India-Israel ties for tomorrow.”
- Funding and Entrepreneurship :- Under such strategic partnership both the countries set up of $40 million India-Israel R&D & Technical innovation Fund, which is very much required to push technology, research further. Israel embodies a culture of entrepreneurship highlighted by power of innovation, global leadership in R&D spending and VC investment. A joint innovation and research and development fund can work wonders.
Conclusion :- No doubt there are challenges. India and Israel do not know each other enough. Tourism is not up to the mark and academic links are low key. But Israel’s innovative, dynamic, and free economy has so much to contribute and share with India and Indians rightly have high regard for the society that has fostered such impressive innovation. On other hand Israel is benefiting a lot from Medical technologies and devices could be the next growth areas for collaboration. A multi-dimensional partnership needs to be sustained for better future of both countries.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The newly elected President of USA, Donald Trump is favoring the protectionism and withdrawing USA from globalization and multilateralism. Eg Withdrawal from TPP and Paris climate deal, immigrant restrictions etc. In such scenario India along with European nations who still uphold the principle of free trade and globalization are poised to play important role in the global economy.
How is Donald Trump’s presidency affecting India-EU relations?
- Deeper relations between India and other European countries-
The Trump era has already serving as a catalyst for efforts to build deeper relations between India and European countries. For eg recent India-Germany meet where leaders of both the countries went beyond emphasizing the need for a sustainable common strategy for globalization and a strong commitment to the goals undertaken under the Paris climate agreement.
- A slowing Europe and Vibrant India-
India’s size and its continual strong growth make it a market that global companies need to be in, especially given the softening of growth momentum in other parts of the world. Strong collaboration and bilateral trade would also give both India and the EU a needed counterweight to the current challenges that arise from changes currently witnessed in the US.
- Increasing prospects of trade and commerce-
Both the parties are committed to resume at the earliest to stitch up a free trade agreement encompassing goods and services as well as mutual investment protection.
India’s consistent high economic growth and stable political conditions make India an exciting destination in particular for European companies, especially those in the automotive business, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and the medical technology sector. India’s passenger car market, for example, has already reached a volume similar to the market in Germany—with much more dynamic growth.
- India-Europe more cooperation-
At a time when USA is increasing the restrictions on immigration, Europe could prove to be the perfect destination for Indians heading West which too, is ageing continent.
Similarly India can expect more cooperation on the fronts like ‘technology transfer’, adopting ‘cutting edge practices’ from Europe.
- Efforts to combat Climate change-
Though the USA has withdrawn from Paris agreement, other important countries like India and Europe have shown firm faith in the Paris Climate deal. These groups can become leaders in the near future in a fight against climate change.
- Overcoming geo-political and security challenges-
Currently Europe is facing one of the worst migration crises after the 2nd WW. Further, increasing radicalism, terrorism and threats of disintegration of EU have made Europe vulnerable. At the same time India is witnessing tense relations with China particularly in the context of border issues and non-joining OBOR bandwagon.
Thus Europe and India have great potential that could unfold the flurry of opportunities for the cooperation in the geo-political and security issues. Both the parties are expected to up the ante against terrorism and increasing radicalism. In the light of withdrawal of the USA from the global stage, these two groups are bound to come together.
- Funding issues-
Amid all these areas of cooperation, relations between India and Europe could strain over the issue of funding. With the withdrawal of USA from Paris climate deal, Europe and India will have to contribute more funds to make up the loss made by USA. India has always upheld the principle of ‘Common but Differential Responsibilities’ which means India would expect developed Europe to contribute more. Some of the European nations are not inclined towards this. Thus this could strain the relations between the two parties.
- Migration crisis-
Europe is already skeptical of increasing migration from the west Asia and North Africa. Further there is phenomenal growth of right-wing parties. Thus increasing migration from India to Europe when American gates are closing could aggravate the existing migration issue and further create the rift between two blocks.
Europe and India are in very different places with regard to the maturity and characteristics of their economies. But they face the same issues and share the same responsibilities in an increasingly globalized world—one where that globalization is facing political and popular resentment, but transnational social, environmental and geopolitical challenges put our economies at risk and demand a global response. In this regard, Indian PM Narendra Modi was right when he stated that India and the EU were made for each other. In order to ensure stability, security and prosperity for the future, their task is to navigate these complexities together. If the US will not play a leading role within the G20 community in order to define a common global approach, then India and Europe should do so.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
5) What laws and regulations exist to deal with drunk driving in India? Do you think these have been successful in dealing with drunk driving? Examine what is lacking and what should be done to plug loopholes. (200 Words)
According to latest data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), drunk driving was responsible for 7,061 that is 1.5% of the 4,64,674 road accidents in India in 2015. While drunk-driving accidents had only a tiny share of accidents as a whole, they were the deadliest — there were more fatalities in accidents due to drunk driving than in accidents due to other causes.
Laws and regulations to deal with the drunk driving in India-
- Currently section 185 in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 makes driving under the influence of alcohol a criminal offense in India. As per the act the guilty person is liable to be punished for the first offense with the imprisonment of 6 months and/or the fine of Rs 2000. Second and third offense if committed with the period of three years from the first, then the quantum of punishment would increase to imprisonment up to two years and/or fine up to Rs 3000.
- Section 337 of IPC punishes, hurting or endangering lives under the influence of alcohol as a deterrent for drunk driving.
- The Supreme Court has also made the existing provisions stricter making accidents and deaths post drunk driving come under Section 304 of IPC entailing negligence coupled with intoxication ( State vs Sanjeev Nanda )
- Parliament is about the pass the Motor vehicle (amendment) bill 2016 which would increase the fine from existing Rs 2000 to Rs 10000.
Are these laws successful in tackling the drunk driving? And if not what is lacking?
These laws have largely been unsuccessful in curbing the menace of drunk driving in India for the following reasons-
- Implementation of the laws has been poor and even police forces lack effective strategies and programs to reduce the incidences of drunk and driving.
- Lack of cooperation from the states- When recently Supreme Court banned the alcohol shops working within the 220 meters of national and state highways, many state governments changed the some of the state highways into district roads thereby literally nullifying the order.
- Mere suspension of license and levy of fine doesn’t act as a major deterrence for the habitual offenders.
- There is absence of random and effective checks on the vulnerable sections of the roads on the parts of police, which was also highlighted by the Supreme Court appointed Justice K.S Radhakrishnan committee.
- Police are overburdened and under-equipped-There are not enough number of dedicated squads to conduct checks and raids. Further state police forces lack modern equipments like breath analyzer to conduct effective checks.
- Corruption- Corruption among the police leads to acquittal or discharge of ‘drunk and drive’ offenders without any punishment or penalty.
What needs to be done?
- Installation of Ignition interlocks- Ignition interlocks installed in cars measure alcohol on the driver’s breath. Interlocks keep the car from starting if the driver has a BAC above a certain level, usually 0.02%. They’re used for people convicted of drunk driving and are highly effective at preventing repeat offenses while installed. Mandating interlocks for all offenders, including first-time offenders, will have the greatest impact.
- Mass media campaigns-Mass media campaigns spread messages about the physical dangers and legal consequences of drunk driving. They persuade people not to drink and drive and encourage them to keep other drivers from doing so. Campaigns are most effective when supporting other impaired driving prevention strategies.
- The recent order of Supreme Court on banning the liquor shops close to state and national highways should be followed in letter and spirit.
- There should be dedicated squads for conducting random checks on various sections of the roads to catch the offenders.
- There should cooperation among the neighboring states to implement common strategies and programs to reduce the incidences of drunk and driving.
- A Separate Department of Road safety needs to be setup as the Ministry of road transport and highway is already burdened with the development work.
- Create awareness about the ill consequences of drunk & driving. Offenders should be made aware that they are violating the ethical standards of the society by playing with somebody’s life.
- The imprisonment and fines should be scaled up to deter the first time offenders.
- Corrupt police must be dealt sternly by the department for letting the offenders without any fine or penalty.
Parliament is about the pass the Motor vehicle (amendment) bill 2016 which would increase the fine from existing Rs 2000 to Rs 10000. However other measures should also be implemented in consonance with this to effectively reduce the menace of drunk and driving. Multi-component interventions combine several programs or policies to prevent drunk driving. The key to these comprehensive efforts is community mobilization by involving coalitions or task forces in design and implementation.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth
6) What do you understand by economic austerity? Were austerity measures successful in Europe and the UK aftermath of 2008 global financial crisis? Also examine if it’s feasible for countries to still opt for austerity measures in the present global economic scenario. (200 Words)
Austerity measures are attempts to significantly curtail government spending in an effort to control public-sector debt, particularly when a nation is going through economic crisis and is in jeopardy of defaulting on its bonds.
The global economic downturn that began in 2008 left many governments with reduced tax revenues and exposed what some believed were unsustainable spending levels. Several European countries, including the United Kingdom, Greece and Spain, have turned to austerity as a way to alleviate budget concerns. As a result, their budget deficits skyrocketed. Austerity became almost imperative in Europe, where eurozone members don’t have the ability to address mounting debts by printing their own currency. As their default risk increased, creditors put pressure on these countries to aggressively tackle spending.
Were austerity measures successful in Europe and UK?
- In economic terms the austerity measures have done fairly well with respect to cutting down government’s fiscal deficit, bringing inflation to low level, steering economy through the crisis etc. However the intensity and scale of output of austerity differs in different countries. The austerity measures did not bring expected results in the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) countries where unemployment is still high and still have high debts, whereas there are satisfactory outcomes in Britain and France. Most of the governments adopted austerity measures as the last resort and had no other option than to default on payments.
- Further the rationale of austerity measures is still contested in even those countries where it brought fair outcomes. For eg. Britain. It is argued that cuts in social spending have adversely affected the lives of citizens. Welfare payments were hit, and so too were government-funded services — from the police to public libraries to day centres for the elderly. The recent fire in Grenfel tower in London in which more than 80 people lost lives is also attributed to the social spending cuts that resulted into the lack of safety regulations on the part of the state.
Thus it is difficult to come to a binary conclusion, if austerity measures have succeeded or not and the opinions are still divided. One need to wait for next few years to come to any definite conclusion.
Feasibility for other countries to deal with current global crisis-
- While the goal of austerity measures is to reduce government debt, their effectiveness remains a matter of sharp debate. Supporters argue that massive deficits can suffocate the broader economy, thereby limiting tax revenue. However, opponents believe that government programs are the only way to make up for reduced personal consumption during a recession. Robust public sector spending, they suggest, reduces unemployment and therefore increases the number of income-tax payers.
- Many economists suggest austerity measures for other countries which are going through current economic crisis. While others point out that austerity might be the right prescription when an economy has been growing too fast and overheating with inflation, it does not make sense to cut spending when an economy is already in a tailspin.
- Austerity can be contentious for political, as well as economic, reasons. Popular targets for spending cuts include pensions for government workers, welfare and government-sponsored healthcare, programs that disproportionately affect low-income earners at a time when they’re financially vulnerable.
While extreme austerity measures could generate social unrest and backlash among the poor classes, lavish and unwise spending by government could lead to sovereign debt crisis and economic recession. Thus there is need to adopt balance between the two. While government should not reduce the essential public expenditure, it must cut down the irrational and wasteful expenditure to set the economy of the nation in right direction.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institution
Prisoners all over the world and particularly in the developing countries are living horrible lives and deprived of all human rights. They do not generate the sympathy among the general population because they are perceived as bad elements and worthy of receiving ill treatment. However on account of being human, they too have some birth rights and police administration cannot deprive them of such rights.
It is important to promote prison reforms from ethical perspective because-
Human rights considerations
- A sentence of imprisonment constitutes only a deprivation of the basic right to liberty. It does not entail the restriction of other human rights, with the exception of those which are naturally restricted by the very fact of being in prison.
- Prison reform is necessary to ensure that this principle is respected, the human rights of prisoners protected and their prospects for social reintegration increased, in compliance with relevant international standards and norms.
Imprisonment and poverty
- Imprisonment disproportionately affects individuals and families living in poverty. When an income generating member of the family is imprisoned the rest of the family must adjust to this loss of income.
- The impact can be especially severe in poor, developing countries where the state does not provide financial assistance to the indigent and where it is not unusual for one breadwinner to financially support an extended family network. Thus the family experiences financial losses as a result of the imprisonment of one of its members, exacerbated by the new expenses that must be met – such as the cost of a lawyer, food for the imprisoned person, transport to prison for visits and so on.
- When released, often with no prospects for employment, former prisoners are generally subject to socio-economic exclusion and are thus vulnerable to an endless cycle of poverty, marginalisation, criminality and imprisonment. Thus, imprisonment contributes directly to the impoverishment of the prisoner, of his family (with a significant cross-generational effect) and of society by creating future victims and reducing future potential economic performance.
Public health consequences of imprisonment
- Prisons have very serious health implications. Prisoners are likely to have existing health problems on entry to prison, as they are predominantly from poorly educated and socio-economically deprived sectors of the general population, with minimal access to adequate health services.
- Their health conditions deteriorate in prisons which are overcrowded, where nutrition is poor, sanitation inadequate and access to fresh air and exercise often unavailable. Psychiatric disorders, HIV infection, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases, skin diseases, malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoea and injuries including self-mutilation are the main causes of morbidity and mortality in prison. In countries with a high prevalence of TB in the outside community, prevalence of TB can be up to 100 times higher inside the prisons.
- In most countries HIV infection in prisons is significantly higher than within the population outside prison, especially where drug addiction and risk behaviours are prevalent. Prison staff are also vulnerable to most of the diseases of which prisoners are at risk.
- Prisons are not isolated from the society and prison health is public health. The vast majority of people committed to prison eventually return to the wider society. Thus, it is not in vain that prisons have been referred to as reservoirs of disease in various contexts.
Detrimental social impact
- Imprisonment disrupts relationships and weakens social cohesion, since the maintenance of such cohesion is based on long-term relationships. When a member of a family is imprisoned, the disruption of the family structure affects relationships between spouses, as well as between parents and children, reshaping the family and community across generations. Mass imprisonment produces a deep social transformation in families and communities.
The cost of imprisonment
- Taking into account the above considerations, it is essential to note that, when considering the cost of imprisonment, account needs to be taken not only of the actual funds spent on the upkeep of each prisoner, which is usually significantly higher than what is spent on a person sentenced to non-custodial sanctions, but also of the indirect costs, such as the social, economic and healthcare related costs, which are difficult to measure, but which are immense and long-term.
Prisons should have reformative approach rather than retributive one. This implies that basic human rights of the prisoner should be protected and be given another chance to live a meaningful life.