SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 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: Art and culture
The preservation of cultural and linguistic diversity in today’s world is a major concern to many scientists, artists, writers, politicians, leaders of linguistic communities, and defenders of linguistic human rights. More than half of the 6000 languages currently spoken in the world are estimated to be in danger of disappearing during the 21st century.
Although nations historically have used language policies most often to promote one official language at the expense of others, many countries now have policies designed to protect and promote regional and ethnic languages whose viability is threatened. Indeed, the existence of linguistic minorities within their jurisdiction have often been considered to be a potential threat to internal cohesion, States also understand that providing language rights to minorities may be more in their long term interest, as a means of gaining citizens’ trust in the central government.
Census 2011 has not published the data on languages. This has created a demand to publish the data as early as possible. Along with publication of data, there are many aspects of government policy towards conservation of languages which should be discussed, such as:
- The provision of data of the languages whose speakers are beyond 10,000 is a discriminatory policy that deprives the rights of minority languages and speakers of minor languages.
- The languages must be seen as a cultural heritage of the country and thus must be provided with equal level of attention and conservation efforts. India is a signatory to UNESCO’s charter for promotion of idea of language as inalienable cultural right.
- While denying the data on languages, the government directly denies the right to information. This goes against the principle of democracy. The availability of data in public domain is precondition for healthy discourse by society on any important topic.
- By providing data on languages, the government must follow the policy of inclusive development. The marginal sections of society, such as nomadic people, tribals, and coastal people must be provided with the genuine sense of inclusion by providing required protection and information to languages spoken by them.
- The release of data will help in the effective conservation of local and minority languages. By losing the languages the society loses the knowledge that language holds. Many languages in country do not have script. In such cases, the documentation about these languages is very vital to conserve our cultural heritage.
Steps taken by government to protect the languages:
- The Government of India has initiated a Scheme known as “Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India”. Under this Scheme, the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore works on protection, preservation and documentation of all the mother tongues/languages of India spoken by less than 10,000 speakers keeping in mind the degree of endangerment and reduction in the domains of usage.
- According to the criteria adopted by the UNESCO, a language becomes extinct when nobody speaks or remembers the language. The UNESCO has categorized languages on basis of endangerment as follows:-
- Definitely Endangered
- Severely Endangered
- Critically Endangered
- The Registrar General, India through his Language Division is taking the steps for the development, preservation and documentation of Indian languages and mother tongues through the presentation of decennial language profile of the country.
- There are also efforts bringing out the publications of separate grammatical structures of Indian languages/ mother tongues based on the studies conducted through several projects undertaken time to time especially Linguistic Survey of India and Mother Tongue Survey of India Projects.
- Provision of all information against questions raised by Parliamentarians and queries raised under RTI Act, 2005 are addressed by Register General.
General Studies – 2
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
The China has shown its might in all spheres, mainly in economic in past few years. The standoff between two countries at border front has brought this issue to discussion once again. The assertive steps taken by Chinese government basically emerge from its expansionist policy. The growing assertiveness by china can be discussed and analysed under following sub heads:
- One-China policy:
As a policy, this means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) must break official relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa. This policy has received strong opposition from Taiwan. This policy is corollary of “One China principle”, which insists that both Taiwan and mainland China are inalienable parts of a single “China”
- South China sea disputes:
China has adopted an increasingly assertive posture towards its own claims by elevating it to a core interest, strengthening its fishery law enforcement and building civilian and military facilities in the disputed islands and waters.
- New regional order: challenging US
China’s rising power and influence is reshaping the regional strategic balance and will greatly undermine the existing regional security architecture the US has shaped and dominated since the Cold War. China’s rise as a global power has been a reality and it is the most prominent event of the 21st century in creating a new regional order.
- Enhancing energy security:
Over the past decade China has endeavored to diversify its energy suppliers and routes in order to reduce its heavy dependence on Persian-Gulf oil and the Strait of Malacca, and to consolidate its energy security by developing new energy routes: the Myanmar-China pipelines and the Iran-Pakistan-China pipelines, transporting Persian-Gulf oil over the Indian Ocean without passing through the Straits of Malacca.
- Military strength:
China’s military is developing ships, submarines, aircraft, intelligence systems and foreign bases in a bid to become a global military power. The PLA is the world’s largest military force, with strength of approximately 2,285,000 personnel, 0.18% of the country’s population.
- Economic strength and assertiveness:
China’s socialist market economy is the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP, the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity according to the IMF.
- Global Connectivity aspirations
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and The Belt and Road (B&R), is a development strategy that has got impetus by joining of some other countries as well. The strategy underlines China’s push to take a larger role in global affairs, and the desire to coordinate manufacturing capacity with other countries in areas such as steel manufacturing. India’s opposition to OBOR initiative further promotes the assertiveness by China.
Having experienced rapid economic growth in the past decades, China’s economic success allows it to play a greater political role in global affairs. In addition, its economic power greatly accelerated the pace of military build-up and modernisation that has soundly strengthened the PLA’s military capacities to face any potential threat to its core interest. China’s rising economic and military power is reshaping the regional security architecture, eroding the US’s dominant power in the region.
Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Parliamentary democracy is a system of government in which citizens elect representatives to a legislative parliament to make the necessary laws and decisions for the country. This parliament directly represents the people. In type of this democratic structure the role of President is very crucial. The role of president can be analysed and studied by various power provided to this constitutional post:
- The executive powers of the Indian Union, under Article 53 of the Constitution, vest in the President. The President has a right to be informed of all of the nation’s affairs, enjoys powers to appoint and remove high Constitutional authorities, including the prime minister and the council of ministers. Legislative powers
- Under the Indian Constitution, the government needs prior Presidential sanction before introducing legislation such as for creating a new state or changes in the boundary of existing states or even a change in its name.
- The President also promulgates ordinances or emergent legislation during Parliament’s recess. The President also nominates members to both the Houses.
The President is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces and all officers’ appointments are made by him or her, including that of the chiefs. The country declares war in the name of the President and also concludes peace, all from the control and authority over Parliament that the President enjoys.
India’s President has wide-ranging roles to play when it comes to diplomacy for maintaining relations with other countries. The country’s ambassadors and high commissioners are his representatives in foreign land. He also receives the credentials of diplomatic representatives of foreign countries. The President also negotiates treaties and agreements with other nations prior to ratification by Parliament.
The President enjoys judicial powers, primarily to rectify judicial errors, grant pardons and reprieves from punishment. The President can also seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on legal and Constitutional matters and on matters of national and people’s interest.
The President causes the presentation of audit reports before Parliament and is to receive the report of the finance commission and to act on its recommendations. The Contingency Fund of India is also at the President’s disposal.
Three kinds of emergencies are envisaged by the Constitution. Under national emergency powers, the President can declare a state of emergency after satisfying that the country’s security is at peril, either from external aggression or armed rebellion within. The national emergency is declared only after the Prime Minister and the cabinet recommends it in writing.
Along with these main functions, the critical role of President is:
- He/she acts as the final authority over the decision making, thus reviews the decision of parliament and may avoid the popular decision for political benefits.
- The provision of pardoning power of president may provide relief to accused with a chance of self-correction and rehabilitation.
- The chair of President protects the constitutionalism of executive decisions by review of the peculiar bill.
- The review power of President has restored by 44th Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution of India (1976) made it explicit that the President shall, “act in accordance with such advice”. The 44th Amendment (1978) however added that the President can send the advice back for reconsideration once. But if the Council of Ministers sends the same advice again to the President then the President must accept it.
- During the occasion of a hung Parliament, his supreme mediating role ensures the formation of a stable government.
- On one hand, President acts as a representative of country on international front while on other She/he facilitates the smooth functioning of Parliament.
The presidential role is criticised for various reasons:
- In certain cases, the prior sanction of President to introduce the bill in house encroaches on the rights of popularly voted government.
- Promulgation of ordinance (Art 123) in recent past has attracted the criticism in political sphere.
- In many cases the President acts as a mere rubber stamp and as a titular head without challenging the rationality of the decision taken by popular government.
- As per article 356 of constitution of India, President Rule in various states has been the part of criticism from long time.
Being the part of Parliament and the first citizen of country the President plays the very vital role in working of the Parliamentary democracy of the country.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
4) The Union Cabinet’s in-principle nod to the purchase of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has cleared the decks for India to have its own oil giant. Discuss its merits and demerits. (200 Words)
Cabinet’s in principle approval for merger of ONGC and HPCL is in line with Finance Minister’s budget speech, wherein he proposed merger of Oil PSUs to form an oil giant.
- Indian oil giant – Vertical integration of an explorer i.e. ONGC and a marketing firm i.e. HPCL is expected to yield operational efficiency of the conglomerate.
- Better buffer against international market volatility, as loss of one is likely to be complemented by the other.
- Reduced operational cost due to better resource management.
- Increasing competitiveness in global market.
- Disinvestment targets – will help in achieving disinvestment targets, fulfill government’s 1/3rd of divestment target for the financial year without practically surrendering the control and give financial boost to exchequer.
However, it is criticised for several demerits such as:
- Mandatory open offer for minority share-holders.
- Job-cuts, human resource adjustments.
- ONGC has not been performing to its best which can be seen from its slip from the top PSU earner. This might affect the working of HPCL also.
- Competition – The acquisition might reduce the competition in the Indian market which already have negligible competition as stated in Economic Survey, 2016.
- Minimum political interference has proven beneficial for shareholder value than integration. E.g. – Merger of Indian Airlines with Air India in 2007 failed to achieve result. Similarly, bailout package of ONGC to debt-ridden Gujarat Petroleum Corp Limited was politically motivated and hampered ONGC financial discipline.
Way forward –
However, certain aspects need to be taken care of during the process of merger and in the immediate aftermath to make it a success. They are-
- Since the approach and policy making trend of both the companies differ substantially and so is their performance, as evident by diminishing profit margin of ONGC on one hand and multi-bagger return by HPCL, the top level management be selected carefully so as to strike a balance between existing managements.
- Vibrant work culture of HPCL needs to be preserved and extend to ONGC for the overall benefit and to avoid any kind of conflict between workers.
- There is obvious chance of some employment loss due to possible resource allocation, and thus steps need to be taken to mitigate the impact by creating more employment out of its increased business.
Topic: Storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints;
The period of India’s agricultural history that saw a multiplication in yield due to use of high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds, chemical fertilizers and irrigation projects (especially in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh) is termed as the Green Revolution.
When assessing the Green Revolution it is easy to look at the historical progression of the movement and the scientific advances. However, more often than not those most involved, the farmers themselves, are overlooked. Over the course of the green revolution small-scale farmers, in particular rural small-scale farmers have acquired most of the stresses and burdens of the revolution and have been most affected by the negative consequences.
Positive impacts –
- It has increased the farmers’ income by boosting the Agriculture production to a considerable level.
- It has make the country self-sufficient in food grains – reduced the dependency on imports.
- The Green Revolution ameliorated the effects of increasing population and therefore food production on natural ecosystems.
- Green Revolution also powered a significant decline in the price of food. The reduction in the cost of producing food and the increase in supply combined to reduce the real (adjusted for the effects of inflation) price of food.
- Equally significant, the Green Revolution reduced the fraction of the labor force that works on farms. Globally this fraction declined from 65 percent in 1960 to 42 percent in 2000.
Cost borne due to green revolution-
- HYC seeds are water consuming – thus gargantuan amount of Irrigation has depleted the water resources – causing distress to farmers in current scenario.
- Extensive use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer in past has degraded the quality of soil and land thus shrinking the land for cultivation in present situation.
- Over production beyond storage capacity for it- ultimately leads to wastage due to rotting of food grains- thus no income to farmers.
- From an economic perspective, the Green Revolution must be viewed as a package. To participate, farmers must buy the more expensive seeds of high-yield varieties; sow, manage, and harvest crops on large tracts of lands using mechanized equipment; and use this equipment to apply more fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and water.
- A category of landless farmers has been created Without land, they cannot grow their own food. Because they are poor, they cannot afford to buy food produced by the larger farms, even at the lower prices. This has created some disturbing contradictions. For example, India became self-sufficient in grain production during the late 1970s, but the number of hungry people increased between 1980 and 2010.
Thus the green revolution and the policies, though brought great prosperity to the farmers of Punjab, UP and Haryana at the time, can also be held responsible for farmer distress in current times. The protest of farmers from Tamil Nadu at Delhi, incidences of loan-waivers (and its associated economic and political implications) and phenomenon of rise in farmer suicides—all of these point to the distress brought about by rising costs and falling (to negligible) profit- margins, as follows –
- Regional Differences in development: farmers of states adopting HYV technology, pesticides and fertilizers benefited while outputs stagnated for the rest. This trend has continued with budgets fixated on specific areas for agricultural growth.
- Land degradation: Intensive use of chemicals like NPK fertilizers and pesticides resulted in land degradation, reduction in productivity and resistance in pests- greater incidence of crop failure due to whitefly, bollworm etc.
- Water Scarcity: Unscrupulous groundwater wastage and water intensive irrigation practices- waterlogging, wastelands. Groundwater levels at record low in northern states leading to low water availability for crops.
- Over dependence on cereals rather than cash crops: Given higher MSPs, fertilizer subsidy etc.
Though contributing to farmer unrest, other issues more pertinent in current times include:
- This year’s good monsoon and Bumper Crops caused mandi prices to fall drastically.
- Ad hoc Import-Export policies, such as for pulses bring discontent among E.g. High export duty on pulses discourages farmers to produce pulses.
- Lack of decentralized procurement, absence of sufficient cold storage facilities (nearly 42 pc wastage of perishables)
- Structural issues such as APMC Act and other supply side pressures, etc.
With the ever increasing number of farmer suicides reaching more than 3 lakhs in the last decade, farmer’s unrest has been in the making from quite some time. To ensure the vision for doubling farmer incomes by 2022 and ensuring prosperity to sector employing nearly half of the populations, it is imperative to generate gainful employment and diversifying produce. A second green revolution being dubbed as rainbow revolution with focus on organic farming and micro-irrigation needs to be adopted at a fast pace with uniformity throughout the country.
Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
The plight of small farmers in India seems to be endless. Right from subsidies, government benefits to minimum support price large farmers and traders get the chunk
- Minimum support prise is attractive towards the crops like wheat, rice which is produced by large farmers in bulk. Small farmers who mostly dependent on vegetables, pulses, coarse grains are at disadvantage.
- Many a times farmers are not even aware about the MSP and large traders through networks, links and cartels avail the benefit to maximum possible extent.
- The infrastructural issues like land holdings and mechanisation, storage facilities, irrigation facilities, scientific inputs to farming also makes the larger traders more suitable to get benefitted.
- Small farmers typically do not have enough marketable surplus to justify the cost of transporting the crop to government corporations in the towns.
- Their crop is usually sold to traders at rock bottom post-harvest prices in the village itself or the nearest mandi. In the case of other crops, Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), which were supposed to protect the farmer, have had the opposite effect.
- Farmers have to sell their produce through auctions in regulated markets controlled by cartels of licensed traders, whose licences give them oligopolistic market power.
- These cartels fix low purchase prices, extract large commissions, delay payments, etc. Farmers may typically get as little as 25% of the price that consumers finally pay. A consolidated mark-up of 300%.
- Co-operative farming: Increasing land scarcity and the marginalization of farmers cannot be easily reversed. There are several variants of cooperation ranging from collective action in accessing credit, acquiring inputs and marketing to production cooperatives that also include land pooling; labour pooling; joint investment, joint water management and joint production. The advantages of aggregating small farms into larger, voluntary, cooperatives include greater capacity to undertake lumpy investment in irrigation and farm machinery, more efficient farming practices, greater bargaining power and better terms in the purchase or leasing of land, access to credit, purchase of inputs and the sale of produce.
- Revision of MSP, its provisions, beneficiary is required. Diversification of it towards other crops like pulses must be done.
- Promotion of Marginal and Small Farmers’ Groups: In many states groups on lines of self help groups (SHGs) are few. Special efforts have to be made to facilitate formation of such groups. The special programme proposes setting up of Marginal and Small Farmers’ 21 Development Society (MSFDS) for the promotion, capacity building and coordination of development of marginal and small famer’s groups.
- Enabling greater access to institutional credit: Linking Marginal and small farmer’s group to bank is an essential step towards needed credit flow to these farmers.
- Training and capacity building: The special programme aiming at motivating and enabling marginal and small farmers to acquire skills by establishing Community Resource Centres, by promoting marginal and small farmer activists at the village, cluster and block levels is required.
- Support for strengthening and creation of non-farm activities: This aims to bridge the farm activities and non-farm activities of small holding agriculture as income from small farming is hardly sufficient to meet the basic needs of the farm households. Promotion of dairy products, poultry farming, honeybee keeping etc is needed.
- The ambitious projects like ENAM, doubling farmers income by 2022, price stabilisation fund, implementation of Swaminathan and Shanta Kumar committee is required.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators
Swami Vivekananda Bengali born Narendranath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk, a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.
Philosophy on education:-
There is lot to learn from Vivekananda’s views on education. He puts lot of emphasis on physical education, moral and religious education, Medium of language in education, women education and education for weaker sections of society. Let me elaborate his views on each of these components.
Without the knowledge of physical education, the self-realization or character building is not possible. One must know, it is not possible to keep a strong mind without a strong body. In particular, Vivekananda stressed the need for physical education in curriculum.
MEDIUM OF EDUCATION:
Like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, Vivekananda also emphasised on education through the medium of mother tongue.
MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION:
Vivekananda said, “Religion is the innermost core of education. Religion is like the rice and everything else, is like the curries. Taking only curries causes indigestion and so is the case with taking rice alone.” Therefore, religious education is a vital part of a sound curriculum.
EDUCATION OF MASSES:
The individual development is not a full development of our nation, so it is necessary to give education to the society or common people. The education is not only confined to the well-to-do persons only but also to the poor people. Vivekananda emphasized on the improvement of the conditions of the masses and for this, he advocated mass education.
MAN MAKING EDUCATION:
The educational philosophy of Swami Vivekananda is a harmonious synthesis between the ancient Indian ideals and modern Western beliefs. He not only stressed upon the physical, mental, moral, spiritual and vocational development of the child but also he advocated women education as well as education of the masses.
Self-education is the self-knowledge. That is, knowledge of our own self is the best guide in the struggle of our life. If we take one example, the childhood stage, the child will face lot of problems or commit mistakes in the process of character formation.
Vivekananda considered women to be the incarnation of power. He rightly pointed out that unless Indian women secure a respectable place in this country, the nation can never move forward. The important features of his scheme of female education are “Make women strong, fear-less, and conscious of their chastity and dignity”.
EDUCATION FOR WEAKER SECTION OF SOCIETY
Vivekananda pleaded for the universal education so that the backward people may fall in line with others. To uplift the backward classes he chooses education as a powerful instrument for their life process. Thus education should spread to every household in the country, to factories, playing grounds and agricultural fields.
From the analysis of Vivekananda’s scheme, philosophy of education, it is clear that the upliftment of masses is possible only through education. His views on education bring to light a constructive, practical and comprehensive approach to education. By giving education, he tries to materialize the moral and spiritual welfare and upliftment of humanity, irrespective of caste, creed, nationality or time. By the way of his scheme of education, we can get to build the strong nation with peace and harmony and without caste and creed. But contrary to following his ideas, we are giving bookish knowledge to our kids without giving exposure to other areas of education with the result that when they complete the education, they get degrees but they fail to develop strong moral and spiritual character.