SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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: Social empowerment; Role of women
Women Empowerment refers to the creation of an environment for women where they can make decisions of their own for their personal benefits as well as for the society. It means to increasing and improving the social, economic, political and legal strength of the women, to ensure equal-right to women, and to make them confident enough to claim their rights.
Inequalities between men and women and discrimination against women have also been age-old issues all over the world. Thus, women’s quest for equality with man is a universal phenomenon and thus the well debated issue.
Equality is about having a moral and philosophical stand that, there should not be gender discrimination. Equality is the foundation of future roadmap. Much of the time has passed where in issue of gender equality and thus this is the time to act on it. Woman empowerment is the course to work on. Women’s economic empowerment – that is, their capacity to bring about economic change for themselves – is increasingly viewed as the most important contributing factor to achieving equality between women and men. But economically strengthening women – who are half the world’s workforce – is not only a means by which to spur economic growth, but also a matter of advancing women’s human rights.
- Labour force: Women’s participation in the labour force is quite low, and has been falling over the last few years. The female to male ratio is only 0.36. This is exacerbated by lack of choices that women have to engage in paid work related to work type and location, patriarchal gender norms, and the undue burdens of unpaid care work that women bear.
- Eradicating rural poverty: In many rural areas of India, men migration is dominant that is making the woman as the head of the family. By empowering rural woman, the grave crisis of rural poverty can be deal effectively.
- Skilling people: Woman is more prone to get entered into low cost and underpaid jobs. By targeting this stratum of the society, the skilled jobs can empower women and also increase the quality of human resource.
- Treating informal sector: Informal sector has its own lacunas. Lack of social security, no health benefits, security at work place are some of the existing issues in this major sector of economy. Women form the large chunk of this sector. Woman empowerment can strengthen the informal sector of the economy.
- Social security: Empowerment drive for woman will provide social security through financial independence and skilled jobs for dignified life
The tools for realizing this potential are:
- Gender budgeting: Special fund for woman will ensure that the component of the growth has been given for empowerment of particular section.
- Saving schemes by financial institutions: Financial institutions must be effectively used to promote culture of saving among the woman. Financial inclusion is the key component of any developmental model.
- Role of non-government organisations: Non-government organisations have already done a lot of work in the field of woman empowerment. Government must recognise and give support to Non-governmental organisation to work more effectively and innovatively.
- Self-help groups: SHGs are available structure that can be used innovatively for the woman upliftment.
- Provision of security at work place
- Recent step to increase maternal leave.
All these tools must be worked out to empower woman in order to strengthen the economy. More than economic calculations, it is more about the morality of Human rights for equality of opportunity.
General Studies – 2
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
The Indian Ocean has always been the important transit route for global trade. For this reason, there have always been the geopolitical connotations linked with the port led development in the Indian Ocean.
Details on the port: Background and need of this port
Construction of the port began in January 2008. It will be Sri Lanka’s largest port, after the Port of Colombo. The Port of Hambantota will serve ships travelling along the east-west shipping route which passes six to ten nautical miles (19 km) south of Hambantota. The first phase of the port project will provide bunkering, ship repair, ship building, and crew change facilities. Later phases will raise capacity of the port up to 20 million TEUs per year. When completed, it is claimed it will be the biggest port constructed on land to date in the 21st century.
Sri Lanka is situated along the key shipping route between the Malacca Straits and the Suez Canal, which links Asia and Europe. An estimated 36,000 ships, including 4,500 oil tankers, use the route annually. However the only major port in Sri Lanka, the Port of Colombo, is catered towards container handling and is unable to provide facilities for port related industries and services. Therefore, a new port was proposed near the city of Hambantota, which has a natural harbor and is located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka close to international shipping routes.
Issues related to construction of the Hambantota port are:
- The Chinese involvement in the construction of this port has seen as a challenge by other neighboring countries. For the $ 1.5 billion Hambantota Port, 85% of the finances came as loan from China’s Exim Bank and thus the Chinese stake is very high in this project.
- Fear of unemployment: The sale of 80% stake of the port to china has created the fear of unemployment among the domestic players.
- The port holds potential to control the East West sea trade. Chinese high stake in the working of this port may threaten the sovergniety of neighboring countries.
- There has been the issue of labour strike that was further get involved with the political set up of the country. The incidence comes under extreme criticism from civil activists and media movements over an assault on a journalist during this protest in Hambantota port.
- Environmental issue: The very location of this port and expected model of its development may create environmental impacts. The record of Chinese projects are not enough competent with respect to eco-friendly activities.
The high stake of Chinese involvement in the port development has geopolitical understanding. Each country will see towards it in its own interests. The China has played very dominant role in Asian in last decade. This move is the bold extension of its policy.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education and Human resources
3) “The RTE is focused on free and compulsory education till class VIII. It does not prescribe preschools for the poor. Or education beyond class 8. Nor does it talk quality or equity.” Why is it important to focus on preschools, quality and equity in education? Discuss. (200 Words)
Right to education is the watershed legislation that has created the right based opportunity of education to lakhs of children. Approximately 22 crore children fall under the age group 6-14. Out of which 4.1% i.e. 92 lakhs children either dropped out from school or never attend any educational institution. These children will get elementary education. Local and state government will ensure it.
Features of the RTE Act, 2009
- Every child in the age group of 6-14 has the right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school, till the completion of elementary education
- Private schools will have to take 25% of their class strength from the weaker section and the disadvantaged group of the society through a random selection process. Government will fund education of these children.
- No donation and capitation fee is allowed.
- No admission test or interview either for child or parents.
- No child can be held back, expelled and required to pass the board examination till the completion of elementary education.
- There is provision for establishment of commissions to supervise the implementation of the act.
- A fixed student and teacher ratio is to be maintained.
- All schools have to adhere to rules and regulations laid down in this act, failing which the school will not be allowed to function. Three years moratorium period has been provided to school to implement all that is required of them.
- Norms for teachers training and qualifications are also clearly mentioned in the act.
- All schools except private unaided schools are to be managed by School management Committees with 75% of parents and guardians as members.
The RTE Act has been criticised by a diverse array of voices, including some of the best economists. The critique has specifically talked about following point:
- Quality of Education: The Act is excessively input-focused rather than outcomes-oriented. This has hampered the quality of education. a NGO Pratham, whose annual education report has a widespread credibility, in its report said that between 2010-2014, the percentage of rural students in class 4, that were capable of double digit subtraction has dropped from 58% to 40 %. The report also said that those percentages of grade 4 students, who were able to read the first grade text, have also been fallen to 56 % from 68 %.
- Equity: The right based approach has strengthened the social equity at school level. Mentally and physically challenged children, entitled to free education in special schools, were included in the definition through an amendment in 2012.
The system then provides for special attention (through Section 4 of the Act) for low performing child in the higher class to make up the deficiency in skills and ability. The critical question is – can a child who is unable to bear the workload of a junior class now deal with the workload of a senior class in addition to taking special classes? The embarrassment of failing, which under a system of failing a weak student is corrected at the first stage of inadequacy, now carries over into senior classes.
- Preschool: Preschool establishes the very foundation of the child’s upbringing. Pre School is very crucial with respect to vocal skills, physical exercise and food provision. The mid-day meal scheme got its success through RTE. The preschool levels are not effectively targeted through RTE as the ambit of this act does not include preschool level. Anganwadi schools have done a momentous task for the country, though the status of Anganwadi workers is nowhere. RTE should encourage and support the workforce in preschool level as well.
Education is a fundamental human right, without which capabilities for a decent life and effective participation in society are less likely to be developed. Since the RTE Act has provided us the tools to provide quality education to all our children, it is now imperative that we, the people of India, join hands to ensure the implementation of this law in its true spirit.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
4) The NITI Aayog has recently unveiled a grand plan to effectively privatise district hospitals in Tier-I and Tier-II towns. Examine critically NITI Aayog’s other provisions of this plan and comment on their likely impact on the health sector. (200 Words)
Health care services form the very fundamental of overall development of people in the society. Health issues are handled by the state in order to make it available to poor people. There has always been the huge criticism about the ineffective role played by government agencies in the provision of health care services. The NITI ayog has unveiled an innovative approach to deal with these lacunas through the privatization of district hospitals in Tier 1 and tier 2 cities.
It has developed a “model concessionaire agreement” for provision of healthcare services for cardiac and pulmonary (lung) diseases and cancers.
It has proposed that public facilities in district hospitals would be outsourced to private providers. They would be free to charge full treatment costs from patients not covered by government schemes (such as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) and the providers would be reimbursed by the government for treating patients.
The scheme also provides for an escrow account that would offset the risk to private providers posed by possible delays in reimbursement by the government.
Providers would also secure access to public facilities such as ambulance services, blood banks and mortuaries.
The district health administration will ensure referrals for treatment from primary health centers, community health centers, disease screening centers and other government health programmes and ventures are made to these private hospitals.
The private hospitals operating from these public hospital campuses will be able to refer complicated cases either to other government hospitals or other empanelled private hospitals. However, sending patients further to other private hospitals would require the permission of the medical superintendent of the district hospital.
Positive side of this decision:
- It will help to enhance the culture of professionalization in the government health care institutions.
- There are also possibilities that, the private sector will give boost to the use of technology in district hospitals.
- The collaboration with private sector will bring best practices in government health care sector.
Negative side of this decision:
- As per the scheme most patients would have to pay for care even in public facilities. The promise that patients covered by government health insurance schemes would access care free of cost needs to be seen in the context of recent surveys which show that just 12-13% of people are covered by public-funded insurance
- Private providers will concentrate on better-off districts, leaving the poor and remote districts for the public sector to manage. This will further weaken the ability of public hospitals to attract and retain trained doctors and other health workers.
- Scheme will expose thousands of patients to unethical practices by private providers, compromises in quality and rationality of services and additional ‘top-up services’.
- Outsourcing of hospital care to private providers inevitably becomes increasingly unsustainable over time as they ratchet up demands on reimbursements and fees.
The scheme is innovative and needs to be executed with due care of monitoring and regulation. If the private force becomes dominant in public institution, then the very essence of public services for health care gets eroded. Enhancing the investment in public healthcare services and training of health workers can change the existing situation towards the better results.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Issues relating to intellectual property rights.
5) A proposal to further extend the already 20-year-long patent term for pharmaceuticals is on the negotiation table of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Is it a right step? How will it affect India? Discuss. (200 Words)
A patent is an exclusive right granted for production of an invention which is new, useful, and non-obvious. IP protections incentivise individuals for their creativity and public disclosure of technical information, which aid the promotion of new knowledge and increased innovation. In RCEP(regional comprehensive economic partnership ) the developed countries, after dropping the provision of ever greening are now demanding to increase the patent term for pharmaceuticals beyond 20 years.
If India ratifies it, it will face negative impacts –
- It will be detrimental to developing countries like India that have benefited from generic competition and lower-priced medicines
- This would lead to delay in the entry of generic versions of medicines, extension of patent monopoly for a longer time, and exclusivity for drugs that should not be patented if strict patentability criteria were to be applied
- India will be obliged to offer the same concessions to the U.S. as well as the other members of the WTO under the (MFN) most favored nation clause of WTO
- It will result in corporate welfare at the cost of social welfare (people will have to buy high priced medicines because of absence of generic alternate).
- This will affect India’s forex earnings.
- This is in other way a corollary to evergreening of patents which circumvents the intent of section3 d of patents act.
Arguments by supporters of extension –
- it is necessary to recoup the research and development (R&D) costs.
- patent-term extension could make up for the loss of effective patent term—time lost in getting regulatory approval or owing to delays at the patent office.
This will affect all the developing countries including India, African countries and ASEAN who themselves are hugely dependent on Indian generics. Also, the increase in time frame is without any principle unlike the UK Law which gave 14 years on the basis of training period. Thus, it is better for the world to stick with TRIPS for ensuring greater good of humanity. Developing countries like India which have taken initiatives in leadership instituting and using balanced intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical should proudly protect the laws in the negotiation.
Topic: Awareness in the fields of biotechnology
6) The 271st report of the Commission has prepared the draft Bill named ‘The DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017’ after examining various judicial pronouncements and constitutional provisions. Define DNA profiling and write a critical note on the objectives and provisions of this Bill. (200 Words)
DNA profiling (also called DNA fingerprinting, DNA testing, or DNA typing) –
This is a forensic technique used to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA. A DNA profile is a small set of DNA variations that is very likely to be different in all unrelated individuals, thereby being as unique to individuals as are fingerprints (hence the alternative name for the technique).
- parentage testing
- criminal investigation, to identify a person or to place a person at a crime scene,
- In the techniques which are now employed in forensic scienceto facilitate police detective work and help clarify paternity and immigration disputes, body identification in disasters, missing cases.
- DNA fingerprinting has also been widely used in the study of animal and floral populations and has revolutionized the fields of zoology, botany, and agriculture.
Provisions of the bill –
- Bill provides for the setting up of a statutory DNA Profiling Board to spell out procedures and standards to establish DNA laboratories.
- The Commission’s draft Bill restricts DNA profiling to the specific purpose of identification of a person and not for extracting other information.
- It provides for the creation of DNA data banks, at national and regional levels, which would be responsible for storing DNA profiles received from the accredited laboratories. They will also be responsible for maintaining certain indices, like crime scene index, suspects’ index, offenders’ index, missing persons’ index and unknown deceased persons’ index.
- DNA experts would be notified as government scientific experts.
- Sharing of DNA profiles with foreign governments or other government agencies, organisations or institutions would only be for the purpose of this Act or any of its agencies, including identification of missing persons, disaster victims, suspects. Any violation would lead to imprisonment, which may extend up to three years, and a fine which may extend up to Rs. 2 lakh.
- The Bill gives the right to an undertrial to request for another DNA test in case of doubts that his earlier samples may have been contaminated.
Though the Bill depicts the progressive stance of the govt and intends to fill the regulatory vacuum coupled with providing a statutory backing to this process, there are concerns like:
- Abuse of this information cannot be ruled out (already abuse of Aadhar information is unresolved).
- This Bill is incoherent with the stance of the right to privacy being the fundamental right.
- There are security concerns too.
- P. Shah Committee Report suggests, there should be safeguards to prevent illegal collection and use of DNA data; to prevent the proposed body from misusing the same.
- No proper procedure to obtain consent and also situations under which the volunteer can withdraw his data. Also, before sharing the data to a third party, the person must be notified and consent must be sought.
- Bodies collecting, analyzing, and storing DNA data should be made to release an annual report, detailing their practices and organisational structure.
In view of the scope of the use and misuse of human DNA profiling, it has been felt that it is required to be regulated by a special law with well delineated standards, quality controls and quality assurance systems to ensure the credibility of the DNA testing, restricting it to the purposes laid down in the Act. Thus, there is a need to regulate the use of human DNA profiling through a standalone law of Parliament so that such use is appropriately regulated and restricted to lawful purposes only.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function
NCERT Class XII Psychology textbook Chapter 7
Introduction :- Social influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions, or behaviors are affected by others. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing. In 1958, Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman identified three broad varieties of social influence.
- Complianceis when people appear to agree with others but actually keep their dissenting opinions private. Compliance is the act of responding favorably to an explicit or implicit request offered by others. Technically, compliance is a change in behavior but not necessarily in attitude; one can comply due to mere obedience or by otherwise opting to withhold private thoughts due to social pressures
- Identificationis when people are influenced by someone who is liked and respected, such as a famous celebrity. Identification is the changing of attitudes or behaviors due to the influence of someone who is admired. Advertisements that rely upon celebrity endorsements to market their products are taking advantage of this phenomenon.
- Internalizationis when people accept a belief or behavior and agree both publicly and privately. Internalization is the process of acceptance of a set of norms established by people or groups that are influential to the individual. The individual accepts the influence because the content of the influence accepted is intrinsically rewarding.
Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function
NCERT Class XII Psychology textbook Chapter 7
Introduction :- Social influence refers to the ways people influence the beliefs, feelings, and behaviors of others. Each day we are bombarded by countless attempts by others to influence us. The above terms of obedience, compliance and conformity sounds similar at first look but they are different in their meaning.
- Compliance and obedience have one main difference: one is a request, a question, and the other is a direct command. While one invites the subject to decline, a command carries with it the social expectations of obedience.
- Conformity is strongly affected by whether the culture in question is orientated to individualism or collectivism however compliance and obedience are less likely to be affected by this particular factor.
- Conformity is generally an internalising of the social norms, where the subject takes these and incorporates them into their own paradigm. Conformed behaviour can be shown to become “automatic”, i.e. unconscious. However public compliance and obedience do not necessarily belie private attitudes and beliefs.
- While compliance and obedience are the result of social expectations, self-gain, and fear of conflict or punishment, conformity also has a stronger ethological cause: The perceptions and behaviours of the majority are likely to be more accurate and conducive to survival than those of the individual or minority.
Impact of social influence on them :-
- Compliance is when an individual changes his or her behavior in response to an explicit or implicit request made by another person. Compliance is often referred to as an active form of social influence in that it is usually intentionally initiated by a person. It is also conceptualized as an external form of social influence in that its focus is a change in overt behavior. Although compliance may sometimes occur as a result of changes in people’s internal beliefs and/or feelings, such internal changes are not the primary goal of compliance, nor are they necessarily required for the request to be successful.
- In contrast, conformity refers to when people adjust their behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and/or beliefs to fit to a group norm. Conformity is generally regarded as a passive form of influence in that members of the group do not actively attempt to influence others. People merely observe the actions of group members and adjust their behaviors and/or views accordingly. The focus of conformity can be either external (overt behaviors) or internal (beliefs and feelings) in nature.
- Obedience is a change in behavior as a result of a direct command from an authority figure. Obedience is an active form of influence in that it is usually directly initiated by an authority figure and is typically external in that overt behaviors are generally the focus of commands.