SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 August 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: Role of women; Social empowerment
1) The Supreme Court on July 27, 2017, in the matter of Rajesh Sharma and Ors v State of UP and Anr, delivered a judgment, which the women’s movement has rejected as biased against women. Critically comment on this judgement. (200 Words)
The Supreme Court judgement in Rajesh Sharma and Ors v State of UP and Anr case is in keeping with Section 498A of IPC that criminalizes dowry and protects women against violence for the same. The Court has asked for a committee under NALSA, composed of local people/leaders/activists to filter the cases and check for their authenticity and genuineness prior to making any arrests.
The significance of the judgement –
- The court only meant to prevent the rampant misuse of the law, which otherwise accounts for only around 20% conviction.
- The court does not touch upon the law at all, rather only provides a procedural guideline prior to conviction.
- The law is harsh in its present form, and clearly gender-biased with a lot of presumptions and assumptions against the male community.
- In cases of failed marriages, divorce, etc. the law is often invoked to blackmail the husband and in laws.
- Involvement of civil society in the aid of administration of justice is a good beginning.
- Judgement prejudices and rehabilitates the myths which the women’s movement in India has battled over decades.
- Reliance only on data from NCRB, which deals with only crime reported , ignoring NFHS 3 data which suggests- large number of crimes, violent or non-violent against women ,crimes not reported need to be taken cognizance. The judgement has relied upon the data provided by National crime record bureau(NCRB) which does not give the clear picture of facts. For instance, NCRB showed that in 2011, 1,14,372 cases were filed but National family health survey(NFHS-3) showed that 59 million suffered abuse in some way in the same year. NFHS also states that only 2% of the victims go ahead with filing FIR and proceeding with the case and the others hesitate due to various family and society conditions.
- Increased cases may point to false charges but can also be due to increased awareness.
As well as low conviction rate can be due to many other reasons like lack of sufficient evidences, settlements, withdrawal due to threats or social pressure.
- SC had earlier instructed police to investigate thoroughly rather than overzealously arresting, in any case where the sentence is less than 7 years. The previous instruction to police was progressive, but latest welfare committee step would lead to establishment of parallel justice dispensation system.
- The committee would act as a jury of a kind which might be questioned for its level of objective understanding of the case; the committee would be akin to village councils/khap panchayats, unless their mandate is clarified under law.
- The court should have scrutinized the law clause by clause to check for unconstitutional premises within it, as there are apparently many.
- The judgment can be seen as a case of judicial activism encroaching upon executive’s powers to make rules on a law.
- Issues of absconding specially by NRI has not been dealt efficiently, 1 month grace period can be exploited by them.
While the court worked on a solution, the real problem lies with the laws in India. In many cases, our laws are too harsh, or too archaic, or too outdated, or too incompatible or even biased that they need adequate scrutiny keeping in mind constitutional values of social justice and changing times. Further however great a law, its success depends on its implementation by the responsible authorities and aware civil society.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
The central government has justifiably come under some criticism for taking conflicting positions before the apex court on the question of whether Indian citizens enjoy a fundamental right to privacy under the Constitution. In the Aadhaar case, the government argued against the existence of a fundamental right to privacy despite more than 40 years of jurisprudence developed by the court holding it to be so. For that, it has relied on some parts of the judgments in an eight-judge bench decision of the court in M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra (1954) and a six-judge bench decision in Kharak Singh v. State of UP (1962).
Even as this question has now been referred to a nine-judge bench, the government has taken the opposite position in the Whatsapp case: Arguing that personal data, and consequently privacy, is an extension of life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is but one in a series of paradoxes that have punctuated the government’s positions.
Conflicting positions –
- For the M.P Sharma vs Satish Chandra case, 1954, and for the Kharak Singh case, 1962, the government did not accept that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. With respect to the Kharak Singh case, 1962, certain restrictions on the right to privacy is indeed needed with respect to a criminal, who can always misuse the privilege accorded to him.
- However, during the years 2011, 2012 and 2014, the government had supported the fundamental right status for the right to privacy.
- Again, the government while defending Section 499 of IPC, dealing with criminal defamation, and in the Whatsapp case, has supported right to privacy as an extension of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty. In cases of criminal defamation, without the existence of the recognition of privacy as a matter of right, the character assassination of an individual might not allow him to lead a quality life, with liberty.
- But, as regards the Aadhar project and the Aadhar Act, 2016, the government has again stated that right to privacy is not a fundamental right, and that the personal data of citizens is being utilized to usher in a regime of good governance, transparency and accountability, that is more important than securing someone’s privacy.
Issues of concern are:
- Its contradictory stand with respect to the Whatsapp and Aadhar cases, where the government has taken diametrically opposite stands, even if the premise has remained more or less the same i.e. usage of personal data by a third party.
- The government had sought to protect right to privacy in case of the provision in IPC regarding criminal defamation, which is more often than not abused for political reasons, and has been used on maximum occasions against unassuming citizens.
- Most importantly, the government has more often than not shown a tendency to protect its own legitimacy as the guardian of personal data and information of citizens, whereas at the same time it has expressed apprehensions when it came to other third parties, which were not under its direct control.
The government must not take an ambiguous stand on an issue as sensitive as this. A clarified stand, accompanied with a clear-cut mentioning of reservations in the concerns of national integrity and security, is what is most needed now.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
3) ” The constriction of India’s strategic space is a second-order consequence resulting from China’s rise. Beijing does not have to deliberately contain India. Beijing’s exercise of its growing comprehensive national power — economic and military — will inevitably have that effect.” Comment. (200 Words)
China’s economic achievements in the last three decades of 10 percent-plus GDP growth have inspired awe around the world. We all know the consequences—the accumulation of hard power in all its forms, China as the world’s manufacturing workshop, the trillion dollar foreign exchange surpluses, the ability to determine commodity prices in world markets, the presence of China in most global value and production chains, and so on. The speed and scale of China’s transformation are astonishing. As a rising power, meanwhile, China is determined to have an independent say in the economic, political, and security order around her and in the world.
What does China’s rise mean for India?
Complicating the scene:
- The assertive China that we have seen since 2008 is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Security dilemmas between China and Japan; China and India; China and Vietnam; and others will intensify.
- The environment in which India pursues its interests will get more complex. And the very complexity of the situation in the Asia-Pacific gives India a choice of partners and collaborators to work with in the pursuit of its interests.
- An assertive China is unlikely to seek an early settlement of the ongoing border dispute with India.
- China’s other priorities—religious extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang, overland access to the Indian Ocean, keeping India in check, a window on Western arms technology, the Chinese commitment and presence in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir—have made Pakistan even more crucial to China’s purposes.
- India, china, and the world
In this situation, the rest of the world can only be a limited enabler in India-China relations, using India-China competition for their own purposes. Ultimately the relationship is a critical one that will determine both countries’ futures, and they alone can determine its trajectory. Today we seem to be entering a new phase in the relationship, and I hope we will be successful in smoothly attaining a new equilibrium.
Four factors add to India’s problem.
- China has brought abundant political will to match the expanded national power resources. Philosophy of era of China deferring to other nations’ sensitivities is now over. Now others’ turn to adapt to Beijing’s rise as the foremost power in Asia.
- Widening strategic gap between China and India. China’s current GDP is five times larger than that of India and its defence spending is four times as big. Even if India grows faster than China in the coming years, the huge gap with China will remain unabridged.
- India had severely underestimated the implications of China’s rise for India.
- India had taken its regional primacy for granted all these decades. China had never accepted the proposition that the Subcontinent is India’s exclusive sphere of influence. It now has the will and resources to challenge that premise on a routine basis. That leaves India scrambling to restore its economic and strategic centrality in the region.
The longer Delhi takes to act vigorously on its frontier region development, military modernisation and regional economic integration, the greater will be its degree of difficulty in coping with China’s rise
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
What is Evidence based healthcare?
Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.
Individual clinical expertise means the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice. Increased expertise is reflected in many ways, but especially in more effective and efficient diagnosis and in the more thoughtful identification and compassionate use of individual patients’ predicaments, rights, and preferences in making clinical decisions about their care.
Components of EBP
- Set of rules and institutional arrangements designed to encourage transparent and balanced use of evidence in public policy making.
- Controlled trials and observational studies.
- Broad range of theoretical and empirical evidence about human behavior.
- stakeholder opinions and other sources of intelligence
- Potential to facilitate open democracy and to improve policy outcomes.
Types of evidence for evidence-based policy:
- Quantitative Evidence
Quantitative evidence for policymaking (i.e., data in numerical quantities) can take many forms, ranging from scientific information in peer-reviewed journals, to data from public health surveillance systems, to evaluations of individual programs or policies.
- Qualitative Evidence
Qualitative evidence involves non numerical observations, collected by methods such as participant observation, group interviews, or focus groups. Qualitative evidence can make use of the narrative form as a powerful means of influencing policy deliberations, setting priorities, and proposing policy solutions by telling persuasive stories that have an emotional hook and intuitive appeal.
EBP in health care will be very suitable for India due to following:
There is immense need of focus on identifying the specific policy elements that are likely to be effective. Both quantitative and qualitative data can be used by policymakers to determine the appropriate policy intervention for diverse sections of the society.
The increasing load of life style diseases needs preventive care for large sections of the society. The evidence based health care policy can manage this challenge to considerable extent.
The insurance policies can be better implemented through scientific approach of healthcare management.
EPB is highly democratic in nature and thus goes parallel with the welfare philosophy of the state.
Medical device standards are just about evolving in India. Mechanisms of evaluation and evidence are based on standards borrowed from the drug industry. Such policy can be helpful in affordable availability if healthcare facilities.
Documenting the effects of implemented policies (policy outcome) is equally important in supporting evidence-based policy. Policy evaluations are critical to the understanding of the impact of policies on community- and individual-level behavior changes.
Making public policy is a continuous or recursive process that relies heavily upon scientific evidence and other influences scientific evidence that examines the impact of public policies on systems and individual-level behavior change is one possible source of feedback.
India would do well to adopt a comprehensive health technology assessment that is a multidisciplinary process that handles and analyses information on medical, social, economic and ethical issues related to the use of a health technology in a systematic, transparent, unbiased, robust manner. It would be a better approach to informed decision making on funding decisions leading to efficient access and use of technology.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
5) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has struck panic among tobacco companies by announcing a comprehensive proposal to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. Discuss significance of this move. Also discuss why this move is important for India. (200 Words)
Background of the decision:
Nicotine does not directly cause cancers and other diseases that kill people, but is extremely addictive. By keeping smokers addicted for the long term, nicotine exposes them to nearly 7,000 chemicals, many of them deadly, every time they smoke. Reducing nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels would therefore have multiple benefits — reduce the likelihood of new users (those in the 15-24 age group) getting hooked to cigarettes, increase the chances of habitual smokers being able to quit, and cut smoking-related disease and death burden overall.
Tobacco use in children and adolescents is reaching pandemic levels. The World Bank has reported that nearly 82,000–99,000 children and adolescents all over the world begin smoking every day. About half of them would continue to smoke to adulthood and half of the adult smokers are expected to die prematurely due to smoking related diseases. If current smoking trends continue, tobacco will kill nearly 250 million of today’s children.
While India is yet to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, it has followed most of the measures mentioned in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control guidelines. Unlike the U.S., India banned tobacco advertisements long ago, introduced pictorial warnings (covering 85% of the front and back of packages of tobacco products), and prohibited the use of descriptors such as light, mild and low as well as the sale of flavoured cigarettes. However some challenges remains.
Challenge in India:
India is the third largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world. The country has a long history of tobacco use. Tobacco is used in a variety of ways in India; its use has unfortunately been well recognized among the adolescents. Tobacco addiction of a large number of adults has been initiated during the adolescence.
Threatened by the dwindling number of young smokers, there is the possibility that tobacco companies will target developing countries such as India with renewed vigour.
While these companies may pull out all the stops to subvert or dilute tobacco control measures, the government should remain resolute in not losing the gains made in the last few years — the number of tobacco users reduced by more than eight million between 2010 and 2016.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
Introduction :- For the first time in the seven-decade effort to avert a nuclear war, a global treaty has been negotiated that proponents say would, if successful, lead to the destruction of all nuclear weapons and forever prohibit their use. The document, called the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was formally adopted on Friday at United Nations headquarters in New York during the final session of the negotiation conference.
Efforts to ban nuclear weapons :-
A number of multilateral treaties have since been established with the aim of preventing nuclear proliferation and testing, while promoting progress in nuclear disarmament. These include the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests In The Atmosphere, In Outer Space And Under Water, also known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was signed in 1996 but has yet to enter into force.
A number of bilateral and plurilateral treaties and arrangements seek to reduce or eliminate certain categories of nuclear weapons, to prevent the proliferation of such weapons and their delivery vehicles. These range from several treaties between the United States of America and Russian Federation as well as various other initiatives, to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
- The new treaty, which 122 nations have approved, outlaws the entire range of activity relating to the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.
- The ban on the conduct of underground explosions envisaged under Article 1 is a breakthrough
- The 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has not entered into force because many among the 44 designated nuclear-capable states, whose ratification is mandatory under the pact, have not come on board. Hence this pact ushers a new hope.
- The most central provision is Article 1(d) which categorically prohibits the use of nuclear weapons, or a threat to that effect, under all circumstances.
- The nuclear weapons treaty marks the completion of a process to enforce an international ban on all categories of weapons of mass destruction following the prohibition of biological and chemical arms.
Though the new treaty has a sound basis. But its effectiveness could be jeopardised by the nine countries resisting it.
The world’s nuclear powers, which boycotted the negotiations on the landmark agreement, have remained defiant ever since its adoption. Their continued resistance will no doubt jeopardise its effectiveness. But that does not take away from its sound basis in moral and legal principles.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Infrastructure; Investment models
Introduction :- Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the dying days of his tenure, spoke of the need to inject “animal spirits” into the economy in order to revive and maintain its growth.
If any one area badly needs a heavy dose of such an injection, it’s the planning and implementation of projects. India’s record in this respect has very dismal indeed.
- Projects are launched without adequate ground preparation as to how much land will be required and where it will come from or if the necessary money is available.
- In many instances, there’s a lack of co-operation at the state level, which is a big hurdle since land acquisition is the state’s business and not that of the central government.
- non-availability of funds from private developers and financial institutions is also responsible for major delays.
- Poor project selection due to an “optimism bias” in project planning and forecasting
· Tendency to favour investing in new assets over maintenance spending
· High project complexity due to over-specification and over-design
· Capacity constraints
· Informality and corruption in infrastructure project delivery and lack of performance pressure
· External factors like the meltdown in the financial world of the Western economies carried over to the real sector in developing economies, like India
- Plethora of hurdles :- either the tendering process is incomplete, or the terms and conditions are unclear, or lengthy litigations and local political interference, or simply a lack of policy and management co-ordination
· Many a times environmental clearance delays, protest by the displaced populations, hurdles due to local politics is responsible
WAY FORWARD :-
- The tremendous cost overruns in infrastructure projects can be mainly attributed to a few but decisive factors that are systemic in nature. Of central importance is a more careful selection of those infrastructure projects that yield the highest economic and social returns and do not reflect political deliberations. This requires good governance and risk management practices because “poorly defined projects almost always deliver suboptimal results, no matter how well they are executed.”
- Consequently, improving the institutional capacity, namely the ability to design, select, procure and implement infrastructure projects effectively, is crucial. What is needed are independent planning and economic institutions that plan projects with discipline, weigh between maintenance spending and investing into new infrastructure assets, provide technical assistance to scale up infrastructure spending, and implement formal internal control processes to avoid risks like scope creep and corruption.
- Large infrastructure projects attract corruption in the form of bribery and kick-backs, the use of inferior materials as well as poor workmanship and outright theft. As a result, greater transparency and accountability structures are of fundamental importance to reduce the waste in infrastructure provision, particularly for large and complex projects in which many different people with overlapping control competencies are involved.
Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices;
Introduction :- In price deficiency payment, farmers can be compensated through direct benefit transfer if prices fall below a predetermined threshold level. For this, farmers may be asked to register with relevant details at the nearest mandi.
- It will not require procurement unlike in MSP and thereby prevent accumulation of unwanted stocks.
- It would spread price incentives to producers in all the regions and all the crops considered important for providing price support as MSP has failed to include many stakeholders into it.
- It would allow farmers to take more risk, experiment with new methods
- Failures of insurance schemes over the years makes the argument of deficiency payment sound
The recent socio-economic and caste census data clearly shows that first, farmers are not the major segment of the rural population anymore and many of them may not depend solely on their farm income. On the other hand, there is a vast majority as mentioned above who are mostly landless and depend on casual labour to earn a livelihood. In this situation, asking for a minimum income insurance for only farmers smacks of lobbying for a dominant rural group at the cost of other stakeholders in the farm economy.
There are millions of tribal households in many states who have no land titles, which will make them ineligible to avail of minimum income support if it is implemented.
The most glaring implication of the proposed deficiency payment mechanism is that it makes the state give up its responsibility of intervening in markets by undertaking procurement at MSP and, therefore, sending signals to other buyers and creating competitive conditions for farmer benefit.
When India has been opposing the domestic support subsidies in developed countries and is herself under constant attack for crossing the mandated Aggregate Measure of Support (AMS) levels, how can it go for deficiency payments? It is almost giving farmers cash subsidies or paying them for not producing efficiently. This is a sure way of killing whatever enterprise is left in agriculture.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function
9) Your father is a police officer. You have noticed that his behaviour at home is rude and he always seems to be restless. There were occasions when he used to beat you and also sometimes your mother. Childhood for you was difficult thanks to strictness expected by your father in every aspect of your childhood life. Now you are working as a police officer yourself in the Indian Police Service. Your father is yet to retire. Though he doesn’t beat anyone now, his behaviour hasn’t changed.
Looking back what attitudinal changes you think would have helped your father to behave well with his family? Looking at present, how will you make sure that your family doesn’t suffer the same fate as yours did? (200 Words)
Introduction :- My father was in a tough profession. Policemen needs to be strict, alert, ruthless towards the culprits. They have to bear the pressure of duty, politicians, system, riotous situations and people. 24*7 hours duty without sufficient breaks, holidays and rest makes them anxious, restless and short tempered. All these professional effect are reflected into their personal life in case of many policeman.
My father was one among such policeman. He used to beat me and my mother. He used to expect strict conduct. All these things had made my childhood a difficult experience. Looking back I think following attitudinal changes would have helped my father to behave well with family :-
- Emotionally intelligent, balanced attitude towards professional and family life :- It is very important in order to recognise, differentiate and manage ones emotions. Its equally important to differentiate between ones professional and personal life in order to minimise the intermixing between the two.
- Stress relevance, work management :- He could have helped himself and family by managing his work and stress. Many activities like yoga, meditation, exercise would have helped.
- Respect for law, avoiding double stand attitude by performing police duty outside and indulging in domestic violence act inside the home and changing patriarchal mindset for feminist, liberal attitude.
- Practising tolerance, patience, love, caring, gentle, humane, affectionate attitude towards family :- Its important to create strong bondage and make family members to feel valued.
I will make sure that my family doesn’t suffer the same fate with following measures :-
- Developing required skills to manage myself and my family :- Stress management, work and family balance, respect for all family members, importance to spending time with them will help me in order to do justice with my professional and personal life.
- Developing Temperament, liberal, accommodative and helping, caring attitudes towards my wife, children and father.
- I would help my children enjoys their childhood as feely, joyfully as possible with some quality checks from me, wife and their grandfather. I would also let my wife every right to live her life with dignity, respect by helping her in family works, encouraging her in her career.
Institution of family is one of the most important component of society. Peace, respect and happiness in families will ensure the peace in society.