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Writing an Essay – Showing who you are, on paper. – Mittali Sethi, IAS (Essay -160 marks)

 

Writing an Essay – Showing who you are, on paper. – Mittali Sethi, IAS (Essay -160 marks)

 

Hi everyone!

This will be the last in the series of articles I have written at Insights regarding preparation for Civil Services. As I leave for training in a day, deadlines are here and so, my sincere apologies to those who will be getting delayed replies to emails. I am trying my best to answer as promptly as possible.

Coming to Essay preparation, let me begin with two caveats:

  1. Essay is a subjective thing. It is completely possible that with a different examiner, I might have got very low marks. So if you differ strongly with something I tell you, please feel free to pay heed to your own opinions of things. Inner voices are important.
  2. There are no shortcuts to anything, and the least of all for writing. When I say that I did not prepare for Essay, it only means that I did not really buy a book on “How to write an Essay” and read it, but I was consciously thinking about what to write about many things. The thinking part is the most essential part, always remember that. What you are doing when you don’t have the book in front of you is an important component of your preparation.

Before I go any further, it will be easier if you read this:

 Writing an essay on “How to write an Essay” – Quora

Now, for many or at least few people out there, Essay will be an exercise that makes no sense. Why does UPSC want you to write an Essay at all? It is subjective, open to different interpretations, requires a good writing skill, a flowery language, has no co-relation to you being an administrator and is unnecessarily long.

Well, debates aside, it will be wonderful if we understand the importance of Essay first. The fact is that the whole world rests on sound communication. Not in terms of language but in terms of content. All of us have a favourite opinion-writer in The Hindu, and we read books written by so many people. So, if you think about it in an unbiased manner, writing, or communication – no matter what point in it you stand at right now – is an integral part of being good at any job. The UPSC examiner doesn’t know you as a person, your paper is what she/he has, to know who you are. If you are compassionate, honest, truthful, prove it on paper – as of now, that is the only way. Believe me, if you are all of that – it will definitely come on paper too, which is why I emphasise so much on thinking right.

  1. Essay paper is subjective – yes – but remember that what ultimately matters is the complete/overall impression you leave in the mind of the reader. In Psychology, the recency effect dictates that a normal human being tends to remember the beginnings and ends most of all. So, your introductions and conclusions must be eventful, impactful and something the reader can connect with.
    Let me explain this with an example. I wrote the essay on “Water Disputes between States in Federal India.” This is how I began:

    “I have learnt a new word today. It’s called paradox.
    Meena says the water in her house is muddy,
    But they put up a new fountain in my building last week.
    Meena says there is no water to take bath on some days,
    I sometimes bathe three times a day.
    My mother says there might be wars on water,
    Wars – now that is a word I learnt long time back.”
    ——-The “water world” of a 9-year old.

    I understand that this is too philosophical for many. But the point that I am trying to drive across is that you don’t need flowery language or difficult words – what I wrote could be modified as an incident or a story – after all, we all come across it everyday.
    In my second essay – “Internet as bane or boon” – I remember the topic only loosely, I wrote a story about a great educator who has influenced me. I had a heard a TED talk by Sugata Mitra and I mentioned how internet can bridge distances in education.

The bottomline is that when you begin, you must connect to the topic as a human being. Don’t become a robot and write mechanically. In my opinion – if I become the examiner – it would make me happy if you begin the essay being compassionate and empathetic – you can choose which segment a problem affects most. It can be farmers, children, depending on the topic. Think empathetically – think what would you do if you were in a situation and then break it down on paper.
Conclusions must be optimistic, and forward looking. You can choose to give solutions in conclusions or finish with a futuristic vision. That would be sufficient.

  1. For the body of the essay, the SPECLIH – Social, Political, Economic, Cultural, Linguistic/Local, International, Humanistic dimensions- given by Chandra Mohan Garg last year, work well. For example, in the water disputes essay, it is not enough if you mention only the Cauvery, Godavari river disputes, your essay will be much more complete if you mention Indus and Brahmaputra disputes because those are also state issues, albeit with other countries.
  2. Always make a flowchart on the rough page behind before you attempt an essay. I have tried writing an essay with and without a flowchart, and I can tell by at least my experience that the latter would give you a much more structured, and non random piece of writing. A lot of times I was too lazy to make a flowchart, but when I would be done writing about social and economical aspects, I would suddenly remember another point – it would be too late by then. Even if you are practising, make sure you make the last page a rough page and draw the flowchart. In fact, take feedback not only on the essay, but the flowchart as well. If you don’t have the time, practise just the flowcharts instead of the whole essay.
  3. You don’t need difficult words. Simple English will do. But your grammar cannot be wrong. As it forms the fundamental component of your language, wrong grammar or wrong spellings can lead to wrong meanings. The last thing you need is to be misunderstood! If your grammar needs improvement, make sure you face your insecurities and put efforts to improve it. If you are trying to improve yourself in any form, you are only exhibiting courage and determination. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel otherwise.
  4. No, it’s not necessary to have balanced opinions. You are allowed to have a strong opinion on something, but don’t be opinionated alone, be informed also. Present the situation, lay down the facts and then explain with logic why you hold a certain point of view. I, for one, have always been skeptical of the privacy rights being taken over by Aadhaar, and I did present my disagreement every time I wrote or spoke about it. But you have to understand that you are not allowed to be a spectator if you are coming over to other side. Do you have solutions in mind or are you only a cribber? Only cribbing is allowed if you accept the short term benefits someone else’s solution provides. You must be open minded and unbiased to accept that.
  5. I did not use any quotes written by anyone, so they aren’t necessary. But if you plan on putting a quote in double quote (like this :“…”), make sure you know the quote exactly – there is nothing worse than a wrong attribution when it comes to quote. If you are not sure about the exact quote, you can mention that you are paraphrasing or that “As___ said,..” followed by the quote. Then, changes in quotes are acceptable.
  6. Paragraph is fine, sub headings are fine. Don’t worry about all these issues a lot. You can draw something in the essay only if it is really relevant. For example, if you are writing an essay on tourism, drawing a map will be highly relevant and desirable. But generally, too many diagrams are not really required or wanted in an essay.
  7. When you practise essay writing, after initial writings, start practising brevity. Use less words to say what you want to say – try being concise so that you can touch on multiple dimensions and there is no repetition of topics or themes. Beating around the bush does not drive the point home any further, clear articulation of words does.

That is all I have to contribute to this topic of Essay writing. In case you have more doubts, please feel free to ask in comments, so that it can help everyone.

You can stay connected at Living The Writeful Way.

My best wishes to all of you to find the greatest meaning in whatever you do in your lives. Please be gentle with yourselves and remember that you are larger than UPSC, and that you as a human being have so much to contribute to this country and the world in different forms. Life is about excellence much more than ambition. Chase the right things, and right things will come to you.

Good luck, everyone!

 

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 Aug 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 Aug 2017


 

Paper 2:

 

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Right to privacy

 

The Supreme Court has ruled right to privacy is intrinsic to the entire fundamental rights chapter of the Constitution.

  • The court has held that “the right to privacy is protected as intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.
  • The court has, with broad brushstrokes, enhanced and highlighted the right. Crucially, it has indicated that the contours of privacy mentioned in the judgment are not limitations to the right but foundations, over which it will develop over time.

 

The case:

The Supreme Court was hearing a challenge to the Delhi high court’s September 23, 2016 order by which it allowed WhatsApp to roll out its new privacy policy but stopped it from sharing the data of its users collected up to September 25, 2016, with Facebook or any other related company.

  • The issue was rooted in a reference by a three-judge bench that was hearing a challenge to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds of its being violative of the fundamental right to privacy.
  • Initially, on July 7, a three-judge bench said all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench and the Chief Justice of India would take a call on the need for setting up a constitution bench.
  • The matter was then mentioned before CJI Khehar who set up a five-judge constitution bench to hear the matter.
  • However, the five-judge constitution bench on July 18 decided to set up a nine-judge bench to decide whether the right to privacy can be declared a fundamental right under the Constitution.
  • The decision to set up the nine-judge bench was taken to examine the correctness of two apex court judgements delivered in the cases of Kharak Singh and MP Sharma, decided by six and eight judge benches respectively, in which it was held that this right was not a fundamental right.

 

Arguments against right to privacy as a fundamental right:

Though after the mid-seventies, several judgments by the benches of strength of two or three judges had held that right to privacy was fundamental but it was the judgment of 1954 and 1962 by the larger benches that holds the ground. The judgments of 1954 and 1962 had held that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right.

  • The Centre had also termed privacy as a “vague and amorphous” right which cannot be granted primacy to deprive poor people of their rights to life, food and shelter.
  • The Unique Identification Authority of India, too, said privacy was not a fundamental right and there were sufficient safeguards to protect data collected from the people — their iris scan and finger prints.
  • The attorney general had contended that right to privacy cannot fall in the bracket of fundamental rights as there were binding decisions of larger benches that it was only a common law right evolved through judicial decisions.

 

Petitioners’ arguments:

The petitioners had contended that the right to privacy was “inalienable” and “inherent” to the most important fundamental right which is the right to liberty.

  • They had said that right to liberty, which also included right to privacy, was a pre-existing “natural right” which the Constitution acknowledged and guaranteed to the citizens in case of infringement by the state.
  • The petitioners also say, “Privacy is associated with and is the bulwark of other rights. It is located in the golden trinity of Articles 14,19, and 21 (right to liberty and equality). There can be no dignity without privacy, and dignity is part of the Preamble, part of the basic structure of the Constitution.”

 

Importance of privacy:

While the notion of privacy now extends to the digital space, in the wake of increased internet penetration and smartphones, there is an increase of hacking and misuse of digital credentials as well. It is a well-established fact that privacy helps individuals maintain autonomy, and exercise power over information.

However, there are several bottlenecks etched to the concept of total privacy. For instance, in matters of national security and involving high-profile digital crimes needs intervention from the government, however, in matters which are personal to the user such as digital credentials, chat history on instant messaging apps, digital footprint are among facets that cannot be encroached by any other entity, as it would amount to breaching or hacking.

 

Concerns:

Legacy data is proof that Indian government or private websites do not have the best reputation when it comes to security, which is vindicated by the number of hacks that have ploughed government websites in the past. Besides, there have been several cases where individuals have succeeded in successfully hacked into UIDAI server.

  • While the government has been pushing for the use of Aadhaar and promoting digital transactions, it must be noted that there are no laws to safeguard misuse of personal data, which can be easily traced by data mining activities. While mining is solely used for targetted advertisements, some miscreants may use in to harm the interests of a company or individual.
  • Over the years, India has witnessed and been worst victims of deadly ransomware attacks, especially in the sectors of banking and health. With Aadhaar, the government wants the citizens to surf on the digital wave, but noted analysts have mentioned the advanced threat the country faces from modern day hackers.

right to privacy

Impact on Aadhar:

This will have a massive impact on Aadhaar-based litigation. A separate Bench of the court will examine the Aadhar issue. This verdict examines the constitutional status of the right to privacy and strengthens the ordinary Indian’s privacy from being invaded. Government cannot be arbitrary and this verdict has paved the way for growth of jurisprudence on privacy rights in India.

The right to privacy, like any other fundamental right, shall be subject to reasonable restrictions. So, what are reasonable restrictions? That shall be a matter of interpretation to be decided on a case to case basis, just as it is done for fundamental rights. The right of privacy is always a legal right. A legal right can always be curtailed or extinguished by the legislature.

 

In conclusion, what you need to know?

The right to privacy is now a fundamental right which applies to every Indian’s privacy in the actual world and the virtual world. This fundamental right now gives protection to all Indians but it is not an absolute right, as there can be reasonable restrictions for which the government has to establish a procedure. Any state or its instrumentality cannot infringe on the right to privacy. The verdict has ushered in a new era of privacy practice in India. Privacy, as a fundamental right, will get more premium than it did yesterday. This is a giant leap forward – no other Supreme Court judgment has pushed the envelope like this on privacy jurisprudence and no one will ever be able to treat privacy as an inferior right in India.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

SC order on right to privacy sparks fresh debate on Section 377

 

The Supreme Court’s ruling that held the right to privacy is a fundamental right recognizes a new ground which lights the way to future judgements on the controversial Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexuality.

  • The court in its judgement said, “It is an individual’s choice as to who enters his house, how he lives and in what relationship. The privacy of the home must protect the family, marriage, procreation and sexual orientation, which are all important aspects of dignity.”
  • With this, the debate on Section 377, marked by demands by LGBT and human rights activists to decriminalize homosexuality, is set to be revived by Thursday’s judgement.

 

What next?

With this ruling, the Supreme Court has widened the realm of the right to privacy to include all sorts of personal choices. These include an individual’s choice to travel, to reside and to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. It also protects various aspects of an individual’s intimate life, including their sexual orientation.

The ruling will certainly impact the future course of decisions on Section 377 that criminalizes homosexuality since it was not considered by the courts earlier. The right of personal choices including sexual orientation has today been recognised.

Image result for Section 377 of IPC

The law:

Section 377 of IPC — which came into force in 1862 — defines unnatural offences. It says, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter­course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

 

Delhi HC legalises homosexuality:

The Delhi High Court had in July 2009 de-criminalised consensual homosexual acts in private by declaring as unconstitutional a part of Section 377 of IPC that criminalises unnatural sex, saying “the section denies a gay person a right to full personhood.”

 

SC re-criminalises homosexuality:

The Supreme Court chose to reverse the verdict in December 2013. Upholding the constitutional validity of Section 377 IPC, the court put the ball in the Parliament’s court, saying it was for the legislature to take a call on the desirability of the controversial provision.

 

International developments:

There have been many positive developments in favour of LGBT community on the international front. In May 2015, Ireland legalised same-sex marriage. The country which had decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 became the first country to allow same sex marriage a national level by popular vote.

  • In June 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages were legal. Near home, Nepal legalized homosexuality in 2007 and the new Constitution of the country too gives many rights to the LGBT community.
  • France, UK, Canada, United States, Australia and Brazil have de-criminalised homosexuality. Other countries like Belgium, Brazil, Canada,France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal,South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay allow either same sex marriage or a civil union.
  • India currently stands with a host of countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Qatar and Pakistan which criminalizes homosexuality.

 

Law and morality:

Those against legalising homosexuality argue that it is against the moral values of the society. What is forbidden in religion need not be prohibited in law.

However, those in favour say, “Morality cannot be a ground to restrict the fundamental rights of citizens. A legal wrong is necessarily a moral wrong but vice versa is not correct. A moral wrong becomes a legal wrong only when its consequences are for society and not just the person/s committing it.”

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

NITI Aayog’s 3-Year Agenda

 

NITI Aayog has come out with a detailed plan for reforms in the economy, judiciary, regulatory structure and social sectors, in the three-year document to be implemented from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

 

Key facts:

  • NITI Aayog’s three year action agenda has set stiff economic targets and meeting those would benefit the economy.
  • According to the ‘Three-Year Action Agenda’ India has good prospects of achieving over 8% growth within 2-3 years. Therefore, the chances of massive cut in the poverty rate in the upcoming decade are excellent.

 

The action plan suggests a host of reforms to ensure prosperity for all citizens. Some important reforms proposed are as follows:

  • Link central government expenditure to future priorities, shifting additional allocations to high-priority sectors which are more likely to promote development.
  • Expand expenditures by 2019-20 on education, health, agriculture, rural development, defence, railways, roads and other categories of capital expenditure.
  • Facilitate urbanisation in the country and deal with key challenges like affordable housing, infrastructure development, pubic transport and promotion of Swachh Bharat.
  • Eliminate corruption and black money, and increase tax base besides reforms in civil services and electoral process.
  • Reform the judicial system by streamlining human resource availability and performance, increasing and strengthening avenues for dispute resolution and extensive use of ICT to improve efficiency.
  • On the social sector, bring in changes in segments like education, skill development, health and issues facing specific groups, such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women.
  • Strengthen and streamline regulatory structure governing sustainability of environment.

 

Background:

In May 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office directed Niti Aayog to come up with a 15-year vision document for the period up to 2031-32. This would be complemented with a seven-year strategy starting 2017-18 to convert the vision document into implementable policy and action as part of the National Development Agenda and a three-year draft action plan.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

Govt eases norms under UDAN 2

Related image

The civil aviation ministry has relaxed the norms for its flagship regional flying scheme called UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) to allow for greater connectivity.

  • The relaxations include dilution of the exclusivity clause mandating that only one airline may fly on one route in the initial years. The norms that restricted two airports in close proximity from participating in the bidding has also been relaxed.

 

About UDAN:

The scheme, Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik, which loosely translates as “let the common man fly”, proposes that at least half the seats on every flight should have a fare cap of Rs2,500 per seat per hour of flying.

  • Inexpensive regional air connectivity under the UDAN scheme would allow travellers to save time and enable the middle-classes in small-town India to take their first flights.
  • Five airlines including Air India, SpiceJet, Turbo Megha, Air Odisha and Air Deccan were allotted 128 routes to fly in the first round by March, but only 16 routes have been operationalised so far.

 

Way ahead:

If the scheme is successfully implemented, the air connectivity to difficult terrains of Jammu and Kashmir, northeast India, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep will get a major push. The ministry has marked these regions under priority areas.

 

Sources: the hindu.

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Insights into Editorial: A BIT of critique


Insights into Editorial: A BIT of critique


 

Background:

Justice Dispensing System in India has come under great stress for various reasons including huge pendency of cases in various courts. The injustice is particularly egregious in commercial disputes, where cases remain pending for years. Accordingly, arbitration provides an effective and efficient alternative window for dispute resolution.

 The Government of India has laid emphasis on making Arbitration a preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes.  Several legislative and administrative initiatives have been taken on arbitration which aim at minimizing court intervention, bring down costs, fix timelines for expeditious disposal, and ensure neutrality of arbitrator and enforcement of awards. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 envisages

  • quick enforcement of contracts,
  • easy recovery of monetary claims,
  • reduce the pendency of cases in courts and
  • Hasten the process of dispute resolution through arbitration, so as to encourage foreign investment by projecting India as an investor friendly country having a sound legal framework and ease of doing business in India.       

 In order to ensure speedy resolution of commercial disputes and to facilitate effective conduct of international and domestic arbitrations rose under various agreements, it has been considered necessary to go into various factors to accelerate arbitration mechanism and strengthen the arbitration ecosystem in the country.  It is also important to examine specific issues and roadmap required to make India a robust centre for international and domestic arbitration. With the above end in view, the Government has decided to constitute a High Level Committee (HLC) in the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Key recommendations of B.N.SriKrishna report:

The Committee has divided its Report in three parts.

  • The First part is devoted to suggest measures to improve the overall quality and performance of arbitral institutions in India and to promote the standing of the country as preferred seat of arbitration. The Committee in this context have inter alia recommended –
    • Setting up an Autonomous Body, styled the Arbitration Promotion Council of India (APCI), having representatives from all stakeholders for grading arbitral institutions in India.
    • The APCI may inter alia recognize professional institutes providing for accreditation of arbitrators
    • The APCI may hold training workshops and interact with law firms and law schools to train advocates with interest in arbitration and with a goal to create a specialist arbitration bar comprising of advocates dedicated to the field.
    • Creation of a specialist Arbitration Bench to deal with such Commercial disputes, in the domain of the Courts.
    • Changes have been suggested in various provisions of the 2015 Amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act with a view to make arbitration speedier and more efficacious and incorporate international best practices.
    • The Committee are also of the opinion that the National Litigation Policy (NLP) must

Promote arbitration in Government Contracts.

 

  • The Committee in Part II of the Report reviewed the working of ICADR(International Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution) working under the aegis of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs. The Institution was set up with the objective of promoting ADR methods and providing requisite facilities for the same.
    • The Committee has preferred for declaring the ICADR as an Institution of national importance and takeover of the Institution by a statute.
    • The Committee is of the view that a revamped ICADR has the potential be a globally competitive institution.

 

  • As regards the role of arbitrations in matters involving the Union of India, including bilateral investment treaties (BIT) arbitrations, the Committee in Part III of the Report has inter alia   
    • recommended for creation of the post of an ‘International Law Adviser’ (ILA) who shall advise the Government and coordinate dispute resolution strategy for the Government in disputes arising out of its international law obligations, particularly disputes arising out of BITs.
    • The Committee has emphasized that ILA may be consulted by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), at the time of negotiating and entering into BITs.

 

Introduction:

The recent report of the Justice B.N. Srikrishna committee, constituted to prepare a road map to make India a hub of international arbitration, has recommended many changes in Indian arbitration law and institutional mechanisms to promote arbitration in India. Its recommendations on bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitration assume importance as India is currently battling 20-odd BIT disputes. These recommendations are largely on the issue of managing and resolving BIT disputes.

 

  1. Recommendations on Dispute management

For better management of BIT disputes,

  • The committee recommends the creation of an inter-ministerial committee (IMC), with officials from the
    • Ministries of Finance,
    • External Affairs and
    • Law ministry
  • It also recommends hiring external lawyers having expertise in BITs to
    • boost the government’s legal expertise;
    • creating a designated fund to fight BIT disputes;
    • appointing counsels qualified in BITs to defend India against BIT claims; and
    • Boosting the capacity of Central and State governments to better understand the implications of their policy decisions on India’s BIT obligations.
  • The most significant recommendation is the creation of the post of an ‘international law adviser’ (ILA) to advise the government on international legal disputes, particularly BIT disputes, and who will be responsible for the day-to-day management of BIT arbitration.

How will these recommendations amount to duplicating the existing arrangement?

The intent of augmenting the government’s expertise on BITs and designating a single authority to deal with all BIT arbitrations is laudable. However, this recommendation will amount to duplicating the existing arrangement to offer advice on international law, including BITs, to the government.

  • The Legal and Treaties (L&T) division of the External Affairs Ministry is mandated to offer legal advice to the government on all international law matters including BIT arbitrations.
  • Instead of creating a new office — which will only intensify the turf wars between ministries, and deepen red tape — the L&T division should be strengthened.
    • This division could be made the designated authority to deal with all BIT arbitrations and thus act as the coordinator of the proposed IMC.
    • Furthermore, the IMC should have a member from the Commerce Ministry as well. This ministry while dealing with India’s trade agreements — that also cover investment protection — works in tandem with the Finance Ministry. Thus it is only prudent that both be a part of an IMC on BIT dispute management.

 

  1. Recommendations on Dispute resolution

In resolving BIT disputes, the committee has made some useful interventions such as mentioning the possibility of establishing a BIT appellate mechanism and a multilateral investment court. However, its conclusion that the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, given in Article 15 of the Indian Model BIT, provides an effective mechanism for settling BIT disputes between an investor and state is problematic for the following reasons.

  • First, Article 15 requires foreign investors to litigate in domestic courts at least for a period of five years. Such strict limitation periods dilute the effectiveness of the ISDS mechanism.
  • Second, there are many other jurisdictional limitations given in Article 13 that also limit the usefulness of ISDS.
  • Third, the ISDS mechanism in the Indian Model BIT covering issues such as appointment of arbitrators, transparency provisions, enforcement of awards, standard of review, which have a bearing on the efficiency of the ISDS mechanism.

The report is silent on all these critical issues.

Conclusion

BIT arbitration has three aspects: jurisdictional (such as definition of investment), substantive (such as provision on expropriation) and procedural (ISDS mechanism). While the commission’s mandate was to focus on BIT arbitration, i.e. on all the three parts, strangely, it narrowed it down to just the procedural aspect. The committee’s explanation that since issues like expropriation require greater debate, it decided not to make any recommendations on these issues is weak. Despite making some useful suggestions, the committee has squandered a great opportunity to comprehensively push for the recalibration of the Indian BIT regime, which has oscillated from being pro-investor to being pro-state.

 

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All India Radio New Summary


All India Radio New Summary


  1. A nine-judge constitution bench of Supreme Court unanimously declares ‘Right to Privacy’ a fundamental right

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court today declared the right to privacy a fundamental right under the constitution.

  • A nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution.
  • The nine judges unanimously overruled the two earlier judgements of the apex court that the right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution.
  • Several petitioners had challenged the validity of the Aadhaar scheme on grounds of it being violative of the right to privacy.
  • The court had also voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information in the public domain. 
  • The question whether Aadhaar violates right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench which has been hearing the petitions since 2015.
  • Government and parties across political spectrum have welcomed Apex Court’s decision.
    • Union Law Minister hailed the judgment and called it a landmark verdict. He said, ‘Right to Privacy’ is part of ‘Right to Liberty’ and no right is absolute as it is subject to reasonable restrictions.
    • AADHAAR data is fully protected and anyone who uses the data for any purpose other than for what it is meant for will be punished.
    • The Supreme Court judgment heralds a new era for individual rights, personal liberty and human dignity.
    • It will protect the misuse of private data in a world dominated by corporates.

 

  1. India and Nepal have inked eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs)

India and Nepal have inked eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in various fields including –Housing grant, prevention of drugs and reconstruction packages in health & education sectors.

  • The two leaders also jointly inaugurated the Kataiya-Kusaha and Raxaul-Parwanipur cross border Transmission lines.
  • The Prime Minister said India will extend all possible assistance to Nepal to deal with flood situation. He said the two countries have also agreed to increase trade relations. He said India is committed to ensure development of its valuable neighbour.
  • Prime Minister has stressed on close cooperation between the defence and security agencies of India and Nepal to prevent misuse of open borders.
  • Prime Minister of Nepal has reposed faith in Make in India initiative saying, it will also help Nepal in reviving its manufacturing sector and create jobs. 
  • Speaking at an India-Nepal Business Forum meeting in New Delhi yesterday, PM of Nepal, through Foreign Direct Investment, Nepal is eager to participate in scaling up benefit from the regional value chain. The Nepalese Premier said his goal is to work for the future of the youth.
  • Both the leaders have also agreed to strengthen coordination and consultation for flood control and think of its long term solution.

 

Doklam issue did not figure during the talks between both the Prime Ministers.

 

  1. Government has finalized a new cadre policy of IAS, IPS and IFoS
  • The government has finalized a new cadre policy of IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service officers aimed at ensuring national integration in the country’s top bureaucracy.
  • Officers of all-India services – the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) – will have to choose cadres from a set of zones instead of states.
  • Under the new policy, candidates can only select one state or cadre from a zone as their first choice. Their second, third, fourth and fifth choices have to be from the different zones.
  • According to an official of the Personnel department, the new policy would help in upholding the rationale behind the all-India services.

 

  1. Indian and Pakistani Armies held a flag meeting yesterday on the Line of Control (LoC)

Indian and Pakistani Armies held a flag meeting yesterday on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir against the backdrop of several ceasefire violations.

  • Both sides agreed to institute mechanisms to ensure durable peace and tranquility along the border.
  • The flag meeting was held between Battalion Commander-level officers at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch Sector.
  • The Indian side highlighted abetment and support of the Pakistan Army to cross-border terrorism, sniping actions on the LoC and deliberate targeting of civil population during ceasefire violations.
  • Resumption of trade and transit through Chakan-Da-Bagh was also discussed during the flag meeting.

 

What is a flag meeting?

A flag meeting is a meeting held at the border or on the Line of Control by commanders of both sides. The flag meeting was held between Battalion Commander-level officers at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch Sector.

 

Is an actual flag present in the ‘flag meeting’?

Yes, an actual flag is present when commanders from both the countries come for talks. The flag is to symbolise peace. Both of them are accompanied by their escorts. A chair is laid out and talks begin to sort out the impending issue.

 

Where is the meeting held?

The exact location of the meeting is subject to different considerations. Sometimes it takes place on ‘no man’s land’. Today’s meeting took place at the at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch Sector.

 

What is the follow-up from this meeting?

It is basically a confidence building meeting. After the meeting, both sides go back to their headquarters and the next line of action is determined based on the outcome of the meeting.

 

  1. The combination of development and good governance is essential for the welfare of citizens

Prime Minister has said the combination of development and good governance is essential for the welfare and satisfaction of citizens.

  • The Prime Minister was interacting with a group of over 70 Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries of the central government in New Delhi.
  • He emphasized the need for all wings of the Government to work in harmony and synchronisation to achieve the best possible results.
  • He said, the world is looking at India with positive expectations and the entire world feels that a successful India is vital for a global balance.
  • PM said, there is also a strong undercurrent for excellence from the citizens. He said honest decision making with good intention will always be encouraged by the Union Government.
  • He asked the officers to focus attention on the 100 most backward districts, so that they can be brought up to the national average on various development parameters.

 

  1. The ‘Anna Data’ of the nation should be free from worries.

Prime Minister has said the prosperity of farmers is essential for the development of the nation.

  • Addressing the Bhartiya Agro Industries Foundation’s Golden jubilee celebrations in Pune, via video conferencing. PM said farmers or the ‘Anna Data’ of the nation should be free from worries.

 

  1. A campaign to protect Indian rivers will be flagged off in Kanyakumari

A campaign to protect Indian rivers will be flagged off in Kanyakumari on the first of next month.

  • The 30-day ‘Rally for Rivers’, being launched by the Isha foundation, is aimed at creating awareness about the urgency to rejuvenate fast depleting rivers.
  • The campaign will include 23 major and numerous smaller events, both online and offline to involve all segments of society.
  • We, as a generation of people, have taken the largest bite of this planet. Never before any particular generation has used up as much as we have used up. So, it is the time that millions of people to come out and show their responsibility for the wellbeing of the future generations.

 

  1. Rajasthan gives reservation to Jats under OBC category.

In Rajasthan, Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur districts have been given reservation under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category.

  • The State Social Justice and Empowerment department issued a notification in this regard yesterday after approval from the Cabinet.
  • It was a long pending demand of the Jat community residing in both the districts to include them in the OBC list.
  • The central government through a notification in 1999 included the Jats in the OBC list following which Rajasthan too included them in the reserved category in 2000. The said notification was challenged in the Rajasthan High Court, which quashed the quota to Jats of Bharatput and Dholpur in 2015.

 

  1. Security forces seized huge quantity of arms and ammunition

In Chhattisgarh, security forces seized huge quantity of arms and ammunition of Maoists in tribal Bastar region today.

  • In a joint operation, a team of CRPF and District Reserve Group- DRG recovered these ammunition and explosives dumped by Maoists in the forests of in Kate Kalyan area of Dantewada district.

 

  1. A two-day Meeting of Heads of Governments of SCO Member States

A two-day Meeting of Heads of Governments of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States will begin today at Cholpon Ata in Kyrgyz Republic.

  • The meeting will focus on prevention and elimination of emergency situations.
  • Home Minister is leading the Indian delegation
  • Home Minister has said that India will cooperate extensively in further consolidation of the Sanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO as an effective regional platform. In his opening statement at the SCO meeting on prevention and elimination of emergencies at Cholpon-Ata in Kyrgyzstan today, he said, India’s membership of SCO will take the cooperation to greater heights and it will improve the cooperation in combating emergencies.  
  • India became full member of the SCO, a China-dominated security grouping, in June this year.

 

  1. Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran

Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, disregarding the demands of Arab nations to lessen its ties with Tehran.

  • A Foreign Ministry statement said, the state of Qatar expresses its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields.
  • Qatar had pulled out its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom.
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[Insights Secure – 2017] UPSC Mains Questions on Current Affairs: 25 August 2017

[Insights Secure – 2017] UPSC Mains Questions on Current Affairs: 25 August 2017

Click on EACH question to post/read  answers.

 


General Studies – 1;


 

 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) Why did Balgangadhar Tilak give unprecedented public face to Ganesh festival which was hitherto celebrated privately in Indian homes? Also comment on ecological implications of Ganesh festival. (200 Words)

Reference


General Studies – 2


 

 

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. 

2) What impact will the recent nine bench verdict by the Supreme Court on right to private issue have on the Aadhaar case, which provided the context for this important moment in Indian constitutional history? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

 

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) “The right to privacy is not just a common law right, not just a legal right, not just a fundamental right under the Constitution. It is a natural right inherent in every individual.” In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement on right to privacy, critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4) Discuss how the recent historic judgement by the Supreme Court on right to privacy making it a fundamental right is a culmination of series of judgements since independence. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

5) Differentiate between natural right, legal right and fundamental right. Discuss the implications of recent nine bench judgement on right to privacy to sexual autonomy and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) . (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Basics of cyber security

6) What do you understand by Data mining? Discuss the implications of making right to privacy fundamental right on data mining. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

7) Examine how science and technology (S&T) will affect geopolitics. (200 Words)

Livemint

 


General Studies – 4


70 Days ETHICS PLAN

 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships

 

8) Examine the ethical dimensions highlighted in the historic judgement on right to privacy by the Supreme Court in its recent nine bench verdict. (150 Words)

The Hindu

 

TopicContributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

9) Delineate ethics of Dr Radhakrishnan. (150 Words)

Reference

Note: Day after tomorrow there will be questions on the topic Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Topic: Indian thinkers and philosophers – Swami Vivekananda 

 

 

 

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9) Delineate ethics of Dr Radhakrishnan.

TopicContributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

9) Delineate ethics of Dr Radhakrishnan. (150 Words)

Reference

Note: Day after tomorrow there will be questions on the topic Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Topic: Indian thinkers and philosophers – Swami Vivekananda

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8) Examine the ethical dimensions highlighted in the historic judgement on right to privacy by the Supreme Court in its recent nine bench verdict.

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships

 

8) Examine the ethical dimensions highlighted in the historic judgement on right to privacy by the Supreme Court in its recent nine bench verdict. (150 Words)

The Hindu

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5) Differentiate between natural right, legal right and fundamental right. Discuss the implications of recent nine bench judgement on right to privacy to sexual autonomy and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) .

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

5) Differentiate between natural right, legal right and fundamental right. Discuss the implications of recent nine bench judgement on right to privacy to sexual autonomy and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) . (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

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4) Discuss how the recent historic judgement by the Supreme Court on right to privacy making it a fundamental right is a culmination of series of judgements since independence.

Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4) Discuss how the recent historic judgement by the Supreme Court on right to privacy making it a fundamental right is a culmination of series of judgements since independence. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

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3) “The right to privacy is not just a common law right, not just a legal right, not just a fundamental right under the Constitution. It is a natural right inherent in every individual.” In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement on right to privacy, critically comment.

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) “The right to privacy is not just a common law right, not just a legal right, not just a fundamental right under the Constitution. It is a natural right inherent in every individual.” In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement on right to privacy, critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

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2) What impact will the recent nine bench verdict by the Supreme Court on right to private issue have on the Aadhaar case, which provided the context for this important moment in Indian constitutional history? Examine.

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. 

2) What impact will the recent nine bench verdict by the Supreme Court on right to private issue have on the Aadhaar case, which provided the context for this important moment in Indian constitutional history? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

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1) Why did Balgangadhar Tilak give unprecedented public face to Ganesh festival which was hitherto celebrated privately in Indian homes? Also comment on ecological implications of Ganesh festival.

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) Why did Balgangadhar Tilak give unprecedented public face to Ganesh festival which was hitherto celebrated privately in Indian homes? Also comment on ecological implications of Ganesh festival. (200 Words)

Reference

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 AUGUST 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 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.


 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) Why did Balgangadhar Tilak give unprecedented public face to Ganesh festival which was hitherto celebrated privately in Indian homes? Also comment on ecological implications of Ganesh festival. (200 Words)

Reference

Ans –

Towards the end of 19th century, nationalistic revivalism and Hindu reformist movements were closely related to each other. Also, secular ideology was not known as an institutionalized nation-uniting force. It was in this background that religious movements were used to unite people from rich to the poor, from upper to the lower caste, from North to the South India and from Hindi speakers to the Marathi speakers. Ganesh Utsav was also envisioned with the said intention.

The purpose of this religious celebration was:

  1. To unite people –
  • a platform for Hindus to unite regardless of internal differences and to revive the Hindu pride.
  • Tilak noticed that Lord Ganesha was considered ‘ the God for every man’ as Ganesha was worshipped by both upper and lower castes, hence it bridges the gap.
  1. To promote nationalism –
  • a medium to ensure political awareness among masses on the sidelines of religious celebrations.
  • to promote anti-colonial sentiments.
  1. To challenge British hegemony –
  • It allowed free gathering of Indian people thus acted as a source of national integration.
  • It gave jolt to the hegemony of Britishers as social and political gatherings were banned by them.

Almost a century later, the event is still celebrated with passion and excitement. Yet, some ecological concerns have come up due to the practice of large scale idol immersion in the water bodies, with following implications:

  1. Water-pollution –
  • Non-biodegradable materials used in idol making like plastics, synthetic dyes, PoP, etc. pollute the water bodies. Central Pollution Control Boardreports that the annual immersion of Ganesh idols has significantly increased the content of iron, copper, mercury, chromium and acid in water surrounding Mumbai and other western Indian towns. 
  • threat to the water life e.g. mercury poisoning in fishes.
  • food-chain getting disturbed.
  1. Noise-pollution –
  • Use of loud-speakers, drums, etc.
  1. Air-pollution –
  • Traffic congestion and pollution seen in Mumbai and other big cities.

Way forward –

The festival should be celebrated in eco-friendly manner to reduce it’s ecological impact. This breed of water pollution can be addressed through effective and widespread grassroots action. It is not so much a question of changing written policies and laws, but more one of challenging individual attitudes and societal norms. A more effective solution may be to marry legislation with well-crafted public awareness efforts. The policy actions like banning the use of harmful materials like PoP for idol-making and subsidizing clay-idols, natural dyes, etc. will take this festival to its organic roots.


 

Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. 

2) What impact will the recent nine bench verdict by the Supreme Court on right to private issue have on the Aadhaar case, which provided the context for this important moment in Indian constitutional history? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Ans –

The recent verdict of the Supreme Court upholding privacy as a fundamental right albeit subject to reasonable restrictions will have following impact upon the Aadhar verdict :

  • The SC bench hearing the Aadhar case now has a “premise to judge” the validity of Aadhar w.r.t its infringement of the fundamental right to privacy.
  • The Aadhar verdict now has the added responsibility of defining “reasonable restrictions” to the recent fundamental right to privacy.
  • The Aadhar verdict would also define “what constitutes privacy”. That is, if allowing access to iris scan, finger prints, etc. to govt, amounts to breach of the fundamental right to privacy.
  • The Aadhar verdict now will have to explain whether Aadhar violates the fundamental right to privacy, as one is a statute while the other is a constitutional-cum-natural-cum-fundamental right.
  • The Aadhar verdict has to decide on the priorities like: fundamental right to privacy (Art 19-21) or the DPSP aimed at social and economic welfare of people (Art 38,47) for which Aadhar Act has been purportedly passed.
  • The e-KYC(Know your customer) which is largely used by the corporates and commercials will be regulated after this judgement. For example – While buying a Jio sim, just by giving Thumb verification, the service providers get all the data.

Precisely, the mandate to decide reasonable restrictions to privacy rights fall on the parliament, which would take time. Thus, in the meantime, the Aadhar verdict would have to depend on judicial pronouncement on what could possible include “reasonable restriction”. In the absence of such a clarity, it would be only be a turf war between the judiciary and the legislature till the time the legislature passes a constitutional amendment to define reasonable restrictions while the Court upholds its validity.

 

 


Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) “The right to privacy is not just a common law right, not just a legal right, not just a fundamental right under the Constitution. It is a natural right inherent in every individual.” In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement on right to privacy, critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

The court declared that the privacy to be a fundamental right. The Supreme Court has overruled verdicts given in the M.P. Sharma case in 1958 and the Kharak Singh case in 1961, both of which said that the right to privacy is not protected under the Indian constitution.

The right to privacy is right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others, and to control the extent, manner and timing of the use of those parts we choose to disclose.

Right to privacy is also an individual right. Each individual is continually engaged in a personal adjustment process in which he balances the desire for privacy with the desire for disclosure and communication of himself to others, in light of the environmental conditions and social norms set by the society in which he lives.

There have been attempts to reframe privacy as a fundamental human right, whose social value is an essential component in the functioning of democratic societies. A right to privacy is explicitly stated under Article 12 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a :No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

In India the Supreme Court adopted the three-pronged test required to declare right to privacy as a Fundamental right, these are, encroachment of any Article 21 right – legality-i.e. through an existing law; necessity, in terms of a legitimate state objective and proportionality that ensures a rational nexus between the object of the invasion and the means adopted to achieve that object. This clarification was crucial to prevent the dilution of the right in the future on the whims and fancies of the government in power.

How the fundamental right to privacy will affect other domains such as Article 377 will depend on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court’s judgment effectively states that laws that seek to restrict privacy “must be just, fair and reasonable but also serve some compelling state interest”.

Once the ‘right to privacy’ tyre hits the road and is used in more legal cases down the road, its eventual effect and potential restrictions will become clear. This broadly, however, applies to crucial upcoming cases on everything from marital rape to criminal defamation.

 


Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4) Discuss how the recent historic judgement by the Supreme Court on right to privacy making it a fundamental right is a culmination of series of judgements since independence. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Track of various judgements that culminated into this historic decision:

The question of privacy as a right gained significance when the government submitted to the supreme court (SC) in July 2015 that there is no fundamental right to privacy. The SC on its part formed a bench of five judges to hear the submissions on this ground, and deliver a judgment that settles the issue. However, even as the matter stands pending before the court, there have been numerous developments on the rights relating to privacy, which impacts India as a democracy as well as its constituents.

In 1962, while deciding the Kharak Singh vs State of UP, the court examined the power of police surveillance with respect to history-sheeters and it ruled in favour of the police, saying that the right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under the constitution.

All through these years, the right to privacy remained as a question mark, seldom before courts but actively negated by state. It was 1975 that became a watershed year for the right to privacy in India. The SC while hearing the Gobind vs State of MP case introduced the compelling state interest test from the American jurisprudence. The court stated that right to privacy of an individual would have to give way to larger state interest, the nature of which must be convincing. With time, the domain of privacy has expanded and it has come to incorporate personal sensitive data such as medical records and biometrics.

In 1997 in the matter of PUCL vs Union of India, commonly known as telephone tapping cases, the SC unequivocally held that individuals had a privacy interest in the content of their telephone communications. Making just exceptions to the complete cover, it said that rigorous standards are required for law that derogates privacy and that mechanism used should be targeted, based on specific suspicion of identifiable individuals and be the only means possible to fulfil the government’s goals of public safety and crime prevention.

Thus, through a series of cases, it can be observed that the right to privacy was being recognised, but its exceptions were also given due place. In the Selvi vs State of Karnataka, which was decided in 2010, the SC gave strength to Article 20(3), that is, Right against Self-Incrimination. Closely aligned with privacy, the right to remain silent was found to be derogated by usage of narco-analysis as evidence in trials.

The present

In the second decade of the 21st century, questions with respect to the right to privacy have centred around  Aadhaar, a government scheme in which residents get a unique ID after giving their biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scan and demographic details. Aadhaar was challenged in court on the grounds of violation of privacy and its usage was limited by the SC through its order in September 2013, with Aadhaar being allowed in public distribution system and LPG subsidy only.

In October 2015, it amended its order and said that Aadhaar can be used to deliver services such as MNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes but no person should be deprived of any service in absence of Aadhaar.

The way ahead:

Sections 43, 43A and 72A of the IT Act of 2000, along with Rules of 2011 provide the legal framework for digital privacy and security, mandating that agencies collecting personal data must provide a privacy policy, and compensations must be paid to the victim in case of unauthorised access or leakage of information, but the laws have been let down by lack of effective implementation.

 

 


Topic:  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

5) Differentiate between natural right, legal right and fundamental right. Discuss the implications of recent nine bench judgement on right to privacy to sexual autonomy and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) . (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

Introduction :- Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws). Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system (i.e., rights that can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws). A fundamental right under Constitution of India is so fundamental that it can’t be taken away even by a law passed by the parliament of India. For ex. Right to Life, no discrimination on the basis of sex, equality before law, etc. 

 

In recent judgements the constitutional right to privacy is no longer in any dispute and stands on firm ground. Its breadth is established over the entire chapter of fundamental rights, which include equality, free expression, right to life, religion.

 

In doing this, it undercuts the basis of another dark stain on the history of the court when three years ago in the Suresh Koushal v. Naz Foundation case, the court refused to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. It is now only matter of time when the case will be formally overruled.

 

The basis of this is a key recognition of the nature of privacy being a natural right. The Supreme Court, by stating that the state does not bestow privacy, also has limited its ability to take it away.

 

While the privacy judgement is a cause for celebration, its full benefit will only come when it is applied to actual state actions that undermine privacy. Scrapping the draconian, unconstitutional sections like 377 of Indian Penal Code can be the right step.

 


 

Topic: Basics of cyber security

6) What do you understand by Data mining? Discuss the implications of making right to privacy fundamental right on data mining. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Introduction :-  Data mining is the computing process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and database systems. It is an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science. The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use.[1] Aside from the raw analysis step, it involves database and data management aspects, data pre-processing, model and inference considerations, interestingness metrics, complexity considerations, post-processing of discovered structures, visualization, and online updating. Data mining is the analysis step of the “knowledge discovery in databases” process, or KDD.

In recent judgement of Supreme Court on Right to Privacy the Court hold that Privacy, the court holds, is about the reservation of a “private space to be left alone”. Recognising the full amplitude of the need for privacy, the court holds that “the ability of an individual to make choices lies at the core human personality”.

Implications of making right to privacy fundamental right on data mining :-

  • Data mining by both public and private entities for unauthorised purposes, and without consent, can pose a threat not only to individuals but to communities, societies at large.

The liberty can be compromised by data mining. Hence making right to privacy a fundamental right can save citizens from encroachment on their privacy, liberty, choices.

  • It will curb the governments excessive access and collection of citizen’s data, will make such activities more transparent regulated.
  • Citizens will be empowered to defend their privacy, hold government responsible for its breach in a way its strengthening of people and democracy.
  • Check on private entities activities like Uber, Ola, Google to mine the data will be enhanced and further regulated hence will help in minimising the exploitation of citizens.

On the other hand data mining is an important activity for many things like start up analysis for consumer behaviour, predicting important test results in medicine, diagnosis etc. Hence its strict regulation can hamper these activities.


 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

7) Examine how science and technology (S&T) will affect geopolitics. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction :- S&T has long been regarded as important for economic growth—in fact, Edwin Mansfield and Joseph Alois Schumpeter considered technological change as one of the most important factors, if not the factor. And as we see from the jockeying between the US and China, S&T is also a crucial tool to pursue a geopolitical agenda and build strategic leverage in international affairs.

  • Indeed, S&T is critical for ensuring national security and opening new market opportunities.
  • Ownership of superior technology brings greater power and control.
  • To build capacity, nations rely on several policy levers—patent laws, tax incentives, and grants to labs—to spur the public sector, private enterprise and academia.
  • Take the example of middle powers such as Canada and Switzerland. It is their S&T capabilities that help them stay relevant in the international arena. Estonia is another remarkable example of how a country can leverage its digital ecosystem to boost its position in the international arena.
  • Israel—a small country with a complicated past in an unforgiving neighbourhood—has been able to consistently punch above its weight because of its technological prowess.
  • For the past 50 years, the US has been the world’s superpower. It is no coincidence that the period correlates with America’s leadership in S&T.
  • China aspires for global domination and it is playing the long game. Innovation takes centre stage and it is seen through geopolitical glasses. China has identified 10 technology areas as part of its New Industry Policy 2025 and aims to become an “innovative country”. Some have begun to call this the Beijing Consensus.

At home, as India rediscovers its foreign policy mojo, it must act on similar lines. India’s recent efforts to shore up its domestic defence manufacturing industry, develop a regional satellite for South Asia and a home-grown GPS, as well as establish 20 world-class universities, are all steps in the right direction.

To move forward, India needs to recognize the geopolitical reality of S&T. It needs to identify focus areas, analyse what kind of role it can play and where the state can make tactical investments overseas. More specifically, India needs to build the infrastructure which can generate new technologies. It needs to invest in human capital, maintain a cadre of top scientists and professionals, and develop industry-lab links.


 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships

 

8) Examine the ethical dimensions highlighted in the historic judgement on right to privacy by the Supreme Court in its recent nine bench verdict. (150 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- In a unanimous verdict, a nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court declared that privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty and an inherent part of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The court held that privacy is a natural right that inheres in human beings because they are human. The state does not bestow natural rights on citizens. Natural rights like privacy exist equally in all individuals, irrespective of class, strata, gender or orientation.

Ethical dimension :-

  • Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity. Privacy ensures the fulfilment of dignity.
  • It is privacy, as an intrinsic and core feature of life and personal liberty, which enables individuals to stand up against a programme of forced sterilisation.
  • The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised through history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights.
  • It is the right to question, scrutinise, dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinise the actions of government.
  • The court also confirmed what Edward Snowden once said that “Privacy isn’t about something to hide. Privacy is about something to protect. And that’s who you are. That’s what you believe in. That’s who you want to become. Privacy is the right to the self. Privacy is what gives you the ability to share with the world who you are on your own terms.”

 

TopicContributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

9) Delineate ethics of Dr Radhakrishnan. (150 Words)

Reference

Introduction :- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was an Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967. He was one of India’s most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy.

His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta, reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding. He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism”, contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity. He has been influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the west, and earned a reputation as a bridge-builder between India and the West.

Ethics of Radhakrishnan :-

  • Radhakrishnan tried to present Hinduism as significant to modern and, thereby, to offer a vision to human who today is threatened by one’s own inventions, a vision that would enable one to work towards greater human solidarity and authentic development.
  • Radhakrishnan maintains that man is in need of a deep ontological unity behind all these fragments, which alone can give him the proper meaning of life, the everlasting peace of mind and spirit. This deep awareness and understanding of the mystery of life can be gained only through ethics, religion, and philosophy.
  • Radhakrishnan gives a spiritual interpretation to the modern theory of evolution. He maintains that human is the higher product of evolutionary process. Spiritual evolution takes place after the emergence of human, the spirit in human being a promise of the highest future development.
  • According to Radhakrishnan, the self is an organized whole different from the self as subject. The self is conscious of its limitations and purpose. The ordinary human does not try to know the mysterious existence of the soul in us. The existence of soul in us can be proved by the analysis of our spiritual consciousness.
  • The purpose of ethics is also to effect right relationship between the individual and the society. Social order is ordained to develop ethical, material and intellectual spheres of human’s life – realize the best possibilities of one’s life
  • Human can develop one’s moral nature by cultivating love for one’s fellow beings. One has to control one’s egocentricity to know truth.
  • Human’s highest destiny is to grow more humane, more spiritual and to be more sympathetic in understanding others. Conflicts in their souls have grouped humankind into numerous conflicting groups. Freedom of human is not a whim since our present life is the continuation of the past