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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 AUGUST 2017

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 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) Write a note on Dr Ambedkar’s ideas about religion. (200 Words)

EPW

For Ambedkar, a religion that is pleasant to follow may be accompanied by social collapse. A religion that may be unpleasant to follow may even have positive results in national growth and excellence. Indeed, the practical structure of any religion is such that one is born into it, or in some cases one accepts it willingly. Once accepted, its principles, rules and regulations apply without any individual choice in the matter.

  • Ambedkar saw religion not as a means to spiritual salvation of individual souls, but as a ‘social doctrine’ for establishing the righteous relations between man and man. His philosophy of religion does not mean either theology or religion.
  • B.R. Ambedkar was a great National Leader who made an outstanding contribution towards making of the constitution of India. Dr. Ambedkar was a religious man but did not want hypocrisy in the name of religion.
  • To him religion was morality and it should effect the life of each individual his character, actions, reactions likes and dislikes. He experienced the bitterness of caste system in Hindus & criticized it.
  • He renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism as a religious solution to the problems of untouchables.
  • Ambedkar rejected Islam, Sikhism and Christianity and preferred Buddhism because of two reasons. Firstly, Buddhism has its roots in the Indian soil and secondly, it is the religion of ethics, morality and learning which has no place for caste system.
  • Ambedkar’s argument is entirely political—that the Hindu religion cannot produce a unified society. A society that is not unified cannot function. It will be mired in mediocrity. Therefore, a society must be driven by a coherent and progressive religion.
  • Ambedkar opens out the problem of social reform to the issues of massive social dysfunction, and the possibility of retrieval, repair and recovery. This is why Ambedkar put all his positive critical energy into engaging with and productively challenging the social reformists.
  • Ambedkar’s ethical principles are not based on an individual’s inner sense or moral autonomy. These are also not based on any transcendent being’s authority (like that of a god). These principles are based on socially prescribed guidelines for action.
  • Ambedkar’s concept of a religious principle is structurally unlike:
  • An ethical axiom which has no concept of a secular punishment attached to it
  • A law that forbids something and the non-compliance of which the state punishes, but has no positive directions that must be followed
  • A prohibited sin which results in punishment in another world or upon rebirth
  • A good deed that is ordained to be followed unreflectively for religious credit.

The Ambedkar was very progressive person who sought to have equality within religion through Hindu code bill and gender equality. He placed his views at cost of seat in Indian parliament.

 


 

Topic:  Role of women and women’s organization

2) “The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, introduced ostensibly to provide a legal framework for surrogacy in India, is a regressive legislation that seeks to control women’s bodies and reinforces heteronormative notions of what a family is.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

EPW

Highlights of the Bill

  • Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby an intending couple commissions a surrogate mother to carry their child.
  • The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. The surrogate mother has to be a close relative who has been married and has had a child of her own.
  • No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother. The surrogate child will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
  • Central and state governments will appoint appropriate authorities to grant eligibility certificates to the intending couple and the surrogate mother. These authorities will also regulate surrogacy clinics.
  • Undertaking surrogacy for a fee, advertising it or exploiting the surrogate mother will be punishable with imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Key Issues in the bill:

 The Bill permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child.  This procedure is not allowed in case of any other medical conditions which could prevent a woman from giving birth to a child.

The Bill specifies eligibility conditions that need to be fulfilled by the intending couple in order to commission surrogacy.  Further, it allows additional conditions to be prescribed by regulations.  This may be excessive delegation of legislative powers.

The surrogate mother and the intending couple need eligibility certificates from the appropriate authority.  The Bill does not specify a time limit within which such certificates will be granted.   It also does not specify an appeal process in case the application is rejected.

The surrogate mother must be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple.  The Bill does not define the term ‘close relative’.  Further, the surrogate mother (close relative) may donate her own egg for the pregnancy.  This may lead to negative health consequences for the surrogate baby.

For an abortion, in addition to complying with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, the approval of the appropriate authority and the consent of the surrogate mother is required.  The Bill does not specify a time limit for granting such an approval.  Further, the intending couple has no say in the consent to abort.

The criticism with respect to the woman’s point of view is:

The bill is ostensibly based on the 228th Report of the Law Commission of India (LCI), which called for the regulation of surrogacy given the absence of a legal framework in India. The LCI does not explicitly state what is objectionable about commercialisation.

The LCI recommends that the, making profit of this activity is not acceptable; however it also mentions the provision for expenditure and compensation for the surrogacy. These provisions are practically contradictory.

The stand of the MoHFW before the standing committee lays a lot of emphasis on the need to prevent commercialisation. However there no justification as to why commercialisation of surrogacy is intolerable. By this stand, the bill and its core principle is taking away the rights of woman about her body.

While several judgments of high courts across the country have agreed that women who have children through surrogates are entitled to maternity benefits allowed to them under the law, there is no clarity on whether the same would be available for the surrogates themselves.

All these aspects along with other issues highlights the patriarchal nature of this bill. Surrogacy is very important social and economic issue with touches to the morality and indivisual rights over his/her body. There is need of larger public discourse with respect to this conservative issue in an environment.


 

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

3) Examine the potential implications of the proposed National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes which is armed with constitutional status. (200 Words)

EPW

 

The ruling political party has approved a proposal to provide constitutional backing to the National Commission for socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC).It will replace the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), created in response to a Supreme Court ruling in 1992.

The provision has been made by introduction of the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 that sought to abolish the existing backward classes commission. A separate bill, the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Act, 2017 was brought in to institute the NSEBC as a body at par with the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) commissions.

The potential of this new body can be analysed as:

Making this body through the constitutional amendment means that it cannot be amended by a simple majority in Parliament. The stronger mandate will ensure more political accountability.

There was the continuous demand to provide constitutional status to NCBC. This new body with constitutional status will satisfy the very old valid demand.

The old body NCBC did not have powers to hear complaints from OBC members like the SC/ST commissions did, and in that sense, a constitutional authority will ensure it has more power.

The commission has powers to examine requests for inclusion of any community in the list of backward classes and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion, following which it advises the Union government. In its new form, the constitutional authority could give it more teeth.

The newly formed commission itself is armed with the powers of a civil court.

The new bill leaves the definition of the backward classes to the wisdom of the President, advised by the cabinet and backed by a two-third approval of the Parliament. This provision has to be seen in the larger possible context of potentialities.

The specific task of this commission as to include and exclude the caste from the provision of reservation is very crucial issue in today’s context as many communities are demanding reservation. The definition of backwardness needs to be reviewed and this new body can initiate this complex procedure.

 


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

4) It is said that all stakeholders must come together and find a solution for unwanted pregnancies of more than 20 weeks. Discuss why. (200 Words)

EPW

Introduction:

Unintended pregnancy is a worldwide problem that affects women, their families, and society. Unintended pregnancy can result from contraceptive failure, non-use of contraceptive services, and, less commonly, rape. Abortion is a frequent consequence of unintended pregnancy and, in the developing world, can result in serious, long-term negative health effects including infertility and maternal death. In many developing countries, poverty, malnutrition, and lack of sanitation and education contribute to serious health consequences for women and their families experiencing an unintended pregnancy.

“No women can call herself free who does not control her own body.”

Margaret Sanger.

Legal status in India:

Abortion is legal provided it is carried out within the legal permits. An abortion can be done only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was passed in 1971 based on the recommendations of the Shantilal Shah Committee which was set up to review the high number of maternal deaths due to septic abortion. The MTP Act has set a gestation age limit of 20 weeks. However, it does allow the termination of a pregnancy at any time if the opinion is formed, in good faith that this is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. The MTP Act is needed only because the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 312–316 exist. A woman who causes herself to miscarry, is within the meaning of this section. By this explanation, every woman who self- medicates using medical abortion pills (even if very safely) is liable for prosecution under the IPC.

Need of multistakeholder efforts:

Regardless of the cause, unintended pregnancy and its negative consequences can be prevented by access to contraceptive services including emergency contraception, safe and legal abortion services, and a society that allows women to determine their own reproductive choices.

The availability of reliable contraception for all, regardless of age or ability to pay, is an essential first step. Women and adolescents require access to age-appropriate and culturally sensitive reproductive health care services, including emergency contraception.

Access to safe, legal abortion services is necessary to impact the staggering maternal mortality rates worldwide. Midwives throughout the world provide the majority of care for women of reproductive age. It is essential to identify those at risk for unintended pregnancy, provide the services they require, and remain diligent to ensure that those women and their families have safe options to consider when faced with an unintended pregnancy.

There should be the practice that, anyone who is aware of a sexual act involving a child less than 18 years of age must report it to the special juvenile police unit or the local police.

All government facilities have been deemed as recognised by the MTP Act for provision of abortion services. Due to lack of medical facilities in public health care institutes, many people turn to private sector. The one, who cannot afford it, simply becomes victim of the grim situation.

The Judiciary has taken very progressive stance by allowing rape victim to abort child beyond 20 weeks under the reason of danger to the life of mother.

The counseling centers can reduce the mental burden of adolescent girls to larger extent.

There is immediate need of shift the sole burden of fertility from woman to her partner as well. Pregnancy must not be treated as woman centered issue only. This will involve the larger peoples’ participation in this issue.

Recent Judgments

In April 2016, the Supreme Court allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor to abort her 24-week foetus. Allowing her to undergo abortion, the Court observed that the girl would have to live the rest of her life suffering the social stigma associated with the child. Once again in July 2016 the Supreme Court allowed an abortion at 24 weeks for a pregnancy caused by rape (Ms X v Union of India 2016).Reportedly, fears of fetal abnormality as well as the potential danger to the woman’s life were the reasons cited.


 

Topic:  Indian economy growth and development

5) What are the parameters that define great power? Can India be considered an emerging great power? Discuss. (200 Words)

EPW

Ans –

Great powers are defined by their credibility around the world and how much they influence the global geopolitical scenario.

Just as the 1900s was considered the “American Century,” the 21st century will be recognised as the “Asian Century,” when the perceptive rise of India and China will steer inclusive growth and development in the region. India’s rising stature in the global sphere has led it to compete with emerging great powers, primarily China. India readily enters the top ranks of emerging great powers when its power is measured in terms of material capabilities, such as economic and military strength.

Notwithstanding India’s growing global stature, opinions are divided on India’s claim to great power status. Whether India shows a sense of responsibility similar to that of the great powers, if material capabilities alone make India a great power, etc. are the questions challenging her Great power status.

Parameters for defining Great Power –

There are 10 major criteria that combine:

  • Hard power indices – military, economic, technological and demographic power.
  • Soft power indices – leadership in international institutions, culture, state capacity, strategy/diplomacy, and national leadership.

On the hard power scale, India has shown exemplary growth on technological and economic grounds, but failing desperately to assert itself military. India’s claim for great power status is rooted pre-eminently on its civilisational and soft power strongholds. The fact that it is indeed one of the “oldest and greatest civilisations” unlike other middle powers such as Indonesia, Brazil, and Nigeria, India has both a destiny and an obligation to play larger role on the international scale.

India as a great power –

  • The demographic dividend makes India the human resource capital of the world. Indians have a significant presence in all major nations, especially middle east.
  • While the world is suffering slowdown and stagnation, India is growing at a rate of 7% and provides ventures for international investment.
  • The humanitarian efforts taken in Afghanistan and Africa, war-time rescue operations as in Operation Raahat, etc. make India a benevolent nation in eyes of the world. India has been a flagbearer of peace with largest peace-keeping force.
  • Since the Times of Nehru, India through NAM (120 member nations) has led the interests of third world nations. The same we continued by voicing their concerns in WTO and other global platforms.
  • Our multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-religious society makes us ethnically closer to many nations which bears a great influence.
  • India has been a widely trusted nation with its leadership based on firm ideologies. Our historical legacy of contributing to world’s growth, peace and prosperity make us a great power in the true sense.

Shortfalls –

  • India is considered a “limited hegemon” because of its failure to take up responsibilities and share the global burden, and for being unable to be the supplier of global public goods.
  • Problems of insurgency , naxalism , terrorism , regional & linguistic chauvinism, corruption , drug abuse , poverty , high global burden of diseases.
  • Inability to have its way in WTO, UN, etc.
  • Dependence on exports for defence.

Conclusion –

India as an “emerging power” faces many challenges of poverty, internal conflicts, political instability in the domestic and regional ambit, as well as economic and security issues in the global realm. Hence, India’s preoccupation ought to be directed at reforming the market structure, developing infrastructure to hasten growth of the manufacturing sector at the domestic level, rather than increasing India’s dependence on an export-led economic system.

Such economic agendas call for significant changes in the domestic sphere: allocation of more funds to the social sector, job creation for the unemployed youth, health and sanitary issues, and an inclusive development agenda. This will ensure that a distinct identity can be furthered, instead of India merely emulating norms and practices constructed and sustained by countries with different social structures and domestic concerns.

Only an inclusive and all-round developmental agenda can allow India’s inclusion in the “great power” club in a true sense, where development of its people will coincide with the development of the nation.

 


 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management

6) Should floods be considered as natural disasters? Examine the causes of floods in Assam regions. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Ans –

Floods have been wreaking havoc in India almost annually, with a huge loss of life and property. The Eastern India have been its traditional bastion especially the states of Assam, Bihar, W.B and Eastern UP.

Floods are natural disasters as –

  • Massive rivers difficult to tame
  • Unpredictability of monsoon 
  • India being geographically a lower riparian state to most of these rivers causing damage
  • The Himalayas and the heavy amount of natural silting of rivers due to landslides, etc.

However, the severity of damage caused by flood can be effectively reduced by human interventions. In fact, the human interference is disturbing the ecological balance making flood a man-made disaster as –

  • Large Dams causing silting of these rivers
  • Administrative indifference and lack of preparedness. Diplomatic collaboration with upper riparian states (China and Nepal) has been weak
  • Mass awareness and training is missing
  • Food and water – last minute dispatch in flood region.
  • Reliable EWS not known to the country yet.

Causes of floods in Assam –

  • Topography: Situated in Himalayas, Brahmaputra carries the massive amount of water making it more prone to flood.
  • Climatology: Excessive rainfall is common in Assam.
  • Earthquake during 1950’s have lifted the bed of Brahmaputra river.
  • Confinement of river embankment leads to higher hydraulic pressure and water level, resulting in flood.
  • Untamed Brahmaputra and No agreement with China on taming it.
  • Poor infrastructure in the impoverished Assam state to tackle the menace of flood.
  • Administrative neglect, lack of political will.

Conclusion –

Despite the efforts of government, the flood causes economic loss 0.2% of GDP in India. Floods cannot be tackled completely, but what requires is the measure that can mitigate the economic and human losses due to flood. Hence, there is a need to take holistic approach to deal with floods which starts with the preparedness and early warning as well as early response measures.

 


 

TopicContributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7) Delineate ethics of Dr Swami Vivekananda. (150 Words)

Reference

Introduction :- Swami Vivekananda was the pioneer of the rationalist movement in modern India, in the spheres of Ethics and religion. He may be regarded as the dynamic counterpart of Ramakrishna Pramahamsa. He tried to read Sankara’s Advaita into Ramakrishna’s teaching. He tried to give an intelligent, concrete and scientific account of practical Vedanta.

  • According to him the central point of Vedanta is that of unity in variety, not that of barren unity. The universal soul is encased in the living Prakrti. Finite is the real form of the absolute.
  • He does not reject the universe outright as something illusory. His philosophy is more or less the synthesis of the philosophy of Shankara and the humanism of Buddha and Ramanuja.
  • His philosophy may be summarised thus all is Brahman; the jiva is none other than Siva; every creature is God himself in particular mode of name and form.
  • According to him the manifestation of Brahman is not the same everywhere. The moon and the star, the lowest worm and the highest man are lower and higher forms of manifestations.
  • All human beings are potentially divine and perfect. Vivekananda did not accept a totally impersonal and indeterminate Brahman as a reasonable concept of metaphysics.
  • Universality: Vedanta is a universal religion. Its three schools, namely, Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita are three stages in the spiritual growth of man. They are not contradictory of one another but supplementary.
  • Impersonality: Vedanta depends upon no persons or incarnations. Its eternal principles depend upon its own foundations. Hence it alone is the universal religion.
  • Rationality: Vedanta is in complete agreement with the methods and results of modern science. Its conclusions are preeminently rational, being deduced from widespread religious experience.
  • Catholicity: According to Swami Vivekananda action, devotion, meditation, knowledge all have their due place in the scheme of religious life. Its conception of the four yogas give a complete chart religious life.
  • Optimism: Optimism (Hopefulness) is the life breath of Vedanta. Vedanta is a religion of strength and hope, not a religion of weakness and despair. It teaches unshakable optimism.
  • Humanism: Humanism is the dominant note of Vivekananda’s practical Vedanta. The masses should be our Gods. Service to man is service to God. We should perceive Siva in every Jîva.
  • Vivekananda emphasizes on religion of love. He firmly believed that it is only through love that mankind could be brought together.
  • Vivekananda makes it a point to distinguish religion from sentimentality. It is to be demarcated from rituals and customs.
  • Religion is not what is found books. It is not an intellectual consent. It consists in realisation. It is a perfectly natural and normal element of human life.
  • Vivekananda believed in the possibility of Universal Religion. Religions of the world vary in important details. They differ from the point of view of mythology, rituals, social values, and philosophic traditions.

 

Topic:  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; 

8) “Mother Theresa spent her life in actually living Swami Vivekananda’s concept of ‘Daridra Narayan’, in the service of god through service to the poor, destitute and marginalised.” Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.

In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s- and family-counselling programmes; orphanages, and schools. Members, who take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, also profess a fourth vow: to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.

Daridra Narayana or Daridranarayana or Daridra Narayan is an axiom enunciated by the late-19th century Indian sage Swami Vivekananda, espousing that service to the poor is equivalent in importance and piety to service to God. This exposition was a result of Vivekananda’s wanderings in the country for two years, when he personally experienced the privation of the lower classes in the country. Vivekananda then referred to feeding the poor as “Narayana Seva”, and preached for “Daridra Narayana Seva”, meaning service to the poor as service to Narayana, the god

Mother Teresa is a profound example of someone who chose to follow Jesus’ example of love and concern by caring for the needs of people living in poverty in Calcutta, India. Mother Teresa reminds us of her profound efforts of love, mercy, and kindness during her many years of service among the poorest of the poor.

In India’s slums, huge numbers of people were infected with leprosy, a disease that can lead to major disfiguration. At the time, lepers (people infected with leprosy) were ostracized, often abandoned by their families. Because of the widespread fear of lepers, Mother Teresa struggled to find a way to help these neglected people.

Her missionary activities would care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone”

She used to say “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.”

Her life was an example of Daridra Narayana and she led it with her grace, examples.