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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 OCTOBER 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 OCTOBER 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) Discuss Gandhiji’s views on modernity, religiosity, science and spirituality. Also comment if his views on these aspects are relevant today. (200 Words) 

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Gandhiji had deep view regarding diverse areas of life .

Modernity :-  

  • Gandhi offered an alternative and non-Western form of modernity, that embodied a different set of values and ideals, which blended what he considered to be the best of both Indian tradition and modernity.
  • It is a mistake to regard Gandhi as a staunch traditionalist as he often is described.
  • This characterization overlooks the fact that Gandhi was quite critical of many aspects of Hindu tradition, from caste and untouchability to its seeming lack of concern for questions of social and economic justice.
  • By the same token, modernity for Gandhi did not imply the wholesale rejection of tradition. 

Religiosity :-

  • Religiosity, for Gandhiji, was a lifelong quest for self-transformation.
  • It was an engagement with the world without tamasic inertia or rajasic ego, but with sattwic calmness.
  • It was to see politics as a field of sadhana characterized by the Bhagavad Gita’s principle of anasakti yoga as well as the power of love Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
  • He gave a new meaning to a series of disciplinary/religious practices like austerity, fasting and control over body and sexuality.

Science :-

  • It was not anti-science as is commonly misunderstood.
  • Gandhi went on to say that he appreciated the urge that led scientists to conduct basic research, to do ‘science for the sake of science’.
  • But he worried that scientists and science students in India came overwhelmingly from the middle class (and upper castes), and hence knew only to use their minds and not their hands.

Spirituality :-

  • For Gandhiji religion was both, the formal where ritual practices diverged, and the eternal where all faiths had common goals.
  • Prayers were needed to affirm and activate the divine within, not to ask favours. He did not care for dogmas. For him, it was not theology but morality that mattered.
  • He argued for sadbhava, that is goodwill and toleration. Therefore religions could gain much by a dialogue, and none should claim exclusivity since it would amount to “spiritual arrogance.”

As people are reduced commodities and consumers, Gandhiji’s moral engagement with self and society must be revisited as a protest ideology and they are relevant in present time as well owing to their eternal strengths and powerful ideas.


 

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

2) Examine the impact certain literary works has had on formulation of Gandhiji’s ideas. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- “The greatest genius is the most indebted person” These words of Emerson, The American thinker are very true for M. GANDHI. Inspirations both mould and give direction to life. There are certain books and literary works which influenced Gandhiji and helped in making of the Mahatma.

  • Tolstoy’s “The Kingdom of God is within you” overwhelmed Gandhi. It left an abiding impression on Gandhi. Tolstoy manifested independent thinking, profound morality and truthfulness.
  • Ruskin, the English thinker, was perhaps the most powerful source of inspiration when Gandhi himself described Ruskin’s book, “Unto This Last” as “the magic spell”. Gandhi was offered Ruskin’s book by Gandhi’s intimate friend Mr. Polak and Gandhi read it on his train journey from Johannesburg to Durban. The book gripped Gandhi so much that its teaching of the book appealed to Gandhi instantaneously and Gandhi paraphrased it into Gujarati as “Sarvodaya” (The welfare of all). Gandhi learnt the teachings of the book to be:
  • The good of the individual is contained in the welfare of all.
  • All have same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
  • That a life of labour is the life worth living.
  • Gandhi read the Gita for the first time in England, i.e. Sir Edwin Arnold’s “The song Celestial”, and it made a deep impression on his mind and Gandhi regarded the Gita par excellence for the knowledge of Truth and it afforded him invaluable help in his moments of gloom. The Gita became Gandhi’s life long companion and guide, especially the last eighteen verses of the second chapter of the Gita. Gandhi derived the Gospel of selfless action or duty from the Gita. His commentary on the Gita reflects his life and mission.
  • Gandhi read the Bible, especially “The New Testament” and “The Sermon on the Mount” which went straight to his heart. The compassion and renunciation of Jesus appealed greatly to Gandhi.
  • Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You , which rejects all sorts of violence including those sanctioned by the state or the Church, and espouses the need for simple living. Two other Tolstoy books are recommended: What is Art? and The Slavery of Our Times . Some of Gandhi’s views may have been influenced by the works of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, particularly his 1849 essay ‘Civil Disobedience’. 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) “All at once, India’s healthcare suffers from quality, quantity, footprint, access and affordability issues.” Critically analyse. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction :– After Independence there has been a significant improvement, in the health status of people. India’s constitution guarantees free healthcare for all its citizens and all government hospitals are required to provide free of cost healthcare facilities to the patients But the situation is not much better as per study of WHO. It has placed India in 112th position among 191 countries of the world. Even Bangladesh is ahead of India.

Quality issues :-

India suffers from an acute shortage of secondary and tertiary hospitals, a significant shortfall in specialists and specialized equipment, and a rigid regulatory framework combined with corrupt enforcement. All of this leads to appalling quality for the medical system in the country. 

Quantity problem :-

With the lowest government spend and public spend, as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), and the lowest per capita health spend — China spends 5.6 times more, the US 125 times more — Indians met more than 62 percent of their health expenses from their personal savings, called “out-of-pocket expenses”, compared with 13.4 percent in the US, 10 per cent in the UK and 54 per cent in China.

Footprint :-

Lack of footprint impacts not only the filtering of patients but also deeply impacts prevention and early detection. A prevention and early detection system is a must if costs of the whole system for the country are to be contained.

Accessibility and affordability :-

Primary health centres (PHC) in villages are supposed to feed medical cases that require treatment to specialist hospitals in districts and further on to state-level specialist hospitals. PHCs are not present in many villages (about 1 for every 20 villages), and where present so severely undermanned that the “access” system is broken at the first mile. 

Much work needs to be done to figure out a combination of these methods to address the needs of a heterogeneous India that caters to the urban and rural populations, rich and poor and formal and informal workers. “Health is the real wealth of a nation”, said Mahatma Gandhi. Hence efforts are needed to fix the broken healthcare system of India.

Way Forward :-

  • Measures like early management of health problemsand better quality of care needed to be focused in  primary healthcare system.
    • Strengthening primary health care delivery by ensuring the basics such as universal immunization can greatly reduce morbidity and lower the costs of curative care.
    • It will lower the burden of higher strata of hospitals where the cost of treatment is high.
  • Universally accessibleand affordable healthcare at the same time can be achieved with integrated approach. This will also have a positive impact on poverty and growth.
  • Recognizing the massive need for expanding the reach of health care services, the government needs to evolve new and innovative ways of engaging the private sectorespecially in the provision of tertiary care.
  • A National Health Regulatory and Development Frameworkneeds to be made for improving the quality (for example registration of health practitioners), performance, equity, efficacy and accountability of the health care delivery across the country.
    • It should put out standard treatment guidelines for public and private providers, frame a patients’ charter of rights, engage with professional associations and civil society, and establish a regular audit system.
  • India needs to increase its expenditure on health sectoras a percent of GDP (1.2% now), with active participation of state governments who bear close to two-third of public expenditure on health sector.
    • Japan’s rapid growth since the second decade of the 20th century can be understood in light of the higher investment in health and education after the Meiji restoration.
    • Comparing India’s and China’s growth rates, Amartya Sen argues that the main reason for the latter’s explosive growth cannot be attributed to the nature of its government, but to its higher investment in health and education.
  • Focus needs to be on preventive health measure and successful implementation of immunization.
  • The potential of alternative health care should be recognized and there should be more focus on research in these areas.
  • Efforts should be put towards successful implementation of government schemes related to health sector.

 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

4) What are the geopolitical implications of the sale of Essar Oil to Rosneft, given the deepening of energy relations between China and Russia? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- The recent business transaction of sale of Essar oil to the Russian company Rosneft for $13 billion is of eminent commercial and strategic sense for both parties. Russia sold this big company to China and it will have many geopolitical implications :-

  • The deal is a solid commercial transaction driven by strategic logic. China needs to reduce its dependence on oil supplies from the Middle East and the maritime risks of disruption in the straits of Malacca and the South China seas. 
  • It confirms the deepening energy relations between the two countries. Russia is already, for instance, the largest supplier of crude oil to China delivering approximately 1.1 million barrels a day. 
  • Some positive possibilities can be explored like given Rosneft’s direct and indirect (via China) involvement with Iran, Pakistan and India, could it be persuaded to broker the resurrection of the economically compelling Iran-India-Pakistan gas pipeline, the creation of an Asia Pacific energy infrastructure linking Central Asia-Iran-Pakistan-India-South East Asia and China

The 19th century British Prime minister Viscount Palmerston once said, “we have no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only eternal and perpetual interests.” Hence move by Essar Oil signals greater cooperation among nations in international relations based on mutual benefits and interests.


Topic: Indian economy; Cropping pattern; Agriculture – marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints

5) Pulses have seen an average annual inflation rate of 12%—the highest among food crops—in the past 12 years. What steps can government take to stabilise prices of pulses? Examine. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction :- One of the key debates going around the country’s agricultural front today is the upswing in the prices of pulses. The retail prices of almost all the varieties of pulses have reportedly crossed ₹100 per kg in metropolitan cities. Consumers worry about high prices of pulses and producers about low prices. Inflation peaks whenever there is a production shortfall. The steepest peak (49%) was in November 2015 and the steepest fall (-32.6%) in June 2016 shows volatility of price for pulses.

Efforts are needed to stabilize prices :-

  • Flexibility in export policy, in terms of permitting exports of the restricted pulses during times of excess production.
  • Only a fifth of the area under pulses has irrigation support. This exposes production to the vagaries of the monsoon and amplifies the price cyclicality. Hence, there is a need to develop an irrigation buffer. 
  • Developing agricultural markets is always important, particularly for essential commodities such as pulses that are prone to price manipulation. 
  • The government should reduce the transportation costs of farmers by linking them to markets with better roads.
  • To incentivize private sector participation, ad hoc restrictions on stocks should be avoided.
  • Forward contracts help reduce the uncertainty of future market prices. The government can use future market signals to fix MSP values and make appropriate interventions before crises occur.

Governments efforts like setting up of price stabilization fund for pulses, revising MSP prices and promoting farmers to cultivate more pulses by diversifying the mono-cropping of wheat and rice are some noteworthy efforts.


Topic: Infrastructure; S&T; 

6) The Chinese government has been looking to big data for solutions in areas ranging from policing to education and urban planning to traffic management; the optimal use of big data, it believes, can help foster higher economic growth. How can India use big data to its advantage? What are the challenges it faces in this regard? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Introduction :- Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing application softwareis inadequate to deal with them. Big data challenges include capturing data, data storage, data analysis, search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy.

 

 

 

Chinese government is using this big data for multiple uses and Indian government can also use it for making the institutions, governance and people more easy to function.

  • The use and adoption of big data within governmental processes allows efficiencies in terms of cost, productivity, and innovation.
  • Advancements in big data analysis offer cost-effective opportunities to improve decision-making in critical development areas such as health care, employment, economic productivity, crime, security, and natural disasterand resource management.
  • Based on TCS 2013 Global Trend Study, improvements in supply planning and product quality provide the greatest benefit of big data for manufacturing. Big data provides an infrastructure for transparency in manufacturing industry, which is the ability to unravel uncertainties such as inconsistent component performance and availability. India aspires to be global manufacturing hub hence big data role is inevitable.
  • Human inspection at the big data scale is impossible and there is a desperate need in health service for intelligent tools for accuracy and believability control and handling of information missed. Indian health care system which is in much broken stage can take help of big data.
  • A McKinsey Global Institutestudy found a shortage of 1.5 million highly trained data professionals and managers and a number of universities including University of Tennessee and UC Berkeley, have created masters programs to meet this demand. Indian education system is second largest in world and suffers from many such problems hence can be benefitted with big data.
  • The use of big data to resolve IT and data collection issues within an enterprise is called IT Operations Analytics(ITOA). By applying big data principles into the concepts of machine intelligence and deep computing, IT departments can predict potential issues and move to provide solutions before the problems even happen

Challenges :-

  • Data analysis often requires multiple parts of government (central and local) to work in collaboration and create new and innovative processes to deliver the desired outcome.
  • longstanding challenges for developing regions such as inadequate technological infrastructure and economic and human resource scarcity exacerbate existing concerns with big data such as privacy, imperfect methodology, and interoperability issues.
  • There is a huge need for Big Data analysts and Data Scientists. The storage of quality data scientists and skilled human resource in this area has slowed down process of use of data analytics.
  • Big data involves big risks when it comes to the security and the privacy of the data. The tools used for analysis, stores, manages, analyses, and utilizes the data from a different variety of sources. This ultimately leads to a risk of exposure of the data, making it highly vulnerable.

“Data”, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said “is the new oil, which does not need to be imported. We have it in super-abundance”. True it is. Hence India must work on taking advantage of this for betterment of it’s citizens.


Topic:  Indian economy – growth and development

7) A strong presence of knowledge ecosystem is sine qua non for robust economic growth. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The knowledge economy is a system of consumption and production that is based on intellectual capital. The knowledge economy commonly makes up a large share of all economic activity in developed countries. In a knowledge economy, a significant part of a company’s value may consist of intangible assets, such as the value of its workers’ knowledge (intellectual capital), but generally accepted accounting principles do not allow companies to include these assets on balance sheets.

Knowledge ecosystem and economic growth :-

  • Lesser-developed countries tend to have agriculture and manufacturing-based economies, while developing countries tend to have manufacturing and service-based economies, and developed countries tend to have service-based economies.
  • By the 1960s, American economists such as Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow had begun to notice that growth and productivity could not be explained only by capital and labour. This differential they attributed to the knowledge content of an economy.
  • It is no accident that the U.S. accounts for 33% of global output of knowledge-intensive services, China 10%, but India only 2%. In high-technology manufacturing, India barely exists.
  • The creation of a knowledge ecosystem that allows for robust institutions that focus on information gathering, planning, research, teaching, credit supply, and ensuring that people are filled with hope rather than derision for the society in which they live will make a society wealthier. 

Other side :-

  • The heartening thing is that even with a rather low funding to research as percentage of GDP, with very few Indians taking to formal learning and research, India still accounted for 4.4% of the global output of science research publications in 2013.
  • Translating this research into technology remains the weak link. For that to happen, the latest suggestion in the choice-based credit system is to include project work at all levels in higher education institutions.
  • We also need to ensure ease in movement of personnel between universities and industry.
  • We need to provide more autonomy to public institutions in hiring and firing people.
  • Once an institution is given a grant, we need to ensure that it is utilised for the purpose given.

 


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

8) Gandhiji said that his life was his message to humanity. What are the important lessons that you can learn from the life of Gandhiji? Discuss. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Introduction :- Gandhiji was a living saint. He not only revolutionized the history of countries like South Africa and India but revolutionized the humanity through his thoughts, ethics and principles.

It is said that our lives must be a message to others and Gandhiji is the perfect example for this.

One can learn an ocean of lessons from his life directly and indirectly :

  • Adhering and living life according to principles :- Gandhiji adorned principles of truth, non violence, Satyagraha, honesty, integrity. He lived his life woven around these principles which made him distinct. Gandhiji used to say Honesty, integrity is difficult to practice but not impossible hence one must try to set life with such principles.
  • Consistency in saying and doing :- He followed what he used to say. His famous story about the child and his habit of eating sugar, his withdrawal of Non Cooperation movement owing to use of violence shows this.
  • Redefining the existing concepts and refusal to accept established norms :- He turned the all out colonial war against British into a moral ethical warfare and used the weapons of non violence to fight most powerful colonial power in world which no one believed would be successful in the start.
  • Inspiration for sacrifice, zealous work for weaker section, downtrodden and leading from the front :- He sacrificed even his clothes, he worked both against British and against existing evils of Indian society like untouchability both in active and inactive (Constructive work) phase of India’s freedom struggle.

Gandhiji’s ideas, Talisman, Seven sins concept etc shows that his life is full of messages if one deeply listens to it. These lessons were learnt by Indians as well as all over world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King to lead their country towards freedom, progress.

 


TopicHuman Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

9) What was the central message of Gandhiji seminal work Hind Swaraj? How is this message relevant to privacy debate today? Examine. (150 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Privacy is not explicitly written about or protected in the Constitution but recent judgement in K .S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India pronounced that privacy is fundamental right under art 21.

Privacy and Gandhiji’s swaraj :-

  • It is the Hindi term for privacy — nijata literally meaning something like, the state of having something as one’s own or “mine-ness” or “one’s own-ness” —
  • This alerts us to the deep philosophical relationship between privacy and our fundamental modern term for freedom, which we owe to Mahatma Gandhi, “ swaraj ”.
  • As we know,swarajmeans “self-rule”, “self-determination” or “the sovereignty of the self”.
  • Both swa and nija , then, encompass the self, as well as all that belongs to it, goes along with it, cannot be taken away from it.
  • Gandhi helped Indians to see that swaraj had to be rulebythe self, but also rule over the self; in other words, that freedom is a vector, but paradoxically it has both inward and outward directionality. 
  • Dignity cannot exist without privacy. Privacy is the ultimate expression of the sanctity of the individual. It is a constitutional value which straddles across the spectrum of fundamental rights and protects for the individual a zone of choice and self-determination

While the ruling in Puttaswamystands solidly in the way of the ubiquitous threat to our privacy, nijata , the struggle for the self’s sovereignty, swaraj , spelled out more than a century ago by Mahatma Gandhi, remains ongoing and open-ended for the people of India.