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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 DECEMBER 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 DECEMBER 2017


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Role of women; social empowerment

1) It is argued that the new law criminalising triple talaq may not be in best interests of Muslim women and might be counter-productive too. Critically examine why. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

 

Introduction: 

  • Supreme Court has already declared, and correctly, that the practice of talaq-e-biddat, or instant divorce of a Muslim woman by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice, is illegal and unenforceable. 
  • Its consequence is that the husband’s marital obligations remain, regardless of his intention in pronouncing it. 
  • The Centre’s proposal  is to make instant triple talaq an offence punishable with three-year imprisonment and a fine.

 

Why Criminalization will not help women?

 

  1. Not a sufficient deterrent
  • It is well established that criminalising something does not have any deterrent effect on its practice

     2.Civil issues should not be criminalised

  • Since marriage is a civil contract, the procedures to be followed on its breakdown should also be of civil nature only
  • Civil character of children custody and allowance of marital law must be preserved.

     3.Alternate available

  • When existing laws, under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code or provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, already allow the prosecution of a husband for inflicting physical or mental cruelty, emotional and economic abuse, and for deprivation of financial resources. 
  • in the best interests of justice to Muslim women is to invoke a secular law that already exists: Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005. Parliament should pass a law unambiguously stating that the very utterance of the words “talaq, talaq, talaq” would amount to “domestic violence” as defined in the PWDVA.
  • PWDVA was conceived as a law that ensures speedy relief — ideally within three months — to an aggrieved woman: Right to stay in the marital home, protection against violence, right to maintenance etc

    4.Maintainence and children future be affected in case of jail to husband

  • Criminalising it risks defeating the objective of preserving the husband’s legal obligations, and the payment of maintenance.

 

Why criminalisation is necessary?

  • The pro-criminalisation progressives maintain that the prime intent behind enacting a stringent law is not to punish the offender but to act as a deterrent
  • Also, the fine amount under consideration could as well be awarded as maintenance or subsistence allowance. 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

2) Why is intraparty democracy important in Indian polity? Why is it lacking and what measures are needed to ensure intraparty democracy? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu

 

Introduction:

  • In India, there is no real movement towards democratisation of parties; the selection of candidates, Chief Ministers and office-bearers of party units is usually left to the discretion of a handful of leaders who take decisions behind closed doors
  • India’s success in consolidating a democratic system of government has paradoxically forestalled pressure for party reform. 
  • Electoral process is more representative but political parties look a lot like oligarchies. Most parties are subservient to one supreme leader who can impose his/her offspring on the party, and even electoral defeat does not loosen their control or hold over the party. 
  • Political parties — with the exception of the Left parties — still refuse to lay down settled and predictable procedures for almost everything they do, from the selection of candidates to the framing of a manifesto.

 

Measures needed to ensure intraparty democracy

 

  1. Institutionalization against leader centricity
  • The more significant issue is the lack of institutionalisation and, partly as a consequence, democratisation
  • The biggest weakness of parties is that they are leader-centric and most leaders are unwilling to institutionalise procedures for the selection of candidates and increase the participation of members in party functioning to prevent elite capture from getting entrenched. 
  • This has proved detrimental to the political system as it impedes the growth of broad-based non-sectarian parties which can effectively articulate and aggregate a variety of interests

     2.Broaden the functions of parties against merely winning elections

  • Party organisations have been reduced  into election-winning machines, which depend for their success on the charisma of the leader and their capacity to win elections
  • The privileging of elections at the expense of other aspects of the democratic process implies that parties are inattentive to the need for constant organisational change and renewal. 
  • Leaders are valued for their capacity to attract crowds and raise funds as elections become more and more expensive.

    3.Control on party funding be decentralised

  • The opacity of political financing, necessitates ‘unhindered top-down control’ and ‘absolute loyalty down the line’, argues political scientist, E. Sridharan. 
  • If party funds are raised and controlled centrally, this weakens the State units and rank and file vis-à-vis the central leadership on a range of issues including leadership selection and nominations for elections. 
  • It also discourages democratisation as this would limit their power to accumulate wealth or amass a fortune or promote personal power at the expense of public interest.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies 

4) Recently, Prime Minister of India asked farmers to cut urea consumption by half by 2022. What is the rationale behind this request? Is it possible to achieve in India? Critically examine. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked farmers to cut urea consumption by half by 2022. 
  • India is an important market, consuming about 30 million tonnes (MT) of urea annually, of which about 24.5 MT is domestically produced and the rest is imported. 

Rationale to decrease Urea Consumption

 

  1. Imbalanced use of nutrients, particularly NPK
  • Urea prices in India are among the lowest in the world (hovering around $ 86 per tonne). 
  • Also, the price ratio of urea to DAP and MOP is highly skewed. No wonder, Indian farmers are using higher doses of urea (nitrogen) compared to phosphate (DAP) and potash (MOP), and not getting the best results in terms of yields. 
  • Also Indian soils are deficient in micronutrients, especially zinc (about 48 per cent) — a fallout of which is zinc deficiency in wheat and rice, which, in turn, contributes to stunting in children. 

     2.Smuggling to other uses and countries

  • Extremely low prices of urea also lead to its diversion to non-agricultural uses — as well as smuggling to neighbouring countries — that needs to be checked.

 

How to achieve this?

 

  1. Neem Coated Urea
  • NCU, in fact, has been in place since 2008, when only 20 per cent urea was permitted to be neem coated. This was raised to 35 per cent in 2010, and to 100 per cent in 2015. The underlying assumption is that NCU can improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by about 10 per cent by slowing the release of nitrogen

     2.Soil Health Card Scheme

  • The SHCs, which have now crossed the 100 million mark, can also help rationalise the use of urea, provided they are backed by a massive extension programme.

    3.Correct pricing through DBT

  • Pricing should be corrected to reflect the true cost of production
  • If the government decides to shift the money equivalent of the current fertiliser subsidy bill of Rs 70,000 crore plus directly to farmers’ accounts, and lets the prices of fertilisers be decided by the full play of demand and supply forces, it can immediately stop all diversion to non-agri-uses as well as to other countries. 
  • The move will also give the right signals to farmers to use N, P and K in appropriate ratios
  • It will also excite industry to innovate and bring new products.

 

Topic: Developments in S&T; Awareness in IT and computers

5) Can blockchain be used to reduce costs and increase efficiency in online transactions and bring financial stability? Examine. (150 Words)

Livemint

 

Introduction:

  • Bitcoin is an unregulated cryptocurrency which is administered by a network of users through an open and distributed ledger known as blockchain
  • Each transaction is verified by the network
  • Since it is a distributed ledger and no one person or organization controls it, technically, chances of someone manipulating the system are very low. 
  • Blockchain has the potential to end property-related litigation in a country like India
  • The government can have a blockchain where ownership and transactions can be tracked easily

 

Benefits

  1. Efficiency in transactions
  • Blockchain can make government spending more efficient in areas such as the social sector, as it will increase transparency

     2.Reduce costs

  • The technology is also being tested in the financial sector to settle transactions. 
  • This could help reduce costs for financial institutions and the working capital requirement for other firms. 
  • Because the distributed ledger have the usage such as smart contracts.

 

Challenge

 

  1. Financial instability
  • If automated risk management, smart contracts, and similar tools are deployed across a network, cascades of rapid and hard-to-control obligations and liquidity flows could propagate across a network
  • This interdependence will likely call for creative organizational thinking to address the need for governance and strong risk management.
  • A central bank manages the supply and cost of money in the system to attain maximum growth with price stability. But in the world of unregulated cryptocurrencies, central banks may find it difficult to manage the level of economic activity. 
  • An increase in the use of such instruments could also affect financial intermediation, investment and growth. Therefore, it is important for policymakers to carefully evaluate the potential costs and benefits of a possible rise in the use of unregulated cryptocurrencies.

 

Conclusion

  • Even though the future of cryptocurrencies is uncertain at this stage, it is the idea of blockchain that deserves more attention, as it could potentially transform the way transactions are settled. 
  • Regulators would do well to closely track developments in this area so that financial stability risks can be avoided if adoption increases in the system.

TopicConservation

6) India and its neighbours Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have decided to conduct a joint census of their tiger population. Discuss the significance of this initiative. (150 Words)

Livemint

 

Introduction:

  • India and its neighbours Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have decided to conduct a joint census of their tiger population.
  • Tigers are specified as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.

 

Significance

 

  1. Subcontinent has highest population
  • The Indian sub-continent is home to about 80-90% of world’s tiger population 

     2.Better calculation and conservation efforts

  • A joint census will lead to not only more verified numbers but also greater coordination and conservation efforts among the four nations.
  • It will result in better estimation of their population as there are tiger habitats that fall in two countries like Sundarbans
  • All neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India will follow the same protocol using camera traps which will result in much precise and accurate estimates of tiger numbers. 

    3.Indian practices will be useful which saw increase in tigers

  • According to the tiger census of 2014, India was home to 2,226 tigers which is about 60% of the world’s wild tiger population of about 3,890.
  • After India are: Russia (433 tigers), Indonesia (371), Malaysia (250) and Nepal (198).
  • The number marks the success of India’s efforts to protect its national animal. A decade back, pressure on their habitat and poaching had seen tiger numbers hit a low of 1,411 (in 2006).
  • Indian government launched Project Tiger in 1973. India now has 50 tiger reserves that cover 2.12% of the country’s total geographical area.
  • India’s attempt with tiger diplomacy is not new. It is already a leader in tiger conservation efforts among the 13 tiger range countries. South-East Asian nations like Cambodia are already working with India on tiger conservation.
  • About 100,000 tigers roamed the forests of the world in 1900, but their numbers dwindled steadily, hitting a low of 3,200 in 2010.

     4.Combat illegal trade jointly

  • Tigers face threats from poaching and habitat loss
  • Statistics from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, show that body parts of a minimum of 1,590 tigers were seized by the law enforcement officials between January 2000 and April 2014 across tiger range countries; the big cats were feeding a multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade.

Topic:  Developments in S&T; Awareness in space, computers, IT, robots

7) What do you understand by deep learning neural network? What are its applications? Examine. (150 Words)

The Hindu

 

Introduction:

  • Deep learning is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on learning data representations, as opposed to task-specific algorithms. Neural network depicts the complex interlinkages of the different data that is accumulated over time, like in a brain.
  • The preprint describes the careful process of doing away with the false positives and systemic blips before coming up with the true signals

 

Applications

  1. Automatic machine translation
  2. Deciphering complicated scripts 
  3. Language modeling.
  4. Automatic Game Playing – AlphaGo.
  5. Examination of huge amount of space data to come out with patterns and new discoveries.Recently exoplanets have been discovered using readings made by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which are archived
  6. Image recognition
  7. Speech recognition
  8. Natural language processing.

 


General Studies – 4


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

Introduction:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. is, without doubt, the greatest American figure in the 20th century. A Baptist priest of vast intellectual depth and complexity, King was also a systematic political thinker. His thoughts on non-violence and his struggle against segregation and inequalities in the US influenced several generations of non-violent thinkers and activists.
  • Many around the world continue to consider King as the American Gandhi who through his method of non-violent direct action succeeded in arousing the American nation to the evils of racism and poverty and preparing the enactment of historic civil rights legislation

 

King’s ideas

 

  1. Satyagraha as a tool for positive assertion of rights
  • He became Gandhi’s greatest disciple, by embracing Gandhi’s Satyagraha as a method of struggle for the emancipation of blacks in America.

     2.Non-violence linked to God and human personality

  • He recognised Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy of non-violence for the effectiveness of his own campaigns in areas such as integration and voting rights
  • King came to regard non-violence as an intrinsic deduction from the principle of “personality.
  • One has to look at King’s innumerable references to the idea of “personal God” and to “the sacredness of human personality” to understand the theoretical and practical connections between non-violence and personalism in King’s thoughts and actions. 
  • For non violence, he gave a quote darkness can’t be removed by darkness but only with light likewise hatred can’t remove with hatred but with love

     3.Moral order inherent – God’d justice

  • King’s anthropological optimism provided him with a solid trust in the place of justice in history. He asserted: “I have not lost faith, I am not in despair because I know that there is a moral order. I have not lost faith because the arch of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” 
  • King’s insistence on God’s justice is the important connection between striving for Christian love and establishing the Gandhian strategy of non-violence

     4.Love as a social tool

  • In King’s view, to restore the broken community in America we need to replace the love of power by the power of love
  • By relating agape to community interrelatedness, King tries to draw a critical argument against the degrading and inhuman conditions of African Americans in the American society. 
  • Here King’s prophetic role plays its part, because he turns Gandhi and the Gospel into social tools for a better social, political and economic order

     5.Concept of beloved community

  • King considers the beloved community as the logical and inevitable outcome of the synthesis of the Gospel of Jesus and the Gandhian strategy of non-violence. 
  • King proclaimed: “All men are interdependent. Every nation is an heir of a vast treasure of ideas and labour to which both the living and the dead of all nations have contributed.”

 

Relevance

  • Today, nearly 50 years after his assassination, King’s vision of the beloved community is more relevant than ever in American society and beyond
  • More than ever, we need to put a spotlight on King’s moral leadership in a world where no politician can be called a moral leader.
  • Extrapolate the ideas as classified onto the varied problems that exists on social, national or international level.