SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 JANUARY 2018
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) The celebration of Bhima Koregaon Battle Victory not only challenges the conventional narrative of anti-colonialism, it also tells the story of the making of an autonomous culture of Dalits against the inferior culture of caste. Discuss critically. (250 Words)
- Two hundred years ago, the last battle of the Anglo-Maratha war was fought at Koregaon village on the banks of Bhima river near Pune.
- The battlemarked the firm hold of the British Empire in India with the help of dalits.
- The recent violence at Pune was sparked by a disagreement over whether the bicentenary of the 1818 Battle of Bhima-Koregaon, between the British East India Company and the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Confederacy, should be celebrated or not.
Challenges Anti colonialism notion because:-
- The conventional notion of anti colonialism is that of the colony fighting against the imperial power but in this case Mahars were with the British and fought against Peshwas, the dominate caste in the society.
- The memorial marking the Company’s victory over Marathas at Koregaon in 1818 has now come to represent Dalit pride.
- Several Dalit activists see it as a victory of lower-caste Mahars against the upper-caste Peshwas.
Making an autonomous culture of dalits:-
- Peshwas were notorious for their oppression and persecution of Mahar dalits. The victory in the battle over Peshwas gave dalits a moral victory a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression.and sense of identity .
- The recent Dalit protests, be it after Una flogging, Saharanpur violence or Bhima Koregaon clashes, have gradually gained space in the political mainstream and signified the autonomous culture of dalits.
The divide and rule policy of the British created multiple fissures in Indian society which is even visible today in the way of excessive caste and religious discrimination which needs to be checked keeping in mind the tenets of the Constitution.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
- The political funding mechanism developed over the last 70 years has faced widespread criticism as people do not get clear details about how much money comes, from where it comes and where it is spent.
- The union government recently announced details of political funding that can be routed by donors to parties through electoral bonds, a scheme announced by it in Union Budget 2017.
Electoral bonds scheme :-
- Electoral bonds would be a bearer instrument in the nature of a promissory note and an interest-free banking instrument.
- A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond.
- Electoral bonds can be purchased for any value in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10 lakh, and Rs. 1 crore from any of the specified branches of the State Bank of India.
- Electoral bonds for political funding can be purchased from SBI for 10 days in January, April, July and October.
- The bond shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a designated bank account with the authorised bank
- The bonds will have a life of 15 days during which they can be used to make donations to registered political parties that have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last election to the Lok Sabha or Assembly.
- Every political party will have to file returns to the Election Commission on how much funds have been received
- Electoral bonds are essentially bearer bonds that ensure donor anonymity.
How it brings opacity in political funding :-
- Analysts said the move could be misused, given the lack of disclosure requirements for individuals purchasing electoral bonds.
- Electoral bonds make electoral funding even more opaque. It will bring more and more black money into the political system.
- With electoral bonds there can be a legal channel for companies to round-trip their tax haven cash to a political party. If this could be arranged, then a businessman could lobby for a change in policy, and legally funnel a part of the profits accruing from this policy change to the politician or party that brought it about.
- These bonds share two characteristics with tax havens e,secrecy and anonymity.
- Electoral bonds eliminate the 7.5% cap on company donations which means even loss-making companies can make unlimited donations.
- The requirement for a company to have been in existence for three years (paving the way for fly-by-night shell companies) is also removed
- Companies no longer need to declare the names of the parties to which they have donated so shareholders won’t know where their money has gone.
- As for political parties, they no longer need to reveal the donor’s name for contributions above ₹20,000, provided these are in the form of electoral bonds. So a foreign company can anonymously donate unlimited sums to an Indian political party without the EC or the IT department ever getting to know.
- They have potential to load the dice heavily in favour of the ruling party as the donor bank and the receiver bank know the identity of the person. But both the banks report to the RBI which, in turn, is subject to the Central government’s will to know.
- According to Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi an alternative worth exploring is a National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute.
- The funds would be allocated to political parties in proportion to the votes they get. Not only would this protect the identity of donors, it would also weed out black money from political funding
- The best way to bring about such transparency in political funding is to put a complete ban on cash donations by individuals or companies to political parties.
- Making it mandatory for all parties to receive donations only by cheque, or other modes of money transfer.
- There should be clear provisions for getting tax benefits for all those making such donations.
- Make it mandatory for political parties to submit details of all donations received with the Election Commission and also with the income-tax department.
- State funding of political parties can be considered.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to health
3) The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 that was introduced in the Lok Sabha is not the remedy that can improve quality and quantity of medical education and practice in India. Critically comment. (250 Words)
- The national medical commission bill is the product of the NITI Aayog and was drafted following a scathing standing committee report in 2016 on the corrupt functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI)
- The bill if passed would repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956
Features and positives :-
- The Bill seeks to regulate medical education and practice in India.
- The Bill attempts to tackle two main things on quality and quantity: Corruption in medical education and shortage of medical professionals.
- The Bill aims to overhaul the corrupt and inefficient Medical Council of India, which regulates medical education and practice and replace with National medical commission.
- The National Medical Commission would be an umbrella body for supervision of medical education and oversight of medical practice.
- Functions of the NMC include:
- (i) laying down policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals
- (ii) assessing the requirements of human resources and infrastructure in healthcare
- (iii) ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils with the regulations made under the Bill
- (iv) framing guidelines for determination of fee for up to 40% of the seats in the private medical institutions and deemed universities which are governed by the Bill.
- The NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government. A search committee will recommend names to the central government for the post of Chairperson, and the part-time members. These posts will have a maximum term of four years, and will not be eligible for extension or reappointment.
- NMC will have four segregated verticals under it to look at:
- (i) under-graduate medical education
- (ii) post-graduate medical education
- (iii) accreditation of medical institutions
- (iv) the registration of doctors.
- The 2017 Bill also creates four separate autonomous bodies for similar functions.
- Each autonomous board will consist of a President and two members, appointed by the central government (on the recommendation of the search committee)
- The boards will come up with the curriculum, standards and necessary recognitions.
- NMC would have its members largely nominated and appointed by the government, while office bearers in the MCI were elected from among the medical fraternity.
- Under the Bill, states will establish their respective State Medical Councils within three years. These Councils will have a role similar to the NMC, at the state level.
- Entry test:
- There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate medical education in all medical institutions governed by the Bill. The NMC will specify the manner of conducting common counselling for admission in all such medical institutions.
- Exit test:-
- There will be a National Licentiate Examination for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for practice. This Examination will also serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions.
- There will also be a medical assessment and rating board which will grant permissions for new colleges and penalise institutions which don’t follow the prescribed standards.
- It replaces multiple MBBS entrance exams conducted by state universities, thus providing a level playing field to aspirants across the board irrespective of educational or social background.
- Functions of the NMC include:
- To fix corruption, the Bill recommends replacing one body with another. It proposes instituting a National Medical Commission (NMC) instead of the MCI.
- One of its goals is to rein in corruption in the MCI through greater distribution of powers. This is to be accomplished through an independent Medical Advisory Council to oversee the National Medical Commission which is the proposed successor of the MCI. But all members of the NMC are members of the Council, undermining the latter’s independence.
- A bridge course allowing alternative-medicine practitioners to prescribe modern drugs is mentioned in the bill.
- Unscientific mixing of systems and empowering of other practitioners through bridge courses will only pave the way for substandard doctors and substandard medical practice. This will seriously impact patient care and patient safety
- Indian Medical Association (IMA)opposed the bill that it will cripple the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.
- NMC will become subservient to the health ministry, given that the representation of the medical profession in the new regulatory framework is minimal.
- The bill takes away the voting right of every doctor in India to elect their medical council.
- The bill allows private medical colleges to charge at will, nullifying whatever solace the NEET brought.
- The private medical colleges will be allowed to decide the fee for 60 per cent of their seats, while previously it was 15 per cent.
- This will increase the cost of medical education
- The proposed NMC Bill discreetly intends to equate the post-graduate degrees given by MCI or proposed NMC and the National Board of Examination (NBE), which is unjustified too
- Standards have been laid down for MCI courses, but not for NBE courses which are often run in private hospitals and nursing homes.
- It would replace an elected body (Medical Council of India, MCI) with one where representatives are “nominated
- To bolster healthcare delivery there can be a three-year diploma for rural medical-care providers, along the lines of the Licentiate Medical Practitioners who practised in India before 1946.
- NMC shouldn’t open gates to overseas doctors to regularly practice medicine or perform surgery without qualifying the National Licentiate Examination or induct Ayush colleagues without clearing NEXT.
- Also, the accreditation and rating function of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) should be out of the ambit of NMC. This was also the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee report in March 2016.
- Clear guidelines are required indicating the circumstances and diseases where traditional practitioners can prescribe allopathic medicines.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
- Recently the United States President made a statement that US has given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years but acted as a safe haven to the terrorists US hunt in Afghanistan.
- This statement brings India and cross border terrorism affecting it to the forefront.
The American threat has little effect because :-
- The proposed cut for 2018 is $350 million. The withheld amount stays in an escrow account, but Pakistan can technically claim the money within two years.
- Also this is not the first time that US would cut funding. Cutting of aid has not translated into strict sanctions like the one imposed on North Korea
- Pakistan’s case:-
- Pakistan security and military establishments have attempted to establish operational links with drug syndicates and fundamentalist groups in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- Pakistan-based Islamist fundamentalist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are inextricably linked with international jihadist groups like Taliban and Al Qaida.
- There are strong evidences of state sponsored terrorism from Pakistan
- Pakistan has refused to designate terrorists and organisations recognised by the UN.
- The US power is diminishing in the world and there is rise of China clout which is very visible in Pakistan-China relations .China is cooperating with Pakistan at multiple levels .
- Even terror groups in Pakistan are self sustaining
- There is also ISIS issue which is not originating from Pakistan per se but still an issue of cross border terrorism for India.
- After the assassination of Mujibur Rehman, subsequent governments in Bangladesh have allowed ISI activities directed against India to flourish.
- The extremely porous Indo-Bangladesh border is prone to illegal immigration and has often been used by the ISI to push in its agents.
- Threat from Bangladesh assumes serious dimensions since it became a base for northeast insurgent groups like ULFA and Naga factions. Of late, it has also been serving as a conduit for ISI sponsored infiltration of terrorists along India and Bangladesh’s porous border.
- Similarly, due to the open borders between India and Nepal the latter country serves as the easiest entry route
Despite such cuts in financial aid there would have impact on Pakistan economy and it is just a short term solution .
What can be done?
- Terrorism affects all the nations in the world .So there is need for stronger collaboration at global level.
- Strengthening India’s border management:
- LOC do not have even proper fences.
- Israeli border protection system has a state of the art long-range day cameras with night observation systems, third generation thermal imagers, long-range detection radars, electronic touch and motion sensors on the fence as well as underground sensors to detect any attempt of digging tunnels.
- US border -The entire length of border could be seen online by the ordinary citizens who could alert the border guarding agency of any suspicious movement
- India need to balance regional development and create employment opportunities for the youth to stop linkages with organized crime across the countries in the region.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
5) Write a brief note on the origin and contribution of the Indian Science Congress to development of science in India. Also critically comment on its effectiveness today as platform for science popularisation and an exercise in public engagement of science. (250 Words)
- Recently Indian science congress has been postponed indefinitely and It’s rare for the century-old Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) to have missed its scheduled annual meeting in the first week of January.
- The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon.
- It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged.
- The first meeting of the Congress was held from January 15-17, 1914 at the premises of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta.
- Post-Independence, Nehru made it a practice to inaugurate the event, every January 3. The tradition has been carried on by successive PMs for the last 70 years.
- It’s a record that the Science Congress has been held without a break so far.
- In its initial years, the Congress would discuss the latest scientific developments, but it moved on to the Prime Minister of the day making policy statements on science and technology.
- From the modest beginning with hundred and five members and thirty five papers communicated for reading at the first session, ISCA has grown into a strong fraternity with more than ten thousand members till to date. The number of papers communicated for reading has risen to nearly one thousand.
- Indian Science Congress Association introduced the programme for Young Scientists from the 68th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1981.
- The programme enables Young Scientists to present their research work with opportunities to exchange ideas in the relevant scientific problems with their counterparts and specialist
- ISC has become a platform as members from different disciplines and from different walks of life come and discuss together.
- ISC remains the only platform for science popularisation and an exercise in public engagement of science. It brings together leaders in science, including Nobel laureates, policy makers, scientists, science students and school kids.
- It’s a great opportunity for young people to learn about science and the latest developments in India.
- Many technologies have been discussed which have impact on current problems like reducing carbon footprint, cleaning Ganga, antibiotic resistance etc
- Pomp and ceremony take precedence over substance. Few practising scientists of note consider the Congress as an important event.
- The Indian Science Congress has struggled to attract enough contemporary scientists to take it seriously and speak persuasively about their work.
- Over the past decades, sections of the scientific community have expressed unhappiness with the affairs at ISCA.
- Some others felt the entry of governments into the affairs had diluted its strengths.
- Politics seems to have trumped science in the unusual decision to defer India’s biggest scientific meet.
- In the last few years the India International Science Festival (IISF) almost replicates the Science Congress in many ways and has tacit support from the present dispensation at the Centre.
- It can become a prestigious forum to inspire young science students into meeting leading scientists and learning to find joy and meaning in their careers.
- In the interest of Science, urgent steps are required to restructure the Congress and get the President elect known for their scientific accomplishments to restore some meaning to the event
- International example:
- British Scientific Association has a number of scientific events spread over a year unlike ISCA sticking to annual event. India can follow it.
- Given the limited resources, changed times with digital space dominating restructuring the Science Congress is a must to give it a meaning.
- Scientific departments and national laboratories could use the platform of ISC to display their achievements in a way people can understand and also crowd source new ideas.
- Science congress would also be the perfect platform to attract the youth to careers in science.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
6) India’s electronics manufacturing has been unable to respond to the rising demand, increasing the import bill while the country loses an opportunity to create employment for millions. Discuss the causes and remedies. (250 Words)
- Electronics manufacturingin India is expected to touch USD 104 billion by 2020 and domestic manufacturers will benefit from GST implementation as cost will significantly come down
Electronic manufacturing in india:-
- Growing middle class, rising disposable incomes, declining prices of electronics and a number of government initiatives have led to a fast-growing market for electronics and hardware products.
- However, India’s weak manufacturing base has not been able to respond to this increasing demand, leading to a growing trade deficit.
- Inverted tax structure for electronic goods. Due to a limited base of local component suppliers, manufacturers are dependent on importing parts.
- The positive custom duties on the components used in electronic products make it expensive for domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign competitors who can access the components at lower prices.
- Foreign direct investment (FDI) in electronics is less than 1% of the total FDI inflow because of onerous labour laws, delays in land-acquisition and the uncertain tax regime
- The numerous forms, fees, inspections and the associated time discourage domestic producers from exporting and keep them out of the international supply chain.
- The United States, home to General Electric and Westinghouse, imposed penal anti-dumping duties on Chinese power plant equipment. Yet, the Indian government could not take action as BHEL lost 30 per cent market share by 2014
- Poor innovation and also the raw materials are not largely available in India.
- Increase the country’s general competitiveness in the export market instead of pursuing sectoral policies. India’s share in the global electronics market was a minuscule 1.6% of the market in 2015 that is currently valued over $1.75 trillion.
- Bring the duties on components down to the level of the product. Some parts might be used for multiple products that may have different duties, but it’s important to rule in favour of simple rules and apply the rate-cut regardless of use.
- Laws need to be liberal and predictable.
- In the case of taxation, it is important to clearly establish the tax liabilities under different circumstances in full detail.
- A possible experiment could be special economic zones like the Dubai International Financial Centre. Dubai’s normal civil and commercial laws do not apply in this area and a British chief justice ensures the practice of British common law.
- Targeted initiatives launched by the government have provided much needed impetus to local manufacturing but to make it self sustainable more support must be provided.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Political Attitude
- Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of deciding a course of action. Without it, our actions would be random and aimless. There would be no way to work towards a goal because there would be no way to pick between a limitless number of goals.
- Selfless deeds put people apart from selfish acts . Selflessness is often overlooked as a key to happiness because, on the surface, it appears to run contrary to the very notion.
- Politicians are representatives of common people, hence ethics which are moral values are relevant in politics.
- Ethics in politics brings in humane feelings of empathy and compassion for different sections of the society, hence establishing a welfare state.
- It brings in TRANSPARENCY in decision making thus building up trust between public and politicians.
- When ethical standards are set and followed, the ideals of democracy and constitution are held high.
- With great power comes great responsibility. However with the recent incidents of representatives distributing money for votes, indulging in corruption, centralizing and misusing powers there is considerable decline of ethics in politics but there are many instances where leaders are elected for the development work in their constituencies and not because they used illegal means to win
- There have been many instances like the anti corruption movement ,NOTA, Right to information where people along with whistleblowers have raised voice against such behavior of politicians. There is also Election commission which raises alarm and initiates contempt proceedings against the leaders who misuse election campaigns.
- Clean politics is the necessity for India as the country’s development and future depends in the initiatives taken by the leaders. So good has to prevail over the bad.
- There have been instances in the past when some populistic measures were taken but at the national level the governments strive for the overall development of the country.
- So it is time people take active part in politics and act on it from inside and along with efforts to make the system transparent and accountable.
- Citizens of the country need to be make conscious decisions in not letting unethical politicians come to power.