SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 FEBRUARY 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.
General Studies – 1
Topic: Population and associated issues,
- India with its history, culture, traditions, is today an example of generosity in the way it has opened its borders to all people who have come looking for safety and sanctuary.
- There are Tibetans, Afghans, Myanmarese in India and it has maintained an open door policy for all. India has a generous approach in relationship to all people and a proof of that is the granting of long term visas and work permits to refugees.
- But with the Rohingya issue the refugee issue has come to the forefront again
Yes, it should open its doors for refugees:-
- India should adhere to the responsibility as a major power in the region and also as the largest democracy in the world on humanitarian grounds .India has been historically known to be benevolent to refugees.
- Even being open to refugees is important to the India’s economic investment especially in the case of Rohingyas peace and stability in the Rakhine state is important because continued violence in Rakhine state is affecting India’s Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport project.
- Despite India not signing the convention, the UNHCR has generally praised India as a host country.
- The culture of tolerance enshrined in Indian cultural texts is imbibed in the minds of Indians
- India is a secular country and the democratic foundations ensure the protection of refugees.
- India will be put on the world map and make it respected as a global and responsible power if it is benevolent to refugees.
- Indian experience with migrants earlier is making it cautious about open to refugees further.
- Northeast is already reeling under a steady deluge of illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh, including Buddhist Chakmas turfed out from their homes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
- India is over populated already and further accommodating ill only trigger socio-economic tensions and also it is burden on exchequer.
- There are also issues of terrorism ,communalism ,ethnic violence .
- Genuine fears that destitute Rohingya youth would be easy prey to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and international jihadist outfits such as al-Qaeda among others.
- India has not signed UNHCR convention so there is no obligation to accept refugees.
- Foreigners act 1946 does not recognise refugees as a special category needing humanitarian protection.
- India needs to have a clear cut refugee policy .Also the source of the problem need to be further explored so that violence and ethnic cleansing are effectively dealt with.
- However, since the refugees have no home to return to, at least at the moment in the case of Rohingyas, India can reconsider the idea of deporting them.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
- India has the largest burden of cervical cancer in the world. Around 70,000 women die of it each year, and around 70% of these cases are caused by infections from HPV strains. However safety of clinical trials linked with the vaccine has come to light recently raising the issue further.
Causes of clinical trial crisis :-
- Clinical trials face a transparency crisis. As drug makers often don’t share all trial data, their claims cannot be re-examined by neutral outsiders.
- Drug makers have a history of misrepresenting data to make their medicines look safe.
- Limits their ability to detect many adverse effects. Most clinical trials do not last long enough to provide accurate data on the adverse effects of a drug.
- Consider Ritalin, a prescription stimulant used to treat attention disorders in children
- There is no international institution responsible for clinical trials
- Misrepresentation of facts about their personal information by the trial volunteers . There is a troubling trend of financially needy people serially volunteering for trials to supplement their income.
- Instances of volunteers not adhering to the required precautions. For instance drinking alcohol, and hiding one’s health history. Such behaviour can distort trial data
- There is a lot of scope for ethics committees even in India to directly supervise trials which is not taken very seriously.
- Most of the countries do not have a national registry of volunteers. Even India does not have one.
- Various clinical trials across different geographical conditions might not be perfectly suitable for Indians.
- Lack of capacity of professionals and infrastructure to carry out elaborated high tech trial
- Trial data does not tell us if patients can safely stop a medication. Most trials collect all of their data while patients are still taking the drug. Many psychiatric medications have common and severe adverse effects that only become evident upon discontinuation.
- Can lead to death of people
- Their participants seldom resemble the patients most likely to take the medication.
- When post-marketing surveillance does succeed in identifying a major adverse effect, it does so after a large number of people have already been exposed to a drug.
- This is an especially critical issue for India, given that it is introducing HPV vaccines in its Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). This means millions of girls in India aged between 9 and 14 years will get the vaccines for free.
- The large demand for volunteers and the supply of willing subjects has spawned a bustling marketplace for participation in bioequivalence studies
- Can cause a trio of rare illnesses called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
- Clinical trials may not be able to accurately determine the safety of prescription medications. Prescribing doctors and the FDA rely primarily on clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of medications.
- The flu drug Tamiflu, manufactured by Roche, is the most famous example of this crisis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) added Tamiflu to its core list of essential medicines. Following this, several countries spent billions of dollars on stockpiling the drug. Later data suggested that the drug was not that effective and WHO dropped Tamiflu from its core drugs list in 2017.This ill hurt the legitimacy of the trials itself .
- Studies of new drugs be designed to collect data on adverse events even after their efficacy has been proven would be an important step.
- Collecting data during a period of drug withdrawal would also be welcome, along with pragmatic trials, ones that enrol patients like those who are likely to use the medication.
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Features and prospects of recent policies:
- Several tax and related incentives to ease the financial burden on people aged 60 and above were introduced in the recent union budget
- There is a five-fold increase in the exemption limit on interest income from savings, fixed and recurring deposits held with banks and post offices to Rs. 50,000
- Government did away with the requirement for tax to be deducted at source on such income.
- Another useful tax change is the proposal to raise the annual income tax deduction limit for health insurance premium and/or medical reimbursement to Rs. 50,000 for all seniors.
- Set the ceiling for deduction in lieu of expenses incurred on certain critical illnesses to Rs. 1 lakh, irrespective of the age of the senior citizen. This will increase their economic and social security.
- Proposed extending the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana by two years, up to March 2020, and doubled the cap on investment in the scheme to Rs. 15 lakh.
- This annuity-cum-insurance scheme entitles the senior citizen policyholder to a guaranteed pension that equates to an annual return of 8% on investment.
- This pension plan, unlike the entirely government-funded Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme for the elderly who live below the poverty line, is contributory and is run by the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
- Government launched Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana recently
Despite efforts many issues still remain:-
- They do not have enough savings.
- There is little by way of a social safety net and health infrastructure.
- Too few have health insurance or pensions.
- India still largely relies on the family to take care of its elderly. The strain is showing as families splinter
- Old-age homes still carry the stigma of abandonment and destitution. Adult day care centres are too few. Many old-age homes do not accept patients with dementia.
- Public transport is not senior friendly.
- Physicians who do home visits are hard to find, though cataract and knee replacement surgeries are booming.
- With technology life of elderly has become even tougher.
- Older women are more prone to suffer abuse due to factors like gender discrimination, longer life span than older men, longer span of widowhood and no source of income as traditionally most of them are housewives.
- With more than 70% of the 104 million elderly living in the rural hinterland, any serious initiative to improve the lot of senior citizens must incorporate adequate budgetary support for social welfare spending on the relevant programmes.
- While the Budget provisions Rs. 6,565 crore for the pension scheme for the elderly poor, its outlay for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s assistance to voluntary organisations for programmes relating to the ‘aged’ at Rs. 60 crore is starkly inadequate.
- With the number of the elderly in India set to surge by 2050 to almost 300 million, or about a fifth of the population, governments need to make more comprehensive efforts to address the problems of elderly.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education
4) It is said that a large-scale vocational education system on the lines of the “dual” German model — classroom instruction plus apprentice training — would help raise the productivity of both individuals and the economy. In the light of recent studies on state of affairs in the Indian education sector, discuss the merits and demerits of adopting the ‘dual’ German model for India’s children. (250 Words)
Recent studies on the state of education sector:-
- According to recent ASER findings, as a group, 14.4% of youth aged 14 to 18 years are not enrolled in school or college.
- The imperative clearly is to look at factors that prevent them from being part of formal higher secondary education, of which availability and affordability of schools would be important.
- ASER’s statistics indicate that overall, only 5.3% of the age group is enrolled in a vocational course, while 60.2% of out-of-school youth are engaged in some form of work. These trends underscore the need to scale up substantive skill-building programmes, making them free or highly subsidised.
German model of education:-
- Germany has had a highly successful dual vocational training system. Trainees gain practical skills working in a business while at the same time acquiring theoretical knowledge at a vocational school. This system of training has proved an effective instrument against not only youth unemployment, but also skills shortages. As a result, it has come to be regarded internationally as a successful model.
Advantages of adopting the German model:-
- Vocational training can be helpful in achieving objectives in multiple policy areas, which makes it possible to address a broad range of stakeholders
- Skills enhance workers flexibility and mobility, reduce the danger of social marginalization and raise educational levels in a non-academic context
- With the dual approach, occupational skills are developed that are relevant to the labour market but not narrowly focused on the requirements of individual businesses
- Dual vocational training would help foster economic growth across the country.
- This model will help in developing proper skill set and successively utilise the demographic advantage India has.
- India needs a robust, well-respected job-preparation alternative to college that begins in high school and seamlessly continues into advanced education and training. This is provided by the German model.
- An advantage to the individual student is that he/she will be schooled in a level that matches his ability and not waste his time in studies that are not relevant.
- For example, a student who is not strong in academics but who possesses mechanical abilities would have the opportunity to learn a trade.
- Most of the students in rural areas lend a hand in farming to help their parents. Among those who are already working in the 14-18 age group, 79% are engaged in farming, and that too in their family farms. With German’s model the ability of farmers to adopt technology, avail benefits offered by the government and demand stronger institutions would be enhanced, if elementary education is improved. It would also produce the additional benefit of promoting health-seeking behaviour among these youth.
- The practical nature of the education is an advantage, as is the mutual screening between potential employers and employees during training
- Education path is related to their career
- Lead to less drop outs as children are engaged in the learning of their potential career
- Teaching quality will also increase
- For society in general, the system might not produce a nimble enough workforce if the training can’t keep up with technological advances and there might be a glut of workers who don’t have marketable skills and need retraining. The German educational system can be slow to react to these changes and might not stay relevant.
- For the individual, these effects can be especially devastating. If his/her job becomes obsolete, a craftsman, for example, may have few other options, especially if he hasn’t had education in other areas. It is decided very early in a person’s education which direction the education will take.
- Teaching quality right now is not adequate to adhere to the needs to specialist approach of German education.
- If a student wants to change tracks, it can be difficult. There is not much flexibility for the undecided.
- Training requires increase in expenditure of companies.
- .Parents might not be ready to send their daughters for training outside the school premises.
- There is need for increase in coherence between government and private sector so that the right training is given to the children to face the challenges in future.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- In the 18 years since its nuclear tests, India’s pursuit of nuclear legitimacy has taken several forms.
- As part of this effort, India has placed particular emphasis on joining key export control regimes.
- The Wassenaar Arrangement, or WA, is one of the world’s four major export control regimes, the other three being the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Australia Group.
- The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) has been established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing de-stabilizing accumulations. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.
- It has 42 members; India was admitted as a “participating state” in 2017.
- Members must be producers/exporters of arms/sensitive industrial equipment
- Members must have national polices for non-proliferation and an effective export control regime
- Members must adhere to global non-proliferation compacts including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention.
- The Arrangement is based on five crucial principles:
- It contributes to regional and international security and stability.
- It promotes transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.
- It complements and reinforces the export control regimes for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
- It is not directed against any state or group of states.
- It uses export controls as a means to combat terrorism.
Why does it matter?
- India’s admittance to Wassenaar agreement despite being a non-signatory of the NPT has been seen as a sign of its growing nuclear legitimacy.
- Membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement is, along with membership of MTCR and Australia Group, three-fourths of the way into the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.
- Wassenaar Arrangement will embed India deeper in the global non-proliferation architecture and enable access to critical technologies in the defence and space sectors.
- India’s entry into the WA is also an acknowledgement of its rise as a powerful nation by major powers in the international system.
- With gaining entry into the WA, India is expected to acquire critical technologies which will boost its defence as well as space industry
- The membership of these groups will give India a distinct advantage when participating in the management of global commerce in advanced technology.
- The US is likely to treat the export of armed drones to India with much more caution than it does to NATO allies.
- Not only is India working on nuclear-capable cruise missiles that could, in theory, benefit from drone technology US officials will also be hesitant to expand India’s perceived options for striking Pakistan.
- Indian drones in Pakistan would face a drastically less permissive environment than their CIA counterparts, which fly in specially cleared airspace.
- India is moving in the right direction by being part of these groups and gaining international legitimacy. This shows the growing stature of India in the world arena .
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
- In the recent budget the government came up with the announcement of a National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) which is a clear signal that the focus is on universal health coverage through targeted public insurance schemes.
Why targeting through public insurance schemes will not work?
- In effect, these schemes will support the expansion of private insurance and hospital industries.
- Important lesson from the American model of healthcare is that spending on medical care alone does not improve health outcomes. The US has the highest expenditure on medical care, but does not compare well in terms of health outcomes and equity in access when compared with other developed countries.
- Over the last three decades the growth, consolidation of markets in medical care has played an important role in pushing for a variety of public subsidies.
- In a context where the insurance coverage is small, the clientele for private hospitals is inadequate to earn profits. In order to increase patient volume, expanding demand through insurance is a sure way. Public insurance schemes assure private hospitals a steady supply of patients to ensure their viability and survival.
- There were serious loopholes in the implementation of Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (RSSY) especially in the empanelment of private hospitals. There is no clarity on how the new scheme addresses this
Why strengthening public healthcare is important?
- India’s health-care infrastructure is largely inadequate to serve its vast population. So for access of healthcare strengthening healthcare is needed
- The total number of hospitals and health-care professionals, public and private included, fall short of addressing the total demand for health-care services, despite being large in numbers.
- According to KPMG report, around 80 per cent of all doctors and 75 per cent of dispensaries serve 28 per cent of the country’s population.
- The focus of policymakers has been to address the demand-side issues rather than the supply-side inefficiencies.
- Dismal health-care expenditure has aggravated the inadequacy of health-care infrastructure.
- India accounts for over 17 per cent of the world’s population while spending very less of the world’s total health expenditure.
- There is usually a considerable delay of funds disbursed for utilisation in critical government schemes rendering them ineffective.
- Funds allocated for skill building of health-care professionals are usually not utilised owing to lack of such human resources.
- lack of nursing, para-medical personnel and doctors, both at the MBBS and post-graduate level
- Problems of governance deficit and regulatory capture arise due to myriad laws and regulations which impede the normal development of this sector.
- A large number of institutions and health-care providers like doctors, equipment manufacturers, drug companies, and hospitals are not formally recognised by the state due to a host of laws and regulations. This has inhibited access to health care.
- Finally, the lack of awareness and monitoring of diseases as well as the steps needed to eradicate them pose a serious challenge to the access of health-care.
- To reduce out of pocket expenditure
- At one end of the spectrum India has high-end hospitals delivering healthcare comparable to any developed nation in sharp contrast to this just a few hundred kilometres away in the villages, one does not even have basic primary care
- The tragedy of India’s healthcare system is that the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is increasing.
- Access to Healthcare is still an issue in rural and sub-urban areas and insurance schemes do not solve that.
What is needed to be done?
- India needs a major revamp of the healthcare infrastructure, which includes upgrading primary healthcare systems to provide preventive healthcare.
- Awareness on preventive healthcare measures, nutrition, prenatal care, vaccinations and counselling on the importance of hygienic practices like sanitation and clean drinking water should be pursued aggressively.
- Three-tier model
- The Government should focus on promoting primary healthcare at all rural centres, secondary care hospitals at taluk levels and tertiary care establishments at district hospitals.
- Supporting primary and secondary care could be predominantly the Government’s responsibility, while tertiary care could be promoted as a public-private partnership.
- India needs to increase the availability of skilled healthcare workers at all levels. This calls for liberalisation of the medical education policy to allow for more doctors especially at the postgraduate level to be trained at corporate/private hospitals.
- Attending to health needs right from primary level care coupled with enhanced investments into better sanitation, water supply and nutrition. In short, an inter-sectoral approach to improve health outcomes is needed.
- The plans announced in the budget would have limited impact unless measures are first taken to strengthen primary care in a manner that it will act as a gatekeeper that reduces the need for secondary and tertiary healthcare services.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Despite its rich and varied history, India has not been able to tap this industry effectively due to myriad of problems like general cleanliness, functional and tidy budget accommodation, food hygiene and safety of women remain major challenges.
Potential and prospects :-
- Generating Income and Employment:
- Tourism in India has emerged as an instrument of income and employment generation, poverty alleviation and sustainable human development. It contributes 6.23% to the national GDP and 8.78% of the total employment in India. Almost 20 million people are now working in the India’s tourism industry.
- Source of Foreign Exchange Earnings:
- Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange earnings in India. This has favourable impact on the balance of payment of the country. The tourism industry in India generated about US$100 billion in 2008 and that is expected to increase to US$275.5 billion by 2018 at a 9.4% annual growth rate.
- The sector also has the potential to create micro-entrepreneurs who in turn can employ more people. The multiplier effect it delivers is high.
- In fact, tourism helped Spain which receives over 68 million international tourists annually fight its recent economic downturn.
- According to the World Tourism Organisation, the sector provides for 10 per cent of the world’s GDP, 7 per cent of the global trade and creates one in every 11 jobs worldwide.
- Travel and tourism sector in India has the potential to grow much faster and support 46 million jobs by 2025, provided the right investments and policies continue to be implemented
- The plans to develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more people to the country and enhance amenities under the Amrut programme, is a testimony to the intent being in the right direction.
- Even the allocation of Rs 1,48,528 crore to bring state-of-the-art facilities such as WiFi and CCTVs for the Indian Railways is a welcome move. This policy will not only help boost domestic tourism in the country, but also positively impact the hotel and aviation sector thereby increasing employment and the sectors’ contribution to GDP.
- Rural areas:-
- Tourism in a place will put the local culture, handicraft sector in the limelight and increase the standard of living of these people.
- It can help develop rural areas which are tourist spots providing better facilities there itself and can lead to less migration which will further reduce pressure on cities.
- It will have contribution to the generation of national income, expansion of employment opportunities, rising of tax revenue, generation of foreign exchange .and transformation of regional economy.
- Indian Tourism offers a potpourri of different cultures, traditions, festivals, and places of interest. There are a lot of options for the tourists. India is a country with rich cultural and traditional diversity. This aspect is even reflected in its tourism. The different parts of the country offer wide variety of interesting places to visit.
- Direct benefits include economic support for hotels, retail shops, transportation services, entertainment venues and attractions, while indirect benefits include government spending on related infrastructure, plus the domestic spending of Indians employed in the tourism sector.
- Government needs to give importance to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.
- The tourism and travel sector has huge potential to grow if the country further opens up the civil aviation sector, improves civic governance, enhances communication strategy and focuses on consistency of policies, capacity building and community participation.
- Take advantage of 600,000 villages, each with their own cultures and heritage; eco-tourism; and cruise tourism to create unique experiences for travellers.
- Integrate the “Incredible India” campaign into a more holistic campaign that includes not only print but also other channels such as digital, social, placement, review sites, and global media and that focuses on the positives of visitor-created content, while also addressing the challenges these visitors report.
- Enhance the perception and reality of India as a safe destination by designing and implementing enhanced security protocols.
- Invest in the development of both physical and digital infrastructure in order to confront the issue of last-mile connectivity. Hazardous road travel and a lack of affordable hotels hamper international travellers’ experience, while high taxes hinder the industry’s profitability.
- Take advantage of the labour force available in India in order to improve tourists’ experiences by training skilled and unskilled workers in the hospitality industry, through both public and private programmes.
- While there are more than 50 active tourism boards from foreign countries represented in India, India doesn’t have a tourism board itself which is necessary to unify today’s fragmented travel and tourism industry.
- This board could support enhanced industry coordination, joint messaging, building Indian talent, driving forward industry-wide policy recommendations and enacting change through policies as well as public-private policy initiatives and SME growth
- The future of both India and especially its travel and tourism industry is bright if it continues to focus on its opportunities and address its current limitations.
General Studies – 4
Topic: ethical issues in international relations
If two countries don’t understand one another, there cannot be a peace. There will be misunderstandings leading to friction, which leads to heated arguments which will eventually lead to conflict. If they don’t understand each other’s values, motivations, likes and dislikes, there is little chance for effective communication.
This attitude is endangering the world peace in the following way :-
- Excessive reliance on rhetorics which serve no purpose except escalating the conflict for instance North Korean crisis.
- Rising wave of protectionism (threatening economic peace) manifested in recent WTO negotiations & anti-migrant feeling for instance Brexit.
- Endangering environmental governance which in turn, is endangering the very human existence for instance US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement.
- Derailing peace negotiations. For instance the recent US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has decimated the long & hard-earned ‘two-state solution’ to Israel-Palestine conflict.
- Protracted conflicts for instance Syrian civil war.
- Lack of consensus on tackling emerging issues for instance non-adoption of CCIT(comprehensive convention on international terrorism).
- Geopolitical wars.
So enforcement of one’s will by force of arms might suppress resistance of the other for a short period, but there will always be a return to conflict. The cycle will continue until an understanding is reached.
The world leaders have to understand that such narrow attitude to serve one’s country is disastrous for the whole of humanity in longer run and countries are there to uphold the welfare of whole humanity .
The leaders need to understand that they owe a peaceful, prosperous, environmentally stable, safe, and secure planet to their future generations:-
- Statesmanship behaviour need to be inculcated to view every issue from larger perspective of global welfare not from a narrow prism
- An attitude of tolerance, compassion & inculcation of emotional intelligence to understand other’s viewpoint is necessary.
- Outright rejection of use of force to establish eternal peace. The first step in this direction can be to join recently floated total nuclear prohibition treaty
- An attitude of principled distance from intervening in every crisis militarily and inculcating the maxim that reconciliation is more rewarding that retribution.