SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 MARCH 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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
Bipan Chandra India’s Struggle for Independence, Page 90, Chapter – 6
Why this question?
Topic is from our Topics list.
Key demand of the question:
The key demand of the question is that you should analyse how socio-religious reform movements helped in the evolution of national consciousness though their fight against cultural and ideological hegemony of the West (the British). Put simply, prove with valid points that struggle against ideological hegemony of the British resulted in awakening of national consciousness.
Analyse– Break answer into parts, and within them analyse the nature, causes, consequences.
Structure of Answer:
In the introduction write 2-3 lines how various movements contributed to the national movement and how the contribution of socio-religious movements was profound in this regard.
In the body, divide answer into 5-6 parts (categories). For example, revival of india’s past tradition as an anti-dote to the British ideological hegemony – can be categorised as ‘Revival of the Past’. Under this category, write 2-3 lines in point format about the nature, causes and consequences (within the scope of question i.e. countering the British ideology and resulting in awakening of national consciousness). Likewise, identify and create more parts.
Make sure to provide examples of personalities and events.
In the conclusion, write how the evolution of national consciousness was crucial in winning India its freedom later. socio religious movements
- Socio reform movements like Brahmo Samaj ,Aligarh movement ,Vivekanada etc played a significant role in the ideological shift and awakening of rational thought in Indians which gave an impetus to the development of nationalistic consciousness
How cultural ideological struggle was an integral part of evolving national consciousness:-
- The cultural-ideological struggle, represented by the socio- religious movements, was an integral part of the evolving national consciousness.
- This was so because it was instrumental in bringing about the initial intellectual and cultural break which made a new vision of the future possible.
- It was a part of the resistance against colonial cultural and ideological hegemony. Out of this dual struggle evolved the modern cultural situation..
- The new educated class who imbibed the liberal western culture, recognized the need of reforming social institutions and religious outlooks as these were regarded as obstacles to national advance.
- Along with enlightenment and rational thought of the reformers of the 19th century ,the circumstances created by British triggered the reform movements like for instance British used the position of social conditions like the status of Indian women, illiteracy, superstitions etc which were practised then to justify the enslavement of India. So it became imperative for the Indian intelligentsia to contest the tag of backwardness.
- Significance development in literature led to development of press, newspapers, vernacular languages which got synced with the masses about the national movement
- A number of organisations like Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical society etc. helped in bringing movements of reformation and renaissance in India.
- The way Tilak mobilized masses in the context of Ganpati festival as part of national movement shows the significance of these social reform movements.
- These movements aimed to eliminate privilege from the social and religious fields, to democratize social and religious institutions of the country and to promote individual liberty and social equality.
- They pushed for women education which led to significant participation of women in the freedom struggle.
- They sought to establish equal rights of all individuals irrespective of their caste or sex. In this way, the national democratic awakening found expression in all fields of national life.
- In politics, it gave birth to the movement of administrative reform, self-government, Home Rule and finally independence.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Functioning of judiciary
2) What is the rationale behind providing new regulations on providing graded autonomy to institutions of higher education? Discuss the merits and demerits of graded autonomy, and suggest measures to improve innovation in universities. (250 Words)
- The problems that confront higher education in Indiatoday are low rates of enrolment, unequal access, poor quality of infrastructure and lack of relevance. The University Grants Commission’s decision to grant graded autonomy to 60 institutions of higher education is to bring reforms in this sector to ensure quality education.
Rationale behind new regulations on providing graded autonomy for institutions of higher education:-
- A liberalised regime in the education sector and autonomy would mean facilitating the quality of the Indian education.
- The challenge in the Indian higher education ecosystem originates from the diversity across all layers. To address this complex diversity, a global guiding model that touches on each layer in fair measure is needed. This can be the starting point for the proposed graded autonomy.
- Indian higher education system requires a calibrated model providing space for policy makers, education providers, learners and consumers to operate in participative unison depending on the institutional character. There needs to be a prescriptive mix for different types of institutions, and the UGC proposal for graded autonomy is a welcome move in this direction.
- The stumbling block in basic reforms has been UGC and AICTE, the regulators. They would issue circulars after finding something was wrong. But rules must be in a graded fashion. The best institutes must be given more freedom of action and more autonomy.
Merits of graded autonomy:-
- It will ensure the universities to become free from interference and focus on quality of education.
- Graded autonomy gives institutions the freedom to start new courses, new departments, off-campus centres, research parks, appoint foreign faculty, admit foreign students, pay variable incentive packages to their teachers and enter into academic collaboration with the top 500 universities of the world without seeking the UGC’s permission
Demerits of graded autonomy:-
- This is considered as a step towards privatisation and commercialisation of public-funded institutes and government’s slow withdrawal from funding higher education.
- Public expenditure has already been slashed across the prestigious IITs, IIMs, TISS and some other institutes of learning.
- The University Grants Commission is promulgating graded autonomy, which in effect will also mean graded funding to the differentially located universities
- Many teachers and academicians are calling it merely “financial autonomy”.
- Autonomy which has nothing to do with the freedom to teach and learn and engage with ideas but it will give financial autonomy to administrations and management bodies of universities and colleges so that they can start self-financed courses and hike student-fees at will.
- Many have also expressed concerns that the move will make higher education more expensive in country and departure from public accountability.
- The autonomy clause was a major part of the recommendations put forward by a discredited draft of the National Education Policy.
- The government had been forced to withdraw this draft after it became clear that the drafting committee had not considered the history of higher education in India, the needs of the people and the founding principles of equity, access and excellence.
- Autonomy from regulations also means that there will be no check on the quality and adequacy of infrastructure (classrooms, labs, faculty, student-teacher ratio etc), leading to an inevitable and certain fall in overall standards of all institutions
- Under the new guidelines, for central universities, 70 percent of the differential amount after the 7th pay commission will be borne by the government. The remaining 30 percent will have to be provided for by the institution, implying a definitive hike in students’ fees.
- Public schools and colleges are the only spaces that allow for affordable education for a diverse range of Indian population. This will be hampered with graded autonomy.
- The problem is that a lot of states already have a deficit budget, so there’s always a shortage of funds in state universities and colleges. And with failing infrastructures they can’t meet the enrolment targets, which means that their RUSA grants will also be reduced. So it creates a vicious cycle
- Unlike most central universities, state universities have to deal with existing feudal structures
- With no funds pouring in from the Centre, the newly-minted autonomous colleges and universities will result in hiring of more teaching staff on a contractual basis.
Measures needed to improve innovation in universities :-
- Research cannot be improved merely by regulating universities, instead they need efforts to create enabling atmosphere for which it is imperative to grant more autonomy, better funding and new instruments to regulate work ethic.
- New initiatives like Hackathon, curriculum reform, anytime anywhere learning through SWAYAM, teacher training are all aimed at improving quality. These need to be effectively implemented.
- As India wants to transform its universities into world class institutions, it must safeguard the interests of young researchers and thousands of temporary faculty members by expediting the permanent appointments in a time-bound framework and transparent manner.
- Establish world-class multidisciplinary research universities
- Create a master plan for every state and union territory
- Each state must establish an integrated higher education master plan to provide an excellent education for all its residents.
- Attract the best and the brightest talent to be faculty members
- One of the fundamental changes India must institutionalize is a radically new compensation and incentive structure for faculty members. A flexibility to pay differential salaries based on market forces and merit must be part of this transformation.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment
- There is a governance deficit in India and while there has been progress in the delivery of public services, it is unsatisfactory when compared with other countries at similar levels of development.
- There are large disparities between the poor and non-poor in the country and it is the poor that suffer much more due to weak public service delivery making the economy subsistent
Why focus should be on public service delivery ?
- Even when the economy was growing at a faster clip, the job market just wasn’t responding, a report by domestic rating agency CARE Ratings shows. So job creation alone is not the solution.
- The quality of governance and public service delivery can affect economic growth through its impact on human capital, poverty and inequality, and corruption. This means people would have the opportunities for better jobs which push the economy further rather than dependent on agriculture.
- Access to the basic services not only improves individual well-being but also serves as an input into aggregate economic activity and national output.
- Roads and telecommunication systems lower transaction costs and hence encourage trade and economic activity.
- The provision of health care and schooling increases the quality of human capital, which is an important input in today’s knowledge-based economies.
- Access to publicly-provided (or publicly-financed) health and educational services of high quality is particularly important for the poor, as they do not have the purchasing power to buy these services from private markets.
- The success of e-governance , DBT etc show that through quality public service delivery governance can significantly be improved leading to inclusive growth.
Focus on local governance because:-
- Governance improvement at the level of the local administration will improve savings and capital formation even and makes a big difference to people’s quality of living.
- Empowering local governments with finances, talent, and with the freedom to hire experts permanently or on a project basis and holding themselves accountable to the public for transparent improvements is needed.
- If these things improve, people’s need to spend on things that are currently not provided by public services will go down. They can save more and their savings rate will rise again. That will lead to an increase in national savings and national capital formation.
- Attention to local governance issues is both sensible economics and smart politics.
- Local governance is the means to strengthen the democratic fabric through participatory governance and responsive and accountable public service delivery.
- India has public service delivery mechanisms through welfare schemes but their implementation is the issue due to failure at the local governance .So strengthening local level governments can lead to delivery of better services in turn trickling down of economic growth.
- Local control over employment can be a powerful source of improved incentives for service providers. This can be taken even further by giving locally elected bodies more control over the schools and clinics meant to serve them.
- This could encompass not only hiring, retention, performance bonuses and other personnel policies, but could also include cash block grants that allow local communities to customize spending according to local priorities.
- It is clear that improving the quality of health and education services for all Indians is a critical component of ensuring inclusive growth. While budgetary increases for public services like health and education are definitely welcome, their effect will be magnified if accompanied by measures to improve the effectiveness of spending.
- India’s agrariansector is under stress. Low growth, poor earnings and distress behaviour such as large-scale internal migration and disproportionately high suicides have signalled that something is wrong with the rural sector.
Agrarian crisis is due to apathy of market:-
- With the advent of the Green Revolution, modern methods of cultivation, primarily use of machinery, high-yielding varieties of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides were emphasised. This strategy led to increase in agricultural productivity but had probably “unintended” consequences.
- The new advancement led to cultivation of a single crop under the pressure of market. Farmer had to draw more and more credit to plough the land.
- In addition, lack of remunerative prices would further intensify the trouble. The uncertainty of crop yield and fluctuation in prices constituted distress to the farmers.
- Liberalisation added to the woes of agrarian distress. Various reports clearly indicate that these policies i.e..,reducing state support to agriculture, diluting import restriction led to further degradation rather than ensuring growth and development of farmers in the country.
- At a crucial time in the past decade, when a farmer could not learn by doing or observing due to rapid market changes, the agricultural extension system was near dysfunctional. Consequently, the input dealer was the de facto expert for advice on agricultural practices and new products.
- The riskiness of agricultural production continues to be high and market-based insurance coverage remains low.
- Development of Genetically modified crops have made farmers on private monopolies and chemical pesticides further.
Apathy of state to agricultural problems:-
- Agricultural income declined but could not translate into decline of population dependence on agriculture.
- Growing commercial crops, such as cotton and soybean along with pigeon-pea, under rain-fed conditions was risky.
- The high costs of getting agricultural produce from farm to market erode any advantage the Indian farmer enjoys by virtue of being a cheap producer.
- For example, it costs three times more to transport grapes from India to the Netherlands than it does from Chile to the Netherlands, although Chile is twice as far from the destination as India
- India’s transportation costs are, on average, 20-30 percent higher than those of other countries mainly due to a fragmented supply chain. This fragmentation is itself the result of policies that have inhibited investment, integration and competition in transport, storage and distribution
- There is a huge gap between the stringent health, safety, and quality standards required by foreign governments and buyers, especially in the richer countries, and the weak standards and assessment mechanisms in India.
- Exclusion from institutional credit sources, the dependence on informal sources of credit, such as agricultural input dealers was high. The level of indebtedness were also alarming.
- With limited insurance against unforeseen events, small and marginal farmers were at greater risk.
- Over the decades, the average size of land holdings has fallen.
- With the centralised political leadership, farmers have also lost their bargaining powers as traders, business classes, organised employees and the larger middle class landscape have tended to influence governments because of their strategic urban locations.
- There has been an observable decline in groundwater levels and not much has improved in storage and post-harvest risk management.
- Other reasons like:-
- The changed pattern of land holdings
- Changed cropping pattern due to shift from light to cash crops
- Liberalisation policies which pushed Indian agriculture into the global markets without a level playing field
- Growing cost of cultivation
- Uncertainty of crop output
- Lack of effective agricultural marketing
- Lack of profitable prices, indebtedness, neglect of agriculture by the government and its agencies, decline of public investment, individualisation of agricultural operations constitute the vicious cycle a farmer is trapped in
- Create an integrated and competitive domestic agricultural market and improve communication, transport, storage, distribution, and agricultural support services.
- Providing farmers better access to services from transportation to distribution will enhance the economic gains from, and strengthen the political case for, agricultural trade liberalization.
- Implement M.S. Swaminathan committee report on MSP.
Topic: Environmental pollution
- Indian environment has been deteriorated remarkably in the past 50 years due to rapid decline in natural resources and severe increase in pollution level. Depletion of forests, population growth, vehicular emissions, use of hazardous chemicals and various other undesirable human activities are mainly responsible for this degraded scenario of environmental health in India.
- It is, in fact, rendering considerable economic loss to the country and warrants serious attention of policymakers, administrators, scientists and people altogether to save the environment and humanity and to provide generational equity.
- Mottainai is a Japanese word that literally means wasteful. It is used to express dismay at wasteful actions.
- Cherishing the “mottainai” spirit, Japan has cultivated a culture that follows the 3Rs: reduce (garbage), reuse, and recycle.
India can and will succeed:-
- India is focusing in ensuring proper sanitation and hygiene through Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and including mottainai principle in the solid waste management rules 2016 will ensure effective segregation of waste at the household level itself .
- India is moving towards renewable energy ,electric vehicles in sync with commitments made at the global level like the Paris agreement in the spirit of Mottainai principle and reduce air pollution.
- To uphold this principle the government needs to push for polluter pays principle along with ensuring the rivers pollution free through clean Ganga mission.
- There are measures being taken to conserve forests and wildlife like tiger census, focus on reducing man animal conflicts, create underpasses for animals in highways etc.
- India is focusing on afforestation ,planting trees and other conservation strategies to ensure forests are not destroyed.
- With implementation of Mottainai principle India can effectively reach the targets of sustainable development goals.
Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology; Awareness in biotechnology
- Over the years, congenital and hereditary genetic diseases have risen sharply in India. It causes about 1.7 million birth defects a year and is the third most common cause of death in newborns.
- The emergence of genetic and lifestyle disorders in India needs urgent attention. Genetic services in India are still in the budding stage and not easily feasible for the rural population. A limited number of trained genetic counselors also limits the efficiency of the services.
Reasons why India needs to create indigenous genetic panels for genetic disease screening:-
- Screening for genetic diseases is an expensive and less-than-efficient process across India. This is because the country has not yet developed indigenous genetic panels specific to its native populations but continues to depend on European genetic panels, except for prenatal genetic testing, which is specific to Indian populations.
- Once indigenous panel is created, screening any number of individuals for specific diseases becomes cost-effective and efficient.
- Once Indian panels are made, experts predicted a dip in cost for screening individual patients, ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1,000 as against the initial sum of Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 lakh required for sequencing a family of four at present.
- The European panels against which Indian DNA is screened mostly prove ineffective because genes that mutate and cause abnormalities which are not the same among the two geographical-genetic regions.
- Also, about 60-70% of the mutations found in European population clusters, with reference to a single disease, might not occur among Indian people.
- Genetic screening will potentially be helpful in developing effective strategies for early detection, prevention, and better management of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer(India has one of the highest patients), which will have a positive impact on healthcare in India.
- Early detection can save precious time and costs involved in treatment
- Indigenous genetic panels can make Indians understand genetic health patterns in the family in a better way .
- So India needs a pan-Indian, whole-genome sequencing exercise that will determine the genetic types which exist within its geographical boundary.
- The US-based ThinkGenetic and Mapmygenome, a personal genomics company in Hyderabad, have joined hands to improve genetic services and diagnostics for providing better preventive healthcare. More such partnerships need to be encouraged.
Topic: Agriculture – cropping pattern
Why this question?
Very important question for Mains. Related to syllabus (in two topics). It’s in news.
Key demand of the question:
There are two demands: One, explain why India is the only Bt cotton-growing country facing the problem of pink bollworm infestation, and Second demand is examining ISSUES related to use of Bt-Cotton in India (issues such as monopoly, resistance, government policy, seeds, farmer suicides etc)
Examine– Present relevant facts from article to meet question’s demand. No opinion required.
Structure of Answer:
In the introduction write 2-3 lines about the paradox of increase in cotton production in India by using BG cotton and how it has resulted in crisis also (resistance, super-weeds, suicides etc).
In the body, divide answer into TWO main parts: First part for to explain why India is facing pink-bollworm infestation whereas China and other countries are not facing. Write reasons (given in article) in point-format. Try to categorise them (such as hybrids related, saving and selling of seeds etc)
In the Second part, write about issues. Categorise into 4-5 such as monopoly, resistance, government policy, seeds, farmer suicides etc. Within each provide data, facts and examples.
Please refer to this ARTICLE for more points (to add in issues).
In the conclusion write why sound policies matter in reducing woes of farmers and how Bt cotton saga is a sound example for this.
- The loss caused by the pink bollworm infestation have raised questions about the sustainability of GM cotton, which accounts for over 90% of all cotton grown in the country. Bt cotton, as GM cotton is known, is the only commercialised GM crop in the country.
Reasons India is facing the problem :-
- The pink bollworm grew resistant because India restricted itself to cultivating long-duration hybrids since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002. All other Bt cotton-growing countries mainly grow open-pollinated cotton varieties rather than hybrids.
- Hybrids are financially more attractive to Indian seed companies because they offer a “value capture mechanism”.
- When Monsanto licensed its BG and BG-2 traits to Indian seed companies, the agreement restricted the introduction of these traits to hybrids only.
- India is the only country whose intellectual property laws have never prevented its farmers from either saving or selling seeds.
- Over 70 countries that are members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, for example, allow farmers to reuse seeds from a protected plant variety, but not to sell them.
- Hybrids lose their genetic stability when their seeds are replanted. This compels farmers to repurchase seeds each year, protecting corporate revenues.
- Not only are hybrids expensive, they are also bigger and bushier, forcing farmers to cultivate them at low densities 11,000 to 16,000 crops per hectare. This is suboptimal when countries like the U.S. and Brazil plant cotton at 80,000 to 100,000 per hectare.
- Introduction of the Bt gene into only one parent of Indian hybrids, as is the practice, is itself a problem.
- The resulting hybrids are hemizygous, which means that they express only one copy of the Bt gene. So, they produce cotton bolls that have some seeds toxic to the pink bollworm and some that are not.
- The pest does its most damage in the latter half of the cotton-growing season and does not consume any other crop that grows then. So, the long duration of Indian cotton crops, between 160 and 300 days, allows this pest to thrive and evolve resistance more quickly than it can for short-duration crops. Contrast this with other cotton-growing countries which strictly terminate the crop within 160 days.
- Monsanto’s second generation insecticidal technology for cotton, was supposed to protect crops against the pink bollworm, the pest has grown resistant to the toxins produced by this trait. As a result, farmers now spend more on pesticides to control infestations.
- Use of unapproved Bt cotton, lack of planting of non-Bt crops next to Bt cotton and early planting and prolonging the life cycle of the plant.
- More profitable crops like pigeon pea are grown, making matters worse
- All this leads to the worms attacking Bt cotton plants.
Issues with Bt cotton in India :-
- The seeds are more expensive than local, non-genetically modified varieties
- The seeds cannot be reused and farmers need to buy new stock for every growing season
- The diffusion of illegal Bt hybrids that hadn’t been cleared for biosafety standards, leading to fears of environmental toxicity. There were more than 1000 varieties of cotton hybrids and uninformed and vague choices on the part of the farmers led to stagnant production these Bt hybrids were unsuitable for rain-fed cotton lands.
- Cotton is also plagued by use of illegal herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton seeds.
- South Asia Biotechnology Centre estimated that in 2017-18 the sale of herbicide tolerant seeds almost trebled to 35 lakh packets from the previous year, with Telangana, Maharashtra and Andhra being the top consumers.
- Many of these hybrids are susceptible to sap-sucking insects, leaf-curl virus and leaf reddening, adding to input costs.
- Thousands of farmers have died in India, after having been allegedly forced to grow GM cotton instead of traditional cps.
- Normal cotton seed is largely unavailable to Indian farmers because of Monsanto’s control of the seed market.
- Governments are vast repositories of knowledge, and this crisis must encourage India bring changes in the way the Bt cotton is cultivated .
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;
Why this question?
It is an issue related to practical ethics. Quota in sports is an issue that is debated worldwide, especially in countries such as South Africa which are victims of racism.
Key demand of the question:
Justify why you agree or disagree that it’s ethical to provide quotas in cricket.
Justify– Based on sound arguments, you should prove that it’s either ethical or unethical to provide quotas in sports.
Structure of Answer:
In the introduction write 1-2 lines about need for providing equal opportunities in sports to all sections of population and take a stand whether it’s ethical/unethical/or both.
In the body, with the help of 4-5 arguments that are based on rights, duties, fairness, equity, equality etc, argue with suitable examples why providing quota is ethical or unethical.
Here, make sure that some data is provided to prove underrepresentation/over-representation /equal-representation of weaker sections in sports.
In support of your argument(if say it’s ethical) provide supporting facts such as quota policy Cricket South Africa (CSA).
Write all arguments in small paragraphs.
In the conclusion, reiterate your stand and write a line that how even the constitution seeks to provide equality in all fields, and cricket or any other sports should not be an exception.
Tip: For questions like this, argue that it’s ethical/right to provide quotas (be pro-poor and weaker sections)
After years of Independence, the sporting culture has thoroughly failed in equalising opportunities for the most disadvantaged sections of the population. The vast majority of the children of vulnerable sections cannot afford better sports facilities other than in the government schools where the quality is abysmal.
The invisibility of vulnerable sections like dalits,adivasis in Indian cricket is both a result of voluntary and involuntary layers of socio-economic discrimination culminating in almost immovable structures of caste and class exclusion making cricket more of an elite sport. From the 1950s to the 1990s the game was mostly upper-caste and Brahmin-dominated.
It is that these vulnerable groups simply do not have the opportunities as the game is more big city dominated as well. Their better presence and glorious contributions in football, hockey and athletics show what is possible with sufficient support.
People consider merit is compromised when reservation is given in sports but south Africa is one of the top cricket teams in the world despite a quota policy. Because of that support from south African cricket policy where a minimum of six players should be colour, and at least two players black African, has democratised the game unimaginably and world got to see greats like Hashim Amla, Rabada etc.
Therefore, the time to discuss reservation and other measures to broaden diversity in Indian cricket and to demolish the myth of merit is definitely here. The contours of these policies need careful deliberation .Inequality is not guaranteed to be reduced just because quota is given in cricket but it’s a start.
Indian IPL league is the example where the new talent unearthed got to play with the river legends due to the capping policy only improved the quality of the sport .When Indian constitution focuses on creating equal opportunities to people from all backgrounds in all fields cricket should be no exception.