SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 JUNE 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 JUNE 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: Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Ancient Indian temple architecture evolved over the centuries from simple rock-cut cave shrines to massive and ornate temples. Discuss.(250 words) 

Reference

Why this question

The question is related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the origin and evolution of Indian temple architecture. We have to discuss how the  ancient temple architecture was shaped around India and how it evolved over the time.

Directive word

Discuss-  This is an all-encompassing directive which means that we have to write in detail about the origin of temple architecture in India, how they evolved over time different temple styles in India, their main features etc.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the reasons for building the early temples and mention the bhakti movement which laid down the model temple architecture for the coming millenia.

Body

  • Discuss the main parts of the temple and how further parts were added to the parent structure.
  • Discuss the Buddhist influence, contribution of further dynasties like the Guptas etc.
  • Bring out the important differences and common points between two main temple architecture styles in India ( Dravidian vs Nagara style).
  • Mention the materials used and how they changed over time. Mention a few important  temples of India with marvellous architecture.

Conclusion- Mention the regional variations which produced exquisite samples of beauty but more or less the temple architecture in India followed a similar plan and evolution.

 

Background:-

  • There was a gradual evolution starting from the rock cut- cave templesto monolithic rathas which finally culminated in structural temples.

Transition:-

  • Cave temples:-
    • Influenced by early Buddhiststructures such as the stupa, the first Hindu temples were built from rock-cut caves and repeated the idea of relief panels and the decorative gavaska window form.
    • Then, with the arrival of Gupta architecturein the 4th to 5th century CE, the first free-standing Hindu temples were constructed with features such as towers and projecting niches.
    • Materials used:-
      • The first materials used were wood and terracotta, but architects gradually moved on to brick and stone, especially sandstone, granite, schist, and marble.
      • No mortar was used in the older temples and so precise cutting of dressed stones was required.
    • Outstanding examples of influential cave temples include those at Udaigiri in Malwa and date to the 5th century CE. Early free-standing temples survive at Deogarh and include the 6th century CE Dasavatara temple dedicated to Vishnu.
    • Although freestanding structural temples were being built by 6thcentury (Shore temples, Mahabalipuram), rock-cut cave temples continued to be built in parallel. Subsequently, rock-cut cave architecture became more sophisticated as in the Ellora caves, culminating ultimately the monolithic Kailashanāth Temple
  • Hindu temples:-
    • What is it?
      • The Hindu temple (mandir) is laid out according to the eight cardinal directions, and a god representing each one (dikpala) may sometimes be represented in sculpture on the temple’s exterior.
      • Built on an elaborately carved platform (adhisthana), the temple is often referred to in ancient Hindu texts on architecture (the VastuShastras) as the sacred mountain
    • Examples:-
      • 11th century CE Kandariya Mahadeva temple at Khajurahoand 12th century CE Rajarani temple at Bhubaneswar are outstanding examples of this effect.
    • Characteristics changed over time:-
      • Early temples consisted of only a garbhagriha,but over time additions were built and copied across temple sites to create, by the 10th century CE, a canonical architectural style.
      • The most obvious of these features were a portico entrance (ardhamandapa) and pillared hall (mandapa) which led to the garbhagriha
      • Above the garbhagrihaa huge tower was constructed, the sikhara.
      • Other features like Mandapa, Kalasha, Dhvaj stambh got added later.
      • One of the earliest examples incorporating these features can be found in Aiholi and the 8th century Durga temple, whilst one of the most ornate is the 12th century CE Nataraja Temple at Chidambaramin the Tamil Nadu.

Classification of temples into Nagara, Dravida and Vesara :-

  • Architecture evolved slightly differently in different regions with mostly North Indian temples having Nagara style and South Indian having Dravida style.
  • Nagara style:-
    • It is common here to build an entire temple on a stone platform with steps leading up to it.
    • Unlike in south India, it doesn’t usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
    • Earliest temples had only one shikhara (tower), but in the later periods, multiple shikharas came.
    • The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.
  • Dravida style:-
    • Unlike the nagara temple, the Dravidatemple is enclosed within a compound wall.
    • The front wall has an entrance gateway in its centre, which is known as Gopura/ Gopuram.
    • The shape of the main temple tower is known as Vimana (shikhara in nagara style).
    • The vimanais like a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically rather than the curving shikhara of north India.
    • In south India, the word Shikhara is used only for the crowning element at the top of the temple which is usually shaped like a small stupika or an octagonal cupola (this is equivalent to the amalaka or kalasha of north Indian temples).
  • The Vesara stylehas characters of both.
    • The Gadag styleis a feature of the Western Chalukya temples and it is characterized by ornate columns.
    • The Kalinga architectureis different. It has Rekha Deula,Pidha Deula and Khakhara Deula types of temples. Out of them the Khakhara Deula is essentially of a female deity such as Durga or Chamunda. Konark Sun temple is a Pidha Deula.

Conclusion:-

  • Temple architecture evolved over the centuries and despite some regional variation it arrived at a standard arrangement which involved a huge walled complex with massive decorative gateways giving entrance to a sacred space of lesser shrines dominated by the main temple and its monumental series of towers.  

Topic: Redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization.

2) What were the main aims of the foreign policy of the United States? What was the reason for the military intervention of the United States in Vietnam? What were its consequences?(250 words) 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the principle objective of the foreign policy of USA which has guided it’s world view. Thereafter, the reasons why US intervened in Vietnam and the impact of it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that the events in the question happened during cold war and it was a period when two superpowers were playing the game of one-upmanship.

Body – discuss the key contents of the foreign policy of USA in 20th century and post 2nd world war which guided it’s outlook – can look at Woodrow wilson’s 14 point agenda. Thereafter, mention the reason that led to USA’s involvement in Vietnam – Domino theory. Finally, discuss the impact that Vietnam war had on USA and the world.

Conclusion – Mention that USA believed that it had to play the role of global policeman which is being challenged with the emergence of multiple superpowers today.

American foreign policy:-

America’s foreign policy has changed over time reflecting the change in its national interest. As a new nation after the Revolutionary War, America’s prime national interest was to maintain its independence from more powerful European countries. Through the 19th century, America concentrated on creating a nation that spanned the continent, and it avoided foreign entanglements. Once industrialized and more prosperous, it began looking for foreign markets and colonies. 

By the turn of the 20th century, the United States had become a minor imperial power, fighting a war with Spain for Cuba and the Philippines and annexing Hawaii and several other territories. World War I engaged the United States in European affairs, but after the war, a wave of isolationist feeling swept the country. Refusing membership in the League of Nations, America turned inward once again.

Emerging from World War II as the most powerful economic power on Earth, the United States changed its foreign policy dramatically. It took the lead in founding the United Nations. It invested billions of dollars through the Marshall Plan to help strengthen war-devastated European democracies. It created a system of alliances, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Central to America’s foreign policy in the post-war period was the containment of the Soviet Union and communism. During the Cold War, the United States and its allies competed with the Soviet Union and its allies militarily, economically, and ideologically. Both sides created massive military forces and huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Although the two superpowers never went to war, the policy of containment led the United States into the bloody Korean and Vietnam wars. 

Reason for US to intervene in Vietnam:-

  • Communist threat:-
    • The S.government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of the domino theory of a wider containment policy, with the stated aim of stopping the spread of communism.
    • The idea that if one country in Southeast Asia fell to the communists, the entire region would fall, and the ripple effects would be felt throughout the Asia-Pacific world, informed US thinking
    • Kennedy asserted that Americans would “pay any price, bear any burden” to support democratic nation building as a way to counter communist advances in Asia
    • American policymakers desires to prove that the U.S. was actually committed to stopping the spread of communism formed the ideological foundation of America’s approach to Vietnam over the course of four presidencies. 
  • Cold war tensions:-
    • The global context is also important because Cold War tensions between the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China also shaped events related to the Vietnam War. 
    • As the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China vied for alliances with newly independent countries, Vietnam became one of the proving grounds on which all three countries tried to make their mark. The U.S. gave economic and military aid to South Vietnam, while the Soviet Union and China offered similar assistance to North Vietnam.
  • S. intervention was a gradual process that included economic aid, diplomacy, politics, presidential personalities, and military force. Regional alliances in Southeast Asia and superpower tensions between the U.S., China, and the Soviet Union set the international context for the war.

Consequences:-

·         Impact on Vietnam:-

    • The North Vietnamese army – the NVA – massacred thousands of South Vietnamese after the Americans had left. Many people tried to flee South Vietnam (eg the “boat people”).
    • The Vietnamese had to fight wars against Cambodia and China before their independence was secured.
    • Vietnam was ruined – its infrastructure was destroyed, thousands of its people had been killed, and its farmland was polluted by American chemical warfare. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

o   The most immediate effect of the Vietnam War was the staggering death toll.

o   The war killed an estimated 2 million Vietnamese civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese troops, 200,000 South Vietnamese troops, and 58,000 U.S. troops. Those wounded in combat numbered tens of thousands more

o    In 1969, around 1,034,300 hectares of forest was destroyed. “Agent Orange“, one of major herbicides used, has left a serious ecological and human impact on Vietnamese people’s lives.

·         America:-

    • 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam.
    • The war had cost so much that President Johnson’s Great Society programme of social reform had to be cancelled.
    • America had failed to “contain” communism. In 1973, Nixon announced that America was abandoning the Truman Doctrine. It was nearly 20 years before America again intervened militarily in world affairs.
    • The domino theory was proved to be wrong. The fall of South Vietnam to communism was not immediately followed by a similar effect in other countries.
  • Combined with the Watergate scandal, it inspired widespread public distrust of the U.S. government and made the military less popular, at least in the short term.
    • News of atrocities such as the killings at My Lai lost the US its claim to moral superiority, and its status as the world’s defender of freedom and right.
    • 700,000 Vietnam veterans suffered psychological after-effects.
    • U.S. government spent around $350 billion to $900 billion on the Vietnam War including veteran benefits and interests, which left a heavy burden on its economy.
    • The Vietnam War thoroughly changed the way the American approaches military actions.
  • World:-
    • Lead to the propagation of NAM as a popular way of attainment of individual national identities instead of aligning with the super powers.
    • Communist countries still existed and slowly China started rising.

General Studies – 2


Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.

3) Lateral entry in government at Joint Secretary level comes not a day too soon. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Financial express

Indian express

Why this question

Lateral entry in government service is an idea often discussed and has finally been implemented. Analyzing this decision is important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the pros and cons of the move and express our opinion on whether lateral entry is much needed at present.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the advertisement by GoI regarding lateral entry.

Body – Discuss the pros and cons of the move. In pros section analyze the recommendations of the various committees which have analyzed this question, our past experiences, requirement in modern economy where state has taken the key seat, in depth knowledge of subjects for policy making etc. Discuss the cons such as lack of on ground experience, little idea about the administrative leviathan etc. Present your view on whether the move is a right one considering the time we live in.

Conclusion – Mention the way forward.

 

Background:-

  • The lateral-entry idea is most recently mooted by NITI Aayog in its Three Year Action Agenda and Indian government acted on it. While the first Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), in 1965, had outlined the need for administrative services personnel to have specialised skills, the second ARC, in 2005, had recommended that a transparent method of doing this be institutionalised.

It is a very good idea:-

  • Earlier experiences showed good results:-
    • Lateral entry has been used in the past to harness top talent from outside the civil services. Mr. Manmohan Singh, Nandan Nilekani, Ahluwalia etc served at various positions in the government and have showed promising results on ground .
  • Helps in getting private sector expertise:-
    • Various private sector experts have also been appointed as officers on special duty, ranked between under-secretary and secretary, to ministers. Institutionalising lateral entry, thus, makes it easier for the country to benefit from private sector/non-UPSC talent.
  • Deals with vacancy issue as well:-
    • The move will also address the drying up of the talent pool at the top level as there is an overall shortfall of about 20% in just IAS officers in 24 state cadres. The 2016 BS Baswan committee report pointed out that many large states suffer from a pronounced deficit of IAS officers, leading to their reluctance to depute officers for central posting. 
  • Lateral entry will also address many structural problems the present system suffers from:-
    • For instance, the seniority criteria in promotions has meant many talented lower ranked officers take a long time to get appointed to posts where their skills could have significant impact in the immediate run.
  • Focuses on merit:-
    • While the education threshold for eligibility in the current notification is set at the graduate-degree level, higher qualifications will be an advantage. The call is for outstanding individuals with expertise in the relevant fields.
  • Specialists:-
    • The move could be a significant step towards fulfilling the longstanding need for domain specialists in positions crucial to policy-making and implementation of government schemes.
    • Specialists coming from outside are likely to bring fresh ideas and help improve outcomes.
    • Complexities of policy-making are such that senior civil servants are required to have in-depth knowledge of the areas they administer. This can be provided by lateral entry.
    • This will force all other services to specialise. The department-hopping will stop, and officers will prefer to build their expertise in one or two sectors where they are best suited. A spirit of competition will also emerge.
  • International examples:-
    • In the United States for instance, presidents have appointed people to their cabinet who have vast private sector experience along with government service.
    • Through the past decades it has become clear that the quality and content of decision making in China has been upgraded substantially by bringing in higher levels of specialised expertise for different sectors of the economy

The idea is criticized due to the following reasons:-

  • Lateral entry system is a disruption as there is a risk that due process might not be followed and ill-qualified, political appointees will land up in senior positions of the government and hurt public interest.
  • Lateral entry does open the risk and prospect of powerful corporate groups placing their men in key positions of government.
  • Also people who are recruited in this way might lack ground experience and also have little idea about the administrative leviathan

Conclusion :-

  • The method should be transparent so as to build trust with the establishment bureaucrats and the public at large
  • Bringing in subject matter experts is welcome, provided they are not bound by the government rulebook and are allowed to implement their solutions effectively.

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures

4) Analyze the feasibility of holding simultaneous election in India in the near future? (250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The question of feasibility of simultaneous elections is a hotly analyzed topic currently and important for Mains.

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to discuss in detail the feasibility of holding simultaneous elections from various perspectives – constitutional, functional etc. We also need to provide a way forward.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that the question  of simultaneous elections is a hotly discussed topic in indian polity. Explain what do you mean by it.

Body – Discuss the feasibility of holding simultaneous elections from various perspectives – constitutional, functional etc. Mention the problems that might arise as a result of holding simultaneous elections. Examine how can we solve those issues.

Conclusion – Present a fair and balanced view and the way forward

Background:-

  • The current government time and again supported the idea of holding simultaneous elections to panchayats, urban local bodies, states and Parliament.
  • The Law Commission of India has also proposed holding simultaneous state and general elections and has sought public opinion on its recommendations regarding the same. Simultaneous elections were held in India during the first two decades of independence.

Merits:-

  • Governance and consistency:-
    • Parties and workers spending too much time and money in electioneering, can make use of the time for social work and to take people-oriented programmes to the grassroots.
    • To overcome the “policy paralysis and governance deficit” associated with imposition of the Model Code of Conduct at election time which leads to putting on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
  • Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
  • It is felt that crucial manpower is often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower would be made available for other important tasks.
    • For instance for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which was held along with 4 state assemblies saw the deployment of 1077 in situ companies and 1349 mobile companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • During frequent elections there is increase in “vices” such as communalism, casteism, corruption and crony capitalism.
  • Continuity:-
    • Will limit the disruption to normal public life associated with elections, such as increased traffic and noise pollution
  • Simultaneous elections can also be a means to curb corruption and build a more conducive socio-economic ecosystem. 
  • Simultaneous elections can bring the much-needed operational efficiency in this exercise

The idea is good in principle but there are several practical difficulties as follows:

  • Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
    • There is a 77% chance that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and centre, when elections are held simultaneously.
    • Evidence from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, the US and Europe supports the idea that elections that are held simultaneously produce greater alignment between national and regional election outcomes.
  • Functional issues:-
    • Frequent elections bring the politicians back to the voters, create jobs and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
    • There is a dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
  • The following constitutional changes need to be made:-
    • Amendments needed in the following articles:-
      • Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment
      • Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president)
      • Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures)
      • Article 174 (relating to dissolution of state assemblies)
      • Article 356 (on President’s Rule).
    • The Representation of People Act, 1951 Act would have to be amended to build in provisions for stability of tenure for both parliament and assemblies. This should include the following crucial elements:
      • Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
      • A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act
    • Articles 83 and 172 along with articles with articles 14 and 15 of the 1951 act be appropriately amended to incorporate the provision regarding remainder of the term i.e.., post mid elections ,the new loksabha/assembly so constituted shall be only for the remainder of the term of the previous loksabha or assembly and not for a fresh term of five years.
    • Constructive vote of no confidence:-
      • The 170thlaw commission report suggested a new rule i.e., rule 198-A has to be added to rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok sabha and similar amendment to such rules in the state legislatures.
      • The report suggested introduction of motion of no confidence in the incumbent government along with a motion of confidence in the alternative government.
    • To avoid premature dissolution of the house/state assemble in case of Hung parliament /assembly and to advance simultaneous elections the rigour of anti defection law laid under in tenth schedule be removed as an exception.
    • Local and national issues will get mixed up distorting priorities.
    • The terms of different state governments are ending on separate dates and years.

Way forward:-

  • Standing committee recommended a cycle of elections, according to which elections to some legislative assemblies whose term end within six months to one year before or after the election date could be held during the midterm of Lok Sabha .For the rest of the states, elections could be held along with the general elections to Lok Sabha.
  • Cost can be brought under control by ensuring that the legal cap on expenditure of candidates is followed by all parties 
  • Accomplishing one year one election will be easier as it doesn’t require as many legal amendments as simultaneous polls for which the Centre will have to make five amendments to the Constitution.
  • The Law Commission of India in its report of 1999 has dealt with the problem of premature and frequent elections. It had recommended an amendment of this rule on the lines of the German Constitution, which provides that the leader of the party who wants to replace the chancellor has to move the no-confidence motion along with the confidence motion. If the motions succeed, the president appoints him as the chancellor.
    •  If such an amendment to Rule 198 is made, the Lok Sabha would avoid premature dissolution without diluting the cardinal principle of democracy that is a government with the consent of the peoples’ representatives with periodical elections.
    •  It will also be consistent with the notion of collective responsibility of the government to the House as mentioned in Article 75 (3) of the Constitution.

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal
associations and their role in the Polity.

5) Discuss the reasons behind high prevalence of child labour in India. Also, discuss the legal mechanism in place to address the issue.(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question

12 june is celebrated as the World Day Against Child Labour. In India, Child labour is highly prevalent and a common sight across the country. There are legal mechanisms in place to address the issue. Although there are various issues associated with child labor, the question wants us to describe the reasons behind child labor and  legal mechanisms in place only.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the reasons behind high prevalence of child labour in India and it wants us to simply describe the legal mechanism in place to address the issue.

Directive word

Discuss- We have ro write at length about both the parts of the question- reasons behind as well as legal mechanisms in place.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention some statistics about prevalence of child labor in India. E.g International Labour Organization’s World Report on Child Labour etc.

Body

  • Discuss in points the reasons behind high prevalence of child labour in India.

E.g poverty, family tradition, social and economic backwardness, social and economic backwardness, cheap labor, poor compliance with the  law etc.

B, discuss the legal mechanisms in place to address the issue.

E.g Fundamental rights under article 21-A, 24; right to education, Mines Act, The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act etc.

Conclusion- Mention the need to curb the problem of child labor in India and also suggest a few points as to what should be done in this matter.

Background:-

  • India’s 2011 census shows that there are  more than 10.2 million “economically active” children in the age group of five to 14 years – 5.6 million boys and 4.5 million girls.

Reasons for high prevalence of child labour :-

  • The poverty and illiteracy of a child’s parents with the family’s adverse social and economic circumstances leads to parents being vulnerable to sending their children for work.
    • It leads to a child’s “need” to contribute to the family income,
  • Lack of awareness about the harmful effects of child labour
  • Lack of access to basic and meaningful quality education and skills training
  • High rates of adult unemployment and under-employment
  • The cultural values of the family and surrounding society.
  • Children are also bonded to labour due to a family indebtedness. Out of school children (OOSC) or those children at risk of dropping out can easily be drawn into work and a more vulnerable to exploitation.
  • Girls, especially those from socially disadvantaged groups, tend to be at a higher risk of being forced into work.
  • Due to conflicts, droughts and other natural disasters, and family indebtedness.
  • Rural poverty and urban migration also often exposes children to being trafficked for work.
  • Children are employed because they are cheap and pliable to the demands of the employer and not aware of their rights. The risks that these children face can have an irreversible physical, psychological and moral impact on their development, health and wellbeing.
  • Child labour is now more invisible because the location of the work has changed from the more formal setting of factories, to business owners homes. There has also been an increasing involvement of children in the home-based and informal sectors.
    • Children are engaged in manual work, in domestic work in family homes, in rural labour in the agricultural sector including cotton growing, at glass, match box and brass and lock-making factories, in embroidery, rag-picking, beedi-rolling, in the carpet-making industry, in mining and stone quarrying, brick kilns and tea gardens amongst others.
  • Families unable to sustain themselves force their underage kids to beg.

Legal Mechanisms available:-

  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act(1986) to prohibit the engagement of children in certain employments and to regulate the conditions of work of children in certain other employments
    • It excludes a section of toiling children in the unorganized sectors including agriculture, as well as household work.
  • National Policy on Child Labour(1987), with a focus more on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations and processes, rather than on prevention.
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act2000 and amendment of the JJ Act in 2006: includes the working child in the category of children in need of care and protection, without any limitation of age or type of occupation.
    • Section 23 (cruelty to Juvenile) and Section 26 (exploitation of juvenile employee) specifically deal with child labour under children in need of care and protection.
  • The Right to Education Act2009 has made it mandatory for the state to ensure that all children aged six to 14 years are in school and receive free education. Along with Article 21A of the Constitution of India recognizing education as a fundamental right, this constitutes a timely opportunity to use education to combat child labour in India.
  • Amendments made to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act prescribes severe punishment for people found guilty of retaining bonded labour.
    • The amendment stipulates rigorous imprisonment for those who force children to beg, handle or carry human waste and animal carcasses.
  • The draft National Policy for Domestic Workers, when goes into force, will ensure minimum Rs.9,000 salary for household helpers.
  • Every police station in the country has a separate cell for juvenile, women and child protection.
  • Many NGOs like Bachpan Bachao Andolan, CARE India, Child Rights and You, Global march against child labour, RIDE India, Child line etc. have been working to eradicate child labour in India.

Constraints remain:-

  • Multiple forms exist:-
    • Child labour is not uniform. It takes many forms depending upon the type of work that children are made to do, the age and sex of the child and whether they work independently or with families.
    • Due to this complex nature of child labour, there is no one strategy that can be used to eliminate it.
  • The absence of national legislation to give effect to global conventions on the employment of children in hazardous industries, as well as on the minimum age of work.
  • The lack of harmony between global commitments and domestic priorities.
  • Incoherency between laws that prescribe a minimum age for employment and those for completion of compulsory school education. It also means that the expansion of quality universal basic education has to extend beyond the fulfilment of statutory provisions.
  • Lack of effective labour inspections in the informal economy. Around 71% of working children are concentrated in the agriculture sector, with 69% of them undertaking unpaid work in family units.

Way forward :-

  • Abolition of child trafficking, elimination of poverty, free and compulsory education, and basic standards of living can reduce the problem to a great extent. 
  • Strict implementation of labour laws is also essential in order to prevent exploitation by parties or multinational companies
  • Education:-
    • Spreading literacy and education is a potent weapon against the practice of child labour, because illiterate persons do not understand the implications of child labour
    • The single most effective way to stem the flow of school-aged children into child labour is to improve access to and quality of schooling.
  • Another way to stop child labour is to eliminate or rein in unemployment. Because of inadequate employment, many families cannot afford to meet all their expenses. If employment opportunities are increased, they will be able to let their children read and write and become worthy citizens
  • Continued progress against child labour requires policies that help mitigate the economic vulnerability of households. Accelerating progress towards universal social protection is key, as social protection helps prevent poor households from having to rely on child labour as a coping mechanism.
  • Attitude change:-
    • It is important that the attitudes and mindsets of people are changed to instead employ adults and allow all children to go to school and have the chance to learn, play and socialize as they should.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

6) Indian agriculture has entered the era of permanent surpluses, which is further worsening the condition of the farmers. Critically Comment.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

Although Indian agriculture suffers from several perennial problems, permanent surpluses have only been a recent phenomena. Instead of ameliorating the condition of the farmers, the phenomena has further hurt the farmers. The issue is related to GS 3 syllabus under the following heading-

Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge/ understanding of the issue and present our opinion. We have to explain how Indian agriculture has entered the permanent surplus era, what impact it has on farmers and what should be done in this regard.

Directive word

Critically Comment- We have to express our personal opinion and understanding of the issue backed by adequate and proper/valid justification.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the meaning of the term permanent surplus  in agriculture.

Body-

  • Discuss some statistics related to agricultural production and mention examples of places where farmers faced the problems of surplus production coupled with lower prices.
  • Discuss how India has reached trade surplus- technology, infrastructure, diffusion and adoption rate of technology/ innovation etc.
  • Discuss the good and bad of permanent/ near-permanent surplus in agricultural production.

Conclusion– Express your opinion in the form of what should be done in this matter- e.g providing proper knowledge inputs to farmers etc.

 

Background:-

  • Traditionally, the supply in most crops was like no matter the price, the quantity harvested and sold remained virtually the same. In the recent times  it is supply response i.e.., the ability of farmers to increase production when prices go up is happening.

Reasons:-

  • Technology:-
    • Better seeds and faster diffusion of technology have made a difference. HD-2967 wheat variety released in 2011, could cover 10 million hectares area in a single season within five years. 
    • Similarly impactful has been Co-0238, a cane variety that not only yields more crop per hectare, but also more sugar from every tonne crushed. First planted in 2013-14, it now accounts for well over half of the cane area in North India.
    • With planting of hybrids paddy yields have gone up from 15 quintals to 25 quintals per acre even in the Adivasi areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. 
    • The technologies be it hybrid seeds, high-density cultivation using tissue-cultured plants, or drip irrigation  have been implemented.
  • Government push and infrastructure development:-
    • The Operation Flood programme helped boost India’s milk production from 22 mt in 1970-71 to 66.2 mt in 1995-96. 
    • More scientific dairying husbandry practices as investments in infrastructure of especially rural roads and electricity which have enabled milk to be procured from the interiors and chilled at village collection centres.
  • Due to surplus production India has food security and exports would increase leading to revenue generation ultimately benefitting the whole economy

How this hurts farmers:-

  • Consumer bias:-
    • In most years, for the majority of agri-products, the policymakers used restrictive export policies to keep domestic prices low. This showed the pro-consumer bias in the policy complex.
  • Aggressive cultivation led to plunge in demand:-
    • Once prices have increased farmers cultivated the crop aggressively leading to plunging of prices.
    • Two years ago, garlic fetched an average Rs 60 per kg rate in Rajasthan’s Kota mandi. Enthused by it, farmers in the Hadoti region planted more area, only to see prices halve last May.
    • Similar was the case for other vegetables.
  • Farmers income remained low:-
    • India had record food production in 2017-18, but farmers income remained low and stagnant.
  • The government continues to use old draconian measures, including stocking restrictions and bans on exports and futures trading, to even small increase in food prices. Such steps may bring temporary relief to consumers, but end up hurting farmers.
  • Factors which complicate the above issue are:-
    • Lack of adequate storage facilities lead to wastage. For instance farmers dump truckloads of vegetables on road.
    • Land degradation has become a major challenge and cost of farming is constantly rising with usage of fertilizer, pesticides, expensive seed varieties, machinery, labour cost, rise in fuel prices, vagaries of monsoon. This further complicates the livelihood of farmers
    • In India, farmers are poor due to low productivity (yield per hectare) of all major crops. 
  • Prevalence of APMC markers, trader cartels due to which low price for agri produce is offered specially due to bumper crop production.
  • A bumper crop can pull down prices in wholesale markets. Price spikes after a poor crop are inevitably dealt with through cheap imports in a bid to protect consumers. The opposite is done less frequently. The bountiful rains of 2016 resulted in record farm output. Prices crashed. Farmers are reported to have not been able to even recover the cost for some crops.
  • The prospects of a good monsoon pushed up rural wages. The reality of rock bottom prices then destroyed profit margins.

Way forward:-

  • One way to reduce price risk is through price deficiency payment, which has been advocated by NITI Aayog. In price deficiency payment, farmers can be compensated through direct benefit transfer if prices fall below a predetermined threshold level. For this, farmers may be asked to register with relevant details at the nearest mandi. A deeper derivative market in agricultural commodities will also help farmers in hedging against price risks
  • Actual impact of higher remunerative farm prices can be contained by making markets more efficient and removing middlemen from the system.
  • Building a common agriculture market is also necessary.
  • Government policy should focus not just on higher production but also on helping farmers manage risks.
  • First increase productivity through:-
    • It is observed that farmers are now using more urea as compared to phosphorus and potash carrying fertilisers.
    • Indian soils are also deficient in micro-nutrients organic carbon. We need to implement the government’s policy of integrated nutrient management to increase productivity.
    • There is a need to bring more and more cultivable area under micro-irrigation (drip/sprinkler irrigation), which would greatly reduce consumption of water while increasing productivity.
  • Agricultural extension services need strengthening, to impart new scientific knowledge to farmers. This should be facilitated through noted NGOs and companies in agro-business.
  • Further, each district should have 2-3 centres where farmers can meet and exchange knowledge on matters of crop insurance, banking and supply of inputs etc. These centres should assist them to integrate with eNAM for getting better price of their produce.
  • India needs to create centres of excellence in our agricultural universities for preparing region-wise strategies to raise crop yield.
  • The report of the committee on Doubling of Farmers Income has made some recommendations to resolve land pooling and other issues. If it happens, it may also lead to collaborative farming, in which a group of farmers can start their own venture. 

 


General Studies – 4


TOPICEthics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

7) Discuss the  ethical frameworks through which the act of suicide could be debated.(250 words) 

Reference

Why this question

The question is related to GS 4 syllabus under the following heading-

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to mention and describe different ethical frameworks ,which debate the ethical aspects of the act of suicide. We have to discuss the individual frameworks and their main philosophy/ questions/ pursuits etc.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which means that we have to write in detail about the key demand of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Give a simple ( preferably legal) definition of the act of suicide.

Body

Discuss in points, different ethical frameworks through which the issue of the act of suicide can be debated.

Mention and discuss the theologian, libertarian, consequentialist, Kantian frameworks and what are their key philosophies. What question they ask and what answers they seek.

Conclusion– Form a fair and balanced  personal opinion the overall issue of suicide, based on your understanding, convictions and more importantly the above-held discussion.

Answer:-

Suicide is a prevalent and persistent feature of human society. According to the WHO, approximately 800,000 people per year commit suicide. Suicide is the intentional and voluntary taking of one’s own life. However the point is that describing an act of self-killing as “suicide” is not always straightforward as sometimes people do it voluntarily and sometimes they are forced to take extreme action due to the circumstances imposed on them.

There are four different frameworks for thinking about the ethics of suicide:

The theological framework, bases its ethic of suicide on theological premises. The typical theistic view being that either life is a gift from God that we cannot revoke or we are God’s property/creation and in choosing to end our own lives we would violate his authority over us. This means that suicide is always and everywhere ethically wrong. 

 

The libertarian framework is based on libertarian moral and political theory. Libertarians typically believe that we have a natural right of self-ownership, A permissible attitude toward suicide follows from this. If we choose to end our lives, that is our right. The rights of others and the duties one owes to them may count against the permissibility of suicide. For instance, a parent’s caregiving duties toward their child would seem to block the permissibility of suicide.

 

Consequentialist framework looks to the potential consequences of suicide to determine whether it is forbidden, permissible or obliged. Given that consequences vary with the context, the consequentialist attitude toward suicide also varies greatly: sometimes it is permissible, sometimes it is forbidden, sometimes it is obliged. Consequentialist view allows you to take into account a whole range of factors when determining the permissibility of suicide, including the impact on others and one’s prospective quality of life.

Therefore the big problem for all consequentialist theories is that they can lead to counterintuitive conclusions. For instance, if killing an innocent person would help to avert mass social unrest and upheaval, then it seems like the consequentialist should do it. This is despite the fact that the innocent person has done nothing to deserve this treatment.

 

The Kantian framework is a non-consequentialist approach, focusing on our duties towards ourselves and others, and appealing to the concept of dignity. Kantian view is usually thought to imply that suicide is impermissible. The simplest argument for this is that killing oneself is incompatible with respect for one’s dignity.