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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 AUGUST 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 AUGUST 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 – Indian Art and Culture

1) Discuss the evolution of rock cut architecture in India? Examine why cave no 16 of Ellora Caves is considered as the epitome of rock cut architecture in India?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Rock cut architecture forms an important part of architectural history of India and is an important topic in art and culture section of GS1.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain in brief the various stages of rock cut architecture in India with special emphasis on Kailasa temple of Ellora.

Directive word

Discuss – In your discussion, the various stages of rock cut architecture, their religious (or otherwise) significance, evolution of their design, purpose for which they were used etc are to be mentioned.

Examine – In this part, you have to discuss why Kailasa temple of Ellora is considered as one of the greatest specimen of rock cut architecture in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that rock cut architecture occupies a very important place in the history of Indian Architecture. The rock-cut architecture differs from traditional buildings in many ways. The rock-cut art is more similar to sculpture than architecture as structures were produced by cutting out solid rocks

Body – Discuss the evolution of rock cut architecture from early caves like Bhimbetka, Mauryan era rock cut architecture such as Barabar caves. Emphasize on the fact that during Mauryan rule such caves spoke  volumes of the policy of religious tolerance undertaken by emperors who were otherwise Buddhists. Discuss about the cave temples, chaityas and viharas such as those found in Ajanta and Ellora. Discuss the dynasties under which they flourished and how they evolved over time, especially in the case of temple architecture where rock cut architecture formed the first stage of temple construction in both Dravida and Nagara style of temple building.

Examine the reason why Kailasa temple is considered as the epitome of rock cut architecture. Mention that it was constructed during Rashtrakuta period and examine architectural brilliance of the cave no 16. Kailash temple shaped as a chariot is regarded as one of the most magnificent cave temples in India. Construction of this megalith is attributed to the 8th century king Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty in 756-773 CE. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple showcases fine architectural works including relief panels depicting the two main Hindu Epics namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Pallava and Chalukya styles of architecture are noticed in this cave temple which is decorated with carved sculptures including that of gods and goddesses from the Hindu Puranas, mystical beings such as divine musicians and nymphs and figures depicting fertility and good fortune.

Conclusion – Mention that these caves form a rich part of our cultural heritage and provides an insight into the architectural brilliance of the era gone by.

Background:-

  • The Rock-cut structures present the most spectacular piece of ancient Indian art specimen. Most of the rock-cut structures were closely associated with various religions and religious activities. The rock-cut art is more similar to sculpture than architecture as structures were produced by cutting out solid rocks.

Evolution of rock cut architecture in India:-

  • The Oldest surviving rock-cut architecture is the Barabar caves, Bihar built around 3rd Century BC. Some of these caves, most of which trace back to the 3rd century BC during the rule of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), bear Ashokan inscriptions.
  • Other early cave temples were used by Buddhist and Jain monks as places of worship and residence found in western India.
  • Buddhist cave architecture reflected in the form of caves date back from 100 BC to 170 AD. At some places there are traces of wood being used and this indicates imitation of wooden construction of that period.
  • The earliest cave temples include the Bhaja Caves, the Karla Caves, the Bedsa Caves, the Kanheri Caves and Ajanta Caves. These caves are related to Buddhism. 
  • Later caves were associated with Hinduism and Jainism. Caves are found at different places like Ellora, Elephanta, Badami etc. There are variations in the architectural elements according to the religions.
  • Slowly the rock cut architecture formed the first stage of temple construction in both Dravida and Nagara style of temple building.
  • The Pallava architecture shows the transition from the Rock Cut Architecture to the Stone built temples.
    • The earliest examples of the Pallava art are the rock cut temples of the 7th century AD, while the later examples are of structural temples built in 8th and 9th century.
    • The rock cut reliefs of the Pallavas are the earliest surviving royal portraits after the Kushana images.
    • Mandagapattu rock cut temple-This temple has the icons of large Dwarapalas which later became a characteristic of almost all south Indian temples.

Why cave no 16 is considered as the epitome of rock cut architecture in India:-

  • Kailash temple considered as one of the most colossal age-old rock-cut Hindu temples forms cave temple number 16 of Ellora, which is counted among the largest rock-cut monastery-temple caves complexes of the world and marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Maharashtra, India.
  • Among the 100 caves of Ellora, 34 caves are open to public of which the Kailash temple shaped as a chariot is regarded as one of the most magnificent cave temples in India.
  • Construction of this megalith is attributed to the 8th century king Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty in 756-773 CE.
  • Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple showcases fine architectural works including relief panels depicting the two main Hindu Epics namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
  • Pallava and Chalukya styles of architecture are noticed in this cave temple which is decorated with carved sculptures including that of gods and goddesses from the Hindu Puranas, mystical beings such as divine musicians and nymphs and figures depicting fertility and good fortune.

Topic – Salient features of Indian Society

2) Elderly women are the worst sufferers of nuclearization of Indian families. Examine.(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Reference

Why this question

The question tries to analyze the impact of nuclearization of families on status of elderly women and the nature of problems they face.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the status of elderly particularly women in India. Thereafter, we need to explain the reason why their status is so. Discuss the steps taken for improving their status and the impact of such steps. We need to finally provide a way forward.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is meant by nuclearization of families.

Body

  • Discuss the status of elderly in India particularly – elderly women – projected that the proportion of Indians aged 60 and older will rise from 7.5% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2025, much higher dependency ratio among females as opposed to males etc
  • Discuss why elderly women face issues – lack of geriatric care infrastructure, changing family structure and its impact, lack of social support, social inequality, availability, adequate mess and affordability of health care etc
  • Discuss what steps has the government taken to address this and what more can be done

Conclusion – Explain why is it necessary to focus on this section of the population and give suggestions for way forward.

 

Background :-

In 2009, there were 88 million elderly people in India. By 2050, this figure is expected to soar over 320 million. Between 2000 and 2050 the overall population of the country is anticipated to grow by 60 per cent whereas population of people of age 60 years and above would shoot by 360 per cent.

Situation of elderly women in India:-

  • By 2050, women over 60 years would exceed the number of elderly men by 18.4 million, which would result in a unique characteristic of ‘feminisation’ of the elderly population in India as is being experienced in many provinces of China.
  • Changing family structure:-
    • Many are forced to either live in a house uncared for or leave their homes with nowhere to go to.
    • Although the degree of isolation may vary, with urbanisation and nuclear families on the rise, elderly women living in metropolitan cities are more likely to feel socially alienated than their rural counterparts.
    • The traditional norms and values of Indian society also laid stress on showing respect and providing care for the elderly. However with the emerging prevalence of nuclear family set-ups in recent years, the elderly are likely to be exposed to emotional, physical and financial insecurity in the years to come.
    • Due to the ever increasing trend of nuclear families, elder care management is getting more difficult, especially for working adult children who find themselves responsible for their parents well-being. Managing home care for the elderly is a massive challenge as multiple service providers nursing agencies, physiotherapists and medical suppliers are small, unorganized players who extend sub-optimal care. 
  • Lack of infrastructure:-
    • Lack of physical infrastructure is a major deterrent to providing comfort to the aged. 
  • Health issues:-
    • Challenges of health security get aggravated by the fact that elderly women often tend to underplay their ailments.
    • Emphasis on geriatrics in the public health system is limited with few dedicated geriatric services. The other issues of the public health system are lack of infrastructure, limited manpower, poor quality of care and overcrowding of facilities due to insufficient focus on elderly care.
  • Gender discrimination:-
    • They face life time of gender-based discrimination. The gendered nature of ageing is such that universally, women tend to live longer than men.
  • Widowhood:-
    • In the advanced age of 80 years and above, widowhood dominates the status of women with 71 per cent of women and only 29 per cent of men having lost their spouse. The life of a widow is riddled with stringent moral codes, with integral rights relinquished and liberties circumvented.
  • Societal influence:-
    • Social mores inhibit women from re-marrying, resulting in an increased likelihood of women ending up alone.
    • Social bias often results in unjust allocation of resources, neglect, abuse, exploitation, gender-based violence, lack of access to basic services and prevention of ownership of assets.
  • Ageing women are more likely to get excluded from social security schemes due to lower literacy and awareness levels.
  • Failure of government schemes:
    • Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) failure:
      • The number of old age homes the Centre supports under the Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) has seen a decline from 269 homes in 2012-13 to a dismal 137 in 2014-15.
      • The Centre has asked State governments to ensure that there are old-age homes whose functioning can be supported under IPOP, but since it is optional for the State governments to do so, the total number of old-age homes remains abysmally low.
    • Concerns with Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in 2007
      • Despite this, however, it is a fact that most people in India would rather suffer than have the family name sullied by taking their own children to court for not providing for them.
      • This need to maintain a facade is combined with a lack of knowledge of rights, the inherent inability of the elderly to approach a tribunal for recourse under the law, and poor implementation of the Act by various State governments.
    • The elderly in India are much more vulnerable because of the less government spending on social security system.
  • Lack of insurance:-
    • Social isolation and loneliness has increased. Insurance cover that is elderly sensitive is virtually non- existent in India.
    • The preexisting illnesses are usually not covered making insurance policies unviable for the elders. 

Important measures taken by government :-

  • The National Assistance Program consists of five sub-schemes:-
    • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
    • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
    • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme(IGNWPS) introduced in the year 2009,provides BPL(Below Poverty Line) widows in the age group 40 to 64(later revised 40 to 59) with a monthly pension of Rs. 200 per beneficiary.
      • After they attain the age of 60,they qualify for pension under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme(IGNOAPS).
    • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
      • Eligibility: Individuals aged 18 years and above with more than 80% disability and living below the poverty line.
      • Amount: ₹300 (US$4.70) per month (₹500 (US$7.80) for those 80 years and above).
    • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
      • In the event of death of a bread-winner in a household, the bereaved family will receive lumpsum assistance of ₹20,000 (US$310).
      • The bread-winner should have been between 18–60 years of age. The assistance would be provided in every case of death of a bread-winner in a household.
    • Annapurna Scheme
      • This scheme aims to provide food security to meet the requirement of those senior citizens who, though eligible, have remained uncovered under the IGNOAPS.
      • Under the Annapurna Scheme, 10 kg of free rice is provided every month to each beneficiary.
    • Vayoshrestha Samman is a Scheme of National Awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment initially in 2005. 
    • Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in 2007.
      • The model Act makes it obligatory for children or relatives to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents.
    • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
      • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana has been launched in April 2017 to provide Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
      • This is a 100% Central Sector Scheme, to be fully funded and implemented by the Central Government. The scheme has been launched for three years up to 2019-20.
      • The eligible persons for this scheme are senior citizens from BPL category, suffering from any of the age related disability / infirmity such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and locomotor disability. Such persons would be provided assisted-living devices.
    • Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY):
      • To provide social security  during old age and  protect elderly persons  against a future fall in  their interest income due  to uncertain market  conditions. 

Way forward and conclusion:- 

  • As a signatory to Mipaa, India has the responsibility to formulate and implement public policy on population ageing.
    • Issues of poverty, migration, urbanisation, ruralisation and feminisation compound the complexity of this emerging phenomenon. Public policy must respond to this bourgeoning need and mainstream action into developmental planning.
  • Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.
    • The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
    • Increasing social/widow pension and its universalisation is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
  • Renewed efforts should be made for raising widespread awareness and access to social security schemes such as National Old Age Pension and Widow Pension Scheme. Provisions in terms of special incentives for elderly women, disabled, widowed should also be considered.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Ideals of the Constitution achieved since Independence”

3) Preamble contains the aims and aspirations of the constitution. Explain what those aims are? Discuss whether the ideal of secularism has undergone a change since independence? (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain in depth the aims and aspirations contained in the preamble. Special focus is on understanding secularism, as envisaged by our founding fathers, changes brought by 42nd CAA, and the status of India at present wrt secularism.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that preamble based largely on objective resolutions contain the key to opening the mind of constitution makers, contains the ideals that the constitution wants us to achieve.

Body – Explain in detail the meaning of each of the ideal listed in Preamble. Explain secularism in greater depth. Describe the nature of secularism in India. Explain that secularism was introduced in the Preamble by 42nd CAA. It is however, immaterial as the provisions of the constitution, particularly Article 27 describes the nature of Indian secularism. Mention the controversies associated with secularism – the debate wrt amending the preamble to include secularism, the present social situation in India and how we stand wrt secularism. Mention that the provisions of constitution particularly Part III guarantees right to religion to each individual, community etc.

Conclusion – Mention that while there may be conflicts on surface, the nature of secularism will be determined by the provisions of constitution, protected by the Supreme Court courtesy Article 32.

 

Background:-

  • No reading of any Constitution can be complete without reading Preamble from the beginning to the end .It is the Preamble wherefrom the Constitution commences. Hence, the significance of the Preamble.

How the preamble contains the aims and aspirations of the constitution :-

  • It will be seen that the ideal embodied in the Objectives Resolution in 1947 is faithfully reflected in the preamble to the Constitution, which as amended in 1976 summarises the aims and objects of the Constitution.
  • The Preamble suggests that the sovereignty resides with the people and the fact that all powers of government flow from the people. Indian national freedom movement had represented the spirit of freedom of the people of India. Therefore, it had a moral legitimacy to use the word, ‘we the people’ in the Preamble to the Constitution of India.
  • The usage of words Sovereign, Socialistic, Secular, Democratic and Republic reflects the aspirations and expectation of people that how independent India should be.
    • Sovereign is a reflection of the spirit of independence attained after centuries of subordination to foreign rule.
    • The word Socialistic signifies that the ownership & control of the material resources of the community are distributed as best to subserve the common good & decentralization of material resources of wealth.
  • The preamble ensures social, economic and political justice for all its citizens. Justice means equality. All are equal in the eyes of law. Preamble also ensures the Liberty, which is essential for the development of individual personality.
  • Preamble also ensures equality, fraternity, unity and integrity of nation. Unity in diversity has been the hall mark of Indian nationalism. Indian democracy is based on the commitment of maintaining the unity and integrity of the nation, for this equality and fraternity are essential.
  • The whole of Indian Constitution is an elaboration of the preamble. It aims at establishing a better society on the basis of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity and the preamble commits the Constitution to a social revolution. Hence Preamble reflects the entire philosophy & goal of the people underlying the Constitution.
  • The importance and utility of the preamble has been pointed out in several decisions of our Supreme Court. Though by itself, it is not enforceable in a court of law, the preamble to a written Constitution states the objects which the constitution seeks to establish and promote and also aids the legal interpretation of the constitution where the language is found to be ambiguous.
  • For a proper appreciation of the aims and aspirations embodied in Indian constitution, therefore India must turn to the various expressions contained in the preamble
  • A preamble helps in interpreting the provisions of the constitution.
    • It can be looked at when some article is ambiguous.
    • It also explains the object of the constitution. While summing up, it can be said that a preamble is introduction of an enactment.
    • Although it is not an integral part of the constitution, it explains introduction, reasons, intent and scope of the constitution.
    • The Preamble does not grant any power but it gives direction and purpose to the Constitution .It outlines the objective of the whole Constitution.
  • The Preamble contains the fundamentals of constitution. It serves several important purposes, as for example:-
    • It contains the enacting clause which brings the Constitution into force.
    • It declares the basic type of government and polity which is sought to be established in the country.
    • It declares the great rights and freedom which the people of India intended to secure to its entire citizen.
    • It throws light on the source of the Constitution, viz., the People of India.
    • The Preamble can also be used to shed light on and clarify obscurity in the language of a statutory or, constitutional provision. 
    • The preamble acts as the preface of the constitution of India and lays down the philosophical ideas.
    • It also states the objects which the constitution seeks to establish and promote.
  • Preamble as Projector of ‘Desired Established State’
    • The Preamble proclaims the solemn resolution of the people of India to constitute India into a ‘Sovereign socialist secular democratic republic’. 
  • Preamble as Interpreter of Legislation and statutes:
    • The Constitution of India starts with a preamble which contains the spirit of the constitution. Every legislation framed is in conformity with the spirit of the preamble and thus the constitutionality and objects of the statutes are tested.

How ideal of secularism changed since independence:-

  • While the constituent assembly members agreed on the nature of the Indian state adhering to secular principles, the word ‘secular’ was dropped from the preamble. It made an appearance though, about three decades later as part of the 42nd Amendment of the constitution.
  • The secularism is embedded in our constitutional values. When India is said to be a secular State, it does not mean that that we exalt irreligion. Indian State will not identify itself with or be controlled by any particular religion.
  • With the passing of the 42nd amendment, the spirit of secularism which was always part and parcel of the Constitution was formally inserted into its body.
  • Article 27 describes the nature of Indian secularism. Article 27 provides that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds whereof are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination. That means that State’s revenue cannot be utilised for the promotion and maintenance of any religion or religious group. 
  • Not only in fundamentals rights protected by the Right to Constitutional Remedies, but the Principle of Secularism has been incorporated (although implicitly) in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) and the Fundamental Duties as well.
    • In the DPSP, the Articles of 38, 39, 39A, 41 & 46 not only attempt to promote equal opportunity for growth and sustenance for all, but these principles, coupled with the most basic objective of the state, the doctrine of ‘Parens Patriae,’ promote secularism in all of its form.
  • The Supreme Court repeatedly held the view that a religious institution has freedom to manage its own affairs in matters of religion.
  • After the 1990s, India has been unsuccessfully struggling for a secular society with a neoliberal state that practically destroyed the legitimacy of any kind of shared ethos, supplanting it with an aggressive market-oriented competitive ethic.
  • However over the years minorities who are left feeling insecure in their heart due to earlier riots and religiously influenced violent incidents is unable to digest uneven economic development. Concealing of religious groups through ethnics lines is practiced.
  • Political parties primarily address communities through religious propaganda. They systematically put leader and workers belonging to a religion in the region where that specific religion’s follower are in majority. They reinforced to attach their identity to a community, religion, ethnicity.

Conclusion:-

  • Preamble of the Constitution of India is one of the best of its kind ever drafted. Both in ideas and expression it is a unique one. It embodies the spirit of the constitution to build up an independent nation which will ensure the triumph of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • Re-imagining secularism as a social philosophy of compassion and an art of friendship with strangers is an imperative pre-condition to guide state policy.

Topic– Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4) BRICS has two baskets of issues: one is intra-BRICS Cooperation and the other is Global Governance. There has been considerable work done on the former, not so much on the latter. Critically analyze in context of the recent Johannesburg Summit of BRICS?(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Why this question

Too many developments are taking place in international relations, such as trade wars, weakening of NATO, JCPOA issue etc impacting all major powers of the world. It is upto BRICS to fulfill its potential as an alternative to West dominated discourse and institutions. At the same time, there are also issues amongst the members of BRICS over contentious topics like terrorism etc. Examining these dynamics within BRICS is critical while preparing this topic for GS2 mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain in detail the two basket of issues described above – intra BRICS and inter BRICS. Next we need to explain how BRICS is responding to these issues. Thereafter we need to examine the statement mentioned in the question that BRICS is focussing more on intra BRICS cooperation rather than on issues of global governance. Our fair and balanced opinion on this is solicited at the end.

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 that the recently concluded 10th BRICS summit has taken place at an important conjuncture in history with events such as Russian outreach by USA, trade antagonism between China and USA, USA’s sidelining of NATO etc. Mention that these events have significance both for inter BRICS cooperation and global governance.

Body

  • Discuss the issues confronting BRICS – the dynamics of India China Russia relationship, economic cooperation among BRICS, confronting the common challenge of terrorism, job creation, renewable energy etc. Discuss that BRICS is seen as institution that would take forward the issues of developing world.
  • Examine actions taken by BRICS for enhancing intra BRICS cooperation as well as the steps taken by BRICS in response to wider needs of the developing world. For instance, we can talk about cooperation on AI, skill building, confronting terrorism etc and how the progress of BRICS has been on these issues. Furthermore, we will highlight the steps taken by BRICS on issues of global governance such as NDB and CRA operationalization which challenges the hegemony of western financial institution, talks of a BRICS rating agency, stand against JCPOA etc
  • Finally, we need to analyse the statement made in the question . We need to explain that BRICS has gotten primarily a geo economic agenda where it seeks to ensure that the economic concerns of the global south finds prominence. Its efforts in global governance have been directed in this direction.

Conclusion – Give your view on the performance of BRICS and the way forward.

Background :-

  • After 10 years of international vicissitudes since its inception, BRICS has developed into a brand-new power promoting the constructive reform of global governance and its main representatives have defended the interests of emerging market economies and developing countries, creating a golden decade.
  • After 10 years of development, BRICS’s economic aggregate has increased its portion from 12 percent to 23 percent of the world economy, and their aggregate trade volume has increased from 11 percent to 16 percent of the world total. Its voting share in the World Bank rose to 13.24 percent, its International Monetary Fund (IMF) share climbed to 14.91 percent, and its contribution rate to world economic growth has now exceeded 50 percent.

Initial goals of BRICS :-

  • Reform of global financial governance, democratisation of the United Nations, expansion of the Security Council  etc.
  • Formation of BRICS was largely driven by Geo economic agenda and less by geopolitical motives.

Intra BRICS cooperation:-

  • BRICS has grown in influence, expanded the arc of its interests, and established new institutions and partnerships in its first decade.
  • Cooperation:-
    • BRICS first decade saw each of the members laying down groundwork for cooperation, from identifying areas of convergence on political issues to improving economic ties.
    • Today there is a fair degree of cooperation on issues such as trade, infrastructure finance, urbanisation and climate change.
    • A multi-layer framework of pragmatic cooperation has been established in dozens of fields, such as economy and trade, finance, industry and commerce, agriculture, education, healthcare, science and technology, culture, think tanks and twinned cities. This pragmatic cooperation has imposed great influence on the international community.
  • Ministerial meetings:-
    • The level of engagement between its members, ranging from high-level summit and ministerial meetings to various working groups and conferences, has only deepened over that time.
  • People to people connections:-
    • Moreover, the five members have made modest progress in people-to-people connections. Platforms such as the BRICS Academic Forum and Business Council have proved to be useful in improving their understanding of each other’s industry, academia and government.
  • All five face similar problems in areas like health, education, inclusive growth, gender equality, urbanization, peace and security, cyber and internet.
  • In the last decade, there has been significant exchange of ideas in all these fields both in Track 1 (government) and Track 2 (academic and non-government). These interactions have resulted in learning from each other’s experiences and adoption of best practices.

Global governance:-

  • On global governance issues, all five are on the same page. They all agree, as do most of the developing world, that the post-World War 2 global order is not fair and equitable and in the drastically changed scenario today, those institutions have to be comprehensively reformed if they have to remain relevant.
  • Undoubtedly, the two most notable achievements of the BRICS have been the institutionalization of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement.
    • They mark a shift from political rhetoric to delivering concrete results, alleviating some of the skepticism surrounding the BRICS initiative.
    • They offer credible alternatives to the Atlantic system of global governance.
  • By giving equal voting rights to its founding members and improving reliance on local currencies, the BRICS members are attempting to create a new, non-Bretton Woods template for the developing world to emulate.
  • The five-nation group of emerging economies BRICS has agreed to set up an independent BRICS Rating Agency in its efforts to challenge western hegemony in the world of finance
  • BRICS firmly supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear issue.
  • Renewable energy forms an area of great importance keeping in view the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 
  • Johannesburg declaration:-
    • BRICS, as per the Johannesburg Declaration, wants the international community to establish a genuinely broad counter-terrorism coalition as well as supporting the world body’s central coordinating in combatting terrorism.
    • To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, BRICS countries emphasised the need for multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the Conference on Disarmament.

Issues:-

  • Despite achieving a moderate level of success over the last decade, two recent events have brought the divergence between the BRICS members into sharp focus.
    • The first is the recent military standoff between India and China on the Doklam plateau, which has effectively brought to an end the naive notion that a comfortable political relationship is always possible amongst the BRICS members.
    • The second is China’s efforts at creating a ‘BRICS plus’ model, a thinly veiled attempt to co-opt nation states, which are integral to its Belt and Road Initiative, into a broader political arrangement.
  • Both of these events highlight how the foundational principles of BRICS – respect for sovereign equality and pluralism in global governance – are liable to be tested as the five member countries pursue their own national agendas.
  • India-China:-
    • India is wary of China’s moves in the South China Sea, in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region. It is more concerned about China’s activities in South Asia in context to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. China hasn’t supported India’s bid at the UN Security Council and the NSG membership. 
  • Economic differences:-
    • The economic irregularities between member countries are a matter of concern itself, for e.g. disparity in per capita income, foreign reserve etc. The countries are active only on economic forum but lacks in voicing concern on global issues like terrorism and climate change.
  • China-Russia proximity has been a continuing factor. Given its political and economic travails, Brazil played a low-profile role.
  • India would have liked to build on the BRICS Xiamen declaration where Pakistani outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba were named in the joint declaration but this did not happen.

Way forward :-

  • They must reaffirm their commitment to a multipolar world that allows for sovereign equality and democratic decision-making. Only this approach will strengthen multilateralism.
  • They must build on the success of the NDB and invest in additional BRICS institutions.

 

  • It will be useful for BRICS to develop an institutional research wing, along the lines of the OECD, which can offer solutions distinct from western-led knowledge paradigms and which is better suited to the developing world.
  • Countries can consider a BRICS-led effort to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN’s sustainable development goals. This could include, for example, setting up a BRICS energy alliance and an energy policy institution. 
  • The BRICS nations can also consider expanding the remit of their cooperation to address emerging areas of global governance such as outer space, the oceans and the internet.
  • The BRICS members must encourage direct interactions between their constituents. In the digital age, seamless conversations amongst people, business and academia can foster relationships, which are more likely to cement the future of this alliance than any government efforts.
  • Universally accepted fundamentals like Globalisation, Free and Open Trade, an inclusive global order, respect for International Law and multilateralism are under threat of being undermined. The centrality of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO) is also being questioned. It is a good opportunity for BRICS to take the leadership in these areas.

Topic – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

5) Discuss the role of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS)  in developing the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and in engaging them in nation-building activities.(250 words)

Yojana Magazine, July 2018 issue.

Why this question

Youth form a special age-group on account of their immense potential as well on being going through a transitional phase of life. A number of schemes and programmes have been supporting youth development across India and NYKS and NSS are probably the most important of them.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the role of NYKS as well as NSS in developing the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and in engaging them in nation-building activities.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Mention that India has the largest demographic dividend and the world’s largest youth population. Present some related statistics and write a few lines on the need to build the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and engaging them in nation-building activities.

Body

  1. Discuss the role of NYKS. e.g launched in 1972, mention its objectives it is the world’s largest youth organization with presence in 623 districts; provides- training on youth leadership and community development; Youth Convention and Yuva Kriti; Yuva Adarsh Gram Vikas Karyakram; Tribal Youth Exchange Program; Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Programme etc.
  2. Discuss the role of NSS. E.g mention its objectives; established in 1969 and ideologically inspired by Mahatma Gandhi; activities- rendering community services especially in adopted village or urban slum; Republic Day Parade; Adventure camps; National INtegration Camps; voluntary work on diverse set of social, medical, economical issues in the society etc.

ConclusionBased on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


Background:-

India’s youth are an unparalleled resource for innovation and leadership, a potential engine to drive economic and social progress and propel India’s development. Harnessing their energy and enthusiasm through volunteerism will require investments in education and health, as well as country-wide mechanisms to engage them.

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS)

  • NYKS launched in 1972 is one of the largest youth organisations in the world.
  • The objective is to develop the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and to engage them in nation building activities. They are: 
    • Training on youth leadership and community development: 
      • The programme aims at enhancing the capacity of young people to take up leadership roles to help others to live a meaningful life and contribute towards nation building. 
    • Youth Convention and Yuva Kriti: 
      • The programme is organised annually by all district NYKS to provide opportunity and platform to rural youth leaders to display products and express themselves, share experiences and suggest best practices for youth empowerment. 
    • Yuva Aadarsh Gram Vikas Karyakram: 
      • The programme aims at developing one village in selected districts as a model village by the youth for the youth. 
      • The activities include making the villages open defecation free, 100% immunisation, 100% enrolment of children in primary school, cleanliness, preventive healthcare etc. 
    • Tribal Youth Exchange Programme: 
      • The programme is organised every year with funding from the Ministry of Home Affairs. 
      • The youth drawn from areas affected by left-wing extremism are taken to other parts of the country to sensitise them to the rich cultural heritage of the country, to expose them to development activities and to enable them to develop emotional linkage with the people in other parts of the country.
    • Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Programme: 
      • The programme aims to promote the spirit of national integration through a deep and structured engagement between all Indian states and union territories through a yearlong planned enagemmnet between states, to showcase the rich heritage and culture of either state for enabling people to understand and appreciate the diversity of India. 
    • Youth clubs:-
      • It channelizes the power of youth on the principles of voluntarism, self-help and community participation.
      • Over the years, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan has established a network of youth clubs in villages, where Nehru Yuva Kendras have been set up.
      • NYKS has targeted to identify areas of harnessing youth power for development by forming Youth Clubs, which are village level voluntary action groups of youth at the grassroots level to involve them in nation building activities.
      • The core strength of NYKS lies in its network of youth clubs. Youth Clubs are village based organizations working for community development and youth empowerment.

National Service Scheme (NSS) :-

  • NSS was launched in 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. ‘Education through Service’ is the purpose of the NSS. 
  • Some areas in which NSS volunteers work are education, health, family welfare and sanitation, environment conservation, social service programmes, programmes for improving the status of women, relief and rehabilitation during disasters etc.
  • Camps are held annually, funded by the government of India, and are usually located in a rural village or a city suburb. Volunteers may be involved in such activities as:
    • Cleaning
    • Afforestation
    • Stage shows or a procession creating awareness of such issues as social problems, education and cleanliness
    • Awareness Rallies
    • Inviting doctors for health camps
  • In some institutions volunteers are involved in regular blood donation and traffic control (regulating queues in temples and preventing stampedes at functions).
  • The volunteers gain confidence by participating in the NSS activities. They get to know how to make plans in order to complete a task. As they work for betterment of the people who are living below the standard in very poor living conditions they are helping in the development of the country.

General Studies – 3


Topic-  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6) Beyond merely funding civil works,  PMGSY seeks to emphasize on managing the rural road network through green and climate resilient construction. Discuss.(250 words)

Yojana Magazine, July 2018 issue.

Why this question

The Government of India and the World Bank recently signed a dollar 500 million loan agreement to provide additional financing for PMGSY. Climate change has increased the vulnerability of rural road network and maintaining rural roads has been difficult. Thus it is important to know about the importance and the strategy of the project.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the need to emphasize on managing the rural road network through green and climate resilient construction and how the PMGSY seeks to achieve it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few lines about the extent of rural roads in India, the diverse and difficult terrain through which they pass, high cost of maintenance especially in the wake of climate change etc. mention about the partnership between World Bank and PMGSY in this direction.

Body

Discuss in points the strategy envisaged by the project. How they aim to manage the rural road network through green and climate resilient construction. E.g

Climate vulnerability assessment during the design process to identify the critical locations affected by natural hazards; special treatment for flood-affected areas through adequate waterways and submersible roads to allow easy passage of water and improved drainage; use of environmentally optimised road designs and new technologies which use  local and marginal materials and industrial byproducts in place of crushed rocks; innovative bridge and culverts through use of prefabricated units build roads and bridges having better ability to bit and earthquakes and water sources etc.

Conclusion–  write a few lines expressing the desirability of the project and how it could be further strengthened/ better complemented with other programmes- e.g Green Highways Project etc.

 

 

Background:-

  • India and the World Bank recently signed a $500-million loan agreement to provide additional funding for the centre’s flagship rural roads programme, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • Government has signed US $500 million loan agreement with World Bank to provide additional financing for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) rural road projects. The loan has maturity of 10 years along with 3 year grace period. It will provide additional financing for PMGSY Rural Roads Project to build 7,000 km of climate resilient roads, out of which 3,500 km will be constructed using green technologies.

PMGSY:-

  • PMGSY is fully funded centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2000.
  • It aims to provide single all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas with population of 500  persons  and  above  (in plain areas) and 250 persons and above (in Hilly States , desert Areas,  Tribal   areas   and   selected Tribal and Backward Districts). Union Ministry of Rural Development is nodal ministry for implementation of Scheme.
  • For this scheme, 75  paise  per  litre  has  been  earmarked out  of  cess  levied on high speed diesel. It considers habitation as unit for providing connectivity and not a revenue village. The scheme encourages use of “Green Technologies” and non-conventional materials for constructing rural roads.
  • Under PMGSY, the government aims to construct 7,000km of climate-resilient roads. Out of this, 3,500km will be built using green technologies.

Success:-

  • Roads are primary to any development agenda. PMGSY, since its inception in 2000, has been able to provide connectivity to 1,52,124 habitations (85.37% against 1,78,184 eligible habitations). Sensing the importance and urgency of rural roads for national development the target date for completion of PMGSY-I has been preponed from 2022 to 2019.
  • The PMGSY over the years has brought about a paradigm shift in the way rural roads are mapped, designed, monitored and built, involving communities, especially women.
  • The PMGSY and the world Bank’s involvement under this additional financing, will emphasize on managing the rural road network through green and climate-resilient construction using green, low-carbon designs and new technologies far beyond merely funding civil works.
    • Use of non-conventional, locally available construction materials and “Green Technologies” have been encouraged for climate resilient roads in PMGSY. There has been wide acceptability of these technologies. During the financial year 2017-18, a record length of 6,313 kms has been constructed using green technologies.
  • The Additional Financing will also fill the gender gap by creating employment opportunities for women in construction and maintenance.
  • The additional finance will bring a new shift in construction technology using green and low-carbon designs and climate-resilient techniques. Now, more rural communities will have access to better economic opportunities and social services. This new project will demonstrate how climate-resilient construction can be integrated in the strategy and planning of rural roads.
  • Success in states:-
    • Its implementation in states having a historical deficit of rural roads is staggering for its scope and size.
    • The pace of construction of PMGSY roads reached a seven-year high of 130 km per day in 2016-17 as against an average of 73 km during the period 2011 to 2014.
    • Not only has it ensured connectivity for perishable commodities, but helped ramp up productivity and wider distribution, primarily due to economies of scale. 
  • PMGSY not only strives to build roads but good quality roads. The in-built frame work of Quality Management mechanism in PMGSY is a combination of in-house quality control measures and independent verification at state and national levels.
    • The scheme also ensures climate vulnerability assessment during the design process to identify the critical locations affected by natural hazards, special treatment for flood-affected areas through adequate waterways and submersible roads to allow easy passage of water and improved drainage
    • It also uses innovative bridge and culverts through use of prefabricated units build roads and bridges having better ability to bit and earthquakes and water sources etc.
  • Transparency
    • As a measure of Transparency and Accountability, the scheme has put in place a Citizen Feedback system through the MeriSadak App. This provides a direct interface with the citizens and this G2C platform enables citizens to provide real time feedback on the implementation of the PMGSY programme.
  • Community Contracting initiative in Rural Roads:-
    • Maintenance software eMarg used in MP will be replicated in all states to streamline maintenance systems of rural roads.
  • Use of IT:-
    • Satellite imagery is being used to verify the completion of road length being reported by States on the programme software i.e. OMMAS as well as to verify habitation connectivity. 

Issues:-

  • Maintenance of the existing 4.6 million km of the road network is emerging as a major challenge in India
  • Many parts of the existing road network are either vulnerable to or have already suffered damage from climate-induced events such as floods, high rainfall, sudden cloud bursts and land-slides.

Conclusion:-

  • To support the rural economy and communities and households that depend on rural livelihoods, it will be critical to ensure that infrastructure is built and maintained to withstand climatic changes.

Topic–  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

7) India has made remarkable strides in renewable energy during the recent years, which has emerged as an integral part of the solution to nations energy needs. Discuss the steps taken by the government in this direction.(250 words)

Yojana Magazine, July 2018 issue.

Why this question

India’s renewable energy generation has expanded substantially in recent years to the extent that India is very close to achieve its 175 GW target. A number of initiatives have been taken by the government which have fuelled the growth in the sector.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the growth witnessed in India’s renewable sector vis a vis the targets set. It also wants us to write in detail about the initiatives which have been responsible for these achievements.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention india’s renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022 and present the growth story of the sector as witnessed in recent years in terms of some statistics- e.g around 38 GW capacity addition in last 4 years, increasing installed renewable energy capacity to 69 GW etc.

Body

Discuss in points the initiatives taken by the govt in this direction. E.g

Solar power- capacity of the scheme, “Development of solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects” has been enhanced from 20 GW to 40 GW; amendments in building bye-laws raising tax free solar bonds for solar projects, tariff-based competitive bidding process for purchase of solar power, central financial assistance for setting up rooftop solar PV ,Surya Mitra program for creation of qualified technical workforce for mandatory provision of rooftop solar for new construction or higher floor area ratio and making rooftop solar as a part of housing loans;

Wind power

Revised assessment to 302 GW potential; National Offshore wind energy policy.

Bio-energy

Central financial assistance for Biomass power projects, promotion of off-grid biogas power projects for captive power generation, family size biogas plants set up under the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme.

Amendments in tariff policy enhancement in Solar RPO to 8% by March 2022; introduction of RGO for coal/ lignite based power plants etc.

Conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

 

Background:-

  • The renewable energy sector in India has emerged as an integral part of the solution to meet the nation’s energy needs. 
  • There has been a visible impact of renewable energy in the Indian energy scenario during the last few years as India is on its way to achieving the 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. 

Recent Initiatives 

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has taken several steps for a clean energy future by 
    taking up the largest renewable capacity expansion programme in the world. 
  • Till March 2018, a capacity addition of 37.33 GW of renewable energy has been reported during the last four years with a total of 69 GW renewable energy installed capacity. 
  • In order to achieve the target of 175 GW by the year 2022, the ministry launched schemes on
    development of wind-solar hybrid power projects, biomass power and bagasse cogeneration,
    biomass gasifier for industries, scheme for development of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power 
    projects, grid connected solar PV power plants on canal banks and canal tops and biogas based grid power generation programme. 
  • Solar and wind power:-
    • Among all, the National Solar Mission is the most ambitious program which aims to promote solar energy for power generation with an aim of making levelized cost of solar energy competent with coal/gas based power generation. 
    • Historical low tariffs for solar and wind was achieved giving a big push to the renewable sector. 
    • Capacity of the scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects has been enhanced from 20 GW to 40 GW. 
    • Amendments in building by-laws for mandatory provision of roof top solar for new construction or higher floor area ratio and making roof top solar as a part of housing loan by banks. 
    • Provision of roof top solar system and 10% renewable energy as mandatory under guidelines for development of smart cities.
    • Raising tax free solar bonds for managing equity to setup solar projects.
    • Tariff based competitive bidding process for purchase of solar power. 
    • Surya-Mitra programme for creation of qualified technical workforce.
    • The Gujarat government launched Suryashakti Kisan Yojna (SKY) under which grid-connected solar panels will be provided to over 12,000 cultivators who have already taken regular electricity connections for irrigation purpose.
      • This is for the first time in the country that farmers will be able to produce solar energy, consume as much as they need and sell the remaining.
      • The biggest advantage of this project is that the farmers, after using required electricity generated from solar panels, can sell additional electricity to the government and earn good income out of it.
  • Wind power:-
    • In terms of wind power installed capacity, India is globally placed at 4th position after china, USA and Germany. 
    • India has long coastline where there is a good possibility for developing offshore wind power projects. The cabinet has cleared the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy. 
  • Bio-Energy 
    • Central financial assistance for biomass power project includes biomass gasification and bagasse co-generation. 
    • Promotion of off-grid biogas power project for captive power generation. 
    • Family size biogas plants mainly for rural and semi-urban households are setup under the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP).
  • Amendments in Tariff Policy
    • Enhancement in solar renewable purchase obligations to 8% by March 2022.
    • Introduction of renewable generation obligation for new coal/lignite based thermal plants. 
    • Waving off inter-state transmission charges for solar and wind power. 
  • The government is providing generation based incentives, capital and interest subsidies, viability gap funding, concessional finance, fiscal incentives etc. for providing financial support to various schemes. 
  • Ministry has taken steps for strong enforcement of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) and 
    providing Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO), incorporating measures in Integrated Power 
    Development Scheme (IPDS) for encouraging distribution companies and making net-metering 
    compulsory and raising funds from bilateral and international donors as also the Green Climate 
    Fund to achieve the target. 
  • Other Initiatives 
    • Formation of International Solar Alliance (ISA) which became a legal entity in December 2017. India has been playing a leading role in the International Renewable Community along with France,  with its headquarters in India. 
    • Bank loans for purposes like solar based and biomass based power generators, wind power systems, micro-hydel plants and for renewable energy based street lighting systems and remote village electrification.
    • Foreign Direct Investment up to 100% is permitted under the automatic route for renewable energy generation and distribution projects.

Concerns:-

  • Issues related to trade remedies
    • Implementing trade remedies that have anti-competition implications has become commonplace, with clean energy becoming its newest victim. Such a move would also result in higher tariffs and make solar power less attractive for the already financially strained and RE-sceptical utilities
  • Compliance with the global trade regime
    • It is vital that India remains compliant with the global trade regime
    • Previous measures (for example, the domestic content requirement or DCR scheme) to assuage the concerns of the domestic solar manufacturers were challenged and overturned at the World Trade Organisation WTO
  • Inter ministerial conflict:-
    • India’s solar sector is currently caught in inter-ministerial cross-fire
    • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been grappling with issues posed by the MoF regarding: the re-classification of solar panels as electrical motors (the current classification is photosensitive semiconductor devices), imposing additional duties and cesses on importers
  • RE as deployed today helps meet an energy need (kWh), but doesn’t help meet the peak by contributing capacity (kW) at the right time, which is India’s main challenge. 
  • Additional worries include concerns on panel quality/lifespan (especially with hot Indian conditions), and whether costs will continue to fall (just recently Chinese module suppliers raised prices, reversing years of a downward trend and putting recent bids at risk as they likely factored in continually falling prices).
  • Commercial banks in India constitute major source of financing for infrastructure. But these banks provide loan at a rate much higher than in the developed nations. 
  • Availability of land is also a big impediment for this sector. In India generally land is segmented and records might not be available.
  • Evacuation systems for transmitting the electricity generated in the solar power plant are still fully not equipped.

Way forward:-

  • Developers and manufacturers need to voice their needs clearly and respond to policy implications clearly.
  • The industry needs one unified voice representing the key concerns of each stakeholder-category, without ignoring the broader interests of the sector.
  • India will need a comprehensive strategy on issues such as effective sourcing of critical minerals and investment in R&D.
  • Innovative Financing measures such as clean energy fund, generation based incentive linked loan repayment and green bonds could be one solution to overcome the financial needs of this sector.

Conclusion:-

  • Moving towards newer energy options is the demand of time  which can restrain indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and make access to affordable and sustainable energy in the times to come.