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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 SEPTEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 SEPTEMBER 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 – 2


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

1) Although BIMSTEC has made several significant strides recently, it still faces a number of challenges undermining its potential. Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

The hindu

Why this question

BIMSTEC is an important regional organisation of which India is a prime member. The organisation was started 19 years ago but it has not been able to work at the desired levels and faces several challenges limiting its potential. The organisation has recently taken many measures which will strengthen and revitalise the organisation.

Directive word

Analyze-Here we  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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into the issue and identify and discuss upon the recent strides made by the BIMSTEC. We also have to deliberate upon the challenges faced by the organisation.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about BIMSTEC- when was it founded, who are the members etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the steps/ measures taken recently by the BIMSTEC. E.g the  work begins now on drafting a charter for BIMSTEC, which has functioned so far on the basis of the Bangkok Declaration of 1997, and outcomes of the past three summits and the Leaders’ Retreat in 2016; Permanent Working Committee will be set up to provide direction during the period between two summits and also to prepare the Rules of Procedure; the Secretariat has been promised additional financial and human resources and enhancement of its role to coordinate, monitor and facilitate the group’s activities; the leaders took the bold decision to establish the BIMSTEC Development Fund; recognising that 16 areas of cooperation represent too wide a spectrum, the BIMSTEC governments will make a serious endeavour to review, restructure and rationalise various sectors, identifying a few core areas etc.
  • Discuss the challenges faced by the organisation limiting its potential. E.g no regular summits; Myanmar and Thailand more inclined towards ASEAN; Motor Vehicle Agreement and the Coastal Shipping Agreement would still need more time for finalisation; concerns that India as a unproportionately large member assuming primacy and hegemony in the group; lack of funds etc.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • The European and ASEAN experience is testimony to the contribution of regional cooperation in the economic growth of the countries.
  • BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia. It includes all the major countries of South Asia, except Maldives, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Given this composition, BIMSTEC has emerged as a natural platform to test regional cooperation in the South Asian region.
  • Recently, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) has gained more favour as the preferred platform for regional cooperation in South Asia. The fourth summitof Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was recently held in Kathmandu.

How is it a desirable alternative to SAARC ?

  • BIMSTEC includes the countries of the Bay of Bengal region: five countries from South Asia and two from ASEAN. The organisation is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia.
    • It includes all the major countries of South Asia, except Maldives, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Given this composition, BIMSTEC has emerged as a natural platform to test regional cooperation in the South Asian region.
  • BIMSTEC’s major strength comes from the fact that it includes two influential regional powers: Thailand and India. This adds to the comfort of smaller neighbours by reducing the fear of dominance by one big power.
  • BIMSTEC emerged out of the necessities of the member countries:-
    • India was motivated to join BIMSTEC as it wanted to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN countries
    • For Thailand, BIMSTEC helps achieve the country’s Look West Policy.
    • BIMSTEC also helps smaller countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to develop connectivity with ASEAN countries, the hub of major economic activities globally.
    • Myanmar sees itself as a gateway for BIMSTEC to ASEAN, primarily due to its strategic location between South and Southeast Asia. 
  • The dormant status of SAARCand the changes underway in the regional and global landscape triggered India’s initiative to invite the BIMSTEC leadership . Its goals, therefore, are being redefined to add ballast to India’s “Act East Policy”.
  • Urgency of promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation via BIMSTEC and BBIN has to be seen in the context of China’s BRI/OBORand the compelling strategic challenge posed by China’s muscular geo-economic and geo-political interventions in Asia, particularly in India’s neighbourhood. 
  • Though maritime disputes in the South China Sea attract global attention, the Bay of Bengal has moved centre stage as the next strategic and economic arena in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • BIMSTEC and ASEAN both have seminal roles, in re-integrating the Bay of Bengal as an economic hub and strategic space.The salience of BIMSTEC has, therefore, grown for India to secure its strategic space in the neighbourhood and the Bay of Bengal region.
  • The BIMSTEC countries host a population of around 1.5 billion, approximately 21% of global population, with cumulative GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion. The annual GDP growth rate has averaged around 6%. 
  • The development of the Northeastern region, by opening up to Bangladesh and Myanmar, is another incentive for India.
  • The ongoing India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the India-Myanmar Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Projectare expected to further augment connectivity and economic cooperation in the sub-region and beyond. 
    • BIMSTEC serves two purposes for India – it makes it easier for India to share a common regional platform with its neighbours in South Asia (sans Pakistan) and secondly, BIMSTEC also establishes a linkage between South and Southeast Asia.
  • Regional cooperation under the ambit of SAARC has become difficult and this made BIMSTEC more viable:
    • Despite India’s keen interest in cooperating and strengthening intra-regional connectivity by backing the SAARC–Motor vehicle agreement, the agreement was stalled following Pakistan’s reluctance.
    • Similarly, the SAARC satellite project that India proposed was abandoned following objection from Pakistan in 2016
    • SAARC has also faced obstacles in the area of security cooperation. A major hindrance in this regard has been the lack of consensus on threat perceptions, since member countries disagree on the idea of threats
      • For instance, while cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan is a major concern for India, Pakistan has failed to address these concerns.
    • One of the reasons for BIMSTEC’s popularity is that the member countries have generally cordial relationships, something patently missing among the SAARC countries.
    • As a trade bloc, BIMSTEC provides many opportunities:-
      • The region has countries with the fastest-growing economies in the world. The combined GDP in the region is around US$2 trillion and will likely grow further.
      • Trade among the BIMSTEC member countries reached six percent in just a decade, while in SAARC, it has remained around five percent since its inception.
      • Compared to SAARC, BIMSTEC has greater trade potential as well. Among the member countries, India’s intra-BIMSTEC trade is around 3 percent of its total trade. 
    • It is an extra feather to India’s act east policy :-
    • India was motivated to join BIMSTEC as it wanted to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN countries: a major component of its Look East Policy, now rechristened ‘Act East’ policy.
    • In terms of connectivity, BIMSTEC has at last three major projects that, when finished, could transform the movement of goods and vehicles through the countries in the grouping.
      • One is the Kaladan Multimodal project that seeks to link India and Myanmar.
      • Another is the Asian Trilateral Highway connecting India and Thailand through Myanmar. It represents a significant step in establishing connectivity between India and Southeast Asian countries.
      • Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) have signed a pact for the movement of goods and vehicles among them.
    • The agenda of BIMSTEC is in sync with other regional/sub-regional organisations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), etc. Simultaneously, BIMSTEC fits in the agenda of a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific too.
    • The political rivalry between India and Pakistan never allowed SAARC to be the driving factor in an augmenting regional cooperation within South Asia. Hence, it would be pragmatic for India to work closely with BIMSTEC and ASEAN to expand regional cooperation in areas of mutual concerns including terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime and insurgency; food security, energy; trade and investment, connectivity and infrastructure, poverty alleviation to name a few.
    • India’s  stimulating outlook towards Southeast Asia vis-à-vis Asia-Pacific as expressed through Act east policy and the other way round, i.e, the Asia-Pacific’s desire to have India as a strong stakeholder in the region.
  • Positives from latest summit:-
    • Work begins now on drafting a charter for BIMSTEC, which has functioned so far on the basis of the Bangkok Declaration of 1997, and outcomes of the past three summits and the Leaders’ Retreat in 2016.
    • A Permanent Working Committee will be set up to provide direction during the period between two summits and also to prepare the Rules of Procedure.
    • The Secretariat has been promised additional financial and human resources and enhancement of its role to coordinate, monitor and facilitate the grouping’s activities.
    • The leaders took the bold decision to establish the BIMSTEC Development Fund.
    • Push to increase its visibility and stature in the international fora will also be made.
    • Finally, recognising that 16 areas of cooperation represent too wide a spectrum, the BIMSTEC governments will make a serious endeavour to review, restructure and rationalise various sectors, identifying a few core areas.

Concerns remain:-

  • Infrequency of the BIMSTEC summits, the highest decision-making body of the organisation. In its 20 years of existence, the BIMSTEC summit has taken place only thrice.
  • The delay in the adoption of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA),a framework that was agreed upon in 2004, fuels doubts about BIMSTEC’s efficacy.
  • A landmark achievement for BIMSTEC was the establishment of a permanent secretariat in Dhaka. However, the secretariat faces a severe resource crunch, both in terms of money and manpower, which has adversely affected its performance
  • BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement [MVA] is an instrument that was conceived to transform and facilitate trade. It has not yet been completely successful as Bhutan is worried about security and environmental fallout of such an agreement.
  • Both Thailand and Myanmar are criticised for having ignored BIMSTEC in favour of ASEAN.
  • Region lacks physical connectivity. The tri-lateral highway connecting India-Myanmar-Thailand has been a non-starter.
  • BIMSTEC has identified 14 priority sectors and has signed an FTA (2004) and a Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking (2009). The pace of implementation has been quite sluggish so far.
  • BIMSTEC is a India-dominated bloc, a problem that it faced for a long time in SAARC.
  • Concerns from the latest summit:-
    • Of at least six legal instruments awaiting finalisation, only one, the Memorandum of Understanding on Grid Interconnection, could be inked in Kathmandu.
    • Fourteen years after signing the framework agreement on Free Trade Area (FTA), the leaders could only renew their “commitment to an early conclusion” of FTA negotiations. 
    • Grouping had established its Energy Centre in 2009, but it was still struggling for the “early operationalisation” of the Centre
    • It was noted that the Motor Vehicle Agreement and the Coastal Shipping Agreement would still need more time for finalisation.

Way forward:-

  • Early ratifications of the BIMSTEC FTA, the counter-terrorism convention and finalisation and conclusion of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, BIMSTEC Framework Agreement on Transit, Trans-shipment and Movement of Vehicular Traffic as well as BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement etc should be prioritised without much delay.
  • It has to adopt people-centric and output-oriented approaches to win the confidence of the common people across the sub-region. That would help it to become a facilitator of regional cooperation in a true sense.
  • Consistency in the frequency of the summits to ensure regularity in decision-making;
  • Improving the capacity of the secretariat, both in terms of manpower and funding;
  • Ensuring tangible results/benefits, which will add to the motivation of the countries to concentrate on BIMSTEC (projects in the areas of tourism, digital connectivity, energy connectivity and humanitarian assistance in disaster relief should be considered); and
  • Empowering BIMSTEC to be a platform for dispute resolution among member countriesThis will require debates and discussions among the BIMSTEC countries to reach consensus.
  • India’s SAGARMALA project, still at an early stage, can be integrated into the cooperation framework of BIMSTEC. 
  • While India is the lead country for four priority sectors, namely, transportation and communication, environment and disaster management, tourism, and counter-terrorism and trans-national crime, BIMSTEC has to move into areas of strategic cooperation.
  • The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor [AAGC] is another vision that can be dovetailed into BIMSTEC’s Development and Cooperation Projects, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Enhancing Capacities and Skills and People-to-People partnership.
  • BIMSTEC can function as the hub for connecting Asia-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal with Africa. At some stage when tangible progress has been made, other countries in the region can be invited to join specific projects.

 


Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
Education

2) Discuss the reasons why so many children in India still remain out of school? Suggest ways through which this situation can be reversed?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the gaps in enrolment among children, examines the gender gap in those numbers and discusses reasons behind the same. These issues are important from GS2 perspective and will also serve as fodder points for essay.

Key demand of the question

The question first expects us to explain the background to the question by providing our interpretation of data provided in the article. Next, we need to discuss the reasons why so many children remain out if school, and the causes behind gender gap in those numbers. After analysing the issues involved we need to discuss the ways in which this number can be brought down.

Directive word

Discuss  –

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the data provided by 2011 census, 2014 survey commissioned by Ministry of HRD and the data calculated on the basis of NSS. Mention why this deserves deeper analysis.

Body

  • Mention the reasons why so many children stay out of school – caste factor, gender factor, religion factor, economic factors etc
  • Discuss the implementation issues of RTE, discuss the other factors that have hindered enrolment of children
  • Based on the reasons described above, highlight the steps that can be taken to improve the status of child enrolement in schools

Conclusion – Emphasize on the need for correcting this gaps, highlight the advantages that will be accrued and suggest way forward.

 

Background:-

  • According to the 2011 Census, the number of out-of-school children in the 5-17 age group was 8.4 crore. 
  • Recently reports were prepared on  number of out-of-school children in India on the basis of the 71st round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) carried out in 2014. out-of-school children in 6-18 age group were more than 4.5 crore in the country, which is 16.1% of the children in this age group. 

Issue of out of school children in India:-

  • It is a matter of serious concern that nearly 10 years after the enactment of the RTE Act, and 16 years after the right to education was elevated to a fundamental right, such a large number of children are out of school.
  • Data show that out-of-school children came mostly from the rural areas, and a high proportion of them are SCs, STs, Muslims and from other economically backward communities.
  • In Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the proportion of out-of-school children was lower than the national average. 

Reasons:-

  • Risk factors begin to add up even before students enroll in school that include: poverty, low educational level of parents, the weak family structure, pattern of schooling of sibling, and lack of pre-school experiences.
  • Family background and domestic problems create an environment which 
    negatively affects the value of education Further, students could drop out as a result of a multitude of school factors such as uncongenial atmosphere, poor comprehension, absenteeism, attitude and behavior of the teachers, and failure or repetition in the same grade, etc.
  • Most important reason for boys to drop out of school was to take up jobs to supplement the family earning and for girls, it was the compulsion to participate in household work.
  • Prejudice against educating girls is still prevalent in India.
  • A much higher proportion of girls than boys dropped out of school after Class 10, after which education is not necessarily free. 
  • Lack of infrastructure:-
    • RTE Act provided for the availability of a school at a distance of 1 km from the residence of the child at the primary level and 3 km at the upper primary level. But this is hardly the reality.
    • Lack of school infrastructure such as drinking water and toilets.
  • Most of the out-of-school children came mostly from low-income, landless and marginal families.
  • Lack of awareness of the importance of school education and of the fact that education is now a legal right.
  • Poverty:
    • When a family is not financially secure, prioritising a child’s education takes a backseat.

Measures taken:

  • Sarva shiksha abhiyan, mid day means scheme, Dhanalakshmi Scheme etc have ensured girls stay at school but more is still needed to be done.
  • Measures to incentivise school going children like providing bicycles and free meals and improving infrastructure  have helped make public education attractive.

How to tackle it:-

  • It would be necessary to provide secure modes of subsidised travel to schools, particularly for girls.
  • Another important provision which ought to have been included in the RTE is financial support to poor parents, adequate to enable them to send their children to school.
  • Ensuring social inclusiveness, especially with regard to girls and SC/ST children, sensitising teachers, and convincing parents of first generation students of the value of education always makes a big difference.
  • Governments should respond quickly to early indicators of a potential dropout, such as absenteeism, by counselling the student and parent
  • GoI  has already initiated a new system of tracking drop-out rates by students’ Aadhar IDs, so that early intervention can be made to bring the child back to school. This needs proper implementation.
  • Focus needs change:-
    • Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes
    • Education policy has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education.
  • Public expenditure increase:-
    • Among Asian countries, the ratio of per student public expenditure in tertiary relative to primary education is less than four in Malaysia, two in Indonesia and one in Thailand and Korea. In India, it is over nine.
  • Teachers quality:-
    • Teachers have very less limited accountability i.e.., to the education department bureaucracy.
    • Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance. So this needs change.

Topic–  India and its bilateral relations

3) Mature countries work together in areas where their interests converge and act independently in areas where interests diverge. Discuss in light of US India relationship? (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The 2+2 dialogue framework of India USA is set to meet this week. India USA relationship has always been important from mains point of view. This year however the relation has seen several crests and troughs, partially on account of the unpredictable policy of Mr Trump. This article highlights the strains and strengths of the relationship and is thus important.

Key demand of the question

This question expects us to discuss the contours of India USA relationship, highlight their convergences and divergences. Thereafter, we need to bring out how the two countries are cooperating despite their differences. The way forward for the relationship is to be mentioned at the end.

Directive word

Discuss –

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief history of India USA relationship, mention that they are strategic partners, often called estranged democracies etc

Body

  • Discuss the convergence as well as divergence of the two nation geopolitical, geostrategic and geoeconomic dimensions. In geopolitical discuss the conflicts in alliance such as over Russia, Iran etc. In geostrategic, highlight the similarities in intention in protecting marine trade routes in Asia etc. In geoeconomics the relationship constantly undergoes push and pulls with frequent conflicts at WTO and yet the two nations have sizeable trade with each other
  • Highlight the issues that arise in the relationship between the two countries as a result of their differences. Discuss the progress made in the relationship in areas such as defence
  • Highlight the potential of the relationship and discuss why cooperation between the two is mutually beneficial and that the relationship should not be held hostage to tiny differences. Discuss the institutional framework that has been put in place after long and the role they can play in mitigating differences.

Conclusion – Give your view on the status of relationship and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • India–US relations touch the milestone of 70 years .The India-US relationship over the last few decades has significantly improved. It is far stronger, far matured despite some different opinion in some areas.
  • The recent 2+2 dialogue on COMCASA signifies the strength of this relationship.

Areas of convergence in the US-India relations:-

  • Trade:-
    • The two nations two-way trade is of $140 billion. along with sales in U.S. civil aviation and military equipment, now crude oil is added, as well. India is the biggest growing market for Americans and the U.S. remains a dominant investment partner for India.
    • S., working with multilateral development banks, could help India finance infrastructure projects.
  • Defence and military:-
    • Over 300 joint military exercises have been undertaken
    • Advanced armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deal is on the horizon along with unprecedented offers of defence technologies and Make in India defence projects.
    • Most notably, the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) that has been pursued for over a decade is a powerful signal that the two nations are moving much closer to a genuinely effective defence partnership.
  • More than 37 missions covering numerous areas of cooperation, from outer space to monsoon prediction and agriculture to education
  • Geopolitical:-
    • America’s Asia-focused military command was renamed the Indo-Pacific Command to highlight India’s centrality to regional security
    • Centrality of India in America’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy has been clearly recognized in the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy documents. 
    • The decision to rename the Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command was also a symbolic recognition of India’s importance to the evolving American worldview. 
  • The US Congress acted to provide special relief for India from being caught up in US sanctions against Russia.
  • Officials of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia also held talks to give shape to the quadrilateral alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific region free, open, and inclusive, and apparently to counter China’s rise. This change from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific is to indicate the special role of India in the region.
  • Pakistan factor:-
    • Unlike in the past, no longer does the U.S. equate India with Pakistan when regional issues are discussed. Recently U.S. has suspended $255 million in military aid to Pakistan, accusing the country of lies and deceit and providing safe haven to terrorists in return for $33 billion U.S. aid over the last 15 years.
  • China:-
    • There is alignment between the two countries on several issues pertaining to China, such as its One Belt One Road plan and the China-Pakistan economic corridor running through Pakistani-occupied Kashmir. The U.S. and India are now engaged in joint naval and army exercises. On economic relations,
  • India should play a major role in post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan
  • Technology :-
    • The US administration granted India “Strategic Trade Authorization 1” status to facilitate sensitive high technology trade and an
  • Nuclear agreements :-
    • The Civil Nuclear Agreement (2005) ended India’s nuclear isolation and also heralded a new strategic partnership between the two countries

Areas of divergence:-

  • Russia:-
    • Indian acquisition of Russia’s advanced S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapon would likely hinder interoperability and prevent the US from sharing certain defence technology with India because placing a Russian radar capability in close proximity to American technology puts those technologies at risk.
    • This could also mean more sanctions for New Delhi, as per a US law called “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA)
  • Iran:-
    • The US has asked all countries, including India, to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero. If India fails to do this, its companies will face the same sanctions as any other violator of American law.
    • US ’s decision to jettison the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran and secondary sanctions on entities doing business with Iran has raised uncomfortable questions for India.
  • H-1B visas for Indians:-
    • Tightening of rules applying to H-1B visas and the targeting of Indian companies that are among its heaviest users.
  • Pakistan factor:-
    • Despite Washington’s claims to having de-hyphenated its relations with India and Pakistan, the United States has not been able to extricate itself from the liabilities of its complex alliance with Pakistan. 
    • More than 17 years of American presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s centrality to efforts to bring any kind of resolution to this theater of war will constrain areas of convergence between the United States and India when it comes to dealing with terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
  • Economic:-
    • There has been a marked uptick in economic frictions, with US’s sharp rhetoric and protectionist measures, including tariffs on steel and aluminium, that have added to a long list of differences over market access and intellectual property rights.
  • Climate change:-
    • US accused India of demanding billions in exchange for committing to reduce its carbon emissions as part of the Paris climate accord.
  • Intellectual property rights:-
    • India is already on the priority watch list in the Super 301 report for IPR ‘violations’; foreign exchange policies are under the scanner, and has been dragged to the WTO on export subsidies.

General Studies – 3


TopicVarious Security forces and agencies and their mandate

4) Discuss the role played by the Border Security Force in protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. (250 words)

Reference

Wikipedia

Why this question

BSF is an important security organisation which works in varied terrains ranging from the Thar desert to the Jammu Kashmir and in the swamps of eastern India. It is important to know about the role played by this paramount organisation in protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

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 BSF, its role and the role it has played in protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few introductory lines about BSF. e.g it was raised in 1965 with the specific purpose of manning the Indian borders as the first line of defence against

infiltration, smuggling and military assault etc. mention that it is a paramilitary organization under the control of Ministry of Home etc.

Body-

Discuss the wartime and peacetime role of BSF.

Discuss the role played by the BSF protecting the sovereignty and integrity of India. e.g discuss its role in 1971 Indo Pak war and Liberation of Bangladesh; discuss the role of BSF in Tackling the Problem of Insurgency in North-Eastern India;  Terrorism in Punjab and the Role of BSF (1989-1993); Kashmir Militancy; BSF in Operation Vijay: Kargil, 1999; Left-Wing Extremism etc.

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

Background:-

  • Considering the vastness of India and its border, different border guarding forces are deployed.
  • BSF is responsible for guarding India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
  • BSF is a paramilitary force under home ministry responsible for guarding India’s land border during peace time and preventing transnational crime.
  • BSF currently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force with 186 battalions and 2.57 lakh personnel including an expanding air wing, marine wing, artillery regiments, and commando units.

Role:-

  • Peace time:
    • Promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
    • Prevent trans border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India
    • Prevent smuggling and any other illegal activity.
    • In 2017 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel detected a cross-border tunnel in the forest area of Damala nullah in Jammu’s Arnia sub-sector.
    • BSF personnel have been performing Internal Security Duty in Manipur for the last two years and have been successfully fighting insurgency in those areas.
    • During the earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, the BSF was the first to reach out to help the distressed people and during the communal disturbances BSF personnel went all out to restore amity and brotherhood among the people.
    • The BSF took over the erection of the border fencing in Jammu & Kashmir
    • The BSF has been defending the borders along with the army and checking infiltration on the borders during the current standoff with Pakistan.
    • BSF played a significant role in 1971 Indo Pak war and Liberation of Bangladesh, tackling the Problem of Insurgency in North-Eastern India, terrorism in Punjab , Left-Wing Extremism etc.
  • War Time:
    • Holding ground in less threatened sectors so long as the main attack does not develop in a particular sector
      • The BSF units can continue to remain deployed in particular sector even in a war situation to release the Army for offensive tasks.  In the even of a major attack developing, which is not within the capacity of the BSF to deal with, the Army can be expected either to reinforce the BSF with Artillery or other support, or relieve the BSF from its role in the particular sector.
    • Protection of vital installations particular air-fields against enemy commandoes/para troopers or raids.  
    • Providing extension to the flanks of main defence line by the holding of strong points in conjunction with other units.
    • Limited Aggressive action against para military or irregular forces of the enemy within the overall plan of the Armed Forces .
    • Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including raids.  These are tasks which might be entrusted to BSF Units by the Army in a war situation according to local necessity.  It would, however, be expected that the state of training and equipment of the particular BSF Units would be kept in view in assessing their adequacy for the tasks.
    • Acting as guides in an area of responsibility where routes are known. This is a task which the BSF should be able to perform.
    • Maintenance of law and order in enemy territory administrated under the control of Army.Normally, ordinary civil police force would be utilised for this task but the BSF could be used to supplement the civil police or to act in lieu thereof in a situation where civil police is not readily available. 
    • Provision of escorts.
    • Guarding of prisoners of war cages
    • Assistance in control of refugees. It is the intention to utilise civil police force and armed Home Guards etc. for these tasks but again depending upon local exigencies, the BSF might be entrusted with these tasks.
    • Anti – infiltration duties in specified area. This is an important responsibility which will have to be performed by security forces.  The exact responsibility of the BSF in this matter is still under consideration and separate instructions are expected to be issued.
    • During the Kargil conflict in 1999, the BSF remained on the heights of the mountains and defended the integrity of the country with all the might at its command in unison with the Army

TopicSecurity challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

5) Militancy in Kashmir has turned into a new phase, and needs to be dealt sensibly. Analyze.(250 words)

Indian express

Reference

Why this question

Militancy in Kashmir has witnessed a sharp increase in recent years. Besides, the profile of militants has changed and the militants have changed their tactics. It is therefore important to analyze the situation and discuss a possible solution.

Directive word

Analyze-Here we  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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into the issue and discuss how militancy has changed and what form it has taken in recent years, identify the factors behind and discuss the need for a sensible approach to deal with the problem.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the militancy in Kashmir- e.g when did it start and mention its decline by 2006-80. Mention the increase in no. of militants to 300, which has happened after a decade.

Body-

  • Discuss how militancy has changed over time in Kashmir. E.g increase in number and proportion of local militants; south kashmir dominated by local militants while the north and north-western part is dominated by foreign militants; use of social media and sophisticated communication technology has increased; use and targeting of civilians as pressure tactics; fall in moral grounds of militants etc.
  • Discuss the need for a sensible approach to deal with the issue. E.g mention the growing local support for militants; rise in militancy; lack of a stable, pro-active, democratic governance etc. Mention issues like opposition to Article 370, 35A etc
  • Discuss what kind of approach is needed. E.g a sensible approach which assumes high moral grounds; helps build public confidence; lays down path for a stable, proactive, democratic governance etc.

Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

 

Background:-

  • J & K Valley’s prolonged anti-India protest; rising insurgency in Kashmir, intense counter- insurgency operation has caused acute distress in the region. For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of listed militants in Kashmir has crossed 300.

New phase of militancy in Kashmir:-

  • Changing nature of the militancy:-
    • This has seen an escalation of local recruitment which has outpaced the numbers the security forces have been able to neutralise.
  • Mass participation in violent civil protest involving stone pelting often at the site of an encounter or a funeral. 
  • Despite a major offensive by the Indian Army against terrorists this year, the number of locally recruited terrorists has increased.
  • Foreign terrorists infiltrating into India from across the border are setting up hideouts which could be used a training grounds for these local Kashmiri men.
  • According to the widely-cited reports, each encounter in the valley triggers a surge in militant recruitment which far exceeds militants killed in counter-insurgency operations. 
  • More disturbing than the rise in local recruitment into militancy is the rising public support for militancy. Open support by locals to trapped militants particularly during encounters enabling their easy escape, has entirely changed the relationship between the locals and the militants. 
  • The presence of active militants at the funerals, where they give so-called gun salutes to their slain comrades, has particularly unnerved the security forces.
  • Poor and Unemployed youth are easily being targeted by radicalists.
  • Anger in the Valley is higher than it has been in two decades and has reached alarming proportions. Peace and reconciliation process is failing.
  • In the absence of a political and reconciliation process, asking security forces to show restraint in the face of constant stoning is not feasible.

Present strategies

  • Government has initiated “Operation All out” to deal with militant and violent activities in the valley. The operation involves killing of Militants in the Kashmir region to install terror in minds of Kashmiri Youth.
  • Ceasefire:-
    • Recently government came out with a unilateral cessation of military operations during the month of Ramadan which marks a significant shift in the government’s four-year old Kashmir policy.
    • It also constitutes a belated recognition that unwarranted trust on hard power cannot bear desired results. In all probability, the ceasefire is likely to be extended beyond the month of Ramadan.
    • From past experienceit is visible that  even though the counterinsurgency of the 1990s did not end insurgency, it did pave the way for a peace process that made progress towards ending armed conflict .
    • There will be immediate relief to the beleaguered residents of the State
    • Can give way for further discussions:-
      • The ceasefire can only provide an opportunity for other steps to be taken, such as India-Pakistan talks, dialogue with the Hurriyat and allied groups, and backchannel negotiations for a reciprocal ceasefire by armed groups. 
      • This initiative has the potential to end the deadlock and facilitate a larger engagement and dialogue, not only between the governments of India and Pakistan but also among civil society groups which exist on both sides of the Line of Control.
      • It is clearly evident that the Kashmir dispute can neither be settled through military means nor is war a viable option. So ceasefire can lead to dialogues.

 

Issues with government strategy:-

  • Though, the government still remains undecided about resuming peace talks with Pakistan.
  • A hybrid policy of appeasing separatists along with stop-start counter-terror operations won’t work.
  • Past experience:-
    • During the first three months of the 2000 ceasefire, casualties amongst security forces rose sharply.
  • There might be continuing attacks on security forces under a unilateral ceasefire. The ceasefire has seen a marked increase of violence in the state, capped by the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari .
  • Time is not right for ceasefire:-
    • There is little public pressure on the armed groups. The impetus for peace has been replaced by communal stand-offs, anger and hatred. 
    • More civilians, militants and security forces have died in the first five months of 2018 than in corresponding periods for the previous decade. 
    • In the Valley, alienation from India is as high as it was in the early 1990s, when insurgency took root.
  • There have been debated about abrogating article 35 A and article 370 but the state is vehemently opposing it. The government needs to be very cautious.

What should be the fresh strategy :-

  • Focus on investing in J&K’s infrastructure:-
    • The Kishanganga hydroelectric power plant, which will generate 330MW of electricity, the tunnel-cum-highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar and new-economy jobs for youth are what J&K needs.
  • Absence of an effective information and communication plan has hobbled the government’s ability to respond even when it is on the moral high ground. This must be immediately corrected.
  • Standard operating procedures must require the use of lethal force only when there is an imminent threat to life and property, force should be used proportionately and not as a punitive measure.
  • India can consider an approach taken by the British in Northern Ireland. This strategy involved operating within the framework of law, avoiding torture, illegal killing and arbitrary punishment. Though there were excesses, by and large the British stuck to the policy that has led to sustainable peace in the region.
  • It is that much more obligatory on India’s part to conduct operations within the ambit of the law and through the use of discriminate and proportionate force.
  • What is needed at the moment is the deployment of new socio-cultural resources, and a new operational culture to wind down the militancy without alienating more locals who could either join or influence their relatives and friends to join various terrorist organisations.
  • Lethal force should be the last resort, used only when lives are threatened. Promptly investigating allegations of abuses and prosecuting those responsible is key to resolving this mess.
  • The 2000’s ceasefire experience also showed that casualties among the security forces could have been minimised had more urgent attention been paid to tightening defence of security installations and personnel. This needs to looked into now.
  • Externally, wide-ranging peace talks between India and Pakistan, the Indian administration and ‘azaadi’ groups is needed and internally, peace-building on the ground by multiple stakeholders involved is necessary.

Topic–  Part of static series under the heading – “Oceans – basics”

6) Bring out the various ecological problems associated with the exploitation and use of oceans and their resources?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the status of world’s oceans, highlight the problems plaguing them and give reasons on account of why the problems are being faced.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – highlight that a recent study has pointed out that the area of dead zones in oceans has quadrupled since 1950.

Body

  • Discuss the status of world’s oceans. Highlight that the oceans are suffering on account of plastic pollution, overexploitation of oceanic resources etc
  • Discuss the problems in detail such as – overfishing, irresponsible fish farming, acidification, garbage etc and the issues they cause
  • Discuss the impact that such reckless exploitation of oceanic resources have on health of oceans.

Background:-

  • Across the globe, marine habitats are in a state of dramatic decline. According to a recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, only 13 percent of the planet’s oceans are untouched by human activity.

Ecological problems associated with exploitation and use of oceans :-

  • Marine dead zones are areas with little or no oxygen supporting microbial processes that also remove nitrogen from the ocean have quadrupled since the 1950s, and industrial fishing areas now cover half of the world’s oceans. 
  • Humanity’s growing footprint in the world’s oceans is primarily a product of increased fishing activity.
    • According to recent estimates, roughly 90 percent of the world’s fish stocks are now fully fished, overfished, or depleted, with nearly one-third of all marine stocks exploited beyond biologically sustainable levels.
    • Not only are marine resources being depleted, the fishing industry is failing spectacularly at curbing illegal fishing.
    • To make matters worse, devastating practices like bottom trawling and the use of seine nets in shallow spaces like the Palk Bay are further depleting marine wealth.
  • Plastic pollution:-
    • Littoral Asia is drowning in a sea of synthetic trash. India’s coastal regions are witnessing their most rapid expansion of plastic pollution in recent years. 
  • Oil spills in the ocean usually happenwhen an ocean oil rig springs a leak or when an ocean going tanker (carrying oil) wrecks.
  • Chemicals released into the ocean cause a myriad of problems. Pesticides, coming from runoff of agricultural land into the ocean damages marine organisms.
  • Thermal pollution is a byproduct of the ocean’s use as a cooling agent:-
    • The cool ocean water taken in is released at a higher temperature. Although the temperature of release is usually controlled by laws, and is not such a threat as the other forms of pollution mentioned here, one could imagine what it would be like if more and more plants began using ocean water as a coolant.
    • This change in temperature, due to humans in this case, would change the makeup of the species in these areas.
  • Noise pollution is one of the more recent threats to marine life.
    • Several studies have shown that the noise produced by boats interferes with many species of marine life. The number of large tankers now cruising the oceans creates a significant level of noise that may make it difficult for whales to communicate.
  • Habitat destruction occurs directly when man ‘develops’ marine areasby filling them in with sediment to create more usable acreage.
  • The main areas of human impact can be divided into those related to ocean pollution, habitat destruction, and the introduction of alien species.
  • Exploitation of oceans and why a balanced strategy is needed:-
    • Only the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regulates activity in international waters, including sea-bed mining and cable laying while 20-odd organisations regulate shipping as also fishing, whaling and local conservation.
    • As per a Nature report, there is scientific consensus that nearly 30% of the global ocean needs to be “cordoned off” to stave off mass extinction of marine populations.
    • Global accord on conservation of the oceans will, apart from establishing safeguards for the ocean, lay down rules on resource-sharing and commercial activity, including mining, research, etc.
    • A major concern of the negotiations will agreement on creation of marine protected areas (MPAs)
    • Even though a new strategy is being considered other challenge will be to get the treaty, along with punitive provisions, enforced. 
    • Challenge is to get countries to make ambitious commitments on creation of MPAs. This will mean large-scale giving up on exploration of oceanic resources

Way forward:-

  • One remedy for shrinking habitats is the establishment of protected spaces.
    • The United Nations believes that setting aside sanctuaries in the oceans will help improve the state of fish stocks and the health of marine habitats in general.
  • The political leadership needs to impose limitations on technology-based economic development, pushing the industry to meet its social obligations for the protection and conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • The challenge is to get industry interested in a social model of blue growth that does not focus exclusively on pecuniary gains.
  • Supporting communities to securing coastal livelihoodsand restoring fish stocks should be central to any strategy.
  • WWF works with governments, partners and the private sector to design and implement a true Sustainable Blue Economyto ensure that the ocean economy contributes to prosperity and the resilience of coastal communities, today and long into the future.
  • Waste management, lessening the use of plastic, focussing on Blue Economy where IORA has made several strides need to be initiated successfully
  • Reduce Your Plastic Use:
    • Reduce plastic pollution by refusing single-use plastics and using reusable bags, cups, and tableware instead.
  • Dispose of waste in an environmentally safe way: 
    • Harmful waste can end up the ocean when not properly disposed of, hurting the health of the ocean. Recycle and reuse whenever possible, and dispose of chemicals properly .

General Studies – 4


Topic- Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

7) Corruption is a multi-faceted problem and requires a comprehensive strategy to deal with. Discuss the ways in which corruption can be reduced.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Corruption is one of the key reasons behind poverty, abuse/lack  of human rights in developing countries like India. Therefore it is vital to discuss the ways in which corruption can be reduced.

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 ways in which corruption can be fought against. The answer should provide a comprehensive approach and discuss at length, all the practical ways to fight corruption.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about the economic, social and moral harms inflicted by corruption. Mention how it widens inequality, leads to human rights abuse etc.

Body-

Discuss in points/ paras, the ways in which corruption can be fought. E.g

  • Need to understand the different kinds of corruption to develop smart responses.
  • Create pathways that give citizens relevant tools to engage and participate in their governments – identify priorities,  problems and find solutions.
  • Cut the red tape
  • Harness IT tools
  • Align anti-corruption measures with market, behavioral, and social forces etc

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

Answer:-

Corruption can have deep and far-reaching consequences for an economy, and in an increasingly interconnected world, the entire globe. 

Private sector:-

Corruption distorts markets and creates unfair competition. Companies often pay bribes or rig bids to win public procurement contracts. Many companies hide corrupt acts behind secret subsidiaries and partnerships. Companies seek to influence political decision-making illicitly. Others exploit tax laws, construct cartels or abuse legal loopholes. Most companies have a code of ethics, but there is very little adherence as they remain voluntary codes.

Public sector:-

Even in public sphere corruption is rampant which was even visible in the banking system. According to the RBI, PSU banks along with the latest PNB scam reported loan frauds of Rs 73000 crore.

Also public was losing its trust in anti-corruption bodies because of their perceived inefficiency, quality of investigations and possible manipulations at various levels.

How to deal with corruption:-

  1. In private sector:-
  • Companies can take internal steps to prevent it. They need a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption. And it must be enforced through specific anti-corruption measures.
  • But companies also need an honest operating environment. So we must make sure that governments enforce international anti-bribery laws and conventions. This protects companies from corruption across borders and down supply chains.
  • Legislative changes:-
    • India has no specific legislation addressing corruption in the private sector so there is a need for strengthening of existing laws and enactment of new legislation to, among other things, protect whistleblowers.
    • Contemplating an amendment in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to include bribery as an offence within the private sector among other unethical and fraudulent practices being followed.
    • It is important to include in legislation the requirement for companies beyond a certain threshold to have a whistleblower mechanism or some form of internal reporting channels of corruption, as well as some form of external audit.
    • Protection of witnesses, experts and victims is also a much required area that needs to be addressed
  • Legal provisions are needed by which there are reduced sanctions, punishments and penalties for self-disclosure or for cooperating with law enforcement during investigations, such as commercial and operational sanctions, legal sanctions, and reputational sanctions.
  • The UNODC calls for better sensitisation of personnel in privately-owned enterprises.

 

2.General suggestions:-

  • it is so important to understand the different kinds of corruption to develop smart responses. 
  • Create pathways that give citizens relevant tools to engage and participate in their governments identify priorities,  problems and find solutions.
  • Bring together formal and informal processes to change behavior and monitor progress.
  • Use the power of technology to build dynamic and continuous exchanges between key stakeholders: government, citizens, business, civil society groups, media, academia etc.
  • Align anti-corruption measures with market, behavioral, and social forces..
  • Punishing corruption is a vital component of any effective anti-corruption effort.
  • Keep citizens engaged on corruption at local, national, international and global levels – in line with the scale and scope of corruption..

3.Public sector:-

  • Banking sector:-
    • Adequate auditing and internal control. Strengthening internal processes to monitor and mitigate risks
    • An emphasis on ethics should also be placed on the recruitment process and career promotion mechanisms, as prescribed by the Financial stability board.
    • Supervisors should check that mechanisms are in place and ensure that the necessary checks and balances are in place throughout the organisation, as well as proper accountability and transparency provisions.
    • Also a group ethical officer post is necessary in all banks to ensure integrity in the employees.
  • Government should
    • Notify the original Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011
    • Appoint a Lokpal
    • Initiate other steps for strengthening anti-corruption mechanisms.
  • Continuous exchanges between stakeholders: government/citizens/ business / media
    • Increasing the level of transparency about government performance produces the greatest returns when it is accompanied by reforms that enhance the bargaining power of ordinary citizens, improve coordination and collective action, or strengthen the State’s ability to punish impunity.
  • Technology-based solutions work best with concerted institutional support, and when they decentralise enforcement, circumvent middlemen bureaucrats, and empower ordinary citizens.
    • For example, a technologically innovative programme in Andhra Pradesh used biometrically authenticated smartcards to decentralise payment-making authority for the rural jobs guarantee scheme and social security pensions, resulting in a more than 40% reduction in leakage.