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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 SEPTEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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 – 1


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – Monsoon break

1) Explain what happens during break monsoon period and the reason why break in monsoon occurs?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what break in monsoon is, the characteristic feature of monsoon break and the reasons why break in monsoon happens.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what break monsoon is – During the Monsoon season, there are periods when the Monsoon trough shifts closer to the foothills of Himalayas, which leads to sharp decrease in rainfall over most parts of the country. However, rainfall increase along the foothills of Himalayas, Northeast India and parts of the Southern Peninsula. Such a synoptic situation is known as the ‘break’ Monsoon period.

Body

  • Explain its characteristic feature. These breaks in the different regions are due to different reasons:
    • In northern India rains are likely to fail if the rain-bearing storms are not very frequent
      along the monsoon trough or the ITCZ over this region.
    • Over the west coast the dry spells are associated with days when winds blow parallel to
      the coast.
  • Explain the reasons why break in monsoon occurs – When tropical disturbances advance along the monsoon trough, sometimes the sea level low pressure area weakens and making the low pressure area from 900 mb to 700 mb height to move north of the trough. As the high level low pressure area moves north, precipitation decreases in the northern plains. This makes the low pressure area over North Bay of Bengal to be replaced with a high pressure area. This makes the monsoon trough along the west coast to weaken and monsoon winds from Bay of Bengal branch alone feed the monsoon trough which runs along the foothill of Himalayas and North east India. This results in less or no rainfall across west coast, Deccan plateau and Northern plains. But a low pressure trough forms over the Tamil Nadu coast increasing the rainfall. As the monsoon trough runs close to foothills of Himalayas, monsoon winds ascend the slopes of Himalayas resulting in orthographic rainfall. This is how a monsoon break works.

Background:-

  • During the Monsoonseason, there are periods when the Monsoon trough shifts closer to the foothills of Himalayas, which leads to sharp decrease in rainfall over most parts of the country.
  • However, rainfall increase along the foothills of Himalayas, Northeast India and parts of the Southern Peninsula (Rayalseema and Tamil Nadu). Such a synoptic situation is known as the ‘break’ Monsoon period.

Why does break in monsoon occur:-

  • In northern India rains are likely to fail if the rain-bearing storms are not very frequent along the monsoon trough or the ITCZ over this region. The northern plains  witness a drop in humidity levels, the surface winds start blowing from the northwest direction and rainfall reduces considerably.
  • Over the west coast the dry spells are associated with days when winds blow parallel to the coast.
  • When tropical disturbances advance along the monsoon trough, sometimes the sea level low pressure area weakens and making the low pressure area from 900 mb to 700 mb height to move north of the trough.
  • As the high level low pressure area moves north, precipitation decreases in the northern plains. This makes the low pressure area over North Bay of Bengal to be replaced with a high pressure area.
  • This makes the monsoon trough along the west coast to weaken and monsoon winds from Bay of Bengal branch alone feed the monsoon trough which runs along the foothill of Himalayas and North east India.
  • This results in less or no rainfall across west coast, Deccan plateau and Northern plains.
  • But a low pressure trough forms over the Tamil Nadu coast increasing the rainfall. As the monsoon trough runs close to foothills of Himalayas, monsoon winds ascend the slopes of Himalayas resulting in orthographic rainfall. This is how a monsoon break works.
  • The pressure gradient at surface levels over the Peninsular India weakens, while it becomes more over the Gangetic plains. Normally, the reverse happens during the four month-long Monsoon season.

What are the striking features of the ‘break’ Monsoon period?

  • Breaks are likely to occur during the second week of August and last for a week.
  • The breaks are believed to be brought about by the northward shifting of the monsoon trough (minimum low pressure cell in ITCZ). The axis of the trough lies at the foothills of the Himalayas during the break period.
  • Normally the Monsoon troughruns from Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan to Kolkata. During break Monsoon, the trough shifts closer to the foothills of Himalayas or sometimes not visible at all.
  • Middle of August is most prone to ‘breaks’ and that too longer breaks. Consequently, Northeast and parts of South India receive good showers while rest of the country remains mainly dry.
  • Rainfall ceases over most parts of India. Heavy Monsoon showers are witnessed over/near the foothills Himalayas, but not over the entire length simultaneously.
  • The Himalayan region to the east of 85°E receives heavy Monsoon showers. Accordingly, Sub Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are more susceptible to heavier rainfall. Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal also receive above normal rainfall during this period.
  • In the Peninsular India, Rayalseema and Tamil Nadu receives good thundershowers.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Purchasing power parity”

2) When it comes to GDP figures, GDP measured through PPP overestimates India’s social and economic growth. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what PPP measurement of GDP is and how good an indicators is PPP based GDP in evaluating the socio economic progress of the country. We need to present both sides of the debate and end with a fair and balanced conclusion

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what PPP measurement of GDP is – Purchase Power Parity gives an idea about the strength of nation’s currency when pegged against currency of another nation on the basis of buying same quality of goods/services in their respective nations. India’s nominal GDP is 10th in world while when calculated on PPP basis it is third only after US and China.

Body

  • Explain that based on this technique the GDP calculated does indeed highlight that India has great growth potential. However this growth story comes with caveat of huge economic inequality. It proves that GDP ranking based on PPP is not correct measure of socio-economic development because it presents relative strength of currency for huge GDP in India. As India is huge in economy, resource rich and cheap in service, hence Goods/Services are cheaper here. Hence, our PPP is higher.
  • Highlight that because of our diverse demography, economy activities, economic disparity between Rural and Urban, we need a more robust analysis of growth based on
    • Nominal GDP for GDP indexing
    • HDI for human development and prosperity measurement
    • Gender based GDP to give gender-wise production.
    • GDP share by Rural and Urban settlements. Sector wise GDP and growth

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the hypothesis made in the question.

Background:-

  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given period. Each country reports its data in its own currency. To compare the data, each country’s statistics must be converted into a common currency.
  • The two most common methods to convert GDP into a common currency are nominal and purchasing power parity (PPP).
  • PPP is an attempt at a relative measure, taking factors of each country into consideration in order to put a number on a person’s standard of living within that country. Thus, developing countries tend to have a higher (better) PPP than nominal, while developed countries have higher nominal than PPP.
  • Nominal and PPP are identical in the US, because USD is used as the benchmark.

Benefits of using GDP measured through PPP :-

  • PPP exchange rates are relatively stable over time. The PPP method is most important when comparing emerging market countries to developed market countries. The PPP method gives a more accurate reflection of the power of China’s economy. In 2017, China’s economic output using the PPP method was $23 trillion. 
  • PPP is generally regarded as a better measure of overall well-being
    • Drawback of market-based rates is that they are relevant only for internationally traded goods. Nontraded goods and services tend to be cheaper in low-income than in high-income countries.
    • Any analysis that fails to take into account these differences in the prices of nontraded goods across countries will underestimate the purchasing power of consumers in emerging market and developing countries and, consequently, their overall welfare. 

Issues with using GDP measured through PPP :-

  • There are problems in making international comparisons across countries
    • There is a large gap between nominal and PPP based GDP in emerging market and developing countries. 
  • According to PPP, in countries where non-traded service costs are relatively high, goods will be relatively expensive, causing such countries currencies to be overvalued relative to currencies in countries with low costs of non-traded services.
  • Market competition:
    • Goods might be deliberately priced higher in a country because the company has a competitive advantage over other sellers, either because it has a monopoly or is part of a cartel of companies that manipulate prices.
  • PPP is harder to measure than nominal.
  • Differences in the quality of a good or service are reflected in price variations
  • Differences in consumption weights – for example average per capita consumption of cheese or popcorn or chocolate reflects household preferences between countries – these can vary by large amounts
  • Many goods and services are not bought and sold in markets and therefore do not have official prices  in many countries there is a large informal and/or subsistence sector
  • The quality of economic data varies across countries as many nations do not have sophisticated methods of collecting information

Topic–  Indian polity : Issues

3) The Supreme Court finds a pragmatic middle path between the Aadhaar scheme excesses and its benefits to the marginalised. Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

Indian express

Why this question

SC’s judgment upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhar is a landmark judgment. The articles analyzes the verdict in detail and explains the implications of the verdict – the good along with the bad. Preparing this topic in detail is required, and newspapers will be flooded with opinion pieces examining the verdict over the next few days.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the verdict and highlight that how the verdict is a balancing act. We need to discuss the verdict in details and highlight the things that Aadhar can be used for and areas where the court has mandated that it’s not necessary.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the background of the case and mention that SC has recently given its verdict in the case.

Body

  • Discuss the arguments given by the court for deciding that Aadhar is constitutional and should be used for distribution of public services. Highlight that majority favoured the scheme’s continuance for the sake of the 99.76% of people included under it, rather than fret over the 0.24% who were excluded because of authentication failure.
  • Also mention that the majority decision has also made it clear that the creation of metadata and its analysis would not be permitted. Authenticated data cannot now be stored for more than six months and several directions have been issued to enhance data protection. Another major relief is that the Aadhaar number cannot be used by private corporations and the state cannot enter into any contract with such companies for the sharing of data.
  • Discuss how the verdict of the court disallows the excesses under the Aadhar Act. Discuss why the court has struck down section 57 of the Act.

Conclusion – Give your view on whether or not the verdict is a middle path.

Background :-

  • Since SC ruled last year that privacy is a fundamental right, opinion began to gain ground that the unique identification programme was vulnerable in the face of judicial scrutiny. It was projected by sceptics, detractors and activists as an intrusion on citizens privacy, a byword for a purported surveillance system, a grand project to harvest personal data for commercial exploitation by private parties and profiling by the state.

SC verdict on Aadhar :-

  • The law enabling the implementation of the programme does not violate the right to privacy of citizens instead, the project empowers marginalised sections and procures dignity for them along with services, benefits and subsidies by leveraging the power of technology.
  • In upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and clarifying areas in which it cannot be made mandatory, the Supreme Court has restored the original intent of the programme: to plug leakages in subsidy schemes and to have better targeting of welfare benefits.
  • The judgment narrows the scope of Aadhaar but provides a framework within which it can work. The majority opinion has sought to limit the import of the scheme to aspects directly related to welfare benefits, subsidies and money spent from the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, controversial circulars and rules making it mandatory to link mobile phone numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar numbers have been declared unconstitutional.
  • Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery Of Financial And Other Subsidies, Benefits And Services) Act, 2016, has been struck down to the extent that it authorised body corporates and individuals to use the Aadhaar number to establish someone’s identity.
  • Schools have been barred from making the submission of the Aadhaar number mandatory to enrol children.
  • With enrolment saturation reaching 1.2 billion people, the programme had acquired a scale and momentum that was irreversible.
  • Aadhaar Act passes the triple test laid down in the ‘Privacy’ judgment under which there ought to be a law, a legitimate state interest and an element of proportionality in any law that seeks to abridge the right of privacy.
  • The Supreme Court upheld the validity of Aadhaar saying sufficient security measures are taken to protect data and it is difficult to launch surveillance on citizens on the basis of Aadhaar.
  • The SC asked the Centre to bring a robust law for data protection as soon as possible.
  • The SC has made linking of Aadhaar and PANmandatory. The apex court also made Aadhaar mandatory for filing of Income Tax Return (ITR).
  • The SC directed the government to ensure that illegal migrants are not issued Aadhaar to get benefits of social welfare schemes.
  • The apex court struck down the provision in Aadhaar law allowing sharing of data on the ground of national security.
  • The SC said there is a fundamental difference between Aadhaar and other identity proof as Aadhaar cannot be duplicated and it is a unique identification. It added that Aadhaar is to empower the marginalised sections of the society, and it gives them an identity.
  • Children cannot be denied benefits for the lack of the Aadhaar Card
    • The government cannot deny providing welfare benefits to children if they do not have Aadhaar card. It is worth mentioning here that even new-borns can be enrolled for Aadhaar. The court also mentioned that a child will be given the authority to opt out from the benefits provided under various welfare schemes when they turn 18.
  • Section 47 invalidated – Individuals can now file cases in a Court related to Aadhaar
    • Section 47 has also been repealed by the Supreme Court. The section did not allow any court to take cognizance of offences punishable under this act if the complaint was made by individuals.  Only those officers who were authorized by UIDAI had the authority to file complaints related to Aadhaar. But now, even individuals can file complaints related to Aadhaar in courts.
  • Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than 6 months
    • Aadhaar authentication data can now be stored only for 6 months now. Earlier, the Aadhaar Act allowed authorities to store the data for up to 5 years.
  • Aadhaar not mandatory for Digital Wallets
    • Aadhaar is not mandatory for various digital wallets. Currently, various companies providing the mobile wallet service ask their customers to furnish their Aadhaar to avail full-fledged services. However, these companies cannot ask their customers for Aadhaar details from now onwards.
  • Aadhaar not mandatory for examinations conducted by CBSE, UGC and NET
    • Various institutional bodies made it mandatory for students taking up all India level examinations to furnish their Aadhaar number in the application form. The students also had to bring their Aadhaar to the examination centres for verification. However, it is not mandatory to provide Aadhaar details from now onwards

Implications:-

  • Negatives:-
    • There have been biometric authentication failures that have led to denial of rights and legal entitlements, and the reason for such failures is in the project’s inability to account for and remedy flaws in its network and design. Dignity and rights of individuals are made to depend on algorithms and probabilities .
    • According to data revealed earlier this year by the Right To Food (RTF) campaign, an advocacy group, 14 people allegedly starved to death in Jharkhand over 10 months after being denied rations because they didn’t have Aadhaar cards.
    • Denial of ration/food grains have been reported widely over UID issues including problems of biometric. Massive malnutrition and related deaths of children in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and tribal areas are pointers to the danger that lies in such a judgement.
    • According to Amnesty India, making an Aadhaar card a prerequisite to access essential services and benefits can obstruct access to several constitutional rights, including the rights of people to food, health care, education and social security.
  • Positives:-
    • A relief for those who no longer have to link their cards to their bank accounts and mobiles 
    • Students of CBSE, NEET, UGC also do not require Aadhaar number to appear in exams. Even schools cannot seek Aadhaar card for admissions.
    • The constitution bench of the top court has also struck down the national security exception under the Aadhaar Act. This will indirectly ensure greater privacy of individual’s Aadhaar data while restricting the government accessibility to it.
    • The SC has struck down the following requirement:- 
      • Earlier Prevention of Money-Laundering Rules were amended to make it mandatory for linking every bank account with the Aadhaar number. Thus, more than a billion bank accounts were required to be linked and it was actually done in more than half the number of total bank accounts.
      • This was an extremely disproportionate step that caused enormous hardship because several bank accounts were completely blocked where the Aadhaar number had not been linked.
    • Aadhaar number effectively invalidated all other forms of identity:-
      • The SC has now pointed out that important benefits cannot be denied merely because the Aadhaar number is not available or the fingerprints of an individual do not match. He should have the option of producing alternative methods of identity, and get the benefits he is statutorily entitled to.

Topic – Indian polity : Issues

4) SC’s ruling on Adultery law is a triumph for gender equality. Discuss. (250 words) 

Hindustantimes

Why this question

Verdicts of supreme court on laws which affect the conscience and morality of society needs to be prepared. Section 497 of IPC has been a matter of debate over equality of sexes since long and the court verdict was on progressive lines. This issue is this important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what section 497 of IPC talks about, the verdict of the court in the case and the reasons why the verdict is an important landmark for gender equality. We need to also discuss the other side of the debate wherein we highlight that India still needs to go a long way in ensuring true equality of sexes.

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 what section 497 of IPC is – it deemed adultery a crime.

Body

  • Discuss how adultery is defined under the Act – The archaic law stipulated that only a married man can invoke Section 497 against another man for having a relationship with his wife. A woman with a similar grievance could not approach the court. The law also interpreted adultery as a married man’s sexual relationship with a married woman which meant that his relations with, say, a single woman was not.
  • Highlight the reasons given by the court as to why this section has been declared unconstitutional.
  • Discuss how this is good for gender equality – women no longer lived in the shadows of their husbands and are not mere objects who can be preyed upon by men who then become criminally liable if the woman’s husband has not given his consent to an adulterous relationship. Also mention that the law is archaic and is not in tune with societal realities of our times
  • Discuss why this is only a small victory and a lot more needs to be done for ensuring true gender equality

Conclusion – Give your view on the verdict and whether this is a victory for true equality among sexes.

Background:-

  • In India the offence of adultery is punishable under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. As it stands, this Section makes only men having sexual intercourse with the wives of other men without the consent of their husbands punishable and women cannot be punished even as abettors. Keeping in mind the changing times SC dealt with this issue recently.

Why SC judgment on adultery law is a triumph for gender equality ?

  • Section 497 of the IPC treats only the man as the offender and the married woman as a victim. They say that in making the husband the only person who can prosecute for adultery, the law is founded upon the idea that the status of the wife in a marriage is akin to that of the property of the husband.
    • It does not penalize the sexual intercourse of a married man with an unmarried woman or a widow or even a married woman when her husband consents to it.
    • In case the offence of adultery is committed, the husband cannot prosecute his unfaithful wife but can only prosecute her adulterer.
  • So the law only saw adultery as a dispute between two men, one of whom could decide on his wife’s behaviour. The verdict is acknowledgment that what may be deemed a moral wrong by some is not a criminal wrong
  • In essence, a woman can neither file a case of adultery, nor can she be prosecuted on the ground of adultery. This cuts gender discrimination both ways, that is, it discriminates against men and women.
  • The verdict also firmly supports the fact that the law alone cannot protect a marriage. The state, as made clear from the underlying sentiments of the verdict, has no place in the private lives of people as long as they are engaged in consensual relationships.
  • The Supreme Court said the Victorian provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her husband’s subordinate.
    • The judges made clear that women no longer lived in the shadows of their husbands and are not mere objects who can be preyed upon by men who then become criminally liable if the woman’s husband has not given his consent to an adulterous relationship.
  • Partners in marriage do not mortgage their sexual autonomy to each other, effectively taking the morality argument out of adultery
  • The very existence of adultery in the criminal statute is violative of the fundamental right to life and to live with dignity.
  • Adultery is no more a criminal offence like in most European countries but it may still have legal consequences, especially in divorce proceedings. In the U.S., adultery is generally punished in some states only if committed habitually or with public notoriety.
  • Adultery amounts to breach of trust between a married couple and should thus qualify as a strong ground for divorce, but should not carry other penalties such as imprisonment.
  • With individual autonomy and choices being recognised as an integral part of the right to privacy, there is no justification in retaining a dated adultery law.

More is needed to be done for gender equality:-

  • Despite the judgement the actual implementation is still under question due to the behavioural mindset of patriarchy largely present in the society. Women are still considered as husband’s property despite women education and gender equality is still far from certain.

Topic – Indian Polity: Issues

5) The draft Personal Data Protection Bill poses a danger to the hard-won right to information. Critically Examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article talks about one more issue with the BN Srikrishna committee report. The current article highlights how the provisions of the draft data protection Bill are at odds with RTI Act and transparency provisions.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the pros and cons of the provisions of the draft Bill of those provisions which are against the provisions of RTI Act and transparency. Finally we need to provide a fair and balanced opinion on the provisions of the draft Bill and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

Critically 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 . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a background of the data protection Bill and talk about the challenges emanating for RTI Act from all corners

Body

  • Highlight the provisions of the draft Bill which create such a conundrum
    • Provisions related to personal data and the need to amend RTI act to protect “personal data”
    • Srikrishna Committee suggests amending this clause to authorise public information officers, or PIOs, to deny information containing ‘personal data’, if they feel that such disclosure is likely to cause harm to ‘the data principal’, and if such harm outweighs public interest.
  • Highlight that such a step is necessary for protecting the privacy of data, tackles with the unnecessary demands raised under RTI Act etc
  • Highlight how such provisions are antagonistic to the ideals of transparency and accountability and would grant greater discretion and further the travails of RTI Act

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

Background :-

  • Recently information commissioner cautioned against amending the RTI Act while implementing the data protection framework suggested by the Srikrishna Committee report.

Draft bill on data protection:-

  • Rights of the individual: 
    • The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual.  These include: (i) right to obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether its personal data has been processed, (ii) right to seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data, and (iii) right to have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstances.
  • Obligations of the data fiduciary:
    • The Bill sets out obligations of the entity who has access to the personal data (data fiduciary).  These include: (i) implementation of policies with regard to processing of data, (ii) maintaining transparency with regard to its practices on processing data, (iii) implementing security safeguards (such, as encryption of data), and (iv) instituting grievance redressal mechanisms to address complaints of individuals.
  • Data Protection Authority: 
    • The Bill provides for the establishment of a Data Protection Authority. 
      • The Authority is empowered to:
      • (i) take steps to protect interests of individuals
      • (ii) prevent misuse of personal data
      • (iii) ensure compliance with the Bill. 
      • It will consist of a chairperson and six members, with knowledge of at least 10 years in the field of data protection and information technology.  Orders of the Authority can be appealed to an Appellate Tribunal established by the central government and appeals from the Tribunal will go to the Supreme Court.
    • Grounds for processing personal data:
      • The Bill allows processing of data by fiduciaries if consent is provided.  However, in certain circumstances, processing of data may be permitted without consent of the individual.  These grounds include:
        • If necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual
        • If required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement.
        • To respond to a medical emergency, threat to public health or breakdown of public order.
        • For reasonable purposes specified by the Authority, related to activities such as fraud detection, debt recovery, and whistle blowing.
      • Grounds for processing sensitive personal data:- 
        • Processing of sensitive personal data is allowed on certain grounds, including:
          • Based on explicit consent of the individual
          • If necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or, if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual
          • If required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement. 
        • Sensitive personal data includes passwords, financial data, biometric data, genetic data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the Authority. 
        • Additionally, fiduciaries are required to institute appropriate mechanisms for age verification and parental consent when processing sensitive personal data of children.
      • Transfer of data outside India:
        • Personal data (except sensitive personal data) may be transferred outside India under certain conditions. 
        • These include: (i) where the central government has prescribed that transfers to a particular country are permissible, or (ii) where the Authority approves the transfer in a situation of necessity.
      • Exemptions:
        • The Bill provides exemptions from compliance with its provisions, for certain reasons including: (i) state security, (ii) prevention, investigation, or prosecution of any offence, or (iii) personal, domestic, or journalistic purposes.
      • Offences and Penalties:
        • Under the Bill, the Authority may levy penalties for various offences by the fiduciary including (i) failure to perform its duties, (ii) data processing in violation of the Bill, and (iii) failure to comply with directions issued by the Authority. 
        • For example, under the Bill, the fiduciary is required to notify the Authority of any personal data breach which is likely to cause harm to the individual. Failure to promptly notify the Authority can attract a penalty of the higher of Rs 5 crore or 2% of the worldwide turnover of the fiduciary. 
      • Amendments to other laws:  The Bill makes consequential amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000.  It also amends the Right to Information Act, 2005, and to permit non-disclosure of personal information where harm to the individual outweighs public good
        • The data protection Bill identifies “personal data” as any data that directly or indirectly identifies a person. It then calls for amending clause 8.1.j of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

How the bill poses a danger to the hard won right to information:-

  • The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 seeks to amend the RTI Act’s Section 8(1)(j), which states that personal information that doesn’t serve “public activity or interest” cannot be disclosed unless it is deemed to be of public interest. In other words, personal information can be sought under RTI if it is found to serve a public cause. RTI Act may be rendered absolutely useless in securing access to public records pertaining to public servants if it is amended.
  • It proposes that if such information is likely to cause harm to a data principal and such harm outweighs the aforementioned public interest, can the information be exempted from disclosure. This opens up discretion of deciding the harm and public interest, neither of which are defined.
  • Activists criticize that there is absolutely no need to replace present privacy clause, as it has properly balanced the privacy rights of the public servants and the public interest in disclosure of information in connection with public activity.
    • The privacy of public servants has been protected by the RTI Act as envisaged by Supreme Court in R. Rajagopal v Tamil Nadu and Justice Puttaswamy cases and therefore, there was absolutely no need to replace present section 8 of RTI Act.
  • The RTI Act’s core aim is to bring accountability by making available public records that disclose the actions and decisions of specific, identifiable members of the political class and the bureaucracy. The Data Protection Bill extends the cloak of ‘personal data’ over all such information. It asks PIOs to weigh public interest against the potential for harm to those identifiable in public documents.
  • The Bill ignores that another key aim of the RTI Act is containing corruption. By bringing corruption to light, dogged RTI users have served public interest and caused ‘harm’, in terms of the Bill, to those exposed.
  • Under the proposed amendment, PIOs will be forced to test public interest versus potential for harm to multiple “data principals” in just about every request that they handle, and this is a responsibility they will be reluctant to take on.
  • Amended clause will chill the RTI Act, as PIOs will now have a strong legal ground to play safe, and toss out RTI requests deploying an amended clause 8.1.j.

Topic –  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.

6) Doubling India’s share of exports to the world is critical for India to achieve double digit growth. Discuss the challenges in achieving this target and highlight benefits of boosting exports?(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article highlights the dream of the present government with respect to doubling India’s share in total exports. The article discusses the issues involved therein and explains why doubling exports is so critical for the country. There has been a lull in exports and with import bills touching sky high on account of energy imports, we need to devise new strategy.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the reasons why doubling exports is necessary, the various challenges that will come before us in trying to double our exports and the impact of having achieved this target on our economy.

Directive word

Discuss – Here in your discussion, you need to explain the challenges to enhancing exports for India and the impact of boosting exports for Indian economy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Talk about the goal of doubling exports as envisaged by Narendra Modi. Give data on India’s current share in the export pie.

Body – bring out the reasons why boosting exports is necessary for India. Here you should give the usual reasons which we study in basic macroeconomy. Next, we need to bring out the challenges faced in boosting exports – international competitiveness of manufacturing has not made great strides, reflected in the declining manufacturing export-GDP ratio and manufacturing trade balance; segments of exports continue to go substantially in primary form and not in a value-added mode etc. Discuss the impact of boosting exports for Indian economy.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the need for such an aim and discuss the way forward.

Background :-

  • According to statistics released by the WTO in July, the share of India in total world merchandise exports was 1.68 per cent in 2017, a level it has more or less maintained since 2011.
  • Recently Indian Prime Minister set a clear target of doubling India’s share of world exports to 3.4 per cent in June. India recognised that this was important if India was to move towards double-digit growth.

Benefits of boosting exports :-

  • Quantum jump in exports presents a tremendous opportunity for India. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s production takes place in global value chains. Integrating with these supply chains will not only bring welfare gains, they will also increase efficiency and drive growth.
  • India’s economy cannot survive without exports. In 2017-18, exports of goods and services contributed about 12% of India’s GDP. In contrast, exports made up over 42% of South Korea’s GDP. 
  • For India to achieve double digit growth, exports will be a crucial part of the strategy.
    • Exports are an important driver of economic growth and help create much needed jobs for India’s growing workforce.
    • They played an important role in transforming countries such as South Korea and China in recent decades.
    • Therefore, India will need to work on increasing competitiveness to expand its exports share in the world market.

Challenges in doubling the share of India’s exports :-

  • Economic Survey 2017-18 pointed out that while the share of manufacturing in GDP has improved slightly, the international competitiveness of manufacturing has not made great strides, reflected in the declining manufacturing export-GDP ratio and manufacturing trade balance.
  • Existing exports are barely able to hold on to their market shares and new products or markets have not burst forth.
  • Most importantly, segments of exports continue to go substantially in primary form and not in a value-added mode. Cotton and cotton yarn than high-end garments and made-ups is an example.
  • Indian exports are sensitive to price changes, global demand and supply-side bottlenecks. The way India’s export basket has evolved over the past two decades, it has made them much more responsive to global demand as compared to price changes.
  • According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the long-run, a 1% increase in India’s international relative export prices could reduce export volume growth by about 0.9% for all industries and by about 1.1% for the manufacturing sector.
  • Logistics sector :-
    • Similarly, higher logistics costs have been a major impediment to export growth. The FTP review document admits that logistics cost in India is close to double of that in developed countries. The average logistics costs in India are about 15% of GDP.
  • A mere weakening of the rupee might not be enough to boost exports, at least not in a significant way when it comes to the manufacturing sector due to three possible phenomena discussed here.
    • India is no longer an isolated market and exports are tightly linked to imports through twin mechanisms of input import dependence and global value chains.
    • The inputs for two of India’s leading exports, petroleum and derived products and gems and jewellery, originate abroad. Crude, rough diamonds, and gold are imported to make these export products.
    • There is no change in the level of attractiveness of sourcing from India for an international buyer. Therefore, it doesn’t boost exports in terms of quantity or exports in dollar terms.
    • Fall in the value of rupee didn’t lead to an expected commensurate gain in manufacturing exports during the period 2004-2012 .
  • Private investment needs to pick up significantly, but the woes in the banking sector may drag it down. The global economy is increasingly looking dubious and a lot uncertain with an imminent threat of trade wars breaking out. In such a scenario, India is unlikely to achieve 20-25% exports growth, which is needed to achieve double digit growth.

Way forward:-

  • Exports need a greater focus in draft industrial policy under consideration and for speeding up the establishment of product-specific industrial clusters and enacting labour reform, at least in export zones.
  • Exports will also require a sound export infrastructure by energising the Bharatmala Pariyojana to improve the efficiency of movement of goods and to cut logistics costs.
  • The Sagarmala programme with its emphasis on port modernisation, capacity augmentation and port-led industrialisation will need an export orientation.
  • Trade facilitation and export finance will also have to acquire high priority.
  • Establishment of sector-level standards, compliance and certification mechanisms will be essential.
  • And all this will need a time-bound missionary zeal from the government, the states and industry.
  • India will have to fine-tune current export schemes (MEIS and SEIS) and move towards more fundamental export promotion strategies such as Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES, for bridging gaps in export infrastructure) and Market Access Initiative (MAI, catalyst to promote exports on product-focus country approach) Scheme.
  • Reviewing existing free trade agreements (FTAs) and negotiating future FTAs for greater market access will also be critical in such a situation.
  • Measures such as enhanced trade facilitation, export and production diversification, lower logistics costs, energy efficiency, lower cost of doing business and not short-term fixes will lead to sustainable exports recovery.