SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 NOVEMBER 2018

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 NOVEMBER 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: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

1) Even after declared unconstitutional,  several laws still prevail in the Indian legal and police circle. Critically examine. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the reasons behind the  prevalence of several laws in Indian police circle and even the judiciary, although the laws have been declared unconstitutional by the SC.

Directive word

Critically examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out the reasons as to why several laws prevail in Indian police and judicial circles, even though they have been declared unconstitutional by the highest court of the land.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  powers of the SC to declare a law ultra vires and unconstitutional.

Body

Discuss the reasons behind the prevalence of such laws. E.g primary reason for poor enforcement of judicial declarations of unconstitutionality is signal failures between different branches of government; monitoring function is one that the court can perform while a litigation is pending, it cannot do so after finally deciding a case, even after directions for compliance are issued. Instead, it needs help from the legislature and executive to ensure its final decisions are enforced; there exists no official method for sharing information about such decisions, even those of constitutional import etc.

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

Background:-

  • Indian laws continue to be implemented in the country despite being declared unconstitutional by the judiciary.
  • Under Art 142 of the Constitution, it is the duty of the parliament to enforce the decrees of the Supreme Court by making a law and until such a provision is made the President can issue orders to enforce the same.
  • Thus, the supreme court depends on the legislature and the executive to enforce its decisions.

Unconstitutional laws still prevail:-

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, as unconstitutional. Despite that there have been instances where Section 66A has been invoked by the police.
    • This points to a serious concern on the implementation of the verdict, if the police still jail persons under unconstitutional laws.
    • This also shows a tendency of some laws to inhabit the Indian legal system even after their legal deaths.
  • Before the recent decisions that held provisions in the Indian Penal Code as unconstitutional (in whole or in part), the Supreme Court had famously done this, in 1983, by striking down Section 303 of the Indian Penal Code in Mithu v. State of Punjab.
  • In 2012, years after Section 303 had been struck down, the Rajasthan High Court intervened to save a person from being hanged for being convicted under that offence.

Reasons why unconstitutional laws are still prevailing in India:-

  • Primary reason for poor enforcement of judicial declarations of unconstitutionality is communication signal failures between different branches of government.
  • Monitoring:-
    • The court can monitor while a litigation is pending, it cannot do so after finally deciding a case, even after directions for compliance are issued. Instead, it needs help from the legislature and executive to ensure its final decisions are enforced.
  • There exists no official method for sharing information about such decisions.
  • At present, even getting information across about court decisions is an area where the judiciary needs help.
  • While the commercially published versions at least put an asterisk to mention the court decision, no such information is provided in the official India Code version regarding the provisions which are already pronounced as unconstitutional.
  • There is no formal system on information sharing in the hierarchical set-up of the Indian judiciary.

Way forward :-

  • Parliament needs to amend a statute to remove the provision declared unconstitutional so that the provision is removed in the statute book.
    • This is why both Sections 66A and 303 are still a part of both the official version of statutes published on India Code and commercially published copies.
  • Notifications and circulars need to be issued by relevant Ministries. These notifications are another official method to share information about judgments declaring a provision unconstitutional.
  • Some High Courts and district judges for specific districts did issue circulars bringing important decisions to the notice of other members in the judiciary. This needs to be replicated by all courts.

Topic- Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

2) Discuss the key issues and constraints faced by CIC in implementing the RTI act effectively.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The CIC has been in news recently for issuing a show cause notice to RBI governor. The article discusses well the problems on part of CIC in implementing the RTI act.

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 issues and constraints faced by CIC in terms of implementing the RTI act effectively.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  role of CIC vis a vis the RTI act.

Body-

Discuss the issues and constraints faced by CIC in implementing the RTI act. E.g There is no centralised database of RTI applicants at the centre/ state level, thus resulting in decreased accuracy of the annual RTI reports submitted by CIC; There is a general public perception that CIC has been lenient towards the unaccountable PIOs; lack of monitoring and review mechanisms in CIC to make public officers comply with the provisions of the RTI act; High pendency of cases and delayed appointments in CIC etc.

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

Background:-

  • The Right to Information Act became operational in2005. This law empowered Indian citizens to seek information from Public Authorities, thus making the Government and its functionaries more accountable and responsible.
  • India took only a few months to bring it into force. This time was inadequate to change the mindset of the people in Government, create infrastructure, develop new processes and build capacity to deliver information under this Act. This has led to implementation issues which need to be identified and addressed.

Issues and constraints faced by CIC in implementing the RTI act effectively:-

  • No centralized database:-
    • There is no centralized data base of RTI (at the State/Centre level) applicants. Given the current situation, neither the State Government nor the State Information Commission is in a position to confirm the number of Public Authorities within a Department and therefore the details on the number of applications filed.
  • The penalty is imposed is in a very few cases:-
    • Given that more than half of the RTI applications get processed after 30 days, there is a very strong perception in the citizens and the Civil Society Organizations that the Information Commission is lenient towards the erring PIO
  • Information Commission does not possess adequate monitoring and review mechanism to track the failures of the Public Authorities in complying with the RTI Act.
    • One of the most important roles of the Information Commission is to monitor and review the Public Authority and initiate actions to make them comply with the spirit of the Act. However this has been one of the weakest links in the implementation of the Act.
    • It is acknowledged and appreciated that the Information Commissions have been primarily been spending most of their time in “hearings” and disposing off appeals
  • Delay in disposing off cases:-
    • The number of RTI Appeals with the Information Commissions is growing at a rapid pace year after year. With current volumes of appeals, there seem to be delays in disposing off cases.
    • In Maharashtra SIC, there is a “wait period” of more than 12 months, thus discouraging citizens from filing appeals.
  • Geographical reach:-
    • Majority of the Information Commissions are situated in the State capitals, which results in appellants undergoing an additional cost in order to attend the hearings.
  • Role confusion:-
    • There is no clear division of responsibilities between the State Information Commission and the Nodal Department in terms of monitoring the implementation of RTI Act.

Way forward:-

  • A centralized database of all RTI applicants with their information requests and responses from information providers would enable the Information Commission to publish more accurate numbers in the annual reports.
  • The State Government has to play a facilitative role to the Information Commission through issuance of supporting rules/orders to the Public Authorities.
  • It is imperative that the Information Commission mobilize the citizens/use third party agencies in identification of non-compliance by the Public Authorities.
  • The benefits of setting up regional offices far outweigh the initial capital costs involved in setting them up. So there is a need to set up regional offices.
  • The role of the Centre/State Government is to facilitate the Public Authorities in implementation of the Act. This can happen through providing support to Public Authorities for training, development of software applications, e-Training modules, generating awareness amongst citizens etc.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of
various Constitutional Bodies”

3) Election commission of India had played a stellar role in ensuring free and fair elections in India.

Analyse the evolution of the Election Commission of India and its effectiveness in ensuring inclusiveness, rule of law, efficiency, and accountability of the election process.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the evolution of ECI where we have to explain how the nature of challenges for ECI has varied over the ages and how ECI has responded to these challenges. In doing so, we have to examine the mechanisms through ECI has ensured rule of law in election process along with criticism of its role.

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 – Give a brief introduction about ECI – its constitutional statis, role etc.

Body

  • First discuss how the role of ECI has evolved over the ages
    • Phase 1 (1950-1967) when ECI had to deal with challenges such as illiteracy, creating awareness etc
    • Phase 2( 1967-1975) when ECI had to deal with challenges such as aggressive single party system, electoral offences such as booth capturing etc
    • Phase 3 (1977-1990) where the challenges were money power in elections
    • Phase 4 (1990-2002) – photo id cards, model code of conduct, EVMs
    • Phase 5 (2002 – current) VVPATs, criminalization of politics etc
  • Analyze how ECI through its functioning and structure has maintained its independence and ensured free and fair elections, ensured implementation of MCC to ensure rule of law elections etc
  • Discuss criticism of ECI’s role – reforms not implemented, questions over its independence in recent times etc

Conclusion – Suggest reforms for ECI and give your view on ECI’s effectiveness and fairness.

Background :-

  • Election Commission of India (ECI) is one of the most popular and effective public institutions in India.
  • The ECI is situated within a particular legal framework and a socio-political context that has changed over time. In this changing context, the institutional characteristics of the ECI (role, powers, independence, structure, and functioning) have allowed it to ensure free and fair elections with varying success.

Evolution of EC :-

  • The constituent assembly provided for the ECI in the Constitution because of its commitment to free and fair elections, and its concern that citizens should exercise their franchise without discrimination. This led to its formation in 1950.
  • Evolution took place in five phases :-
    • Phase 1 (1950–67) :- Establishing Institutional Credibility :-
      • Despite the challenges of mammoth population about to vote in the first election, lack of sufficient infrastructure of governance systems, lack of literacy, the ECI was able to translate the spirit of democracy into the free and fair conduct of elections by developing processes that were people friendly and transparent.
      • EC introduced the “marking system” i.e.., the ballot paper bore names, party affiliations, and candidates symbols which made it easy for the voters to vote.
      • Although in 1956 the reorganisation of states and the delimitation of constituencies made it very difficult to hold the second general elections on time ,the ECI wanted to avoid the precedent of extending the lives of Parliament and legislative assemblies at all costs, and lobbied to prevent the postponement of elections.
      • Autonomy enabled the ECI to embed impartiality and transparency into its processes, and to take quick decisions
      • Because of its narrow subject area, the ECI became a highly expert organisation, and consequently, very efficient. The ECI’s efficiency was enhanced further as it could simultaneously make rules, implement them, and review them as required.
      • ECI could issue detailed administrative directions to the states regarding the design of ballot boxes and papers, location of polling stations, and so on, and the states benefitted from the ECI’s growing expertise
      • Election Petitions before Courts Another significant development was that courts decided to hear election petitions, though there was no such provision in the Constitution
    • Phase 2 (1967–75): Emerging Limitations
  • In the second phase, the ECI was tested, as the single-party domination of the polity began to decline and political competition increased.
  • There were law and order issues in the form of group clashes ,election meetings were disturbed ,instances of assault, kidnapping, murder, personation, looting, arson, rioting etc were also reported.
  • While the rule of law in elections declined, the ECI was still able to administer elections efficiently .The ECI’s skills were tested in a new way in the fifth general elections, as for the first time, the ECI had to conduct all-India elections before these were due.
  • At this time, as several political parties split, the ECI began to decide which group within a split party would keep the original symbol.
  • By the end of the second phase, with the declaration of the Emergency, democracy was threatened and elections due in March 1976 were cancelled. Significant changes were made to the election law
  • Phase 3 (1977–90): The Deepening Crisis :-
  • In the third phase, key shortcomings in the ECI’s institutional design that became apparent was that it had inadequate control over the state election machinery that actually conducted the elections, and could not stop politicians from fl outing the law.
  • In the face of declining political support for free and fair elections, this impacted the ECI’s capacity to enforce the rule of law in elections, which made them less inclusive.
  • Phase 4 (1991–2002): Fight back and Consolidation:-
    • The ECI waged a continuous, acrimonious, and public battle with the political establishment and the central and state governments to restore the rule of law in elections. This time, it was successful.
    • The CEC’s leadership was decisive and effective. The ECI also stated that unless electoral photo identity cards were provided to all eligible voters, no polling would take place.
    • The ECI became proactive in ensuring that the MCC was followed, and expressed open displeasure when it was violated.
    • It banned the transfer of officials on election duty without its prior permission
    • It monitored the election process more closely, by enhancing the role of election observers and monitoring officials.
    • In 1993, the government promulgated an ordinance for the appointment of two election commissioners. Since then, the ECI has been a three-member body.
    • The success of EC role in Gujarat in 2002 added to its autonomy, impartiality, and internal accountability, without taking away from quick decision-making.
  • Phase 5 (2002–Present): Deeper Problems
    • It had stemmed electoral violence and large-scale voter intimidation, voter personation, and booth-capturing. In ensuring the rule of law in elections
    • It made the election process more inclusive, enabling marginalised communities to exercise their franchise.
    • In the current context, political actors and officials do not flout the ECI’s directions easily. Attacks on the ECI by political actors are now usually restrained, largely because of the public and media support for the ECI.
    • With the introduction of EVMs in 1998, which were used across the country in 2004, the polling and counting processes became smoother.

Inclusiveness :-

  • Concerns about inclusiveness led to an innovation, the use of large pictorial symbols, by which illiterate voters could identify their preferred candidate.
  • The press was taken into confidence, and their cooperation for generating awareness was sought .
  • The ECI’s rigorous approach is illustrated by its handling of women who were unwilling to provide their names to register as voters. It used persuasion and made women as voters.

Rule of law:-

  • Although the model code was originally based on political consensus and does not still enjoy statutory sanction, it served as a handy tool for placing curbs on the abuse of the official machinery for campaigning.
  • The EC regularly instructs police stations in each constituency to initiate preventive measures and take action against those who were involved in electoral offences in the past and against habitual offenders and anti-social elements.
  • According to data from EC website, during the 2014 general election a staggering number of people (2,50,892) were identified as “possible intimidators” and action was taken against 2,18,227 of them.

Efficiency:-

  • The ECI constantly reviewed and improved its processes, making them more efficient.
  • EVM is introduced to make elections more effective.
  • Most elections in recent times have been peaceful with high voter turnout due to election commission
  • To prevent personation in voting, the ECI made another innovation, of marking each voter’s finger with indelible ink.

Accountability:

  • The ECI took several measures to quash rumours and suspicions regarding the elections and consulted political actors often even since the start.
  • After the Election Commission was made a three-member body, its functioning became more institutionalised and more transparent with little room for the caprices of an overbearing personality.
  • The ECI enhanced public accountability in various processes requiring a list of polling stations be published for objections, refining the process of hearing objections to the voter list, and so on in the first phase itself.

Challenges remain though:

  • The lacunae in the process of appointing the CEC and the election commissioners were evident again in 2008. The ugly spat in 2009 between the election commissioners for instance.
  • The increasing role of money power in the form of voter bribery and funding of political parties
  • political parties continue to put up criminals as candidates
  • The manipulation of the media through paid news and other means.
  • The ECI has attempted to address these issues by appointing expenditure observers, countermanding elections for voter bribery, and monitoring paid news. But, for now, these problems remain.

Topic– Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

4) Oil prices are not only subject to the economics of demand and supply but also to the subjective wishes of the leaders of oil producing countries. Critically analyze in the light of India’s energy security.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

In spate of the recent international events, which have the ability to lead to a increase in oil prices, it is important to discuss the factors which affect oil prices and its relevance for India.

Directive word

Critically 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out the effect of subjective wishes of oil producing countries along with the effect of demand and supply on oil prices. It wants us to discuss the issue in the context of India’s energy security needs and how India should respond in such situations.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  India’s energy needs and its dependence on oil imports.

Body-

  1. Discuss the effect of demand and supply on oil prices. E.g discuss how a decline in supply from the oil producing countries leads to spike in oil prices or how a decreased global demand for oil results in reduction of oil prices.
  2. Discuss how subjective wishes of leaders of oil producing nations affects oil prices. E.g discuss the diplomatic tensions between countries like US and Iran, which are constructed out of subjective assessments of the leaders leads to spike or reduction in oil prices. Similarly give the example of US Iraq war and the recent Saudi Arabia and Egypt tussle etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g mention that India needs to invest in renewable sources, diversify oil sources and enter into long term supply contracts with oil producing countries etc.

Background :-

  • Oil constitutes one-third of the country’s total imports and is considered to have wide-ranging impact on its economy.
  • Oil is a commodity, and as such, it tends to see larger fluctuations in price than more stable investments such as stocks and bonds. There are several influences on oil prices, a few of which we will outline below.

Oil prices change due to economics of supply and demand  :-

  • Laws of supply and demandcause oil prices to change. When supply exceeds demand, prices fall and the inverse is also true when demand outpaces supply.
  • The 2014 fall in oil prices can be attributed a lower demand for oil in Europe and China, coupled with a steady supply of oil from OPEC. The excess supply of oil caused oil prices to fall sharply. 

Oil prices change due to subjective wishes of oil producing countries :-

  • In 1973 OPEC ratcheted up prices four fold in anger at the Western World’s support for Israel in the Yom Kippur Arab-Israel conflict.
  • Recently US pulled itself out of the JCPOA , the multi-nation nuclear deal that had been signed in 2014 to contain Iran’s nuclear programme. Simultaneously, US issued notices that all countries and companies must stop doing business with Iran within six months and that if they did not comply, US would sanction them under the US law, CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions Act).
    • So oil importing countries are likely to move away from buying oil from Iran. This is likely to drive up global oil prices further.
  • The levers of oil policy in most petro states are in the hands of autocratic leaders
  • Personalisation would not have been an issue in the past when oil was traded mostly against long-term supply contracts. Today, however, in an integrated, liquid and fungible market characterised by flexible, short-term deals, it is of relevance. The local actions of individual leaders have global ramifications on prices.
  • Venezuela
    • The political and economic crises affecting the oil-rich South American country have resulted in its crude production going into freefall.
    • The collapse has tightened oil markets much more quickly than anticipated, experts said. Output is down so much that Venezuela has cut production even more than Saudi Arabia, Opec’s biggest producer.

Other reasons that affect oil prices :-

  • Political instability in the Middle East causes oil prices to fluctuate, as the region accounts for the lion’s share of the worldwide oil supply. 
  • Production costs, political turmoil and even interest rates can play a significant role in the price of oil.
  • Natural disasters are another factor that can cause oil prices to fluctuate. For example, when Hurricane Katrina struck the southern U.S. in 2005, affecting 19% of the U.S. oil supply.

Way forward:-

  • Demand management, accelerated development of electric vehicles and increased investment in clean energy R&D are necessary. Such measures would most effectively counter the impact of personalised and emotional oil policy.
  • Indian measures :-
    • Expedite the process of exploring domestic avenues and diversify its sources of oil supply.
    • There is an urgent need for development of non-conventional (including renewable) sources as a substitute for conventional sources to meet the energy needs.
    • Energy subsidy reforms along with regulations, standards, and targets directing the efficient level of utilization of oil as a fuel are important to reduce dependence on oil imports.
    • Public Transport should be made available and user friendly so that Individual vehicles reduce and demand for oil decreases.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Indian economy – Issues

5) Discuss the factors influencing global oil prices in brief with emphasis on role leaders play in shaping oil prices? How should India respond to these price vagaries in oil?(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article discusses the various factors at play in determining oil prices with a special emphasis on personality factor in determining prices. In light of the uncertainty regarding oil prices which affects India in myriad ways, we need to prepare this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the various factors which have a role in determining oil prices with an emphasis on the role played by personality factor in determining oil prices. Thereafter, we need to discuss a series of steps in short term and long term through which India can secure itself against such variance in oil prices.

Directive word

Discuss – Your discussion should bring out the different factors which have a role to play in determining oil prices with an emphasis on the role played by personality factor.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain the current situation where rising oil prices have given a macroeconomic shock to India. Highlight that this is a regular occurrence.

Body

  • Discuss the factors affecting oil prices – drivers of demand, supply and inventories have often been scrambled by the intangibles of Wall Street speculators and geopolitics.
  • Discuss in detail the impact of personality of leaders in determining oil prices. Give instances where personality factor played a major role in oil prices determination
  • Explain how should India respond to such a situation in short term and long term. Examine using taxes as a recourse in short term to alleviate the issues faced as a result of oil prices. In the long term explore the rise of renewables, strategic oil reserves etc as ideas which can help India deal with such variations.

Conclusion – Discuss the way forward for India.

 

Background :-

  • Oil constitutes one-third of the country’s total imports and is considered to have wide-ranging impact on its economy.
  • Oil is a commodity, and as such, it tends to see larger fluctuations in price than more stable investments such as stocks and bonds. There are several influences on oil prices, a few of which we will outline below.

Oil prices change due to economics of supply and demand  :-

  • Laws of supply and demandcause oil prices to change. When supply exceeds demand, prices fall and the inverse is also true when demand outpaces supply.
  • The 2014 fall in oil prices can be attributed a lower demand for oil in Europe and China, coupled with a steady supply of oil from OPEC. The excess supply of oil caused oil prices to fall sharply. 

Oil prices change due to subjective wishes of oil producing countries :-

  • In 1973 OPEC ratcheted up prices four fold in anger at the Western World’s support for Israel in the Yom Kippur Arab-Israel conflict.
  • Recently US pulled itself out of the JCPOA .Simultaneously, US issued notices that all countries and companies must stop doing business with Iran within six months and that if they did not comply, US would sanction them under the US law, CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions Act).
    • So oil importing countries are likely to move away from buying oil from Iran. This is likely to drive up global oil prices further.
  • The levers of oil policy in most petro states are in the hands of autocratic leaders
  • Personalisation would not have been an issue in the past when oil was traded mostly against long-term supply contracts. Today, however, in an integrated, liquid and fungible market characterised by flexible, short-term deals, it is of relevance. The local actions of individual leaders have global ramifications on prices.
  • Venezuela
    • The political and economic crises affecting the oil-rich South American country have resulted in its crude production going into freefall.
    • The collapse has tightened oil markets much more quickly than anticipated, experts said. Output is down so much that Venezuela has cut production even more than Saudi Arabia, Opec’s biggest producer.

Other reasons that affect oil prices :-

  • Political instability in the Middle East causes oil prices to fluctuate, as the region accounts for the lion’s share of the worldwide oil supply. 
  • Production costs, political turmoil and even interest rates can play a significant role in the price of oil.
  • Natural disasters are another factor that can cause oil prices to fluctuate. For example, when Hurricane Katrina struck the southern U.S. in 2005, affecting 19% of the U.S. oil supply.

Measures India needs to take:-

  • Demand management, accelerated development of electric vehicles and increased investment in clean energy R&D are necessary. Such measures would most effectively counter the impact of personalised and emotional oil policy
  • Expedite the process of exploring domestic avenues and diversify its sources of oil supply.
  • There is an urgent need for development of non-conventional (including renewable) sources as a substitute for conventional sources to meet the energy needs.
  • Energy subsidy reforms along with regulations, standards, and targets directing the efficient level of utilization of oil as a fuel are important to reduce dependence on oil imports.
  • Public Transport should be made available and user friendly so that Individual vehicles reduce and demand for oil decreases.
  • India could reinstate its formula for subsidizing the fuels by asking upstream companies to share a part of the burden. Currently, prices of gasoline and diesel are fixed through a complex formula, which is not fully understood. It is based on what the government terms “trade parity price,” or the estimated price of the fuel if it were to be imported and exported in the ratio of 80:20.
  • For now, the government is said to have asked the state-owned oil marketing companies to absorb some of the pain and not pass higher costs on to consumers.
  • What India needs now is a carefully devised strategy that is not driven by short-termism, but aims to gradually insulate the country from global oil price volatility.
    • Such a strategy should be centered on three things:
      • Expediting the migration to electric mobility:
  • Multi-stage adoption:This calls for first identifying a specific set of routes for electric bus services in a particular big city and ensuring that all infrastructure needed for their seamless operation is in place before considering other sets of routes.
      • Expanding the biofuel blending in petrol, and
      • Stimulating exports.

Topic – Indian economy : Issues

6) Discuss the various factors that led to meteoric rise in India’s Ease of doing business ranking and critically analyze the impact of such improvement?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

This article discusses the various reform measures which helped India in securing a huge jump in its EODB rankings. The article also examines what India’s improvement in EODB metric actually indicates. Doing business ranking has been in the news recently and requires detailed preparation.

Key demand of the question

The question is divided into two parts. In the first part we need to discuss the various reform measures which enabled India to secure an improvement in rankings. Thereafter we need to critically examine whether the improvement in rankings actually translate to a change in ground level situation or is it merely a surface level change.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion should list out the various reforms which have brought about an improvement in India’s Doing Business ranking.

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. 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 – Highlight the improvement in India’s ranking in Doing Business report.

Body

  • Discuss about the reforms in various areas which have helped India improve its score on metrics such as getting construction permit, trading across boundaries etc. Also discuss the reforms in areas where India registered an improvement in doing business metric.
  • Discuss the advantages that this improvement would have on improving business metrics such as the perceived improvement in business sentiment, attracting FDI, taking the economy on the pathway of reforms etc
  • Discuss the limitations of an approach that gives too much importance to improving India’s ranking such as the criticism that the rankings are not reflective of actual ground situation and represents a miniscule sample space etc

Conclusion – Give your view on India’s improvement on the EODB rankings and what it means for the Indian economy and the next steps that should be on India’s reforms agenda.

Background:-

  • World Bank’s Doing Business Report is an assessment of business regulation across 190 economies. India has jumped 23 places to rank 77 in the Doing Business 2019 report.

Highlights of 2019 report:-

  • India became the top ranked country in South Asia for the first time and third among the BRICS.
  • Highest improvement (53 ranks) in 2 years by any large country since 2011.
  • India recognised among top 10 improvers for the second consecutive year.
  • First BRICS and South Asian country to be recognised as top improver in consecutive years.

Reasons why India’s ease of doing business improved:-

  • Improvement on quite a few parameters has pushed up its overall ranking.
    • India registered improvement in areas like starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, and trading across borders.
    • The jump in overall ranking was driven by the “dealing with construction permits” (from 181 to 52) and “trading across borders” (from 146 to 80) parameters.
  • Government efforts:-
    • The government targeted efforts to address shortcomings for instance, the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) 2017-2020 for increasing the efficiency of cross-border trade worked.
      • Launched last year, it is putting in place the architecture for decreasing border and documentary compliance time, permitting exporters to electronically seal their containers at their own facilities, and reducing physical inspections to up to only 5% of all shipments.
    • Likewise, the implementation of the single-window clearance system for construction permits in Delhi and the online building permit approval system in Mumbai are important.
  • The goods and services tax (GST):-
    • There has been an improvement in India’s paying taxes score
  • Letting exporters seal their containers electronically at their own facilities, limiting physical inspections to 5% of shipments helped in trade facilitation.

India will benefit from these rankings:-

  • As the World Bank ranks 190 countries, investors have a comparable template to make crossborder investment decisions.
  • The ranking provides a significant input to their decision-making process
  • It acknowledges the structural reforms the government has been undertaking.
  • Improvement in India’s rank will boost SMEs, job creation: World Bank.
  • There are examples across the world where an improved Doing Business ranking has resulted in increased employment and inclusive growth.

Constraints:-

  • Insolvency:-
    • The sluggish rate of resolution of cases that have come under the IBC is becoming a major roadblock.
  • GST:-
    • Glitches in GST filing may have led to a rise in the number of hours taken in a year to file taxes.
    • Delays in GST refunds have constrained working capital for exporters. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations has stated that the process of input tax credit refund being partly electronic and partly manual has been the main impediment here.
  • Issues with methodology:-
    • The Doing Business report bases the rankings on field surveys and interviews with corporate lawyers and company executives in Delhi and Mumbai.
    • The report has often attracted criticism for not being representative enough.

Way forward:-

  • Coordination across all departments and between the Centre, the States and local level to get the implementation right and fast.
  • It is imperative to create awareness of the reforms introduced so that the enterprises can benefit from it.
  • Regular feedback on reforms undertaken, and ensure the reforms are implemented at the ground level.

Topic – indigenization of technology and developing new technology

7) What were the objectives of the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO)? Comment on the recent NGT decision to grant clearance for this project?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article discusses the recent NGT decision to grant approval to Indian National Observatory Project. INO is a project that would have immense advantages for science research but unfortunately the project has been in a state of limbo owing to public grievances, questions over its environmental impact etc. Now that clearance has been given to the project it is important to revise INO.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the objectives of INO in the first part. Thereafter, it expects us to comment on NGT’s decision to grant approval to this project, which means we have to first explain the controversy surrounding this project and discuss the impact of NGT’s decision to grant clearance to this project.

Directive word

Comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Your opinion may be for or against, but you must back your argument with evidences.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about INO project

Body

  • Discuss the objectives of INO such as Use in the study of neutrino produced by cosmic rays in the earth’s atmosphere and having mass or not for measurement and experiment purposes, in the development of detector technology etc
  • Bring out the controversies surrounding INO – like environmental issues and safety issues
  • Comment on the impact of the NGT verdict as to how completion of the project would enable India to be at the forefront of research

Conclusion – Give your view on the decision and mention the way forward for the project.

Background:-

  • Recently Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has upheld the environmental clearance earlier granted to the India based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

Indian based neutrino observatory:-

  • The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India.
  • Objectives:-
    • Primary goal is to study the properties and interactions of weakly interacting, naturally occurring particles, called neutrinos.
    • It aims to use to understand some of the unsolvedmysteries of the universe.

NGT made a good decision:- 

  • Education:-
    • A major benefit will be for schools and colleges in the region as the students interested in science can benefit from the outreach activities as well as doing projects at the lab.
    • The establishment of the INO lab would have a huge impact on the higher education in India in addition to various technological spin offs.
    • Efforts will be made to improve the infrastructure and academic standards of the surrounding schools as permitted by governing rules. Exhibitions and other similar facilities will be arranged to enhance the scientific spirit of the local youngsters, etc.
    • Students of science and technology within the country, particularly those residing in Tamil Nadu or neighbouring states, will have the opportunity to involve themselves in research involving cutting-edge science and technology.
  • Employment:-
    • Gainful employment will be there for a small number of people by way of sourcing of services and daily needs for the INO facility and for the upkeep of buildings and landscapes.
  • Other areas:-
    • It is envisaged that such an underground facility will develop into a centre for other studies as well, in physics, biology, geology, etc., all of which will make use of the special conditions that exist deep underground.
    • Apart from pursuing neutrino physics goals, the laboratory itself will greatly aid the development of detector technology and its varied applications (which have so far been in the areas of medical imaging).
    • ICAL detector that will be installed in the INO laboratory will be the world’s most massive detector. Such an effort will involve INO-Industry interface in a big way, in issues related to mechanical structure, electronics and detector-related technology. It is being developed completely indigenously. 

However some concerns are still raised by experts:

  • Environmental concerns:-
    • Due to some objections such as the proposed location being just about 4.9 kilometers from the Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala.
    • The explosivesused in construction are a threat to the highly sensitive ecology of the Western Ghats
  • Safety concerns:-
    • Project has also been objected by local people on safetyconsideration. The project is suffering prolonged delay
    • The relevant radiation safety studies for carrying out the long baseline neutrino experiment in the second phase of INO have not been done
  • Other concerns:-
    • There are further allegations that neutrinos are radioactiveparticles
    • The INO will double up the storage of nuclearwaste
    • Some of the concerns voiced range from radiation, structural damage to the mountain to emission of hazardous chemicals.

General Studies – 4


Topic– Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

8) “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.” ― Mohandas Gandhi. Comment in the context of the public services in India.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion on the importance of efforts and not the results, in order to attain satisfaction out of work. We have to form our opinion while relating it to the public services in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  types of efforts- objective effort and subjective effort.

Body-

  1. Bring out the difference between the two kinds of efforts.
  2. Discuss in detail as to why efforts are important as far as ethics are concerned.
  3. Discuss how genuine efforts are required in Indian public services. Discuss how sometimes it could not be possible to get results out of an act of public service but still giving efforts towards the objectives and goals of the organisation can be a good strategy.

Take the help of the article attached to the question to frame your answer.

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

Answer:-

Gandhi’s theory is if a person makes a commitment to try and complete a task and sees out this commitment, this is far more important than the result. Even if the task is not a “success”, the greatest satisfaction should be in the knowledge that you have maintained your commitment to the end of the task. You are being true to yourself. That the effort you have expended in the completion of the task is your private victory. You may be the only person aware of what you have achieved but the victory is yours to appreciate.

 

Gandhi is saying that it is okay to fail. It is okay to make the effort and not make a success of your task. “The Effort is Full Victory”

 

Practising and making an effort to make moral decisions throughout life will pay dividends when we are faced with serious moral dilemmas.

In the context of public services there are many instances where efforts need to be made sincerely:-

  • Without sincere efforts goals and outcomes can never be achieved. For administration to be transparent and accountable there is a need for efforts by the whole department.
  • Most of the projects undertaken by the government have long term impacts and need adequate time as well. So public servants need to make efforts in a planned away to reach small milestones leading to the goal. So even though the final goal is not achieved within a short span of time by these people it will be achieved in a continuous manner by the efforts of other public servants as well.
  • Some issues are so interconnected for instance poverty is a multidimensional issue consisting of factors like stunting, malnutrition , inclusive health ,inclusive education, sanitation etc. So efforts made by one particular department might not lead to poverty eradication yet they have the satisfaction of moving towards the goal.