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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 NOVEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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-  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s
interests

1) Examine the significance of ASEAN for India’s economic, geo-strategic and security imperatives?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Singapore this week to attend the East Asia Summit, ASEAN-India informal meet and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit. In the backdrop of this visit, Asean would come in news again and its significance for India. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand and expects us to bring out the economic, geo-strategic and security significance of Asean for India.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about Asean and about the recent meet which is why the topic is in news.

Body

  • Explain the economic significance of Asean for India – India is part of Asean led RCEP, high quantum of two way trade etc
  • Explain the geostrategic significance – curb Chinese presence in Indo Pacific, regional connectivity projects such as kaladan multimodal highway etc
  • Explain the security imperative such as curbing terror financing, cybersecurity, joint military exercises etc

Conclusion – Give your view on India’s relationship with Asean and discuss way forward.

Background :-

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is among the world’s largest regional intergovernmental organisations. India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of its foreign policy.
  • India has repeatedly underscored the centrality of the ASEAN in its Indo-Pacific vision. Recently Indian Prime Minister attended the 16th ASEAN-India Summit and 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) at Singapore.

Significance of ASEAN :-

  • Geostrategic:-
    • Integrating the region:-
      • Since ASEAN inception, the countries in the region have become more integrated through enhanced intraregional trade and connectivity.
      • ASEAN is seen as the most successful regional organisation next only to the EU
    • Issues dealt:-
      • In its first two decades, ASEAN focussed on a limited range of issues, but over time its mandate expanded and now includes climate change, disaster management, counterterrorism, drugs and human trafficking.
    • Maritime issues:-
      • In the last decade, India has been able to make small but valuable contributions to the bilateral maritime engagement with individual ASEAN nations. These range from providing training to pooling resources, to dealing with lower order security challenges such as piracy, gun-running and criminality at sea.
      • Naval exercises:-
        • Bilateral naval and coast guard patrols and exercises are progressing and the India-ASEAN maritime comfort level is becoming more robust as evidenced during the Delhi Dialogue deliberations.
      • ADMM+:-
        • It has conducted a total of 12 exercises in the seven designated areas of cooperation: counterterrorism, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, humanitarian mine action, maritime security, military medicine, and peacekeeping. 
      • ADMM+ countries could consider leveraging their mutual goodwill to conduct joint maritime naval exercises in the South China Sea. ADMM+ still has the potential to stand out from the disappointments of past ASEAN initiatives and contribute substantively to regional defence.
    • Partnership with ASEAN nations might help India counter the growing presence of Beijing.
    • Blue economy:-
      • It is an important aspect, INDIA-ASEAN maritime relations would help India to combat ecological maritime degradation by curbing plastic pollution, illegal and unregulated fishing and illicit trafficking of marine animals.
    • Economic:-
      • Trade in ASEAN has grown rapidly and it has focussed on promoting rapid economic growth and modernisation. For the first time, bilateral trade between ASEAN and India has crossed US$ 80 billion mark.
      • Connecting India’s North-eastern states with ASEAN.
      • India is part of ASEAN led RCEP which aims to create the world’s largest free trade area with more than a third of the global GDP and commerce.
    • The India-ASEAN Free Trade pact in services and investments, which was concluded in 2014 and came into effect a year later, has the potential to reduce India’s trade deficit with the region as also impart a strong impulse to bilateral exchanges. 
  • Connectivity projects:-
    • Connectivity projects, viz., the Trilateral Highway between north-east India and Myanmar and onwards to Thailand (and Laos and Vietnam) as well as the Kaladan multi-modal transit and transport project, have been under implementation for several years.
    • Rih Tedim Project in Myanmarwas in progress to enhance connectivity between India and ASEAN nations via the North East. The Rih-Tedim Road project will provide all weather connectivity between eastern Mizoram and western Myanmar,
    • Process for Kalewa-Yargi road has also been speeded up.
  • Security:-
    • India and several other countries have supported freedom of navigation, ensuring maritime security, expeditious resolution of disputes according to provisions of international law, viz., the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas 1982, developing a Code of Conduct, and settlement of disputes through dialogue and peaceful means.
    • China’s increasing intemperance and intractability over the last many years has added to the anxieties and concerns of countries in South East Asia and beyond. They want India to play a more active countervailing role in the region. 
    • Stronger relations between India and Myanmar have also helped to quell insurgency and extremism in the north-eastern states of India. Peace, stability and security of north-east India will be further preserved and promoted with more robust ties and understanding with Myanmar
    • Cooperation to curb terrorism especially in the face of the rising influence of the Islamic State has assumed priority. Defence partnerships with several ASEAN states are advancing rapidly.
    • India and ASEAN are natural partners in their desire to create a free, open and inclusive regional architecture. They are active participants in the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
    • Both want freedom of navigation, and are fighting piracy
    • ASEAN occupies a central place in the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region
    • India and ASEAN can collaborate to combat terror financing, cyber security threats, tax evasions and many more.
    • India needs ASEAN support in achieving a rules-based regional security architecture.

Challenges:-

  • Chinese role:-
    • Rise of China and its assertiveness in the South China Sea (SCS) has led to considerable unease in the entire region and the rejection of the international tribunal award in relation to artificial installations has caused uneasiness in ASEAN nations.
    • The growing footprint in the Indian Ocean now extends from certain Indian Ocean islands to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
    • China is a major trading partner for ASEAN (over US $500 billion in 2017) and many ASEAN nations obtain substantive military inventory items from Beijing. Thus it is a complex and contradictory relationship that ASEAN has with China.
  • Delay of projects:-
    • India’s navy is still having limited reach and the speed of project implementation is slow.
  • Geostrategic Concerns:-
    • Issues related to increasing the maritime and air connectivity between ASEAN and India and transforming the corridors of connectivity into economic corridors are under discussion.
  • Economic Concerns:-
    • India’s difficulties with the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) :-
      • India is holding out over concerns of unfettered access to Chinese goods, and the lack of access for Indian services
    • India’s economic focus too is not in tune with other regional powers which view ASEAN as an important market for exports and investments. India’s export sector remains weak and the government’s focus has shifted to boosting manufacturing domestically.
  • Other Concerns:
    • India’s expectations regarding a more robust support for its regional outreach too have not been met.
    • India’s capacity to provide development assistance, market access and security guarantees remains limited
    • ASEAN’s inclination to harness New Delhi for regional stability remains circumscribed by its sensitivities to other powers.
    • The interests and expectations of the two sides remain far from aligned, preventing them from having candid conversations and realistic assessments.

Way forward:-

  • ASEAN could reiterate India’s commitment to a common, rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region
  • India and ASEAN can evolve a consensual way ahead in the maritime domain where the least politically discordant areas for cooperation can be advanced, thereby punctuating the Indo-Pacific in a manner that prioritises the collective ‘good order at sea’ over the individual interest.
  • Full utilisation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area and the swift conclusion of a modern, comprehensive and high quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are the next steps. 
  • India must speed up work on connectivity projects, such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, and building new trade and transport linkages with all the ASEAN Nations
  • Stronger strategic and security relations with equally strong economic ties will create greater interdependence between India and the ASEAN members
  • An alternative, economic corridor based multimodal connectivity such as Mekong-India Economic Corridor may be promoted, which will connect Indian coast with unexplored Southeast Asian coast and beyond.

Topic -Issues related to poverty and hunger

2) There is very poor correlation between economic development or agrarian plenty with lower malnutrition. Discuss then what solution should India employ to tackle the problem?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Malnutrition is a persistent problem for India and is often in news. This article explains that economic development or greater food production is not the solution for malnutrition and discusses alternatives. This question would help you develop a deeper understanding of the issue.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain why economic growth or greater food production are not exactly the cure for malnutrition. Thereafter, we need to discuss the reasons behind the problem and discuss ways in which such problems can be resolved.

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 – Highlight India’s position on the global hunger index to explain the magnitude of the problem.

Body

  • With the help of examples of Indian states show that neither economic development nor greater food production benefits. Highlight the reasons because the most vulnerable section, the tribals suffer from the problem of malnutrition
  • Explain the issues why this problem persists – lack of variety in food intake, poor government service delivery , problems with ICDS scheme etc
  • Discuss the way forward – An inclusive and holistic approach, including controlling/regulating food price, strengthening the public distribution system (PDS) and income support policies for making food cheaper are important steps.

Conclusion – Mention that the persistence of this problem is a matter of great shame for India and needs urgent attention and resolution.

Background :-

  • Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2018. 
  • India is home to over 53.3 million stunted, 49.6 million underweight and 29.2 million wasted (low weight for height) children under five

Reasons why economic development or increase in food production has not reduced malnutrition:-

  • Economic development :-
  • Faster economic growth has enormous benefits, but it is by no means sufficient and sustainable if millions of children remain undernourished.
  • Experiences with Indian states:-
  • Some of the low income and Empowered-Action-Group (EAG) States like Chhattisgarh and Odisha, have performed better on this front compared to Gujarat and Maharashtra where per capita income is almost double.
  • The development path prevalent in Gujarat is more about growth, development, investment, which, however, has not been able to translate as better nutritional status in the State.
  • Odisha, which is a low income State, has a better network of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), public health facility/workforce per lakh population and educational attainment among women, which have translated into a better nutritional status when compared with Gujarat.
  • Further, tribals, rural, poor and illiterate mothers children are badly off in so-called developed States of Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab.
  • Mother’s health:-
    • Scientists say the initial 1,000 days of an individual’s lifespan, from the day of conception till he or she turns two, is crucial for physical and cognitive development. But more than half the women of childbearing age are anaemic and 33 per cent are undernourished, according to NFHS 2006. A malnourished mother is more likely to give birth to malnourished children.
  • Social inequality:-
    • For example, girl children are more likely to be malnourished than boys, and low-caste children than upper-caste children.
  • Sanitation:-
    • Most children in rural areas and urban slums still lack sanitation. This makes them vulnerable to the kinds of chronic intestinal diseases that prevent bodies from making good use of nutrients in food, and they become malnourished. 
    • Lack of sanitation and clean drinking water are the reasons high levels of malnutrition persists in India despite improvement in food availability.
  • Lack of diversified food:-
    • With the increase in diversity in food intake malnutrition (stunted/underweight) status declines. Only 12% of children are likely to be stunted and underweight in areas where diversity in food intake is high, while around 50% children are stunted if they consume less than three food items.

 

  • Lack of food security:-
    • The dismal health of Indian women and children is primarily due to lack of food security.
    • Nearly one-third of adults in the country have a body mass index (BMI) below normal just because they do not have enough food to eat.
  • Failure of government approaches:-
    • India already has two robust national programmes addressing malnutrition the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and the National Health Mission  but these do not yet reach enough people.
  • The delivery system is also inadequate and plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Some analysts estimate that 40 per cent of the subsidised food never reaches the intended recipients
  • Disease spread:-
    • Most child deaths in India occur from treatable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and complications at birth. The child may eventually die of a disease, but that disease becomes lethal because the child is malnourished and unable to put up resistance to it.
  • Poverty:-
    • The staff of ICDS places part of the blame of malnutrition on parents being inattentive to the needs of their children, but crushing poverty forces most women to leave their young children at home and work in the fields during the agricultural seasons.
  • Regional disparities in the availability of food and varying food habits lead to the differential status of undernutrition which is substantially higher in rural than in urban areas. This demands a region-specific action plan with significant investments in human resources with critical health investments at the local levels.
  • Lack of nutrition:-
    • Significant cause of malnutrition is also the deliberate failure of malnourished people to choose nutritious food.
    • An international study found that the poor in developing countries had enough money to increase their food spending by as much as 30 per cent but that this money was spent on alcohol, tobacco and festivals instead.

Way forward:-

  • Package of basic measures like including programmess to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children for up to six months, fortifying basic foods with essential minerals and vitamins, and increased cash transfers with payments targeted at the poorest families can turn the tide.
  • Some other recommendations are for universal access to infant and young childcare, including ICDS and crèches, provisions to provide biannual critical nutrient supplements and programmes aimed at deworming children.
  • In the area of maternal care, the strategy proposes that the government provide nutritional support in particular, the adequate consumption of iodised salt  to mothers during pregnancy and lactation.
  • India is facing a double-burden of malnutrition: Over-nutrition and under-nutrition existing simultaneously, there is a pressing need for a multi-sectoral approach along with nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions to address the problems holistically.
    • For this, there is a need to reiterate the priorities which may include, spreading of knowledge and awareness regarding safe food, diversifying food baskets, putting women and children at the centre of any nutritional intervention and leverage on modern technologies to impart nutrition-linked messages and sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Strengthen and restructure ICDS and leverage PDS :-
    • ICDS needs to be in mission mode, with a sanction of adequate financial resources (from the central government) and decision-making authority. 
  • Extend coverage of food fortification of staples:-
    • Currently, fortification of staples is limited to the mandatory iodisation of salt. However, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is in the process of formulating draft standards for the fortification of foodgrains which will add to the nutrient value. 
    • This would help in providing sufficient calories and micronutrients to a large number of children under-five. 
  • Target multiple contributing factors, for example, WASH – The underlying drivers for India’s ‘hidden hunger’ challenges are complex and go beyond direct nutritional inputs. The push for toilet construction must be combined with a strategy for behavioural change. 
  • Align agricultural policy with national nutritional objectives – Agriculture policy must be brought in tune with nutritional policy, with incentives provided for encouraging the production of nutrient-rich and local crops for self-consumption. 
  • An inclusive and holistic approach, including controlling/regulating food price, income support policies for making food cheaper are other important steps that need to be considered.

Topic–  e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;

3) More than a transformation of style of government administration into a digital form, E-governance also signifies the transformation of the relationship between public sectors and the private citizens and businesses. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

E-governance has been sought worldover, although variably, in order to bring transparency and efficiency in the governance. The concept has received considerable importance in India. It is essential to discuss how e-governance signifies the transformation of the relationship between public sectors and the private citizens and businesses.

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 e-governance and how it is more than  merely digitizing the processes of the government; how it is different from simple e-government and what are the objectives and values it espouses.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  meaning of e-governance. E.g It can be simply defined as the public sectors’ use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs including the world-wide-web, mobile devises, digital content, etc.) to improve and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of information and services to citizens, businesses and organizations.

Body-

  1. Discuss the concept of e-government. E.g The term E-government is used in a more limited sense of use of ICTs in internal operations of running a government to facilitate inter and intra departmental workflows.
  2. Discuss how e-governance is more than simple e-government and mere digitization of government processes. E.g it facilitates the access to the governing processes and encourages active participation of citizens; The objective of the use of ICTs in governance is not just limited to achieving efficiency but also various values of good governance like improving citizen participation, enabling easy access to critical information and offering public services online;  interactive dissemination of laws, improving access to justice, achieving transparency, E-democracy in law making and rule of law etc.

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

Background:-

  • E-governance is the application of ICT in government functioning to bring in SMART governance implying: simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent governance.
  • E-governance is used in a broad sense involving the use of ICTs in public administration (both within the government and its external interactions) where the sovereign is involved as a party.

E- government:-

  • e-government, online-government or digital government, can be simply defined as the public sectors use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs including the world-wide-web, mobile devises, digital content, etc.) to improve and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of information and services to citizens, businesses and organizations .
  • The term E-government is also used in a more limited sense of use of ICTs in internal operations of running a government to facilitate inter and intra departmental workflows.

How e-governance signifies the transformation of the relationship between public sectors and the private citizens and businesses:-

  • E-governance facilitates the access to the governing processes and encourages active participation of citizens.
  • More than a transformation of style of government administration into a digital form, E-governance also signifies the transformation of the relationship between public sectors and the private citizens and businesses in a more interactive and collaborative way.
  • The objective of the use of ICTs in governance is not just limited to achieving efficiency but also various values of good governance like improving citizen participation, enabling easy access to critical information and offering public services online.
  • E-governance signifies the move from passive dissemination of legal information to a more active involvement of citizens and relevant segments of the society in the wider administration of law and justice
  • E-governance is dictated by a wider number of objectives. These objectives are not limited to achieving of efficiency but a range of other intrinsic values of effective governance.
  • The desirability of such values is not limited to national governance issues but also issues pertaining to international relations often arising out of international obligations of sovereign states.

Topic– e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;

4) What are the challenges faced by e-governance. Discuss with special reference to India.(250 words)

Reference

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 challenges and problems faced by the e-governance with a special emphasis on India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  increasing adoption of ICT technologies, increased digital literacy and increasing online presence of the citizens- turning into netizens, which makes adoption of e-governance more feasible and desirable.

Body-

Discuss in points the challenges faced by e-governance mechanisms and institution. Place more emphasis on Indian conditions. E.g

  • Hacking
  • Defamatory  communications
  • Loss of data and intellectual property
  • Vulnerability to computer viruses, online threats
  • Exposure to e-frauds
  • Privacy risks

Discuss some India specific concerns. E.g poor digital literacy among the vast sections of the rural and urban poor; poor data protection and cyber security structures and mechanisms in place; lack of indigenous servers and higher risks to privacy etc.

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

Background:-

  • E-governance is the application of ICT in government functioning to bring in SMART governance implying: simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent governance.

Challenges faced by e-governance:-

  • Technical Issues
    • Interoperability:
      • It is one of the critical issues of e-governance. Interoperation among ministries and departments is difficult, and it became hurdle for processing and sharing data
    • Security:
      • Now days, security of online transaction is becoming big issue. In fact, there is still discontent to citizens on availing government services due to lack of security.
    • Privacy:
      • This is another key issues of e-governace. Any information provided by citizens should be ensured by govt. otherwise, any person or institution may misuse the valuable information.
    • Authentication:
      • It is very important to know the right user of the services or it may be misused by private competitors. Meanwhile, the digital signature plays major role in providing authenticity. In fact, it is expensive and causes for frequent maintenance.
    • Economic issues
      • Cost:
        • It is one of the economic issues, implementation of e-governance operations and maintenance of services fetches huge cost to government.
      • Funding
        • Funding is the foremost issue in e-Governance initiatives. The projects that are part of the e-governance initiatives need to be funded either through the Government sector or through the private sector.
      • Social issues
        • Accessibility:
          • In the era of technology, there is still gap arising between users and nonusers. It is because of language barrier, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas, etc.
    • Delivery of services
      • The ability of citizens to access these services is another major issue. Since the penetration of PCs and Internet is very low in the country, some framework needs to be worked out for delivery of the e-Services that would be accessible to the poorest of the poor.
  • Usability:
    • Users of e-governance may be literate or illiterate. Any technology or software to be used as user friendly to greater extent, only then, citizens could use it as smoothly as possible.
  • Awareness about e-governance is still less.
  • There are several security drawbacks of an E-Governance mechanism
    • Spoofing:
      • In this practice, the attacker attempts to gain the access of the E-Governance system by using fallacious identity either by stealth or by using false IP address. Once the access is gained, the assailant abuses the E-Governance system by elevation of the privileges
    • Tampering of E-Governance system:
      • As soon as the system is compromised and privileges are raised, the classified information of the E-Governance mechanism becomes very much susceptible to illegal adjustments.
    • Repudiation:
      • Even the attacker can mount refutation attack during the E-Governance transaction, which is the ability of the user to reject its performed transaction.
    • Disclosure of E-Governance Information:
      • In case of the compromised E-Governance system, the undesirable information disclosure can take place very easily.
    • Denial of Service:
      • In this technique, attacker can perform Denial of Service (DoS) attack by flooding the E-Governance server with request to consume all of its resources so as to crash down the mechanism.
    • Elevation of privilege:
      • Once an E-Governance system is compromised; the attacker pretending to be a low profile user attempts to escalate to the high profiles so as to access its privileges to initiate further damage to the system.
    • Cyber Crimes:
      • Advancement of science and technology increase the rate of the cybercrime. It is a threat to the transactions accomplished between the Government and its Citizenry within the E-Governance methodology.
    • Specific challenges to India:-
      • Infrastructure:
        • It is essentially required for implementation of e-governance as much as possible in India. Electricity, internet and poor adaptability of technology will retard the progress of e-governance.
      • Digital divide:
        • Even in the era of science and technology, there is still huge gap exists between users and nonusers of e-govt. services.
      • However, it still has some hurdles regarding e-governance, such as:, poverty, illiteracy, security and cost of implementation, etc
      • Personnel Issues in Implementation of E-Governance Projects
        • It demands fundamental changes in Government decision management. The employees need to be delegated more authority which does not happen.
        • Threats of job losses increase resistance.
        • Employees resist retraining.
        • Staff are unenthusiastic when credit is not shared:A common perception is that an e-government project is an IT department project and if the project is successful, the IT department will get all the credit. 
        • Fearing that new systems may not deliver, managers tend to continue manual systems in parallel, and thus there is no incentive for staff to switch over to the new system.

Requirements for implementing successful e-governance across the nation:-

  • E-Governance frameworkacross the nation with enough bandwidth to service a population of one billion.
  • Connectivity frameworkfor making the services to reach rural areas of the country or development of alternative means of services such as e-governance kiosks in regional languages.
  • National Citizen Databasewhich is the primary unit of data for all governance vertical and horizontal applications across the state and central governments.
  • E-governance and interoperability standardsfor the exchange of secure information with non-repudiation, across the state and central government departments seamlessly.
  • A secure delivery frameworkby means of virtual private network connecting across the state and central government departments.
  • Datacenters in centre and statesto handle the departmental workflow automation, collaboration, interaction, exchange of information with authentication.

General Studies – 3


Topic – Part of static series under the heading – Infrastructure

5) Discuss the impact of GST on infrastructure sector. Suggest measures to be taken by the government to boost growth in infrastructure sector in India.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand. It expects us to discuss the pros and cons of GST on infrastructure sector and list out the steps taken by government to boost the sector

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 – mention that Infrastructure is the backbone of Indian economy with total infrastructure spending is expected to be about 10% of GDP.

Body

  • Explain how would GST impact the infrastructure sector. Bring out the pros and cons
  • Pros
    • No more cascading burden of taxes
    • Valuation of goods and services in works contracts would now be put to rest as works contracts would be regarded as supply of services.
    • expected to enable a reduction in logistics cost by as much as 20 per cent to 30 per cent, as firms reconfigure their supply chains
  • Cons
    • Exemptions and concessions to infrastructure have been completely withdrawn. This could also lead to increased working capital requirements.
    • Electricity being outside the purview of GST, power generation companies would continue to have indirect taxes as a significant cost factor.
  • Measures taken by the govt to boost infrastructure sector such as Kelkar committee recommendations etc

Conclusion – Mention that India needs to develop a better regulatory mechanism, a rational pricing system, reform financial markets and strengthen dispute resolution mechanisms so that the private sector finds infrastructure projects economically feasible.

Background:-

  • The infrastructure sector is the backbone of the Indian economy. The government has been making efforts to boost the sector through various schemes and incentives.
  • According to the government, total infrastructure spending is expected to be about 10% of GDP (gross domestic product) during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012–17).

Impact of GST on infrastructure sector :-

  • Positive:-
    • GST being a concurrent tax on supply of goods and services is expected to bring in predictability for infrastructure projects.
    • Valuation of goods and services in works contracts would now be put to rest as works contracts would be regarded as supply of services.
  • While there is apprehension that a flat GST rate of 18% would lead to increased incidence on infrastructure projects, availability of input tax credits would neutralize such concerns. Thus, contractors and suppliers could look forward to a simpler and efficient tax regime.
  • Expected to boost the infrastructure sector with the elimination of ´tax on tax’ and the introduction of input tax credit (ITC).
  • It will bring down the logistics costs
  • It streamlines the tax system which can lead to increase in investments.
  • Negatives :-
    • Cost:
      • Credit restrictions on works contracts resulting in an immovable property coupled with increase in GST rates could increase cost outlay.
      • Already, exemptions and concessions to infrastructure have been completely withdrawn. This could also lead to increased working capital requirements. Project cost could rise due to increased burden of indirect taxes.
    • Power is an important component of infrastructure:-
      • Electricity being outside the purview of GST, power generation companies would continue to have indirect taxes as a significant cost factor.
      • Further, an increase in rate of services and withdrawal of exemptions and concessions for power projects is expected to have an impact on power companies.
    • These provisions will increase the compliance costs for construction companies
      • GST would require contractors to register in multiple states owing to the requirement of registering at the place of supply of service. Contractors would also have to compulsorily register in a state where it supplies services but has no fixed place of business, owing to the concept of “casual taxable person”. These provisions will increase the compliance costs for construction companies.
      • Furthermore, companies will have to incur the costs of upgrading their IT systems, as input credit would be available only after an online reconciliation of tax invoices.
    • With the advent of GST, there will also be a change in the cost of construction materials. For example, a higher GST rate of 28% imposed upon cement would adversely impact construction cost.

How to boost growth in infrastructure sector :-

  • India and Japan have joined hands for infrastructure development in India’s north-eastern states and are also setting up an India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of North East to undertake strategic infrastructure projects in the northeast. Such projects can give impetus to the infrastructure sector.
  • India needs to develop a better regulatory mechanism, a rational pricing system, reform financial markets and strengthen dispute resolution mechanisms so that the private sector finds infrastructure projects economically feasible.
  • The Kelkar Committee had noted that inefficient and inequitable allocation of risk can be a major factor leading to failure of PPPs. PPP contracts should ensure optimal risk allocation across all stakeholders. 
  • There is a need for independent regulatory body in roads as the current arrangement at the centre and the states results in a potential conflict since the rule making body s also the implementing body
  • Key Recommendations: Sam Pitroda Panel on Railway Modernization
    • Signalling is archaic so there is need to stress on Complete upgradation of railway’s communication system
    • A centralized train monitoring system right from rail bhawan.
    • Explore PPP
  • Ports:-
    • India needs to revamp institutional and regulatory environment around ports.
    • Corporatisation of ports is one way of achieving efficient and world class ports by the conversion of major port trusts into truly commercial organisations.
    • In terms ofinfrastructure, it is important to maintain draft to serve bigger vessels, ensure mechanisation of ports through introduction of new equipment and procedures, build new facilities, upgrade existing facilities and automate systems/procedures.

Topic–  Part of static series under the heading – “infrastructure : airports”

6) Examine the developments of Airports in India through Joint Ventures under Public-Private Partnership(PPP) model. What are the challenges faced by the authorities in this regard?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the evolution of PPP in airport sector, explain tb issues involved therein and challenges faced. Finally we need to highlight the way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write about importance of airports and general development through PPP

Body

  • Highlight that the privatization of Indian airports was set in motion way back in 1999, when a greenfield airport was
    set up in Cochin under the PPP route. Followed by airports of Bangalore and Hyderabad in 2004.In 2006, the aviation ministry signed concession agreements with GMR and GVK for expansion and
    modernization of New Delhi and Mumbai international airports. Thereafter, the privatization process was grounded following global economic slowdown, opposition by AAI employees, etc
  • Explain that Even though the privatization route has allowed development of efficient world class airports in India
    and has fueled the growth of air traffic in India, not all are in favor of it. Especially employees of AAI, who fear losing their jobs when private developers take over.
  • Discuss the challenges faced by the authority such as increased charges at airport, issues in concessionaire agreements etc

Conclusion – Mention that government in budget has launched Nabh Nirman scheme for development of airport, wherein the issues discussed above need to be resolved.

Background:-

  • The civil aviation industry in India has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in the country during the last three years. India is currently considered the third largest domestic civil aviation market in the world.
  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have emerged as an innovative way to pool the resources of governments and private companies in order to achieve these development goals.

Why did India go for PPP model?

  • Inadequate infrastructure capacity to meet growing demand at the time :-
    • In the early 90’s the government and Airport Authority of India (AAI) had invested substantial resources in the development of airport and navigation services infrastructure. However, this was a significant strain on Government finances, more so as the aviation sector had not taken off.
    • This gap in supply-demand necessitated the influx of private capital to build capacity and drive traffic.
  • Using Private Capital to supplement Public Investment
    • Under the tenets of the Chicago Convention, ownership and management of airports and air navigation services may be delegated to the private sector. Using this the Government of India embarked upon a massive privatisation exercise.

PPP model in aviation sector :-

Date   Chronology of Events
1994 Airports Authority of India Act, 1994 (AAI Act) amended, allowing inter alia carrying out airport related activities through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, except for certain reserved activities such as air traffic control, security, customs etc.
1999 Privatization of Indian airports was set in motion way back in 1999, when a greenfield airport was
set up in Cochin under the PPP route.

Followed by airports of Bangalore and Hyderabad in 2004.

2007-10 Concession Agreements, Operationalization of Airports.

Aviation ministry signed concession agreements with GMR and GVK for expansion and
modernization of New Delhi and Mumbai international airports.

2008 The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) Act was notified, clearing the way for an independent regulator to be established for economic regulation of major airports
2009 Powers and functions of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) were notified
2016 – 2017

 

National Civil Aviation Policy – notified, Upcoming Airports in Goa (Mopa) and Navi Mumbai

The new National Civil Aviation Policy is a testament to the commitment of the Indian Government towards the aviation sector, and has resulted in the reduction of regulatory uncertainty and ambiguity, through the standardization of critical elements of the PPP structure

 

Positives:-

  • Recourse to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model has boosted private sector investments in airports
  • PPP route for five international airports (Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Bengaluru) most noteworthy
  • In Union Budget 2017, Government of India has decided to develop select airports in tier 2 cities under PPP model in order to attract investments from private players.
  • Presently India has 5 PPP airports each at Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, which together handle over 55 per cent of country’s air traffic.

Challenges faced by the authorities:-

  • Increased charges at PPP airports have certainly been a contentious issue for airlines.
  • A clear process has not been established for determining the appropriate level of capital expenditure in airports and for monitoring project costs to prevent the massive budget over-runs that have occurred in some cases and which have simply been recouped through higher charges that are borne by the airlines and passengers.
  • AAI and infrastructure plan
    • The new policy is also silent on the need for complete transformation of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
    • Experts opine that AAI focuses heavily on capital expenses. Moreover, without a clear infrastructure plan, the expected job creation is not likely to happen.
  • Employees of AAI fear losing their jobs when private developers take over.

Way forward:-

  • The industry stakeholders should engage and collaborate with policy makers to implement efficient and rational decisions that would boost India’s civil aviation industry. With the right policies and relentless focus on quality, cost and passenger interest, India would be well placed to achieve its vision of becoming the third-largest aviation market by 2026.
  • In order to provide a big push to the country’s civil aviation sector, the Budget 2018 announced the NABH Nirman initiative. This new scheme aims to increase the number of Airports and their capacity to handle traffic. Such schemes need to be implemented.

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

7) Infrastructure development has witnessed significant  impetus in India in the recent years. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Indian needs a huge corpus of investment in order to cope up for its infrastructure deficits. The sector has witnessed moderate growth recently and the government has also initiated various steps to boost investment in infrastructure sector.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the status of infrastructure growth in India and bring out in detail the impetus received by the sector recently.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about India’s infrastructure sector- Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. Infrastructure sector includes power, bridges, dams, roads and urban infrastructure development. I

Body-

Discuss the impetus received by the sector in recent years. E.g  In 2016, India jumped 19 places in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) 2016, to rank 35th amongst 160 countries; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received in Construction Development sector (townships, housing, built up infrastructure and construction development projects) from April 2000 to June 2018 stood at US$ 24.87 billion, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The logistics sector in India is growing 10 per cent annually and is expected to reach US$ 215 billion in 2019-20; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced US$ 200 million investment into the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF); Massive push to the infrastructure sector by allocating Rs 5.97 lakh crore (US$ 92.22 billion) for the sector, in budget 2018-19; mention about some of the major infrastructure development projects in the country like the Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme, which  aims to achieve universal household electrification in the country; Green Energy Corridor Project along with other wind and solar power projects; smart cities mission; Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana etc.

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

Background :-

  • Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country.

Infrastructure sector has witnessed significant impetus in recent years:-

  • Market Size
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received in Construction Development sector from April 2000 to June 2018 stood at US$ 24.87 billion, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
    • The logistics sector in India is growing 10 per cent annually and is expected to reach US$ 215 billion in 2019-20.
  • Investments
    • India has a requirement of investment worth Rs 50 trillion in infrastructure by 2022 to have sustainable development in the country. India is witnessing significant interest from international investors in the infrastructure space. Some key investments in the sector are listed below.
    • In June 2018, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced US$ 200 million investment into the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
    • Indian infrastructure sector witnessed 91 M&A deals worth US$ 5.4 billion in 2017
  • Government Initiatives
    • The Government of India is expected to invest highly in the infrastructure sector, mainly highways, renewable energy and urban transport.
    • Announcements in Union Budget 2018-19:
      • Massive push to the infrastructure sector by allocating Rs 5.97 lakh crore for the sector.
      • Rs 16,000 crore towards Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme. The scheme aims to achieve universal household electrification in the country.
      • Rs 4,200 crore to increase capacity of Green Energy Corridor Project along with other wind and solar power projects.
      • Allocation of Rs 10,000 crore to boost telecom infrastructure.
      • A new committee to lay down standards for metro rail systems was approved in June 2018. As of August 2018, 22 metro rail projects are ongoing or are under construction
      • The Government of India is working to ensure a good living habitat for the poor in the country and has launched new flagship urban mission, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
      • In May 2018, construction of additional 150,000 affordable houses was sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Urban.

Way forward :-

  • India and Japan have joined hands for infrastructure development in India’s north-eastern states and are also setting up an India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of North East to undertake strategic infrastructure projects in the northeast. Such projects need to be implemented soon.

General Studies – 4


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

8) “Falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good.”–Thirukkural. What do you understand by the above statement. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

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 given statement- whether or not falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good. We have to bring out the essence of the statement and relate it to a practical example in order to make the meaning clearer.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  virtue of being truthful. E.g Being truthful means a strict adherence to a policy of honesty and openness etc.

Body-

Discuss the importance of being truthful and the benefits it brings along with it. E.g how it impacts our image in terms our integrity, trustworthiness, courage and justice even in the face of adversaries;  etc.

Discuss how even falsehood is better than truth if it results in some unblemished common good. E.g one can tell a truth in situations where telling a truth could bring gloom, create chaos or hurt somebody etc; it relates to the principle of consequentialism which professes a pursuit of noble ends without much concerns for the means so employed.

Relate the importance of being untruthful by creating some hypothetical examples and to make your stand more clear.

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

Answer :-

  • Being truthful means a strict adherence to a policy of honesty and openness. Although there are rare cases where dishonesty is not just acceptable but morally obligatory, the vast majority of our interactions with others demand conscientious honesty.

Why it is important to be truthful:-

  • Being truthful also means being dependable and trustworthy. To be virtuous, it is important not just that our words be truthful, but that our actionsbe truthful and consistent with what we have promised.
  • As philosophers such as Immanuel Kant have written, truthfulness is a prerequisite both for building a stable, lawful society and engaging in meaningful interaction with others, so living up to one’s words is important not only on an individual level but also on the level of the community.
  • Deception by deliberate omission, though perhaps less immoral than outright lying, is still deception and should be forsworn.

Why is lying wrong?

  • Being false or lying is bad because a generally truthful world is a good thing: lying diminishes trust between human beings
  • Lying is bad because it treats those who are lied to as a means to achieve the liar’s purpose, rather than as a valuable end in themselves
  • Lying is bad because it makes it difficult for the person being lied to make a free and informed decision about the matter concerned. Lies lead people to base their decisions on false information.

However sometimes people lie with good intentions, with the intention of sparing the feelings of others or preventing others from experiencing psychological harm. For instance people might tell their host that their meat loaf is delicious or tell a colleague that their work makes a valuable contribution.

Lying to help another person was consistently perceived to be good, while lying that had no effect on the other person or that actually harmed them was perceived to be wrong. It relates to the principle of consequentialism which professes a pursuit of noble ends without much concerns for the means so employed.