Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 NOVEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 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 – 1


Topic – Indian Art and culture.

1) The onset of Kambala in Karnataka will once again bring alive the debate between animal rights and celebration of customs. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

From Saturday onwards, the Kambala season will be here which is basically a customary sport in Karnataka involving racing bulls. In the backdrop of jallikattu protest, the issue of animal rights vs celebration of customs will again come to light and hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain about Kambala and the debate that it gives rise to. Thereafter, we need to present both side of the debate and give a fair and balanced conclusion along with way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about Kambala.

Body

  • Explain the background to the issue – Karnataka government had promulgated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 on July 20 last year. The President gave his assent to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill making Kambala a legal rural sport in Karnataka. The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.
  • Highlight that the debate arises because activists claim that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organizers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.
  • Discuss both sides of the debate

Conclusion – Give your fair and balanced opinion on the matter and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Kambala is traditional slush track buffalo race that is held annually in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area.
  • Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala. The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two separate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.

Kambala issue:-

  • The Karnataka HC had stayed these traditional sports in view of Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Supreme Court has refused to pass an interim order to stay Ordinance allowing kambala, the traditional buffalo slush track race in Karnataka.
  • Karnataka Assembly had passed an ordinance Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 in 2017 to allow Kambala to circumvent ban imposed by Karnataka High Court.
  • The ordinance had received Central Government (Ministry of Law and Justice) and Presidential assent.

Why are activists opposing Kambala:-

  • Authorities contend that beating buffaloes also violated provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, claiming that buffaloes run because of the fear of being beaten. 
  • PETA has opposed the upcoming Kambala festival on grounds of cruelty to animals.
  • Animal rights activists have opposed the sport saying that tying the noses of the buffaloes with a rope and using a whip amounts to cruelty. Sometimes accidents happen which can threaten life of these animals and even people who participate in such events.
  • Experts also stated that unlike horses, bull are not naturally suitable for running.

However many are favouring it as well :-

  • Traditional customs:-
    • The common underlying factor is the fact that most of these are rooted in celebrating and honouring agriculture: as a festival of expressing gratitude to the various forces of nature that give us food.
    • Some agriculturists race their buffaloes as a means to thank god for protecting their animals from disease.
    • A village spends almost an entire year planning such events, and the animals are carefully fed, tended, and the rest. The actual race is only a small part of an overall whole of a culture built upon nurturing and preserving cattle.
  • Economical:-
    • The event is also a massive fair with plenty of options for shopping, food, etc, which immensely boosts the local economies.For instance, a good Kambala event is attended by 20,000 or more people during the season.
  • Community relationships:-
    • At the most fundamental level of humanity, sports like these are great outlets for channelising energy, which is expressed in promoting competitive spirit and forging and strengthening community relationships.
  • Animal friendly:-
    • The organisers said violence on animals is not practised in the region and so many modifications have taken place in the recent past to make the event animal friendly.

Conclusion:-

  • Proper amendments need to be made to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act so that the views of multiple stakeholders are considered.

Topic –  Effects of globalization on Indian society, Social empowerment

2) Unfolding of the MeToo Campaign in India recently lays bare the critical failure of our education system. Do you agree. Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article examines the role of education in ending sexism and misogyny that the present education system has failed to deliver.

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 as to whether or not, the unfolding of the MeToo movement in India points out to the failure of our education system.  We have to form our opinion based on a proper discussion and presentation of valid arguments and facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent MeToo movement which shook the world, including India.

Body-

  1. Discuss how the movement highlights the failure of our education system. E.g The purpose of education is not to only ensure that people secure employment or rise to coveted positions of power alone, it is also to ensure that they learn and practice equality and mutual respect. Many of the accused are qualified, educated men. Their actions compel us to ask whether those years spent in school, college and university have been unsuccessful in instilling basic values. It seems as though rising to top positions and enjoying power have emboldened men to behave in unacceptable ways, and the education system has done nothing to prevent this.
  2. It is not uncommon to hear of incidents of sexual harassment being justified as “casual flirting” or being attributed to the offender’s “glad eye”. Using these terms to explain away or even justify these acts reflects the depth and expanse of the problem; blatant display of inappropriate behaviour, which makes women uncomfortable, shows that men in power enjoy the impunity that accompanies attitudes and acts entrenched in patriarchy.
  3. our education system is failing to teach boys and men to recognise, challenge and refrain from sexist and even unlawful behaviour must be acknowledged and tackled

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

Background:-

  • India is experiencing its second wave of the MeToo movement, in which women across the world some of them public figures have levelled sexual harassment charges against certain men, many of whom occupy powerful positions in media.
  • Last year, a list of prominent academicians alleged to have sexually harassed female colleagues/students was put out on social media.

How me too movement highlights failure of India’s education system:-

  • Gender quality is neglected:-
    • The purpose of education is not to only ensure that people secure employment or rise to coveted positions of power alone, it is also to ensure that children learn and practice equality and mutual respect which is not emphasized much in Indian education system.
  • Position defines power:-
    • Many of the accused are qualified, educated men. Their actions make people question whether education has been unsuccessful in instilling basic values.
    • It seems as though rising to top positions and enjoying power have emboldened men to behave in unacceptable ways.
  • Incidents are considered lightly:-
    • It is not uncommon to hear of incidents of sexual harassment being justified as casual flirting. Using these terms to explain away or even justify these acts reflects the depth and expanse of the problem.
  • Patriarchal mindset is dominant:-
    • Men in power enjoy the impunity that accompanies attitudes and acts entrenched in patriarchy.
    • Education system is failing to teach boys and men to recognise, challenge and refrain from sexist and unlawful behaviour
  • Education means success:-
    • Among other things, education has the basic duty of ensuring that people become socially aware and sensitive beings who know how to interact and engage with people of different genders, castes, classes and communities. This is neglected.

Way forward:-

  • Gender curriculum:-
    • There must be efforts to incorporate a gender curriculum in all school and college classrooms.
  • Schools need to establish anti-sexual harassment cells, organise regular awareness programmes on consent across the country, and formulate measures to address incidents of sexual harassment.
    • Schools must teach students that consent is an essential component of any interaction and that decisions, even of refusal, must be respected.
    • Campaigns like Operation Nirbheek, initiated to improve safety and security of girls in schools, have proven to be successful to a large extent. Interventions in educational institutions will be a much-needed start to strengthen voices against sexual harassment and make homes and workplaces safe.
  • The police should initiate community engagement drives so that students know how to report sexual harassment.
  • Parents need to focus on inculcating values in their children more rather than focusing on the marks their children get.

General Studies – 2


Topic– Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

3) The State Election Commission of Maharashtra has undertaken a series of electoral reforms in the last few years. Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Electoral reforms are much needed in India, given the importance of the elections in  democracy and also given that our electoral processes are abound with many problems and ills. In this context it is important to discuss the progressive measures and reforms undertaken by the SEC of Maharashtra.

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 reforms undertaken by the SEC of Maharashtra in recent years.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the  various ills surrounding the electoral processes in India.  E.g mention the influence of money and muscle power, criminalization of politics, reduced interest of the educated people in the democratic exercises as evident by low voter turnouts etc.

Body-

Discuss in points the reforms undertaken by the Maharashtra SEC in recent years. E.g

  1. It is the first one to go fully digital in the filing of nomination papers and affidavits of all candidates. It is also the first one to disqualify an elected representative for failure to comply with expense disclosure rules.
  2. Most importantly, it took a giant step recently by giving teeth to the idea of the NOTA (none of the above) button. If NOTA is the winner in any election in Maharashtra, there will be a mandatory re-poll. The Supreme Court mandated the NOTA option in all elections two years ago.
  3. Recently, the Supreme Court too, while dismissing a petition that asked to disqualify criminal candidates, prescribed that such tainted candidates be given prominent publicity. The law to disqualify anyone with a pending criminal case, especially if charged with heinous crimes like murder, rape or assault, can only be passed by Parliament. But in the interim, the SEC of Maharashtra has moved the needle by giving NOTA much needed teeth. It is up to the national ECI and other SECs to follow suit.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g Even so, India’s democracy has progressed and is more robust. Ultimately, there is no substitute for an educated, enlightened and vigilant voter.

Background:-

  • State election commissions (SECs) have power and status on par with the central Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • SEC conducts elections to local bodies like village panchayats, zilla parishads, municipal councils and corporations.
  • In Maharashtra, in a five-year period, it has to conduct almost 29,000 elections, and get around 250,000 elected people’s representatives.
  • The SEC’s job is even complex than the ECI’s because local elections are close contests and winning margins can be very slim.

Electoral reforms by Maharashtra election commission :-

  • The state election commission of Maharashtra has blazed a trail in a series of electoral reforms in the last few years.
  • It is the first one to go fully digital in the filing of nomination papers and affidavits of all candidates. This has eliminated most errors and enabled instant dissemination of information to the voters.
  • It is the first SEC in the country to cancel registration of more than 250 political parties for failure to submit audited accounts in tim
  • It is also the first one to disqualify an elected representative for failure to comply with expense disclosure rules.
  • It took a giant step recently by giving teeth to the idea of the NOTA (none of the above) button. 
    • Maharashtra State Election Commission issued an order stating that if the None of the Above or NOTA option receives the maximum votes in a constituency, then none of the contesting candidates will be declared the winner and fresh elections will be held.
    • This is a landmark order that transforms the very nature of NOTA five years after it was first introduced by the Supreme Court.

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

4) Indian policymakers need to be mindful of domestic industry’s concerns and not get into a raw deal with respect to the RCEP. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article discusses the concerns that the domestic industry has with respect to finalization of RCEP negotiations. The article brings out the issues over which consensus is elusive as well as the threat of China in RCEP. RCEP being a very important mega regional trade agreement, is important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain in brief about RCEP, the issue that India is facing in finishing negotiations and the concerns of domestic industry of india.. We are expected to discuss the pros and cons of the stand India is taking and finally provide a fair and balanced view on India’s stand along with way forward.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. 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 – Explain what RCEP is and the current status of the agreement.

Body

  • Explain India’s stand at a macro and micro level in RCEP negotiations. Discuss the concerns being raised by domestic industry in India. Eg. access to Chinese goods may have impact on the Indian manufacturing sector, There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide, developed countries such as Australia and Singapore are unwilling to accommodate India’s demands to liberalise their services regime and allow freer mobility of Indian workers.
  • Discuss the advantages that RCEP deal would offer to India.
  • Examine what stand should India take which would make sense from  IR, social, political perspective.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view to the question asked and discuss the way forward ie what could be an agreeable middle ground.

Background:-

  • The RCEP was built upon the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs with the spirit to strengthen economic linkagesand to enhance trade and investment related activities as well as to contribute to minimising development gap among the parties.
  • The legally binding RCEP covers a wide range of issues including trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, dispute settlement and economic and technical cooperation

Indian domestic industry might face challenges :-

  • China:-
    • Greater access to Chinese goods may have impact on theIndian manufacturing sector.
    • India has got massive trade deficitwith China.
    • The bilateral trade deficit has risen exponentially. This surge in Chinese imports  from electrical and electronic goods, plastics, chemicals, boilers and mechanical appliances to toys and stationery items  has undeniably hurt Indian manufacturing, without helping it move up the technology and productivity ladder. 
  • There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs dutieson a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.
  • Trade deficit:-
    • The RCEP is led by China, with the 10 ASEAN countries, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and South Korea as partners. India’s trade engagement with these countries has not been favourable, when seen in terms of the trade deficit. 
    • Recent NITI Aayog note on Free Trade Agreements and their costs points out that India’s trade deficit with the RCEP group (it already has FTAs with the ASEAN, South Korea and Japan) has risen from $9 billion in 2004-05 to over $80 billion today. 
  • Given the discontent over lack of jobs and agrarian distress, with the general elections less than a year away, this cannot be an opportune time to throw open sensitive sectors such as dairy products.
  • Many countries want India to open up its market for 92% of traded goods, while India is only ready to offer market access up to a maximum of 85% items with deviations for countrieslike China, Australia and New Zealand with whom it does not have an FTA.
  • Diary sector:-
    • On the other hand, New Zealand’s export-oriented dairy products will decimate India’s growing dairy sector, which is still largely small-scale.
  • Intellectual property:-
    • IP chapter in RCEP is at risk of including provisions far stricter than those mandated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO)and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • E-commerce:-
    • E-commerce commitments, if any, will allow companies such as Alibaba from China to displace Indian manufacturing especially in the SME segment.
  • Medicine:-
    • Agreeing to data exclusivity, extending patent terms and unduly strong enforcement measures will weaken the entire generic medicine sector and take away several health safeguards in India’s Patent Act, notably section 3(d). This will make medicines inaccessible not only for Indian patients but for those in the entire developing world.
  • Industrial sector :-
    • If India offers to reduce/eliminate import tariffs on a larger number of industrial products than already committed to Asean, Japan and South Korea, its industrial sector could be under stress. 
    • Further, India is being asked to eliminate export restrictions on minerals and raw material by Japan and South Korea; this may threaten domestic raw material availability for industrialisation and encourage over-mining
  • Services:-
    • More developed countries such as Australia and Singapore are unwilling to accommodate India’s demands to liberalise their services regimeand allow freer mobility of Indian workers.
    • Given India’s inability to negotiate a good services deal in the past, RCEP negotiations, especially with China, need a second thought.
  • It has the potential to overthrow India’s policies of rural development and industrialisation especially ‘Make in India’, and to provide accessible healthcare and medicines to all. It also threatens the policy flexibility and sovereignty to pursue independent economic, social and environmental policies.
  • Other countries have advantage in many sectors:-
    • Under the ambit of RCEP, countries like China, South Korea and Japan are manufacturing powerhouses, and Australia and New Zealand have strengths in processed foods, wine, and dairy products, while Asean has comparative advantages in plantations, electronics and auto-components.
    • Sectors of India such as plantations, automobiles, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and engineering goods would be impacted negatively
    • India’s steel ministry has strongly opposed the inclusion of finished steel products in the proposed regional free-trade agreement, saying it would have an adverse impact on the industry that’s recovering from a crisis.
  • Past experiences:-
    • India already has bilateral FTAs with Asean, Korea and Japan and negotiations are underway with Australia and New Zealand.
  • Role of regional supply chains bind the other RCEP economies together and India has marginal participation in these chains. These supply chains flourish on the basis of low tariffs and efficient logistics which are not India’s strong points.
  • Issue of competitiveness:-
    • Recent studies have shown that India has treated FTAs mostly to preserve market share rather than as opportunities to expand it
    • The reason why India has not been able to take advantage of these existing FTAs again comes back to this issue.

RCEP holds significant importance for India :-

  • India believes an ambitious services deal will help it provide job opportunities in RCEP member countries for its millions of skilled professionals at home.
  • RCEP agreement would complement India’s existing free trade agreements with the Association of South East Asian Nations and some of its member countries, as it would deals with Japan and South Korea. It can address challenges emanating from implementation concerns vis-à-vis overlapping agreements, which is creating a “noodle bowl” situation obstructing effective utilization of these FTAs.
  • The RCEP would help India streamline the rules and regulations of doing trade, which will reduce trade costs.
  • It will also help achieve its goal of greater economic integration with countries East and South East of India through better access to a vast regional market ranging from Japan to Australia.
    • The RCEP can be a stepping stone to India’s “Act East Policy.”
  • RCEP will facilitate India’s integration into sophisticated “regional production networks” that make Asia the world’s factory. The RCEP is expected to harmonize trade-related rules, investment and competition regimes of India with those of other countries of the group.
  • Through domestic policy reforms on these areas, this harmonization of rules and regulations would help Indian companies plug into regional and global value chains and would unlock the true potential of the Indian economy. 
  • Because the RCEP will contain three of the largest economies in the world- China, India, and Japan hence it is globally important. The bloc represents 49% of the world’s population and accounts for 30% of global GDP. It also accounts for 29% of world trade and 26% of world foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows
  • It will also reduce the overlap among Asian FTAs.
  • Exports will become even less competitive staying out of RCEP since members will enjoy preferential access.
  • India cannot sustain an expanding political and security role in the Indo-Pacific with a shrinking economic role. RCEP is important as it is excluded from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), whose 22 members are actively considering a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
    • Neither is India included in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been concluded among 12 countries after the US walked out.
    • Several RCEP countries are also its members. Opting out of RCEP may push India irretrievably on the margins of Asia.

 

Way forward for India:-

  • Before getting into any multilateral trade deal, India should review its existing FTAs in terms of benefits to various stakeholders like industry and consumers, trade complementarities and changing trade patterns in the past decade. Negotiating bilateral FTAs with countries where trade complementarities and margin of preference is high may benefit India in the long run.
  • Also, higher compliance costs nullify the benefits of margin of preference. Thus reducing compliance cost and administrative delays is extremely critical to increase utilisation rate of FTAs.
  • Proper safety and quality standards should be set to avoid dumping of lower quality hazardous goods into the Indian market.
  • Circumvention of rules of origin should be strictly dealt with by the authorities.Well-balanced FTA deals addressing the concerns of all the stakeholders is the need of the hour
  • Developing countries like India which have taken the leadership in instituting and using balanced intellectual property protection for pharmaceuticals should not only proudly protect their laws in the RCEP negotiations, they should also encourage other countries to adopt and use similar measures that ensure generic competition.
  • Sanitary & phytosanitary issues and technical barriers to trade measures are the most frequently used against Indian exports. Thus the non-tariff barriers in RCEP countries should be negotiated transparently before negotiating market access.
  • RCEP has the East Asian economies as partners, who have thrived on export-led growth model, unlike India whose domestic economy is its strength. Therefore India should choose a model that will complement this setup.

Topic – Indian polity : Issues

5) The controversy with respect to demand for reservation by communities such as Marathas, Jats etc highlight that there is a need to reexamine the reservation policy. Comment.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

Maharashtra government has cleared reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs. This constant tussle between the judiciary and executive regarding reservation policy, and the demand for reservation by several groups has raised the need for understanding issues with the reservation policy.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the context of Maratha reservation issue. Thereafter, we need to discuss the reasons why reservation policy might need a rethink and suggest some ways. Finally we need to comment on the need for reform in reservation policy and discuss way forward.

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 – highlight the decision of Maharashtra government to grant 18% reservation to Marathas.

Body

  • Highlight that the issue has been discussed ad infinitum in the past few years with demands for reservation rising from communities such as Jats, Marathas etc. Highlight the verdict of the court in this regard.
  • Discuss why there might be need for re-evaluation of reservation policy
    • Changed conditions since independence with greater economic growth
    • Lucrative government salary post salary revision by pay commission
    • Issues in agriculture sector etc
  • Discuss how the normative idea or reservation has changed
  • Give some suggestions as to what needs to be done such as data surveys, re-evaluation of reservation policy eyc

Conclusion –  Give your view on the statement in the question and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Recently the Maharashtra government has cleared reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs.
  • It will have implications on other communities which have been demanding reservation such as Kapus in Andhra Pradesh, Jats in Haryana and Patidars in Gujarat.

Why there is a need to reexamine reservation policy :-

  • Unlike in the late Sixties and again in the late Eighties, when the reservation discourse originated in a deep sense of unfairness of the social system, today’s reservation discourse draws its strength from unfair development policies.
  • Reservation is increasingly seen as a remedy for the adverse effects of ill-thought out development policies.
    • In both Gujarat and Maharashtra, in spite of their economies being relatively better, three things have been worrying the people i.e.., acute agrarian distress, stagnation in employment growth and distortions in the development trajectory. Hence even forward and dominant castes have been demanding reservation
  • It is seen as against upper castes:-
    • Reservation is also called ‘Discrimination in Reverse’ or Reverse Discrimination. This terminology connotes that reservation, which works as a protection to the reserved categories i.e. scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes, acts as a reverse discrimination against the upper castes.
  • Reservation topic is being misused:-
    • For political parties reservation discourse is convenient because it allows them to keep subscribing to the consensus over economic policies, avoiding a critical approach to the root causes of the problem.
  • Now economic backwardness is considered as demand for reservation:-
    • For the agitators, reservation appears as a more immediate remedy compared to long-term structural repair and reform.
    • Previously advantaged castes, such as Brahmins, Rajputs and Chettiars, have begun to feel severely disadvantaged.
    • Social backwardness was the prime indicator earlier,educational backwardness the secondary indicator and economic disadvantage the third and probably only a concomitant indicator.
    • But arguments in favour of privileging economic backwardness continue to be aired forcefully. The formula propounded by former leaders to diffuse the controversy included 10 per cent quota for the “poor” from other communities and this idea has received much traction of late.
    • Increasingly, claims for OBC reservation have come to stand on the logic of contemporary economic backwardness more than backwardness shaped by traditional social injustice. Both in the Patel and Maratha agitations, the central anxiety has been about current economic tribulations. Thus, a claim for reservation on grounds of economic backwardness is seen as justifiable.
  • Political strength:-
    • The more effective justification for claiming reservation is the logic of political strength.
    • In Karnataka, the Lingayat demand for reservation was declined by commissions appointed to determine backwardness, the decision ultimately took place considering the clout the community enjoys in the state. 
  • The post-Mandal demands for reservations often reverberate with the politics of the dominant castes in various states. This development has altered the context and texture of the reservation debate.
  • The new logic of reservation revolves around the question of how much to whom:
    • Questions of the share of concerned communities in the population, extent of reservation and division of reserved seats among different communities occupy the central space in debates.
  • On the extent of reservation, a growing political consensus appears to be shaping that the 50 per cent limit set by the court need not be upheld in practice. The reason is that reservation is a right of groups to a proportional share, rather than an enabling provision to make way for equal opportunity.

However the following issues might arise in front of judiciary:-

  • The decision by the Maharashtra government after passing the law, is likely to be challenged before the court.
  • In 2014, the then government had granted 16 per cent reservation for the Marathas. However, the reservation was stayed by the Bombay High Court
  • In Rajasthan, the Supreme Court had said quota in jobs and education in the state has exceeded the 50 per cent cap and it cannot be stretched further
  • A petition challenging the Tamil Nadu reservation policy is pending before the Supreme Court.

What needs to be done?

  • The government will have to expand the economic aspect and create fresh opportunities so that people, especially young people, who leave agriculture are absorbed in non-farm sectors.
  • It is time that India made a critical assessment of its affirmative action programmes.
  • The government should consider the economic, political and social wellbeing of the community and make a balanced decision.
  • Problems of these castes should be addressed through government schemes and programmes.
  • Progressive steps should be taken to ensure that poorer section among the backward communities get the benefit of reservation system.
  • The policy of reservation should be gradually phased out after it serves its purpose.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6) Solving the open defecation challenge requires an investment in technology. Examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has done some exemplary work in ensuring that the sustainable development goals related to sanitation do not just remain a pipe dream. The technological innovation brought in by them is important particularly for India considering our very own swachh Bharat abhiyan as the well as the socio economic costs that we pay on account of poor sanitation.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first highlight the status quo wrt sanitation and highlight that the goal is to achieve sanitation related targets in SDG. Thereafter, we need to explain why technological solution is the way to go. Next we need to explain the kind of technology developed by BMCG and how they can find application in 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 the SDG target related to sanitation and the target of ODF in India.

Body

  • Discuss the status quo with respect to sanitation and highlight the socio economic damages that it causes.
  • Explain how technology can help in resolving this issue. Discuss the innovations which have com out of BMCG such as Multi-User Reinvented Toilets which solves many of the issues faced in installation and use of toilets especially in countries such as India
  • Using experience from swachh Bharat mission, explain how we are also working on deploying technologies like waterless urinals etc and these innovations will help us in saving time by not reinventing the wheel

Conclusion – emphasize on the gravity of the problem and highlight how technology can come to the aid.

Background:-

  • Eliminating Open Defecation in India is one of the key aims of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan movement . Eliminating open defecation is the part of sustainable development goals as well. 2011 Census found that 70% of rural households do not have a toilet or latrine

How technology can help in making India open defecation free:-

  • Mobile application to track the use of toilets
    • The mobile application ‘Outcome Tracker’ developed by World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) has been effectively utilised by the district-level verification team in Bikaner to survey households, schools, and anganwadicentres in gram panchayats that have claimed ODF status. 
  • Spread of technologies across states and to partner with all stakeholders including researchers, academic institutions and NGOs working on sanitation.
  • These inexpensive alternative to traditional waste disposal could be key in solving India’s overwhelming sanitation woes. 
    • SafiChoo toiletis an inexpensive mobile toilet intended reduce oral-faecal contamination and the spread of water, sanitation, and hygiene related diseases.
    • The bio-digester is a simple, low-cost technology for treating human waste and providing safe sanitation facility.
    • In Ecosan toilets, there is no need to flush and the urine and faecal matter is utilised as valuable urea and manure. Which means sewage and manual scavenging will never be a problem.
    • Bamboo toilets:-
      • When it comes to sustainable and affordable sanitation, these Bamboo toilets perfectly fit the bill. The structures are built with bamboo and are stronger comparable to steel. Bamboo toilets are a huge hit in Nagaland
    • Multi-User Reinvented Toilets solve many of the issues faced in installation and use of toilets especially in countries such as India.

Other issues that cannot be ignored are:-

  • Purity and pollution:-
    • The key reason for this is that basic latrines that need to be emptied out manually or pumped by simple machines are unacceptable to higher caste Hindus.
    • It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability. So people rather defecate in open than having a toilet at home.
    • It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste.
    • Even if the government builds free toilets without any leakage or corruption, India will at best have 80 million new toilets that a large proportion of Indians do not want to use.
  • Contract labour :-
    • Municipalities began to employ more contractual labourers mostly scavengers forced into the profession by their caste to remove waste.
    • The sanitation campaign burdens the contractual labourer with an ‘exclusive’ right to cleaning public spaces, while making it a voluntary act for the ‘public’ to not defecate, urinate or litter in random spaces. This reinforces the marginalization and stigmatization of such labourers.
  • The Swachh Bharat campaign hardly addresses a reworking of the underground sewerage system due to which many such labourers have died recently while cleaning jammed manholes that open into the sewerage system etc.
  • The rate of open defecation is not decreasing much:-
    • India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP per capita. For example, India has a higher GDP per capita than Bangladesh, but in Bangladesh only 8.4% households defecate in the open, compared to 55% in India.
  • Funds unspent:-
    • Centre has literally forgotten to spend the money earmarked to promote the use of toilets, a concern raised in the State of India’s Environment in Figure: 2018.
    • Centre has also failed to exhaust its budget for Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin. This, despite the fact, that the budget for the scheme has seen a dipover the past year. 
  • Implementation issues:-
    • Sanitation coverage figures seemed to be more on paper but the actual progress at the ground level is very lethargic. Behavioural change is still a distant reality.
  • Quality:-
    • Standing committee has also raised questions over the construction quality of toilets and said that the government is counting non-functional toilets, leading to inflated data. 
  • Unable to reach target:-
    • Access to free toilets has not helped resolve open defecation in India.The programme is unlikely to succeed in its primary task of eliminating open defecation by October 2019

 


General Studies – 4


Topic-Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

7) Zeno’s (of Citium) philosophy offered a middle way between the Cynics’ complete rejection of society and the  Stoics’ obsession with duty. Comment.(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 knowledge and understanding of the philosophy of Zeno of Citium. We have to bring out in detail how his philosophy was a middle way between the Cynics’ complete rejection of society and the  Stoics’ obsession with duty.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Zeno of Citium. E.g He is considered the founder of the Stoicism school of philosophy (which became the dominant philosophy of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and an influence on early Christianity).

Body- Discuss in detail about his philosophy and teachings and discuss how he propagated a philosophy which offered a middle way between the Cynics’ complete rejection of society and the  Stoics’ obsession with duty. E.g Zeno recognized a single, sole and simple good, which is the only goal to strive for and which can only consist of Virtue. However, he deviated from the Cynics in his view that things which are morally indifferent could nevertheless have value to us.

Zeno preached that “man conquers the world by conquering himself”. He lectured his students on the value of “apatheia” (or the absence of passion), arguing that only by controlling one’s emotions and physical desires could one develop wisdom and the ability to apply it. He held that the practicing Stoic could suppress the influence of the passions by developing an indifference to both pain and pleasure by means of meditation.

Zeno’s philosophy offered a middle way between the Cynics’ complete rejection of society and the later Stoics’ obsession with duty. The famous Stoic acceptance of Fate, in Zeno’s formulation, is nothing more than that: what happens, happens, and there is no point in complaining about it. Despite the influence of Stoicism on later Christian doctrines, Zeno’s worldview was probably closer to that of Taoism, Hindu Vedanta or some varieties of Sufism than to orthodox Christianity or Islam.

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

Background :-

Zeno of Elea  was a Greek philosopher of the Eleatic School . Zeno was the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy, which he taught in Athens. Based on the moral ideas of the Cynics, Stoicism laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of Virtue in accordance with Nature

Zeno’s philosophy :-

  • Like the Cynics, Zeno recognized a single, sole and simple good, which is the only goalto strive for and which can only consist of Virtue. However, he deviated from the Cynics in his view that things which are morally indifferent could nevertheless have value to us.
  • Zeno proposed an ideal community of rational beings, who would have no need of law, government or codes of morality beyond that provided by Reason itself. However, Stoics had to live in an imperfect society, and thus had to accept social realities; thus while marriage was an imperfect institution, adultery was considered, on balance, to be worse.
  • While the Cynics tended to withdraw from society (like their Chinese counterparts, the early Taoists), the Stoics maintained that as social animals, it was rational to fulfil social duties, and this included participation in politics and administration
  • Zeno preached that “man conquers the world by conquering himself”. He lectured his students on the value of “apatheia” (or the absence of passion), arguing that only by controlling one’s emotions and physical desires could one develop wisdom and the ability to apply it. He held that the practicing Stoic could suppress the influence of the passions by developing an indifference to both pain and pleasure by means of meditation.
  • Zeno’s philosophy offered a middle way between the Cynics’ complete rejection of society and the later Stoics’ obsession with duty. The famous Stoic acceptance of Fate, in Zeno’s formulation, is nothing more than that: what happens, happens, and there is no point in complaining about it. Despite the influence of Stoicism on later Christian doctrines, Zeno’s worldview was probably closer to that of Taoism, Hindu Vedanta or some varieties of Sufism than to orthodox Christianity or Islam.

 


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

8) Discuss the contribution of Jean-Jacques Rousseau towards the field of philosophy.(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 philosophical works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. We have to highlight some of the major works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and bring out the dominant philosophy of those works.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the  Jean-Jacques Rousseau.E.g He was a French philosopher and writer of the Age of Enlightenment His Political Philosophy, particularly his formulation of social contract theory strongly influenced the French Revolution and the development of Liberal, Conservative and Socialist theory.

Body-

Discuss in detail about the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the philosophy expounded by him in those works. E.g

  1. Rousseau saw a fundamental divide between society and human nature and believed that man was good when in the state of nature (the state of all other animals, and the condition humankind was in before the creation of civilization), but has been corrupted by the artificiality of society and the growth of social interdependence.
  2. “Discourse on Inequality” (1755) expanded on this theme and tracked the progress and degeneration of mankind from a primitive state of nature to modern society in more detail, starting from the earliest humans (solitary beings, differentiated from animals by their capacity for free will and their perfectibility, and possessed of a basic drive to care for themselves and a natural disposition to compassion or pity).
  3. Rousseau was one of the first modern writers to seriously attack the institution of private property, and therefore is considered to some extent a forebear of modern Socialism, Marxism and Anarchism. He also questioned the assumption that the will of the majority is always correct, arguing that the goal of government should be to secure freedom, equality and justice for all within the state, regardless of the will of the majority.
  4. Rousseau set out his influential views on Philosophy of Education in his semi-fictitious “Émile” (1762). The aim of education, he argued, is to learn how to live righteously, and this should be accomplished by following a guardian (preferably in the countryside, away from the bad habits of the city) who can guide his pupil through various contrived learning experiences. He minimized the importance of book learning and placed a special emphasis on learning by experience, and he recommended that a child’s emotions should be educated before his reason.

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

Background :-

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most influential thinkers during the Enlightenment in eighteenth century Europe. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political and educational thought.

Contribution of Jean- Jacques Rousseau to the field of philosophy:-

In his first major philosophical work, A Discourse on the Sciences and Arts, Rousseau argues that the progression of the sciences and arts has caused the corruption of virtue and morality.

In his other work The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality the central claim of the work is that human beings are basically good by nature, but were corrupted by the complex historical events that resulted in present day civil society.

‘Social Contract’ and ‘natural law’ received a new interpretation from Rousseau. He developed a theory of popular sovereignty in which liberty and equality and freedom and authority were reconciled. According to him, state and law is one and the same thing and are the product of general will and not of reason as the jurists in the seventeenth century proclaimed.

According to Rousseau’s theory of general will, it is the duty of every individual to obey the ‘general will’ because in doing so he directly obeys his own will. The existence of the State is for the protection of freedom and equality. The state, and the laws made by it both are subject to ‘general will’, they are to be overthrown. In brief, Rousseau lays emphasis on the community and departs from Locke who laid emphasis on the individual. He is in favour of people’s sovereignty. His natural law theory stands for the freedom and equality of men.

Rousseau was one of the first modern writers to seriously attack the institution of private property, and therefore is considered to some extent a forebear of modern Socialism, Marxism and Anarchism. He also questioned the assumption that the will of the majority is always correct, arguing that the goal of government should be to secure freedom, equality and justice for all within the state, regardless of the will of the majority.

He minimized the importance of book learning and placed a special emphasis on learning by experience, and he recommended that a child’s emotions should be educated before his reason.

The perspective of many of today’s environmentalists can be traced back to Rousseau who believed that the more men deviated from the state of nature, the worse off they would be. Espousing the belief that all degenerates in men’s hands, Rousseau taught that men would be free, wise, and good in the state of nature and that instinct and emotion, when not distorted by the unnatural limitations of civilization, are nature’s voices and instructions to the good life.