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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 JANUARY 2019


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.


Topic – Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

1) The 2014 NGT ban on rat hole mining in Meghalaya has only accentuated the problem. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Downtoearth

Why this question

The recent disasters involving rat hole mining in Meghalaya has brought the focus on rat hole mining in the state. The NGT order on rat hole mining, it appeared, had dealt with the problem conclusively. However, the recent disasters have shown that the problem persists. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the pros and cons of NGT decision on banning rat hole mining and discuss the way forward for ensuring that a fair and practical solution is devised.

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 about the 2014 order banning rat hole mining.

Body

  • Discuss the impact of the ban. Highlight that while it was thought that the ban had succeeded in tackling the problem of rat hole mining, the recent incidents have shown that the problem continues.
  • Discuss how the ban has magnified the problem
    • Blueprints of mines are not available which hampered rescue operations in the current disaster
    • rat-hole mining has to be regulated and not banned as it will impact the livelihood of many people. Moreover the current legal limbo is only benefiting the rich etc
  • Discuss what needs to be done to effectively deal with the situation. Evaluate whether ban is the way forward or regulations are required

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

                The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned rat-hole mining in 2014, and retained the ban in 2015, on grounds of it being ‘unscientific and unsafe’ for workers. The verdict was upheld by Supreme Court too.

                The collapse of a coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, trapping at least 15 workers who are still missing and are feared dead, has thrown the spotlight on rat-hole mining’s continuance, despite the ban.

Body:

The impact of the ban:

  • The NGT order banned not only rat-hole mining but all “unscientific and illegal mining”.
  • The court placed much emphasis on a report of O P Singh, professor of environmental studies of North Eastern Hills University of Shillong that explained the grave environmental concerns and health concerns.
  • Rat-hole mining, which started with gusto in the 1980s, has poisoned three rivers in the Jaintia hills: the Myntdu, Lunar and Lukha. These rivers have very high acidic levels.
  • It also took into consideration the dignity of the mine workers especially children who were employed.

It was thought that the ban had succeeded in tackling the problem of rat hole mining, the recent incidents have shown that the problem continues. The ban has accentuated the problems to a higher level. This is due to various reasons like

Loopholes in the law:

  • The ban has been rendered meaningless by the Supreme court-sanctioned permission to transport “already-mined” coal till January 2019. Mine owners have used this loophole to continue mining operations illegally.
  • Meghalaya comes under the 6th Schedule of Constitution. The provisions allow for community ownership of land and autonomy over its use. However they are taken over by private players and tribals are left helpless.

Lack of Political and Executive will:

  • The unholy nexus of Politicians and Contractors: About 33% of political candidates have stakes in coal mining and transport companies, thus lobbying against the ban order.
  • A committee (headed by Retired Justice B.P. Katoki) appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has blamed poor implementation of NGT order by executive.
  • The committee revealed that the state government shockingly has no records about the rat-hole mines, number of workers involved and any other data relating to death or injuries to the workers.
  • Blueprints of mines are not available which has hampered rescue operations in the current disaster.

Lack of Alternate Sources of Livelihood:

  • It takes long to locate the quarry as local people were scared to divulge information, fearing a backlash from mine owners and lose their livelihood.
  • It gives quick money for day-to-day survival.
  • It is a cheap method for the mine owners to extract coal and presence of abundance of Migrant labour.
  • The ban has led to secrecy which hampers rescue process during cases of emergency.

Way Forward:

  • The Supreme Court must rectify this situation by banning transport of all coal, or by lifting the ban but enforcing regulation to make the mining non-polluting and safe.
  • The State mining policy should include ways of alternative towards Rathole mining.
  • Rat-hole mining has to be regulated and not banned as it will impact the livelihood of many people.
  • The Schedule VI provisions must be implemented in true letter and spirit by granting community ownership rights. Involvement of Autonomous District and Regional Councils to further implement the orders is needed.
  • Alternative employment or economic engagement for the coal mine owners and labourers must be provided. g.: MGNREGA.
  • Strict implementation of Child labour prevention laws and Right to Education Act for the children involved in mining.
  • Use of Satellite imagery and drone technology to find the locations of illegal mines as suggested by BP Katoki committee.
  • Using experts like Geologists to evaluate the stability and prepare maps for the tunnels.
  • Adopting eco-friendly and global best practices to reduce the risks.
  • Involvement of Social Activists, NGO’s and Local community and education of the people about safety and security needed during rat-hole mining.

Conclusion:

The road ahead is to restore the environmentally degraded areas and rehabilitate exploited labour force.


Topic– Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2) What do the draft  CRZ rules imply from the perspective of environmental justice and distributive justice.Discuss. (250 words)

Epw

Why this question

The draft CRZ rules have been widely criticised for their material approach towards coastal development and under the conspicuous and increasingly more vital role of climate change it is important to discuss the draft rules and see how they affect the environment and the society.

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 as to how the draft CRZ rules will possibly affect the environment and the notion of distributive justice.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent CRZ rules. The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2018 notification approved by the MoEFCC has revoked some of its stringent provisions to permit the expansion of development activities into the environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs), hitherto deemed inaccessible by law.

Body-

  1. Discuss the salient provisions of the rules. E.g
  • reduction of the CRZ limits and the no-development zone (NDZ) area,
  • and the classification of coastal zone areas, according to the density of population.
  • For the setting up of “strategic projects,” for defence and public utilities, even the most ecologically critical areas that fall under the CRZ I classification have not been excluded.
  1. DIscuss the impact of the draft rules vis-a-vis environmental and distributive justice. E.g
  • By facilitating the large-scale intrusion of commercial and industrial activities into the fragile coastal territories, the new CRZ policy would upset the prevailing human–ecological balance.
  • This would lead to further degradation of marine ecosystems, and disrupt the livelihoods of resource-dependent populations, especially artisanal fishers living off the coasts.
  • Regions that lie along India’s west coast and those adjoining the river deltas on the east coast are known to be amongst the most vulnerable areas.
  • In effect, the policy would not only serve to facilitate the unhindered implementation of the central government’s ambitious Sagarmala project but also promote the development of infrastructure, real estate and tourism, while permitting affordable housing along the coast.
  • The utilitarian approach of the policy reveals a clear bias favouring business interests, while overriding the needs of coastal ecology, conservation and the fishers etc.

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

Introduction:

                Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, issued the Coastal Regulation Zone notification for regulation of activities in the coastal area. It has revoked some of its stringent provisions to permit the expansion of development activities into the environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs), hitherto deemed inaccessible by law.

Body:

The coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ). The classification of CRZ into 4 categories is:

  • CRZ-I – Ecologically Sensitive Areas: lying between low and high tide line. Exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt are permitted
  • CRZ-II – Shore Line Areas: The areas that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline. Construction of unauthorized structures is not allowed here.
  • CRZ-III – Undisturbed Areas: Rural and Urban localities which fall outside zones 1 & 2. Only certain activities related to agriculture and few public facilities are allowed.
  • CRZ-IV – Territorial Areas: An area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward. Fishing and allied activities are permitted here. Solid waste should be let off in this zone.

The Salient features of the CRZ 2018: Many significant relaxations of development controls along the coastline.

  • Relaxed regulations:
    • There is a considerable reduction of the CRZ limits and the no-development zone (NDZ) area.
    • The classification of coastal zone areas is done according to the density of population.
    • For densely populated areas under CRZ – III A, no development zone has been reduced from 200 m to 50 m. This will help meet affordable housing needs for rural areas and other development activities.
  • Boost to Strategic projects:
    • For the setting up of “strategic projects,” for defence and public utilities, even the most ecologically critical areas that fall under the CRZ-I classification have not been excluded.
    • Example: Sagarmala project : It consists of a series of commercial ventures envisaged at an outlay of ₹ 8.5 trillion
  • Environmental Protection:
    • To address pollution in coastal areas, setting up of treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
    • CRZ limit of 20 m for islands has been maintained intact.
  • Distribution of Powers:
    • States will also have the authority to grant clearances and approve proposals for urban (CRZ-II) and rural (CRZ-III) areas.
    • Only such projects which are located in Ecologically Sensitive Areas (CRZ-I) and CRZ-IV will require the necessary clearance from the Union Ministry.
  • Boost to Tourism:
    • The notification also permits temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. in beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in NDZ of the CRZ-III areas.
    • The new notification may “boost tourism in terms of more activities, more infrastructure and more opportunities and will certainly go a long way in creating employment opportunities in various aspects of tourism”.

How the CRZ 2018 differs from CRZ 2011:

The impacts of the draft rules vis-à-vis environmental and distributive justice are:

  • Environmental justice:
    • The lack of factoring in the effects of climate change on sea levels and well-demarcated hazard line in the new CRZ rules can lead to huge costs.
    • The large-scale intrusion of commercial and industrial activities into the fragile coastal territories, the new CRZ policy would upset the prevailing human–ecological balance.
    • In coastal cities, such as Mumbai and Chennai, increasing urbanisation, changes in land use patterns, encroachments along the coast, construction of coastal roads, and unabated pollution have caused irreversible damage to low-lying areas, water-bodies, and the sea.
    • Studies have shown that the impact of these processes has led to a decline in fish catch and landings over time. Other problems of algal bloom, beaching of the whales, increased plastic pollution is on rise.
    • Rapid urbanisation and industrialisation has turned the coasts into convenient dumping grounds. This directly affects the bio-diversity of the coastal zones.
  • Distributive justice:
    • With increased commercial and industrial activities in coastal areas, there will be further degradation of marine ecosystems. This will disrupt the livelihoods of resource-dependent populations, especially artisanal fishers living off the coasts.
    • Coastal erosion and the hazards posed by the rising sea level due to climate change have already endangered the lives of populations inhabiting low-lying areas across the globe.
    • The concerns of the fishers is seen to be in conflict with those of other interest groups that seek to corner profits from unfettered use and commercialisation of coastal resources and commons.
    • The impact on the fisheries sector is huge as it employs about 8 million people and generate Rs. 48,000-Rs. 75,000 crores for the economy.
    • This adversely affected livelihoods, especially of small-scale artisanal fishers, resulting in their increasing alienation, while also leading to the widening of inequalities within society.
    • Promoting the business agendas of other interest groups at the cost of fisher livelihoods would further impoverish a community that already has been pushed to the margins of an unequal society.
    • Land grabbing by private and government actors has been the norm. These actors forget that this space is the common property of coastal villages, towns and cities, and public beaches

Conclusion:

India’s coasts are already facing grave threats due to climate change events such as intensive, frequent and unpredictable cyclones and erosion. The relaxation of the CRZ rules in order to boost economic development, albeit necessary, must be done keeping in mind the sustainability of the fragile ecosystems.


Topic– Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) The 10% quota for higher-caste EWSs discredits the moral foundation of the principle of social justice. Comment. (250 words)

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Why this question

The recently introduced act to provide 10% reservations to the higher caste EWSs of the society has been highly criticized for its callous and highly political approach towards some of the most important economic questions of India. It is important to discuss how this policy affects India and the principle of natural justice.

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 issue of providing reservations to high-caste EWS of India and express our opinion as to how it does/ does not discredit the moral foundation of the idea of social justice.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  recent bill for providing reservations to higher-caste EWS of Indian society. E.g mention the criteria used for identification of the beneficiaries and mention the benefits provided directly.

Body-

  1. Discuss the pros and cons of the bill. E.g
  • If the Court assents to the legislation and it is implemented by the government, it is expected to help the needy among the higher castes.
  • In some cases, it is also expected to eliminate the desperation of those who, in the past, would resort to obtaining fake Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates that were used to seek entry into professional courses
  • Centre did not give enough time for discussion on it before it was tabled in Parliament for its final approval.
  • Similarly, an objection is raised about the procedure that the government adopted in order to fix the criteria for educational and economic backwardness.
  • How has the government arrived at the figure of 10%, without any proper and thorough documentation by a duly constituted commission?
  1. Discuss how the scheme discredits the moral foundations of the principles of social justice. E.g
  • Issue of fake certificates
  • he 10% quota is expected to reinforce the urge among the higher castes to be a part of the reservation fraternity, along with the SCs, STs, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
  • The 10% quota is at variance with the very normative basis of the reservation policy, which was envisioned for the benefit of the SCs.
  • It is needless to mention that the potential beneficiaries of the legislation would benefit from a 10% quota based purely on the economic criterion, that is, without having had to experience being subjected to the practices of untouchability, which originally served as the fundamental basis for providing the quota for the SCs etc.

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

 

Introduction:

         The President of India has given his assent to the bill providing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category. The legislation will be known as the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 and it shall come into force on such date as the Centre notifies.

       

Body:

               

The pros of the reservation Act are:

  • Alleviation of Poverty: It is expected to help the needy among the higher castes.
  • Reduces ghost beneficiaries: In some cases, it is expected to eliminate the desperation of those who, in the past, would resort to obtaining fake Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates that were used to seek entry into professional courses.
  • Removes Prejudice: The reservation will prevent these higher castes from holding reservations responsible for national disintegration and perpetuation of casteism, as they widely believe.
  • Reduces Unwanted Adoptions: The legislation is also expected to keep savarna-caste aspirants from seeking adoption into SC/ST families in order to procure SC/ST certificates.
  • No deceptive self-characterisation: Ironically, the 10% quota can help these savarnas retain their authentic caste identity. In this way, they can now avoid facing humiliation in courts of law on account of being exposed as fake caste certificate holders.

The cons of the reservation are:

  • Sincerity of the Government: Centre did not give enough time for discussion on it before it was tabled in Parliament for its final approval.
  • Lack of objectivity: an objection is raised about the procedure that the government adopted in order to fix the criteria for educational and economic backwardness. The government arrived at the figure of 10%, without any proper and thorough documentation by a duly constituted commission.
  • Discredits the moral foundation of the principle of social justice:
  • The principle of social justice calls for ‘equal treatment of equals’ and ‘affirmative action for less advantage sections’.
  • Constitution outlines special provisions for only four classes – SCs, STs, Backward Classes and Anglo Indians in the Articles 330-342 under Part 16.
  • The provision is clearly mentioned as reservation is explicitly for ‘social exclusion and discrimination’. Notably, the “socially and educationally backward classes” was the target group in quotas for OBCs.
  • Unfairness or an element of injustice is rooted in the practice of untouchability, whereas pure economic backwardness is rooted in the systemic inability to provide jobs to the higher castes.
  • The lack of opportunities is not due to untouchability, but due to the inability of the state and the market to provide enough jobs for the qualified and the needy.
  • The new reservation policy has transformed from a policy meant to provide a level playing field for those suffering from historical discrimination and those who are weaker sections of the society to a policy meant as a dole for those sections of society who are poor and lack jobs.
  • The Indira Sawhney case had further held that social backwardness cannot be determined only with reference to an economic criterion.
  • Violation of DPSP:
  • The Article 46, which is a non-justiciable Directive Principle, says that the state shall promote educational and economic interests of “weaker sections”, in particular SCs and STs, and protect them from “social injustices” and “all forms of exploitation”.
  • While the 103rd Amendment mentions Article 46 in its statement and objects, it seems the government overlooked the fact that upper castes neither face social injustice nor are subjected to any form of exploitation.
  • Moreover, the Constitution makes provisions for commissions to look into matters relating to implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Castes (Article 338), Scheduled Tribes (338A) and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (339), but has not created any commission for the economically backward classes.
  • Violation of Basic Structure Doctrine:
  • The 10% reservation will be in addition to the existing cap of 50% reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60%.
  • This would leave other candidates with just 40% government jobs or seats, amounting to violation of Article 14 (Right to Equality), which is a part of Basic Structure.
  • The 60% reservation will also lead to “sacrifice of merit”.

Conclusion:

                Thus, the quota for the economically poor among the upper castes has been seen essentially as a poverty alleviation move dressed up as reservation. Reservation to the weaker sections is an positive affirmative action needed for their welfare. The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act though is a beneficial move for the “forward poor”. Similar moves by previous governments have be judicially reviewed and struck down. It is prudent to look at other alternatives to alleviate the conditions of EWS.

       


Topic-Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

4) The Draft Patents Rules, released by the Ministry of Commerce undermine safeguards against frivolous patents. Analyze.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Why this question

India is still a technology importing nation by large ,and has also resisted various moves of the developed countries to make its patent laws less strict. In this context it is essential to discuss how the draft patent rules undermine safeguards against frivolous patents.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to look deeper into the draft CRZ rules released by the ministry of Commerce and bring out how they undermine safeguards placed against frivolous patents.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent changes being mulled over by the government.

Body-

Discuss the salient provisions of the bill and how they affect safeguards against frivolous patents. E.g

  • It proposes a new mechanism which will expedite decisions on patent applications.
  • This proposed fast-track process seems to come with various other compromises on the functioning of India’s patent architecture and for protecting access to medicines.
  • The monopoly of patents is often justified as an incentive to promote R&D. But in practice, patents are used to control competition and give fewer options to consumers. Towards this purpose, big corporations are known for obtaining multiple patents claiming minor changes on the same technology or molecule.
  • This practice of creating patent-fences adversely impacts the industrial and technological development of countries like India, by preventing their firms from catching up with the latest technology.
  • As a technology-dependent country, India’s patents Act discourages patenting frivolous inventions and excludes patenting software, plants, animals or their parts and known chemical molecules.
  • The proposed changes for fast-track examination say that if a patent is granted in a foreign patent office, then the applicant can apply for fast-tracking of the same application in India, provided that there is a bilateral agreement between the Indian Patent Office and the concerned foreign patent office.
  • This may lead to the “harmonisation” of Indian patentability criteria with foreign countries like US, Japan.
  • It can also lead to the granting of patents prohibited under the Indian Patents Act, such as a patent on software or a known molecule. In other words, the stringent standards for granting patents set by parliament in the Act would be ignored in practice etc.

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

 

Introduction:

                The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce has floated proposed changes to the rules of the Indian patent Act. The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2018 amends the Patents Rules, 2003

 

Body:

The proposed changes in the Rules and the challenges posed are:

 

  • It proposes a new mechanism which will expedite decisions on patent applications.
    • Challenges posed: This proposed fast-track process seems to come with various other compromises on the functioning of India’s patent architecture and for protecting access to medicines, for example.
    • The monopoly of patents is often justified as an incentive to promote R&D. However, patents are used to control competition and give fewer options to consumers.

 

  • For fast-track examination say that if a patent is granted in a foreign patent office, then the applicant can apply for fast-tracking of the same application in India, provided that there is a bilateral agreement between the Indian Patent Office and the concerned foreign patent office.
    • Challenges posed: This may lead to the “harmonisation” of Indian patentability criteria with foreign countries like US, Japan.
    • It can also lead to the granting of patents prohibited under the Indian Patents Act, such as a patent on software or a known molecule.
    • The stringent standards for granting patents set by parliament in the Act would be ignored in practice.
    • The Patent Prosecution Highway may make the Indian patent examiners rely on the examination report of the foreign patent office and grant patents ignoring the strict patentability criteria provided in the Indian Patents Act.

The proposed changes undermine Indian Patents Act and leads to Frivolous patents:

  • Evergreening of Patents: Big corporations are known for obtaining multiple patents claiming minor changes on the same technology or molecule.
  • This practice of creating patent-fences adversely impacts the industrial and technological development of countries like India, by preventing their firms from catching up with the latest technology.
  • India is a technology-dependent country. India’s patents Act discourages patenting frivolous inventions and excludes patenting software, plants, animals or their parts and known chemical molecules.
  • The Indian Patents office granted patents in violation of the patentability standard contained in the Act. For instance, a study shows that there is a 72% error rate in granting patents in the area of pharmaceuticals. With expeditious process, the error rates can go higher.

Way Forward:

  • India needs a clear and tough stance on intellectual property both in domestic policy and at the multilateral level.
  • Indian IPR laws is TRIPS compliant and this must drive its IPR policy.
  • Expedition of granting IPRs can be followed up with better manpower and infrastructure which is imperative to test before grant IPRs.
  • Support for innovation has to be accompanied with instruments that guard local companies against the misuse of market power, coercive bargaining and aggressive acquisition strategies.
  • India needs to spread awareness on IPR in public.
  • It needs to safeguard its patents, copyrights and traditional knowledge by ensuring easy IPR rules.

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

5) India’s reluctance to admit China into the SAARC serves no better purpose. Examine. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article highlights the scope and need of India-China cooperation in various fields, including the advantages of admitting China as a SAARC member.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the reasons as to why refusal of India to admit China as a member of SAARC is working against India’s own interests.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  SAARC- its members and position of China as an observer state.

Body-

Discuss why preventing China from SAARC membership is working against India’s interests. E.g

  • The US-China trade war and frequent meetings between the leaders of India and China post-Doklam standoff worked towards setting up a hotline between India-China military headquarters to strengthen communication and build trust and mutual understanding to make their military maneuvers and movements more predictable.
  • Currently, as an observer, China cannot initiate any proposal nor can it participate in discussions and deliberations within the forum. New Delhi must reconsider its strategy, as China’s inclusion as a dialogue partner will not grant it a veto but rather increase the likelihood of bringing in Chinese economic and political capital to strengthen the SAARC.
  • As the SAARC is mostly dysfunctional, having only paltry and symbolic successes to its credit, Chinese inclusion as a dialogue partner needs to be mulled over.
  • Further, the inclusion of China as a dialogue partner in the SAARC framework would provide a forum to discuss concerns related to Beijing-led regional infrastructure development and connectivity projects and address several issues related to terms and conditions of loans, benefits for the local economy and sovereignty concerns of countries in the region etc.

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

 

Introduction:

SAARC was set up in 1985 and today it has 8 members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Srilanka. Afghanistan joined SAARC only in 2007. SAARC member nations cooperate on a range of issues from agriculture, economy, poverty alleviation, S&T and culture to encourage people to people contact.

                China has been an observer member in SAARC since 2005. China has recently lobbied to be upgraded to full membership and thus push its way to a dominant position in all of Asia.                

Body:

                The Charter of SAARC requires consensus among all members for admitting a new member. If China is to be admitted it must get the support of all the members. China expressed its interest in joining the organisation in the 18th summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2014. However, this was not endorsed by India for geopolitical reasons.

India’s reasons of not endorsing China’s full membership are:

  • Non-South Asian country: The perception that China is not a South Asian country as it doesn’t share a history and culture with the people of South Asia. China is not a mainstream South Asian country.
  • Hegemony of China: A number of SAARC countries have reportedly supported full membership for China, including ally Pakistan, as well as Nepal and Sri Lanka. China potentially dominating the organization and working against India interests within it. This may further drive China’s BRI interests.
  • Impact on Bilateral ties and SAARC: Sino-Indian political difficulties limiting SAARC’s effectiveness and activities, as India-Pakistan ones have done; and Sino-Indian interactions within SAARC exacerbating China-India mistrust.

However, the reluctance of India to admit China into SAARC could work against India’s interests.

  • Strategic importance:
  • The inclusion of China as a dialogue partner in the SAARC framework would provide a forum to discuss concerns related to Beijing-led regional infrastructure development and connectivity projects.
  • It will also help address several issues related to terms and conditions of loans, benefits for the local economy and sovereignty concerns of countries in the region.
  • The US-China trade war and frequent meetings between the leaders of India and China post-Doklam standoff worked towards setting up a hotline between India-China military headquarters.
  • This will strengthen communication and build trust and mutual understanding to make their military manoeuvres and movements more predictable.
  • With USA reducing its military presence in Afghanistan; SAARC can act as a better forum to help Afghan rebuild than China’s single handed approach. This reduces China’s direct leverage in Afghanistan.
  • Economic Avenue:
  • Currently, as an observer, China cannot initiate any proposal nor can it participate in discussions and deliberations within the forum.
  • New Delhi must reconsider its strategy, as China’s inclusion as a dialogue partner will not grant it a veto but rather increase the likelihood of bringing in Chinese economic and political capital to strengthen the SAARC.
  • New vigour to SAARC:
  • As the SAARC is mostly dysfunctional, having only paltry and symbolic successes to its credit, Chinese inclusion as a dialogue partner needs to be mulled over.
  • This can help SAARC get a new life.
  • Structure of SAARC:
  • A lopsided structure rare in the world of multilateral diplomacy; SAARC has more observers (9) than actual full-fledged members (8). Indian officials accept that the grouping will need to be expanded at some stage.

Conclusion:

India must, at first, assess the role and function of SAARC itself due to its disfunctionality. The implications of full membership are crucial, given that it comes with a veto. Any assessment of China’s role needs to factor in India’s perception, as well as the current and future direction of the relationship. It also requires analyses of China’s relations with individual SAARC members and its approach to the region.

 


      

Topic – India and her neighbourhood relations.

6) There is a need for India to have a better focus on the non-conventional security threats prevalent in South Asia. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

India places significant stress on its external security threats but there is a growing need for India to place more emphasis on non-conventional security threats faced by it and shared by other South Asian members.

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 non-conventional threats faced by South Asian nations, including India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Give a brief description of the conventional sources of threat to India in the context of South Asia. E.g Chinese threat, Pakistani aggression; nuclear threats etc.

Body-

Discuss in points the non-conventional threats prevalent in South Asia. E.g

  • Terrorist attacks on the Indian mainland have surged – consider high-profile cases such as the assault on Parliament in 2001, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Gurdaspur attack in Punjab in 2015, the Pathankot attack in January 2016, and the attacks on the Uri military camp in September 2016, as well as regular attacks that get less media coverage.
  • It can be argued that addressing a threat by gathering credible intelligence and tightening defense mechanisms would do more to counter terrorism than mounting offensive strategies that often do not work and sometimes backfire.
  • Furthermore, India and its neighbors also face many other non-conventional threats such as;
  • poverty,
  • illiteracy,
  • unemployment,
  • underdevelopment
  • and the illicit trafficking of people and drugs etc.

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

 

Introduction:

Conventional threats traditionally would be the military threats faced by a nation from another nation that impinge on its sovereign integrity, trade, maritime area under its jurisdiction as per international law in which the various laws, both international and national, apply. Example: Threats from China, Pakistan etc. India has equipped herself in this front with constant building up of her arsenal which includes the nuclear second strike capability and many missiles.

       

Body:

Non-conventional threats would cover a host of other aspects.  It can be defined as those threats which are emanated by the non-state actors. These are challenges to the survival of the state and well-being of people that arise primarily out of non-military sources. They are trans-national in scope and transmitted rapidly due to globalization and communication revolution.

The major ones being terrorism, piracy, natural disasters, drug trafficking, smuggling, illegal immigrants, changes in the climate and ecology

 

Terrorism : Deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or threat of violence in pursuit of political change.

  • State-funded terrorism by Pakistan through separatist movement in Kashmir valley.
  • High-profile cases such as the assault on Parliament in 2001, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Gurdaspur attack in Punjab in 2015, the Pathankot attack in January 2016, and the attacks on the Uri military camp in September 2016, as well as regular attacks that get less media coverage.
  • The insurgency in Nagaland, Manipur.

Organized crimes – national and transnational

  • Use of counterfeit currency, the finding of linkages between terrorists and underworld.
  • National and transnational crimes like piracy, smuggling and drugs. Example: Punjab which is in the vicinity of Golden Crescent is a drug haven in India

 Poverty

  • Poor crops in agriculture to high dependence on monsoon.
  • Increasing population.
  • Rising inequalities between the rich and the poor.
  • Corruption and black-money.

Religious extremism: It is faith-based actions that are deliberate attempts to cause harm to other people.

  • Polarization of the society.
  • Communal violences as seen during Anti-Sikh War, Hindu-Muslim riots in Saharanpur.

Illegal Migration

  • Bangladeshi illegal immigrants, recent issue related to Rohingya Muslims.

Unemployment:

  • India has the youngest working age population in the world, providing a tremendous opportunity to leapfrog their way to development.

Underdevelopment

  • India has about 21.9% of her population below the poverty line despite good economic growth.

Climate Change and Environment Pollution

  • India’s development trajectory has had to contend with increasing environmental challenge. Example: Indian cities are ranked among the most polluted cities in the world.

Human Security Issues

  • It is the combination of threats associated with war, genocide, and the displacement of populations.
  • Issues of human trafficking, bonded labour, prostitution is highest in South Asian countries.
  • The lack of freedom from violence and from the fear of violence.

Information Security Issues: It is the state of being protected against the unauthorized use of information, especially electronic data.

  • Confidentiality and Privacy issues: The issues related to theft of personal information.
  • Data theft and cyber-attack: Hacking and Denial of Service attacks on many of the Government websites. WannaCry, a crypto-ransomware can stop public life dependent on digital infrastructure.
  • Lack of awareness and the culture of cybersecurity at the individual as well as institutional level.
  • Lack of trained and qualified manpower to implement the countermeasures.

 

Way forward

  • South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the world. There is a need to strengthen the co-operation between the neighbours.
  • Alternative arrangements like BIMSTEC, SASEC must be kick-started.
  • Increased information exchange and better security co-ordination between the contiguously bordered neighbours can help curb issues of terrorism, drug menace, counterfeit currency.
  • Since the challenges are the same across countries, there can be generic framework solution created with customizable features as seen in Paris Agreement.
  • Collaborative Bilateral ties among neighbouring nations to have documentation of illegal immigrants.
  • Strengthening the cyber-security laws to fight the dynamic threats. Regional Cybersecurity laws like EU’s GDPR law can help strengthen the cyber-arena better.
  • Lastly, acceptance of the non-conventional issues as an actual problem.

 


Topic– India and its neighbourhood relations.

7) Space technology has great potential to help social and economic development, especially in parts of the developing world such as South Asia, however, the potential remains untapped. Analyze.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

We have seen in case of India that space technology has benefited us immensely especially when it comes to fields such as agriculture etc. This would have enabled south Asia to collectively resolve many of the problems related to development that the region faces. However due to reasons, as discussed in the article, we have been unable to tap this potential. Hence this question

Key demand of the question

The question first expects us to bring out the potential that space technology has for South Asia. Thereafter, we need to bring out the reasons why this potential remains untapped. Finally, we need to discuss how the status quo can be reversed.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that South Asia is a region with several developmental challenges and space technology could have played a role in dealing with those challenges.

Body

  • Discuss how space technology would have helped south Asia –
    • South Asia is a region with uneven development and serious social, economic, and developmental challenges.
    • Space technology capabilities are also unevenly spread with China and India as established space players in the region but with more new entrants in the field. Countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives have a clear requirement for space capabilities for a number of different utilities such as dealing with natural disasters and communication. The region has remained prone to many weather-related calamities on a fairly frequent basis, making disaster warning and mitigation important drivers for pursuing an outer space agenda.
    • Strengthening connectivity, communication, and broadband internet across rural and remote areas of the region too should be strong imperatives.
  • Discuss the reasons why potential remains untapped
    • Availability of resources and lack of visionary leadership in the region are important factors, but so are international insecurity and conflict.
  • Discuss how the situation can be corrected
    • confidence building measures (CBMs) can help promote space development in South Asia
    • Using alternatives to SAARC such as BIMSTEC etc

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

South Asia is a region with several developmental challenges and space technology could play a role in dealing with these challenges. The expanding use of space technology in the region has given India more opportunities to continue using technological cooperation as a tool of diplomacy.

Body:

Some of the achievements:

  • India’s Indian Regional Navigational Satellite system (IRNSS), a set of 7 satellites was launched in 2018. Through this, India provides the positioning and navigation services to its neighbours within 1500km radius.
  • In May 2017, India launched the GSAT-9, also dubbed the South Asia Satellite, aiming to provide space-enabled services to other South Asian countries.
  • The recent launch of the Bangabandhu-1, Bangladesh’s first geostationary satellite to orbit shows the growing use of space technology for development among the South Asian countries.

Need for Space Cooperation in South Asia:

  • South Asia is a region with uneven development and serious social, economic, and developmental challenges.
  • Space technology capabilities are also unevenly spread with China and India as established space players in the region.
  • Countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives have requirement for space capabilities for dealing with natural disasters and communication.
  • The region has remained prone to many weather-related calamities on a frequent basis.
  • This makes disaster warning and mitigation important drivers for pursuing an outer space agenda.
  • Remote sensing of huge forests require monitoring, surveying, forest fire detections, monitoring the huge water bodies like Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal also adds to the needs.
  • Strengthening connectivity, communication, teleeducation, telemedicine and broadband internet across rural and remote areas of the region.
  • Satellite-enabled projects that involve cross-border management of common resources could greatly improve regional cooperation with minimal political costs.
  • Security, both internal and border is a big concern in the area. Better space technology can ensure better GIS systems.
  • There are significant geographical features in South Asia that transcend political boundaries, such as the Himalayan Mountains, the Thar Desert, the Bay of Bengal, the Sundarbans forest, trans-boundary rivers, and coastlines.

Although there is a lot of need for spatial intervention, the following challenges have held back the space development in South Asian region

  • Availability of resources and lack of visionary leadership in the region are important factors.
  • There are concerns of international insecurity and conflict.
  • The competition between India and China spills over into the space domain.
  • Most South Asian countries are members of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) that is governed by Japan.
  • Political problems associated with regional cooperation in South Asia. Example: India-Pakistan rivalry.
  • Smaller countries worry about being dragged into the Sino-Indian competition if they collaborate with one side or the other.
  • Lack of existing rules and norms for outer space. Treaties such as the Outer Space Treaty (OST) are inadequate to deal with the rapidly developing space sector.
  • This has resulted in a growing debate about how to strengthen space norms and rules to ensure safe and sustainable use of outer space for future generations.

Way Forward:

  • Confidence building measures (CBMs) can help promote space development in South Asia.
  • India and China can offer significant assistance to the new entrants in the space domain in the region.
  • There could be joint initiatives in the area of manufacturing and launching satellites for the purpose of providing advance weather-related disaster warning.
  • More significantly, space cooperation at the regional level has to focus on more basic needs. The social sectors like Tele-medicine, Tele-education, coastline monitoring, forest monitoring can be taken up at first to alleviate poverty.
  • Areas such as disaster warning and mitigation are ideal candidates for cooperation within the South Asian regions.
  • Private company’s participation like SpaceX is needed to further develop the space industry.
  • Loans and financial help from global financial institutions like ADB, NDB, AIIB should be leveraged.

Conclusion:

        India, China, and Japan have their own limited capabilities to monitor the space environment. Combining the efforts of these three large space-faring powers in Asia would be greatly beneficial. The bigger space players in Asia could find ways to co-operate, it would provide incentives to smaller states as well.


Topic– Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

8) Discuss the contribution of Socrates towards ethics and moral 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 Socrates- his thoughts related to morality and ethics.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about Socrates. E.g Socrates is considered as the father of modern Western philosophy. The great example of the trial and death of Socrates demonstrates the close connection between his character and his philosophy etc.

Body-

Discuss in points about the thoughts and works of Socrates. E.g

  • Self-knowledge is a sufficient condition to the good life. Socrates identifies knowledge with virtue. If knowledge can be learned, so can virtue. Thus, Socrates states virtue can be taught.
  • He believes “the unexamined life is not worth living.” One must seek knowledge and wisdom before private interests. In this manner, knowledge is sought as a means to ethical action.
  • Socrates presupposes reason is essential for the good life: Socrates argues for the view that all of the virtues—justice, wisdom, courage, piety, and so forth—are one.  He provides a number of arguments for this thesis.
  • Socrates states no one chooses evil; no one chooses to act in ignorance. We seek the good, but fail to achieve it by ignorance or lack of knowledge as to how to obtain what is good.
  • It is Better to Suffer an Injustice Than to Commit One”: This argument must be understood in terms of the Socratic emphasis on the care of the soul.  Committing an injustice corrupts one’s soul, and therefore committing injustice is the worst thing a person can do to himself.

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

 

Introduction:

Socrates is considered as the father of modern Western philosophy. Socrates lived in an era which is called Golden Age of Athens. He was the first systematic moral thinker, who led an exemplary life spending most of his time in philosophical discussion. He questioned people on philosophical issues, especially about the nature of the good life which became famous as the “Socratian method of Inquiry”.

 

Body:

        He himself did not write anything. But he taught the youth to never accept any truth without enquiry. His contributions to the ethics and moral philosophy are

  • Inquiry:
  • Socrates’ ethical intellectualism has an eudaemological character.
  • Socrates was put on trial and found guilty of “corrupting the youth” of Athens by asking them to question authority.
  • He believed deeply that people should inquire and ask questions, even about things that everyone takes for granted.
  • Socrates presupposes reason is essential for the good life.
  • Dialogue:
  • For investigation into defining the virtues and ethical behaviour, Socrates believed that the best way was “dialogue” that is – meaningful conversations with people on ideas like justice, righteousness and virtue.
  • This method of long conversations is called “dialectic”.
  • It was the dialogue which influenced the students and youth of Athens and formed the basis of modern philosophy, science, ethics, social theory and other fields.
  • Human Realm:
  • Before Socrates, philosophy was primarily focussed on questions of metaphysics, religion or science.
  • Socrates was the first person who gave a practical and political focus to the philosophy and ethics.
  • He asserted that Human realm was the proper focus of philosophical inquiry.
  • Virtue:
  • Socrates equated knowledge with virtue, which ultimately leads to ethical conduct.
  • Socratic Method focuses on moral education, on how one ought to live.
  • His views believe that only life worth living was one that was rigorously examined.
  • To him, knowledge of the good was almost akin to an enlightened state.
  • Self-knowledge is a sufficient condition to the good life. If knowledge can be learned, so can virtue. Thus, Socrates stated virtue can be taught.
  • Socrates states no one chooses evil; no one chooses to act in ignorance. But lack of knowledge leads to ignorance.
  • Better to Suffer an Injustice than to Commit One”: Committing an injustice corrupts one’s soul, and therefore committing injustice is the worst thing a person can do to himself. This quality was evident in Mahatma Gandhi. He never supported violence even after several jail terms during colonial period.

 

Conclusion:

Socrates, thus was a pragmatic thinker who accepted things only after a thorough investigation. Socratic Method can be used to inculcate value ethics among children and young via education. The great example of the trial and death of Socrates demonstrates the close connection between his character and his philosophy.