SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 FEBRUARY 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 FEBRUARY 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.


General Studies – 1


Topic– changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1) Why are the earth’s magnetic poles shifting. Discuss. Also discuss its implications.(250 words)

The hindu

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 reasons as to why the earth’s magnetic poles are shifting. It also wants us to write in detail about the implications of such a phenomenon for the world.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  shift in earth’s magnetic poles. E.g Earth’s north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that scientists say that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation.

Body-

  1. Discuss the reasons as to why the magnetic poles are shifting. E.g
  • Since 1831 when magnetic North Pole was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 2300 kilometers toward Siberia. Its speed jumped from about 15 km/h to 55 km/h since 2000.
  • The reason is turbulence in Earth’s liquid outer core. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet’s core where the motion generates an electric field.
  • The magnetic south pole is moving far slower than the no
  • In general Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say that it will eventually flip, where north and south pole changes polarity, like a bar magnet flipping over. It has happened numerous times in Earth’s past, but not in the last 780,000 years.
  1. Discuss its possible implications for humans, animals and the world in general. E.g
  • some birds that use magnetic fields to navigate.
  • An overall weakening of the magnetic field isn’t good for people and especially satellites and astronauts.
  • The magnetic field shields Earth from dangerous UV radiation etc.

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

Background:-

  • Earth’s north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that scientists say that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation. The magnetic north pole is wandering about 55 kilometers a year.
  • Since 1831 when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 2300 kilometers toward Siberia. 
  • The magnetic south pole is moving far slower than the north

Reasons why Earth’s magnetic pole is shifting:-

  • This shift is caused by convection  a slow rotation of fluid rock and molten metal in the earth’s outer core .
  • They happen when patches of iron atoms in Earth’s liquid outer corebecome reverse-aligned, like tiny magnets oriented in the opposite direction from those around them. . There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet’s core where the motion generates an electric field.
  • When the reversed patches grow to the point that they dominate the rest of the core, Earth’s overall magnetic field flips.
  • The last reversal happened 780,000 years ago during the Stone Age, and indeed there’s evidence to suggest the planet may be in the early stages of a pole reversal right now.
  • Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say that it will eventually flip, where north and south pole changes polarity, like a bar magnet flipping over. It has happened numerous times in Earth’s past, but not in the last 780,000 years.

Implications:-

  • constant shift is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics.
  • Airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as backup navigation.
  • The military depends on where magnetic north is for navigation and parachute drops, while NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Forest Service also use it.
  • Airport runway names are based on their direction toward magnetic north and their names change when the poles moved. 
  • Birds and animals:-
    • Shifting would bother some birds that use magnetic fields to navigate.
  • overall weakening of the magnetic field isn’t good for people and especially satellites and astronauts.
  • The magnetic field shields Earth from some dangerous radiation.
    • The alteration in the magnetic field during a reversal will weaken its shielding effect, allowing heightened levels of radiation on and above the Earth’s surface.
  • Other adverse impacts are decreasing accuracy and frequent update of instruments, increased cost and inconvenience. 


Topic – World history

2) Afghanistan is rightly called the graveyard of empires. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the various failed attempts made by the powers of the world in subjugating Afghanistan due to its strategic significance. All such attempts including the US war on Afghanistan has failed to bring any fruit for the aggressors. The question would enable us to revise British foreign policy and cold war.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the various attempts made by several countries in exerting control over Afghanistan but ended up counting their wounds. The question expects us to discuss the reasons for it. We can relate the question to the present context where USA is facing a similar situation in Afghanistan and discuss its impact.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight about the US war on Afghanistan and how it turned out for USA.

Body

  • Discuss the various attempts made at subjugating Afghanistan such as the Anglo Afghan wars and its result, the result of USSR’s intervention in Afghanistan and lastly the result of the current US war on Afghanistan.
  • Discuss the reasons for the failure of several world power in exerting their control over Afghanistan – tough geography, lack of understanding of the tribal loyalties of the country etc
  • Discuss the impact of likely withdrawal of USA from Afghanistan and how it impacts India

Conclusion – Give your view on how apt it is to call Afghanistan as the graveyard of empires.

Background:-

  • Afghanistan is a notoriously difficult country to govern. Empire after empire, nation after nation have failed to pacify what is today the modern territory of Afghanistan, giving the region the nickname “Graveyard of Empires, ” even if sometimes those empires won some initial battles and made inroads into the region.
  • In the 19th century there was the Great Game, when the British and Russian empires faced off across its forbidding deserts and mountain ranges. At the end of the 20th century it was the Cold War, when the Soviet and American rivalry played out here in a bitter guerrilla conflict. And in this century, it is the War on Terror and a constantly shifting Taliban insurgency, with USA promising a renewed military commitment.

Why is Afghanistan called the graveyard of empires:-

  • Historical:-
    • When the Arabs arrived in the region at the dawn of the 8th century, it was a patchwork of small but tough principalities. Attempts to conquer the Zunbils of Kandahar failed spectacularly, the first major setback faced by the Arabs after their great conquests began and same was the case with other empires like Mongols.
  • British:-
    • Over an 80-year period, the British fought three wars in Afghanistan, occupying or controlling the country in between, and lost tens of thousands of dead along the way. Finally, exhausted by the First World War, Britain gave up in 1919 and granted Afghanistan independence
  • Soviet Union:-
    • The Soviet Union spent the postwar period pacifying and modernizing its Central Asian republics with great success. But it was mistaken in assuming that the same program could stick in Afghanistan.
    • The Soviets invaded in 1979 to try to quell a brewing civil war and prop up its allies in the Afghan government, and they limped out in 1989.
  • USA:-
    • The first American military battle of the 21st century was fought in Afghanistan shortly after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. After nearly 16 years of fighting a shifting host of militant groups and the new Taliban insurgency, and now even a local affiliate of the Islamic State, there is no clear end on the horizon.
  • Afghanistan is particularly hard to conquer primarily due to the intersection of three factors.
    • First, because Afghanistan is located on the main land route between Iran, Central Asia, and India, it has been invaded many times and settled by a plethora of tribes, many mutually hostile to each other and outsiders.
    • Second, because of the frequency of invasion and the prevalence of tribalism in the area, its lawlessness lead to a situation where almost every village or house was builtlike a fortress, or qalat.
    • Third, the physical terrain of Afghanistan makes conquest and rule extremely difficult, exacerbating its tribal tendencies. Afghanistan is dominated by some of the highest and more jagged mountains in the world.
  • Global Powers have come to realise that while it is possible to conquer territory in Afghanistan temporarily, and defeat Afghans militarily in open battle, it is virtually impossible to hold the region down for long, when it is filled with guerrillas, tribes, and castles that can constantly weigh down a foreign power. 

General Studies – 2


Topic– Security challenges and their management in border areas

3) Border management is a complex task due to difficult terrain and hostile relations with some countries. Elucidate the challenges and strategies for effective border management.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the challenges of border management and the strategies India has employed to tackle such challenges.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – highlight that India shares borders with several countries, a few of those countries don’t share good relations with India making the task of border management challenging.

Body

  • Discuss the challenges wrt border security
    • Undemarcated boundaries with overlapping claims cause constant friction along borders.
    • Unilateral actions by some nations to change the status quo in their favour.
    • Misuse of borders(especially porous open borders) for smuggling, illegal migration, etc.
    • Little or no support from counterparts of neighbouring nations and in some cases active support by cross border elements to illegal activities .
    • Cultural, ethnic and linguistic affinity across borders and clan loyalties
    • Multiple agencies are involved in border management, lack of Inter agency cooperation and coordination
    • Support of state and non-state actors to aid infiltration,smuggling, trafficking,etc
  • Discuss the measures taken by India to deal with such challenges
    • 24x7x365 day surveillance along Indo-Pak border with 5 layer smart fence
    • Agreement on basic guiding principles and standard operating procedures
    • Increasing confidence building measures and communication linkages to avoid unnecessary confrontation and escalation
    • Integrated border management by involving and enhancing cooperation with counterparts of neighbouring countries especially along open borders. Etc

Conclusion – Comment on the difficult nature of the task and how India has been faring so far.

Background:-

  • India has one of the longest and most varied of international borders. Historical and political reasons have left India with an artificial unnatural border.
  • Border Management is an integral approach towards borders in which along with security enhancement, infrastructure & human development is undertaken.
  • The challenge of coping with long-standing territorial and boundary disputes with China and Pakistan, combined with porous borders along some of the most difficult terrain in the world, has made effective and efficient border management a national priority.

 

 India has had to deal with numerous challenges with respect to border management such as:

  • India’s rate of growth has far outpaced that of most of its neighbours and this has generated peculiar problems like mass migrations into India.
  • Current fence:
    • The present one has a high rate of degradation due to snow and has to be repaired after every season which costs about Rs. 50-60 crore every year
    • Over time infiltrators have devised ways to cross it
  • India’s internal security challenges are inextricably linked with border management. This is so because Indian insurgent groups have for long been provided shelter across the nation’s borders by inimical neighbours.
  • No real coordination:
    • Due to the lack of understanding of military issues among the decision-making elite, India’s borders continue to be manned by a large number of military, para-military and police forces
    • Each of which has its own ethos and each of which reports to a different central ministry at New Delhi, with almost no real coordination in managing the borders.
  • Border management is designed for a ‘fire fighting’ approach rather than a ‘fire prevention’ or pro-active approach
    • It is based on a strategy of ‘reaction and retaliation’ rather than on a holistic response to the prevailing environment, resulting in stress and decision making problems at the functional level.
  • Due to the non-permanent presence of the Myanmarese army in that region, the reason primarily being the hostile terrain, ousting the Indian militants remains a challenge.
    • Similarly, ethnic rebels from Myanmar have found bases within states like Mizoram. Thus, the 1,643 kilometre long Indo-Myanmar border remains a challenge.
  • The border security scenario is marked by
    • increased cross-border terrorism
    • infiltration and ex-filtration of armed militants
    • emergence of non-state actors
    • nexus between narcotics traffickers and arms smugglers
    • left-wing extremism
    • separatist movements aided and abetted by external powers
    • the establishment of madrasas, some of which are potential security hazards.
  • Perennial and Seasonal Rivers via which terrorists can infiltrate.
  • Undemarcated boundaries with overlapping claims cause constant friction along borders.
  • Mountainous and Hilly terrain especially in North Indian borders which are snow clad and inhabitable during winter season.
  • Unilateral actions by some nations to change the status quo in their favour. 
  • Little or no support from counterparts of neighbouring nations and in some cases active support by cross border elements to illegal activities .
  • Cultural, ethinic and linguistic affinity across borders and clan loyalties
  • Multiple agencies are involved in border management, lack of Inter agency cooperation and coordination
  • Support of state and non-state actors to aid infiltration, smuggling, trafficking  etc.

Strategies for effective border management have been continuously evolving. Some of them are:-

  • 24x7x365 day surveillance along Indo-Pak border with 5 layer smart fence
  • Agreement on basic guiding principles and standard operating procedures
  • Increasing confidence building measures and communication linkages to avoid unnecessary confrontation and escalation
  • Integrated border management by involving and enhancing cooperation with counterparts of neighbouring countries especially along open borders.
  • Effective implementation of the recommendations of One Border One Force by the Task Force on Border Management to weed out inter agency frictions. 
  • Increase the role of state holders. Community measures and awareness can be deployed along open borders to prevent illegal activities.
  • Implementation of Border Area Development Programme and other developmental initiatives so that there is no feeling of being left out.

What needs to be done:-

  • Infrastructure along with border has to be improved – rail connectivity along with road connectivity has to be provided for quick mobilization.
  • Building of additional checkpoints and Border posts along major and minor trade routes connected with borders
  • Building of floating bridges, walls & electrical fences where there is high probability of infiltration.
  • Taking up of joint Border management with Countries like Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal.
  •  Improving healthcare, physical infrastructure and digital connectivity in villages around borders thus making them stakeholder in Border Management.
  • Madhav Godbole task force recommendations on border management  need to be implemented.
    • It had recommended that the CRPF should be designated as the primary national level counter-insurgency force. This would enable the other central para-military forces like the BSF and Indo-Tibetan Border Police to return to their primary role of better border management.
    • It had also recommended that all para-military forces managing unsettled borders should operate directly under the control of the army and that there should be lateral induction from the army to the para-military forces so as to enhance their operational effectiveness.
  • The principle of ‘single point control’ must be followed if the borders are to be effectively managed.
  • The advances in surveillance technology, particularly satellite and aerial imagery, can help to maintain a constant vigil along the LAC and make it possible to reduce physical deployment.

Topic – Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

4) Discuss the major drug trafficking patterns and trends in India. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

India is placed in a precarious geographical position which makes it susceptible to drug trafficking. The problem of drug abuse has shown its ugly head in Punjab’s society, economy and polity. In this context it is important to analyze the drug trafficking process in India.

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 what are the patterns of drug trafficking in India and what are the recent trends in drug trafficking.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about India’s precarious geographical position. E.g mention about the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle.

Body-

  1. Discuss the broader patterns and trends of drug trafficking activities in India. E.g
  • Trafficking of Heroin from South West Asia to India and then from India to Sri Lanka, Maldives and other western countries.
  • Trafficking of hashish and cannabis from Nepal to India.
  • Suspected diversion of opium from licit cultivations and indigenous production of low quality Heroin.
  • Illicit cultivation of opium poppy. • Wild growth of cannabis.
  • Diversion of precursor chemicals and other controlled substances.
  • Diversion of pharmaceutical preparations and prescription drugs containing psychotropic and controlled substances and their smuggling to neighbouring countries etc.
  • Try to make a map showing the trends and patterns as shown in the document (link to the article).  

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

 

Background:-

  • The drug trafficking scenario in India is largely attributed to various external and internal factors.
  • One of the prime external factors happens to be India’s close proximity to the major opium producing regions of South West and South East Asia known as the ‘Golden Crescent’ and the ‘Golden Triangle’, respectively.
  • The geographical location of India as such, makes it vulnerable to transit, trafficking and consumption of Opium derivatives in various forms along the known trafficking routes.
  • The major internal factors responsible are illicit cultivation of Poppy and the diversion from the licit Opium sources into illicit production in interior areas.

Major trends and patterns that have dominated the drug trafficking scenario in India can be broadly summarized as follows:

  • Trafficking of Heroin from South West Asia to India and then from India to Sri Lanka, Maldives and other western countries. 
  • Trafficking of hashish and cannabis from Nepal to India. 
  • Suspected diversion of opium from licit cultivations and indigenous production of low quality Heroin.
  • Illicit cultivation of opium poppy.  
  •  Wild growth of cannabis. 
  • Diversion of precursor chemicals and other  controlled substances.  
  • Diversion of pharmaceutical  preparations  and prescription drugs containing psychotropic and controlled substances and their smuggling to neighbouring countries.  
  •  Trafficking of drugs through illicit internet  pharmacies and misuse of courier services. 
  • Involvement of foreign nationals in trafficking and distribution networks.
  • Trafficking of Ketamine, an anaesthetic, from India to certain destinations in South East Asia.
  • Emergence of new psychoactive substances like Mephedrone in the country.

 


General Studies – 3


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

5) India is still vulnerable to the twin account deficits on account of increase in oil prices. Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Many oil producing nations have been witnessing tumultuous politics and it has an important bearing on India which imports most of its oil needs. In this context it is important to discuss why India is susceptible to twin deficit shocks due to oil price increase.

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 India’s dependence on oil imports and why it is susceptible to twin deficit challenges on account of increase in oil prices.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about India’s oil imports and oil exporting countries. E.g Oil imports constitute around 25 percent of total imports in a year etc.

Body-

Discuss the reasons as to why India is susceptible to twin deficits on account of increased oil prices. E.g

  • India will continue to remain vulnerable to oil price shocks due to its high import dependence.
  • This vulnerability can lead to episodes of sharp increase in the current account deficit and rising GDP growth would be insufficient to counter it.
  • Considering the geopolitical risks surrounding major oil producing countries such as Iran, Qatar and Venezuela, and the threat of Opec (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) production cuts, stable crude prices are never a foregone conclusion.
  • The Union Budget 2019-20 has expectedly shown a slip in the fiscal deficit, at an estimated 3.4% for the current, as well as the next fiscal year.
  • On the domestic front, such episodes will lead to surge in inflation or fiscal deficit, or both, depending on how much of the increased prices the fiscal authority decides to pass-through.
  • Lower crude prices have enabled the government to charge higher excise duties on petrol and diesel. However, the gains from the excise duties have plateaued as the government has been compelled to roll back the rate of excise in the face of rising crude prices etc.

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

Background:

  • Fiscal deficit means expenditure higher than income, while current account deficit (CAD) implies shrinking value of a country’s net foreign assets, which means less earnings and more payments in foreign currency. These two deficits are expressed as a percentage of GDP.

Twin account deficits on account of increase in oil prices :-

  • Higher crude prices will adversely affect the twin deficits fiscal and current account deficit of the economy, which will have spill over impact on the monetary policy, and consumption and investment behaviour in the economy. 
  • Given that fuel imports constitute a larger share of India’s imports compared with other large emerging markets, India is especially vulnerable to an oil price hike, which, apart from raising the twin deficits, would also feed into inflation.
  • Fiscal deficit:-
    • India, the world’s seventh-largest economy, was a key beneficiary of falling crude oil prices between 2013 and 2015. Almost the entire reduction of about 0.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in India’s fiscal deficit between FY14 and FY16 could be attributed to the sharp fall in crude prices.
    • As a rule of the thumb, an increase of $10 per barrel in crude prices will lead to an increase of about Rs17,000 crore in fuel subsidies, equivalent to 0.09% of GDP. 
  • Current account deficit:-
    • In the extreme event of oil prices reaching to $90/bbl, India’s twin deficits will balloon uncomfortably. The current account deficit would rise to 3.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP), the highest since 2012-13.
    • As a rule of thumb, an increase of $10 per barrel in crude oil prices will lead to an adverse impact of $10-11 billion (or 0.4% of GDP) on current account deficit. 
    • However, the current account gap will remain significantly narrower than five years ago. Moreover, economy-wide external debt is limited and the country’s foreign exchange reserve buffers are ample.

Topic– Indian economy : Issues

6) Union Budget 2019 contained many measures for socio economic improvement including direct income transfers which can likely affect fiscal prudence. Examine. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The budget presented this year introduced and expanded several schemes for overall socio economic improvement. There is a risk of such measures affecting the fiscal deficit of the country especially since indirect tax revenue growth has been muted because of GST. The question expects us to frame a perspective on these issues.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the various measures introduced for socio economic improvement and whether it is likely to have an adverse impact on fiscal prudence. The question expects us to highlight the risks and challenges, and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that the budget has expanded social welfare spending and has announced a direct income transfer scheme as well.

Body

  • Discuss the major measures introduced for socio economic welfare such as income support of Rs 6,000 per year to small farmers who own less than 2 hectares of land, income tax rebate, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan for unorganised sector workers with monthly incomes of less than Rs. 15,000 etc
  • Discuss the likely impact it is likely to have in government spending. Discuss how the government plans to mobilize this revenue.
  • Highlight the track record of the government on fiscal prudence by talking about the FD levels of the past year and projections. Examine whether tax revenue target is ambitious.

Conclusion – Give your view as to whether such measures make for smart economics or smart politics and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Budget has expanded social welfare spending and has announced a direct income transfer scheme. Fiscal outlays were increased to promote a slew of schemes related to agriculture, defence, electricity, animal husbandry, and more. 

Socio economic measures in Union Budget 2019:-

  • Through a flurry of steps including the full tax rebates to individuals having an annual taxable income of up to Rs 5 lakh, the budget has tried to induce higher consumption, investment and savings .
    • This will boost the disposable income and purchasing power in the hands of a taxpayer, in turn increasing low-ticket consumption.
  • At the same time, the government gives an impression that the fears over the fiscal gaptarget for FY20 to 3.4 per cent of the GDP are disproportionate.
  • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan for unorganised sector workers with monthly incomes of less than Rs. 15,000 etc.
  • A series of impactful tax breaks for income taxpayers coupled with farmer benefits should be positive for consumption and auto. Further, infrastructure, banking and sectors deriving benefits from rural growth stand to benefit.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi :-
    • To relieve farmer distress the budget unveiled the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, an assured income support programme, for 120 million small and marginalized farmers with an outlay of ₹75,000 crore per year.
    • It provides support to small and marginal farmers who are largely involved in subsistence farming and struggles to invest in agriculture inputs or technology,
    • It will boost the rural consumption and positive for agriculture and allied sectors.
    • Poverty reduction:-
      • Cash transfer programmes have become an important tool of social protection and poverty reduction
      • It has immediate impact on reducing hunger and rural poverty.
      • They can help households to overcome credit constraints and manage risk.
    • Better use :-
      • This can increase productive investment, increase access to markets and stimulate local economies.
      • Income support can be used to make a repayment or at least activate a bank account which can then receive a loan.
      • It can increase investment in agricultural inputs, including farm implements and livestock
    • Criticism:
      • It is no substitute for the lack of investment in agriculture, which has declined at 2.3% per annum in real terms
      • By taking away precious fiscal resources, it makes the farmer more vulnerable to both market as well as non-market induced risks.
      • Fiscal constraints to states:-
        • The income transfer scheme will further erode the fiscal capacity of states.
      • It also offers less effective coveragethan the Odisha and Telangana income support schemes whose success inspired it.
    • The extension of 2% interest subvention to animal husbandry and fisheries farmers, using Kisan Credit Card for loan, will be beneficial.
    • Similarly, the extension of 2% interest subvention for the full loan term to farmers seeking loan rescheduling on account of natural calamities, will ease pressure faced by them. In case of timely repayment, they will get an additional 3% incentive for the entire period of reschedulement of loans.
      • These measures initiated by the government to revive the agricultural economy will help fertilisers companies in the medium-term through higher demand.
    • Loans availed through the Kisan Credit Card would give the farmers benefit of 2 per cent interest subvention and will go some way towards easing the ongoing pricing pain for shrimp farmers.
    • A fund of Rs. 60,000 crore is also being allocated to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), more funds will be given if needed.
    • Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is also to be set up to upscale sustainable genetic up-gradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows
    • Increased the allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission to Rs 750 crore in the current year itself.

Impact on fiscal prudence :-

  • Interim budget displays the necessary courage and dexterity to play within the rules of fiscal prudence, relying more on a revenue buoyancy in future than borrowing to meet the commitments.
  • Budget has dealt the gripping issues with smarter solutions that have ramifications for many other areas. For example, in the real estate sector, the move to improve demand from the consumer side will partly come from a plethora of tax benefits.
  • Moody’s also viewed the focus on higher expenditure without any revenue gathering measures, leading to a slippage on fiscal deficit front for four consecutive years, as a “credit negative” for the sovereign rating.
  • Some experts feel that announcements towards farms, farmers and middle income category are expected to create huge pressure on the fiscal deficit during FY20.
  • The two big measures -‘The PM Kisan Yojna’ and the tax rebate for the middle class  will certainly constraint the budget and move resources away from the productive investments. The government has already missed the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent in 2018-19. The fiscal deficit has slipped to 3.4 per cent. 

Topic – Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

7) India’s new drone policy is shortsighted. Critically comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article does an in-depth analysis of India’s drone policy by getting into its pros and cons along with suggestions regarding what would work in Indian milieu. Drone policy is an issue of importance and has the potential to act as a catalyst for this nascent industry in India.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the pros and cons of India’s drone policy and expects us to provide a fair and balanced personal opinion over the merits of the policy.

Directive word

Critically 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. 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 – Discuss about the evolution of India’s drone policy

Body

  • Discuss the key points of India’s drone policy
    • DGCA has defined remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) as an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station
    • The DGCA has segregated drones into five different categories
      i) Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.
      ii) Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
      iii) Small : From 2kg to 25kg.
      iv) Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
      v) Large : Greater than 150kg.
    • All drones, other than in the nano category, shall apply to DGCA for import clearance and based on that Directorate General of Foreign Trade  shall issue license for import of RPAS.
    • Operators of civil drones will need to get a permit from the DGCA. There are exceptions for:
      i) Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.
      ii) Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises – but will need to inform local police 24 hours prior.
      iii) RPA owned and operated by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies but after intimating local police.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the policy
    • While the new drone policy establishes an intricate system of application and approval procedures, it is lacking when it comes to thorough monitoring of drones. It also ignores the implications of free movement of smaller drones, which have been exempted from many of the regulatory procedures.
    • Exceptions to permit criteria for specific sized drones are likely to cause a mushrooming of drone operators. In that event, how will the government monitor all drones flying below 15 meters
    • Risk of unethical activity in high rise cities etc

 

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion and give suggestions.

Background:-

  • With the publication of the drone regulations in late August, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has attempted to give some structure to the development of drone infrastructure in India.

New frame work for drones:-

  • The Director General of Civil Aviation has finally announced its policy for remotely piloted aircraft or drones. Set to come into effect from December 1, 2018, the new policy defines what will be classified as remotely piloted aircraft, how they can be flown and the restrictions they will have to operate under. 
  • The DGCA has defined remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) as an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station.
    • The remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links and any other components forms a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
    • Also, as per the civil aviation requirements issued under the provisions of Rule 15A and Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937  these RPAs will need a Unique Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and need to adhere to other operational requirements.
  • The DGCA has segregated drones into five different categories
    i) Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.
    ii) Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
    iii) Small : From 2kg to 25kg.
    iv) Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.v) Large : Greater than 150kg.
    • All drones, other than in the nano category, shall apply to DGCA for import clearance and based on that Directorate General of Foreign Trade  shall issue license for import of RPAS.
  • Unmanned aircraft operator permit:-
    • Operators of civil drones will need to get a permit from the DGCA. There are exceptions for:
      • i) Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.
      • ii) Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises but will need to inform local police 24 hours prior.
      • iii) RPA owned and operated by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies but after intimating local police
    • The DGCA has to issue the UAOP within seven working days provided all the documents are complete.
    • This UAOP shall be valid for five years and not transferrable.
  • Who can fly?
    • The policy also stipulates that RPAs shall be flown only by someone over 18 years of age, having passed 10th exam in English, and undergone ground/ practical training as approved by DGCA.
    • Under the new framework, civilian users seeking UIN/UAOP have to be Indian citizens.
    • Companies seeking permits for commercial use must be registered in India, with two-thirds of the board members, including the chairman, being Indian nationals. Their primary place of business must be India and “substantial ownership” and this has not been defined must be resting with Indian nationals.
  • The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only and that too within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). This applies to all categories.
  • Also, along with other SOPs, the DGCA has clarified that no remote pilot can operate more than one RPA at any time. Manned aircraft will also get priority. There can’t be any human or animal payloads, or anything hazardous. It cannot in any manner cause danger to people or property. An insurance will be mandatory to cover third-party damage.
  • Where can drones not be flown?
    • RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
    • It cannot fly within permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas and within 25km from international border which includes the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
    • It cannot fly beyond 500 m into sea from the coast line and within 3 km from perimeter of military installations.
    • It also cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.
    • Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
    • Violations will be acted on under relevant sections of the IPC and the Aircraft Act 1934.
  • Imported models:-
    • India is one of the largest importer of drones barring those in the lowest weight category, as per the DGCA classification, must get an import clearance from the DGCA, and subsequently, an import licence from the directorate general of foreign trade.

Benefits of the policy:-

  • Setting up a legal framework for commercial use of drones could help in developing the drones market and encourage investments for local production.
    • According to an estimate by EY and industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the adoption of drones is increasing in India and the projected market size is $885.7 million by 2021.
  • Drones are also not allowed to fly above the obstacle limitation surfaces of an operational aerodrome and this has been prescribed to avoid interference with the flight plan of airlines.
  • India is one of the largest importers of drones. The Drone Policy is aimed at regulating the practice of civilians flying drones in India.
  • The drone market in India holds the potential of hitting over $1 trillion.
  • The guidelines would help foster technology and innovation in the development of drones.
  • The regulations will encourage a vast Made in India drone industry
  • It will place the country among the global leaders in drone technology.
  • The policy will usher in a new idea of “drone micro-entrepreneurs.”
  • The commercial drone industry could create jobs for Indian youth.
  • Drones can also contribute to the export market.

How it might not reduce red tape:-

  • Lengthy definitions:-
    • The abbreviations themselves are very long.
  • Complicated division of categories:-
    • There is a long list of documentation including security clearances from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in several cases for all categories
    • Once the UIN is obtained, operators get to move to the next step of having to apply for an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), implying more forms, more annexures and more submissions.
    • Even to fly a micro drone below 200 ft, users have to intimate the local police station 24 hours prior.
  • Manufacturers of drones as well as technologists and researchers making applications using drones have to test fly these frequently, often several times a day.
  • With so many government authorities involved in allowing permission and keeping an eye, it is inevitable that operators could be slapped easily with real and perceived violations
  • Regulation provides a list of identified areas for testing and demonstration. Flying drones in these areas comes with less paperwork. However, the locations provided are so far from technology and development hubs that it is unclear how practical these will be.
  • Other concerns:-
    • There are some reasonable restrictions buffer zone and no-fly restrictions around airports and certain government facilities, including military and strategic ones.
    • Mandating all drones must fly within the visual line of sight of the remote pilot, placing explicit restrictions on dropping and discharging substances without prior permission, the numerous and complicated police approval requirements, etc, will all prove to be hurdles for efficient commercial application.
    • The ban on substance discharge without prior permission means that India won’t see the same farm applications drones are being put to in other countries like France where fertiliser and pesticide application over cropped area is carried out via drones.
    • Requiring police clearance for every planned flight 24 hours prior to flight will prove a regulatory headache for delivery services

Way forward:-

  • India must also examine prevailing policy mechanisms in other countries to adopt their best practices as it formalises its regulatory framework. However, a point to be underlined is that guidelines alone are not sufficient so the key is ensuring implementation and compliance.
  • Flying drones safely in India will require research and development to understand how they can be best used in India’s unique landscape.
  • The government needs to create the right ecosystem for drone operations to add to the economy’s automation dividend.

General Studies – 4


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

8) Discuss the contribution of early Greek thinkers towards the 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 the contribution of some of the greatest early Greek thinkers towards the field of moral philosophy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  early Greek philosophy. E.g Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and lasted through the Hellenistic period (323 BC-30 BC). Greek philosophy covers topics like political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology , logic, biology, rhetoric, and aesthetics.

Body-

Discuss in points the contribution of early Greek philosophers. E.g

  • Socrates, born in Athens in 470 BC, is often credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. His largest contribution to philosophy is the Socratic method. The Socratic method is defined as a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to illuminate ideas. This method is performed by asking question after question with the purpose of seeking to expose contradictions in one’s thoughts, guiding him/her to arrive at a solid, tenable conclusion.
  • Plato, student of Socrates, known for being the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. His Theory of Forms was created to solve two problems, one of ethics and one of permanence and change. The ethical problem is: how can humans live a fulfilling life in an ever changing world if everything that they hold close to them can be easily taken away?
  • Aristotle, student of Plato, lived from 384 BC-322 BC. At eighteen, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven. There, he honed his talents of understanding the world. In his understanding of the world, he wrote his theory of the universals etc.

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

Background:-

 

  • Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and lasted through the Hellenistic period (323 BC-30 BC).
  • Greek philosophy covers an absolutely enormous amount of topics including: political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology ,logic, biology, rhetoric, and aesthetics
  • Greek philosophy is known for its undeniable influence on Western thought.
  • Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are the most significant ones. These three laid the foundations of many of the believes of the rest of the Western world. 

Contribution of Early Greek thinkers towards moral philosophy:-

 

  • Socrates:-
    • His largest contribution to philosophy is the Socratic method. The Socratic method is defined as a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to illuminate ideas.
    • This method is performed by asking question after question with the purpose of seeking to expose contradictions in one’s thoughts, guiding him/her to arrive at a solid, tenable conclusion.
    • The principle underlying the Socratic Method is that humans learn through the use of reasoning and logic; ultimately finding holes in their own theories and then patching them up.
  • Plato:-
    • Theory of Forms:-
      • This theory was created to solve two problems, one of ethics and one of permanence and change.
      • To find a solution to these problems, Plato split the world into two: the material, or physical, realm and the transcendent, or mental, realm of forms.
      • By detaching our souls from the material world and our bodies and developing our ability to concern ourselves with the forms, Plato believes this will lead to us finding a value which is not open to change. This solves the ethical problem.
      • Splitting existence up into two realms also leads us to a solution to the problem of permanence and change
    • Aristotle:-
      • Theory of the universals:-
        • Universals exist only in things, never apart from things–differing from Plato, on this.
        • Aristotle believes that a universal is identical in each of its instances. All round things are similar in that there is the same universal, characteristic, throughout.