SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 MARCH 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 MARCH 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: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

1) What do you understand by regionalism? Does regionalism support India’s federal character? Discuss.(250 words)

Insightsonindia

why this question:

The question is about discussing the concept of regionalism and its role both positive and negative in defining the federal character of the country.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must first elaborate on what is Regionalism, what are the causes of it, its impact and implications on the federal character of the country. Compare and contrast each of these implications – both positive and negative and examine what needs to be done.

Directive word

DiscussThis 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

Discuss Regionalism as an ideology.

Body

Discuss the following aspects in the answer:

  • What is Indian regionalism?
  • example of regionalism in India
  • What are the causes of  regionalism in India?
  • Its link with the federal character of the country.
  • explain regionalism as an ideology and political movement that seeks to advance the causes of regions.

Conclusion

Conclude with optimism that regionalism should be used to unify rather than divide the country.

Introduction:

Regionalism is a feeling or an ideology among a section of people residing in a particular geographical space characterized by unique language, culture etc., that they are the sons of the soil and every opportunity  in their land must be given to them first but not to the outsiders. It is a sort of Parochialism. In most of the cases it is raised for expedient political gains but not necessarily.

Body:

Regionalism in India:

  • Roots of regionalism is in India’s manifold diversity of languages, cultures, ethnic groups, communities, religions and so on, and encouraged by the regional concentration of those identity markers, and fuelled by a sense of regional deprivation.
  • For many centuries, India remained the land of many lands, regions, cultures and traditions.
  • For instance, southern India (the home of Dravidian cultures), which is itself a region of many regions, is evidently different from the north, the west, the central and the north-east.
  • Even the east of India is different from the North-East of India comprising today seven constituent units of Indian federation with the largest concentration of tribal people.

Factors responsible for Regionalism: A host of factors ranging from Geographical, Historical, Linguistic, Religious, political, Economic and Ethnic factors influence the Regionalism in India.

Regionalism and Federalism:

  • The role played by Indian federalism in ensuring India’s unity, stability and survival as a polity in the face of persistent regionalism, often verging on separation, rooted in manifold and complex social and cultural diversity, and mass poverty, illiteracy, extreme regional unevenness in development, and widespread inequality.
  • The question has assumed special significance in the aftermath of the disintegration of the multi-ethnic and multinational Soviet Union, and the split up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • The need for federalism is enhanced in countries with ethnically distinct regions where the territorial accommodation of distinct groups of people is of paramount importance.
  • For those countries, a combination of shared rule (for general purposes of unity) and some kind of self-rule (for regional/local purposes of diversity) is a must if unity and integrity are to be maintained.
  • Indian federalism is seen as a method of accommodation of regionalism in India.
  • Federalism is seen here as a political equilibrium, which results from the appropriate balance between shared rule and self-rule.
  • In the post Second World War period, many post-colonial countries adopted federalism as a method of governance in multi-ethnic contexts.
  • India’s rich diversity sometimes looks like an obstacle to unity. But the latest election has proved that a commitment to resolving differences peacefully and democratically can transform diversity into a source of strength.
  • India’s federal reconciliation of regional identity with autonomy has a democratic aspect.
  • Democracy rather than ethnicity is thus the legitimacy basis of such political institutions.
  • The federalism has been given strong push by devolving powers at local level to states and their local bodies through 73rd and 74th Amendment act. And according to Indian judiciary, federalism is basic structure of Indian constitution.
  • The regions declared under fifth and sixth schedule enjoy certain autonomy which gives them scope to maintain their own culture and develop according to their own need. This makes federal structure stronger.
  • Other than this any policy for such area is different than the mainland policy as in case of the provisions of the panchayats (extension to the scheduled areas) act, 1996, popularly known as PESA

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is to develop each region of India, through devolution of power to local governments and empowering people for their participation in decision-making. The governments at State level need to find out the alternative resources of energy, source of employment for local people, use of technology in governance, planning and for agriculture development.


Topic-Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

2) “Homosexuality remains a taboo for a large portion of Indian society, even among the youth”. Critically analyse the statement and suggest measures to overcome the ills of it.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article brings out that the survey shows that among India’s urban youth, those with stronger religious predispositions display more prejudice against homosexuality compared to their less-religious counterparts. Thus necessitating us to analyse the question critically.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the Stereotypes associated with homosexuals, the discriminatory attitude faced by them. The taboo associated with it. The question is about recognizing the varying  Societal attitudes toward homosexuality more so specifically in the Indian case and with a special emphasis on Youth.

Directive word:

Critically analyzeWhen 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, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Brief upon the current identity of Homosexuals in India as per laws.

Body

First start by stating the historic judgement that has decriminalized homosexuality by declaring section 377 as unconstitutional.

Discuss why the prejudices and patriarchal mindset of Indian society are so prevalent ?

Suggest how legal solution alone would not be enough for homosexuals to overcome the taboo.

Discuss in detail the causes of such mindset.

Suggest solutions – what needs to be done?
Conclusion

Based on your discussion form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Introduction:

Homosexuality remains a taboo for a large portion of Indian society, even among the youth. Less than half of India’s urban youth approve of same sex relationships, shows survey data collected by market researcher YouGov in collaboration with Mint. Even among those residing in the major metro cities, acceptance of same-sex relationships is low, especially in the southern regions of India.

Body:

Six months ago, in a historic verdict, the Supreme Court of India struck down Section 377, a British-era law which criminalized same-sex relationships between consenting adults in India.

Findings of the survey:

  • Social acceptance of homosexuality is the highest in Delhi-NCR, closely followed by Mumbai. About 50% of the youth are supportive of same-sex relationships in these cities.
  • Social acceptance of homosexuality is the highest in Delhi-NCR, closely followed by Mumbai. About 50% of the youth are supportive of same-sex relationships in these cities.
  • only a third of Chennai’s youth approves of such relationships

Causes for such a mindset:

  • Religion:
    • Among India’s urban youth, those with stronger religious predispositions display more prejudice against homosexuality compared to their less-religious counterparts.
    • A 2013 survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that acceptance of homosexuality was particularly widespread in countries where religion was less central in people’s lives.
  • Patriarchal mindset:
    • The belief that there are only two sexes and Male dominates the females.
    • Homosexuality is against the order of nature and is a sin.
    • Four out of five people are against gay and lesbian marriages.
  • Prejudice:
    • About three out of five Indians feel being gay or lesbian is a disease and almost a same percentage of those surveyed says it can be “cured”
    • Being gay or lesbian is against Indian culture is the popular opinion.
  • Stereotypes:
    • It is stereotypes about gender roles that constituted the basis of criminalising same-sex relations, and which ensure discrimination.
  • Harassment:
    • The amount of protection that the law provides is determined by the level of privilege one wields and other intersectional positions in society, and it can be argued that the decriminalisation of sexual acts in private would do little to limit the harassment LGBTQ persons are subjected to in public spaces and the discrimination they face in employment opportunities.
    • Social exclusion, identity seclusion and isolation from the social mainstream are still the stark realities faced by these individuals today.
    • Constant police harassment of the gay community.
  • Independence:
    • Jobs and, in turn, financial security is denied to people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Measures to overcome the taboo:

  • Law and morality are different issues. Our legislators may frame laws or courts deliver judgments that are ahead of the moral values of a society. But it would be farfetched to expect that moral values can be changed because of court judgments.
  • Indian constitution ought to adapt and transform with the changing needs of the times. The very purpose of constitutionalism is to transform society. Dynamic constitutional interpretation allows for the progressive realisation of rights as societies evolve, and is also essential to enable transformative constitutionalism.
  • Periodic sensitisation and awareness programmes for all government officials, particularly police officials, any sensitisation will be incomplete without the systematic devaluation of heterosexism, the institutionalised valorisation of heterosexual activity.
  • The challenges of social mindset need to be changed with people educated that this aspect is not unnatural and is innate to a human being.
  • While the decision by the country’s highest court is certainly significant, there needs to be more of an impetus for social change and removing ignorance from society. There needs to be a campaign to not only to raise awareness but to educate people on what homosexuality
  • The government should conduct programmes to end the stigma around homosexuality and individuals employed with the government should receive workshops to sensitise them to subject.
  • There is a need for rape law reform to protect male survivors of sexual violence. There is no law to protect adult male victims of sexual assault, whether they are cis- or transgender. Parliament needs to fill these lacunae in the law.
  • It is time for the Indian Parliament to conduct wide-ranging review of existing legal framework, repeal discriminatory laws, and address other gaps in the law that prevent LGBT persons from fully exercising their rights

Conclusion:

India may have decriminalized homosexuality, but it is still a long way from de-stigmatizing it. The challenges of social mindset need to be changed with people educated that this aspect is not unnatural and is innate to a human being.


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

3) Has the Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS) turned out to be less of a boon and more of a Bane to the Marginalised and vulnerable sections of the society? Critically analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

why this question:

The article analyses in detail the government of India’s flagship scheme of Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS) with special focus on how it affects the

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the salient features of the scheme very briefly and discuss the challenges that the Aadhaar Payment Bridge System is posing against the vulnerable and the marginalized sections of the society.

Directive word:

Critically AnalyseWhen asked to ‘analyse’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Introduce by highlighting the significance of Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS).

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Discuss the key features of the Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS) how it works, what are the provisions associated with it? Etc.
  • Discuss how Aadhar implementation creates scope for inflicting damage on the poor and the unprivileged.
  • E.g. When benefits are paid through Aadhaar-enabled means such as the Aadhaar Payments Bridge System (APBS), the first step is to seed the list of beneficiaries with the corresponding Aadhaar numbers; Seeding is a tedious operation and it has to be done each time a new scheme is inducted. Those who have failed to comply are simply removed from the lists. Poor people often find themselves deprived of their rights in the process; Whenever ABBA has been imposed in the PDS, large numbers of poor people have been deprived of their food rations. Meanwhile, evidence from Jharkhand suggests that ABBA is of little use in reducing PDS corruption. Nevertheless, the central government is determined to make ABBA compulsory for food rations, with cosmetic exemptions; Another source of confusion is the APBS’s “last Aadhaar-linked account” (LALA) rule, whereby Aadhaar becomes a financial address and money is automatically sent to a person’s LALA. This rule often sent people’s money to unwanted or unknown destinations, such as someone else’s account or an Airtel wallet etc.

Conclusion –

Conclude by suggesting a way forward, how can the government overcome the challenges.

Introduction:

Aadhar Payment Bridge System (ABPS) is used by the Government departments and agencies for the transfer of benefits and subsidies under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme launched by Government of India. It is a unique payment system implemented by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It uses Aadhar numbers issued by UIDAI & IIN (Institution Identification Number) issued by NPCI. The basic idea of the APBS is that a person’s Aadhaar number becomes his/her financial address. Instead of having to provide multiple account details to receive a bank transfer, one only has to provide Aadhar number.

Body:

Banes of APBS:

  • Unreliable seeding of Aadhar with bank account:
    • It is alleged that when Jan Dhan Yojna was launched, seeding of Aadhar was done without due verification
  • Inconsistencies between Aadhar database and bank database:
    • Due to haphazard seeding, there are inconsistencies between Aadhar database and bank database which led to discontinuation of benefits and subsidies for a large number of poor beneficiaries.
  • Diverted Payments:
    • It is often found that benefits are transferred to others account under APB system.
    • A recent study of the Indian School of Business (ISB), based on an analysis of more than 10 million payments in 2014-18, concludes that 38% of all the APBS payments of MGNREGA wages in Jharkhand “redirect wages to a completely unrelated account”.
  • Uninformed consent:
    • It is alleged that bank accounts have been mass-mapped onto the APBS without following due process of consent.
  • E-KYC issues:
    • Compulsory e-KYC became a nightmare for poor people, for a number of reasons: some did not know what they were supposed to do, others had problems of biometric authentication, others still struggled with inconsistencies between the Aadhaar database and the bank database.
    • Among the worst victims were old-age pensioners. To this day, in Jharkhand, many pensioners are struggling to understand why their pension was discontinued after e-KYC was made compulsory.
  • Account Mapping:
    • It is found that benefits are transferred to beneficiary rarely used account.
    • Last year, Airtel allegedly opened its customer account to airtel payment bank without following due consent and verification norms and mapped this accounts to which subsidy payments would be directed.
  • Lack of accountability:
    • The ABPS is a very opaque payment system and few people have a clear understanding of it. When people have problems of diverted or rejected payments, there is no proper mechanism to resolve the issue.
    • There is no agency that is responsible for enforcing the consent norms and other “guidelines” issued by the NPCI.

Boon of APBS:

  • APBS has led to digitization of a large number of retail payment transactions which were predominantly either in cash or cheque.
  • Eliminates inordinate delays, multiple channels & paper-work involved in the existing system.
  • In case of change in bank account, customer is not required to convey the bank account details or change in bank details to the Government Department or Agency.
  • Customer not required to open multiple bank accounts for receiving benefits and subsidies of various social welfare schemes – Customer just need to open one account and seed his/her Aadhaar number in the bank account to start receiving benefits and subsidies directly into his/her Aadhaar Enabled Bank Account.
  • It helps the government to serve the goal of financial inclusion and reframe subsidy management program.

Way forward:

  • Responsibilities should be clearly assigned in enforcing the consent norms and other guidelines issued by the NPCI.
  • The RBI may be the nominal regulator, but the real action is at the NPCI, the UIDAI and other strongholds of the Aadhaar lobby and accordingly accountability should be assigned where any negligence should not go unnoticed.
  • Supreme Court’s recent judgement in the Aadhaar case makes Aadhaar mandatory for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies as it empowers the poor and marginalised.
  • An independent and participatory review of the system is long overdue.

Topic : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4) Do you think  lack of employment opportunities is the biggest challenge facing India?  Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

Human capital is now the fastest-growing component of India’s wealth, but to reap the benefits of this ‘demographic dividend’, creation of sufficient new jobs is need of hour. Thus it is important for us to analyse the challenge of unavailability of Jobs in India

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss at length the challenge of Joblessness India is facing, by highlighting the inter relation between growth and jobs.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

Introduce by stating the current conditions of the joblessness in India and highlight the problems associated with it.

Body:

In brief discuss –

What are the challenges in the job scenario in India?

Establish the link between lack of Jobs and growth. Here suggest facts and statistics to justify from various reports.

what solutions are required to fix these concerns associated with it?

Conclude with present policies and programmes in this direction.

What needs to be done on this front – skilling, education etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward – suggest steps to overcome the crisis scenario.

Introduction:

Indians see the lack of employment opportunities as the biggest challenge facing them, says a survey by the US-based Pew Research Center—findings that resonate in a second report by Azim Premji University published. As many as 76% of those surveyed said the absence of jobs was a major problem and that little had changed on that front over the past year.

Body:

State of Unemployment in India:

  • CMIE database on “Unemployment Rate in India” is based on the panel size of over 1,58,000 households in the country.
  • The unemployment rate in December 2018 rose to 7.38% from 6.62% in November 2018 and 4.78% in December 2017, highest since September 2016 when it stood at a high of 8.46%, the CMIE data showed.
  • The total number of people employed fell by about 1.09 crore, about 83% or 91.4 lakh jobs were lost in rural areas.
  • There has been a decline in the estimated Labour Participation Rate— the proportion of working-age people who are willing to work and are either actually working or are actively looking for work, in line with a fall in the unemployment rate.
  • The estimated labour participation rate also dropped from 43.57 in December 2017 to 42.47 in December 2018. The rate was at 45.15 in December 2016 and at 47.84 in September 2017, the data showed.

The reasons for issue of unemployment in contemporary India:

  • The labour force is the sum of the employed and those unemployed who are seeking employment.
  • A shrinking of the labour force is most unusual in an economy with a growing population, and thus a growing working age cohort.
  • Low education and lack of skills lead to loss of many job opportunities.
  • Discouraged-worker effect: A section of those hitherto willing to work may have simply dropped out of an already challenged labour market.
  • Demonetization has caused demoralisation among a section of the already unemployed who may have given up all hope of finding employment.
  • About 90% of Indian Workforce is in the unorganized sector which was majorly affected during Demonetization and GST introduction.
  • Declining Capital formation which is not backed by Public and Private Investment.
  • Low female LFPR to the tunes of 24% also adds to high unemployment rate.
  • Automation and IR4.0 is a looming threat to many jobs which have repeated work or sequential work.
  • Socially disadvantaged groups do not get enough exposure in the job market like the general castes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Labour laws in India are complex and relatively strict. Employment protection legislation is restrictive, compared with other emerging economies and OECD countries. Thus, corporates in India tend to rely more on temporary contract labour, stay small or substitute labour for capital to avoid strict labour laws.

Way Forward:

  • Increase public spending in education:
    • At 3.8% of GDP, public spending on education in India is lower than countries like Brazil and Malaysia.
    • The focus of the government needs to shift to spending on enhancing the quality of education and vocational training.
  • Similarly, allowing foreign investment in sectors like legal and accountancy services will create employment as more foreign firms will move to India.
  • Infrastructure investment can also be utilised as an engine of job-creation.
  • Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills helps build human capital, which is key to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating more inclusive societies.
  • Besides promoting technical education, the government needs to focus more on creation of jobs and demand for workers since industries are unable to create sufficient job opportunities for all the technically educated people
  • Policies should ensure that the education systems prepare young people for the skill demands of employers through outreach programmes, training, apprenticeships, and access to job-search assistance measures
  • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations.
  • Private sector leaders should build capacity among unskilled and semi-skilled workers to ensure sustainability of renewable energy projects and provide opportunities to rural communities.
  • Government officials should create public training programmes to prepare the poor and less educated people especially semi-skilled and unskilled for employment in the clean-energy sector.

Conclusion:

India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28. Demographics can change the pace and pattern of economic growth. While China’s spectacular growth has already benefited from a demographic dividend, India is yet to do so.


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

5) “Balkanizing the world by raising barriers would convert unequal prosperity to collective poverty.” Discuss in the light of Brexit Issue?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article is by ex RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan, He analyses the affects of possible BREXIT outcome by articulating multiple factors associated to it.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to shed some light on the complications surrounding Brexit, the implication of the deal on India countries across the world and evaluate how it will affect the prosperity -poverty equation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief upon the Brexit issue.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects :

  • Explain in short Why the clamor for Brexit? – Economic reasons, Immigration issues, Sovereignty Issue etc.
  • What will be the impact of Brexit? – economic, geopolitical etc.
  • Factors that would create disbalance and lead to unequal prosperity getting converted to collective poverty. (take cues from the article to justify this point well)

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to overcome the situation (the article best explains it, take cues again from the article).

 

Introduction:

Despite 2 years of Brexit vote, Britain remains as divided as ever, over the issue of leaving the EU. Demonstrations demanding a reconsideration of the issue and a new referendum have been aplenty on the streets of U.K. Contrarily; there have also been mobilisations by pro-leave lobby albeit in smaller numbers as things are already moving in their favour

Body:

The clamour for Brexit:

  • Economic reasons: The primary contention was that economically, Britain loses more than what it gains.
    • The first issue being that of membership fees paid – about 340 pounds per year per household
    • Secondly, it was said that EU’s policies were too protectionist and did not favour competitiveness to the extent that would be beneficial for the British economy
    • Post the Sovereign Debt Crisis, EU introduced Fiscal Compact and tighter control on national budgets. Britain was not comfortable with these ideas
    • Germany’s proposal to impose taxes on financial transactions (Tobin Tax) also did not find favour with London, which is an important financial hub
  • Immigration issues:
    • Half of British legal migrants come from EU. There is this feeling that they have a negative impact on UK born workers. Adding credence to local fears was the fact that since 1997, 3/4th of jobs created are taken up by EU immigrants
    • EU’s obligation on its members to accommodate more refugees also did not find favour with UK. Especially at a time when the refugee influx in Europe is at an all time high in light of multiple crisis in Middle East and Africa
    • There is also this perception that immigrants pose a threat to national security
  • Sovereignty Issue:
    • EU is a transformative idea in many senses. One of the things that it leads to is the weakening of national sovereignty.
    • EU has been pushing for creation of an Ever Closer Union which would accord greater decision making powers to European Parliament, while, limiting the authority of British Parliament.

Impacts on UK:

  • Economic:
    • EU is a large market. 45% of British exports are directed towards EU. EU is the largest market for UK’s exports and one of the major sources of UK’s imports. Except Germany and Sweden, UK has a positive Balance of Trade with all other countries of EU. Post Brexit, access to EU markets would suffer for UK
    • Britain has emerged as a major financial hub. Post Brexit, the financial/services sector in UK would take a hit. We have already seen the London Exchange soaring down post Brexit
    • Immigrants to EU are better educated and skilled and offset the demograpaphic disadvantage. That advantage will be lost for UK
  • Geopolitical:
    • It raises questions over the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their desire to stay in UK was preconditioned on UK remaining a part of EU.
    • The Scots have already started demanding for a referendum on Scotland’s future in UK. Even in Northern Ireland violence erupted post the Brexit vote
    • In an interconnected world, being a part of multilateral organizations is key to influence policy matters.
    • No country can do it alone in a rapidly changing international environment.
    • Similarly UK would lose some of its leverage now that it has voted for Brexit. Pursuit of sovereignty in purist terms in an interconnected world is a utopian idea

Factors that would create misbalance and lead to unequal prosperity getting converted to collective poverty:

  • As markets expand across political borders, participants prefer a common governance structure that eliminates annoying regulatory differences and transaction costs.
  • As inter-regional trade and capital flows increased, demands for seamless regional borders and harmonized national regulation became louder. National governments, therefore, increased their powers and functions at the expense of regions and local communities.
  • As fglobalization accelerated in recent decades, national governments acceded to international agreements and treaties that limited their sovereign powers. They have also ceded some powers to international bodies
  • Disempowerment of the local communities causes further collateral damage. When opportunity leaves economically marginal communities, despair and social dysfunction typically set in. The number of broken families increases, as do rates of substance abuse and crime.
  • Far from being a source of pride and social cohesion, the community becomes a repository of collective sorrow, if not shame. And its members look to alternative sources of identity and social solidarity, including nationalism.
  • Populist nationalist leaders pledge to make their country “great again” by ridding it of the constraints imposed by international agreements.
  • As they grab power back from the international arena, such leaders are tempted to resist the further devolution of power and funding to regions and communities.
  • Instead, populist nationalists could turn more dangerously against the international system, presenting their supporters with a continuous parade of external villains to blame for their plight.

Way forward:

  • As growth slows and their populations age, developed countries will need both export markets and some immigration—the first to support demand, and the second to pay for the pensions and health care of ageing populations.
  • In this age of artificial intelligence, companies and traders can surely handle some national regulatory differences.
  • We must bring the powers back to the country level, provided global markets remain open
  • Local engagement and solutions, aided by national governments, are required as people are more adapted to globalization and technological changes.
  • Political parties could play a constructive role in restoring powers, funding, and often health to many communities.
  • Rebuilding a strong sense of positive community identity would likely make adversarial nationalism less appealing.

Conclusion:

To the extent that it weakens support for virulent nationalism, devolution may make the world a little more prosperous—and a lot safer.


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

6) Discuss the problems associated with the development of North- east of India. Analyse the role of Infrastructure projects in the development of this region.(250 words)

Epw

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is in the context of development of North east region of India and issues associated with it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the challenges and concerns associated with its development and how one can harness its true potential. One of the main constraints to development in North East India is the lack of connectivity, answer must emphasize thus on role of infrastructure development in increasing connectivity vs-a-vis harnessing its true potential.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

Briefly narrate the importance of North -East for India and its potential.

Body:

Explain the following –

  • First discuss the key challenges related to the development of the North-East region, major constraints to development in the region.
  • Then state how not only is the region poorly connected to the rest of India, it is also poorly connected to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.
  • Discuss the link between  Inadequate infrastructure and poor connectivity in India’s north-east.
  • Analyse its impact on – economy, society and politics of the region.
  • Quote examples of recent infrastructure development projects.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of infrastructure projects from the development of the region.

Introduction:

North Eastern Region of India consists of eight states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. (Seven Sisters and Sikkim)

Body:

Key challenges related to the development of the North-East region are:

  • Geographical Challenges:
    • Very high rainfall, shifting river courses, poor drainage system and narrow valleys are regularly causing severe floods, erosion, landslides and sand deposition in the North East causing loss of huge areas of valuable agricultural land.
    • Hilly, inaccessible and undulating terrain has led to underdeveloped transport links.
    • Large area of land is under ‘Jhum cultivation’ which leads to large scale deforestation resulting in soil erosion and loss of soil fertility.
  • Disaster Proneness of North East:
    • High rainfall and large river basins of the Brahmaputra and the Barak along with their narrow valleys regularly cause severe floods, erosion, landslides and sand deposition leading to loss of huge areas of valuable agricultural land and thereby reduction of the average size of land holdings in the region.
    • The region is highly prone to Earthquakes and post the great earthquake of intensity of 8.5 in Richter scale of 1950 in Assam, flood and erosion have increased in the state and till date about5000-6000sq.km of land has been lost due to erosion by rivers. This has made lakhs of people landless and homeless in the state.
  • Historical Challenges:
    • Despite the above mentioned challenges, the North-eastern region was at par with rest of the country at independence but post-independence events have retarded the development of the region.
    • Partition of the country: When the major road, rail and river routes connecting North East to the rest of the country suddenly got snapped.
    • The Bangladesh Liberation was of 1971: When crores of people from Bangladesh entered some states of North East as refugees which changed the demographic situation in some state of North-East bordering Bangladesh.
    • Insurgencies: From the end of the seventies of the last century problems of insurgency started in states like Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur, Insurgency affected the present day Nagaland and Mizoram in the fifties and sixties of the last century. Now, of course, due to various actions taken by the Central and State governments, insurgency in this region is no longer a matter of great concern.
  • Infrastructural Factors:
    • NER has about 6 per cent of the national roads and about 13 percent of the national highways. However, their quality is not good due to poor maintenance.
    • The prominent indicators of shortfalls in infrastructure in this region are: increasingly congested roads, power failures, shortage of drinking water etc.
  • Political challenges:
    • Chinese Aggression on Arunachal Pradesh (called NEFA at that time) in 1962, apparently refrain large scale investment from private player in North East.
    • Large scale Migration from Bangladesh led to various socio-economic- political problem
    • The culture of ‘bandhs’ is peculiar problem of NER, widely prevalent in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.
    • Three fourth of NER have no proper land records and Individual ownership of land is not well established
  • Social Challenges:
    • Remarkable growth of migration from the North East to different parts of the country mostly in search of education and job opportunities gives big blow to the local society.
    • Drug abuse is a serious problem among youth of North east with more than 30% of its youth being drug abusers.
    • The pandemic of HIV/AIDS, spreading fast in Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram, is also a matter of grave concern.
    • Migration from surrounding areas of NERs (Bangladesh and states of Bihar and Bengal) reduced the average size of land holding to about one hectare.
  • Lack of Social Infrastructure:
    • Inadequate number of polytechnics and higher institutions for engineering, medical and nursing studies etc.
    • Teachers’ Training is poor thereby leading to poor standards of education

Impacts of Infrastructure projects in NE India:

  • Political:
    • Strategic Importance: north-eastern states provide an important gateway to both China and the Southeast Asian states, these corridor projects will be crucial for India’s economic and strategic relationship with these countries.
    • Boost to India’s Act East Policy: better co-ordination with the south East Asian nations.
    • Regional Development: These corridor-based development projects may generate further economic activities and regional development, which in turn will influence economic growth through higher production and consumption
  • Economic:
    • Increases Connectivity: Not only is the region poorly connected to the rest of India, it is also poorly connected to neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. However, this could change.
    • Boosts Trade: Increased road density, because of these corridors, would lead to both greater freight volumes as well as greater gross domestic product growth in the states. They estimate the EWC itself will increase freight volumes by up to 90% in the states that are part of the corridor.
    • Encourages Investment: with better infrastructure, FDI and local investments increase leading to better economic opportunities.
  • Social:
    • Increase Socio-economic growth: A new study suggests that the completion of current and proposed infrastructure projects in the north-east could herald greater economic growth for the region and increase its geopolitical importance.
    • Strengthens Human Development: With better connectivity, there will be an emphasis on social sectors like education, healthcare leading to better human development indicators.

Recent Steps taken for Development

  • North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme(NESIDS)launched by Centre in Dec2017 to fill the gaps in creation of infrastructures in two sectors
  • One is physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity and especially projects promoting tourism.
  • The other is social sector projects of education and health. The remarkable feature of this scheme is that this is a 100 per cent centrally funded scheme as against the NLCPR, where 10 per cent contribution had to come from the State Governments
  • National projects such as the East–West Corridor (EWC), which runs from Porbandar in Gujarat to Silchar in Assam.
  • International projects such as the Trilateral Highway connecting Manipur to Thailand via Myanmar, the Bangladesh–China–India– Myanmar Economic Corridor, and the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project, that comprises a sea route for shipping cargo from ports in eastern India to Myanmar, as well as a land route to the country from the North-East.
  • Tuirial Hydro-power project is the first major Central Sector projects to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram to boost the socio-economic development of the State. With this, Mizoram becomes the third power-surplus State in NER after Sikkim, and Tripura.
  • Relaxation of restrictive regulatory regime of Bamboo: Given its importance in livelihood of NorthEast there will be no more requirement of any permit for producing, transporting and selling Bamboo products. This will benefit lakhs of farmers and will add to the efforts to doubling farmers’ income by2022.
  • In the latest budget (2018-19), the Government has allocated funds for revival of 50 airports and improving aviation infrastructure.

Way Forward: 

A six-fold strategy for the comprehensive development of the region has been proposed-

  • Empowering people by maximizing self-governance and participatory development through grass-root planning to promote inclusive development.
  • Creation of development opportunities for the rural areas through enhancing productivity in agriculture and allied activities such as animal husbandry, horticulture, floriculture, fisheries and generation of livelihood options through rural non- farm employment.
  • To develop sectors in the region having a comparative advantage such as agro-processing, Hydro-power generation.
  • Enhancing the skills and competencies of the people and building the capacities for institutions with the Government and outside.
  • Creating a hospitable investment climate to encourage investment by the private sector particularly for infrastructure.
  • Harnessing the resources of the Government and the private sector to realize the objectives of the Vision.

Conclusion:

Innovation, Initiatives, Ideas and Implementation–all the four needs to go together. Inclusive growth is possible through improved governance, doing away with the draconian laws and ensuring the local communities are empowered to implement basic services. For this, all the stakeholders need to formulate a comprehensive realistic plan for the overall development of North East.


Topic: Conservation, environmental degradation.

7) “Carbon emissions have risen to a record high in 2018 as demand for energy  has soared in countries such as the US, China and India, pointing to a seeming neglect of global warming concerns.” Comment. (250 words)

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The hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses the International Energy Agency report on climate  change making us aware of the situation related to climate – it has established that China, India and US account for 85% of the net increase in carbon emissions. Examining the options available to us in light of the new report and brainstorming over way forward is the focus of this question.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to first discuss the findings of the International Energy Agency report and highlight the risk that faces it. Thereafter, we need to bring out the impact that unprecedented carbon emissions will have on weather, natural disasters etc. We need to discuss ways through which this situation can be addressed and suggest way forward.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with brief introductory lines on highlights of the findings by the International Energy Agency.

Body:

  • Discuss the outline of the main findings of the report – China, India and US account for 85% of the net increase in carbon emissions.
  • In India, emissions rose by 4.8%, although the nation’s per capita release remained low at 40% of the global average.
  • Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.7% in 2018, the highest rate of growth since 2013, and 70% higher than the average increase since 2010.
  • Then move on to discuss the effectiveness of the global fight against climate change amid rising energy demand in detail.
  • Discuss the effect and what needs to be done to mitigate the challenge the world is facing.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of immediate attention by the world community to look into the issue urgently and come up with an immediate fix to the problem.

Introduction:

India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, a 4.8% rise from last year, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). India’s emissions growth this year was higher than that of the United States and China — the two biggest emitters in the world — and this was primarily due to a rise in coal consumption. China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand.

Body:

Main findings of the report:

  • China, India and US account for 85% of the net increase in carbon emissions.
  • India’s per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden. The United States, the largest emitter, was responsible for 14%.
  • India’s energy intensity improvement declined 3% from last year even as its renewable energy installations increased 10.6% from last year.
  • Global energy consumption in 2018 increased at nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy and higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world.

Concerns due to rising CO2 emissions:

  • As per its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, India has promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
  • It has also committed to having 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and, as part of this, install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
  • However, the IEA report showed that India’s energy intensity improvement declined 3% from last year even as its renewable energy installations increased 10.6% from last year.
  • India says it will cost at least $2.5trillion (Rs. 150 trillion approx.) to implement its climate pledge, around 71% of the combined required spending for all developing country pledge
  • India is also at the frontlines of facing the impacts of climate change. Shifting rainfall patterns, recurring floods, stronger  cyclones  and  droughts  or  soil  erosion  are  exacerbating  the  challenge  of  poverty eradication and necessitate the allocation of scarce national resources for preventing loss of human life.

Recognising the need to cut down on carbon emissions to tackle climate change, the government of India has taken the following steps to reduce the carbon emissions:

  • Despite resource  constraints,  India  is  undertaking ambitious  actions  to  undertake  adaptation  and mitigation  actions,  including  thorough  lowering  of the  energy  intensity  of  our  economic  growth, increasing energy efficiency across sectors and making greater use of renewable.
  • India has doubled the Clean Energy Cess on coal, which very few countries have, and the Clean Energy Fund already has over 3 billion US dollars to be used for promoting clean technologies
  • India’s National Solar Mission is being scaled up five-fold from 20,000 megawatts to 100,000 megawatts. This will mean an additional investment of 100 billion dollars and savings of about 165 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
  • India is releasing 6 billion US dollars in one go for intensive afforestation which will result in more carbon sinks.
  • India has allocated about 200 million US dollars for the ‘National Adaptation Fund’, setting-up of Ultra Mega Solar  Projects,  Ultra-Modern  Super  Critical  Coal  Based  Thermal  Power  Technology,  and  the development of Solar Parks on canals.
  • The “100 Smart Cities’ with integrated policies for adaptation and mitigation to reduce the vulnerability  and  exposure  of  urban  areas  to  climate  change  and  also  to  improve  their  energy efficiency for which 1.2 billion US dollars have been allocated.
  • Crop diversification programme under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI).
  • Increasing the area under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as an alternative to the widely used practice of transplanted paddy.
  • India has also fast-tracked its investment and promotion of decentralized renewable energy as a resource to empower populations who are vulnerable.
  • India has initiated preparations to develop a National Air Quality Index and have launched a National Air Quality Scheme

Way forward:

  • Addressing the distortion in the cropping towards water intensive crops like rice and promoting agro-climatic farming
  • Increased community engagement in the adaptation measures.
  • Expansion in the community forestry and Joint forest management to contain the loss to green cover due to industrial activity.
  • Increased international collaboration for finances and technology with an outcome based approach
  • Strict enforcement of building code and expansion of rooftop solar power program to reduce dependence on the coal energy
  • Better urban planning focusing on solid waste management and public transport

Topic Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

8) Law and ethics are well-thought-out to be the two tools for regulating human conduct so as to make it favourable to humanised social existence. Comment. (250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is to examine the role of Law and Ethics in controlling the human conduct so as to make the society more and more civilized .

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain first the essence and necessity of civilized social existence, harmony and peace in co-existence and thus the role law and ethics contribute in controlling the human conduct so as to reach such a humanized societal co-existence.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly state what you understand by civilized society, parameters substantiating it etc.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects:

  • How and why civilised society exists only through behaviour regulation ( can quote ideas of Kautilya).
  • Discuss how to achieve this objective of social co-existence through law and ethics.
  • Quote examples – say child labour; without law no one would do away with the evil practice and without ethics none would have followed the law.

Introduction:

Ethics, also described as moral philosophy, is a system of moral principles which is concerned with what is good for individuals and society. Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior.

Body:

Law  is  a  system  of  rules  and guidelines  which  are  enforced  through social transformation institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It controls human nature.  And  further  it  also  tries  to  protect  public  as  well  as  private right of citizen. But the under lying principle for the purpose of law is public interest.  It  shapes  politics,  economics  and  society  in  numerous  ways  and serves  as  a  social  mediator  of  relations  between  people. Violations may bring a loss of or reduction in freedom and possessions.

Example: Driving over the speed limit is punishable under Motor Vehicles Act; Smoking Marijuana is illegal under NDPS Act.

Ethics  is  internal image and self belief of person and it inspires person to do certain act it, also known  as  moral  philosophy,  is  a  branch  of  philosophy  that  addresses questions about morality — that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc. Violations of such can bring disturbance to individual conscience and social sanctions.

Example: Breaking a promise to a friend; using abortion as a birth control measure.

Ethics and laws and closely related since laws represent minimum ethical behaviours of human beings. They influence each other to a great extent. If morality fails at any place in controlling  the  human  action  and  right  from  there  law  comes  in  to  role  in controlling  acts  of  citizen.  Laws,  to  be  effective,  must  represent  the  moral ideas  of  the  people. 

But  good  laws  sometimes  serve  to  rouse  the  moral conscience  of  the  people  and  create  and  maintain  such  conditions  as  may encourage the growth of morality. Laws regarding prohibition and spread of primary education are glaring examples of this nature. Morality cannot, as a matter of fact, be divorced from politics.  The  ultimate  end  of  a  state  is  the promotion  of  general  welfare  and  moral  development  of  a  citizen.  But the ultimate objective of both is social upliftment of a citizen.

Conclusion:

Ethics enforce us to obey laws. Not  because  they  are  laws,  but  because  laws  bring  out  the obligations  and  the  prohibitions  of  ethical  rules.