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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 APRIL 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 APRIL 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 : Role of women, Social empowerment.

1) Induction of Women  as Jawans is a big step towards achieving full parity between men and women in the Indian forces. Discuss the significance of such steps.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

In a historic first, the Indian Army has begun the process to induct women in military police, nearly two years after Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said women will be recruited as Jawans.

The Army started the online registration for recruitment for women in the Corps of Military Police and the last date for filing application has been fixed as June 8.

Key demand of the question:

The answer has to capture the significance of such step that would envisage the equality between Men and Women in the Indian society.

Directive:

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:

Begin with importance of Women’s participation in Armed forces.

Body:

One must discuss the evolutionary changes in the role of Women and their participation in the forces from women only being allowed in select areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army to present status where women are being inducted as Jawans into Army.

Discuss how it will bring the factor of equality in the Indian society.

Explain the associated hurdles women face in forces- Physical issues, Physiological issues, Social and psychological issues, Conventional Barriers etc.

Discuss how women have overcome it over a period of time and that the step is welcome one.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the society has to be ready to accept that women too can play the crucial role of confronting the enemies.

Introduction:

Opening up a new avenue for females, the Indian Army recently kicked off the process of inducting women as jawans by starting their online registration for recruitment in the corps of military police. This is being seen as a major breakthrough for women in armed forces as so far, they were being inducted only as officers and this is the first time they would be taken in as soldiers. Previously, after a long debate, women were inducted into Combat roles in Indian Air force.

Body:

Current status:

  • As per government data, the Army has 3.80 per cent of its workforce as women, the Air Force has 13.09 per cent and the Navy six per cent.
  • Currently, women are allowed in select areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army.

Significance of the recruitment initiative:

  • Women In India reflected the struggling ethos and has been part of Indian freedom struggle in form of Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi ,Rani Gadinlieu of Assam. So they hold prospects in future as well.
  • In 2018, Army Chief had said the process to allow women in a combat role, currently, an exclusive domain of men was moving fast and initially, women will be recruited for positions in Military Police.
  • Gradually women may be inducted in other branches, depending on the success of this induction.
  • The women already serving non-combat position were found to be serving their duty with integrity as compared to men.
  • It would be significant boost to women empowerment and has spill-over effect to general level of literacy, health, employment of women in defence sector as well as other sector.
  • Increased number of women in the armed forces will reduce the incidents of sexual abuses and human right violation at the hands of army men while maintaining national security.
  • More women in army will help in bringing more gender sensitivity among the armed forces.

Challenges:

  • India is largely a patriarchal society with a traditional mindset. Thus, the men might not be very comfortable being commanded by women in the field.
  • It is a biological fact that on average women are weaker than men. In combat units, which are necessarily intensely physical, any perceived weakness would lead to loss of respect of the subordinates. Which would make the task of women officers that much harder.
  • The risk of getting captured as Prisoners of War (PoW’s) is highest for combat units. A women PoW could be a psychological blow.
  • Due to biological differences, women need long mid-career breaks as maternity leave. Not only does this disrupt training, but also puts restrictions on the type of physical work that they can do before and after the leave.

 

Conclusion:

Indian women have never obtained their rights without a struggle. As they battle inequality and prejudice, they should also fight for their right to fight for their country. The move would help bring in Gender Parity in the armed forces to an extent.


Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

2) Does the Rajya Sabha hold a position at equals with the Lok Sabha? Discuss any two provisions apart from money bill provisions that put the Rajya Sabha at disadvantage.(250 words)

D D Basu

Why this question:

The question is straight forward and direct from the static portions.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the position of Rajya Sabha vis-à-vis Lok Sabha, discuss powers of RS and what are the factors that make its position weaker compared to LS.

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:

Begin by stating importance of Rajya Sabha in the parliamentary system of the country.

Body:

In brief discuss the following points –

  • Provide for a comparison between the powers and position of the lok sabha and the rajya sabha .
  • Rajya Sabha enjoys equal powers with Lok Sabha in matters like the impeachment of the President, removal of the vice-president, constitutional amendments, and removal of the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. In matter of creating All India Services Rajya Sabha enjoys special powers.
  • Highlight how it keeps up the federal feature of the system.
  • Discuss provisions where RS is at a disadvantage apart from money bill.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of Rajya sabha.

Introduction:

Parliament is the head legislative body of India. It occupies a significant position in the country’s constitutional set-up. The Constitution of India divided Parliament as consisting of the President and two Houses known as the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President of India is the head of the Parliament. The two houses of Parliament chiefly vary in their powers and functions. The time period of Lok Sabha is for five years, after which it dissolves. The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house, but after every two years, one-third of its members retire.

Body:

Provisions where Rajya Sabha holds equal position with Lok Sabha:

Legislative Powers:

  • In the sphere of ordinary law-making the Rajya Sabha enjoys equal powers with the Lok Sabha. An ordinary bill can be introduced in the Rajya Sabha and it cannot become a law unless passed by it.
  • In case of a deadlock between the two Houses of Parliament over an ordinary bill and if it remains unresolved for six months, the President can convene a joint sitting of the two Houses for resolving the deadlock.
  • This joint sitting is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. If the bill is passed in the joint sitting, it is sent to the President for his signatures. But if the deadlock is not resolved, the bill is deemed to have been killed.

Executive Powers:

  • “The Union Council of Ministers is collectively responsible before the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha.” Lok Sabha alone can cause the fall of the Council of Ministers by passing a vote of no-confidence.
  • Although the Rajya Sabha cannot remove the Ministry from its office yet the members of the Rajya Sabha can exercise some control over the ministers by criticising their policies, by asking questions and supplementary questions, and by moving adjournment motions. Some of the ministers are also taken from the Rajya Sabha. Now the Prime Minister can also be from Rajya Sabha if the majority party in the Lok Sabha may elect/adopt him as its leader.

Amendment Powers:

 

  • Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can together amend the constitution by passing an amendment bill with 2/3 majority in each House.

Judicial Powers:

  • The Rajya Sabha acting along with the Lok Sabha can impeach the President on charges of violation of the Constitution.
  • The Rajya Sabha can also pass a special address for causing the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court or of any High Court.
  • The charges against the Vice-President can be levelled only in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha can pass a resolution for the removal of some high officers like the Attorney General of India, Comptroller and Auditor General and Chief Election Commissioner.

Provisions where Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha:

  • The Council of Ministers is not responsible to the Rajya Sabha. Therefore, no-confidence motion cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The Council of Ministers is in fact, only responsible to the Lok Sabha, according to article 75(3). It can remove a government from office by passing a resolution of no-confidence.
  • In case of a deadlock during the passage of the bill, the joint sitting called for by the President of India will be headed only by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
  • Under article 352, Lok sabha in special sitting, can disapprove the proclamation of President, regarding continuance in force of national emergency. Hence, President has to revoke the emergency in this case.
  • Censure motion, adjournment motion and No-confidence motion can be passed only in the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha enjoys two exclusive powers:

  • The Power to declare a subject of State List as a subject of National Importance: The Rajya Sabha can pass a resolution by 2/3rd majority of its members for declaring a State List subject as a subject of national importance. Such a resolution empowers the Union Parliament to legislate on such a state subject for a period of one year. Such resolutions can be repeatedly passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • Power in respect of Creation or Abolition of an All India Service: The Rajya Sabha has the power to create one or more new All India Services. It can do so by passing a resolution supported by 2/3rd majority on the plea of national interest. In a similar way, the Rajya Sabha can disband an existing All India Service.

Conclusion:

Disagreement between the two Houses on various amendments to a Bill is resolved by both the houses meeting in a joint sitting and resolutions are decided by majority vote. But it also has some exceptions like this provision of joint sitting does not apply to Money Bills and Constitution Amendment Bills. All matters which are related to legislation demands consent and approval from both the houses of the parliament.


Topic : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3) Differentiate between Pressure Groups, Civil Society Organizations and NGOs. Discuss role played by them in achieving true values of Democracy.(250 words)

Polity by Lakshmikanth  

why this question:

The question is amidst the growing uncertainty of Oil imports for India amidst rising geopolitics that has encircled the oil rich countries and how it has changed the price scenario of India and created feeling of uncertainty.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must

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 with a brief on significance of these elements in polity.

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • CSOs can be defined to include all non-market and nonstate organizations outside of the family in which people organize themselves to pursue shared interests in the public domain. Examples include community-based organizations and village associations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’ associations, faith-based organizations, labour unions, co-operatives, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit media.
  • Non-governmental organization (NGO) is a term that has become widely accepted as referring to a legally constituted, non-governmental organization created by natural or legal persons with no participation or representation of any government.

 

  • A pressure group is an organization with shared aims which seeks to influence policy through political means, without seeking political office itself.
  • Civil society is an organization formed in the society to push societal interest to the government without any political affiliation whiles pressure groups are groups formed by group of people with similar interest and mind to push their interest to the government for the benefit of their members only and sometimes have political affiliations.
  • Discuss how these groups act as a check on instruments of democracy.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of such groups.

Introduction:

In a democracy, the individual transits from subject to citizen. Yet there is no one more vulnerable and more helpless than our rights-bearing citizen. The Indian Constitution provides a distinct legal space to social capital / civil society institutions:

  • through its Article on the right to form associations or unions – Article 19 (1)(c);
  • through Article 43 which talks of States making endeavour to promote cooperatives in rural areas;
  • Through explicit mention in entries made in Schedule 7.

Body:

A pressure group refers to any organized group that has members with common interests and these members making joint efforts to pressurize or influence the formal political system to protect and pursue their interests. They can also be described as ‘interest groups’, ‘lobby groups’ or ‘protest groups’.

Some Types of PG in India:

  • Business and Industry, Professional Pressure Groups – ASSOCHAM, SIAM, FICCI, Trade Unions
  • Peasants Pressure Groups – AIKS, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh
  • Student’s Pressure Groups – AISF, ABVP, JNUSU
  • Community associations – VHP, LGBT rights movement, Jat committee, etc.
  • Linguistic groups – Tamil Sangh, Hindi Vikas Mandal

Role:

  • Representation and voice: Providing mouthpiece for groups and interests that are not adequately represented through the electoral process or by political parties thus striving for equality and justice. Role in strengthening democracy through promotion of representation and participation of people and Promotion of debate, discussion, criticism.
  • Education: Many PG devote significant resources to carry out research, commenting on Govt. policy, information dissemination, facilitate collaboration between academicians and industrialists E.g.: ASSOCHAM research on boosting agri-processing
  • Policy formulation: Provides vital source of information, advice and criticism to the governments and are regularly consulted in policy decisions. E.g.: SIAM lobbying for less tax on automobile, and rate cuts by RBI; Trade unions for rebates in export duties
  • Direct action: Can organize strikes, blockades through effective mobilizing of people. E.g.: Anna Hazare’s Anti-Corruption movement, Jat-stir for reservation
  • Balances development and environmental conservation. g.: Narmada Bachao Andolan

Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) are legally constituted organizations, operate independently from the government and are generally considered to be “non-state, non-profit oriented groups who pursue purposes of public interest”. The primary objective of NGOs is to provide social justice, development and human rights. NGOs are generally funded totally or partly by governments and they maintain their non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization. Types and Examples:

  • BINGO: business-friendly international NGO (example: Red Cross)
  • ENGO: environmental NGO (Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund)
  • GONGO: government-organized non-governmental organization (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
  • INGO: international NGO (Oxfam)
  • QUANGO: quasi-autonomous NGO (International Organization for Standardization [ISO])

Role:

  • The Advocacy/Social Safety-Valve Role: Non-profit organisations play vital role in mobilizing public attention to societal problems and needs. They are the principal vehicle through which communities can give voice to their concerns.
  • Improving government performance: NGOs can broaden government’s accountability by ensuring government is responsive to citizens at large rather than to narrow sectarian interests. They also induce innovation and flexibility in policymaking by bringing their own independent expertise and research teams.
  • The Service Role: The non-profit sector acts as a flexible mechanism through which people concerned about a social or economic problem can begin to respond. It also caters to groups of the population who desire a range of public goods that exceeds what the government or society is willing to support.
  • Conflict Resolution: NGOs help in constructive conflict resolution. In the international arena Track II diplomacy (involving non-governmental bodies) plays a crucial role in creating an environment of trust and confidence.
  • Building Community Participation: The non-profit organisations offer alternative perspectives; and most importantly, the capacity to conduct a meaningful dialogue with communities, particularly those that are disadvantaged. They foster pluralism, diversity and freedom. Many NGOs work to preserve and promote India’s diverse culture. For example SPIC MACAY is a society for promoting Indian classical music and culture amongst youth.

Civil Society Organizations can be defined to include all non-market and nonstate organizations outside of the family in which people organize themselves to pursue shared interests in the public domain”.

Examples include community-based organizations and village associations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’ associations, faith-based organizations, labour unions, co-operatives, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit media.

Role: Civil society organisations function outside the conventional space of both State and Market, but they have the potential to negotiate, persuade and pressurise both these institutions to make them more responsive to the needs and rights of the citizens. Voluntary Organisations can offer:

  • Alternative perspectives
  • Committed expertise
  • An understanding of the local opportunities and constraints
  • Capacity to conduct a meaningful dialogue with communities, particularly those that are disadvantaged.

Conclusion:

Pressure groups, NGOs and CSOs form the backbone of democracy. Democracy does not just revolve around what happens once in five years (elections) but how rights of the citizens are protected and are allowed to hold power holders accountable. The state must respect the articulation of the politics of voice and not just the politics of the vote. The promises of democracy can only be realised through collective action in civil society. A democratic state needs a democratic civil society and a democratic civil society also needs a democratic state. They mutually reinforce each other.


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

4) Discuss the challenges facing Indian universities. Do you think they require some kind of “cultural revolution” to join the lines of global world-class universities.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The Article discusses specific issues being faced by the Indian universities, more so specifically the issues that hinder Indian universities to join the ranks of global world class initiative.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the detailed challenges that are being faced by the Indian universities and also should discuss what needs to be done to improve the current conditions of the university education in India.

Directive:

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 briefly the context of the question.

Body:

  • Discuss specific issues that surround Indian universities which make them substandard to the International benchmark. Issues such as – abysmal infrastructure, Governments and their regulators have also weakened the abilities of universities by prescribing how every decision had to be made and how the lecture could be imagined, bad teaching quality, issues associated with autonomy, lack of quality standards in teaching faculties etc.
  • Discuss specific policy failures – why and what needs to be done?
  • What kind of cultural revolution is needed to change the existing system?
  • Suggest way forward.

Conclusion –

Conclude with need for overhaul of the system, suggest solutions and best practices that need to be adopted.

Introduction:

India is a rapidly changing country in which inclusive, high-quality education is of utmost importance for its future prosperity. The country is currently in a youth bulge phase. It has the largest youth population in the world—a veritable army of 600 million young people under the age of 25.

Body:

Challenges facing Indian higher education:

  • Gross Enrolment Rate issues:
  • India’s higher education system, does not have the capacity to achieve enrolment ratios anywhere close to those of other middle-income economies.
  • The country’s tertiary gross enrolment rate is growing fast, but remains more than 20 percentage points below that of China or Brazil, despite the creation of large numbers of higher education institutions (HEIs) in recent years.

 

  • Brain-Drain:
  • Educational attainment in present-day India is also not directly correlated to employment prospects—a fact that raises doubts about the quality and relevance of Indian education.
  • Such bottlenecks have caused a large-scale outflow of labour migrants and international students from India.
  • The number of Indian students enrolled in degree programs abroad has grown almost fivefold since 1998, while hundreds of thousands of labour migrants leave the country each year.
  • Many of these migrants are low-skilled workers, but there is also a pronounced brain drain of skilled professionals of 950,000 Indian scientists and engineers lived in the U.S. alone in 2013 (a steep increase of 85 percent since 2003).

 

  • Regulation:
  • High control and low on support and facilitation
  • UGC has been accused of biased granting of funds
  • Undermining independence of autonomous universities
  • UGC’s flawed method of determining recruitment and career advancement of faculty: Academic Performance Indicator (API).

 

  • Indian Talent Pool of IIT’s:
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology are synonymous with excellence and the national academic frontier.
  • But, the IITs’ ability to live up to these expectations in terms of research output and the quality of education is contingent on its faculty. However, of late, the shortage of faculty members in the IITs has been under the spotlight.
  • It was reported recently that there are just 40 foreign teachers at all of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) that is just 1% of the total faculty of 5,400 — despite the government’s goal to attract 20% international faculty at higher education institutions such as the IITs.

 

  • Scales of salary:
  • Indian academic salaries are not globally competitive, even taking into account variations in living costs.
  • In the U.S., senior academics at research universities typically earn around Rs.8,970,000 and up annually, and those at top universities can earn Rs.13,800,000 or more.
  • The average salary for a full-time academic is Rs.5,037,000, with those in high demand fields in the sciences, business and others earning significantly more.
  • China, which is also actively luring top international faculty to its research universities, is offering salaries of Rs.6,900,000 or more along with additional research funding.
  • International faculty cannot be offered long-term appointments in Indian public institutions. A five-year contract is all that is available. Thus, there is little job security.

 

  • Private colleges and Deemed Universities:
  • Arbitrary nature of fees; “capitation fees”
  • Admissions manipulated- Management quotas
  • Ill equipped to organize courses
  • De facto management—the trustees of the sponsoring societies or trusts

Recent Government Initiatives:

  • To counter this “brain drain” and to quickly improve top Indian institutions, the government introduced flagship programmes such as the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty Scheme (VAJRA), and Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC).
  • Government of India has launched SWAYAM as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Swayam is a platform that would bind Indian higher education both online and offline.
  • Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE): Aims to Increase investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions. The RISE initiative will be funded by a restructured Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA). Total investment of ₹1, 00,000 crore in next four years.
  • IMPRINT India: Joint initiative of IITs and IISc to address major and science and technology challenges in India.
  • Ucchtar Aavishkar Abhiyaan: To promote industry-specific need-based research

Measures needed to improve status of Indian Universities:

  • The best Indian universities would require a kind of “cultural revolution” to join the ranks of global world-class universities and to be able to lure top faculty.
  • It is virtually impossible for India to attract large numbers of international professors of high standing and ability without dramatic changes in many aspects of the existing governance structure in higher education. Dramatically enhanced funding would also be required.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development should be working closely with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to have a road map that incentivises CSR funding to be made available for universities.
  • There need to be an immediate move to attract more candidates, such as the faculty recruitment drive in the US, and monetary incentives like the Young Faculty Incentive Fellowship Scheme.
  • Parallel development in infrastructure is necessary to accommodate the research needs of incoming faculty.
  • The structural and practical realities of Indian universities make them generally unattractive to academic talent from abroad, this must be rectified at the earliest.
  • The key motivation for hiring foreign faculty must be to improve international competitiveness and secure positions in global rankings, which in turn would also attract more motivated students.
  • Attracting foreign nationals, Indians who studied at prestigious foreign universities by offering higher salaries and other benefits.
  • The moral and motivation of the academics have to be maintained. Not only attract the quality but also retain the quality of teachers. For this, the recruitment and the promotion policy has to be looked into. Recruitment policy on merit, kind of promotion on merit and in intervals would retain good teachers.

Conclusion:

If universities become centre of fresh knowledge production then things change. Complete freedom of thought in direction and ideas is need of the hour. There is a prevailing culture that knowledge is finite and job of student is to master pre-existing knowledge. This has a limiting problem in educational culture which needs to be challenged.

Infrastructure, competition within and competition outside, the kind of funding received plays an important role in university building. It may be a good idea to promote competition between public and private universities and their release combined rankings. Improvement of ranking is a real challenge as decline of institutions is a serious concern due to under-funding as well as limited teaching faculty.


TopicIndia and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

5) In what way the revival of ancient silk route by China through BRI is changing the geopolitics of the region? Analyse. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

Recently China announced that the financial model for funding projects under its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had been revamped, countering criticism that its mega-connectivity undertaking was opening “debt traps” for enhancing its geopolitical influence.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must thus evaluate the revival of ancient silk route and its impact on the geopolitics of the region.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Introduce by highlighting the present context of BRI.

Body:

  • Discuss the details of belt and road initiative project – policy has two components:
  • Belt– The “One Belt” refers to the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt”. Here Beijing aims to connect the country’s underdeveloped hinterland to Europe through Central Asia.
  • Road – The “One Road” references the ocean-going “Maritime Silk Road”. It is to connect the fast-growing South East Asian region to China’s southern provinces through ports and railways.
  • Explain how One Belt One Road (OBOR) is arguably one of the largest development plans in modern history.
  • Discuss whether this initiative is merely economic one or geostrategic step by China?
  • Discuss whether  India will benefit by joining this initiative or not?
  • Discuss the Geostrategic aspect in CPEC, its implications on India.
  • What should be India’s stand?

Conclusion:

Conclude by bringing out both advantages and disadvantages of OBOR  on the geopolitics of the region and suggest what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s ambitious project announced in 2013. It covers about 65% of the world population, 60% of the world GDP and over 70 countries in six economic corridors. China recently announced that the financial model for funding projects under its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had been revamped, countering criticism that its mega-connectivity undertaking was opening “debt traps” for enhancing its geopolitical influence.

Body:

Features of BRI:

  • BRI consisting of the land-based belt, ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, and ‘Maritime Silk Road’, aims to connect the East Asian economic region with the European economic circle and runs across the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
  • China is spending almost $1 trillion to revive and renew the overland and maritime trade links between China, Europe, West Asia, and East Africa through construction of modern ports linked to high-speed road and rail corridors.

Implications for China

  • China is obviously going to benefit from the “Belt and Road Initiative,” but what is unclear is to what extent. Critics said that Beijing is going for a bigger role as a global superpower.
  • With this in mind, having a direct link to major countries may not only boost its economic power, but also its political clout in both the Western and Eastern hemisphere.
  • Also, many of China’s production sectors have been facing overcapacity since 2006. The Chinese leadership hopes to solve the problem of overproduction by exploring new markets in neighbouring countries through BRI.
  • The BRI initiative will provide more opportunities for the development of China’s less developed border regions.
  • China also intends to explore new investment options that preserve and increase the value of the capital accumulated in the last few decades. BRI has the potential to grow into a model for an alternative rule-maker of international politics and could serve as a vehicle for creating a new global economic and political order.
  • China has cash and deposits in Renminbi equivalent to USD 21 trillion, or two times its GDP, and expects that the massive overseas investment in the OROB will speed-up the internationalization of the Renminbi.
  • BRI is also seen as a strategic response to the military‘re-balancing’ of the United States to Asia.
  • China can also benefit from the New Silk Road project through other means like the easing up of growth of state-owned enterprises as well as an increase in the Chinese people’s income.

Implications on India:

  • From Indian perspective the entire proposal has to be seen in the context of broader geo strategic implications for India particularly in the Indian Ocean.
  • The strategic objectives of MSR raise questions of Chinese real intentions. China has steadily expanded its influence in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea by building ports in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and helping build Sandia Deep Sea port in Bangladesh apart from other Indian Ocean littoral engagements through a strategy generally referred to as String of Pearls.
  • Scenario is accentuated by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka pledging support to President Xi Jinping’s MSR initiative as part of the overall Asian Security Plan.
  • Given the emerging scenario, concerns in New Delhi are that countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could be further drawn into the Chinese orbit. One of the reasons for the regional outreach of the Modi government is to prevent such a potentially disturbing development by restabilising Indian credibility with its neighbours.
  • Indian Ocean is largely seen by Indian political and strategic establishment as an area of Indian domination and influence. Just like the Chinese, India needs to protect its core areas of interests such as trade, economy and resources driving the outreach of India’s maritime interests
  • The China-Pakistan Economic corridor runs through POK, thus politically it threatens to legitimise Pakistan’s occupation of POK . India has always taken a very rational and democratic stand on issue of POK. The BRI will bring CPEC to life through trade and transport activities. In such case the Indian stand about its Geographical integrity comes under the question.
  • The BRI project is essentially part of China’s expansionist designs starting with Asia. The immediate fallout will be increased ease of cooperative action between Pakistan and Chinese forces. Also, worryingly, the Chinese Army will get deeper access and deployment in Kashmir.
  • The economic purpose of the BRI is the type of new economic imperialism which will be established in very close vicinity of India geographically. Opening markets, building new trade routes, projecting power from the Suez to Shanghai, setting up alliances will distort the India trade patterns and profitable potential that exist for India in near future.

Steps to counter BRI

It is not possible for India to oppose and stop the expansion of BRI due to sheer strength of China along with the role of multiple International players. India can secure its position through various measures such as:

  • Promoting regional connectivity: The neighbour first approach will help to counter certain elements of BRI initiative. The projects such as Mekong Ganga cooperation, BCIM initiative, India Myanmar Thailand highway are the some of the projects that needs immediate attention in order to strengthen the regional connectivity for India.
  • Internal connectivity: India should ramp up its own internal connectivity especially in North East and on its border regions. The strong internal connectivity only can support the well-integrated networks of connectivity with neighbour countries.
  • Institutional building: The trade related infrastructure need to be enhanced in order to sustain in the competition that will be created by BRI connectivity. The institution building is also important to maintain the intern security in efficient manner for longer duration.
  • Maritime security: India has long coastline that provides huge opportunity for maritime trade to various part of the world. The maritime trade can provide a counter strategy to BRI in an efficient manner. India has a common long-term interest with Beijing, in promoting regional connectivity.

Conclusion:

India must, focus on debating the specific terms of individual projects rather than having to say “Yes” or “No” to the BRI as a whole. The integrated and cooperative approach can go a long way for mutual benefits of both the countries. Both neighbours share a highly strategic relationship spun around economic cooperation.


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6) World’s forests  are in an ‘emergency room’. Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article gives a detailed account of a report that states that world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover last year, warning the planet’s health was at stake. The report also quotes that it was the fourth highest annual decline since records began in 2001, according to new data from Global Forest Watch, which uses satellite imagery and remote sensing to monitor tree cover losses from Brazil to Ghana.

Demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate in detail the highlights of the report and discuss the alarming issue of decline in the forest area of the world.

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

Start with few facts/ stats from the report of  Global Forest Watch.

Body

  • Highlights of the report – The study highlighted new deforestation hotspots, particularly in Africa, where illegal mining, small-scale forest clearing and the expansion of cocoa farms led to an increase in tree loss in countries such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
  • Indonesia was a rare bright spot, with primary forest loss slowing for two years running, after the government imposed a moratorium on forest-clearing.
  • Indonesia has the world’s third largest total area of tropical forest and is also the biggest producer of palm oil. Environmentalists blame much of the forest destruction on land clearance for oil-palm plantations.
  • The answer thus is straightforward , one has to discuss the causes leading to loss of forests across the world and the consequences and repercussions that it bears on the ecosystem. Discuss how degradation of forests in turn will intensify the climate change and vice-a -versa.
  • Discuss what needs to be done to control this alarming situation, stress on need for Bold action to tackle this global crisis including restoring lost forests.

Conclusion

Highlight the importance and the wisdom that the report brings.

Introduction:

As per recently published US-based World Resources Institute (WRI) report, world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover in 2018. It is fourth largest annual decline since global satellite data become available in 2001. According to report, with such decline world’s forests entered in ‘emergency room’ implying that planet’s health is at stake and mere band-aid response will not help.

Body:

Key Highlights:

  • Study showed new deforestation hotspots in Africa, like Ghana and Ivory Coast, the increase in tree loss was due to illegal mining, small-scale forest clearing and expansion of cocoa farms.
  • Most destruction was seen in Brazil (13,500 sq-km), Congo (4,800 sq-km), Indonesia (3,400 sq-km), Colombia (1,800 sq-km), Bolivia (1,500 sq-km) and Madagascar lost 2% of its entire rainforest in 2018.
  • Only Indonesia showed reduction in loss of its primary forest from past 2 years. It has world’s 3rd largest total area of tropical forest and is biggest producer of palm oil. Therefore, forest destruction was mainly due to land clearance for oil-palm plantations, which was reduced once government imposed a moratorium on forest-clearing.
  • According to annual assessment by scientists of Global Forest Watch ( which uses satellite imagery and remote sensing to monitor tree cover losses from Brazil to Ghana) almost 1/3rd of area destroyed (~36,000 square km) was pristine primary rainforest
  • According to Mighty Earth, (a global environmental campaign organization), deforestation causes more climate pollution than all world’s cars, trucks, ships and planes combined.

Causes for the forest decline:

  • Agriculture
    • The conversion of forests into agricultural land is one of the major causes of deforestation.
    • Many forest cover has been converted into agricultural lands in order to satisfy the growing needs of the people.
    • It is estimated more than 5 lakh hectares of forest area is been converted into agricultural land every year.
  • Logging
    • Commercial logging along with illegal logging contributes a lot to deforestation around the world.
    • Trees are cut down in order to obtain firewood and building materials due to overpopulation and the growing demands.
  • Mining
    • Environmental problems such as loss of biodiversity, erosion, contamination of soil and water are mainly caused due to the mining process.
    • Due to the growing demand of minerals, the impact of mining on forests is rising day by day.
    • In some places, the trees are cut down in the surroundings of the mining region to increase the place for the storage of soil and created debris.
  • Rapid growth in the industries
    • As urbanization and industrialization are growing at a very fast rate, trees have been cut off in order to meet the needs of the evolution. This has an adverse effect on the ecosystem.
  • Forest fires
    • Forest fires also lead to a large loss of the forest cover. Each year, fires burn millions of hectares of forest worldwide.
    • The resulting loss has wide-reaching consequences on climate, biodiversity, and the economy.
  • Desertification of land
    • Some of the other factors that leads to deforestation are also part natural and part anthropogenic like Desertification of land.
    • It occurs due to land abuse making it unfit for growth of trees.
    • Many industries in petrochemicals release their waste into rivers which results in soil erosion and make it unfit to grow plants and trees.
  • Urbanization
    • As the population grows, the needs of people increases which further leads to deforestation.
    • Forests shrink to a great extent to meet the requirements like for construction of roads, development of houses, mineral exploitation and expansion of industries.
    • Increasing population directly affects forest as with the expansion of cities there is a need for more land for housing and settlements.

Measures needed: Trees play a vital role in protecting our environment in several ways so we should protect the forest:

 

  • Afforestation is the best way to go ahead.
  • Ban on cutting of trees and new trees and planting more.
  • There should be an implementation of regulations of laws at organizational and governmental levels due to the extent of deforestation.
  • Spread the awareness about sensitization and organize educative campaigns about the effects of deforestation.

Conclusion:

Forests act as Carbon sink by absorbing about 30% of man-made GHG emissions (over 11 billion tons of CO2 per year) on other hand ocean soaks another 23%. So, losing vast tracts of tropical forest not only releases carbon into atmosphere, it also reduces size of carbon sink. Therefore, it is vital to protect what we still have.


Topic : Dimensions of ethics.

7) With technological innovations greatly influencing human values  mainstreaming of ethics with technology is becoming a necessity. Discuss. (250 words)

 Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article highlights the need for Ethics in the time of technology. Recently  An external advisory council, the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) — essentially an ethics council to guide new technologies was set up by Google in the last week of March, the article highlights failure of conception, planning and execution of ethics by the technology giant.

Demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate need of ethics in technology. One has to highlight that for the benefit of technology users, companies building technologies must make efforts to raise awareness of their potential human risks  and be honest about how people’s data is used by their innovations.

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

Start by explaining  need for ethics in technology.

Body

  • Discuss what you understand by In technology ethics; issues arising from artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, information technology, biotechnology, and other emerging fields.
  • Technology ethics is the application of ethical thinking to the practical concerns of technology. The reason technology ethics is growing in prominence is that new technologies give us more power to act, which means that we have to make choices we didn’t have to make before. While in the past our actions were involuntarily constrained by our weakness, now, with so much technological power, we have to learn how to be voluntarily constrained by our judgment: our ethics.
  • Take cues from the article , throw light on Googles seven principles of ethics – (i) be socially beneficial, (ii) avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias, (iii) be built and tested for safety, (iv) be accountable to people, (v) incorporate privacy design principles, (vi) uphold high standards of scientific excellence, (vii) be made available for uses that accord with these principles.
  • Conclude with what needs be done?


Conclusion

Highlight the need for technology ethics.

Introduction:

Values   as   desirable,   trans-situational   goals,   which   vary   in importance and serve to guide human beings in their lives. The human values have changed from  time  to  time, with  the  rise  and  fall  of  different  civilizations from Stone  Age to  silicon age.

Body:

The  human  developments  in  science  and  technology  when  synergistically  combined  should strengthen  human  values,  if  the  technology  is  constructive. On the other hand, technology which weakens the human values, which is disruptive.  The  success  of  scientific  and technological  advancement  and  development  depends  on  how  deep  the  human  values  are embedded in technologies.

Our dependence on our phones, tablets, and laptops has dramatically changed how we communicate and interact, and is slowly eroding some of our core principles. We are losing empathy, compassion, truth-telling, fairness, and responsibility and replacing them with all these machine values. The proliferation of fake news is just one example of how this shift is already influencing our culture.

Examples:

  • Automation: Automation eating out the jobs. As per recent World Bank data it will cut out the 69% of the Indian Jobs in next few decades.
  • Usage of UAVs: drones have become a cheaper, easy to control for various purposes like surveillance, disaster management etc but no regulation, misuse by terrorists could cause greater damage.
  • Genetic Engineering in food crops: helps in food security but opposed by many sections due to its future implications on people and crop varieties. Long term impact of losing indigenous varieties.
  • CRISPR CAS9 gene editing: editing for repairing, introducing genes in animals or humans may lead to unknown or harmful consequences in future generations. Gene editing in humans is banned in US UK.
  • Surrogacy and IVF technologies: exploitation of women, commodifying, misuse of technology for monetary gains.

Thus, technology must incorporate ethics into it. Google recently came out with set of principles of ethics for technology as enumerated below.

  • Be socially beneficial.
  • Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias
  • be built and tested for safety
  • be accountable to people
  • incorporate privacy design principles
  • uphold high standards of scientific excellence
  • Be made available for uses that accord with these principles.

Conclusion:

Emerging technologies in all the spheres of life have undoubtedly raised doubts over its ethical implications, however, these all can be put to rest by simply keeping ethics in mind while developing and while using these technologies. After all, a technology is the product of human mind; if he/she can develop it he/she also has the capability to put it for best use.