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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 JUNE 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 JUNE 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:  urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1) “Though urbanization is considered to be a reagent for economic growth, so far India has not been able to tap its full potential.” Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

India’s emerging urban moment is caught between two realities: inadequate systems in public transportation, housing, waste management, and access to sanitation and health; and a burgeoning ecosystem of enterprising individuals, communities and start-ups pushing innovative solutions to these very same civic issues. Thus it necessary for us to evaluate the concerns and challenges involved.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate in detail the challenges facing urbanisation in India and suggest 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:

In a few introductory lines bring out the current state of Urbanization in India, if possible, use facts/data to assert better.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects –

  • Discuss specific challenges of urbanization in India – the efficacy of urban administration has not improved with the pace of urbanization. Examine the reasons & suggest remedies. Explain the deficits in urban administration: (1) empowerment (2) resource (3) accountability deficits. Lack of resources and efficient policies to put things in place etc.
  • Explain how urbanization brings economic growth and what are the concerns in this context in Indian scenario.
  • What needs to be done?

Conclusion –

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India will be the third-largest economy by 2025 (HSBC 2018). Powering that growth is the country’s urbanisation, which is accelerating rapidly in absolute numbers, although not as fast if considering decadal growth rates. Either way, the urban population growth is substantial and at scale enough for the World Bank to put India alongside China, Indonesia, Nigeria and the United States as the countries that will lead the global urban surge by 2050 (World Bank 2018). This makes urbanisation in India both a challenge and an opportunity to create innovative solutions.

Body:

The challenges in urban development for management purpose are:

  • Planning: The new challenge today is management of rural urban fringe as the expansion of urban fringes is taking place at rapid place. There is need of immediate long term planning for sustainable development of areas in fringes.
  • Transport and communication: The future challenge will be linked with the urban transport facilities. Roads are congested; rail and metro network is inadequate resulting into movement within the city being slow and tiring.
  • Housing: It has been already observed now the cost of living is too high in metropolitan areas. Crumbling infrastructure in public services has to be managed on far footings.
  • Migration: Migration will continue as urban areas act as a center of economic growth. Problem of slums is about to increase and thus leading to health challenges for public health system.
  • Solid waste management: In case of waste management issue, nuclear, cyber and plastic waste will create a big challenge for clean and pollution free urban environment.
  • Poverty: Urban poverty has a very peculiar charact Street vendors and people in other informal sector, women, children and old age population will suffer most from the deteriorating urban ecology.
  • Environmental challenges: growth in man-made and natural disasters is another challenge because of unplanned cities. Urban island effects have already been observed in urban setup. Ex: Chennai flood in 2015
  • Service delivery: Urban local government will have to do a gigantic task of timely service delivery as there is paradigm shift in public administration towards new public management.

Measures needed:

  • The first and foremost importance has to be given to the providing human face to urban development. Playgrounds, green belts, open spaces, footpaths, public gardens have to be deliberately created in order to create an environment of sustainability.
  • Digital India program and Information technology solutions must be made available at affordable cost to all segments of society. Bridging the existing digital divide is priority for true democratic setup of urban areas. Harnessing the power of ICT, NeGP, NOFN etc
  • The recent policy proposal by government to focus on fringe areas is a welcoming step.
  • Waste management has to be addressed at point of generation only. The case of Pune can provide some guideline in this case as it has a unique model of contractual system for efficient and segregation of urban waste.
  • Infrastructure has to follow the green norms. Revival of tradition water structure can provide best solutions for water need of urban areas.
  • The flagship schemes like the Smart Cities, AMRUT, Housing for All, HRIDAY and Swachh Bharat are aimed at not only addressing various deficits to provide better urban governance, but also seek to make Indian cities and towns hubs of growth and sustainable development.
  • A series of reforms through incentives and disincentives have been put in place to achieve these goals. Incentives for universal housing, giving infrastructure status to affordable housing, allowing FDI and providing income tax exemption are among the important measures taken.
  • Also, the government is promoting innovative measures like waste-to-energy, waste-to-compost and the reuse of construction and demolition waste as part of sustainable urbanisation.

Way forward:

  • ‘Housing for All’ policy should be pursued with a vigorous annual review that ranks States on the basis of performance. The Centre should also take its own National Urban Transport Policy on developing cities around mobility networks seriously.
  • Urban governance policies, although mainly in the domain of the States, must be aligned with national commitments on reduction of carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11.
  • There is a need for a plan of action to achieve sustainable human settlements. It should ensure adequate shelter, water, energy, sanitation and solid waste management, along with other elements.
  • There is a need for proper planning and various deficits relating to infrastructure, housing, slum upgradation, reduce pollution, employment, education and health in urban areas need to be through public and private participation.

Conclusion:        

Cities are living ecosystems. They need to be managed accordingly. Rather than going by populist measures or sticking to the original master plans, local solutions to local problems, innovative, in situ and tailor made solutions should be evolved, adapted and adhered to. Authorities need to be willing to learn, evolve and discard if necessary.


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

2) Though India has made significant developments in malaria prevention and control, challenges remain in eradicating the disease. Critically analyse the statement while suggesting way forward.(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

India has sustained significant decline in malaria cases, halving numbers to 5.1 million in 2018 from 9.6 million the year before. This followed a 24% decline in 2017, according to the World Malaria Report 2018. This year, the cases have fallen across all states except Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Lakshadweep. Despite the success, it is early days yet to declare that the country is on track to reach its goal of zero indigenous cases by 2027.

Thus, its necessary for us to evaluate the conditions around it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the current conditions around eradicating Malaria in India and the challenges being faced around it, one must explain what needs to be done.

Directive:

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:

In a few lines state some facts related to Malaria in India highlighting the current scenario.

Body:

The answer must discuss the following:

  • Challenges in Malaria Control in India. – Porous borders and migrant movement – The North-eastern states share their border with neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Bangladesh where malaria is still prevalent and there is a persistent threat of influx of malaria cases from these countries. Anti- Malarial drug resistance, lack of physical resources /availability of resources, rural and urban conditions of malaria eradication, High endemic malaria pockets in remote areas and in tribal population etc.
  • Suggest what are the policies and plans in this direction.
  • What changes are required in the approach to eradicate malaria from India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Malaria is a disease caused by the infectious single-celled microorganisms of the Plasmodium group, which is spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Despite huge progress in tackling the disease, there are still 212 million new cases of malaria and 430,000 malaria-related deaths worldwide each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) were in sub-Saharan African.

Body:

India’s efforts to fight Malaria:

  • India’s progress in fighting malaria is an outcome of concerted efforts to ensure that its malaria programme is country-owned and country-led, even as it is in alignment with globally accepted strategies.
  • Indian government has released a National Strategic Plan (NSP) for malaria elimination for years 2017-2022, targeting eradication by 2030.
  • This marked a shift in focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”. The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
  • India has sustained significant decline in malaria cases, halving numbers to 5.1 million in 2018 from 9.6 million the year before. This followed a 24% decline in 2017, according to the World Malaria Report 2018.
  • Since 2000, India has reduced malaria deaths by two-thirds and halved the number of malaria cases.
  • Scaling up a diagnostic testing, treatment and surveillance
  • Ensuring an uninterrupted drug and diagnostics supply chain
  • Training community workers to test all fever cases and provide medicines, and distributing medicated bed-nets for prevention, under its ‘test-treat-track’ in the endemic north-eastern states and Odisha.

Challenges remain:

  • Large number of cases treated in the private sector, are not reported to the government
  • 80% of malaria cases occurring among 20% of India’s population in 200 high-risk districts
  • The Indian record stands in sharp contrast to some of its neighbours — the Maldives was certified malaria-free in 2015, and Sri Lanka followed last year.
  • In India, malaria is caused by the parasites Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) and Plasmodium Vivax (Pv). Pf is found more in the forest areas, whereas Pv is more common in the plains.
  • Majority of malaria cases in the country occur in its bordering districts, forests and tribal areas.
  • The majority of reporting districts are in the country’s eastern and central parts — the largest number of cases are found in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and the North-eastern states of Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
  • Drug Resistance:
    • Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs) has been integral to the recent success of global malaria control, and protecting their efficacy for the treatment of malaria is a global health priority.
  • Insecticide Resistance:
    • Of the 80 malaria endemic countries that provided data for 2010–2017, resistance to at least one of the four insecticide classes in one malaria vector from collection site was detected in 68 countries.
    • In view of the current situation, resistance monitoring and management plans are essential, in line with the WHO Global plan for insecticide resistance management in malaria vectors.

Way forward:

  • Parasite control:
    • Malaria can be eliminated only by stopping indigenous transmission of the infection.
    • In the early1990s, the AMC changed from vector-control (mosquito control) to parasite control strategy to contain infection. From 1999 onwards, cases have steadily declined and by 2008, less than 1,000 cases were being reported per year.
  • Health access:
    • A strong public health system, sanitation and roads lowered mosquito breeding and took treatment to people in the remotest of places.
    • Rapid diagnostic tests make it possible for trained health workers to test all cases of fever in makeshift camps and treat everyone with malaria.
    • Prompt treatment by trained health workers with focus on high-risk areas lowered disease and deaths.
  • Web-based surveillance:
    • Strong surveillance system requires high levels of access to care and case detection, and complete reporting of health information by all sectors, whether public or private.
    • All fever cases were tested for malaria and each case notified with the Anti ‘Malaria Campaign at the ministry of health.
    • People with a travel history to countries with malaria transmission were closely tracked for symptoms, as were people in the armed forces on peacekeeping missions, immigrants, emigrants, tourists and pilgrims.
  • Rationing medicines:
    • Anti-malarial medicines were only available with the AMC, which compelled the private health sector to notify all cases. With malaria cases sharply falling, it soon became unprofitable for the private sector to stock anti-malarial medicines.
  • Lessons from Srilanka:
    • Most of these people live in forest-rich districts also affected by the Naxalite problem. By reaching out to marginalised communities living in inaccessible areas and also to Naxal cadres with the help of civil society India can expect to eradicate malaria.
    • Improving public health system and rolling out malaria control interventions in these areas is critical if India wants to eliminate malaria by 2030.
    • Malaria control in border districts in the north and the north-east.
  • 24×7 hotline:
    • AMC ran a 24-hour hotline to notify, track and treat the patient in isolation to stop further spread of infection.
  • Stakeholder partnerships:
    • Intensive disease surveillance, integrated vector (mosquito) management, rigorous community engagement and research increased social, technical and financial support for eradication.
    • Among states, Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative is significant. The initiative aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. The initiative has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.

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

3) Write a note on New START treaty. What are its key features? Discuss its significance. (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

Recently Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia was prepared to drop New START with the US as Trump administration has showed no genuine interest in conducting talks on extending the treaty.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to discuss in detail what is New START treaty, its key features and significance.

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 with brief on New START Treaty – The New START caps the number of nuclear warheads well below Cold War limits.

Body:

  • First trace the history of coming of the treaty – The treaty was signed by US President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Prague in 2010.
  • New START replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which terminated when New START entered into force.
  • Both Russia and the United States announced that they met New START limitations by Feb. 5, 2018.
  • New START expires in 2021.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way significance.

Introduction:

New START treaty is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011.

New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.

Body:

Current scenario:

  • Russia has warned that it was prepared to drop New START treaty with the U.S. and warned of “global catastrophe” if Washington keeps dismantling a global arms control regime.
  • It alleged that Washington showed no genuine interest in conducting talks on extending the New START treaty, which caps the number of nuclear warheads well below Cold War limits.

Key features:

  • The number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half.
  • A new inspection and verification regime will be established, replacing the SORT mechanism.
  • The number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads is limited to 1,550, which is down nearly two-thirds from the original START treaty, as well as 10% lower than the deployed strategic warhead limit of the 2002 Moscow Treaty.
  • It will also limit the number of deployed and non-deployed inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 800.
  • The number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments is limited to 700.

Significance:

  • New START benefits both directly by limiting the number of weapons deployed, and in indirect ways through information gathered.
  • The U.S. decision to withdraw from a nuclear arms treaty with Russia that was a cornerstone of European security in the post-Cold War era could erode other arms control agreements even as it enhances Washington’s ability to respond to growing threats from both Russia and China.
  • New START’s demise could support a larger strategic weapons force, so it’s possible that programs such as Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent [Boeing vs Northrop] and LRSO [Lockheed Martin vs Raytheon] competition are upsized, and there would be more work on nuclear weapons in the Department of Energy
  • Hypersonic weapon delivery platforms and missile defence could also play well in this environment, particularly with the possible loss of inspection/verification provisions of New START.

Conclusion:

Making New START extension is even more imperative is the imminent demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in conjunction with the United States’ decision to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2001.


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

4) “Though neighbourhood first remains India’s foreign policy priority, but the emphasis has shifted from SAARC to BIMSTEC”. Analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his second innings in diplomacy this week with a visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka, his foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has chosen Bhutan as his first foreign destination.

Thus it is important for us to evaluate the shift in India’s neighborhood policy.

Key demands of the question:

Answer is about discussing the changing foreign policy scenario of India.

Directive word

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

In a few introductory lines define the current foreign policy of India.

Body

  • Discuss the core points of focus of Indian foreign policy.
  • Trace the change in trends of India’s foreign policy in the past five years.
  • How and why is there a shift?
  • India and its neighborhood scenario.
  • India – SAARC, India- BIMSTC relations.
  • Conclude with what is the significance of such a shift in the policy, India’s role.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Bay of Bengal is fast becoming a key area of economic and strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. It’s the largest bay in the world and forms an important part of southern Asia. The limitations of SAARC due to multiple reasons have led to South Asian region being the least integrated region in the world vis-à-vis the European and ASEAN experiences.

BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia. BIMSTEC has gained more favour as the preferred platform for regional cooperation in South Asia

Body:

SAARC has failed in achieving its objectives because:

  • India-Pakistan rivalry: This has become a bottleneck in achieving effective coordination. India has conveyed that terrorism and talks cannot go on simultaneously.
  • Bilateral issues: Long pending issues between members like fishermen issue between India and Srilanka, Teesta water sharing between India and Bangladesh, lack of direct access to Afghanistan to other members except Pakistan have restricted in arriving at common ground for regional integration.
  • Perceived Big-Brother attitude of India: Asymmetry in the region due to sheer size of Indian economy and stature in international arena requires India to play an over active role. However, this is perceived as big brother attitude by other members creating mistrust.
  • Internal Crises: Almost every member is facing numerous internal crises like Tamils issue in Srilanka, Constitutional crisis in Nepal, religious fundamentalism in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Terrorism and instability in Afghanistan. Consequently, there is no much enthusiasm to achieve collaboration in the sub continent.
  • China’s inroad into SAARC countries: Increasing presence of china in the region and reservations of India with China is creating roadblocks. India cannot match the levels of financing by China. China with its grand plan of BRI has lured the small nations.
  • Poverty- Ridden: Even though the region accounts for 21% of world population, its share in global GDP is just around 3%. Being one of the poverty ridden areas of the world, there is limited avenues to achieve synergy.

BIMSTEC provides an alternative to SAARC due to the following reasons:

  • Connectivity:
    • BIMSTEC serves two purposes for India – it makes it easier for India to share a common regional platform with its neighbours in South Asia (sans Pakistan) and secondly, BIMSTEC also establishes a linkage between South and Southeast Asia.
    • Urgency of promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation via BIMSTEC and BBIN has to be seen in the context of China’s BRI and the compelling strategic challenge posed by China’s muscular geo-economic and geo-political interventions in Asia, particularly in India’s neighbourhood.
    • The development of the North-eastern region, by opening up to Bangladesh and Myanmar, is another incentive for India.
  • Regional Co-operation: Regional cooperation under the ambit of SAARC has become difficult made BIMSTEC more viable:
    • Despite India’s keen interest in cooperating and strengthening intra-regional connectivity by backing the SAARC–Motor vehicle agreement, the agreement was stalled following Pakistan’s reluctance.
    • Similarly, the SAARC satellite project that India proposed was abandoned following objection from Pakistan in 2016
    • SAARC has also faced obstacles in the area of security cooperation. A major hindrance in this regard has been the lack of consensus on threat perceptions, since member countries disagree on the idea of threats. Example: cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
  • Cordial Relationship:
    • The member countries have generally cordial relationships, something patently missing among the SAARC countries.
    • BIMSTEC’s major strength comes from the fact that it includes two influential regional powers: Thailand and India. This adds to the comfort of smaller neighbours by reducing the fear of dominance by one big power.
  • Economic vistas: As a trade bloc, BIMSTEC provides many opportunities.
    • The region has countries with the fastest-growing economies in the world. The combined GDP in the region is around US$2 trillion and will likely grow further.
    • Trade among the BIMSTEC member countries reached six percent in just a decade, while in SAARC, it has remained around five percent since its inception.
    • Compared to SAARC, BIMSTEC has greater trade potential as well. Among the member countries, India’s intra-BIMSTEC trade is around 3 percent of its total trade.
    • BIMSTEC regional grouping happens to have five nations that are also part of SAARC. The fact that this region is growing at 6.5% per annum, collectively comprises of 1.5 billion people, is the drive behind India’s focus being part of BIMSTEC.

However, there are concerns which need to be addressed.

  • Infrequency of the BIMSTEC summits, the highest decision-making body of the organisation. In its 20 years of existence, the BIMSTEC summit has taken place only thrice.
  • The delay in the adoption of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a framework that was agreed upon in 2004, fuels doubts about BIMSTEC’s efficacy.
  • BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement [MVA] is an instrument that was conceived to transform and facilitate trade. It has not yet been completely successful as Bhutan is worried about security and environmental fallout of such an agreement.
  • In the latest summit in 2018, it was noted that the Motor Vehicle Agreement and the Coastal Shipping Agreement would still need more time for finalisation.
  • Both Thailand and Myanmar are criticised for having ignored BIMSTEC in favour of ASEAN.
  • Region lacks physical connectivity. The tri-lateral highway connecting India-Myanmar-Thailand has been a non-starter.
  • BIMSTEC has identified 14 priority sectors and has signed an FTA (2004) and a Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking (2009). The pace of implementation has been quite sluggish so far.

 

Conclusion:

Both SAARC and BIMSTEC focus on regions which are geographically overlapping but this does not make them equal alternatives. SAARC is a purely regional organization, whereas BIMSTEC is interregional and connects both South Asia and ASEAN. Hence, SAARC and BIMSTEC complement each other in terms of functions and goals and India has a unique opportunity to connect with ASEAN through 3Cs (Commerce, Culture and Connectivity).


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

5) What do understand by tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) that was recently signed with Marshall Islands? Discuss in detail its features along with its significance. (250 words)

The hindubuisnessline

 

Why this question:

Recently India notified a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with the Marshall Islands.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the key features of TIEA, its significance for India and other countries involved.

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 with brief introduction on what is TIEA.

Body

  • The TIEA is based on international standards of tax transparency and exchange of information and enables sharing of information on request.
  • What are its key features? –  The agreement enables bilateral sharing of information, including banking and ownership information for tax purposes. It also allows officials of one country to undertake tax examinations in the other.
  • The agreement between the two countries provides an effective framework for exchange of information on tax matters which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
  • Recent agreement: The TIEA for exchange of information with respect to taxes was signed in 2016 at Majuro, the Capital of the Marshall Islands. India notified the TIEA on May 21, 2019.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of such efforts.

Introduction:

Tax information exchange agreements (TIEA) provide for the exchange of information on request relating to a specific criminal or civil tax investigation or civil tax matters under investigation. A model TIEA was developed by the OECD Global Forum Working Group on Effective Exchange of Information. Recently, India has notified the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) signed with the Marshall Islands in 2016.

Body:

Features of TIEA between India and Marshall Islands:

  • The Agreement enables the exchange of information, including banking and ownership information, between the two countries for tax purposes.
  • It is based on international standards of tax transparency and exchange of information and enables the sharing of information on request.
  • The Agreement also provides for representatives of one country to undertake tax examinations in the other country.
  • The Agreement will enhance mutual cooperation between India and the Marshall Islands by providing an effective framework for the exchange of information in tax matters which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Significance of TIEA:

  • It provides for exchange of information that is “foreseeably relevant” to the administration and enforcement of domestic tax laws on the Contracting Parties.
  • The information provided under TIEA is protected by confidentiality obligations. Disclosure can be made to courts or judicial forums only for the purpose of determination of the taxation matter in question.
  • Information requested may relate to a person who is not a resident of a Contracting Party.
  • There is an obligation on part of requested Party to gather information if it is not in its possession, notwithstanding that it does not itself need that information. Therefore, no “domestic interest” for tax purposes is required for the provision of information.
  • Information is defined in an expansive manner to cover banking details, ownership details of companies/persons/funds/trusts etc.
  • Apart from exchange of information, representatives of one Party may be permitted to conduct tax examinations in territory of another party including interviews of individuals and examination of records.

Conclusion:

India has been actively seeking to tax off-shore wealth. It has not only been party to international developments, but has also taken steps like introduction of The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Asset) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. Indian revenue authorities are significantly adding strength to their armoury through TIEAs and similar measures, which would yield results in the near future.


Topic: Agriculture.

6) Agrarian distress is majorly a result of low farm prices and low agricultural productivity. Suggest measures which could help in realizing the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about discussing extent of agriculture distress.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the key factors causing the Agrarian distress, and about the demands of urgent policy attention.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines discuss the current Agrarian distress facing India.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • The rising demand for farm loan waivers across states show the extent of agriculture distress.
  • This agrarian distress demands urgent policy attention on the following lines:
  • raise productivity
  • reduce costs of cultivation by providing quality inputs at subsidised rates
  • provide remunerative prices following the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission
  • ensure assured procurement of output
  • expand access to institutional credit
  • enhance public investment for infrastructural development
  • institute effective crop insurance systems
  • establish affordable scientific storage facilities and agro-processing industries for value addition etc.
  • Suggest what should be the way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what more needs to be done.

Introduction:

Agrarian distress, in the present context, is mainly in terms of low agricultural prices and, consequently, poor farm incomes. Low productivity in agriculture and related supply side factors are equally important. An issue that is connected is the declining average size of farm holdings and the viability of this size for raising farm incomes.

Body:

The critical issues associated with Agricultural Marketing:

  • Rigid Market Structure:
    • Prevalence of APMC markers, trader cartels due to which low price for agri produce is offered specially due to bumper crop production.
  • Poor Infrastructure and Logistics:
    • Lack of diffusion of adequate storage facilities lead to wastage. For instance farmers dump truckloads of vegetables on road.
    • Food Parks projects concentrated near to cities and poor maintenance leads to spoilage of the crops.
    • Cold storage units exist in less than one-tenth of the markets and grading facilities in less than one-third; electronic weigh-bridges are available only in a few markets.
  • Government Policies:
    • The government continues to use old draconian measures, including stocking restrictions and bans on exports and futures trading, to even small increase in food prices. Such steps may bring temporary relief to consumers, but end up hurting farmers.
  • Pro-Consumer bias:
    • In most years, for the majority of agri-products, the policymakers used restrictive export policies to keep domestic prices low. This showed the pro-consumer bias in the policy complex.
  • Middlemen troubles:
    • As pointed out by Ramesh Chand, in Punjab, there are as many as 22,000 commission agents and innumerable middlemen in each market.
    • According to Ashok Gulati, former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, commission agents in Delhi charge exorbitant fees ranging from 6 per cent to 15 per cent.
  • Information Asymmetry:
    • A bumper crop can pull down prices in wholesale markets. Price spikes after a poor crop are inevitably dealt with through cheap imports in a bid to protect consumers. The opposite is done less frequently. This is due to lack of information.
    • The bountiful rains of 2016 resulted in record farm output. Prices crashed. Farmers are reported to have not been able to even recover the cost for some crops.
    • The prospects of a good monsoon pushed up rural wages. The reality of rock bottom prices then destroyed profit margins.
  • Aggressive cultivation led to plunge in demand:
    • Once prices have increased farmers cultivated the crop aggressively leading to plunging of prices.
    • Two years ago, garlic fetched an average Rs 60 per kg rate in Rajasthan’s Kota mandi. Enthused by it, farmers in the Hadoti region planted more area, only to see prices halve last May.
    • Similar was the case for other vegetables. Example: Tomato, Toor Dal etc.
  • Farmers income remained low:
    • India had record food production in 2017-18, but farmers’ income remained low and stagnant.
    • According to Ashok Dalwai committee, farmer’s income remained about 15-40% of consumer’s price.
    • Studies conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute and World Bank have confirmed this.

Government has set up many committees like Swaminathan committee and the recent Ashok Dalwai committee to give solutions to agrarian distress in India. The measures that can help agrarian distress in the country are as follows:

  • Credit, finance and Insurance:
    • Raising the MSP, price deficiency payments or income support schemes can only be a partial solution to the problem of providing remunerative returns to farmers.
    • A functional institutional credit system which is accessible and accountable to all cultivators.
    • This covers not only land-owning farmers but also sharecroppers, tenants, adivasi and women farmers, and animal-rearers.
    • Credit products for agriculture need to be tailor-made based on cropping and rain cycle, specific to a particular region. The regional offices of commercial banks should contribute in this exercise. Registration of all cultivators and providing Kisan credit cards.
    • The period of crop loan should be extendable to four years, given that, on average, every second or third year the spatial distribution of rain pattern is erratic in India.
  • Land holdings:
  • The average size of farm holdings declined from 2.3 hectares in 1970-71 to 1.08 hectares in 2015-16.
  • Policies for land consolidation along with land development activities in order to tackle the challenge of the low average size of holdings.
  • Farmers can voluntarily come together and pool land to gain the benefits of size. Through consolidation, farmers can reap the economies of scale both in input procurement and output marketing.
  • Input Costs:
    • It is more important to make agriculture sustainable by reducing input costs of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs.
    • Investment in infrastructure and research and development are needed.
    • There is a need for collaboration of industry-academia for coming out with cost-effective solutions to agrarian distress.
    • There is a need to make a shift from rice and wheat-centric policies to millets, pulses, fruits, vegetables, livestock and fish.
  • Remunerative Prices:
    • Extending reach of minimum support price which has been dedicated to few crops and in a narrow geographical area is important.
    • Set up of Futures and Trade markets, tie up of farmer and private companies for procurement should be looked into as alternative methods against distress sale.
  • Agro- Produce Marketing and Processing:
    • The creation of a competitive, stable and unified national market is needed for farmers to get better prices.
    • For better price for farmers, agriculture has to go beyond farming and develop a value chain comprising farming, wholesaling, warehousing, logistics, processing and retailing.
    • The agro-processing industry and warehousing needs to expand so that agricultural produce can be stored when prices plunge.
    • Promoting viable farmer collectives to act as a “collective voice of marginal and small farmers”.
    • Legislations on the basis of NITI Aayog’s new model law — Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitating) Act (APLM) should be enacted in all states.
    • A sustainable solution is market reforms to enable better price discovery combined with long-term trade policies favourable to exports.
  • Technology:
    • Use water-use efficient technologies that can improve significantly the produce like drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation.
    • Precision agriculture, GM Crops should be encouraged drought prone areas.
    • Space technology and Mobiles should act as “Eyes and Ears” of the farmers to assist in farming.
  • Distress Management:
    • Establish farmers’ distress and disaster relief commissions at the national and State levels, based on the model of Kerala Farmers’ Debt Relief Commission.

Conclusion:

Farmers’ distress is due to low prices and low productivity. Limited procurement, measures to improve low productivity, and consolidation of land holdings to gain the benefits of size, can help in reducing agrarian distress. It is time to concede that production and marketing should march together in order to benefit farmers and consumers. Farmers need to be empowered to decide when, where, to whom and at what price to sell.


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.

7)Humans roam the earth, not the heavens, so ethics are indispensable. Elucidate.(250 words)

Ethics by lexicon

 

Why this question:

The question intends to discuss the indispensability of ethics in human life.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the how humanity forces the need for ethics in everyday life.

Structure of the answer:

Directive:

ElucidateGive a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines appreciate what you understand by ethics.

Body:

Such questions are best answered using examples, suggest and assert how humans err- sometimes with maliciousness in mind but most of the time humans make misjudgments out of ignorance, intolerance or due to inability of reasoning etc. Then move onto explain how ethics in such conditions can guide.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of ethics.

Introduction:

Ethics are moral principles or values that govern the conduct of an individual or a group. Ethics is important to every society as it plays a critical role in shaping the individuals behaviours within a society. Since the dawn of human civilization, men have sought to keep human conduct in check to preserve the peace of society. Where written law is used to govern official businesses and happenings, ethics act as a self-governing system to keep human self-interest and the good of society at equilibrium because the eyes of the law are not always available

Body:

  • Make citizens law abiding: It is ethics which stop us from breaking traffic signal, lying under oath, female foeticide etc. especially when the chances of conviction are very less.
  • Prevent selfish use of law: eg: disruption of parliament for narrow political interest. It was legal but they could have waited till February. Hence ethics helps in building trust, credibility and social capital.
  • Leads to equality and inclusiveness: equal opportunity to women in corporate world, giving up caste discrimination, welcoming tribal, LGBT, Aids patients in mainstream society.
  • Reduces corruption: The incentive for corruption can only be countered by ethics; Empathy and compassion for poor who are worst affected by corruption.
  • Helps in private affairs: Caring for old parents; Respecting spouse, no domestic violence or marital rape; Good upbringing of children.
  • Satisfying Basic Human Needs: Being fair, honest and ethical is one the basic human needs. Every employee desires to be such himself and to work for an organization that is fair and ethical in its practices.
  • Securing the Society: Often ethics succeeds law in safeguarding the society. The law machinery is often found acting as a mute spectator, unable to save the society and the environment. Technology, for example is growing at such a fast pace that by the time law comes up with a regulation we have a newer technology with new threats replacing the older one. Lawyers and public interest litigations may not help a great deal but ethics can.
  • Long Term Gains: Organizations guided by ethics and values are profitable in the long run, though in the short run they may seem to lose money. For example Tata group, one of the largest business conglomerates in India was seen on the verge of decline at the beginning of 1990’s, which soon turned out to be otherwise.

Conclusion:

Ethics is shown to play an important role in moulding one’s behaviour to identify what is right and wrong to do in a society, as it is a belief and standard that helps to create a harmonious and conforming environment. Not only that, in order to eradicate erosion of ethics among society one need to understand why ethics play a vital role to everyone as a whole, and not being bias to only a part of the community.