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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 JULY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 JULY 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: Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) To what extent it is correct to say that development of Indian music is a story of a transformation from spiritualism to emotive affairs? Discuss the factors which influenced Indian music throughout its history.(250 words)

 Art and culture by Nitin Singhania

Why this question:

 The question aims to discuss the transition Music as an art has taken from spiritualism to emotional aspects.

Key demand of the question:

Trace the evolution of music as an art 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: 

Discuss in brief the importance of music and its genesis in India.

Body:

Discussion should detail upon the genesis of music as an artform, and one must possibly trace its evolution through history, in what way it changed progressively and evolved from spiritualism to emotional affairs of individuals and public life.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of Music as an immortal artform which is in continuous transformation with passage of time.

Introduction:

India has  a  great  history  of  music  dating  from  the  ancient  period  up  to  the  present  time. Many  Artists,  musicologists,  and  Scholars  enriched  Indian  Music  by  their  endless efforts. Various Yogis and Religious Gurus also made contributions to enrich Indian Musical Tradition.  With Changing Times a lot of changes came into Indian Music.

Body:

Evolution of Indian music – from spiritualism to emotive affairs:

  • Its origins lie in existing religious, folk and theatrical performance practices. The origins of Hindustani classical music can be found in the Samaveda (wherein Sāman means “melody” and Veda means “knowledge”)
  • Samaveda consists of a collection (Samhita) of hymns and verses or specifically indicated melodies called Samagana that were sung by the priests while offering libations to various deities.
  • Classical music has its origin as a form of meditation and is based upon ragas and taals each designed to affect different “chakras” (energy centers, or “moods”) in the path of the “Kundalini” of the human system.
  • Vedic practice traces specific physical, mental, biological and spiritual results associated with activation of these centres to generate the very sound of “OM”.
  • Music was restricted to religious and ritualistic purposes and was mainly used in temples only.
  • The aesthetic experiences which emerged were called the “theory of rasa”, as propounded by Bharata (300 BC) in his extensive treatise “Natyashastra”.
  • According to Bharata, there are nine emotional states or “navarasas”. These are: Shringar, Hasya, Karun, Raudra, Veer, Bhayanaka, Vibhatsya, Adbhut and Shant.
  • This then developed in association with folk music and other musical forms of India and gradually derived its own musical characteristics.
  • The Gupta period is known for the excellence in all fields of Indian art and culture. The reference to Music in Gupta period comes from the works of Kalidasa and Vatsyayana among others.
  • Around the 9th century, the Sufis tradition had itself a firm foothold in India. The Sufi mystics are known for their great love for music and acceptance of many indigenous customs.
  • The impact of Bhakti Movement on Indian music was through the Ashtachap and Haveli sangeet along with the Bhajan and Kirtans.
  • Using the regional language, Braj, Avadhi or whatever, as the vehicle, saint-composers were able to reach to people in social strata otherwise impervious to the influence of art and music.
  • During the Mughal period, and especially under Akbar’s reign, temple music was largely overshadowed by the Darbar Sangeet, in which music was composed mainly to eulogise patrons.
  • Qawwali was reintroduced into the Mughal imperial court and it quickly spread throughout South Asia faster than ever before

The various factors which influenced Indian music throughout its history:

  • Social Organisation
    • Initially, Indian music in its earliest form was a part of Hindu religion, and it was recognised and assimilated in the fibre of social and religious life and behaviours of the people.
    • The supremacy of vocal music was experienced and held because vocal music could be wedded to words and words to music- integration denied to instrumental music which could only give or repeat or recast melody or the tunes.
    • The third stream came in greater flow with the phase of the Hindu professional musicians changing their faith to the Muslim religion under the new economic patronage of the Muslim rulers, particularly during the times of Akbar.
    • The styles (Dhrupad-Dhamar), which had received characteristic sophistication and colour in the Vaisnava temples underwent subtle changes. The Dhrupad style gradually lost interest in the literary-religious import of the pada, and paid greater attention to the musical aspects.
  • Nature
    • The influence of nature on Indian classical music has been immense. The association of music with nature is one of the strongest features of our Vedic culture.
    • This is even reflected in the Vedic literature. Indian melodic music based on the simple and natural scale may appear to some to be primitive or ethnic, but it is a phenomenon of organic order.
    • One of the strongest links with nature can be seen in the still current belief and practice of treating certain raagas more appropriate for certain seasons, and raagas linked to certain hours or periods (prahams) of day or night.
    • When considered in the context of the age-old agricultural economy and festivals connected with the cycle of crops and seasons, the tunes good enough to make the total expression more meaningful and explicit flowered in the form of folk songs or recitals. These served, very suitably, to nourish and celebrate life. The cycle of seasons provided a cycle of events-rituals, resulting in associations and conventions.
  • Iconography:
    • Visualization of music is an aspect of visualization of the non-visual or using symbols for comprehension, concentration, idealization and deification.
    • Comprehending the non-visual in the human shape (many a time with modified human shape, with extra arms or faces) could be directly linked to Vedic thought; it is part of Indian theology and an aspect of polytheism.
    • The raaga dhyanamurtis and later picturisation of raagas and raginis are the result of iconographical view of music and the paintings require to be understood in terms of the influence of iconography on music as well.
  • Language
    • The influence of the phonic aspects of language on raaga-music has also been quite immense.
    • While music demanded vowelization of the words used by the language, language itself produced many such forms of words with phonetic contents suitable for exploitation by the vocal art.
    • It could be stated that the Braj Bhasha and ntikalina compositions have influenced the formal as well as the content aspects of the major classical forms and in doing so it has influenced the presentational aspects of raaga music.

Conclusion:

Influences on Indian music have been many and varied. The impact of Indian Thought and Philosophy on Indian Classical Music and of the various customs on the external and internal natural aspects of our melodic musical culture has ever been one major expression of our cultural heritage.


Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2)  “Defection is condemnable, especially if it is to bring down one regime and form another.” Comment in the backdrop of political crisis presently facing the state of Karnataka. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The question is based on the current situation of political crisis the state of Karnataka is undergoing.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the nuances of defection in detail.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Discuss in brief what is meant by defection.

Body:

The answer needs to discuss the following aspects – 

Discuss in detail the constitutional provisions related to defection in the Indian polity.

Explain what way the provisions are often being misused for political gains.

Use the example of the current Karnataka case and other states in the past.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions, what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

Defection is “desertion by one member of the party of his loyalty towards his political party” or basically it means “When an elected representative joins another party without resigning his present party for benefits”. The recent episode in Karnataka where a set of MLAs have resigned from one party to join another to further their own interests has brought the anti-defection debate to the fore again. The Supreme Court’s decision to ask the parties to the political crisis in Karnataka to maintain the status quo until it examines the questions of law involved, is pragmatic and expedient.

Body:

Provisions against Defection:

The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.  The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. However, there are several issues in relation to the working of this law.

Details of SC Order:

  • The Speaker has been asked not to decide the issue of MLAs’ resignation or disqualification.
  • An order has been passed when one of the questions to be decided is whether the court can give such a direction to the Speaker.
  • It now transpires that legislators can be prevented from resigning by claiming that they have incurred disqualification.

Misuse of provisions for political gains:

  • It was argued in court that “the rebel MLAs are trying to avoid disqualification by tendering resignations.”
  • This is astounding, as the penalty for defection is loss of legislative office.
  • Quitting the current post before joining another party is a legal and moral obligation.
  • However, Politicians cannot be tied down to parties against their will by not letting them leave even their legislative positions.
  • Converting resignation into a disqualification matter is an attempt to deny a member’s right to quit his seat in the legislature before joining another party, even if the crossing-over is a politically expedient measure.
  • A disqualified member cannot become a Minister without getting elected again, whereas one who resigns can be inducted into an alternative Cabinet without being a member.

Current concerns:

  • Converting resignation into a disqualification matter adds new dimension to a political crisis
  • The on-going proceedings represent an increasingly common trend in litigation on constitutional issues: the propensity of the political class to twist and stretch the law in their favour and leave it to the court to set things right.
  • The Speaker already enjoys extraordinary powers under the Constitution.
  • In addition to immunity from judicial scrutiny for legislative matters, such as whether a Bill is a money bill, presiding officers get to decide whether a member has incurred disqualification under the anti-defection law.
  • Though the decision is subject to judicial review, many Speakers have evaded judicial scrutiny by merely not acting on disqualification matters.
  • The question whether the Speaker’s inaction can be challenged in court is pending before another Constitution Bench.
  • Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have instances of Speakers not acting on disqualification questions for years. The current crisis (Converting resignation into a disqualification matter) in Karnataka has exposed a new dimension to a political crisis.
  • Accepting a resignation is a simple function of being satisfied if it is voluntary, while disqualification is decided on evidence and inquiry. The two should not be mixed up.

Way forward:

Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms

  • Disqualification should be limited to cases-
    • A member voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party
    • A member abstains from voting, or votes contrary to the party whip in a motion of vote of confidence or motion of no-confidence.

Law Commission (170th Report)

  • Provisions which exempt splits and mergers from disqualification to be deleted.
  • Pre-poll electoral fronts should be treated as political parties under anti-defection
  • Political parties should limit issuance of whips to instances only when the government is in danger.

Election Commission:

  • Decisions under the Tenth Schedule should be made by the President/ Governor on the binding advice of the Election Commission.

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

3) India has recently recorded the fastest absolute reduction in the Index value among 10 countries across every developing region. Evaluate the policy paradigm that has led to such a commendable progress.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question: 

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2019 report, an initiative of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme, released last week, says that India has recorded the fastest absolute reduction in the Index value among 10 countries across every developing region.

Demand of the question:

The answer must analyse policies and programs that made the change in poverty levels possible.

Directive word: 

EvaluateWhen you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Highlight the findings of the report in a line or two.

Body

Discuss the key findings of the report – According to this report, between 2005-06 and 2015-16, India lifted 271 million out of poverty and reduced deprivations in many of its 10 indicators, particularly in assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition. It also says that Jharkhand, among the poorest regions in the world, reduced the incidence of multi-dimensional poverty — captured in indicators such as nutrition, sanitation, child mortality, housing, cooking fuel, years of schooling and electricity — the fastest.

Explain in what way schemes or programmes designed to provide pucca housing, toilets, cooking gas, power, roads and healthcare or the public provision of private goods with a lot of positive externalities have led to the change in the poverty dynamics.

Conclusion 

Conclude with need for growth with its trickle-down effect to further reduce and eliminate poverty and to ensure economic convergence among states.

Introduction:

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2019 report, an initiative of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme, released last week, says that India has recorded the fastest absolute reduction in the Index value among 10 countries across every developing region.

Body:

Highlights of the report:

  • Incidence of multidimensional poverty almost halved between 2005-06 and 2015-16, climbing down to 27.5%, indicating that the number of poor people in India fell by more than 271 million within ten years.
  • Incidence of multidimensional poverty halved in India due to faster progress among the poorest in the country. Among states, Jharkhand had the greatest improvement, with Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland only slightly behind.
  • However, Bihar was still the poorest state in 2015- 16, with more than half of its population living in poverty. In 2015-16, the four poorest states – Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh – were home to 196 million multidimensional poor people – over half of all the people living in multidimensional poverty in India.
  • Least poor regions also saw reduction in poverty. Relative to their starting levels, they netted some of the highest rates of reduction. For example, Kerala, one of the least poor regions in 2006, reduced its MPI by around 92%.
  • The positive trend of pro-poor poverty reduction was seen also across religions and caste groups. In both cases, the poorest groups (Muslims and Scheduled Tribes) reduced poverty the most over the ten years from 2005-06 to 2015-16.
  • The poorest district is Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, where 76.5% of people are poor – the same as Sierra Leone in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only eight countries have higher rates of MPI.

Policies which helped:

  • That pace of economic growth over a sustained period helped create the fiscal space for welfare programmes both by the Centre and the states, ensuring better access to food, nutrition, health and cooking fuel.
  • The knock-on impact has been felt by states, too, with poverty levels declining faster in better managed states which had invested hugely in the social sector.
  • Such high growth helped the government launch schemes such as MGNREGA, which threw up work opportunities.
  • The government can be credited for schemes or programmes designed to provide pucca housing (PMAY), toilets (SBM), cooking gas (Ujjwala Yojana), power (SAUBHAGYA), roads (PM Gram Sadak Yojana) and healthcare (Ayushman Bharat) or the public provision of private goods with a lot of positive externalities.

Way forward:

  • Need to tackle high fertility, government can work in a Bangladesh family planning approach model with collaboration of united nation population group and NGOs.
  • Reduce poverty by a community approach by using the self help group formula.
  • Government needs to take crude action against the female foeticide and abortion cases that affect these states.
  • There is a need for effective implementation of government schemes in these states like aspirational districts initiative, Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana etc.
  • Inclusive education is necessary with better outcomes.
  • Sanitation needs to be strictly taken care of to avoid diseases.

Conclusion:

But all these programmes need resources which can come only from growth with its trickle-down effect. So the focus has to be on growth to further reduce and eliminate poverty and to ensure economic convergence among states. A couple of percentage points’ increase or decrease in growth can make a big difference to a nation’s destiny.


Topic:  Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

4) Chandrayaan 2 is yet another audacious attempt being made by ISRO in the field of space research. Examine the distinctiveness and significance of such a mission.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is to evaluate the distinctness and significance of Chandrayaan 2 mission.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the objectives of the mission and what factors make it significant for India.

Directive:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with the fact that Chandrayaan-2 is all set for 3.84 lakh km voyage.

Body:

Chandrayaan-2, which is the first Indian moon landing mission, is all set to head on its 3.84 lakh km voyage to the moon in the early hours of Monday, July 15, 2019.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has scheduled the launch of its lunar probe, by a GSLV MkIII rocket, from the country’s Sriharikota spaceport for 2.51 a.m.

A sequel to Chandrayaan-1, which was launched in 2008 and only orbited the moon at a distance of 100 km, Chandrayaan-2 entails the first attempt by any nation to make a landing on the moon’s mineral rich south pole. 

Explain that If ISRO achieves the feat in its first attempt, it will make India only the fourth country to soft-land on the lunar surface.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting its significance. 

Introduction:

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation. It involves the three modules: the Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan) to conduct various scientific experiments on lunar surface.

Body:

Objectives of the mission:

  • Push the boundaries of scientific knowledge to unravel the mysteries of this universe.
  • Unleash innovation by throwing challenges at the youth of the country, and spurring future research and development.
  • Explore economic possibilities by strengthening ISRO’s alliance with the industry.
  • Engaging with the general public by motivating the youth to undertake real life applications of science and technology.
  • Expanding India’s footprint in space as Moon is the perfect test-bed for proving technologies required for future space explorations.
  • Making India a key contributor of exploring and uncovering secrets of the universe, thus fostering shared aspirations of the international community.

Distinctiveness of Chandrayaan 2:

  • Technologically, it will be the most challenging mission that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has undertaken because ISRO will not only be sending a spacecraft to the moon but attempting to soft-land a contraption called the lander on the lunar surface.
  • If successful, India will be the fourth country (After Russia, China, and the USA) to land a rover on the moon.
  • India will be the first country to land on the southern pole of the moon.
  • This would give ISRO opportunity to name that site on the moon.
  • Mission will also expand the country’s footprint in space as moon is the perfect test-bed for proving technologies required for future space exploration.

Significance of the mission:

  • It is India’s second mission to the moon.
  • It aims to explore the Moon’s south polar region.
  • It will be launched onboard India’s most powerful launcher – GSLV MK-III.
  • The mission is an important step in India’s plans for planetary exploration, a program known as Planetary Science and Exploration (PLANEX).
  • There are three components of the mission, an orbiter, a lander and a rover.
  • The mission payloads include — Terrain Mapping Camera which will generate a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the entire moon, Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer which will test the elemental composition of the Moon’s surface Solar X-Ray Monitor which will provide solar X-ray spectrum inputs for CLASS.
  • The orbiter will be deployed at an altitude of 100 kilometers above the surface of the Moon. The lander will then separate from the orbiter, and execute a soft landing on the surface of the Moon, unlike the previous mission which crash landed near the lunar south pole.
  • The lander, rover and orbiter will perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface. The rover is named Pragyan.
  • The mission’s lander is named Vikram after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian Space Programme.
  • 13 instruments from India, one instrument from US space agency, NASA.
  • ISRO highlighted that the mission was supported by more than 500 academic institutions and 120 industries that contributed 60% of the Rs.603 crore cost of Chandrayaan-2 and 80% of the Rs.375 crore cost of the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle-Mark III.
  • The mission will also provide a map of the moon’s topology, which could add many new findings to existing data due to its unique choice of the landing site.

Challenges involved in the moon landing:

  • identifying trajectory accurately;
  • taking up deep space communication;
  • trans-lunar injection;
  • orbiting around the moon;
  • taking up soft landing on the moon surface;
  • facing extreme temperatures and vacuum.

Conclusion:

Based on the new landing-profile, the mission has further changes and new problems, with mission engineers working overtime to ensure timely launch. With the scientific mission riding on Chandrayaan-2, a successful landing near the south pole in itself would be an extraordinary feat for ISRO as well as global space exploration agencies.


Topic:  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5) Infrastructure expansion has witnessed noteworthy stimulus in India in the recent times. Discuss. (250 words) 

Indian economy by Dutta and Sundaram

Why this question:

India requires a huge corpus of investment in order to cope up for its infrastructure deficits. The sector has witnessed moderate growth recently and the government has also initiated various steps to boost investment in infrastructure sector. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must detail about the status of infrastructure growth in India and bring out in detail the impetus received by the sector recently.

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: 

In few lines bring out the current state of India’s infrastructure sector, in what way it drives the economy.

Body:

Discussion should include the following: 

First highlight the present stimulus that the sector is witnessing in India, what are the various provisions in terms of laws, policies, programs that the sector is gaining prospects from.

Explain what are the present infrastructure gaps existing currently, in what way these gaps can be addressed.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Infrastructure is a key driver of the overall development of Indian economy. It is seen that investments in infrastructure equal to 1% of GDP will result in GDP growth of at least 2% as infrastructure has a “multiplier effect” on economic growth across sectors. The recent headway made in developing transport infrastructure will prove to be the biggest enabler for growth.

Body:

Significance of Infrastructure expansion:

  • Infrastructure development helps in poverty reduction due to its high employment elasticity leading to huge job creation capabilities.
  • It also has the trickle-down effect as better transportation infra can lead to access to education, health and other basic necessities.
  • Increasing the manufacturing growth as there is better connectivity, easier movement of goods and services, facilitating private investments
  • It reduces the regional and inter-state disparities and leads to a balanced economic growth by regional equality.
  • Infra sector has huge spill-over effects on other sectors of economy. It has money-multiplier effect too.
  • Better quantity and quality of infrastructure can directly raise the productivity of human and physical capital and in turn growth of nation

Stimuli for Infrastructure in India:

  • Market Size
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received in Construction Development sector from April 2000 to June 2018 stood at US$ 24.87 billion, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
    • The logistics sector in India is growing 10 per cent annually and is expected to reach US$ 215 billion in 2019-20.
  • Investments
    • India has a requirement of investment worth Rs 50 trillion in infrastructure by 2022 to have sustainable development in the country. India is witnessing significant interest from international investors in the infrastructure space. Some key investments in the sector are listed below.
    • In June 2018, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced US$ 200 million investment into the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
    • Indian infrastructure sector witnessed 91 M&A deals worth US$ 5.4 billion in 2017
  • Government Initiatives
    • The Government of India is expected to invest highly in the infrastructure sector, mainly highways, renewable energy and urban transport.
    • Announcements in Union Budget 2018-19:
    • Massive push to the infrastructure sector by allocating Rs 5.97 lakh crore for the sector.
    • Rs 16,000 crore towards Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme. The scheme aims to achieve universal household electrification in the country.
    • Rs 4,200 crore to increase capacity of Green Energy Corridor Project along with other wind and solar power projects.
    • Allocation of Rs 10,000 crore to boost telecom infrastructure.
    • A new committee to lay down standards for metro rail systems was approved in June 2018. As of August 2018, 22 metro rail projects are ongoing or are under construction
    • The Government of India is working to ensure a good living habitat for the poor in the country and has launched new flagship urban mission, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
    • In May 2018, construction of additional 150,000 affordable houses was sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Urban.

However, there are still challenges which need to be tackled.

  • Delay in Implementation and execution: While issues around land acquisition and the time required for approvals have seen improvement over the years, India needs to ensure that such problems continue to receive constant attention.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment: Environmental safeguards and guidelines have proven to be one of the major reasons for delay in infrastructure projects, like roads and ports.
  • Given the complexity of infrastructure assets, a “one size fits all” solution will not work. Different models of PPP ownership like Hybrid Annuity, BOT needs to be tried.
  • The capital investments in infra projects are huge, with the NPA crisis seen across public sector banks, credit availability has become difficult. This has in turn lead to twin-balance sheet syndrome with the infrastructure companies also defaulting on their payments.
  • Regulatory issues: Lack of co-ordination between various Government agencies affecting the ease of doing business due to delayed clearances and objections.
  • Absence of a proper dispute resolution mechanism between private players and government agencies leading to pendency of cases in courts as well as the assets in limbo.
  • Poor pre-construction planning: Due to the already adverse effect of various impediments like land acquisition, statutory approvals, delayed financial closure, etc. the pre-construction phase of infrastructure projects is pretty long.
  • Other challenges include Geographical as some regions are unsuitable for infra projects, Ethnic, etc.

Conclusion:

If  proper  effort  is  made  in  expanding  education,  health  facilities,  and  physical infrastructure and improving their quality by increasing budgetary allocation and improving governance, it will go a long way in reducing poverty, improving human development, and reviving and sustaining high rates of economic growth in India.


Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6) Do you agree that the much of the current crisis facing Indian railways is originating from the fragmented structure of the rail bureaucracy? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question aims to analyse the issues and concerns marring the Indian railways system specifically in the domain of bureaucracy.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the various issues concerning the Indian railways system in what way the issues can be addressed.

Directive:

Critically 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. 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: 

Highlight the current state of railway affairs in India.

Body:

Explain the following points in detail – 

Discuss first how railways have come far ahead in time.

Explain specific issues that still surround it despite dedicated policies and programs in place.

Quote the reasons due to which the issue still persists, in what way they can be resolved.

Discuss the idea of third service cadre —the Indian Railways Management Service, the idea is that the IR management service — drawing talent from the technical and logistics services etc. as solutions to the existing problems.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward.

Introduction:

Indian Railways (IR) has been the prime movers of the nation. IR is the second largest railway system in the world under single management. IR has historically played an important integrating role in the socio-economic development of the country. Railways has been crying out for help for decades. Despite the huge allocation of funds that it gets each year, the lifeline of India continues to suffer.

Body:

Extra information: The Indian Railways — that runs 19,000 trains including 12,000 passenger trains to carry 24 million passengers each day on its 65,000 km tracks — confronts big challenges. Its networks are clogged, with approximately 492 of the total of 1219 sections — 40 percent of all sections — running at over 100 percent of above-line capacity. From 1950 to 1916, passenger and freight traffic grew by 1,344 percent and 1,642 percent respectively, while the network increased by a mere 23 percent

Bureaucratic hurdles:

  • Bureaucratic culture with high opaqueness and snail’s rate progress.
  • Officials engaged in furthering cadre goals; rather than working to fulfil the organisational goals
  • Multiple recruitment techniques: With a bench strength of over 13 lakh, the Indian Railways — the world’s fourth largest rail network — has drawn personnel from three different entry points (through UPSC, direct recruitment or from the now-defunct Rail Training Institute at Jamalpur)
  • Fragmentation: IR is split up into five technical cadres (Indian Railway Service of Signaling Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers) and three non-technical services (Indian Railways Traffic Service, IR Accounts Services and IR Personnel Service).
  • Cadres such as the IRSS and the IRPS — that had a critical role in the early decades of the country’s Independence in the absence of a domestic rail industry — continue to retain an elaborate structure despite a much reduced role.
  • The IR’s rolling stock has graduated from the simple steam engine machines to complex technological products, but the 29 workshops continue to be engaged in antiquated practices.

Other crises faced by IR:

  • Subsidised passenger tariff due to political incentives. This leads to an increase in freight rate which adds to inflation.
  • Declining passengers in the upper classes as they have started preferring bus for short haul and flight for the longer haul. Nearly a third of passenger revenue comes from AC class passengers who constitute just 1.3 per cent of the total number of passengers travelling in a year.
  • The share of roads in freight transport is more than half in India; while in China, it is only 30%. As more highways are getting built rapidly, the share of roads in freight transport is increasing at accelerating rate.
  • Freight contributes nearly two-thirds of Indian Railway’s revenue and coal transport alone contributes to half of that. Decreasing dependency on coal compounded by increasing thrust on renewable energy has crippled railway revenue.
  • Regional air connectivity scheme UDAN is further going to increase Indian Railway’s operational cost. India, recently, became the third-largest aviation market in the world after China and the US.
  • Lack of funds: In China, annual investment in railways is about Rs. 9 to 10 lakh crore whereas it is Rs. 40,000 crore a year in India. Over 80 percent of this budget goes towards wages and salaries.
  • Unfilled vacancies at the lower level (track men, line men, technicians).
  • Railways diverting from core issues of railway safety and operation and is diverting to populist needs like wifi, catering, etc.

Measures needed to tackle bureaucratic hurdles:

  • Reduce red tape and bring in efficiency. A mechanism for departments to flourish and voice their genuine concerns is what is needed for enhancing co-ordination.
  • Use of new techniques for assessing aptitudes, capabilities and cohesion are to be developed.
  • Ultimately, appropriate powers should be vested in the DRMs, GMs and the Railway Board for hazzle free decision making.
  • Streamlining by amalgamation of eight existing railway services — besides the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Railway Medical Services (RMS) into two verticals: The Indian Railways Technical Service and the Indian Railways Logistics Service
  • a third service cadre like Indian Railways Management Service must be put in place
  • Bureaucratic reform — or the proposal to unify cadres — might well be a desired objective.
  • To adopt a policy of a unified or a two-cadre system with retrospective effect
  • The long-awaited plan of setting up an independent tariff and safety regulator — called the Rail Development Regulator — remains to be put to effect
  • A Corporate Accounting System — to replace the conventional accrual-based accounting system.

Other measures:

Bibek Debroy Committee on Restructuring of Indian Railways:

  • Need for the creation of separate tariff regulator so as to keep railway away from politics.
  • Railway’s recruitment should be done by single entity instead of UPSC, SSC
  • Further needs to decentralize railway operation to increase efficiency.
  • Need to decrease cross subsidization by keeping a balance between freight and passenger fare.
  • Railway budget should be merged with the annual budget.
  • Shifting towards online procurement and auctioning.

Conclusion:

Indian Railways needs to learn from ISRO in target driven goals, team spirit, Research and Development, transparency, speed and active collaboration with the private sector. “Process, structural and cultural reforms” are the needs of the hour to resuscitate the IR.


Topic: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) What do you understand by Integral humanism? Is the concept still relevant in the present political and economic conditions of India? Discuss.(250 words)

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Indianexpress

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of integral humanism.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept and its relevance in the present economical and political conditions of the country.

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: 

Discuss the concept in brief – Integral Humanism is a fine balance between Western Capitalism & Marxist Socialism. It avoids excesses or extremes of any of them.

Body:

Explain that as per Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya principles of Capitalism or Socialism cannot be made the principles of progress & development in India. According to him, India needs to develop an indigenous economic model that puts human at the centre stage.

According to him “Humankind had four hierarchically organized attributes of body, mind, intellect and soul which corresponded to four universal objectives, kama (desire or satisfaction), artha (wealth), dharma (moral duties) and moksha (total liberation or ‘salvation’). While none could be ignored, dharma is the ‘basic’, and moksha the ‘ultimate’ objective of humankind and society. He claimed that the main problem with both capitalist and socialist ideologies is this that they only consider the needs of body and mind, and were hence based on the materialist objectives of desire and wealth”.

Discuss the relevance of the concept in all spheres – social, economic and political.

Conclusion:

Conclude with relevance of the concept even as of today in political and economic aspects.

Introduction:

Integral humanism was a set of concepts drafted by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya as a political program and adopted in 1965 as the official doctrine of the Jan Sangh. Upadhyaya borrowed the Gandhian principles such as sarvodaya (progress of all), swadeshi (domestic), and Gram Swaraj (village self rule) and these principles were appropriated selectively to give more importance to cultural-national values. These values were based on an individual’s undisputed subservience to nation as a corporate entity.

Body:

Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya opined that principles of Capitalism or Socialism cannot be made the principles of progress & development in India. According to him, India needed to develop an indigenous economic model that puts human at the centre stage. Tracing its origins to the non-dualistic philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, integral humanism propagated the oneness of various souls, be it of human, animal or plant origin. Rejecting the intrinsic diversity based on race, colour, caste or religion, it identified all human beings as part of this one organic whole, sharing a common consciousness of national thought. And putting this into a political perspective, either then or now, it meant that Hindus, Muslims, Christians and the people of all other faiths and sects are essentially one and that their intrinsic unity should be based on this common consciousness of “Rashtriyata”.

Relevance in today’s context:

Political context:

  • The emphasis of “morality in politics” can be a game changer for politics in this country – resulting in less divide among people due to political leanings
  • His teachings are relevant in the current context of domestic politics – where for a majority of state political parties, their only achievement until now has been their ability to calculate a “winning formula” amongst their voters.
  • And the most ironical part amongst all – is that these political parties have only paid lip service to the cause of disadvantaged social communities.
  • Insights from political science show how for caste-based political parties, merely winning an election based on caste and social identities becomes an end in itself.
  • The only contribution such political parties make is giving to its people the psychological security of having formed a vote bank.
  • Ultimately, for these state governments, providing any real development opportunities to those who are really socially disadvantaged never becomes a priority.

Economic context:

  • He rejected this Western model of statism and celebrated liberal notions of individual liberty within the broader realm of collective moral responsibility.
  • Just as how economists are now advocating for a public private partnership (PPP) model worldwide, similarly, he conceived the idea of a “national sector”, where right to work and safety net for the disadvantaged went hand in hand with economic entrepreneurship. And this was a principled stand.
  • He himself showed door to seven MLAs from Jan Sangh who opposed the abolition of Zamindari system in Rajasthan.
  • To give another instance of his practical economic logic, he opposed the centralisation of ownership which leads to corruption and hoarding of commodities.
  • The move by the Food Corporation of India to rationalise the stocks that it had been hoarding in the previous regimes, speaks volumes of the practical applications for this philosophy even in the current era.

Social context:

  • In the social context, Upadhyaya opined that there is only one nation. Thus, there isn’t any minority in this nation.
  • Just like how the human body has one nose and two eyes, but that does not relegate the nose to the position of a minority.
  • Similarly various religious and social communities were to exist as an organic whole, very much like the parts of the same body.
  • Vested interests, without understanding the deeper meaning behind this organicist thought, likes to conveniently paint this as a ghar vapsi or a re-conversion agenda.
  • In the religious context, Upadhyaya’s idea of a ‘Ramarajya’ is where the notions of unity based on a common binding force called ‘Dharma’ is together celebrated with the principles of political and economic decentralisation.
  • Dharma or Ramarajya both have a very “secular” interpretation. Dharma is like a moral compass, which unifies the national polity, economy and society
  • Thus, the philosophy of integral humanism imagines this common thread called “Dharma” to act like an intrinsic guiding principle for the state, which leads to political and social empowerment of all and penetration of economic benefits up unto the last man/woman standing (antyodya).

Conclusion:

Integral Humanism is a fine balance between Western Capitalism & Marxist Socialism. It avoids excesses or extremes of any of them. It builds on an organic thought, where it imagines an Indian nation, which is guided by common principles of moral order