SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 OCTOBER 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 OCTOBER 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues

1) The first two decades of the twentieth century created conditions for the emergence of socialism in Indian setting. How did the socialist ideas sway the national movement from within Congress and outside it? Discuss. (250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is to analyse the effect of socialist ideas on the Indian national movement.

Key demand of the question:

There are two parts in the questions. First part of the Question deals with origin of socialism in Indian scenario in early twentieth century. The second part its influences on national movement from socialist leaders within Congress and outside it. 

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin with the origins of socialism in Indian scenario and new dimensions it gave to the Indian national movement. 

Body:

The introduction to transition into body speaking about the causes which led to the emergence of socialism in India. 

The next part of body should address how socialism impacted the national movement within Congress. It should cover the new orientation to Congress, new leadership, new demands and new socio-economic dimensions I brought to Indian National Congress. This should be backed with particular examples like Congress sessions of Karachi and Faizpur etc., Economic Policies of Congress, peasant and working class in Congress and prominent socialist leaders like Nehru and Bose. Its impact must clearly outline and stressed upon. 

The next part of the body must deal with Gandhian Socialism and how it impacted Indian National movement very briefly. 

Last part of answer must deal Socialism outside Congress. Comment on Radical Socialism (Communism) as well and its leaders like M.N Roy. Kisan Sabhas and their contribution. Trade Unions and their contributions.  

Conclusion:

Conclude the answer with orientation how the above mentioned impact shaped India towards a socialist state and a mixed economy in post independent India.

Introduction:

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them.

Body:

Emergence of Socialism in India:

  • The socialist movement began to develop in India with the Russian Revolution in 1917.
  • However, in 1871 a group in Calcutta had contacted Karl Marx with the purpose of organizing an Indian section of the First International.
  • Marxism made a major impact in Indian media at the time of the Russian Revolution.
  • Of particular interest to many Indian papers and magazines was the Bolshevik policy of right to self-determination of all nations.
  • Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were amongst the prominent Indians who expressed their admiration of Lenin and the new rulers in Russia.
  • The Russian Revolution also affected émigré Indian revolutionaries, such as the Ghadar Party in North America.
  • The Khilafat movement contributed to the emergence of early Indian communism. Many Indian Muslims left India to join the defence of the Caliphate. Several of them became communists whilst visiting Soviet territory. Some Hindus also joined the Muslim muhajirs in the travels to the Soviet areas
  • The First World War was accompanied with a rapid increase of industries in India, resulting in a growth of an industrial proletariat. At the same time prices of essential commodities increased. These were factors that contributed to the buildup of the Indian trade union movement. Unions were formed in the urban centres across India, and strikes were organised.
  • In 1920, the All India Trade Union Congress was founded.
  • The Communist Party of India was founded in Tashkent on 17 October 1920, soon after the Second Congress of the Communist International by M.N.Roy, Abani Mukherji and others.

Economic condition during 1920s- 1930s:

  • The decade of 1930s witnessed the rapid growth of socialist ideas within and outside the Congress.
  • In 1929, there was a great economic slump or depression in the United States, which gradually spread to the rest of the world resulting in economic distress and unemployment on a large scale (across the world). But the economic situation in the Soviet Union was just the opposite.
  • There was not only no slump, but the years between 1929 and 1936 witnessed the successful completion of the first two Five Year Plans, which increased the Soviet industrial production by more than four times.
  • The world depression, thus, brought the capitalist system into disrepute and drew attention towards Marxism, socialism, and economic planning.
  • Consequently, socialist ideas began to attract more and more people, especially the young, the workers, and the peasants.

Impact of Socialist Ideas on national movement:

  • Inside Congress:
    • Congress Socialist party
      • It was a socialist group within the INC founded in 1934 by JP Narayan and Acharya Narendra Dev.
      • They believed in Marxist Ideas, Gandhian ideals, Liberal and Social democracy of the west.
      • Nationalism and Independence was their goal.
    • 1936 Faizpur session of INC:
      • The objectives of the session included reducing land revenue, abolition of feudal levies and dues, cooperative farming, creation of peasant unions etc.
    • Civic rights:
      • The National Congress supported the states’ people’s struggle and urged the princes to introduce democratic representative government and to grant fundamental civil rights.
      • In 1938, when the Congress defined its goal of independence it included the independence of the princely states.
      • In 1939, Jawaharlal Nehru became the President of the All India States’ People’s Conference. The States’ people’s movement awakened the national consciousness among the people of the states. It also spread a new consciousness of unity all over India.
    • Safeguarding of interests of workers:
      • In 1936, INC asked the Congress ministries in provinces to work for safeguarding and promoting the interests of workers.

 

  • Outside Congress:
    • Peasants and Workers Unions:
      • The economic depression also worsened the conditions of the peasants and workers in India. The prices of agricultural products dropped by over 50 per cent by the end of 1932.
      • The employers tried to reduce wages. The peasants all over the country began to demand land reforms, reduction of land revenue and rent, and relief from indebtedness.
      • Workers in the factories and plantations increasingly demanded better conditions of work and recognition of their trade union rights. Consequently, there was rapid growth of trade unions in the cities and the Kisan Sabhas (peasants’ unions) in many areas, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Punjab.
      • The first all-India peasant organization, the All-India Kisan Sabha was formed in 1936. The peasants also began to take a more active part in the national movement.
      • In his presidential address to the Lucknow Congress in 1936, Nehru urged the Congress to accept socialism as its goal and to bring itself closer to the peasantry and the working class.
    • Global affairs:
      • During the period of 1935-1939, Congress actively participated for the development of world affairs. It had gradually developed a foreign policy based on opposition to the spread of imperialism.
      • In February 1927, Jawaharlal Nehru on behalf of the National Congress attended the Congress of oppressed nationalities at Brussels organized by political exiles and revolutionaries from the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, suffering from economic or political imperialism.
      • In 1927, the Madras session of the National Congress warned the Government that the people of India would not support Britain in any war undertaken with its imperialist aims

Conclusion:

After India’s independence in 1947, the Indian government under prime ministers Nehru and Indira Gandhi oversaw land reform and the nationalisation of major industries and the banking sector. However, when a global recession began in the late 1970s, economic stagnation, chronic shortages and state inefficiency left many disillusioned with state socialism. In the late 1980s and 1990s, India’s government began to systematically liberalise the Indian economy by pursuing privatisation, aiming to attract foreign investment. Nevertheless, the Congress party continues to espouse some socialist causes, and other major parties such as the Communists, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and several others openly espouse socialism.


Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues

2) Famines were not new to India but the apathy of colonial rulers made it worse. Critically analyse the colonial response to famines in India. (250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is based on the topic of famines in the historical past of India.

Key demand of the question:

The question demands the response of colonial response to various major famines in India which made the famine situation worse than what it is. 

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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with first statement saying that famines have been recurring in India since ancient and medieval days. Cite examples of famines in Ancient age like Arthshastra mentioning famines, Famines during sultanate and mughal period etc.

Body:

Transition into body by saying how lack of response from British rule made the already grave situation worse, resulting in heavy casualties.

The answer must be addressed in two parts. Firstly, the famines under East India company’s rule and Famines under Crowns rule. Under Company’s rule, how various major famines were dealt in India must be explained including the measures taken. The apathy of company by not granting adequate relief measures and in some instances raising prices to make more profits must be highlighted. Facts and figures of the number of casualties must be provided.

Under crown’s rule, the responses such a various committees and their recommendations must be mentioned with an emphasis on the lack of implementation. The famines on twenties especially the ones during the world wars which again were due the resources being rerouted for war efforts must be highlighted among other things.

Conclusion:

The conclusion should summarize the overall famine situation in colonial India and the responses to it being inadequate to deal with the situation. A link must be developed to post independent India where famines came to halt due to the efforts of the independent government

Introduction:

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the people of India were ravaged by a series of cataclysmic famines, precipitated less by failures of nature and more by colonial policies, such as of rack-renting, both legal and illegal, neglect of agriculture, “free-trade” policies and additional levies for wars. The famine codes of British had main objective to save lives at minimal cost to the colonial exchequer. There were 31 famines in 120 years of British Raj, the last one killed 4 million people in 1943.

Body:

Famines during pre-British era:

Famine in Indian sub-continent is a chronicle feature. Agriculture in India is heavily dependent on a suitable climate. A summer monsoon is a must for the irrigation of crops. Lack of rainfall and droughts had lead to several famines in India between 11th and 17th centuries severely. Draughts cause extreme scarcity of water and thus results in crop failure. On the other hand, floods and earthquakes can destroy the crops or food storage places. These all result in food scarcity and eventually famines. E.g.: Deccan Famine of 1630

Famines during colonial era:

India was hit by recurrent famine from 1760 AD to till 1943 AD. As per British sources, there were more than 85 million Indians died in these famines which were in reality genocides done by the British Raj.  E.g.: Doji Bara famine or Skull famine of 1788–94 killed around 11 million people. Bengal famine of 1943 killed more than 3 million people.

Apathy of British rulers was evident in their policies:

  • The famines were a product both of uneven rainfall and British economic and administrative policies.
  • Colonial policies:
    • Colonial policies implicated include rack-renting, levies for war, free trade policies, the expansion of export agriculture, and neglect of agricultural investment.
    • During the Bengal famine of 1770, East India Company raised taxes disastrously and exacerbated it, even if the famine was not caused by the British colonial government.
    • Indian exports of opium, rice, wheat, indigo, jute, and cotton were a key component of the economy of the British empire, generating vital foreign currency, primarily from China, and stabilising low prices in the British grain market.
    • Policy lapses such as prioritising distribution of vital supplies to the military, civil services and others as well as stopping rice imports
  • Policy of laissez faire:
    • The government’s policy of laissez faire in the trade of grain. For example, two of the worst famine-afflicted areas in the Madras Presidency, the districts of Ganjam and Vizagapatam, continued to export grains throughout the famine.
    • Export crops displaced millions of acres that could have been used for domestic subsistence, and increased the vulnerability of Indians to food crises.
    • Others dispute that exports were a major cause of the famine, pointing out that trade did have a stabilising influence on India’s food consumption, albeit a small one.
    • The large-scale loss of life due to the series of famines between 1860 and 1877 was the cause of political controversy.
  • Attitude of Viceroys:
    • Curzon stated that such philanthropy would be criticised, but not doing so would be a crime. He also cut back rations that he characterised as “dangerously high,” and stiffened relief eligibility by reinstating the Temple tests.[79] Between 1.25 and 10 million people died in the famine.
  • Infrastructure:
    • The failure to provide food to the millions who were hungry during the famines of the 1870s has been blamed both on the absence of adequate rail infrastructure and the incorporation of grain into the world market through rail and telegraph.
  • Famine codes:
    • British Codes were explicit in casting a duty on public officials to spend the minimum that was necessary, only to prevent the loss of lives, and nothing beyond that.
    • The Famine Codes of the past recognised that non-farm rural poor persons, like artisans and weavers, may be very hard hit by famine, but did little to address their food needs, although they were not equipped physically and culturally to participate in the kind of manual labour that is required in public relief works.
    • Those who are most vulnerable in times of food scarcity are old people, single women, disabled people and children. Colonial Codes contained niggardly provisions for them of “gratuitous relief”

The above conditions were worsened by rapidly growing population, increasing household debt, stagnant agricultural productivity, increased social stratification, and alienation of the peasant class from their landholdings. The natural disasters like cyclone, floods and droughts wreaked havoc at times.

Conclusion:

During episodes of food scarcity caused by drought and failure of the rains of the kind that looms over large parts of India today, district authorities in India are still substantially guided by updated versions of Famine Codes that were initially developed by colonial administrators.


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

3) Urgent and fresh debate on the need to repeal the sedition law, for it has no place in a vibrant democracy is the issue at the hour. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article discusses the concerns and issues surrounding the debate of sedition.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the challenges that sedition law poses in the current polity set up and in what way it is high time to debate and conclude upon it.

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 brief narrate what are the issues with continuing with the sedition law.

Body:

Explain the following factors:

What is the Sedition Law?

Write briefly upon the Use of Sedition law during India’s Freedom Movement.

Discuss what the current issue is.

List the various supreme court judgments.

Explain the various concerns involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

‘Sedition’ is an offence incorporated into the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1870. Section 124A of the IPC defines sedition and says:

  • whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, the government established by law; or
  • whoever by the above means excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law, has committed the offence of sedition.

The offence is punishable with imprisonment for life.

Body:

Courts have interpreted 124A of Indian penal code in many cases relate to 124A section:

  • Kedar Nath Singh Vs State of Bihar 1962: constitutional bench of Supreme Court made clear that allegedly seditious speech & expression may be punished only if speech is an incitement to violence or public disorder. Subsequent cases have further clarified the meaning of this phrase.
  • Indra Das vs. State of Assam & Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam: Supreme Court stated that only speech that amounts to “incitement to imminent lawless action” can be criminalised.
    • Therefore, advocating revolution or advocating even violent overthrow of State, does not amount to sedition, unless there is incitement to violence & more importantly, incitement is to imminent violence.
  • Maneka Gandhi case, 1978: The Maneka Gandhi judgment was a balanced judgment and is one of the best judgments that Indian Supreme Court has ever given.
    • The judgment’s importance can be seen today also because the way in which the bench construed Article 21 and expanded its horizons has given way for the resolving of problems left unsolved by the Parliament.
    • The SC stated that Criticizing and drawing general opinion against the Govt. policies and decisions within a reasonable limit that does not incite people to rebel is consistent with the freedom of speech.
    • The judgment saved the citizens from unquestionable actions of Executive.
  • Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab: In one of most important judgements in this regard, Supreme Court overturned the convictions for sedition(124A IPC) and Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc (153 A IPC).
    • In this case, accused raised slogans such Khalistan Zindabad, Raj Karega Khalsa (Khalsa will rule) & Hinduan Nun Punjab Chon Kadh Ke Chhadange, Hun Mauka Aya Hai Raj Kayam Karan Da (Hindus will leave Punjab, we will rule) i.e. a few hours after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
    • Despite the slogans clearly undermining Indian sovereignty and government, SC acquitted or free from charge or verdict of not guilty the accused because the slogans did not imminently incite violence.
    • Thus, even advocating secession of country or violent overthrow of government, does not attract sedition unless there is imminent incitement to violence.
    • ‘Incitement’ rather than ‘advocacy’ is the important element of section 124A.

Dark side of Sedition Law:

  • Before Independence, this charge was used by the British to suppress the freedom movement.
  • Ironically, the same draconian law has become a tool that the country is now using against its own people.
  • During colonial period section 124-A was interpreted by the privy council in a way to suppress every act that expressed discontent against the government.
  • Many freedom fighters were slapped with these charges for invoking feelings of nationalism and educating people of India against the policies adopted by the colonial power.

Why Sedition law must be stripped off?

  • The recent order of a Bihar court directing the filing of an FIR against 49 eminent persons who signed an open letter to the Prime Minister expressing concerns over mob lynching is shocking, disappointing, and completely disregards the true meaning of the law.
  • Dissent is the lifeblood of democracy. Democracy has no meaning without freedoms and sedition as interpreted and applied by the police and governments is a negation of it.
  • Terms like “disaffection” and “contempt” can be stretched to mean just about anything, enabling.
  • There have been many incidents in recent times where “misguided” people have been termed “anti-national”.
  • Law enforcement agencies forget the fact that the sentiment could have been demonstrated through a slogan, a cheer, a statement, protest against a nuclear power project, or an innocuous post on social media. In all these cases, the state, across regimes, has filed charges of sedition.
  • Authorities often forget the fact that sedition can’t be applied to instances of criticism of the government or a political functionary. More importantly, words alone are not enough for such a charge to be slapped. Incitement to violence is the most crucial ingredient of the offence of sedition.
  • Going through the numbers that the National Crime Records Bureau puts out every year, it is clear that despite the rise in sedition cases, convictions happen in barely a few. Even if these people are not convicted, the slapping of these charges is a way the governments over the years have been sending a strong message to its own people—obey or be ready to face consequences.
  • Hence, before the law loses its potency, the Supreme Court, being the protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens has to step in and evaluate the law and may declare Section 124A unconstitutional if necessary.
  • As events have shown, however, the gap between the law and its judicial interpretation has become so wide that there can be no interpretive bridge that will adequately protect liberty.
  • This being the case, the Supreme Court will, hopefully, reconsider its 1962 decision, and strike down the law of sedition as being unconstitutional.

Way Forward:

  • All speech-related offences should be made bailable offences; this would lessen the harmful impact of using arrest and custody as a way of harassing anyone exercising their rights under Article 19(1) (a). The chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression must be erased.
  • Forming a committee involving Government and renowned civil society members while deciding cases under section 124 A.
  • To limit the discretionary power as much as possible through better and comprehensive drafting of guidelines.
  • The offences should be made non-cognisable so that there is at least a judicial check on the police acting on the basis of politically motivated complaints.
  • In the case of offences under Sections 153A (“promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”) and 295A of the Indian Penal Code, it is mandatory under Section 196(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to obtain prior sanction of the government before taking cognisance of the offences. This needs to be extended to the offence of sedition under Section 124A.
  • In the case of hate speech, it is important to raise the burden of proof on those who claim that their sentiments are hurt rather than accept them at face value.
  • And finally, it is crucial that courts begin to take action against those who bring malicious complaints against speech acts.

Conclusion:

The word ‘sedition’ is thus extremely nuanced, and needs to be applied with caution. It is like cannon that ought not be used to shoot a mouse; but the arsenal also demands possession of cannons, mostly as a deterrent, and on occasion for shooting.


Topic:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

4) Religious trusts have been historically known to be repositories of wealth donated by disciples and followers. In such a context do you think allowing religious trusts to invest in start-ups could catalyse the ecosystem? Analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

Religious trusts have been historically known to be repositories of wealth donated by disciples and followers. However, this opaque world has opened up in recent times with the income and profitability of some of the well-known trusts now available with credit rating agencies as well. Thus it becomes necessary for us to analyse their role in contributing to start up ecosystem. 

Key demand of the question:

One has to explain the significant contribution that the religious endowments and trusts can make by contributing to start ups through investments.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief discuss the significance of religious trusts and there working in general.

Body:

Explain that religious trusts have been historically known to be repositories of wealth donated by disciples and followers. However, this opaque world has opened up in recent times with the income and profitability of some of the well-known trusts now available with credit rating agencies as well.

Discuss the startup ecosystem currently present in India – In 2018, India turned out to be the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, with $38 billion in foreign direct investment.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Indian economy can witness a multiplier effect on employment generation if thousands of genuine startups start seeing capital inflows through these religious institutions

Introduction:

Religious Trusts has not been defined under the income tax act. The creation of Religious Trust is governed by the personal laws of the religion. But in general connotation, it can be deemed as the Trusts which are involved in the activities of promoting religion or particular belief. But in reality, most of the Religious Trusts also promote the charitable causes as well e.g. education, medical facility, providing food the poor etc. and such types of Trust are called Charitable & Religious Trust.

Body:

Religious trusts have been historically known to be repositories of wealth donated by disciples and followers. However, this opaque world has opened up in recent times with the income and profitability of some of the well-known trusts now available with credit rating agencies as well.

Wealth status of some of religious trusts:

  • The Vatican is reported to be worth $10 billion or more, while the Mormon Church in the US is estimated to be worth four times more.
  • In 2015, the Islamic Development Bank estimated that Muslims donated “Zakat” worth $262-560 billion, of which a sizeable share would have been to religious organisations.
  • Various media reports indicate that the richest temple trust in the world — the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram — is, even by conservative estimates, valued at approximately $17 billion.
  • Combine the value of antiques accumulated over centuries and this amount could be 10 times or $170 billion. That’s equivalent to the GDP of oil-rich Qatar.
  • Many similar temple trusts like those of Tirupati Balaji, Shirdi Sai Baba, Vaishno Devi, Siddhi Vinayak and Golden Temple are known for holding onto their wealth or investing it in government securities alone.
  • Almost all of them reportedly saw huge spikes in “donations” immediately after demonetisation in 2016.

Wealth can be used to boost start-up ecosystem:

  • National priorities and liquidity: A government that has aggressively championed and executed projects to reform and bolster almost all the sectors of the economy, must focus on this locked-in wealth.
  • With India being the world’s third largest startup ecosystem, there can be a multiplier effect on employment generation if thousands of genuine startups start seeing capital inflows through these religious institutions.
  • Even if these trusts/funds invest 5-10 per cent towards entrepreneurship or venture capital, it will facilitate the creation of the largest pool of capital for venture capitalists in the next decade.
  • Cascading effect: This can trigger a fresh new wave of entrepreneurship and job creation, one that will make the world sit up and take notice of India in a new light.
  • The institutions equivalent to charitable trusts are endowment funds, which are allowed to invest in Indian small and medium enterprises and startups, and are being rewarded for their proactive investments.

Challenges faced by the charities:

  • The prevailing rules prevent charitable institutions from deploying religious trust contributions in anything that is not specifically mentioned
  • At present, the wealth in funds/trusts is mandated to be invested/deposited as per their respective guidelines and there is no provision for investments in alternate investment funds (AIFs).
  • One of the biggest challenges to giving today is the credibility of organizations. A lot of organizations have poor reputations in terms of how they’re using their funds
  • Non-accountable, non-transparent undemocratic functioning: CBI records filed in the Supreme Court show that only 10% of the total registered NGOs under the Societies Registration Act file annual financial statements.
  • Over dependence on funds from the government dilutes the willingness of NGOs to speak out against the government.
  • Money Laundering: Corrupt or unscrupulous NGOs that receive foreign funds may serve as conduits for money laundering.
  • Accreditation remains a big challenge as it is very difficult to distinguish whether an organization wants to work for the cause or has been set up only for the purpose of receiving government grants.
  • The number of foreign-funded organisations operating in India has reportedly shrunk by nearly half in the past two years amid a crackdown by the government.
  • Emotional ties play a big part, if parents and grandparents have given to a particular religious trust or temple, somehow the present generation feels obliged to continue that, even when they would rather channel that money somewhere else.

Way Forward:

  • A change in policy that could potentially go a long way in bringing in wider funding options to India’s deserving entrepreneurs and startups who need continuity and stability, in planning as well as in execution at the policy level, along with the involvement of key stakeholders in the entire decision-making process
  • The policies pertaining to investment/deposit of such trusts/funds are amended to include investment in AIFs Category-I, then, by further investment in startups, they can generate direct and indirect employment in huge numbers, giving a fillip to the economy.
  • Amending Section 11(5) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which pertains to modes of investments/deposits made by charitable/religious trust. This section can include “Investment by acquiring of units of SEBI registered AIF (Category I & II)”.
  • A National Accreditation Council consisting of academicians, activist, retired bureaucrats should be made to ensure compliance by NGOs.
  • There should be better coordination between Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance in terms of monitoring and regulating illicit and unaccounted funds.
  • A regulatory mechanism to keep a watch on the financial activities of NGOs and voluntary organizations is needed.

Conclusion:

If India’s aim is to be a more efficient economy, policy-makers must allow our charitable/religious trusts to invest/deposit part of their corpus into the startup eco-system.


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5) Establishment of strong rapport with West Asian Kingdoms could safeguard India’s oil and gas assets against threats from Pakistan. Elucidate.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article describes that Pakistan is heavily in debt to Saudi Arabia and it depends hugely on the kingdom’s largesse to avoid economic collapse. Saudi Arabia has consequently considerable leverage over Pakistan and the latter in turn cannot afford to ignore Saudi economic interests when war gaming an offensive strategy against India.

Key demand of the question:

One has to emphasize on the fact that its time for India to deepen its economic linkages with Saudi Arabia through interlocking cross country investments.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief narrate the context of the question.

Body:

Discussion should talk about the dependency of Pakistan on Saudi Arabia for oil and natural gas.

Explain why India should encourage cross country investments with Saudi Arabia. What should be India’s role in establishing relations with the oil countries in such a context?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties. Close geographical proximity, civilizational links, cultural affinity, natural synergies, vibrant people to people contacts. Common challenges and opportunities have added momentum to this robust engagement.

Body:

Importance of Saudi Arabia for India:

  • The Delhi Declaration signed during King Abdullah’s visit in 2006 called for a closer economic engagement and energy partnership.
  • The two sides re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen the ‘strategic partnership’ envisaged in the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ in 2010.
  • Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner after China, US and UAE. It is a major source of India’s energy security requirement that counts for almost 1/5th of India’s crude oil requirement.
  • Saudi Arabia is one of India’s top supplier of crude oil.
  • India imports 80 per cent of the oil it consumes, which means there are multiple ways in which the country will be impacted by this disruption.
  • India is already trying to make up for the loss of supply from Iran after US-imposed sanctions. After Iraq, Saudi Arabia is India’s second-largest supplier of crude oil — it accounts for almost 17 per cent of the country’s imports.
  • Although Saudi Arabia has assured that there will be no loss of supply, if the process of restoration takes more time than anticipated, India would have to look for alternatives.
  • Saudi Aramco is set to partner with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in developing an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, a $44 billion joint venture with Indian public sector involvement. This project is currently stalled because of land acquisition and environmental clearance.
  • The investment by Saudi Aramco in Reliance Industries. The commercial logic for Aramco is compelling. It would secure a captive outlet for 5,00,000 barrels of crude oil a day and a foothold in India’s downstream market.
  • Saudi Arabia has investment in India’s national investment and infrastructure fund.

However, Saudi’s’ close ties with Pakistan due to common religious beliefs makes India walk a tightrope.

  • India maintains neutrality because Saudi Arabia has close military and strategic ties with Pakistan which is often a source of continuing strain for India.
  • Pakistan is far too important to Saudi Arabia for internal security reasons for Riyadh to sacrifice its stake in Islamabad in order to appease New Delhi.
  • The Pakistan Army has more than once acted as the Saudi ruler’s praetorian (security body guards) guard and given the uncertain hold of MBS on his country, and also MBS may need the services of Pakistani mercenaries in the near future.
  • Pakistan on its part perceives MBS as a valuable interlocutor on its behalf with the U.S. because of his excellent rapport with U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • Islamabad deems this essential in light of the recent strains in U.S.-Pakistani relations over Pakistan’s support to terrorist groups.
  • Saudi economic largesse matters greatly to Pakistan, which is in dire economic straits and has been forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans that are bound to come with strict conditionalities.
  • Over and above the $6 billion already promised by Saudi Arabia, MBS has promised a further $20 billion in Saudi investment in Pakistan.
  • A large part is earmarked for investment in the construction of an oil refinery in Gwadar on the Makran coast, which is being developed as a strategic port by China and features prominently in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan.

 Strategic potential of closer India-West Asian kingdoms:

  • Pakistan is heavily in debt to Saudi Arabia and it depends hugely on the kingdom’s largesse to avoid economic collapse.
  • Saudi Arabia has consequently considerable leverage over Pakistan and the latter in turn cannot afford to ignore Saudi economic interests when war gaming an offensive strategy against India.
  • If the Saudis invested in India oil and gas assets, it might deter Pakistan from bringing these assets into their strategic calculus.
  • Saudi Arabia said, it would share intelligence with India and other countries, that were willing to fight terrorism.
  • Joint Statement urged for the early adoption of UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism
  • Both the sides resolved to create comprehensive security dialogue consisting of National Security Advisors. There would a Joint Working Group on counter terrorism.

 

Way Forward:

 

  • India should take advantage of any benefit that accrues from India’s economic relations with Saudi Arabia but should not pin much hope on Riyadh in the political-strategic sphere.
  • Saudi Arabia is transforming and that the opportunities for partnership and growth are unlimited. Saudi Arabia is a G-20 economy that is opening up to foreign investors at an unprecedented rate.
  • Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia has created a roadmap for social and economic transformation and enabling the private sector is at the heart of it. India can reap this opportunity.
  • Maintaining a close relationship with the Arab world without disrupting the relationship with Iran, and refraining from getting politically involved in any conflict in the region, could be seen as continuity in terms of India’s engagement with the Middle East

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

6) Confusion with respect to manner of deportation of those left out of the NRC exercise could cast a shadow over the “best of the best” of ties between India and Bangladesh. In such a situation analyse areas of bilateral relations that need attention? (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on a four-day India visit, the first full bilateral meeting since both countries went to polls, marking a new chapter between New Delhi and Dhaka.

Key demand of the question:

One has to throw light on the current Indo-Bangladesh relations – key areas of operation and areas that need attention.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain the recent relations shared between the country and the historical past that the two countries share.

Body:

First explain the recent meeting of the two prime ministers – Modi and Ms. Hasina inaugurated three projects. The projects include import LPG from Bangladesh, inauguration of the Vivekananda Bhavan at Ram Krishna Mission in Dhaka and inauguration of Bangladesh-India professional skill development Institute at the Institute of Engineers in Khulna.

Discuss the areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Explain the areas of concern such as – Growing concerns in Bangladesh over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam are another source of tensions.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India-Bangladesh border is one of India’s most secured.  Relations between the two countries have reached a stage of maturity. Bilateral ties can be expected to grow stronger in the future. It is for India to take the lead to remove these irritants.

Introduction:

India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. India and Bangladesh today enjoy one of the best periods of their relationship, with positive development in the areas of diplomatic, political, economic and security relations. The National Register of Citizens, a Supreme-Court driven exercise, threatens to disturb the equilibrium in India-Bangladesh ties.

Body:

Frequent meetings between neighbours are hallmarks of a strong friendship, and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day India visit, the first full bilateral meeting since both countries went to polls, marks a new chapter between New Delhi and Dhaka. The ties exhibit an improvement in the strategic sphere, and alignment on regional and global issues, connectivity and trade.

Major Developments in recent years:

  • The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015.
  • A number of security related agreements (Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners, Combating International Terrorism, organized Crime and Illicit drug trafficking, MoUs on Prevention of Circulation of Fake Currency Notes and Prevention of Human Trafficking and Extradition Treaty) have been signed between both the countries and working groups have been constituted to curb illegal activities in the border areas.
  • Though bilateral trade was just over $9 bn in FY 2017-18, but the pertinent point is, Bangladeshi exports to India increased by 43%, reaching $1.25 bn in FY 2018-19 and this was made possible because of removal of non-tariff barriers.
  • Bangladeshi tourists accounted for 6% of the total percentage of tourists visiting India in 2018. Today, Bangladesh accounts for 50% of India’s health tourism revenue
  • In 2018, in addition to the 660 MW of power already imported by Bangladesh, Indian export of electricity increased by another 500 MW.
  • A 1,600 MW power station with a dedicated transmission system is being developed to boost power trade.
  • Train services in Dhaka-Kolkata and Kolkata-Khulna are doing well, the third one, Agartala-Akhaura route, is under construction. Five additional bus services were introduced in 2018. Recently, the first ever Dhaka-Kolkata cruise ship was launched.
  • Bangladesh has facilitated connectivity with the Northeast by allowing the use of Chittagong and Mongla ports.

The concerns of NRC and implication on Indo-Bangla ties:

  • The NRC compilation exercise has sparked a debate around its political, economic and humanitarian consequences.
  • The government maintains that the NRC is an administrative task overseen by the Supreme Court, and not a political one.
  • However, some members of the ruling party have been making hateful anti-migration and anti-Bangladeshi comments.
  • This reflects poorly on the prevalent positive relationship between Bangladesh and India.
  • National Register of Citizens has left out 1.9 million people in Assam and they are being labelled as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
  • India’s strong stance that she will deport all non-citizens has time and again cast strain on the bilateral ties.
  • But Bangladesh is firm in its stance that no migrants travelled to Assam illegally during the 1971 war of independence and NRC may risk the relations.
  • The divergence in the two sets of statements proffered by New Delhi will ensure the issue gets raised again and again by Dhaka, and could cast a shadow over what one Bangladesh official otherwise described as the “best of the best” of ties between two neighbours.

Along with the NRC, the following issues remain unresolved, being irritants in the relationship –

  • the Teesta water-sharing issue
  • non-tariff barriers on Bangladeshi exports
  • border killings

Measures needed:

  • Expelling illegal immigrants to Bangladesh is not an option since Dhaka has never accepted that they are its citizens or that there is a problem of illegal immigration. In the absence of a formal agreement, India cannot forcibly push the illegal migrants back into Bangladesh.
  • Such an attempt would not only damage bilateral relations but also sully the country’s image internationally.
  • Apart from deportation, the other option is large scale detention camps – which is an unlikely option for a civilised democracy like India.
  • Another option is instituting work permits, which would give them limited legal rights to work but ensure they have no political voice. However, it is not clear what will be the fate of children of such individuals.
  • With no end to uncertainty, NRC seems to be a process without an end.

Way forward:

  • India-Bangladesh border is one of India’s most secured.
  • Bangladesh-India relations have reached a stage of maturity. Bilateral ties can be expected to grow stronger in the future. It is for India to take the lead to remove these irritants.
  • Both countries must reach consensus on the issues like NRC, Rohingya and Teesta rivers.
  • The need of the hour is that Union Government should clearly chart out the course of action regarding the fate of excluded people from final NRC data and political parties should refrain from colouring the entire NRC process through electoral prospects that may snowball in to communal violence.
  • There is a need for a robust mechanism of legal support for the four million who have to prove their citizenship to India with their limited means.
  • Greater involvement of people and wider public debate on foreign policy issues will discourage conspiracy theories and distrust.
  • A greater level of people-to-people contact should be encouraged.
  • Fencing needs to be completed speedily and monitored effectively. This would create misgivings but also ensure that Bangladesh knows that India means business. The state governments and the Indian border forces seem receptive to such an idea

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

7) With India facing an economic slowdown, it is a superlative time to instrument agricultural reforms for the restoration of the economy. Analyse.  (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

One of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India, is now facing sluggish growth, with the Reserve Bank of India sharply cutting GDP growth forecast to 6.1% for 2019-20, which is lowest in the last six years.

Key demand of the question:

One has to elaborate that the time is right to execute a slew of doable agricultural reforms as the role of agriculture in reversing the slowdown is immense in the light of its nearly 20% contribution to a $5-trillion economy.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain why there is slowdown in the economy.

Body:

Explain the significance of agriculture to the economy in general.

Whatever the reason for the slowdown, the opportunity to speed up must accommodate a diverse body of opinion and options for sustainable and inclusive growth.

The conventional approach of fiscal and monetary stimulus options to address the relics of a slow pace would only give immediate relief and not an enduring solution.

Hence key policy measures as they exist now must reach out to emancipate that which is dragging growth while stimulating key sectors.

The occasional dip in growth due to various reasons will slow the pace to achieving a $5-trillion economy by 2024.

This is the right time to execute a slew of doable agricultural reforms as the role of agriculture in reversing the slowdown is immense in the light of its nearly 20% contribution to a $5-trillion economy.

Therefore, a blend of efforts from a range of sectors, agriculture and allied sectors is warranted to enable overall growth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India which was hailed as the ’fastest growing economy’ is now facing sluggish growth, with the Reserve Bank of India sharply cutting GDP growth forecast to 6.1% for 2019-20, which is lowest in last six years; there has been a sharp decline in the performance of key sectors. The conventional approach of fiscal and monetary stimulus options to address the relics of a slow pace would only give immediate relief and not an enduring solution. Hence key policy measures as they exist now must reach out to emancipate that which is dragging growth while stimulating key sectors.

Body:

Current situation of Agricultural sector:

  • Real agricultural and allied gross value added (GVA) grew by 2.9% during 2011-12 to 2017-18, while in the National Agricultural Policy (2000), it should have been around 4%, to attain an overall economic growth of 8%.
  • A highly skewed and unprecedented monsoon, erratic rainfall, and extreme natural events are creating havoc as far as farms and farmers are concerned which in turn are likely to disrupt supply chains, fuel inflation and have a negative impact on consumption, all of which can further dampen the prospects of revival of the economy.
  • The current growth rate in the farm sector is less than adequate to take on developmental challenges originating from the Sustainable Development Goals, mainly zero hunger, no poverty, life on land, and gender equality.

Potential of Agriculture sector to revive economy:

  • The sector is a potential enabler and employer for more than 50% of the population.
  • It also has the potential to revive “animal spirits” by ensuring farm viability: increasing the ratio of farm to non-farm income to 70:30 by 2022-23 from the present 60:40.
  • According to the agriculture census 2015-16, the real income of farmers doubled in almost 20 years from 1993-94 to 2015-16.

Measures needed:

  • The Agricultural Developmental Council (ADC) in line with the GST Council is a dire need to make agricultural reforms more expressive and representative.
  • For better income distribution, there is also a need to revisit regional crop planning and the agro-climatic zone model at the highest possible level
  • Promote occupations which are less influenced by the slowdown such as farming, handloom, handicrafts and others.
  • There is urgent need to increase the job-to-investment ratio which is currently very low.
  • Giving a policy nudge to in-situ employment creation is a must for a stable income and spending.
  • There is a need to reconsider the few distorting reforms that are often stated to revive the short-term chaos in the long run.
  • Encouraging public and private investments to develop infrastructure like cold chains;
  • Special attention for north-eastern, eastern and rain-fed states for augmenting scope of access to institutional credit;
  • Rationalisation and targeting of input subsidies towards small and marginal farmers.
  • Reform in land leasing laws to promote land consolidation and contract farming.
  • Accelerating the pace of public investment in agriculture and ensure greater efficiency in capital use.
  • Loans available through KCC are very low, so the government and RBI should work together to increase the loan amount.
  • PPPs could help spur the development of the food processing industry, one of the newest sectors in Indian agriculture.
  • present agriculture growth is in declining phase, to revive the agriculture growth need patient capital (as financial returns to investment are unlikely to materialize in the initial years.) like rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF)

Conclusion:

Agriculture and its allied sectors are believed to be one of the most fertile grounds to help achieve the ambitious Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs). However, with the current pace of agriculture growth, India requires ‘patient capital’, as financial returns to investment are unlikely to materialise in the initial years. This is the right time to execute a slew of doable agricultural reforms as the role of agriculture in reversing the slowdown is immense in the light of its nearly 20% contribution to a $5-trillion economy. Therefore, a blend of efforts from a range of sectors, agriculture and allied sectors is warranted to enable overall growth.