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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 NOVEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 NOVEMBER 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: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1) India’s fiasco to convert its victory of the 1971 war into a long-lasting peace in the region via the Shimla Agreement of 1972 is a case of missed opportunity. Examine. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

November 19, 2019 marked the 102nd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Thirty-five years after her death, she continues to be regarded as the most courageous and decisive leader India has had. Her time in office was marked by epoch-making achievements, including the swift and successful prosecution of the war with Pakistan in 1971. 

Key demand of the question:

One must provide for a detailed analysis of the Shimla agreement of 1972 post war of 1971 and explain in what way it proved to be a missed opportunity.

Directive:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we must 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: 

In short discuss about the Shimla agreement.

Body:

Explain that the Agreement was the result of the resolve of both the countries to “put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations”. It conceived the steps to be taken for further normalization of mutual relations and it also laid down the principles that should govern their future relations.

Then move on to explain what the concerns around the agreement are.

Discuss why the agreement brought disadvantageous peace for India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India’s failure to convert India’s victory in the 1971 war into a durable peace will continue to bear its consequences on India-Pakistan relations, one of them being India having to confront a nuclear Pakistan.

This should serve as a learning lesson for India in future relations with its neighbor.

Introduction:    

The Shimla Agreement was signed on July 2, 1972, by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime minister of Pakistan, and Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi’s time in office was marked by epoch-making achievements, including the swift and successful war with Pakistan in 1971.

Body:

India had three primary objectives at Shimla:

  • First, a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue or, failing that, an agreement that would constrain Pakistan from involving third parties in discussions about the future of Kashmir.
  • Second, it was hoped that the Agreement would allow for a new beginning in relations with Pakistan based upon Pakistan’s acceptance of the new balance of power.
  • Third, it left open the possibility of achieving both these objectives without pushing Pakistan to the wall and creating a revanchist anti-India regime.

Key Provisions of Shimla Agreement:

  • Principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries.
  • Two countries resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.
  • The agreement converted the cease-fire line of 17 December 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and it was agreed that ‘neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations’
  • Respecting each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
  • To refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other.
  • Both governments will take all steps within their power to prevent hostile propaganda directed against each other.
  • Withdrawal of Troops from International Border and exchanging prisoners of war.

Concerns with Shimla Agreement:

  • The spirit of the Shimla Agreement lost:
    • India has maintained that Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue keeping with the spirit of the Shimla Agreement and must be settled through bilateral negotiations, and thus, had denied any third party intervention even that of the United Nations.
    • This has not stopped Pakistan from internationalizing the Kashmir issue.
    • The agreement converting the ceasefire line of 17 December 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan was to, in the future convert this LOC into the international border which could have been a solution to the Kashmir issue.
    • But there has been a difference of opinion regarding this in India and Pakistan.
  • Pakistan not held accountable:
    • The Shimla Agreement and the subsequent Delhi Agreement, 1973 gave Pakistan everything it wanted: the territory it lost to India in the war and the safe return of all its soldiers without one of them being held responsible for the genocidal campaign unleashed in what is now Bangladesh.
    • India ought to have rightly insisted that an international tribunal try those prisoners of war who had contributed to the well-documented genocide in Bangladesh.
    • This would have also eroded the credibility of the Pakistani Army, eliminated it as a political force and led to more enduring peace in the region.
  • Disadvantageous peace for India:
    • Post-1971 war, India had Pakistan on its knees, holding over 15,000 square kilometres of its territory and 93,000 of its soldiers which were nearly a quarter of its army, as prisoners of war. Some have considered India’s move to return these to Pakistan a blunder.
    • Though the decision to repatriate Pakistani prisoners of war was reportedly taken to get Sheikh Mujibur Rahman back to Bangladesh alive and well.
    • But that thinking doesn’t seem correct given that the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners of the war occurred after the signing of the Delhi Agreement, long after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had returned to Bangladesh in January 1972.
    • The Shimla agreement was mild on the aggressor country given that Pakistan had waged war on India.
  • No enduring Peace:
    • Nothing in the Agreement pinned Pakistan down to future good behaviour. What the Shimla Agreement failed to achieve for India could well have been obtained through the 1973 Delhi Agreement signed by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    • But India failed to leverage its dominant position to ensure enduring peace in the region.
    • It included some non-binding provisions, such as the clause requiring both governments “to take all steps within their power to prevent hostile propaganda directed against each other”. Pakistan started working on nuclear weapons post this agreement.
    • The agreement has not prevented the relationship between the two countries from deteriorating to the point of armed conflict, most recently in the Kargil War of 1999.
    • In Operation Meghdoot of 1984 India seized all of the inhospitable Siachen Glacier region where the frontier had been clearly not defined in the agreement.

Conclusion:

India ought to have rightly insisted that an international tribunal try those prisoners of war who had contributed to the well-documented genocide in Bangladesh. This would have also eroded the credibility of the Pakistani Army, eliminated it as a political force and led to a more enduring peace in the region. We will continue to bear its consequences, one of them being confronting a nuclear Pakistan.


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

2)  Present suitable arguments for and against ‘One Nation, One Election’ in India. (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

One Nation One Poll’ (or ‘One Country, One Election’) has been a pet idea of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one that he has repeatedly pushed. Soon after being reelected in the summer, the government announced the setting up of a committee to examine the issue.

Key demand of the question:

One has to examine in what way “one nation, one election” will help Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Discuss first the notion of “One nation, One election”

Body:

Explain the current case.

Discuss how simultaneous elections will help Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.

Explain the merits and demerits of having such elections.

Weigh the issues and concerns around it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:    

Simultaneous elections refer to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five years. The idea of holding elections simultaneously is in news after it got a push from Prime Minister and ex-President of India. However, political parties are divided on the issue of holding simultaneous elections

The political parties of Kashmir recently impressed upon the Election Commission of India (ECI) to hold the assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir simultaneously with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections

Body:

The Law Commission of India has also proposed holding simultaneous state and general elections and has sought public opinion on its recommendations regarding the same. Simultaneous elections were held in India during the first two decades of independence.

Merits of Simultaneous elections:

  • Governance and consistency:
    • The ruling parties will be able to focus on legislation and governance rather than having to be in campaign mode forever.
    • Parties and workers spending too much time and money in electioneering can make use of the time for social work and to take people-oriented programmes to the grassroots.
    • To overcome the “policy paralysis and governance deficit” associated with imposition of the Model Code of Conduct at election time which leads to putting on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
  • Reduced Expenditure of Money and Administration:
    • The entire State and District level administrative and security machinery will be busy with the conduct of elections twice in a period of five years as per the current practice.
    • Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
    • It is felt that crucial manpower is often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower would be made available for other important tasks.
    • For instance, for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which was held along with 4 state assemblies saw the deployment of 1077 in situ companies and 1349 mobile companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • Continuity in policies and programmes:
    • Will limit the disruption to normal public life associated with elections, such as increased traffic and noise pollution.
    • Large numbers of teachers are involved in the electoral process which causes maximum harm to the education sector.
  • Efficiency of Governance:
    • Simultaneous elections can bring the much-needed operational efficiency in this exercise.
    • Populist measures by governments will reduce.
  • Curbs Vices:
    • During frequent elections there is increase in “vices” such as communalism, casteism, corruption and crony capitalism.
    • Simultaneous elections can also be a means to curb corruption and build a more conducive socio-economic ecosystem.
    • The impact of black money on the voters will be reduced as all elections are held at a time.

Challenges to simultaneous elections:

  • Illiteracy:
    • Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
    • IDFC study says that there is 77% chance that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and centre, when elections are held simultaneously.
    • Evidence from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, the US and Europe supports the idea that elections that are held simultaneously produce greater alignment between national and regional election outcomes.
  • Functional issues:
    • Frequent elections bring the politicians back to the voters, create jobs and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
    • There is a dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
  • Changes in Constitution and Legislations:
    • The following constitutional changes need to be made:
    • Amendments needed in the following articles:
      • Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment
      • Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president)
      • Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures)
      • Article 174 (relating to dissolution of state assemblies)
      • Article 356 (on President’s Rule).
    • The Representation of People Act, 1951 Act would have to be amended to build in provisions for stability of tenure for both parliament and assemblies. This should include the following crucial elements:
    • Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
    • A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act
    • Articles 83 and 172 along with articles with articles 14 and 15 of the 1951 act be appropriately amended to incorporate the provision regarding remainder of the term i.e.., post mid elections, the new loksabha/assembly so constituted shall be only for the remainder of the term of the previous loksabha or assembly and not for a fresh term of five years.
  • Constructive vote of no confidence:
    • The 170th law commission report suggested a new rule i.e., rule 198-A has to be added to rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok Sabha and similar amendment to such rules in the state legislatures.
    • The report suggested introduction of motion of no confidence in the incumbent government along with a motion of confidence in the alternative government.
    • To avoid premature dissolution of the house/state assemble in case of Hung parliament /assembly and to advance simultaneous elections the rigour of anti-defection law laid under in tenth schedule be removed as an exception.
  • Local and national issues will get mixed up distorting priorities.
  • The terms of different state governments are ending on separate dates and years.
  • Spirit of Constitution:
    • One nation, one election” would make sense if India were a unitary state. So “one nation, one election” is anti-democratic.
    • Simultaneous elections threaten the federal character of our democracy.
    • Frequent elections act as checks and balances on the functioning of elected representatives.

Way forward:

  • Any changes must require both a constitutional amendment and judicial approval that they do not violate the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
  • A focused group of constitutional experts, think tanks, government officials and representatives of political parties should be formed to work out appropriate implementation related details.
  • Other alternatives should be explored to reduce election related expenses like
    • State funding of elections
    • Decriminalisation of politics
    • Bringing in transparency in political funding
    • Setting up National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute.
  • One year one election as suggested by Election Commission can be executed by amending Section 15 of the RP Act 1951. If the six-month stipulation is extended to nine or 10 months, elections to all states, whose term is expiring in one year, can be held together.
  • The Law Commission of India in its report of 1999 has dealt with the problem of premature and frequent elections. It had recommended an amendment of this rule on the lines of the German Constitution, which provides that the leader of the party who wants to replace the chancellor has to move the no-confidence motion along with the confidence motion. If the motions succeed, the president appoints him as the chancellor.
    • If such an amendment to Rule 198 is made, the Lok Sabha would avoid premature dissolution without diluting the cardinal principle of democracy that is a government with the consent of the peoples’ representatives with periodical elections.
    • It will also be consistent with the notion of collective responsibility of the government to the House as mentioned in Article 75 (3) of the Constitution.

Conclusion:

Election Commission’s idea of “one year one election” will better suited as it will require fewer amendments to the constitution, it will respect the essence of the exercise of popular will, unlike one nation one election which prioritizes economic costs of elections over the exercise itself, it will avoid clubbing of national and state issues, it will not disturb federalism much, not much issues generated by emergencies like need to hold by-election etc. will be addressed by this option.


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

3) What is parliamentary privilege? Are these parliamentary privileges defined under law? Discuss their significance. (250 words)

Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is straightforward from the static portions of the GS paper II, from the subject of Indian polity.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss what parliamentary privileges are and their significance in the Indian polity.

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: 

Define what a parliamentary privilege is; Parliamentary privilege refers to rights and immunities enjoyed by Parliament as an institution and MPs in their individual capacity, without which they cannot discharge their functions as entrusted upon them by the Constitution.

Body:

Explain the concept in detail and its relevance.

According to the Constitution, the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament and MP’s are to be defined by Parliament. No law has so far been enacted in this respect. In the absence of any such law, it continues to be governed by British Parliamentary conventions.

Discuss its importance with recent examples where the privileges have been breached.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the importance of it.

Introduction:    

Parliamentary privilege refers to rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by Parliament as an institution and MPs in their individual capacity, without which they cannot discharge their functions as entrusted upon them by the Constitution. Parliamentary privileges are defined in Article 105 of the Indian Constitution and those of State legislatures in Article 194.

Body:

Privileges of Parliamentarians:

  • Freedom of Speech:
    • According to the Indian Constitution, the members of Parliament enjoy freedom of speech and expression.
    • No member can be taken to task anywhere outside the four walls of the House (e.g. court of law) or cannot be discriminated against for expressing his/her views in the House and its Committees.
  • Freedom from Arrest:
    • It is understood that no member shall be arrested in a civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the House (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) and also when the House is in session. It also means that no member can be arrested within the precincts of the Parliament without the permission of the House to which he/she belongs.
  • Exemption from attendance as witnesses:
    • The members of Parliament also enjoy freedom from attendance as witnesses.

Privileges of Parliament:

  • Right to publish debates and proceedings:
    • Though by convention, the Parliament does not prohibit the press to publish its proceedings, yet technically the House has every such right to forbid such publication.
    • Again, while a member has the privilege of freedom of speech in Parliament, he has no right to publish it outside Parliament.
    • Anyone violating this rule can be held responsible for any libellous matter it may contain under the common law rules
  • Right to exclude strangers:
    • Each house of Parliament enjoys the right to exclude strangers (no-members or visitors) from the galleries at any time and to resolve to debate with closed doors.
  • Right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges:
    • In India, the Parliament has been given punitive powers to punish those who are adjudged guilty of contempt of the House.
    • Such contempt can be committed by the members of any House or any outsider. When a member of the House is involved for parliamentary misbehaviour or commits contempt he can be expelled from the House.
  • Right to regulate the internal affairs of the House:
    • The House has the right to regulate its internal affairs. A member of the House is free to say whatever he likes subject only to the internal discipline of the House or the Committee concerned.

According to the Constitution, the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament and MP’s are to be defined by Parliament. No law has so far been enacted in this respect. In the absence of any such law, it continues to be governed by British Parliamentary conventions.

Significance:

  • The Constitution confers certain privileges on legislative institutions with the idea of protecting freedom of speech and expression in the House and ensuring that undue influence, pressure or coercion is not brought on the legislature in the course of its functioning.
  • The privileges given to the members are necessary for exercising constitutional functions.
  • These privileges are essential so that the proceedings and functions can be made in a disciplined and undisturbed manner.

Way forward:

  • Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah heading the Constitution Review Commission also recommended to define and delimit the privileges for the free and independent functioning of the legislature. This is based on the apprehension that codification will involve interference of the court as the matters would be presented in the court of law.
  • Supreme Court in Keshav Singh’s case observed that the privileges conferred on the members are subject to the fundamental rights. The Supreme Court has also held that any conflict arising between the privileges and the fundamental rights would be resolved by adopting harmonious construction.
  • If the privileges are not in accordance with the fundamental rights then the very essence of democracy for the protection of the rights of the citizen will be lost.
  • It is the duty of the parliament not to violate any other rights which are guaranteed by the constitution.
  • The members should also use their privileges wisely and not misuse them. They should always keep in mind that the powers do not make them corrupt.
  • The parliament cannot adopt every privilege that is present in the house of commons but should adopt only those privileges which accordingly suits our Indian democracy.
  • Restrict the use of privilege to proceedings of the legislature and not to the individual member. Any member who is falsely accused of any impropriety can use the defamation route through courts.
  • Parliament and Legislative Assemblies should pass laws to codify privilege.

Topic:Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4) The goal of gender justice goes beyond the precincts of the courts. Analyse in the backdrop of recent Sabarimala controversy.(250 words)

Economictimes

 

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of the gender rights issue involved in the case of Sabarimala.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the case in detail and elaborate in what way the objective of gender justice goes beyond the boundaries of the court.

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: 

Explain first what Gender justice is.

Body:

First discuss what the objectives of gender justice are. Discuss that Gender justice seeks to achieve a life of dignity and freedom to women as a basic human right. It includes sharing of power and responsibility between women and men at home, in the workplace, and in the wider national and international communities.

Mention about steps taken by the judiciary to achieve gender justice.

Mention the limitations of judicial interventions and the need of reforms at the grassroots level for social transformation.

Present statistics to discuss the current case India, explain the issue of Sabarimala.

Conclusion:

Conclude with Need for social transformation for a just and equal society.

Introduction:    

Gender justice seeks to achieve a life of dignity and freedom to women as a basic human right. It includes sharing of power and responsibility between women and men at home, in the workplace, and in the wider national and international communities. Gender justice is indispensable for development, poverty reduction, and is crucial to achieving human progress. The Supreme Court recently asked the Kerala government to come out with an exclusive legislation regarding the administration of the historic Sabarimala temple.

Body:

Factors leading to gender imparity:

  • The unequal treatment of women by religion has exerted a very strong influence on every society’s gender norms.
  • All the key functions of organized religion, such as conducting religious ceremonies and heading the religious hierarchy, are reserved for men. No organized religion treats women equal to men.
  • Countries where the majority of inhabitants have no religious affiliation display the lowest levels of gender inequality, and countries with the highest levels of gender inequality are those with high levels of religious affiliation.
  • For millions of years, except in few matriarchal societies, the man has always been considered the head of the family. The provider-role he played was always seen superior to the nurturer-role that women played in a family. The man’s decision was always the final word. Gender parity was not a norm in families across societies.
  • Marriages in which the woman earned more were less likely in the first place and more likely to end in divorce.
  • Women who out-earned their husbands were more likely to seek jobs beneath their potential and do significantly more housework and child care than their husbands, perhaps to make their husbands feel less threatened. The norms in our families act as a huge deterrent to achieving gender parity.
  • Stereotypical thinking and Patriarchal mindset is the biggest challenge.
  • Declining child sex ratio (CSR), the practice of gender-biased sex selection, and child marriage.
  • Domestic violence against women is also high.
  • Women being exposed to violence by their partners
  • Judicial remedies or police reforms, though absolutely necessary, are mostly curative, rather than being preventive.
  • Benefits like maternity leave or related facilities will not be accessible to her in the informal sector

Role of judiciary towards achieving gender justice:

  • Addressing sexual harassment at workplace: Supreme Court in a landmark judgement in the Vishakha and others v State of Rajasthan 1997 case gave ‘Vishakha guidelines’ which formed the basis for the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Sexual Harassment Act”).
  • Voluntary Health Association of Punjab vs. Union of India, 2013: Supreme Court issued guidelines for the effective implementation of Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
  • Shayara Bano v. Union of India & Others. 2017: Supreme Court in a 3:2 majority judgement, held the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional.
  • Recent Verdict: A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in a 3:2 majority verdict, had referred to a larger 7-judge bench the pleas seeking review of its historic 2018 judgement allowing women and girls of all ages to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, along with other contentious issues of alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women. The top court had not stayed the 2018 verdict that had allowed entry of girls and women of all ages into Sabarimala temple.

Challenges of judicial interventions:

  • Conflict between constitutional morality and customary morality: The ‘doctrine of essentiality’ allows courts taking upon themselves the responsibility of determining the essential and non-essential practices of a religion, which often creates a clash with religious beliefs and faith.
  • Addressing contentious issues may lead to judicial overreach: The Supreme Court had to modify its directions regarding formation of Family Welfare Committees, given in Rajesh Sharma v/s State of U.P, 2017 arguing that they are an extra-judicial authority, which cannot exercise powers and functions of police and court.
  • Opening up of Pandora’s Box: Judicial intervention in select cases would raise a demand for similar interventions against a number of unethical but permissive religious practices.
  • Enforceability of judicial orders: It becomes difficult to enforce the judicial orders in matters of faith and religion which are not aligned with public sentiments, as seen in the Sabarimala temple issue.
  • Inequality in judiciary: There are only three sitting women judges (8.8%) out of the total sanctioned strength of the apex court, 34. Hence, it has been alleged that the higher judiciary itself is not representative.

Measures needed:

  • Increasing women’s economic independence through improving financial literacy, access to financial services and assisting women to develop their employment prospects.
  • Working with vulnerable populations to enable the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Skill development through life skills education for low-income women equipping them with knowledge, skills and an understanding of their rights and entitlements enabling them to manage their lives better.
  • Working on challenging socially constructed gender norms rooted in patriarchy that result in harm to all genders binary and non-binary (LGBTQAI+).
  • Improving the prevention of violence and violence response systems through community-based mechanisms and concerted sensitisation mechanisms.
  • Supporting the meaningful involvement of women and men affected by gender-based violence in the design and delivery of services and the advocacy and policy response through the provision of technical assistance.

Conclusion:

It is essential to not only ensure women and girls are free from violence but that they have the agency, autonomy and self-determination to reach their potential and lead lives they value. Ongoing campaigns in the media and concerted efforts at policy and legislature echo the sentiment of pushing through for a gender-equal world. Together, these, along with a plethora of micro approaches and varied collaborations, hold the promise of ecology where women and girls thrive.


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

5) The depleting lake resources lead to not only disturbed hydrology but also loss of local ecology. Analyse with suitable examples. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article presents a detailed case study of deteriorating ecology at Sambhar Lake. 

Key demand of the question:

One must analyse the impact of deterioration of lakes and their effect on the ecology and hydrology.

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 highlight the case of Sambhar lake.

Body:

Such answers are best explained with the use of a case study and in this question one can take hints from the article and discuss the case of Sambhar lake and highlight the issues concerning the local ecology and hydrology.

Highlight the need to prevent such depletion of resource, discuss the causative factors in detail and the effect of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions to address the problems.

Introduction:

Wetlands are water logged areas like swamps, lakes, salt marshes which have high significance in Environmental sustainability. India has a wealth of wetland ecosystems distributed in different geographical regions. As they support a variety of plant and animal life, biologically they are one of the most productive ecosystems. Over the last 10 days, thousands of migratory birds have been found dead at Sambhar Lake.

Body:

Threats posed due to depleting lake resources:

  • On hydrology:
    • Construction of canals and diversion of streams and rivers to transport water to lower arid regions for irrigation has altered the drainage pattern and significantly degraded the wetlands of the region.
    • Might lead to increased greenhouse gases such as methane which tend to be trapped in wetlands.
    • Sea water encroachment leading to reduction in availability of drinking water.
    • Increased Flood incidents as wetlands will not be able to act as cushion.
    • Increased erosion.
  • On local ecology:
    • Habitat of large no. of flora and fauna will be affected. For example: Migratory birds like Pelicans.
    • Many wading birds and waterfowl like egrets, herons and cranes nest in wetlands. Wetlands also provide food and shelter for mammals.
    • They act as natural filters and help remove a wide range of pollutants from water, including harmful viruses from sewage and heavy metals from industries.
    • Mangrove forests are valued for production of fish and shell-fish, live-stock fodder, fuel and building materials, local medicine, honey and bees-wax and for extracting chemicals used in tanning leather, farming and fisheries production have replaced many mangrove areas.

Measures taken:

  • Ramsar Convention: The convention is named after Ramsar in Iran in which the convention was ratified in 1971. The convention is aimed at augmenting national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • India is a signatory to the convention. So far, 27-sites have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites) and 6 more are under the process of being designated.
  • National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP): It was launched in 1985 to enable conservation and wise use of wetlands in the country so as to prevent their further degradation.
  • The Central Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules: They were notified for the first time in 2010 for better management and regulation of wetlands across the country. It saw the formation of Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority (CWRA) whose term ended on 31 March 2015 and it wasn’t reconstituted since then.
  • National Environment Policy 2006: Recognising the importance of wetlands, it calls for developing a national inventory of such wetlands and implementing a wide spectrum of policies and plans for wetland conservation and their environmental impact assessment (EIA).
  • National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA): It was unveiled in 2015 to provide for policy framework and support to State Governments for integrated management of wetlands. This initiative was launched by merging two separate Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), namely the National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP) and the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP).
  • Capacity Building: in order to increase the capacity of wetland managers, up gradation of the existing Wetland Research and Training Centre of Chilika Development Authority at Barkul, Odisha into the National Capacity Development Centre for Wetlands is under consideration.

Way forward:

  • Educate and communicate society at different levels (managers, community leaders, decision makers, public, children and youth, etc.) on the importance to preserve wetlands ecological integrity highlighting this attribute as a key to maintain healthy ecosystem services
  • Stimulate research and knowledge on how sustainable use of renewable natural resources can foster more resilient wetlands
  • Promote the conservation and enhancement of wetlands biologic biodiversity and habitat structure
  • Promote an ecosystem-based approach to support wetlands management and planning policies, including stakeholder participation and suitable governance processes.
  • Relate wetlands conservation with incoming climate changes in different world areas.
  • Encourage specialist group participants to stimulate partnerships, collaboration and networking that address problems and visions related to wetlands conservation at large scale and transboundary monitoring.
  • Provide guidance and technical skills to managers and other stakeholders (NGOs, CBOs, indigenous and local communities, etc.) interested in assessing and monitoring wetlands and their resources.

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

6) Effective counter-terrorism requires a more comprehensive strategy. It requires a constant process of evaluation and adjustment. Comment in the light of India’s “zero tolerance” policy on terrorism.(250 words) 

The hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses the role of Counter Terrorism programme, NATGRID which is a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure. It highlights the Israeli model of comprehensive strategy.

Key demand of the question:

Explain India’s strategy for counter terrorism in detail.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

The current government has declared a “zero tolerance” policy on terrorism. 

Body:

Present a brief background – India’s military responses in 2016 (surgical strikes) and 2019 (Balakot airstrikes) in the backdrop of terrorist attacks in Uri and Pulwama, were framed as attempts to impose costs on the Pakistani terrorist groups and their Army backers.

These responses mark a drastic change in India’s approach to counter-terrorism.

The present government has repeatedly declared that it will emulate Israel’s apparently successful strategy in responding to cross-border terrorism. 

Discuss the concerns associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Effective counter-terrorism requires a more comprehensive strategy. It requires a constant process of evaluation and adjustment – Israel does not have all the answers and relies on trial and error for different contexts.

Introduction:    

Terrorism has become a global phenomenon posing major threat to international peace, security and stability.  Access to advance technology, including cyberspace, sophisticated communications, global funding and military grade weapons has given such groups enormous strength. Terrorism constitutes one of the principal challenges at the global, regional and national levels and has become a key factor in national security planning.

The current government has declared a “zero tolerance” policy on terrorism. India’s military responses in 2016 (surgical strikes) and 2019 (Balakot airstrikes) in the backdrop of terrorist attacks in Uri and Pulwama, were framed as attempts to impose costs on the Pakistani terrorist groups and their Army backers.

Body:

Key challenges in India’s counterterrorism efforts:

  • The present government’s emulation of Israel’s strategy in responding to cross-border terrorism seems to mischaracterize Israeli strategy.
  • There is a place for punishment in counter-terrorism but India risks overemphasizing the narrow role of military punishment, and it fails to consider other elements of strategy, which Israel itself has embraced, that are critical to counter-terrorism effectiveness.
  • The use of military action at best allows the punisher to manage the ongoing conflict, and communicate diminishing patience with the adversary.
  • Providing sponsorship and safe havens have further played a major role in the phenomenal growth of global terrorism.
  • In addition, State support has granted terrorist groups access to resources, guidance and logistics, which would normally be beyond their capabilities. Any effort to counter the activities of terrorist groups carries the danger of placing the victim nation in direct confrontation with the host nation and its resources.
  • Terrorism is handled by different state police systems with no legal role by the central government under Schedule 7 of our Constitution. Similarly, the intelligence provided by the central government to the states is only of advisory nature.
  • In many countries concurrent powers are given to the central government to intervene when a state fails to take security measures. Unfortunately, India does not have that system.
  • Intelligence agencies which were once able to operate beyond their borders are finding it difficult to detect transnational tentacles, even within their country, of al Qaeda or IS.
  • Lack of citizen participation and private sector participation in beefing up the security apparatus
  • Absence of “bottom up” security architecture
  • Lack of coordination between agencies
  • India’s counter-terror efforts continue to be thwarted due to lack of international collaboration in respect of exchange of information and evidence or of extradition of the accused persons who are hiding outside India’s territory.
  • The online propaganda of the terrorist groups is radicalising the youth for instance ISIS influencing the youth

Measures taken:

  • India has taken steps for setting up of Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on counter-terrorism/security matters with key countries.
  • Bilateral treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLATs) in Criminal matters to facilitate investigation, collection of evidence, transfer of witnesses, location & action against proceeds of crime etc. have been signed with other countries.
  • India boosted the security-related infrastructure at the border management by launching new schemes, and have been able to successfully minimize cross-border-infiltration.
  • Similarly, Indian government has allocated substantial funds to the police modernisation programmes all over the country with a view to ensure quick and better response mechanisms.
  • India has raised Regional Hubs of NSG battalions in important strategic locations, to meet any unforeseen challenges.
  • India created a new Division in the Home Ministry exclusively to deal with Counter Terrorism.
  • Stringent acts such as UAPA
  • Coastal security was given high priority, and it is with the Navy/Coast Guard/marine police.
  • A specialised agency to deal with terrorist offences, the National Investigation Agency, was set up and has been functioning from January 2009.
  • The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security related information.
  • The Multi Agency Centre, which functions under the Intelligence Bureau, was further strengthened and its activities expanded.
  • The Navy constituted a Joint Operations Centre to keep vigil over India’s extended coastline.
  • Financial Intelligence Unit-IND (FIU-IND) is the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
  • A special Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Cell has been created in the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2011, to coordinate with the Central Intelligence/Enforcement Agencies and the State Law Enforcement Agencies for an integrated approach to tackle the problem of terror funding.

Way forward:

  • Capacities of the state police forces should be increased
  • Dealing with the menace of terrorism would require a comprehensive strategy with involvement of different stakeholders, the Government, political parties, security agencies, civil society and media.
  • There is a need for National Counter Terrorism Centre. A centrally co-ordained Terrorism Watch Centre, which could also operate as a think tank with sufficient inputs from academic and private experts.
  • A strategy for fighting terror in India has to be evolved in the overall context of a national security strategy. To tackle the menace of terrorism, a multi-pronged approach is needed.
  • Socio-economic development is a priority so that vulnerable sections of society do not fall prey to the propaganda of terrorists promising them wealth and equity.
  • A more comprehensive approach, as embodied in the proposed Convention on Countering International Terrorism (CCIT) is required in tackling the contemporary form of terrorism.

Conclusion:

Counter-terrorism is a national security issue and political parties must resist the attempts at politicizing them. Such policies only serve to sharpen public fears. Effective counter-terrorism requires a more comprehensive strategy. It requires a constant process of evaluation and adjustment – Israel does not have all the answers and relies on trial and error for different contexts.


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) Explain Mahatma Gandhi’s model of Trusteeship. What significance does it hold in contemporary corporate governance? Explain.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

Mahatma Gandhi discussed corporate social responsibility (CSR) over several decades of the 20th century. His views are still influential in modern India. The question intends to evaluate the concept of trusteeship. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of trusteeship and relate it to CSR and examine its relevance in the contemporary world.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving 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 a few introductory lines appreciate the concept. 

Body:

Trusteeship is Gandhi’s conceptualization of the contribution of business houses towards social well-being. Trusteeship is a theoretical construct seeking to redefine the relationship between indigenous business houses and the nationalist movement. That Gandhi succeeded in persuading the business men to participate in the freedom struggle, despite adverse consequences, suggests the extent to which Trusteeship was an effective mechanism in political mobilization.

Discuss its importance in today’s life. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of it and provide for ethical aspects associated with it.

Introduction:    

Trusteeship is a socio-economic philosophy that was propounded by Mahatma Gandhi. It provides a means by which the wealthy people would be the trustees of trusts that looked after the welfare of the people in general. Gandhi believed that the wealthy people could be persuaded to part with their wealth to help the poor. Trusteeship is not merely a principle not even a philosophy. His idea of trusteeship needs to be revisited in times of growing inequality

Body:

Gandhiji’s doctrine of Trusteeship:

  • To Promote Relationship: Trusteeship is the very stuff of life, the material of which life is made because life ultimately consists of relationships. There is no life without relationship.
  • Neighbourliness in all walks of life: That’s the basic idea on which the scheme of trusteeship has been based. It is not merely neighbourliness in certain walks of life, because in Gandhiji’s concept, life could not be divided into water-tight compartments. Life has been conceived as whole, which cannot be divided into compartments. So trusteeship is not merely for business relations, but for all relationships of men as they go in everyday affairs of life.
  • A means of Radical Social Change: Trusteeship is a means of revolution or radical social change. In the economic field there is the idea of description, which has been propagated by Marxist revolutionaries. There is the method of confiscation of all property by the state. Then there is the accepted method of taxation which has been universally accepted even in the democratic countries.
  • Change of heart: Trusteeship was Gandhiji’s peculiar contribution to the technique of social change. He called it “the technique of change of heart.” Expropriation, confiscation and taxation are not calculated to conduct to this change of heart. Gandhiji is often quoted as saying that in the Ramarajya of his dream the status of the prince and the pauper will be the same.
  • Human Dignity and Charity: Human dignity cannot be preserved on charity. If those who live in perpetual misery are condemned to live on the sufferance of those who are well to do, then no human dignity could be preserved and civilisation will come to an end sooner than later. This social change must in the main come through the efforts of those who are in misery and who need social change immediately.
  • Mutuality and Well-being: Trusteeship does not conceive of a society in which the poor shall remain poor and the rich shall remain rich. Both poverty and affluence for a few shall be eliminated. Mutuality and well-being shall be the rule of the society, in which men learn to live together in goodwill for one-another.
  • Promote Relationship: Relationship is the oxygen of life. Trusteeship is calculated to promote relationship. That is why trusteeship is the vital breath of all our social relationships, more particularly our industrial relationships.

Trusteeship and Corporate Governance:

  • Gandhian economics is essentially the collection of Gandhi’s thoughts on various economic systems.
  • Gandhi’s thoughts on economic systems evolved over time and they incorporated the good of both Capitalism and Socialism.
  • When corporate scandals break out, a review of corporate governance practices follows and fresh a regulation is introduced. However, the public debate on the standards of acceptance corporate behavior appears devoid of moral expectations.
  • Our corporations should not only be legal and economic beings but moral ones too. Gandhi’s concept of “trusteeship” can serve as a philosophical foundation for a businesses and provide requisite moral guidance.
  • The international corporate environment has been rocked by several scandals beginning in the late 1990s.
  • Business organizations today are not just a place where we earn a living. They are the dominant form of institution in society and dominate even socially important sectors such as education, health care, and public services.
  • Apart from providing the means of existence for a substantial majority of our population, they also supply almost all the goods and services we consume, and shape public policy.
  • Under such circumstances, society should require organizations to live to a higher standard. Trusteeship provides such an ideal standard.
  • The requirements of trusteeship are not easy to reach in a society that, over the years, has devised the rules and structures to expect purely economic behavior from organizations.
  • Although, as Gandhi realized, a standard such as trusteeship cannot and should not be instituted through a government flat, regulations that may prevent such behavior should be removed.
  • Moral suasion should be used to drive organizations towards this end.
  • “Corporate Social Responsibility”, is another realm under corporate governance which can be traced to Gandhi’s concept of “Trusteeship”.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility links Corporate Sector to Social Sector.
  • The Gandhian Model of Trusteeship, while being uniquely Indian, provides a means of transforming the present unequal order of society into an egalitarian one.
  • Under this principle surplus wealth needs to be kept in trust for the common good and welfare of others.
  • It also specifies that everything we do must be economically viable as well as ethical – at the same time making sure we build sustainable livelihoods for all.
  • It is becoming more relevant in our society plagued by increasing inequalities between haves and have-nots.
  • Gandhiji, thus, wanted capitalists to act as trustees (not owners) of their property and conduct themselves in a socially responsible way.

Conclusion:

The philosophy of Trusteeship believes in inherent goodness of human beings. The Gandhian perspective is more relevant today than it was ever before. Gandhi wanted to ensure distributive justice by ensuring that business acts as a trustee to its many stakeholders, and specified that economic activities cannot be separated from humanitarian activities. Economics is part of the way of life which is related to collective values.